“We tortured some folks”

President Obama used the T-word at a press conference earlier today that addressed the Senate intelligence report on Bush-era handling of terrorism suspects:

Even before I came into office, I was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values. I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And, you know, it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong. And that’s what that report reflects.

When asked if CIA Director John Brennan should resign after admitting that CIA operatives hacked Senate Intelligence Committee computers, “[t]he President said he had ‘full confidence in John Brennan.'”

That makes one of us.

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473 replies
  1. 1
    Trollhattan says:

    Confess I didn’t think it would take the better part of six years to get to this point. It’s nice to see DiFi wearing her steel-toe boots again, however briefly.

  2. 2
    joel hanes says:

    after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen

    … and the Beltway Sniper was taking out random civilians, and Congressional offices were receiving weaponized anthrax in their US mail … (further examples that “Bush kept us safe” is one of the great lies of our time)

    and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent

    Ahem. People knew that further attacks, from sources unknown, were ongoing

    How quickly our memories become edited to fit our preferred narratives!

  3. 3
    srv says:

    We must look forward.

    Maybe Johnny Dronehunter can help.

  4. 4
    Laertes says:

    He’s wrong about Brennan. The guy really has to go. You don’t get to just straight-up lie to congress like that.

  5. 5
    Mike in NC says:

    “Mistakes were made”

  6. 6
    Steeplejack says:

    I think the word folks should be taken out of political- and policy-discussion circulation and put on moratorium for a few years. It is used as a synonym for people or individuals but all too often has unfortunate, er, folksy overtones. “We tortured some folks.” Almost sounds like a hayride.

    The low point for me was with Dubya (as usual). In some speech or press conference he referred to Al Qaeda operatives as “folks.” You know, terrorist folks.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    I call on Peg Noonan to have a “Walk On By” protest.

    This president will stop at nothing to tear this great nation down.

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    I think Brennan will be gone soon. Obama had full confidence in Shenseki just before he resigned. I believe the same kabuki is happening here.

  9. 9
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Village seems to be obsessed with the President using the word “folks”. The actual torture pales in comparison to that crime against humanity.

  10. 10
    patrick II says:

    And, you know, it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect

    Fuck him. I did not want people tortured at the time, not just now in reetrospect. It is not “sanctimonious” to nott want our country to act like cowardly barbarians. We survived WW II, a true existential threat, without a government policy of torturing people, We helped author and agreed to the Geneva conventions so that in times of future wars torture would be illegal, not just immoral.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Steeplejack:

    FWIW, I generally like “folks.” (W. usage aside).

  12. 12
    scav says:

    I’m really beginning to hate that word “folks”. And Patriotism excuses nothing. Nothing.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    Profiles in American Courage.

    You know how terrorists win? By getting the other side to shit its pants and “violate its values.”

    I wish Obama had said something more along the lines of “”Even though people were afraid, it is not acceptable to violate the most cherished beliefs we hold as a nation. These beliefs are not a matter of convenience.”

    History is going to judge the election of 2000 much more harshly than we think.

  14. 14
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Steeplejack: Yeah, I don’t like how that sounds. “Tortured some folks”. yeeeeechhh

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    Jesus, there are a lot of folksists here.

  16. 16
    Cervantes says:

    We used the T word.

    Baby steps are better than no steps.

    Maybe.

    (Not referring to the President alone.)

  17. 17
    SatanicPanic says:

    Also, it almost sounds like he’s justifying it. mmmmm, no. Don’t like.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    The tone is a little odd. I’d be curious to see, when the report comes out, whether it identifies some low-level people for the torture, and if the purpose here is to try to shield them for blame that should be directed at higher level officials.

  19. 19
    Kyle says:

    Twin Towers or not, I want people who are in positions of power to not be swayed by such things and to keep the country from “torturing folks” and other vile shit. That’s not too much to ask, and it disappoints me greatly that the president is apologizing for them. And fuck yes, Brennan needs to go.

  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    @joel hanes:

    further examples that “Bush kept us safe” is one of the great lies of our time

    Bush wasn’t one of Those People. Having One Of Them in charge makes certain people afraid all the time, even if nothing bad is actually happening.

  21. 21
    srv says:

    real patriots

    There must be a homophone in there

  22. 22
    Cacti says:

    @patrick II:

    We survived WW II, a true existential threat, without a government policy of torturing people

    Yes, in those more civilized times, we just had policies of race-based internment, and dropping incendiary bombs on heavily populated areas.

    Much better.

  23. 23
    Steeplejack says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    It’s not just Obama. The usage has become rampant among the political class and the punditocracy.

  24. 24
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Steeplejack: Elect me, I’ll say “dudes”

  25. 25
    Keith G says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I wish Obama had said something more along the lines of “”Even though people were afraid, it is not acceptable to violate the most cherished beliefs we hold as a nation. These beliefs are not a matter of convenience.”

    If he were the type of person to say that, he also would be the type of person to fire Brandon for being a shit heel or for being a less than competent director (or both).

  26. 26
    LT says:

    “I understand why it happened.”

    That’s some brave leadership, right there.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Understanding why does not equal approving.

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    @Keith G: I’m afraid he sees Brennan as having taken on a shit job at a corrupt agency and so is unwilling to take his head because he’s not the real problem.

    But if that is in any way true, I don’t have much sympathy. DO SOMETHING about it.

    It’s one thing to look forward, but it’s another to go forward without changing the things that were done horrifically in the past. It’s like if the Germans said, “well, what the Nazis did was deplorable, so let’s move forward and not kill any more rat-faced, bank-owning, Christian-killing Jews.” That might be progress of a sort, but it’s not progress we can live with.

  29. 29
    LT says:

    Obama just said “I understand why it happened about *war crimes*. What in the unholy fuck?

  30. 30
    AxelFoley says:

    @Cacti:

    Yes, in those more civilized times, we just had policies of race-based internment, and dropping incendiary bombs on heavily populated areas.

    Much better.

    This.

    Some folks (oops, did I use that word?) acting like stuff like this only started in the U.S. in recent times. America’s got an entire history of ugliness.

  31. 31
    AxelFoley says:

    @LT:

    I don’t think he was excusing it, dumbass.

  32. 32
    BGinCHI says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I don’t understand why.

    If a judge says, “I know your wife was cheating on you and you lost your job and your dog died, so I understand why you killed her,” doesn’t it really matter what he/she does next? The approval/disapproval comes from the actions taken going forward.

    I don’t expect miracles, but I think a massive re-set at CIA is sorely needed.

  33. 33
    Steeplejack says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Actually, that would make a nice change. And—pedantic footnote alert!—the correct feminine form is, or used to be, dudine.

  34. 34
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Oh fuck you. It’s like saying “I understand why it happened” to Japanese medical experiments. You DO NOT say that about war crimes. Just fucking cowardly and deeply ugly.

    Try to forge the tiniest spark of humanity inside yourself – and think of the victims of torture. Maybe even think about the *innocent* people we tortured. And then lay “I understand why it happened” next to it.

    Jesus, you suck.

  35. 35
    askew says:

    I wish Obama wouldn’t have taken this question because now instead of focusing on the inept House GOP and the disgusting anti-refugee and anti-immigrant bills they are passing today all anyone will talk about is this news.

    The refugee crisis and the need for an immigration bill gets so little coverage it would have been nice for the media to spend 1 day on it before shifting to anything else they can find to focus on. The worst culprits for ignoring the refugee crisis is MSNBC and the left blogs. Bitching about how Obama won’t prosecute Bush for torture they have endless time for. Suffering kids meh.

  36. 36
    Trollhattan says:

    @SatanicPanic:
    If you promise to governrule using an Eric Cartman voice, you have my vote.

    “Yeah, dude, we did roshambo on some dudes, SO WHAT?!? Screw you guys, I’m goin’ home–TO THE WHITE HOUSE, HA-HA-HA!”

  37. 37
    Betty Cracker says:

    @BGinCHI: I can’t find a transcript yet, but here’s an additional quote that’s a teensy bit less equivocating:

    “When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I and I think any fair minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line,” he added later. “And that needs to understood and accepted. We have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so hopefully we don’t do it in the future. “

    It would be swell if taking responsibility involved holding some of the actual perpetrators accountable. But it doesn’t appear that’s in the cards.

  38. 38
    Hill Dweller says:

    Obama has repeatedly and unequivocally said, before and since becoming President, we tortured people after 9/11. He has forcefully pushed to have the torture report released with as little redaction as possible.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why we constantly get bogged down parsing and undermining our side.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Right back atcha.

    @BGinCHI:

    If a judge says, “I know your wife was cheating on you and you lost your job and your dog died, so I understand why you killed her,” doesn’t it really matter what he/she does next? The approval/disapproval comes from the actions taken going forward.

    I agree with that. And we have not as a nation taken sufficient steps to rectify what was done.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thanks Betty, but what does “accepted” mean? I hope he means “those who cheered this shit on have to accept that it’s wrong and that we motherfucking did it…” but it also sounds a bit like “water under the bridge.”

    I don’t just want Obama to talk tough. That’s worth much less than making real change in the way something works.

    Further, if CIA and others are doing all of this wildcat stuff while also blowing intelligence assignments left and right, what is their excuse for not accepting that things have to change in their culture?

