It Never Stops

In a sign of how much awful shit is going on in the world, I just now have learned that there are accusations we experimented on detainees as we tortured them.

I’ll just avoid anything that will Godwin this discussion, but seriously, WTF? Does this shit ever stop?

94 replies
  1. 1
    Evinfuilt says:

    Stop looking back, stop stop… If we don’t look back and prosecute the crimes we committed, then its like it never happened.

  2. 2
    El Tiburon says:

    This is no time for looking back.

    So we did a few tests on a few people. At least we didn’t chop their heads off.

    Why must you coddle the enemy.

    Are you Hitler’s Mustache?

    Am I first to win the Godwin?

    Also, this is good for McCain.

  3. 3
    demimondian says:

    Of course not. It was merely a chance to determine at what point torture became torture. We know, for instance, that holding a burning cigarette against someone’s flesh for more than 20 msec causes a localized third degree burn. That’s not a good thing; it causes permanent damage, and is, therefore, torture. So we need to experiment to find out exactly how long we can hold a cigarette before we crossed that line.

    If a few people were tortured along the way, that’s life. You need to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

  4. 4
    Violet says:

    Just keep walking, John. Just keep walking.

  5. 5
    El Tiburon says:

    Damn you evinfruit.

    Or the “stop looking back” joke is totally played.

  6. 6
    El Cid says:

    What’s important is that we track down and punish those people responsible for revealing this information. They are the true criminals who prevent us from looking forward, not back.

  7. 7
    licensed to kill time says:

    don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow
    don’t stop it’ll soon be here
    it’ll be here better than before
    yesterday’s gone
    yesterday’s gone

    why should we bother our beautiful minds &etc.

  8. 8
    Poopyman says:

    @El Tiburon:
    It has ceased to be a joke. Indeed, it never was more than a bitter one at that.

    And as for Godwin… that was funny way back when. Seems quaint now that more and more of the Bush era crimes are coming to light. Which makes the “looking back” joke about Obama oh so much not a joke anymore.

    And we just keep going round and round….

  9. 9
    wilfred says:

    They’re only Arab/Muslims. They don’t feel pain/love their kids/respect life/think of the future/reject the past/renounce violence/love freedom/embrace progress the way we do. So since it’s for science, it’s ok.

  10. 10
    PeakVT says:

    … accusations we experimented on detainees as we tortured them.

    And we spent $500M sprucing up a place to perform said experiments.

  11. 11
    kdaug says:

    We do what we must because we can.
    For the good of all of us except for the ones who are dead

  12. 12
    Redshirt says:

    We are still under the thrall of the Neocons, even after we as a country voted them out of power. How could this be?

    The only answer I can come up with is the Media, which is complicit in Repuglican “branding” efforts.

  13. 13
    GregB says:

    Those doctors should go back to Germany.

  14. 14
    Bokonon says:

    Hey … look over there! Sarah Palin just sent out a tweet and compared herself to a mama grizzly bear. Let’s talk about that instead!

    Wait for the bobbleheads on cable TV news to sneer that this is just “old news” any moment now.

    As Anatole France once said, “a nation of sheep will in time beget a government of wolves.” I think it fits this situation perfectly. We seem to be unable (or unwilling) to focus on what is important, or demand personal or instituational responsibility.

  15. 15
    Third Eye Open says:

    I always wondered what it would be like to live in Rome ca. 400 c.e.

    Palin=Odoacer?

  16. 16
    Svensker says:

    @wilfred:

    One of my cousins explained to me today that Arabs don’t love their children as much as other people do.

    I know humans have “otherized” other people throughout our history, but you’d think we would fucking learn. Guess not.

  17. 17
    The Moar You Know says:

    And we spent $500M sprucing up a place to perform said experiments.

    @PeakVT: Hey, when I’m being tortured I don’t want to have to look at the shit and/or bloodstains that the guy who was there before me left behind. That’s totally gross.

  18. 18
    Seanly says:

    I think it’s okay to invoke Godwin if the post is about Nazis or acts committed by Nazis. But be warned that I am not knowledgable about all internet customs.

  19. 19
    JasonF says:

    I just now have learned that there are accusations we experimented on detainees as we tortured them

    You should really read your own blog more often — DougJ posted on this yesterday.

    Not that it’s not an important enough story to repeat ad nauseum until every is as nauseated as they should be to learn that our government was perpetrating acts like this in our name.

  20. 20
    Punchy says:

    The law says you cant do this on humans or pets. Since Brown people are neither, just what is your beef?

