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Old 11-01-2007, 10:20 PM   #61
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Exactly, Diemen.

Originally posted by U2democrat
I was sitting next to my friend who is EXTREMELY conservative and under her breath I heard her say "These are people who want to blow us up, why wouldn't you want to hurt them?"


Originally posted by U2democrat
I was disgusted by what she said.
I don't blame you. I'd be disgusted, too.

This debate over whether or not waterboarding is considered torture reminds me of that whole deal with Clinton where there was debate over the meaning of the word "is". This is like the Republican equivalent, and it's just as absurd.

And people wonder why other countries have a hard time taking us seriously or doing what we command them to do?


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Old 11-05-2007, 08:01 AM   #62
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NY Times

November 3, 2007
3 Top Republican Candidates Take a Hard Line on the Interrogation of Detainees

A central tenet of every leading Republican candidate’s campaign for president is one simple and powerful idea: I alone can best defend the United States from the threat of terrorism.

And in recent weeks, three candidates, Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred D. Thompson, have embraced some of the more controversial policies on the treatment of those suspected of supporting terrorism, backing harsh interrogation methods and refusing to rule out the use of waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique, on detainees.

Their public statements came as the debate over whether waterboarding is torture had threatened to derail the nomination of Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general after he refused to call the technique illegal.

Not only do the three candidates refuse to rule out waterboarding and other techniques that have been condemned, but they also believe the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, needs to remain open, and they back the practice of extraordinary rendition, in which terrorism suspects are sent for questioning to other countries, including some accused of torture.

The only leading Republican candidate to condemn each of the practices outright has been Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war who was tortured in a North Vietnamese prison. On Friday, Mr. McCain, of Arizona, strongly criticized his rivals and cited their lack of wartime experience, saying they “chose to do other things when this nation was fighting its wars.”

Mr. Giuliani shot back, saying Mr. McCain “has never run a city, never run a state, never run a government.”

The often-unbending statements of Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Romney on detainee treatment have put them at odds even with the Bush administration, which, under intense pressure at home and abroad, has moved to curb some of the practices, and called in general terms for closing the prison at Guantánamo.

While the three candidates all condemn torture, they have been purposefully vague about what constitutes cruel and inhumane treatment.

Mr. Giuliani often frames the threat of terrorism in graphically personal terms, telling crowds that Islamic extremists “hate you” and want to come to the United States and “kill you.” In that vein, he has been perhaps the most forceful in suggesting that the president must be able to take extraordinary steps to combat terrorist threats.

“I think the president has to retain ultimate authority to be able to deal with terrorism in a way that’s different than dealing with an armed combatant from a nation state,” Mr. Giuliani said in a recent interview.

Their positions have come under fire from leading Democrats who say they unconditionally oppose torture, want Guantánamo closed and oppose rendition.

The leading Republican candidates, including Mr. McCain, have largely supported the enhanced powers granted to law enforcement authorities under the USA Patriot Act.

But it is on treatment of prisoners that the divisions emerge. Mr. McCain is alone among the top Republican candidates in condemning waterboarding, which has become the litmus test in gauging an openness to interrogation techniques that are widely considered torture.

Mr. Giuliani also joked about another interrogation technique, sustained sleep deprivation.

“They talk about sleep deprivation,” he said. “I mean, on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States. That’s plain silly.”

Sustained sleep-deprivation is described in the United States Army Field Manual on Interrogation as a form of mental torture, and the practice has been ruled inhumane by the Supreme Court of Israel and the European Court of Human Rights.

In an interview yesterday with Albert R. Hunt on Bloomberg TV, Mr. Giuliani said: “Now, intensive questioning works. If I didn’t use intensive questioning, there would be a lot of Mafia guys running around New York right now and crime would be a lot higher in New York than it is. Intensive questioning has to be used. Torture should not be used. The line between the two is a difficult one.”

The differences between the leading Republicans on interrogation and the handling of detainees first arose in May at a debate in South Carolina, when Mr. McCain was the only candidate to condemn torture outright.