  41. 41
    Baud says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    The cats, they do not herd.

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    @Hill Dweller: Because so far only those words have been the result. Can’t we expect more than that?

    It isn’t like we are condemning Obama tout court; we are demanding that he go further. Why can’t we pull things to the left?

  43. 43
    LT says:

    @Hill Dweller: Shorter you: Obama said torture was bad? Who cares if he, you know, did anything about it?! It’s not like torture is a crime or anything! He SAID IT’S BAD! For the life of me I can’t think why that’s not enough!

  44. 44
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Hill Dweller: Al Franken explained it pretty well here.

  45. 45
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Herm. Here’s the thing. While you can *speak* kindly of those who performed these actions, it should only be after the sentencing.

    You need to send the message: we do not torture. Not even if it’s a scary time.

    You sentence the guy who actually *found* the ticking time bomb to 20, 30, 40 years… and now you can call him a hero, he’s the guy who was willing to lay down his freedom to protect others, but he should have found a better way than torture.

  46. 46
    BGinCHI says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): That’s all I’m saying.

  47. 47
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Trollhattan: “We had a grip of bombs loaded up in the drone to drop on those terrorists, but there were some civilian dudes in the way so I said, chill bro, we’ll get them next time.”

  48. 48
    Baud says:

    @AxelFoley:

    America’s got an entire history of ugliness.

    Yep. The Bush torture regime by itself would not rate that high in the U.S. historical atrocity scale. I think what makes it so atrocious is that, from what I can tell, the corruption of preexisting norms and institutions came almost exclusively from the top down. Add to that the fact that the torture program was so worthless as to seem (if not be) sadistic in purpose.

  49. 49
    askew says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why we constantly get bogged down parsing and undermining our side.

    Because the left would rather spend time on parsing and undermining our side on an issue that has very little impact today than focusing on policy that matters now. It gets old.

    That’s why I wish Obama had left before that question had been asked because now we get another week of professional left and left blogs bitching about Obama not prosecuting Bush, an issue that has been beaten into the ground, instead of immigration or child refugee crisis which deserves left focus for at least 1 lousy week.

  50. 50

    And conservatives are predictably freaking out.

    If it makes you uncomfortable to hear the government say that we tortured people then maybe you shouldn’t have supported a government you knew was fucking torturing people. Jesus christ.

  51. 51
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @LT:

    : CRAWFORD: You sympathize with this guy?
    GRAHAM: As a child, my heart bleeds for him. Someone took a little boy and turned him into a monster. But as an adult… as an adult, he’s irredeemable. He butchers whole families to fulfill some sick fantasy. As an adult, I think someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks.[Turns around in his chair to face Crawford.] Are you uncomfortable with this kind of understanding?

    Understanding =/= approval.

  52. 52
    LT says:

    @Betty Cracker: “It would be swell if taking responsibility involved holding some of the actual perpetrators accountable.”

    And this is treated as preposterous. Honestly – we have ppl here saying Obama **saying we committed torture** should be enough. Fuck a dead duck.

  53. 53
    Baud says:

    @LT:

    we have ppl here saying Obama **saying we committed torture** should be enough

    Name one or leave.

  54. 54
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Baud: We don’t often take steps backward, so this is pretty noteworthy

  55. 55
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Baud: I’ve always considered “full confidence” to be code for “pack your bags and fall on your own sword, damn it.” Alberto Gonzalez is the only one I can remember who didn’t take the fuckin’ hint,

  56. 56
    LT says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer: Jesus Christ. Does this actually need to be spelled out for you? Why saying, today, on the eve of a report – a very, very ugly report – on torture we committed – “I understand why it happened” might be the tiniest bit wrong, inappropriate, defensive, and reasonably seen as an excuse?

    If, “Well, the Towers! They just went down!” is an excuse – then what isn’t, to other people, and other coutries? Assad’s torturing people. “I understand why it happened. People attacked his country, did ugly things.”

    “I understand whay it happened” is *the definition of cowardice* to this.

  57. 57
    Joe Buck says:

    If the president says that “we tortured some folks”, he’s then bound by treaty to prosecute those “folks”. The Convention Against Torture is a ratified treaty, and the constitution says that treaties are “the supreme law of the land”.

    Instead he’s defending someone who’s up to his neck in torture.

  58. 58
    Cacti says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Some folks (oops, did I use that word?) acting like stuff like this only started in the U.S. in recent times. America’s got an entire history of ugliness.

    And I didn’t even mention that we used nuclear weapons to bring about the end of WWII, an event that places us alone in the history of warfare.

    Suggesting that our WWII behavior was comparatively genteel is mind-numbingly obtuse. We did horrible things to win that conflict. They were just relatively less horrible than the complete depravity of the Axis powers.

  59. 59

    @Baud: Even though torture is (not trolling here) almost always the wrong thing to do (and always a bad thing to do), the Bush crimes are so unforgivable in my philosophy because they were pointless, misdirected sadism. If there had actually been a ticking time bomb then … then I don’t know, but people are fucking people and this is not a call you make lightly. And they made the call lightly, and they enjoyed it.

    Best case scenario I can see torturing somebody as a necessary evil with a once-in-a-lifetime acceptance rate, and even then that’s theoretical because all the evidence shows it doesn’t even fucking work.

    To hell with all of them.

  60. 60
    Bobby Thomson says:

    On the brighter side, maybe this will get the “drink bleach if Obama’s agin it” crowd to think differently about torture.

  61. 61
    LT says:

    @Baud: Of go fuck yourself. who the fuck has that big of a hall monitor complex?

  62. 62
    Betty Cracker says:

    @askew:

    Because the left would rather spend time on parsing and undermining our side on an issue that has very little impact today than focusing on policy that matters now. It gets old.

    Bollocks. Maybe Senator Franken can explain it to you too.

    This is an issue that has impact today; the CIA was hacking into the computers of their Senate watchdogs to cover this shit up during the Obama administration. Under Brennan’s nose. Anyone who understands how the separation of powers is supposed to work should find that deeply disturbing.

  63. 63
    Scamp Dog says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo: I’d be willing to let the guy who found a ticking bomb off entirely. But since we never were in a ticking time bomb scenario, that doesn’t apply to any of these “interrogations”.

  64. 64
    Baud says:

    @LT:

    You seemed to be telling lies about us. I thought I’d give you a chance to back it up. I see you can’t.

  65. 65
    LT says:

    @Baud:

    Obama has repeatedly and unequivocally said, before and since becoming President, we tortured people after 9/11. He has forcefully pushed to have the torture report released with as little redaction as possible.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why we constantly get bogged down parsing and undermining our side.

    By @Hill Dweller

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Betty Cracker: I expect that a number of heads will roll following the release of the report.

  67. 67
    askew says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I understand the issue just fine. I am just much, much more concerned about the kids sleeping in kennels at the border who aren’t getting our support. I’m funny that way.

  68. 68
    Baud says:

    @LT:

    That comment doesn’t justify this quote of yours:

    we have ppl here saying Obama **saying we committed torture** should be enough

    Now, maybe that’s Hill Dweller’s view, but it doesn’t support your statement.

  69. 69
    LT says:

    @Baud: “About us”? Is your bizarre complex also stained with the idea that you *are Balloon Juice**?

    Weirdness.

  70. 70
    BGinCHI says:

    @Betty Cracker: Did you read Froomkin today?

    He nails Brennan, esp for the lying.

  71. 71
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Too late. Doesn’t count.

  72. 72
    Baud says:

    @LT:

    Balloon Juice is people, my friend.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Baud: Might also be too little.

  74. 74
    LT says:

    @askew:

    I understand the issue just fine. I am just much, much more concerned about [pick anything] . I’m funny that way.

    You’re *funny* in a very different way.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Baud: Okay. If Balloon Juice is people and Solyent Green is people, does that mean that Balloon Juice is Soylent Green?

  77. 77
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty): I always figured they were torturing North Korea style- get captives to sign confessions

  78. 78
    Hill Dweller says:

    @LT: You were parsing his statement, and pretending he was apologizing for torture. When it was pointed out he has made numerous strong statements about torture being wrong, you moved the goalposts. Furthermore, where did I say his statements were enough? I’d love for several Bush admin and CIA people get tried and convicted, but, sadly, it’s never going to happen, regardless of the administration in power.

  79. 79
    patrick II says:

    @Cacti:

    Fair enough Cacti. Although in WW II we were fighting a German army that had taken over much of Europe and an Japanese military that threatened to do the same for much of Asia. In contrast in 2001 we faced 20 guys with box cutters and a few thousand land bound zealots 10,000 miles away, which caused us to invade two countries and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths — and in one of those countries we did it just because we could.
    And not only is torture bad on the face of it, at least some of the torture was to force prisoners to admit Saddam was in league with Al Qaeda, which was not true. So we tortured them for no real intelligence purpose but to force them to lie so we could illegally invade another country. Immorality stacked upon immorality. Bush/Cheney/Rummy etc should really burn in hell for what they did.

  80. 80
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Are we tasty enough to be Soylent Green? I’ve never been to a meet-up, but now I’m curious.

  81. 81
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Baud: I didn’t bite anyone at the one meet-up I attended.

  82. 82
    Belafon says:

    @Betty Cracker: as much as the VIA was wrong in what they did, technically they did hack the computers since they own them.