  21. 21
    bemused says:

    Doctors doing medical experiments on captive humans…where, oh where, have I heard about this being done before?
    Glenn Beck effusively praises an virulent anti-semite & nazi sympathizer.
    Wingnuts are freaking out, holding signs, screaming that liberals are communists, marxists, nazis destroying america.
    I don’t see it ending until more people get a skepticism antidote.

  22. 22
    QuaintIrene says:

    Hey, but it’s okay cause doctors were in attendance!

    I despair.

    Let’s talk about puppies some more.

  23. 23
    Brandon says:

    And the only person that will be prosecuted is the whistleblower who leaked this to the press. I’m so happy that we are only looking forward so W can crack jokes about authorizing waterboarding and that those nasty people who dare to reveal stake secrets, making us less secure, are put in jail where they belong.

  24. 24
    gizmo says:

    There are two crimes here- the crime of torture, and our government’s failure to prosecute.

  25. 25
    Daddy-O says:

    “…there are accusations we experimented on detainees as we tortured them.”

    We. WE. WE! The Royal WE! Please pardon this rant, but this is my personal political pet peeve.

    WE did NOT experiment on anyone; WE did NOT torture ANYONE; WE did NOT commit war crimes.

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the military industrial complex committed those crimes. WE did NOT.

    I am NOT responsible for the crimes of the Bush administration, OR the Obama administration. They made those decisions without my input or ability to veto them. To me, this WE business is much more than a simple grammatical or syntax or semantics error.

    WE did not do this. THEY did. And Obama continues to do it and authorize it. If you want to accept responsibility for the crimes of those in our government, go right ahead…but that royal WE most certainly does not include ME– or YOU, for that matter, John Cole…give yourself a break.

    You and I are part of the solution, not the problem–or the crime.

  26. 26
    Dave says:

    Going Godwin is fine here, because this is exactly the kind of shit the Nazis did.

  27. 27
    ErinPDX says:

    Whatever happened to Obama’s campaign promise that his justice dept would follow all leads on the bush crimes? Nothing to see here either. Move along now.

  28. 28
    Kirk Spencer says:

    According to various treaties we’ve signed, if a nation won’t prosecute its own when there’s reasonable belief torture was done, other nations may prosecute instead.

    There are a large number of members of the previous administration — and current, in a few cases — who probably should not bother to renew their passports.

  29. 29
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Helen Thomas! Helen Thomas! Helen Thomas!

  30. 30
    The Moar You Know says:

    WE did NOT experiment on anyone; WE did NOT torture ANYONE; WE did NOT commit war crimes.

    @Daddy-O: Actually, we – you and I – did. I assume you pay your taxes and vote. If you did either one of those things, or for that matter just live here and enjoy the benefits of living in America, benefits that have been torn from the hands of those less fortunate all over the world – you are complicit in these crimes.

    Sorry, but that’s how it is. I didn’t vote for them either and think that what they’ve done is an abomination, but if you live here in America you fucking well own this, just like all the rest of us do.

    You want that blood off your hands? MAKE your government prosecute those responsible. No, I don’t know how to get them to do that, either. But that’s the only thing that you can do to atone for the sin in which we all share.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Daddy-O: I agree. But the problem is, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, the MIC, etal, committed the atrocities *in our names.* Your name. My name. The names of *all American citizens.*

    Of course the were lots of Germans who didn’t support (many actively and bravely opposed) Hitler and the Nazi Party and the death camps, but it’s still a convenient shorthand to say “the Germans” — *they* — did these things. Like it or not, those things were done in the name of the people of Germany, just as the more recent experiments were done in the name of the American people. I hate that we own a piece of this, but we do — and it’s now up to us to try to fix it however we can.

  32. 32
    ed says:

    Monsters.

    Seriously, what the fuck has to happen before somebody with any voice or power does anything about it?

  33. 33
    The Dangerman says:

    “Paging Dr. Mengele; Dr. Mengele to the white courtesy phone, please.”

  34. 34
    MattF says:

    Horrible. There’s a ‘Your tax dollars at work’ problem, that I’m just really unhappy about. Also.

  35. 35
    New Yorker says:

    I’ll just say that Germany has become an enlightened and progressive leader among nations of the world. Hopefully we will be too within my lifetime.

  36. 36
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Idea! Can we convince someone involved with these crimes to say something bad about Israel?

  37. 37
    BC says:

    Shorter Liz Cheney on this: There was no terrorist attack during the Bush/Cheney years. This is the standard today – not whether we acted in an ethical manner toward those who were in our power, but whether there was a terrorist attack. The media have bought into this, that it doesn’t matter what the means were, the results are all that matter. This will just escalate as future presidents will then torture citizens (or police will torture citizens to gain confessions to really gruesome crimes at first and then just for the hell of it). It is really hard to go back to where we were in January 2001 when there are no consequences to pay for violating the Constitution, Geneva Convention, etc.