As Mr. Romney was preparing for his presidential bid, he visited Guantánamo Bay in the spring of 2006 and said he “came away with no concerns with regards to the fair and appropriate treating of these individuals.” In the May debate, Mr. Romney said he would “double Guantánamo.”

Mr. Romney has also said that in the event of an extreme terrorist threat, he would not rule out even the harshest interrogation techniques, echoing comments made by his national security adviser, Maj. Gen. James Marks, who is retired.

When the general was asked, in a 2005 interview on CNN, how far he would go if he thought he could elicit information that would save the lives of either American soldiers or civilians, he replied, “I’d stick a knife in somebody’s thigh in a heartbeat.”

Mr. Thompson has argued that there are circumstances where “you have to do what is necessary to get the information that you need.”

The stances of Mr. Thompson, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney have drawn fire not only from leading Democrats but also from human rights groups.

“At a time when the U.S. military has denounced torture and is working hard to restore U.S. moral authority, it’s irresponsible that some presidential candidates are still suggesting that torture is O.K.,” said Jennifer Daskal, a counterterrorism expert at Human Rights Watch. “Candidates appear to be pandering to peoples’ fears in a reckless attempt to win the label ‘toughest.’”

Mr. Giuliani’s views on detainee treatment seem to have hardened in recent months. For instance, last spring he said waterboarding crossed the line of what was acceptable. Last week, he pulled back from that stance.

In St. Petersburg, Fla., seven months ago, he said: “I haven’t been to Guantánamo. I can’t judge Guantánamo.”

Now, although he has still not visited Guantánamo, Mr. Giuliani says that he thinks the prison there is a critical tool. Like Mr. Romney, he focuses on the physical condition the prisoners are kept in rather than their still-undefined legal status.

Critics, however, not only condemn the conditions at Guantánamo but also find it unacceptable that the majority of detainees have been in legal limbo for more than five years, with only a handful facing formal charges.

Mr. Thompson was dismissive of such concerns when asked for his opinion at a recent campaign stop in Tampa, Fla. “I think that Guantánamo Bay is necessary,” he said. “Those who have criticized Guantánamo Bay do not come with any alternative.”

Mr. McCain said that was simply false, noting he has pushed to have the prisoners moved to the military base at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He said they should not be treated with the same rights as American citizens, but should be afforded trials.

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:37 AM   #63
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Looks like Mukasey will be confirmed

Olbermann: On waterboarding and torture

updated 9:42 p.m. ET, Mon., Nov. 5, 2007

It is a fact startling in its cynical simplicity and it requires cynical and simple words to be properly expressed: The presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush.

All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare stupidity; all the invocations of World War III, all the sophistic questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the phony secrets; all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling tap-dancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his apologists...

All of it is now, after one revelation last week, transparently clear for what it is: the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the refocusing of our entire nation, toward keeping this mock president and this unstable vice president and this departed wildly self-overrating attorney general, and the others, from potential prosecution for having approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the name of this country.

"Waterboarding is torture," Daniel Levin was to write. Daniel Levin was no theorist and no protester. He was no troublemaking politician. He was no table-pounding commentator. Daniel Levin was an astonishingly patriotic American and a brave man.

Brave not just with words or with stances, even in a dark time when that kind of bravery can usually be scared or bought off.

Charged, as you heard in the story from ABC News last Friday, with assessing the relative legality of the various nightmares in the Pandora's box that is the Orwell-worthy euphemism "Enhanced Interrogation," Mr. Levin decided that the simplest, and the most honest, way to evaluate them ... was to have them enacted upon himself.

Daniel Levin took himself to a military base and let himself be waterboarded.

Mr. Bush, ever done anything that personally courageous?

Perhaps when you've gone to Walter Reed and teared up over the maimed servicemen? And then gone back to the White House and determined that there would be more maimed servicemen?