  83. 83
    askew says:

    @LT:

    Nope. The refugee crisis has been my primary issue for months now. I’ve been bitching about the lack of coverage on blogs and media on these kids, the conditions they fled and are living in now and how shameful it is that the left isn’t doing more to work for a solution.

    The problem with the left media and too many on the left is that they are more concerned with an abstract issue that may lead to a problem down the road than dealing with something that impacts real people especially if they aren’t white.

  84. 84
    Belafon says:

    @Belafon: CIA. Need mobile edit.

  85. 85
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Biting?! I was just talking about tasting. You guys are hard core.

  86. 86
    LT says:

    @Hill Dweller: Saying “I understand why it happened” is excusing it. That it is not 100% excusing it and justifying it matters not the tiniest bit against such ugliness.

    It’s the “Yeah, beating the shit out of her was wrong, but she provoked it!” argument on a much uglier scale.

  87. 87

    @SatanicPanic: And now those people are stuck in extralegal hell because we’re storing them in a foreign country and we can’t take them to trial even though we know their confessions were false because we fucking tortured them and we can’t mention that.

    I’m not yelling at you I’m just mad.

    I don’t see any reason to get a knowingly false confession from a knowingly innocent person, by torturing them, unless these people were all idiots (possible!), or they actually wanted to torture people.

    Or both.

  88. 88
    BGinCHI says:

    Bush lied, people died.

    Obama has not gone quite far enough on prosecuting the torturers, but he has been great on a lot of other things.

  89. 89
    elftx says:

    I picture John Yoo writing a poison pen fan letter after these comments by POTUS.

  90. 90
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @askew: The problem with too many on the left is that they are more concerned with using their holier than thou schtick to attention whore than actually get shit done.

  91. 91

    @LT: Is it OK to say for instance “I understand how the economic uncertainty in Germany following the Treaty of Versailles contributed to the rise of Nazism”? That’s not excusing Nazism, or the German people. I think of it as more of a “there but for the grace of god go I” kind of sentiment.

    (edited to uncapitalize ‘god’)

  92. 92
    RandomMonster says:

    @Cacti:

    Suggesting that our WWII behavior was comparatively genteel is mind-numbingly obtuse. We did horrible things to win that conflict. They were just relatively less horrible than the complete depravity of the Axis powers.

    Pointing out that we didn’t have government policy of torture in WWII is not the same as saying that our behavior in that conflict was ‘comparatively genteel’. It’s possible to both applaud the fact that we didn’t sink to the level of the Nazis or Japanese in our use of torture and still deplore our use of fire bombing and nuclear weapons.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT:

    Saying “I understand why it happened” is excusing it.

    No. It is not. It is perfectly easy to understand something without approving of it or excusing it. As a matter of fact, understanding why something bad happened is key to ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.

  94. 94
    Hurling Dervish says:

    @srv: Now Obama is now legally obligated to look back and investigate. The Torture Convention, to which the US is a signatory, obligates the US to investigate when there is reason to believe torture has been committed.

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @askew: FFS. A rogue agency undermining legislative branch oversight during the current administration and obstructing an investigation into the torture and murder of mostly brown people is now “an abstract issue” that only affects white people? Jesus God.

  96. 96
    LT says:

    @askew: “Nope. The refugee crisis has been my primary issue for months now.”

    What arrogance.

    And if this entire site devoted itself to this issue, anyone could come her and use your argument to say “You fucking emolibs, you just ignore X = MY PRIMARY ISSUE!”

  97. 97
    askew says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    That’s some of it. I think for many though it is just easier to discuss these abstract issues and parse Obama’s statement on torture or bitch about him not prosecuting people for torture than to advocate or discuss policy that would impact millions. As wrong as it was for the CIA to spy on the Senate, how many lives were hurt by this compared to how many are hurting right now due to inaction on the refugee or immigration problems?

    That and a stunning lack of diversity on the left blogosphere and left media organizations means that issues that mostly impact minorities don’t get the coverage that any issue affecting white men does.

  98. 98
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Going back to the original comment, I think it’s the focus in the comments on parsing Obama’s comments rather than the story about the underlying problem that has he or she upset. If so, I can’t say I’m unsympathetic. If not, then I agree with you.

    ETA: Seeing the more recent comment, now I’m not so sure.

  99. 99
    LT says:

    @Betty Cracker: Jesus god is right. We committed torture in the last decade = abstract issue. Fuckign emoprogs.

    I’m gonna need rehab from this fuckign group.

  100. 100
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    It is perfectly easy to understand something without approving of it or excusing it. As a matter of fact, understanding why something bad happened is key to ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.

    True.

  101. 101
    Dog On Porch says:

    Smart people who overlooked Obama’s double-cross on 2008’s FISA legislation now know how I felt at the time.

  102. 102
    askew says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Who dies or suffers right now if that issue is put on the back burner for a few more days? How many kids will suffer or die because Congress couldn’t pass a border bill? Yes, the CIA’s wrongdoing is an important issue but is it worth the coverage it is getting on the left compared to an actual crisis where action could help save lives right? Absolutely not.

    I knew the second he mentioned the CIA that was all the left would focus on.

  103. 103
    Hill Dweller says:

    @LT: Again, this isn’t the only statement Obama has made on torture. But even if it were, Obama bookends the cited paragraph by saying torture is wrong. He in no way justifies it.

  104. 104
    Baud says:

    @askew:

    I knew the second he mentioned the CIA that was all the left would focus on.

    FWIW, this is the only place it’s come up so far in the (limited) RSS feeds I follow. I’ve seen many more stories about the Republicans actions. That might change, but so far, I would not put this in the category of an NSA/Snowden-type situation yet.

  105. 105
    LT says:

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty): As long as you think Obama would say the same about Vietnamese torture of American civilians. I really doubt you believe that.

    You do know we are talking about civilians being tortured, right? At least in some, and maybe much more than some, instances, right? Some of them (more than some?) innocent.

  106. 106
    Trollhattan says:

    @askew:
    Not plowing through the above to see whether this has been mentioned. re. Immigration and Congress’ failure to pass a bill of any kind:

    “Without additional resources and help from Congress, we’re just not going to have the resources we need to fully solve the problem. That means while they’re out on vacation, I am going to have to make some tough choices to meet the challenge, with or without Congress …

    “Keep in mind that just a few days earlier, they voted to sue me for acting on my own, and then when they couldn’t pass a bill yesterday, they put out a statement suggesting I should act on my own.”

  107. 107
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    Is there anyone who is prepared to see what happens next before jumping to conclusions?

  108. 108
    srv says:

    I’m unable to log into my Reaganbook account to see what Real Americans think about this. It says it’s in “Offline Mode.”

    Is this a FYWP thing, or is Obama involved?

  109. 109
    askew says:

    @Baud:

    I am seeing it all over my twitter feed and on MSNBC earlier.

    I just find it surprising that the border crisis gets so little attention on the left. The right media has been demonizing these kids for months now while the left just mostly shrugs their shoulders and moves on to some other issue. Same with elected Dem officials for the most part including Obama. The lack of urgency from the left and Dems is baffling for me especially when it is a humanitarian crisis and polls show that 69% of the country wants the kids to be able to stay here.

  110. 110
    scav says:

    LT is rather going down the line of reasoning pursued by those that originally objected to ‘understanding’ terrorism and its causes before (instead of) just diving in and indiscriminately bombing the hell out of everything without understanding or context. I’m grumpy it’s not more, but come on. The klan is calling for shooting on sight today and a blogger is Israel was exploring justifications for genocide. At least there wad another baby-step in that the paper pulled the post and fired him after thinking about it a bit. whee. 14th years are a bitch.

  111. 111
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Also please be very graphic about this:

    We tortured a man to death. Please have President Obama standing right next to his body. Right next to his broken face, his dislocated sockets, his smashed out teeth.

    Please have Obama stand right next to his corpse, right next to his wfie, his kids, and say, “I understand why this happened.”

  112. 112
    Dog On Porch says:

    @askew: That “all”? The torture of human beings is relegated to being a fixation of “the left”?

    I knew American fascists would react in Cheney-like fashion once the president gravely disappointed with his remarks.

  113. 113
    Betty Cracker says:

    @srv: They had to take it down after it got swamped by trolls. It was the feel-good story of the week!

  114. 114
    SatanicPanic says:

    @askew: It was the lead story on Chris Hayes yesterday. I think we’re paying attention

  115. 115
    askew says:

    @Trollhattan:

    “Without additional resources and help from Congress, we’re just not going to have the resources we need to fully solve the problem. That means while they’re out on vacation, I am going to have to make some tough choices to meet the challenge, with or without Congress …

    “Keep in mind that just a few days earlier, they voted to sue me for acting on my own, and then when they couldn’t pass a bill yesterday, they put out a statement suggesting I should act on my own.”

    Thanks for highlighting. I am a bit nervous as to what Obama’s going to do. He’s been way too far to the right on this issue for my liking.

    I’d love to see him apply DACA to all 11mm undocumented Americans and move funds around to from deporting undocumented, law-abiding Americans to spending money to get these kids out of the kennels and into safe home environments and reuniting these kids with American family members if possible.