  38. 38
    sukabi says:

    Seriously John, you’re surprised by this? I always thought it was a foregone conclusion… they had to get their “baseline” for “organ failure” somewhere, that was after all what “defined torture” for the torture enthusiasts …. prior legal and moral definitions were thrown out the door with sadistic zeal.

  39. 39
    danimal says:

    This is the ultimate irony: Glenn Beck is making millions shouting “Nazi, Nazi” over misquotes by third tier bureaucrats while ignoring actual torture conducted by our own government on real live human beings a couple of years ago. It’s almost enough to make me think Beck and the right aren’t really concerned about Nazi behavior and are just trying to stir crap up for cheap political points. Almost.

  40. 40
    MMonides says:

    I don’t know that one can go Godwin when the historical context is this clear, and damning.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    @Daddy-O:

    Nice try, but no sale, Lady Macbeth. Part of living in a democracy is that you own the actions of your elected officials. Until we hold those fuckers accountable, the blood they spilled is on all of our hands.

  42. 42
    Kelly says:

    I’m completely ignorant of the lines between the federal prosecuting attorneys and county DA’s. Could the Multnomah County DA try some Bushies in the People’s Republic of Portland?

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    Anyone seen that stalwart defender of liberty, Phil? Wonder why we haven’t heard from him on this subject?

    Wait – you mean no Israelis were tortured? Never mind.

  44. 44
    Sloegin says:

    @Daddy-O: Just to pile on here, the term you’re looking for is “Good German”. Voting the other guy in hoping he’s not half the monster the first guy was?… probably doesn’t remove the “Good German” label.

    What it takes to get rid of your own personal “Good German” label? Up to you, but methinks simply voting is weak tea.

  45. 45
    burnspbesq says:

    @Kelly:

    If they violated Oregon law, heck yeah.

  46. 46
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Hey, when I’m being tortured I don’t want to have to look at the shit and/or bloodstains that the guy who was there before me left behind. That’s totally gross.

    The Pentagon also spent $683,000 to renovate a cafe that sells ice cream and Starbucks coffee, and $773,000 to remodel a cinder-block building to house a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant.

    And after a long day of torturing innocent and tragically unfortunate souls the worst of the worst, nothing satisfies me like Nachos Bell Grande and a few pieces of The Colonel’s Original Recipe.

  47. 47

    honestly, who cares?

    really guys, who gives a shit?
    are any of these people going to jail? NO.
    are any of the people who ordered this going to jail? NO.
    does anyone on this blog have any power to get the aforementioned torturers and their masters put in jail? NO.
    will this get brushed under the rug, same as everything else? YES, most likely with bipartisan support, just like with the warrantless wiretapping.

    that’s the way it goes in 21st century America, and the sooner you get used to it, the fewer headaches you’ll have.

    personal to Ed at 32: those with the “voice or power [to do] anything about it” are the same monsters who did to begin with. Didn’t you just see the Obama administration go after whistleblowers? Or even earlier, “Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002
    In Meetings, Spy Panels’ Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say”
    :

    Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

    THOSE are our leaders, and most of them are still there.

    so yeah, some people got tortured, and guess what: they will NEVER EVER see justice served. not in the US. two tears in a bucket, motherfuck it.

  48. 48
    geg6 says:

    But…

    Helen Thomas is a Nazi! She is! I heard her say Jews and Poland and Germany in the same paragraph! We should do these experiments on Helen Thomas!

  49. 49
    jrg says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You want that blood off your hands? MAKE your government prosecute those responsible.

    Yeah. I’ll get right on that, right after I poop out this gold brick and teleport to my mom’s house for lunch.

  50. 50
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @geg6:

    Helen Thomas is a Nazi! She is!

    And what’s worse, much worse, is that Obama said “@$$.” On the national tee and vee.

  51. 51
    cleek says:

    We are still under the thrall of the Neocons, even after we as a country voted them out of power. How could this be?

    Obama, like every other person who could’ve realistically won the election, will not dismantle a program that is both not unpopular
    and ostensibly gathers intelligence from terrorists. and, he knows full well that if he did dismantle this program, and a terror attack happened, and there was some link back to someone who would’ve been subject to the program, it wouldn’t be hard at all for the press to hold Obama responsible for the attack.

    torture is not going away until “terrorism” stops being a threat. no president can take the chance of not “doing everything possible” to protect us from “the terrorists”.

  52. 52
    The Tim Channel says:

    This information has not been hidden that well. I remember reading about this collusion with doctors and torturers a long time ago. Probably at FDL.

    Obama is now complicit for taking no action against these self admitted torture enthusiasts.

