our country, in our name, on our dime

If this is even 30% true, then there are American officials who need to be brought up on war crimes charges at The Hague. If for no other reason than the Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that they aren't going to do a damn thing about it.

And so the torture was intensified, with individuals tortured by combinations of sleep deprivation, repeated near-drowning, slamming against plywood walls by the neck, forced to stand in a stress position by shackles, etc. Was this sadism? No. It was bureaucracy. You have to monitor what is being done to prisoners, especially to avoid future prosecutions for doing what every legal authority had previously understood to be war crimes. Michael Chertoff told John Yoo in 2002 that

... the more investigation into the physical and mental consequences of the techniques they did, the more likely it would be that an interrogator could successfully assert that he acted in good faith and did not intend to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.

Thoreau, always at his best at his most intemperate, sums up my feelings rather nicely:

Screw it, I’ll just go ahead and Godwin this right now: If the allegations in this report by Physicians for Human Rights are accurate, then we’re talking Mengele stuff here.


Gino said...

i dont go with the 'torture for fun and amusement' type shit the NV's did to john mc cain.

or the human expirements done by mengele.

when you;ve got khalid sheik mohamed, and you know he knows shit, i dont give a damn what they do to get the info out of him.

do what it takes: buy him a hooker, or feild dress him while breathing...

Brian said...

I'm sure the North Vietnamese thought John McCain knew stuff they felt they needed to know in order to protect their homeland, too.

Let's say for the sake of argument, KSM knew enough to be hypothetically worth torturing, and you have a reasonable expectation that if you torture him just right, he'll talk. Even if you accept that this is OK (and I don't), does it then follow that systematically trying out various approaches on other, low- or no-value prisoners is justified so that you can optimize your treatment of KSM?

If you don't draw the bright line at torture--full stop--then I don't see how you can really draw the line anywhere else in an ethically coherent way.

Gino said...

i guess it would have to be case by case.

but war is war. its never clean and neat.
either you are willing to accept some collateral damage may occur, or your war isnt worth fighting.

so, is another twin towers acceptable?

and what are we willing to do, what boundry lines are worth risking, to prevent another?

for me, its case by case. war has no rules. and the enemy wont follow any either.

i beleive there is no clear line to drawn. only the intentions of the those involved.

and i think mangele was known, and became famous, for shit a lot crueler than the stuff that is claimed we were/are using.

invoking godwin here is similar to code pink saying bush=hitler.
hitler never killed anyone,either.

Gino said...

and you are assuming that a 'bright line' can be drawn at torture.

its just not that cleanly done. and i'm not qualified to express any more than an opinion as to when something qualified as an 'enhancement' becomes something else.

Brian said...

War does have rules, from the perspective of international law. We signed up to follow them. That an enemy does not choose to follow them does not release us from our obligation to do so.

As I've said a million times on this subject: this isn't about them, it's about us.

As to the risks I am willing to accept: our government not being bound to follow the law is a much greater danger to us than any would-be terrorist could ever be.

Gino said...

laws, to be real, need enforcement and consequences when broken.

who enforces the geneva convention?
and should such an agreement be a suicide pact?

i get what yer saying, and its not wrong.
but govt cant follow its own constitution in the first place, so any danger we face is already on its way, wether we soak a few jihadis or not.