  116. 116
    scav says:

    @srv: TPM reported they’d had to pull the plug almost at once as there were no controls and the libertarian approach to posting wasn’t quite the father knows best wonderland they were expecting. to paraphrase.

  117. 117
    Amir Khalid says:

    @srv:
    Liberal trolls have chased Reaganbook off the intertubes. This was reported yesterday on TPM.

  118. 118
    LT says:

    You say, “I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THIS HAPPENED. WE DON’T DO THIS.”

    Yo do not give it a cushion of understanding. Just fucking horrible.

  119. 119
    Baud says:

    @askew:

    The lack of urgency from the left and Dems is baffling for me especially when it is a humanitarian crisis and polls show that 69% of the country wants the kids to be able to stay here.

    I hadn’t seen that poll, and I hope it’s true, but I’m not a big believer in polls since they too often don’t translate into votes, much less other forms of action

    The Dems seemed to be spending a good bit of the last couple of weeks on trying to get a legislative solution. Now that that’s dead, we’ll have to see what’s next.

  120. 120
    LT says:

    Guardian:

    “…severely beaten, sodomised, shackled and hooded, and subjected to total sensory deprivation”

    “I understand why this happened.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/law.....or-suspect

  121. 121
    danielx says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Yep, pretty much. If there’s one thing of which I am tolerably certain in this uncertain world, it’s that when the President says he “has full confidence in so-and so”, what that person should be hearing is “better update your resume and start packing up all that shit on your I-love-me wall”.

  122. 122
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: My guess is that you do understand why it happened. My guess is that you, like me, fundamentally disagree with the logic and thinking that got people there, but you understand exactly why it happened.

  123. 123
    askew says:

    @Baud:

    I hadn’t seen that poll, and I hope it’s true, but I’m not a big believer in polls since they too often don’t translate into votes, much less other forms of action

    The Dems seemed to be spending a good bit of the last couple of weeks on trying to get a legislative solution. Now that that’s dead, we’ll have to see what’s next.

    The problem always ends up that the minority in these polls votes on this issue as their #1 issue whereas those who support immigration reform don’t consider this their #1 voting issue.

    However, if Latinos and other minorities turn out in large numbers this year, the Republicans are fucked because they are quickly alienating that entire demographic.

  124. 124
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): My favorite part of Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial: when the prosecution got up and said, “Now, we understand why this happened…”

  125. 125
    El Caganer says:

    @askew: That’s not really fair to Democrats – why, Harry Reid made a serious, impassioned pitch for emergency military aid to Israel, and the do-nothing Republicans shot it down.

    What? That’s not the crisis you had in mind? You think those munitions buy themselves?

  126. 126
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): And it’s nice to hear that you understand why soeone ties someone up and violently anally rapes them.

    That’s what you meant, right? You understand why that anal rape happened?

  127. 127
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Yeah, they did understand. Dahmer was sick, vicious, and deranged. Understanding can involve coming to a conclusion like that.

  128. 128
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): You also ignore that Obama **as US president** saying “I understand why this happened” about US torture is something very different than you saying it.

  129. 129
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    I guess not.

  130. 130
    askew says:

    @El Caganer:

    Definitely not the crisis I was talking about but unfortunately the Dems and GOP are more likely to fund Israel’s army than do something to help kids at the border. Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan have already proved that by voting against border funding.

    To give Harry Reid credit on something though, he is excellent on immigration issues and has said all the right things on the border crisis. Between him and Obama, I definitely trust him more on this issue.

  131. 131
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): They understood why Dahmer raped and murdered young boys?

    I don’t even want to follow you down your deepening hole of rationalizing anymore.

  132. 132
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: His understanding of why it happened is probably more important than yours or mine. He is the one in a position to makes sure it doesn’t happen again. He is the one who can say no if it is suggested. He is the one who can set expectations for his subordinates that do not include the words “anything goes.”

  133. 133
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Laertes: Obama doesn’t have the authority to fire anyone in the CIA. Remember when Carter’s man at the CIA tried to get rid of the cowboys? No, of course, you don’t.

  134. 134
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT: There’s just nothing like coming up with your own narrow definition of a word and then calling everyone who disagrees with you a fascist.

  135. 135
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: That’s because you are not even interested in reading for context. You have your issue to shout about and shout you will.

  136. 136

    @LT:

    As long as you think Obama would say the same about Vietnamese torture of American civilians. I really doubt you believe that.

    You do know we are talking about civilians being tortured, right? At least in some, and maybe much more than some, instances, right? Some of them (more than some?) innocent.

    I’m not entirely certain I understand the question. I was just speaking on how (like Omnes) I don’t think understanding the origins of something necessarily means condoning them, just noting that we’re all dumb, easily manipulable apes.

    Didn’t say anything about what the President should be saying.

  137. 137
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): “He is the one in a position to makes sure it doesn’t happen again.”

    Yeah. He is. And he pretty much guaranteed that anyon ein the future can torture at will and not worry about prosecution. Making “I understand why it happened” all the more ugly.

  138. 138
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: If you were Obama, would you have pursued Bush, Cheney, Yoo, etc., from the beginning of your administration even at the price of economic collapse? What would you have done?

    And I’ll note that Obama is saying and has been saying that it was torture and that it was wrong.

  139. 139
    scav says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Well, with any luck LT is completely ignorant of the principles of electrical wiring or pharmaceuticals because understanding same is equivalent to condoning cut-rate executions in Arizona or something. Analytical thought is anathema — not quite a problem with homophones, his reliance on a single definition of a word, but it’s within spitting distance.

  140. 140
    Baud says:

    @LT:

    You must believe Obama has some sort of superpower if you believe he can unilaterally prevent all future bad acts against individuals by the U.S. government.

  141. 141
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Joe Buck:

    If the president says that “we tortured some folks”, he’s then bound by treaty to prosecute those “folks”. The Convention Against Torture is a ratified treaty, and the constitution says that treaties are “the supreme law of the land”.

    Instead he’s defending someone who’s up to his neck in torture.

    Here’s the thing. I suspect that Barack Obama is a lot more familiar with the meaning of this treaty than you or anyone else who posts here. He also strikes me as a pretty thoughtful guy.

    Putting those two things together, I suspect that if you are correct (and I say that because I’m not familiar with the treaty in question and try not to take as the gospel what anonymous people on the internet say with no attribution), Obama used the words he did today in full knowledge of what the implications were. And so I really want to wait and see what happens next. Barack Obama has been known to play the long game.

    I don’t hold out a lot of hope that we’re going to see prosecutions and I’m a bit leery of them because I suspect that we might see American juries acquit the defendants, which would be a worse outcome than not prosecuting at all. But I don’t think stopping the tape after today’s comments and assuming that we know everything about what’s going on is a rock solid idea.

  142. 142
    LT says:

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty): “I was just speaking on how (like Omnes) I don’t think understanding the origins of something necessarily means condoning them”

    But that just bizarrely acts like this is occuring in a vacuum. You are treating this as “Oh, I understand why little Timmy acted out.” That is frankly just bizarre. This is the US president saying this about torture, on the eve of the release of a report that by all accounts will reveal widespread torture – war crimes – ordered by the US president before him. Torture and war crimes that this US president has done nothing to prosecute.

    Honestly just bizarre to witness this being treated in this kind of vacuum state.

  143. 143
    SatanicPanic says:

    @LT: Dude, alright already. I have no idea why the prosecutor said that, but Barack Obama wasn’t a prosecutor and Jeffrey Dahmer was acting outside of the realm of what most of us consider rational behavior.

    Let’s say a dude is drunk driving, hits a car and then drives away. I might understand why he did that, doesn’t mean I condone it

  144. 144
    Baud says:

    I understand why LT is upset.

  145. 145
    LT says:

    @Baud:

    You must believe Obama has some sort of superpower if you believe he can unilaterally prevent all future bad acts against individuals by the U.S. government.

    Hilarious. Your tag-team partner Omnes just said “He is the one in a position to makes sure it doesn’t happen again.”

  146. 146
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: And you are taking one sentence in a paragraph and looking at it in a vacuum.

    #bothsidesdoit

  147. 147
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Baud: maybe LT can take a nap on your cushion of understanding

  148. 148
    Baud says:

    @LT:

    You’re right. “Ever” was too strong on his part. I expect he would agree.

    ETA: I see that Omnes didn’t say “ever.”

  149. 149
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Under his watch. He can’t really control the actions of the administrations that follow his. I would have thought that such a limitation went without saying, but I was, evidently, wrong.

    @Baud: I didn’t say “ever.”

  150. 150
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): although I never did understand why the police returned the Laotian boy to him. And that’s the issue here at the moment. We understand why Dahmer would feel the need to lie when one of his victims escaped, just like we understand why the CIA would feel the need to lie. Do we need to keep returning victims to the CIA? Because it seems like our officials do that more often than not.

  151. 151
    LT says:

    @SatanicPanic: The prosecutor didn’t say that. I’m saying it would be roughly equivalent.

    Let’s say a dude is drunk driving, hits a car and then drives away. I might understand why he did that, doesn’t mean I condone it

    Are you arguing that’s roughly the same as kidnapping someone, tying them up, and torturing them, over hours, days, and weeks? Months, even years, after 9/11?

  152. 152
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I would have thought that such a limitation went without saying, but I was, evidently, wrong.