    Enjoy.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    licensed to kill time says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Ha! Yesterday I heard Obama had “blown his top” on the TV, but only this morning saw the clip. I said, “That’s it? That’s blowing his top?” Sheesh. I was expecting a Black Power salute or something for the Angry Black Man blowup.

    Heh heh, he said “ass”. /Beavis

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Yes. Angry black man is angry.

  56. 56
    Daddy-O says:

    @The Moar You Know: “No, I don’t know how to get them to do that, either.”

    That’s my point. If I am powerless to stop Bush OR Obama from committing war crimes in the service of ‘protecting’ us, then I am NOT RESPONSIBLE. If I had any direct power to stop them, I would be PARTIALLY responsible. As it is…

    I am not responsible for a local cop who commits brutality. I am not responsible for the mayor I voted for embezzling city funds. I am not responsible for negligence or incompetence by the local fire district that results in a catastrophe.

    I am not responsible, legally, morally, philosophically, or even politically, on any level whatsoever, unless I CONSPIRED WITH THE CRIMINALS PERSONALLY. Ask any DA who is responsible for any particular crime. Ask the White House Counsel, too, but you’d better go back to BEFORE 9-11, when ‘everything changed’.

    We vote; we take our chances. When politicians commit crimes, we have legal instruments called police and courts and impeachment processes to make them accountable. When the politicians refuse to account their fellow politician/criminals, even THAT isn’t my doing–it’s someone else’s.

    This is not an equivalent of, say, the ideas going around that I AM responsible for the BP oil spill because I drive a car. I would take PART responsibility for that–but not enough to include myself in a royal “we” in describing that catastrophe.

    Nope. You aren’t responsible, and neither am I. If we were, we’d probably be facing indictments. That’s exactly why Obama and Bush never will–but BP is looking forward to that future with a jaundiced eye.

  57. 57
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    We need to give Arabs their own homeland to ensure this never happens again. Palestine, anyone?

  58. 58
    nadezhda says:

    This isn’t news — it’s just finally putting the appropriate label on what’s been known in some detail since we started getting documents on what the torturers were doing to Abu Zubayda months before they got the official go-ahead from OLC and the Bush White House. All you have to do is browse through Marcy Wheeler’s (emptywheel) posts over the past year or so dealing with the documents released about the process of producing the Yoo memos.

    It’s clear from even the heavily redacted documents that the guys designing and supervising the “enhanced interrogation” sessions were starting with the SERE methods, plus some other nasty theories they’d developed about how to destroy people psychologically. They then proceeded by trial-and-error to “refine” their techniques by testing just how far they could go before they either killed the victim or turned him into a vegetable. They then used the results of their experiments to provide Yoo, Bradley et al with terminology to insert into their legal memos that would define (after the fact) investigative techniques as “not torture” so long as they didn’t go beyond the boundaries where the experimenters had discovered they couldn’t go without being guilty of intentional homicide or making it impossible for the victim to even pretend to answer questions. Doctors were clearly indispensable to all of this “refinement” — how else could the interrogators know what methods might ratch up the impact of the torture on the victim while guarding against inadvertently killing the guinea pig ?

    If putting a label on these disgusting, despicable activities finally brings attention to them, great. But we already had plenty of evidence that the guys engaged in “enhanced interrogations” were guilty of both torture and human experimentation. It was the “antiseptic” nature of conducting experiments on guinea pigs — doctors assured the powers-that-be that the methods were A-OK because they’d tested them — that allowed the CIA, OLC and the White House to pretend that they weren’t engaged in torture, just “enhanced interrogations”. In many ways, it’s that “antiseptic” mindset that’s so totally chilling when you read the OLC memos and the background documents.

  59. 59
    NR says:

    @The Tim Channel: Why don’t you go kiss Jane Hamsher’s ass, firebagger.

    P.S. Snark, obviously. Or maybe not so obviously, around here.

  60. 60
    Daddy-O says:

    @burnspbesq: Sorry right back, but this just reminds me too much of the ham-handed saying “Freedom isn’t free” or some such simple-minded thinking.

    Somebody committed a crime. They are responsible. I am not them; I am not in charge of them; I just vote, and vote the best I can, and contribute, and canvas, and so on.

    I am not responsible for the Iraq Invasion. Neither are you. We all know who is. To say ‘we’ are responsible just puts the guilt all over, and it goes to too many places it does not belong.

    I reject this thinking strongly, and it gets reinforced every time someone writes “WE” did this or that when they should NOT use the shorthand to describe a particular person’s crimes and misdemeanors.

