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  #1  
Old 06-14-2004, 11:42 PM
Joseph Bauers
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That torture memo

So there we were, rolling innocently along, when the Wall Street Journal posted leaked material from the president's counsel--a memorandum to the president advising him, it appears, of the ways in which prohibitions against torture--whether in U.S. or international law--might be suspended during times of national crisis--"National crisis" as deemed by the administration, of course. John Ashcroft adamantly refused the Senate committee that had requested he release the entire memo to them. Ashcroft also adamantly insisted that he thought torture was not acceptable policy.

So where do forum members stand on this? Is this level of government secrecy of concern to anyone here? Does the administration's attitude toward the Congress's request for information both anyone? Why, or why not?

Joe B.
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  #2  
Old 06-15-2004, 01:44 AM
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Joe B.

If secrecy and unchecked authority to commit this nation to perform such attrocities is what the present administration believes they need in order to operate the government, under any circumstances, they need to be replaced. That kind of operational mode is not provided for under any circumstances by our Constitution, much less the trumped up WMD threat. We cannot stand for this, and neither can the rest of the world. Jim
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  #3  
Old 06-15-2004, 02:36 AM
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Ahmen!

William Rogers........
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  #4  
Old 06-15-2004, 02:58 PM
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I predict this thread will reach at least 10 pages in the next 2 days, if not sooner:p
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  #5  
Old 06-15-2004, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by narwhal
Praise Allah!

Everything should be published in a Free Weekly--no secrets, period. The true American way, and access for all!
Government secrecy is no friend of democracy.
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  #6  
Old 06-15-2004, 05:34 PM
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Lets try to keep things in context. Our government is set up with checks and balances. These do not work when one branch goes beneath the surface and acts alone, and in secrecy. This kind of behavior is directly in conflict with the Constitution, where the roles and responsibilities for the branches are established, with those checks and balances.

No one is suggesting we need to publish everything for the public to peruse along with our enemies. We do have provisions to address the need to maintain national security while also keeping the roles of each branch of the government intact.

However, in this case we are not even speaking of national security, or, I have not heard that phrase invoked yet. We just want to know what the new policy on the definition of how much pain, administered using methods that used to be considered torture when administered at all, in any increment, is now considered torture. I would also like to know how the new policy was implemented, and what training we gave our troops to understand when their subjects were in severe enough pain to know they were about to cross the line to real, live, nasty and illegal torture. The kind you get thrown in jail and kicked out of the Army for, if, apparently you are at a low enough level in the organization.

Just answer the question to the Congress. Let them decide what is national security and what is not. Jim
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Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #7  
Old 06-15-2004, 05:44 PM
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"Lets try to keep things in context. Our government is set up with checks and balances. These do not work when one branch goes beneath the surface and acts alone, and in secrecy. This kind of behavior is directly in conflict with the Constitution, where the roles and responsibilities for the branches are established, with those checks and balances. ..."

Well of course they work. That was the whole point of Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Whitewater. Also the occasional overturning of congressionally sanctioned, executive activities by the Supreme Court. All of these actions serve to keep the executive under some sort of control.

If Congress doesn't like the Executive's actions, they have the power to stop it. Same with the Supremes. Now it may be that some citizens see executive actions that they may believe are in conflict with their particular understanding of proper governance. Those folks will be dissappointed when nobody gives a $hit. Then they begin lookign for reasons and usually settle on a conspiracy of one sort or another. But conspiracies are almost always unnecessary. Government is usually pretty obvious. Both hosues of Congress are run by the same party as the presidency. They aren't going to turn-out their boy without an awful lot of hard evidence. They certainly wont do it based on hot conjecture and loud bluster.

The voters have decided to put the people who are in power, in power. So long as those elected persons are in power, they will act in what they believe is in the best interest of governance. If the citizens don't like it, they will have an excellent opportunity to turn-out the elected goofballs and stick another set of goofballs in.

Bot
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  #8  
Old 06-15-2004, 06:47 PM
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Actually, I don't find the conspiracy theory works here either. I would suggest the Attorney General Ashcroft and the other involved members of the President's staff were pretty much doing their jobs. It is only when the ***** hit the fan that the obvious stupidity of what they did, and the liability of that stupidity, began to make openness and straight talk difficult. And that is only because the Attorney General Ashcroft has the necessary skills to understand these liablilities after the fact. His shortcoming seems to be his inability to see how his advice could result in such a bad outcome, before the fact. This shortcoming seems to afflict a number of others in the President's inner circle. Someone needs to be able to look at these bits of advice being given and make an assessment that comes out right more often than not when it is important.