    It’s actually been one of the prevalent themes I’ve seen about Obama — every bad thing he says or does is umpteen times more horrible than it seems because it sets a binding precedent for bad acts for all time.

  153. 153
    LT says:

    @Baud: WTF is this “ever” business?

  154. 154
    Corner Stone says:

    I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And, you know, it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had.

    Fuck you, you fucking coward.

  155. 155
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Suffern ACE: My family actually knows the family of that boy. The cops fucked that one up unbelievably badly. I suspect that there was an element of homophobia in it. Icky gay people taking their icky issues out of the closet and into the street. Just get them back inside – god’s sake – and pretend it never happened. Inexcusable.

  156. 156
    Baud says:

    @LT:

    I thought I read that in your original quote of Omnes’s comment. I’ve noted my mistake.

  157. 157
    SatanicPanic says:

    @LT: No, not at all. Are you suggesting they tortured because they had some Dahmer style compulsion? Or do you think they did it for personal advantage?

  158. 158
    LT says:

    @Baud: Okay, gotcha.

  159. 159
    Corner Stone says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I’m afraid he sees Brennan as having taken on a shit job at a corrupt agency and so is unwilling to take his head because he’s not the real problem.

    Of course he’s part of the fucking problem. He flat lied to Congress and threatened elected representatives in an attempt to silence their investigations.

  160. 160
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I’m a bit leery of them because I suspect that we might see American juries acquit the defendants, which would be a worse outcome than not prosecuting at all.

    It is a possibility, and it would be a horrible precedent.

  161. 161
    Corner Stone says:

    @AxelFoley:

    I don’t think he was excusing it, dumbass.

    Tell me when the prosecutions start, dumbass.

  162. 162
    Corner Stone says:

    @LT:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Oh fuck you.

    Seconded.

  163. 163
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: Blow me.

    Let me ask you the questions I asked LT above: If you were Obama, would you have pursued Bush, Cheney, Yoo, etc., from the beginning of your administration even at the price of economic collapse? What would you have done?

  164. 164
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    “And that needs to understood and accepted. We have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so hopefully we don’t do it in the future. “

    Evan Bayh to the white phone. Mr. Bayh, you’re needed at the white phone.

  165. 165
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yeah. As I watch the American people, I think the defense of Obama that he didn’t take any action on the torture issue because it would tear his presidency apart is correct. And a part of the reason it’s correct is that launching prosecutions would have torn his presidency apart AND HE WOULD HAVE LOST. I have zero confidence that prosecutions would have led to a good outcome and so I don’t actually think that he gave up anything by trying to turn the page and move on.

    I think it’s horrible but, as with so much that’s fucked up about this country, the underlying problem is the American populace rather than the occupant of the White House.

  166. 166
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I think it’s horrible but, as with so much that’s fucked up about this country, the underlying problem is the American populace rather than the occupant of the White House.

    I agree. We elected that useless POS. Twice. This is on us.

  167. 167
    Corner Stone says:

    @Joe Buck:

    If the president says that “we tortured some folks”, he’s then bound by treaty to prosecute those “folks”. The Convention Against Torture is a ratified treaty, and the constitution says that treaties are “the supreme law of the land”.

    There’s not much legitimate wiggle room at this point. To be sure, there’s wiggle room. But it’s more like jell-o than legitimate.

  168. 168
    different-church-lady says:

    @BGinCHI:

    You know how terrorists win? By getting the other side to shit its pants and “violate its values.”

    Can we put this one to bed? The terrorists win when they fucking succeed in killing people. We’re not going to stop being a democracy because we’re inconvenienced at the airport or we try to stop them from killing people.

    If your definition of “the terrorists win” is “we change at all” then they fucking win just by existing. Yeah, they kill someone but they don’t “win” until we take steps to keep them from doing it again.

    You know what? I bet terrorists don’t give a shit about our values. They just want to kill us. If they kill us, they put it in the W column and decide who’s going to start the next game. There’s no fucking World Series of terrorism. The don’t care if we change or we don’t change. Stop giving them credit for an ethos.

  169. 169
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): “If you were Obama, would you have pursued Bush, Cheney, Yoo, etc., [for ordering widespread war crimes] from the beginning of your administration even at the price of ___________?”

  170. 170
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Of course he’s part of the fucking problem. He flat lied to Congress and threatened elected representatives in an attempt to silence their investigations.

    Absolutely. We need to find out who his boss is and find out why Brennan’s still got a job. That’s the guy who needs to answer for all this.

  171. 171
    LT says:

    @different-church-lady: “The terrorists win when they fucking succeed in killing people.”

    Jesus. Do you actually not know the definition of terrorism?

  172. 172
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Okay. Answer that question. How much of price would you have been willing to pay to do that as president?. Bear in mind, that there is/was a fairly good chance that they would be acquitted by a US jury.

  173. 173
    different-church-lady says:

    @LT:

    You say, “I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THIS HAPPENED. WE DON’T DO THIS.”

    No, you fucking moron: you say “This should not have happened.” Saying that does not preclude acknowledging why it happened.

    What, we need fuckin’ Desmond Tutu to explain this?

  174. 174
    weaselone says:

    Where exactly is this idea that President Obama took no action on torture coming from? The only way to make that true is to define “taking action” solely as the prosecution of torturers and the previous administration. Ending the torture is an action. Taking a stance publicly against torture is taking action. Given the vitriol on this page, one would swear that the Presiding stating that he understands why this torture took place is worse than the actual torture, that failing to slap Cheney in irons and waterboard his worthless hide is itself a crime against humanity.

  175. 175
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Betty Cracker top

    “[t]he President said he had ‘full confidence in John Brennan.’”

    That makes one of us.

    Didn’t he say pretty much the same about Eric Shinseki a few days before Shinseki resigned from the VA? In fact, don’t presidents usually say that about people whose resignation letters they expect to review any minute now?

    (Edited)

  176. 176
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @weaselone: Well, understanding is bad.

  177. 177
    different-church-lady says:

    @LT: You consider “People are dead but we are unchanged in any way” as winning?

  178. 178
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): HE COULD DO IT WITH AN EXECUTIVE ORDER BUT HE WON’T!!!!

  179. 179
    SatanicPanic says:

    @different-church-lady: I think you have it backwards. Killing people is a means to an end.

  180. 180
    LT says:

    @different-church-lady: “we are unchanged in any way”

    Holy fuck.

  181. 181
    different-church-lady says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: C’mon, you know how the game is played: when he says he’s going to do something you don’t like, he means exactly what he’s saying. When he says he’s not going to do something you don’t like, it’s just words.

  182. 182
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    How much of price would you have been willing to pay to do that as president?

    Should presidents or prosecutors confronted with difficulty regarding prosecuting known and obvious crimes live in fear of possible bad consequences? I mean, jesus, this describes an awful lot of important presidential and prosecutorial action over the ages.

    It also ignores – I mean truly bizarrely – the *good* consequences of justice carreid out.

  183. 183
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Can we put this one to bed? The terrorists win when they fucking succeed in killing people.

    That is not how terrorists win. This is one of the stupidest fucking things you’ve said in quite a while. Stop making stupid excuses.

  184. 184
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Yeah, I don’t like how that sounds. “Tortured some folks”. yeeeeechhh

    I don’t much care for “folks” (as a term to describe people). But I was impressed that President Obama used the word “torture,” which is usually euphemized beyond recognition.

  185. 185
    different-church-lady says:

    @SatanicPanic: No, that’s the fucking cover narrative for psychopaths.

    I guaranfuckingtee you nobody in al qaeda looked at the Patriot Act and said, “Hey, we win!”

    They don’t give a shit if we change. They give a shit if we’re afraid, yes, but they don’t give a shit if we change anything as a result.

  186. 186
    different-church-lady says:

    @LT: Where do you draw the line then?

  187. 187
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Are we now at a point of economic collapse?
    Give me odds you fucking asshole. What are the odds that we will now do something about the presidential determination of torture?
    Odds you will make excuses when we don’t?

  188. 188
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT:

    Should presidents or prosecutors confronted with difficulty regarding prosecuting known and obvious crimes live in fear of possible bad consequences?

    Uhm, yes. Maybe not prosecutors, but presidents absolutely need to consider the consequences of what they do and don’t do. That’s just about the most basic part of their job.

  189. 189
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: Read more closely. I wrote that I think this is what Obama thinks.

    It’s not what I think about Brennan.

  190. 190
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Joe Buck: It’s bizarre. Were the House to consider impeachment proceedings against the president for failure to prosecute American torturers, I would accord the charges a very serious hearing.

    But of course the GOP won’t, as it would tacitly acknowledge the very concept of international laws trumping their rackets.

  191. 191
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    When he says he’s not going to do something you don’t like, it’s just words.

    Oh, it’s more than just words. It’s proof positive that he’s going to do exactly what he said he wouldn’t do.

  192. 192
    Schlemizel says:

    A love kss to the trolls – with apologies to AL Dubin and Harry Warren.

    My troll must be a kind of blind troll
    I can’t troll anyone but you

    Are the stars out tonight?
    I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright
    I only have disdain for you, dear

    The moon may be high
    But I can’t see a thing in the sky
    I only have crap for you

    I don’t know if we’re in a garden
    Or on a crowded avenue

    You are here and so am I
    Maybe millions of people go by
    But they all disappear from view
    And I only have troll for you

  193. 193
    Corner Stone says:

    @BGinCHI: I don’t give a fuck what you think about Brennan. You described Obama making excuses for Brennan and I called bullshit.