  61. 61
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Daddy-O:

    I am not responsible, legally, morally, philosophically, or even politically, on any level whatsoever, unless I CONSPIRED WITH THE CRIMINALS PERSONALLY. Ask any DA who is responsible for any particular crime. Ask the White House Counsel, too, but you’d better go back to BEFORE 9-11, when ‘everything changed’.
    __
    We vote; we take our chances. When politicians commit crimes, we have legal instruments called police and courts and impeachment processes to make them accountable. When the politicians refuse to account their fellow politician/criminals, even THAT isn’t my doing—it’s someone else’s.

    It’s pretty nifty how you’ve entirely recused yourself from the political system in this country.

  62. 62
    Jay in Oregon says:

    I’ll just avoid anything that will Godwin this discussion, but seriously, WTF? Does this shit ever stop?

    The problem with “Godwinning” a discussion is that people don’t actually get what the original Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies entailed:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s law of Nazi Analogies) is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 which has become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

    That’s it. That’s all it means. It doesn’t mean that invoking Nazis or Hilter means someone “loses” an argument; I think people confuse reductio ad Hitlerum with Godwin’s law:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

    The fallacy claims that a policy leads to—or is the same as—one advocated or implemented by Adolf Hitler or the Third Reich, and so “proves” that the original policy is undesirable. For example: “Hitler was a vegetarian, so vegetarianism is wrong.”

  63. 63
    Daddy-O says:

    @Sloegin: Piling on is welcome when I feel strong enough to handle it.

    ;-)

    Making an analogy of “Good Germans” doesn’t quite fit for me. First, the German people have more than attempted to change their entire nationality to one of peaceful means. They received a political death penalty, so to speak, and can’t even allow actual Nazis platforms, political parties, or even the right of free speech. Their military is a whisper of what it was, and if I’m correct, I believe Afghanistan is the first war zone they’ve sent soldiers to face live combat situations since WW II. They are COMMITTED to making up for the past crimes of their former leaders.

    America, not so much. America is the new face of fascism, but not with my cooperation or approval, and not without my attempts to stop it, legal or otherwise.

    It’s like saying the Resistance were collaborators because they couldn’t bring down the Third Reich by protesting or even sabotage.

    The lines of debate are getting murkier here. America is not Nazi, but it sure as hell acts like it from time to time, and only in its own ‘interests’ and ‘protection’. That’s as close as the analogy comes for me.

  64. 64
    Li says:

    When no individual action taken to influence the political system has any apparent effect upon the actions of that system, have we recused ourselves from the political system, or has that system recused itself from us?

  65. 65
    middlewest says:

    What scares me most is that I’m afraid that if Obama and dems in congress actually do get a conscience and stop all this evil fascist bullshit, then they will all be kicked out of office and replaced with teabaggers. The American people LOVE torture now, and I don’t know if they’re ever going to stop.

  66. 66
    Daddy-O says:

    @Midnight Marauder: On the contrary, I’ve never been more engaged.

    I just refuse to accept the guilt that others have earned. How much guilt SHOULD I accept, MM? Seriously? Since others in here claim I should accept SOME of it, just give me an idea.

    I’ll consider it, but not until I read it.

  67. 67
    NR says:

    @Li: Next you’ll be talking about voting for third-party candidates, which makes you worse than Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Dick Cheney combined.

  68. 68
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Guys, our leader wants us to look forwards, not backwards.

  69. 69
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Daddy-O:

    I’m in the middle of a (work-related) crisis and cannot take the time to respond to this as I would like, but I would just observe that guilt and responsibility are two very different things. Because we Americans (in my view) have some ownership in the torture, experimentation, illegal invasion of Iraq, etc. etc. — IOW, have responsibility for these things — does not mean we do or should feel the slightest degree of guilt for them.

    ETA: Of course the people who actually ordered or committed these atrocities should feel guilt, although I daresay they don’t — but you and I don’t need to.

  70. 70
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Daddy-O: Absolving yourself of a crime does not mean that you are not still guilty of it. Sorry.

    I’d prefer to be free of the shared guilt, but this is a democracy, and that’s an option I don’t have.

  71. 71
    Li says:

    I wasted a lot of effort desperately trying to get any third party people up and running for office over the past decade. Let me share with you what I learned.

    Third parties are illegal in this country. Oh sure, not de-jure illegal, but certainly de-facto illegal. Even getting such a candidate on the ticket is an exhausting effort in near futility, and even if you manage that feat, there is no chance that you will have enough money left to actually get people elected.

    Our only choices at the ballot box are to shake the left or the right hand of the Devil. After watching the results of the last election, I’ve chosen to stop voting entirely.

    I may not have blood on my hands of my own accord, but every time I shake hands with the devil, I find that the stain won’t wash. Out, damn spot!