The election is coming and you are right Bot, it is within the voter's power to put another set of Bozos in the oval office. We can only hope the present set is sent packing and the next set learns from the errors of this set. Jim
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Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #9  
Old 06-15-2004, 07:12 PM
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I was with you until you called it "stupid". I think its reasonable to explorethese issues and the best people to do it are philosophers and lawyers. So, rather than spend an inordinate amount of time on the Love Bush/Bush is psycho carousel, I have a few questions.

Is it ever justifiable to torture?

Does it matter what type of torture one uses? (Loud persistent use of Abba, and I'd confess to Dahlmer's crimes!).

If certain types of torture are sanctioned, should information gained through torture be available as legal evidence?

Bot
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  #10  
Old 06-15-2004, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JimSmith
..We can only hope the present set is sent packing and the next set learns from the errors of this set. Jim
Easter Rabbit told me politicians learn from mistakes and never repeat them.
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  #11  
Old 06-15-2004, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Botnst
I was with you until you called it "stupid". I think its reasonable to explorethese issues and the best people to do it are philosophers and lawyers. So, rather than spend an inordinate amount of time on the Love Bush/Bush is psycho carousel, I have a few questions.

Is it ever justifiable to torture?

Does it matter what type of torture one uses? (Loud persistent use of Abba, and I'd confess to Dahlmer's crimes!).

If certain types of torture are sanctioned, should information gained through torture be available as legal evidence?

Bot
Your ignoring the morality of torturing people picked up in road blocks or house-to-house sweeps, of which the Red Cross said 70% were innocent, who we have since released thousands of, is telling. There is no justifications for their actions here. The answers to your other questions are in the Geneva Convention.
Tell me, is it justifiable to ride an old women picked up at a rode block like a donkey? Your starting to make me physically ill with your attempt to find some kind of excuse for the actions of human $hitballs dressed up in military uniforms.
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  #12  
Old 06-15-2004, 07:39 PM
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by JimSmith
..We can only hope the present set is sent packing and the next set learns from the errors of this set. Jim
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Easter Rabbit told me politicians learn from mistakes and never repeat them.


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I did not suggest they would never repeat them. I guess you have to be really special to be visited by Easter Rabbit. Seeing politicians for what they are may not be compatible with being selected for a visit by the Easter Rabbit. Jim
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Own:
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

Owned:
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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  #13  
Old 06-15-2004, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Botnst

Is it ever justifiable to torture?

Does it matter what type of torture one uses? (Loud persistent use of Abba, and I'd confess to Dahlmer's crimes!).

If certain types of torture are sanctioned, should information gained through torture be available as legal evidence?

Bot

For me the simple answer to that is no. We (the US) are supposed to be the champion of freedom, democracy, personal freedoms … etc. If we are to the flag bearer of such freedoms and we want other to follow in our foot steps then is not our obligation to show the world that it works?

One could argue that “play by the rules” places us at a disadvantage when our enemies do not abide by the same rules of engagement. Fine, we are at a disadvantage. Stooping to their level only proves to them that what we advocate does not at the very least, work all of the time. Are we saying that democracy is the way to go, but when it is inconvenient go ahead and do what you need to do in order to get the job done?

In my eyes that makes up no better then those we are seeking to oust from power. We always hear the comfortable little quote that “freedom is not free”. It is not free, in fact I would argue it is expensive as hell. When we start to sacrifice our freedoms and our morals out of fear and anger, we have lost.

I guess I am using a narrow definition of torture. To paraphrase a Supreme Court Justice, I do not know how to define torture, but I know it when I see it. Listening to ABBA (who I personally like) is not torture. Beating someone, sodomizing with a stick is.

I do not see how we can have it both ways. Either we stand for justice, freedom and the rule of law or we do not.
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  #14  
Old 06-15-2004, 07:45 PM
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You need to post here more often. Very well said.
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  #15  
Old 06-15-2004, 08:17 PM
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I don't see it as binary: Either stand for law or not.

Dare I say it, ....its nuanced!

For example, if a person fears lonliness and an interrogator knows this, is it torture to intentionally place the prisoner in isolation? I think so.

But if the person is not fearful of lonliness, then is it not torture? I agree with that, too. That would be an instance of greyness creeping in.

The same for Abba/not Abba. I'd falsely confess to Dahlmeresque crimes while you'd go into Saturday Night Fever ecstasy spasms.

In contrast, taking a hot soldering iron to a person, regardless of circumstances or supposed provocation is always torture. Wouldn't you agree?

So to me, it looks like there are at least two types of torture. How would you describe the differences?

One type is torturous only to a particular psychological peculiarity. An abbaphobian, perhaps. The other will always cause physical harm. Does that sound correct?



Or how about this.

You overhear somebody tell his friend he's been having great sex with a kidnapped child kept locked and hidden in the mountains. The child will soon die of suffocation. You have a soldering iron, wire, and a big F**king gun.

Bot
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