  194. 194
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone:

    That is not how terrorists win.

    Oh, well, explain it to me then. Please, tell me how this underground game of Risk with no rules actually works. Please tell me how the “game” is actually scored. What qualifies as a win and what doesn’t.

    Because apparently actual human beings are just material on an ideological chessboard to some of you. And isn’t that the very fucking reason to be against what happened at Gitmo in the first damn place?

  195. 195
    BGinCHI says:

    @different-church-lady: That’s completely fucking stupid.

    So they are killing machines with no thoughts or feelings? When we kill people (our government, our army, our intelligence services), it’s just killing and nothing else?

    You obviously either don’t know anything about the history of colonialism or you don’t care.

    I didn’t say, btw, that it would “end democracy.” The hyperbole is yours. Don’t you think it damages it? Or do you think Dick Cheney makes good points about his 1% solution.

  196. 196
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: Answer my fucking questions and I’ll consider answering yours.

  197. 197
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Dog On Porch: Yeah, but if we lived in a world in which it was possible that the House would impeach Obama for not prosecuting torture, I’m willing to bet that an awful lot of things about the last six years would have been very different.

    In the world we actually live in, it’s vastly more likely that the House, with not insignificant Democratic support, would have impeached Obama if he HAD prosecuted torturers. And even though by “vastly more likely” I think it was still less than 50/50 that the House would have done so, that’s one of the costs of prosecutions that Obama had to weigh.

  198. 198
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Bad people kill individual people at some points. You’re trying to say that when real people die, that is when terrorists win. What is the purpose of terrorism? To kill people, or to terrorize people ?

  199. 199
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: No. You misread what I wrote.

    If you want to say that Obama has a bullshit position on Brennan you are agreeing with me, since that’s what I was wondering about in that post. I agree that he is a liar and has done little by the looks of it to change the CIA in any meaningful way.

    But whether Obama thinks that I don’t know.

  200. 200
    different-church-lady says:

    @BGinCHI: It’s not like I’m being anything close to clear here…

    I am objecting to the metaphor of there being a point where we can say “they win” or “we win”. There is no such point. It’s a struggle without end. They will continue to attempt to kill, and we will continue to struggle with being a free society while keeping them from killing. There is no end of the game where one team wins and the other doesn’t.

  201. 201
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: To kill people which leads to terrorizing other people. Some of that is understandable (obviously no one wants to get killed), but some of it is power-grabbing opportunism by people like Dick Cheney and most of the GOP authoritarian criminals.

  202. 202
    Betty Cracker says:

    @different-church-lady: Next you’ll tell us they hate us for our freedoms. FFS, of course terrorists have objectives beyond killing and frightening people, which are means to an end. The Patriot Act wasn’t their end, but the AQ honchos who are still alive are probably mighty pleased we poured a trillion dollars down the war rathole, squandered our moral authority in the world and convinced much of the Muslim world that we’re in a holy war against them.

  203. 203
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I’ve already said looking forward was a mistake. It was political cowardice in the guise of expediency.
    Tell me, you fucking asshole, how much goodwill Obama has won by cheapening us as a people and a country by appeasing the Republican criminals? How many votes did he get from the R’s for ACA? How many R leaders does he now have openly talking about impeaching him?

    Bush is writing autobiography of his daddy and Cheney is out stumping for his daughter.
    And now we get to see the president finally acknowledge what has been clear for some time. We tortured people.
    Now what, chump? Answer that, fuckhole.

  204. 204
    LT says:

    @different-church-lady: Good God, you are a good reason to stay away form BJ threads.

    Here’s the US legal definition of “terrorism”:

    Title 18 of the United States Code (regarding criminal acts and criminal procedure) defines international terrorism as:

    “[T]he term ‘international terrorism’ means activities that . . . involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; [and] appear to be intended . . . to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; . . . to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or . . . to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and [which] occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....ted_States

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2331

  205. 205
    BGinCHI says:

    @different-church-lady: This I agree with. Absolutely.

    I’m just saying the terrorists are sometimes aided and abetted by people who overreact in massive, unethical, systemic ways.

  206. 206
    different-church-lady says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    FFS, of course terrorists have objectives beyond killing and frightening people, which are means to an end.

    So, what is AQ’s end? When do they go, “Yes, American society has changed to the point that we no longer need to be terrorists, because we won.”

  207. 207
    Corner Stone says:

    @BGinCHI: I think you need to read more closely. My #159 was not disagreeing with you. It was amplifying as wrong the determination by Obama felt Brennan was not part of the issue.
    I didn’t say you had the wrong idea about Brennan, only that if Obama felt that way he was wrong.

  208. 208
    weaselone says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    If we lived in a world where the House would impeach the President for not prosecuting torture, Bush and Cheney would have both already been impeached by the House, convicted by the Senate and Pelosi would have done a stint as Commander in Chief.

  209. 209
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Obama’s judgement vis a vis criminal torture has been weighed on the scales, and has been found wanting. At least with decent Americans, which includes, I daresay, with a fair majority of the democratic rank and file.

    Criminal prosecutions should have unfolded.

    And nothing any unabashed Obama supporter has to say about that rude truth will change that rude fact.

  210. 210
    BGinCHI says:

    @Corner Stone: OK, gotcha. I think it was the “I don’t give a fuck” part that threw me off….

    Let’s agree that Brennan is a liar. His demonstration should lead to his dismissal, period.

  211. 211
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: He didn’t win any good will. And I think it is unlikely that any prosecutions would succeed. I think acquittals would be worse than condemning the torture and moving on.

    Obama has called it torture before so he not finally acknowledging anything. But do call me fuckhole because that will make a difference.

  212. 212
    different-church-lady says:

    @BGinCHI: Yes, I agree, and I’m sorry I was not communicating my thought clearly.

    “If we change our values the terrorists win” is a trope. It sets up a bizarre framework where every bit of how we are at the moment becomes a core value that gets betrayed if we change it.

    On the other hand, I am not advocating that anything goes in the fight against it. I am also not asserting that there is no such thing as a violation of our values. I am saying that the “winning” metaphor is shallow and inappropriate for understanding what motivates terrorists, and screws up our own motivations in our choice of actions against it.

  213. 213
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Dog On Porch: And people keep asking: how high a political price should he have been willing to pay for trials that likely would have ended in acquittals? That decision did not happen in a vacuum. And if you really think that there weren’t (and still aren’t) Democrats in Congress who would have abandoned him over doing so, you’re a fucking moron who isn’t paying any attention to the “debates” Congress is having over the fighting in Gaza.

  214. 214
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty):

    And conservatives are predictably freaking out.

    There is the possibility that possible torture prosecution is being floated as a response to the Boehner lawsuit.
    (Maybe playing on predictable conservative projection.) No clue how likely, or how likely it would be to be made real.

  215. 215
    LT says:

    Lincoln should have thought of the consequnces of even becoming president. it tore the country apart! His fault!

  216. 216
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Corner Stone:

    You described Obama making excuses for Brennan and I called bullshit.

    “I have full confidence in John Brennan.”

    You’re right. Obama’s not making excuses. He’s basically telling everyone to STFU about torture. He’s the decider and he’s decided that John Brennan is just a peach.

    But Obama’s been so good on so many issues, that he deserves a break. He freed the gays, he gave all women income inequality and made sure that everyone can now have crappy health insurance. Who cares about drones, surveillance, spying on Congress, TPP and TISA, whistleblower prosecutions, obeisance to genocidal Israel and a Justice Department who hands out wrist slaps to financial super-villains? With a record like that who cares about an increase in the rate of increase of income inequality?

  217. 217
    LT says:

    Reality is a well known Leftist trope.

  218. 218
    SatanicPanic says:

    @LT: Lincoln redeemed himself by winning.

  219. 219
  220. 220
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): That was a severely revised version, fuckhole.
    Being scared that the end result is a blase ole vs taking the steps to get it in front of the justice system is the height of cowardice and cold comfort, indeed.

  221. 221
    different-church-lady says:

    @LT:

    Reality is a well known Leftist trope.

    It’s funny you should add “leftist” to that, whereas I intended it as spectrum-neutral.

  222. 222
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: You might want to read Lincoln’s August 22, 1862, letter to Horace Greeley. Quite a bit of Realpolitik going on there.

  223. 223
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    What “people” do you refer to? Name names.

    Define “political price”.

    “Likely would have ended in acquittals”? Explain your conclusion.

    “Abandoned him”? They would have instead abandoned the democratic rank and file had they opposed such prosecutions. I’ll contend the fence sitters would have rallied to Obama, once they pulled their collective heads out of their collective asses.

    People like you quite simply lack the guts for any political fight-worth-fighting.

  224. 224
    Corner Stone says:

    @BGinCHI: Agreed. He should be terminated and not allowed to resign.
    However, I would see his accepted resignation as an amazing step forward.
    What guesses do we have that he will still be in his position for some time to come?

  225. 225
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT: I’m dead certain that Lincoln did consider the consequences of all of that and more. Along the way, there were a couple of gambles he took and lost. One thing he got right, though, is the Union’s ultimate ability to prevail.