    Our illustrious status as a ‘democracy’ belongs in the same category as the ‘Democratic’ People’s Republic of North Korea, just without all of that messy starvation. Well, for now. Just wait until the entire southeastern United States is a toxic hell. I suspect they will distribute the radios with one station programmed permanently in shortly thereafter.

  72. 72
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Daddy-O:

    On the contrary, I’ve never been more engaged.
    __
    I just refuse to accept the guilt that others have earned. How much guilt SHOULD I accept, MM? Seriously? Since others in here claim I should accept SOME of it, just give me an idea.

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I’m in the middle of a (work-related) crisis and cannot take the time to respond to this as I would like, but I would just observe that guilt and responsibility are two very different things. Because we Americans (in my view) have some ownership in the torture, experimentation, illegal invasion of Iraq, etc. etc.—IOW, have responsibility for these things—does not mean we do or should feel the slightest degree of guilt for them.

    That’s pretty much it in a nutshell right there. No, you do have to feel guilty for the sins and crimes of the Bush Administration, but you are more than responsible for them by virtue of the fact that you are an American citizen and those atrocities were committed in your name. When you say “On the contrary, I’ve never been more engaged,” you need to realize that such action is you accepting responsibility for those travesties committed in your name. You are assuming your responsibilities as a citizen to restore honor and integrity to the name of the United States of America.

    When you say something like:

    That’s my point. If I am powerless to stop Bush OR Obama from committing war crimes in the service of ‘protecting’ us, then I am NOT RESPONSIBLE.

    you fail to realize that you are, in fact, NOT powerless. You have a great deal of power to hold the high and mighty accountable in this modern age we are living in. When you go out and canvass a neighborhood for a candidate who is against a state sponsored terror system, you are taking responsibility for the crimes committed in your name. The power that you have may seem insufficient and miniscule in comparison to that wielded by plutocrats and modern day robber barons, but don’t ever for a second believe you don’t have the power to fight them.

    That’s exactly what they want you to think.

  73. 73
    jomo says:

    I am worried that 9/11 really did change this country – perhaps permanently. The attack allowed us to be truly outward and unified in our hate for the first time in over 60 years. Since that point the right wing has led this country on a race to the bottom – throwing out all standards of a civilized society along the way. They are competing with each other to see who can be more brutal, merciless and bone-headedly arbitrary with people who look like those folks who crashed the airplanes. And the people just come along for the ride. And this hate seems to be metastasizing into hate for all type of different people. Don’t see the bottom.

    It’s depressing, and hard to see how this ship gets righted. Nothing is shocking any more.

  74. 74
    Bulworth says:

    1. We don’t torture
    2. The stuff we do is rough, but it isn’t really torture, which is illegal anyway
    3. There was torture but it was performed by a few bad apples; we didn’t approve it.
    4. Yeah, we tortured, we approved it, and we’d do it again because it “saved lives”.

    Also, too.

  75. 75
    Catsy says:

    @Li:

    After watching the results of the last election, I’ve chosen to stop voting entirely. I may not have blood on my hands of my own accord

    Oh, it’s still there–you’ve just chosen to close your eyes and pretend that it isn’t.

    Everything that you choose to do–or not to do–is a decision, and all decisions have consequences. You are responsible for the consequences of your decisions, whether you like it or not.

    If you witness someone being stabbed, and choose not to intervene or call the police, you have blood on your hands. You did not wield the knife and you did not plunge it into their chest, but you helped kill them through your inaction. Maybe they would’ve died anyway. Certainly you would’ve complicated your own life by inserting yourself into the process. But you’ll never know, because you chose to stick your head in the sand and pretend you couldn’t hear the screams.

    By refusing to vote, you haven’t absolved yourself of any responsibility for the consequences of the election–you’ve only voluntarily surrendered your ability to influence the outcome in any way. All elections have one thing in common, if nothing else: at the end of the process, one of the candidates will win. To quote Robert Heinlein, “[t]here may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for… but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against.” Your abstention will not magically make both candidates, undesirable to you though they may be, fail to be elected–it will simply ensure you have no say in which one does.

    This will sometimes mean voting for candidates who hold some positions you do not like. It is your responsibility to weigh the alternatives and choose, in a worst case scenario, the least-bad alternative.

    Choosing not to do this is not principle–it is intellectual cowardice, plain and simple. And I have no compunctions about calling out purity trolls who refuse to vote for what they really are: cowards.

  76. 76
    NR says:

    @Catsy: You forgot to call him worse than Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Dick Cheney combined.

  77. 77
    NR says:

    @Catsy: Actually, your post is some dangerous bullshit that warrants a serious response. So I’ll provide one by way of a hypothetical example.