Has it been that kind of personal courage, Mr. Bush, when you've spoken of American victims and the triumph of freedom and the sacrifice of your own popularity for the sake of our safety? And then permitted others to fire or discredit or destroy anybody who disagreed with you, whether they were your own generals, or Max Cleland, or Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, or Daniel Levin?

Daniel Levin should have a statue in his honor in Washington right now.

Instead, he was forced out as acting assistant attorney general nearly three years ago because he had the guts to do what George Bush couldn't do in a million years: actually put himself at risk for the sake of his country, for the sake of what is right.

And they waterboarded him. And he wrote that even though he knew those doing it meant him no harm, and he knew they would rescue him at the instant of the slightest distress, and he knew he would not die — still, with all that reassurance, he could not stop the terror screaming from inside of him, could not quell the horror, could not convince that which is at the core of each of us, the entity who exists behind all the embellishments we strap to ourselves, like purpose and name and family and love, he could not convince his being that he wasn't drowning.

Waterboarding, he said, is torture. Legally, it is torture! Practically, it is torture! Ethically, it is torture! And he wrote it down.

Wrote it down somewhere, where it could be contrasted with the words of this country's 43rd president: "The United States of America ... does not torture."

Made you into a liar, Mr. Bush.

Made you into, if anybody had the guts to pursue it, a criminal, Mr. Bush.

Waterboarding had already been used on Khalid Sheik Mohammed and a couple of other men none of us really care about except for the one detail you'd forgotten — that there are rules. And even if we just make up these rules, this country observes them anyway, because we're Americans and we're better than that.

We're better than you.

And the man your Justice Department selected to decide whether or not waterboarding was torture had decided, and not in some phony academic fashion, nor while wearing the Walter Mitty poseur attire of flight suit and helmet.

He had put his money, Mr. Bush, where your mouth was.

So, your sleazy sycophantic henchman Mr. Gonzales had him append an asterisk suggesting his black-and-white answer wasn't black-and-white, that there might have been a quasi-legal way of torturing people, maybe with an absolute time limit and a physician entitled to stop it, maybe, if your administration had ever bothered to set any rules or any guidelines.

And then when your people realized that even that was too dangerous, Daniel Levin was branded "too independent" and "someone who could (not) be counted on."

In other words, Mr. Bush, somebody you couldn't count on to lie for you.

So, Levin was fired.

Because if it ever got out what he'd concluded, and the lengths to which he went to validate that conclusion, anybody who had sanctioned waterboarding and who-knows-what-else on anybody, you yourself, you would have been screwed.

And screwed you are.

It can't be coincidence that the story of Daniel Levin should emerge from the black hole of this secret society of a presidency just at the conclusion of the unhappy saga of the newest attorney general nominee.

Another patriot somewhere listened as Judge Mukasey mumbled like he'd never heard of waterboarding and refused to answer in words … that which Daniel Levin answered on a waterboard somewhere in Maryland or Virginia three years ago.

And this someone also heard George Bush say, "The United States of America does not torture," and realized either he was lying or this wasn't the United States of America anymore, and either way, he needed to do something about it.

Not in the way Levin needed to do something about it, but in a brave way nonetheless.

We have U.S. senators who need to do something about it, too.

Chairman Leahy of the Judiciary Committee has seen this for what it is and said "enough."

Sen. Schumer has seen it, reportedly, as some kind of puzzle piece in the New York political patronage system, and he has failed.

What Sen. Feinstein has seen, to justify joining Schumer in rubber-stamping Mukasey, I cannot guess.

It is obvious that both those senators should look to the meaning of the story of Daniel Levin and recant their support for Mukasey's confirmation.

And they should look into their own committee's history and recall that in 1973, their predecessors were able to wring even from Richard Nixon a guarantee of a special prosecutor (ultimately a special prosecutor of Richard Nixon!), in exchange for their approval of his new attorney general, Elliott Richardson.

If they could get that out of Nixon, before you confirm the president's latest human echo on Tuesday, you had better be able to get a "yes" or a "no" out of Michael Mukasey.