    The difference here (actually one among many) is that I think there is a very high probability that Obama would have lost this battle had he chosen to fight it. Unlike Lincoln, he couldn’t even have counted on unanimous support from his own party.

  226. 226
    LT says:

    The CIA agents who tried to stop torture?

    They simply didn’t understand why it happened.

    Almost sub-human of them, really.

  227. 227
    Cassidy says:

    I see some people didn’t get their pony today.

  228. 228
    LT says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    very high probability that Obama would have lost this battle had he chosen to fight it

    One of the chief characteristics of courage is running away if you think you won’t win.

    And this whole thing is hilarious, as what I’m responding to is an argument that Obama shouldnt’ have gone after **people who committed war crimes** – because maybe possibly bad things could have – you never know!– happened. Politically.

    #courage #leadership

  229. 229
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Dog On Porch:And people like you are so clueless at reading even the Democratic caucus that it’s almost not worth even talking to you. Do you think Joe Lieberman would have backed attempts to prosecute? How about Mary Landrieu? Dianne Feinstein? Webb? Baucus? Pryor? Hagan? Tester? That’s just a partial roll call of the Senators that would have rolled on him. And your belief that the Democratic base would have scared any of them into line is flat out delusional.

    Define “political price”.

    No ACA. No financial reform, even one that was too weak. No stimulus bill. No re-election.

    “Likely would have ended in acquittals”? Explain your conclusion.

    Have you actually listened to the American people on this subject? I think the chances of putting together a jury of 12 people that would have unanimously voted to convict were, and still are, miniscule. The prosecutors wouldn’t get to pick jurors only from the pool of those you consider to be the Democratic base. There would be Republicans in that pool, too.

  230. 230
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre: c’est de la folie.

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): And the defense attorneys would go on pure jury nullification.

  231. 231
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT:

    One of the chief characteristics of courage is running away if you think you won’t win.

    One of the essential characteristics of leadership is knowing what battles you will lose before you fight them. Occasionally, and by that I mean extremely rarely, it is worth fighting a battle even if you know you’re going to lose it. This wasn’t one of those cases.

  232. 232
    LT says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Occasionally, and by that I mean extremely rarely, it is worth fighting a battle even if you know you’re going to lose it. This wasn’t one of those cases.

    Yeah cuz I mean it’s war crimes. It’s not like it’s something important.

  233. 233
    Corner Stone says:

    @LT:

    Yeah cuz I mean it’s war crimes. It’s not like it’s something important.

    You’re such a naif. How do you think we would have gotten all the Republican co-sponsors for all the passed legislation benefiting the country if we had even thought about prosecuting war crimes?

  234. 234
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yeah, because initiating investigating crimes of government is just like rushing headlong into slaughter. Bravo.

  235. 235
    LT says:

    @Corner Stone: I know! I’m so stoopid!

  236. 236
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: The decision was realpolitik and it was ugly. I doubt that anyone disputes that. The question is whether Obama got the cost benefit analysis right. No one with the ruthlessness and drive to become a president would simply charge into that thicket without calculating the price, the trade offs, and the likelihood of success. How would you do the calculations?

  237. 237
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT: It has nothing to do with not being important. In this case, it’s that fighting the battle and losing would have worse consequences than not fighting it at all. And that’s just looking at the consequences in regards to the actual prosecutions. Do you really think it would be better to have actual, precedent setting, verdicts declaring that it was okay to torture prisoners?

    We’d be worse off even without considering all of the things that Obama has delivered in this world that would have been stillborn in that one.

  238. 238
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Do you think Joe Lieberman would have backed attempts to prosecute? How about Mary Landrieu? Dianne Feinstein? Webb? Baucus? Pryor? Hagan? Tester?

    Why would you ask these people to back a prosecution? Do they back every other prosecution that goes forward? How would they have prevented or stopped one?

    I think the chances of putting together a jury of 12 people that would have unanimously voted to convict were, and still are, miniscule.

    Why? Because they would not have all the relevant facts? Because the law is not clear? Because they would gave been personally biased towards defendants? Or … ?

  239. 239
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT: It’s not about Republican co-sponsors that he would have lost. It’s about Democrats that he would have lost. Honest to fucking god, people around here complain endlessly about Blue Dogs (justifiably) right up to the point that it benefits their arguments to assume that Democrats would have followed Obama in lockstep no matter what he had done.

    No, you idiots, they wouldn’t have. They still wouldn’t. As I said, watch them undercut John Kerry on Gaza for only the smallest taste of what would have happened had Obama initiated torture prosecutions.

  240. 240
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes: Fuck off.

    Sorry. I got the wrong poster on that.

  241. 241
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes:

    Why? Because they would not have all the relevant facts? Because the law is not clear? Because they would gave been personally biased towards defendants? Or … ?

    Because the defense would go straight for a nullification defense. I think it is pretty likely that a few jurors in the US would buy it.

  242. 242
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cervantes:

    Why would you ask these people to back a prosecution? Do they back every other prosecution that goes forward? How would they have prevented or stopped one?

    Well that does bring up interesting questions. Like, what is the process for handing over the previous administration to The Hague? Does Holder fill out some forms and then they load ’em on a transport plane, or is it more complicated?

  243. 243
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Do you really think it would be better to have actual, precedent setting, verdicts declaring that it was okay to torture prisoners?

    Riddle: what’s the difference between (1) not prosecuting a law-breaker because you think conviction under that law is impossible, and (2) not having the law on the books in the first place?

  244. 244
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Obama doesn’t have the authority to fire anyone in the CIA.

    Explain David Petraeus?

  245. 245
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:

    How do you think we would have gotten all the Republican co-sponsors for all the passed legislation benefiting the country if we had even thought about prosecuting war crimes?

    You’re a hate-ridden asshole, but I don’t think you’re actually stupid enough to not get the point, which is that in the REAL world in which we LIVE, Obama’s fighting a doomed-to-lose battle would have cost him public and Democratic support that he did, in fact, need to get the shit done that he did, in fact, get done.

    Rather, it’s what we lawyers sometimes call being “disingenuous”. That, or you’re already piss drunk, early in the evening though it is.

  246. 246
    Corner Stone says:

    @LT:
    I’m so stoopid
    You already know
    Prosecute war crimes
    From the Hague to Guantanomo

  247. 247
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes:

    Why would you ask these people to back a prosecution? Do they back every other prosecution that goes forward? How would they have prevented or stopped one?

    Because they don’t care about most prosecutions. On this one, they would have cared enough to start holding non-stop press conferences about how much they disagreed with the president. Congress implicitly backs 99.99% of prosecutions by not saying anything about them. They wouldn’t have done so on this.

    Why? Because they would not have all the relevant facts? Because the law is not clear? Because they would gave been personally biased towards defendants? Or … ?

    Because a large percentage of the American population thinks torturing Muslims was the right thing to do. I guess that falls into the “personally biased in favor of the defendants” category.

  248. 248
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes:

    Riddle: what’s the difference between (1) not prosecuting a law-breaker because you think conviction under that law is impossible, and (2) not having the law on the books in the first place?

    Not much. But either of those two choices is better than having the law on the books, trying to enforce it, and having juries demonstrate that they will not convict.

  249. 249
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    How would you do the calculations?

    Gah. Just so creepy.

    “It was pitch black, with constant noise and not enough food,” he recalled. His American interrogators would pour freezing cold water on him and beat him, saying, “We know you are a sea man, but here we have more water than out there in the sea. It never stops raining here.” Suleiman also describes being hung from the ceiling in the “strappado position,” slung in chains so that his toes just touched the floor. He also says American interrogators would take the ablution jug (used by Muslims for ritual cleansing before prayer), and stick its long spout up his rectum.

    [snip]
    The litany of abuses described by Suleiman included severe beatings, prolonged solitary confinement, forced nakedness and humiliation, sexual assault, being locked naked in a coffin and forced to lie on a wet mat, naked and handcuffed, and then rolled up like a corpse. It was extremely tough. There were times when both of us clinicians, and the patient, broke down in tears.”

    This was an innocent man. This was your father. You need to step back, do a serious check of yourself and your “calculations.”
    http://www.emptywheel.net/tag/suleiman-abdallah/

    http://www.thenation.com/artic.....nocent-man

  250. 250
    Betty Cracker says:

    @different-church-lady: QA’s stated aims pre-9/11 included driving the US out of Saudi Arabia (check), reducing US influence in the region and toppling US-friendly dictatorships (check). OBL also said he wanted to bleed the US in the Middle East the way the mujaheddin in Afghanistan bled the USSR (check).

    I’m not saying all these developments were directly caused by AQ (or even necessarily all bad things — I think getting out of Saudi Arabia and the fall of dictators are net benefits, unless fundamentalist nutjobs take over…oh wait.)

    Maybe that’s why AQ never bothered to seriously attack us again. Why interrupt an enemy who is punching himself in the face?

  251. 251
    Corner Stone says:

    @eemom: I’m sorry but you seem to have decided reality is not your friend. This Congress has been the least productive in history.
    Explain how much less we could have achieved if we had actually not let war crimes slip past?
    Or are you saying that we could only have achieved passing 132 bills this Congress by allowing our nation to cower to the domestic terrorists?
    The argument of a permanent crouch “to get shit done” has to actually, you know, get shit done to make any sense as a position that’s defensible.