    The Republican candidate is running on a platform of lowering the age of consent to six years old. The Democratic candidate, afraid of rocking the boat too much, proposes lowering it to seven and a half as a compromise.

    So by your logic, you have to vote for the Democrat in that scenario. After all, he’s not quite as bad as the Republican. If you don’t vote for the Democrat, you’re a coward and a purity troll.

    After all, sometimes you have to vote for candidates who hold some positions you do not like. It is your responsibility to weigh the alternatives and choose, in a worst case scenario, the least-bad alternative.

  78. 78
    Li says:

    I have called the police, but they don’t have the power to arrest the murderer. I’ve borne witness to the crime, but it has made no difference in the outcome. So, what to do?

    If I have to vote for murderers, one way or another, ipso facto the only way to not vote for a murderer is to not vote. I am not closing my eyes to the murder before me, I’m just choosing to not vote that murderer (or his cross party accomplice) into office.

    I’m still undecided as to whether I should vote for local offices and referendums or not. Any ideas?

  79. 79
    Sasha says:

    1. We don’t torture
    2. The stuff we do is rough, but it isn’t really torture, which is illegal anyway
    3. There was torture but it was performed by a few bad apples; we didn’t approve it.
    4. Yeah, we tortured, we approved it, and we’d do it again because it “saved lives”.

    5. Fuck ’em. We’re Americans and, therefore, everything we do is right.
    6. You shouldn’t be using language like that, citizen. It could get you into trouble.
    7. WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
    8. Welcome to the Ministry of Love.
    9. “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

  80. 80
    frankdawg says:

    @Daddy-O:
    Sorry, but yes WE are responsible. Even those of us that campaigned for Gore and Kerry, those of us that wrote angry letters, even those of us that marched in protest share some of the guilt.

    This sin is upon each and every American just as the sins of Treblinka and Buchenwald are on the Germans. The stain could be lightened if we were to bring those responsible to answer for their crimes but it can not be forgiven because forgivness will just make the next, more heinous, crime that much easier for everyone to swallow.

  81. 81
    Persia says:

    @The Moar You Know: Agreed. This was us, and it’s ugly as hell.

  82. 82
    Catsy says:

    @NR:

    Actually, your post is some dangerous bullshit that warrants a serious response.

    If only you’d given one.

    So by your logic, you have to vote for the Democrat in that scenario. After all, he’s not quite as bad as the Republican. If you don’t vote for the Democrat, you’re a coward and a purity troll.

    I’m not in the habit of addressing manufactured hypotheticals, but: in point of fact, yes.

    In your example, as with most real elections, you have a choice between two alternatives. One or the other of them is going to be elected, regardless of whether or not you take your ball and go home. Your choice is between A or B–you do not get a “none of the above” option.

    Is the Democratic pol a spineless piece of shit for responding to Republican insanity by pandering to the teabaggers with a less extreme flavor of insanity? Yes. But that doesn’t alter what your choices are, and it doesn’t automagically erase the other differences between the candidates or render those differences irrelevant. If my choices are between “torture and more wars” and “torture and health care”, I’ll take the torture and health care candidate–not because I like torture, but because “health care” is preferable to “more wars”. If I refuse to make that choice, I’m not making torture less likely–I’m just removing one vote that could be cast /against/ the more odious alternative, thereby making it more likely that the more odious alternative will be the one that prevails.

    Life is full of hard choices, and it takes courage to make them. If a pedestrian steps out in front of my car, leaving me no time to stop, I have two choices: run them down, or swerve to avoid them. If I swerve, I may sideswipe another car. If I don’t, I will almost certainly kill the pedestrian. Both options suck–but one sucks a lot more. You don’t get any bonus points or moral high ground for refusing to make a decision because you don’t like your options.

    So yes: if you are so blinded by moral purity that you’re incapable of identifying the difference between a bad candidate and a terrible candidate, and persist in the delusion that refusing to vote does anything except abdicate your ability to influence the process, you’re not only an idiot, but a coward.

  83. 83
    Warren Terra says:

    I heard an interview with one of the authors of this report, and I was actually a bit taken aback by his interpretation, and left disagreeing with him – even though I’m on his side.
    I say I’m on their side, because I believe that torture is both illegal and immoral; I think it must be stopped and its perpetrators should be penalized.

    Still, within the context of people who believed (or claimed to believe) that they were using legal and justified torture-like investigatory techniques, would there be anything wrong with systematically varying the methods used, taking careful notes, and examining the results to determine what (allegedly legal, justified) torture protocols were most effective? Indeed, if you’ve decided you’re going to torture to extract information (under certain conditions and within certain limits), wouldn’t if be immoral for them not to do so as effectively and efficiently as they can? Surely you wouldn’t want them to torture ineffectively and pointlessly?