Ideally you should lock this government down financially until a special prosecutor is appointed, or 50 of them, but I'm not holding my breath. The "yes" or the "no" on waterboarding will have to suffice.

Because, remember, if you can't get it, or you won't with the time between tonight and the next presidential election likely to be the longest year of our lives, you are leaving this country, and all of us, to the waterboards, symbolic and otherwise, of George W. Bush.

Ultimately, Mr. Bush, the real question isn't who approved the waterboarding of this fiend Khalid Sheik Mohammed and two others.

It is: Why were they waterboarded?

Study after study for generation after generation has confirmed that torture gets people to talk, torture gets people to plead, torture gets people to break, but torture does not get them to tell the truth.

Of course, Mr. Bush, this isn't a problem if you don't care if the terrorist plots they tell you about are the truth or just something to stop the tormentors from drowning them.

If, say, a president simply needed a constant supply of terrorist threats to keep a country scared.

If, say, he needed phony plots to play hero during, and to boast about interrupting, and to use to distract people from the threat he didn't interrupt.

If, say, he realized that even terrorized people still need good ghost stories before they will let a president pillage the Constitution,

Well, Mr. Bush, who better to dream them up for you than an actual terrorist?

He'll tell you everything he ever fantasized doing in his most horrific of daydreams, his equivalent of the day you "flew" onto the deck of the Lincoln to explain you'd won in Iraq.

Now if that's what this is all about, you tortured not because you're so stupid you think torture produces confession but you tortured because you're smart enough to know it produces really authentic-sounding fiction — well, then, you're going to need all the lawyers you can find … because that crime wouldn't just mean impeachment, would it?

That crime would mean George W. Bush is going to prison.

Thus the master tumblers turn, and the lock yields, and the hidden explanations can all be perceived, in their exact proportions, in their exact progressions.

Daniel Levin's eminently practical, eminently logical, eminently patriotic way of testing the legality of waterboarding has to vanish, and him with it.

Thus Alberto Gonzales has to use that brain that sounds like an old car trying to start on a freezing morning to undo eight centuries of the forward march of law and government.

Thus Dick Cheney has to ridiculously assert that confirming we do or do not use any particular interrogation technique would somehow help the terrorists.

Thus Michael Mukasey, on the eve of the vote that will make him the high priest of the law of this land, cannot and must not answer a question, nor even hint that he has thought about a question, which merely concerns the theoretical definition of waterboarding as torture.

Because, Mr. Bush, in the seven years of your nightmare presidency, this whole string of events has been transformed.

From its beginning as the most neglectful protection ever of the lives and safety of the American people ... into the most efficient and cynical exploitation of tragedy for political gain in this country's history ... and, then, to the giddying prospect that you could do what the military fanatics did in Japan in the 1930s and remake a nation into a fascist state so efficient and so self-sustaining that the fascism would be nearly invisible.

But at last this frightful plan is ending with an unexpected crash, the shocking reality that no matter how thoroughly you might try to extinguish them, Mr. Bush, how thoroughly you tried to brand disagreement as disloyalty, Mr. Bush, there are still people like Daniel Levin who believe in the United States of America as true freedom, where we are better, not because of schemes and wars, but because of dreams and morals.

And ultimately these men, these patriots, will defeat you and they will return this country to its righteous standards, and to its rightful owners, the people.
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Old 11-07-2007, 08:41 AM   #64
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This torture stuff has got to stop. It's unacceptable. We shouldn't be using it, period.
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Old 11-07-2007, 02:56 PM   #65
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does sting2 post anymore? he was always good for a laugh.
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Old 11-07-2007, 05:04 PM   #66
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Thanks for posting that Olbermann bit, MrsSpringsteen. I loved hearing that the other night-I always like it when he does those "special comment" things. He was spot on with everything he said as well.

Have I mentioned yet that this is, at the very least, one of the most downright embarrassing administrations we've ever had to deal with?

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Old 11-07-2007, 05:21 PM   #67
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Originally posted by Zoomerang96
does sting2 post anymore? he was always good for a laugh.

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