    Arguments about the justice of using torture often get sidetracked into discussing whether torture works. I believe it doesn’t, but people like Marc Thiessen claim it does, and further claim they alone have access to the classified intelligence that proves it does. Even if Thiessen et al are right, torture remains amoral and unjust, especially on people who haven’t even been indited, let alone convicted. In a sort of mirror image of this, people who believed they were using legal and justified techniques that were in fact monstrous tortures should be criticized for inflicting those monstrous tortures, not for their conscientiousness and seriousness of purpose in doing so.

  84. 84
    Derek says:

    As a friend of mine said, “Sorry to Godwin, but if they were doing medical torture research on detainees, then they are literally Nazis.”

  85. 85

    In United States of America, country Godwins YOU!

    :P

    The pitiful thing is, the rest of the world is like “This SURPRISES you? You guys have been like that for decades. You’ve got a lot of nerve being shocked now. Thanks for taking an interest…”

  86. 86
    jomo says:

    I’d like to further the argument that Catsy was making. By remaining relentlessly pure of spirit in not making a choice, between a bad and a worse candidate you are in fact increasing the likelihood that the worse candidate will get in.

  87. 87
    NR says:

    @Catsy: And by voting for the Democrat who supports pedophilia, you give the Democrats no incentive to put up a candidate who doesn’t support pedophilia.

    Just as by voting for Democrats who support torture, you give the Democrats no incentive to put up candidates who don’t support torture.

    You are completely blind to the consequences of your irresponsibility.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Actually, I would make the opposite argument: one of the things that made the Holocaust so uniquely horrible was that the Nazis claimed that it was based in science and reason and that the “science” of eugenics proved that they had to kill all of the unworthy.

    So claiming that you’re doing horrible things in the name of scientific advancement is, in my mind, worse than just beating the crap out of people because you can. The victims who died during Mengele’s experiments would probably have much rather died quickly by being gassed or shot, thankyouverymuch, even though they ostensibly died in the name of scientific advancement.

    And now I have this scene from The Princess Bride running through my head. Goldman and Reiner knew it made the villain look even worse to claim he was torturing people to death “for science.”

  89. 89
    Resident Firebagger says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    From the first time waterboarding entered my consciousness I thought of that scene from The Princess Bride. Really, what leaps out at me is Ruggan’s cowardice.

    And now we have a country with so many, many actual Ruggans. Fucking cowards, all of them…

  90. 90
    Batocchio says:

    This has been known for years, actually, but the new report is probably the most thorough piece on it. Also, Godwin is about frivolous Nazi comparisons. This one is apt, and it’s chilling. Hey, if this report finally gives some more attention to an extremely important issue, great.

  91. 91

    They cut down everything:

    Robert Bolt – A Man For All Seasons: A Play In Two Acts

    ….Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country ‘s planted thick with laws, from coast to coast – man’s laws, not God’s – and if you cut them down – and you’re just the man to do it – d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake…

    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – in force September 8, 1992

    Article 4. 1 . In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.
    2. No derogation from articles 6, 7, 8 (paragraphs I and 2), 11, 15, 16 and 18 may be made under this provision. 3. Any State Party to the present Covenant availing itself of the right of derogation shall immediately inform the other States Parties to the present Covenant, through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. A further communication shall be made, through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.

    Article 7. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.

    [emphasis added]

    A Small Clique Of Legal Extremists…

  92. 92
    TenguPhule says:

    Israelis hunted down the Nazi officials and executed them after a fair trial. Most dogged bloodhounds on Earth they are.

    Just saying, for all those who want Israel to start paying us back for their aid….

    George W Bush rotting in an Israeli prison….Mmm.

  93. 93

    @cleek:

    “he knows full well that if he did dismantle this program, and a terror attack happened, and there was some link back to someone who would’ve been subject to the program, it wouldn’t be hard at all for the press to hold Obama responsible for the attack.”

    He’d be held responsible if he did more than Bush and Cheney. In some instances he has done more than Bush and Cheney.

    He should have started a new narrative. The Dems followed Bush’s narrative from 2002 onwards, and so we have the current so-called political climate where doing the right thing is impossible.

    The reason we have the current bad political climate is because no one is creating a good political climate by creating a good narrative.

    Obama is creating tomorrow’s bad political climate by maintaining the past bad political climate.

  94. 94
    DPirate says:

    It’s spin. They are trying to equate a medic monitoring torture to make certain the prisoner doesn’t die with Mengele stories. Not even close.

    That said, anyone who would do that job is an evil motherfucker anyway and deserves whatever he gets.

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