  252. 252
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Are you really that stupid? In a sensible world, I would love to see every last person connected with the torture programs prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But, if we were in a sensible world, that torture would never have happened in the first place. I live in this world, and, in this world, presidents have to make shitty decisions every day.

  253. 253
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    But, if we were in a sensible world, that torture would never have happened in the first place. I live in this world, and, in this world, presidents have to make shitty decisions every day.

    What excuse will you make the next time we torture people?
    Bygones? Real world shit? Shitty decisions and shit?

    ETA, look, I get it. You hate it all and are furiously pissed about it. But if someone like you, who I agree has the sense that this all sucked and hate it, just steps around it and makes the real world BS reasoning, who will be resolute in saying this is unacceptable?
    Fucking childish whackjobs like LT or disingenuous piss drunks like me?
    Who else?

  254. 254
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Are you really that stupid? In a sensible world, I would love to see every last person connected with the torture programs prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But, if we were in a sensible world, that torture would never have happened in the first place. I live in this world, and, in this world, presidents have to make shitty decisions every day.

    Precisely because we live in a non-sensible world where torture does happen, it can’t readily be prosecuted?

  255. 255
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: I hope like hell we never do. And if it does happen, I hope that the American people and the American polity have enough sense to foursquare against it. That is, I hope the calculus works in a way that the public demands prosecutions.

  256. 256
    Corner Stone says:

    If not now, when? If not us, who? If not here, where?

  257. 257
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Rationalize away. It boils down to your own (et.al.) lack of political guts.

  258. 258
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): What could you not defend with this? And what could you not give up on?

    In a sensible world, I would love to see [ ________ ]. But, if we were in a sensible world, [ _______ ] in the first place. I live in this world, and, in this world, presidents have to make shitty decisions every day.

    Can’t think of a single thing you couldn’t excuse or say fuck all to with such a statement. Torture, domestic spying, premeditated war, slavery – virtually anything.

    Do you stand for anything?

  259. 259
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    presidents have to make shitty decisions every day.

    Well, by that measure, Barack Obama has been a roaring success.

  260. 260
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Dog On Porch: By your rules, any soldier that doesn’t get himself killed at the start of a battle by running pell mell at the enemy is a coward. Got it. I hope you’re never in charge of anything.

  261. 261
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Because a large percentage of the American population thinks torturing Muslims was the right thing to do.

    Oh, them? And you propose that the Administration disabuse them of this notion how, exactly?

  262. 262
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone:

    look, I get it. You hate it all and are furiously pissed about it. But if someone like you, who I agree has the sense that this all sucked and hate it, just steps around it and makes the real world BS reasoning, who will be resolute in saying this is unacceptable?
    Fucking childish whackjobs like LT or disingenuous piss drunks like me?
    Who else?

    That’s a fair point. And the fact that the torture happened and remains unpunished is something worth shouting about. So shout on, you disingenuous piss drunk.

    @Cervantes:

    Precisely because we live in an insensible world where torture does happen, it can’t readily be prosecuted?

    Unfortunately, I think this may well be so.

  263. 263
    LT says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Fucking childish whackjobs like LT…

    This I get from people on my side. No respect, I tell ya, not respect.

  264. 264
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT:

    Can’t think of a single thing you couldn’t excuse or say fuck all to with such a statement. Torture, domestic spying, premeditated war, slavery – virtually anything.

    It always depends upon what the alternatives are. Joseph Stalin was far more evil than anyone in the Bush administration. And yet, sending him millions of tons of supplies from 1942-45 was still the right thing to do.

  265. 265
    different-church-lady says:

    @LT: I really do wish Omnes would stand for something. Because sure as shoot W would be behind bars right now if only he/she did.

  266. 266
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes:

    Oh, them? And you propose that the Administration disabuse them of this notion how, exactly?

    I don’t think there is a way to disabuse them of this notion. There is literally nothing Obama could do that would change public opinion on this. Which is why I think it was a sensible decision to fight other battles.

  267. 267
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): You can run to fight another day on any number of political fights, but never, under any circumstance, when the issue is torture. Maybe someday you’ll understand that, Poindexter.

  268. 268
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Dog On Porch: Really, you think this would be a better world if Barack Obama had initiated prosecutions and Mitt Romney was now president?

  269. 269
    SatanicPanic says:

    Jesus, some people are fucking obtuse

  270. 270
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Don’t be ridiculous: if Obama had courage Jill Stein would would now be president.

  271. 271
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): It doesn’t matter because a symbolic gesture is more important than actual doin’ shit.

  272. 272
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    @Cervantes:

    Precisely because we live in an insensible world where torture does happen, it can’t readily be prosecuted?

    Unfortunately, I think this may well be so.

    Kind of a crux. You not only think take that weak position – one that you yourself admit is a sad one – you fairly vehemently argue that others should not take a stronger one.

    Why would you do that?

  273. 273
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): There’s not much — in fact, there is no — difference between what you’re saying and the following:

    [We can accept that] a large percentage of the American population thinks torturing Muslims [is] the right thing to do.

  274. 274
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I really do wish Omnes would stand for something. Because sure as shoot W would be behind bars right now if only he/she did.

    You’re propagating the argument that if more reasonable partisans like Omnes had called for accountability then absolutely nothing would’ve happened?

  275. 275
    different-church-lady says:

    @SatanicPanic: I prefer to assume that all people are fucking obtuse. Saves time.

  276. 276
    LT says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    It always depends upon what the alternatives are. Joseph Stalin was far more evil than anyone in the Bush administration. And yet, sending him millions of tons of supplies from 1942-45 was still the right thing to do.

    Please everyone take a gander at this. This is the argument presented against Obama going after Bush and Cheney on torture. Cuz, apparently, it just might lead to something similar to – Stalin?

  277. 277
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Really, you think this would be a better world if Barack Obama had initiated prosecutions and Mitt Romney was now president?

    This is the only outcome in your version of the world? Why do you think that is?

  278. 278
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: I think your sample size is still way off — by, like, orders of magnitude.

  279. 279
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Read the fucking section of the comment right above what you quoted. I don’t think that one shouldn’t argue for the prosecutions; I do think that, as you argue for them, you should realize that they are unlikely to happen.

  280. 280
    LT says:

    @Cervantes:

    There’s not much — in fact, there is no — difference between what you’re saying and the following:

    Exactly right. Not that s/he’d ever admit it.

  281. 281
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes: No, there isn’t any difference. I do accept that a depressingly large percentage of Americans think that torturing Muslims is the right thing to do. I consider not accepting that to be an exercise in denying reality.

    Accepting that it’s true doesn’t mean accepting that it’s right. It does mean trying not to be delusional.

  282. 282
    El Caganer says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I don’t think it’s just Obama; I don’t think there’s anything anybody could do that would change public opinion in that regard. If you want a good look at how narrow-minded the American population at large is, look at the state level – how many of them are either governed outright by lunatics or have significant numbers of same in their governments?

  283. 283
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Corner Stone: Now I’m replying to the right commenter.

    Fuck off.

  284. 284
    Corner Stone says:

    @LT: You have to be kind of nutty to consider that the rule of law is more important than political expediency.
    I mean, Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon certainly moved the nation forward in a positive, healing way. Right?
    I mean, the pardons for all the Iran Contra folks certainly never came back to cause the nation any harm, amirite?

    When we fuck this chicken again in the next decade or so, what will we be saying then if we’re lucky enough to still be around?
    I suggest that, “It’s a good thing we never prosecuted those folks.” will not be something we’re all muttering to one another under the bridge down by the river.

  285. 285
    SatanicPanic says:

    @El Caganer: Yeah, but Obama has the Bully Pulpit, which connects to the Overton Window, and that makes anything possible.

  286. 286
    Cassidy says:

    If only Obama would just resign and let blog commenters who are experts in everything run the show. If only Obama read balloon juice so he could get instructions from the pure of heart. If only……

  287. 287
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): You make it sound as if Obama would need have traveled counter-clockwise around the planet in superhero style, with superhuman strength, and stop time itself in its tracks, all in order to do the right thing.

    I already told you, I believe the American people would have lined up behind such exposures, and supported any appropriate prosecutions. Just like they did during the war crimes trials in the aftermath of WW2.

  288. 288
    El Caganer says:

    @Cassidy: …what a wonderful world it would be?

  289. 289
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cassidy: He should make a video like Russell Brand, which apparently is enough to start a revolution

  290. 290
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): This doesn’t seem very helpful. I thought my comment was a very reasonable response/question.

  291. 291
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): WTF?

    I don’t think that one shouldn’t argue for the prosecutions

    You’re now saying that all your arguments against Obama prosecuting Bush and Cheney werent’ really arguments against prosecuting Bush and Cheney.

    I do think that, as you argue for them, you should realize that they are unlikely to happen.

    Dude. You’re slipping.

  292. 292
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT: Uhm, no. You made an absolute statement that one should never tolerate evil. You have consistently argued against even the slightest deviation and that one should always, always, always oppose torture.

    And the Stalin example is meant to establish that that is not an absolute truth. You must always weigh the alternatives. Sometimes, the alternative to not fighting a bunch of murderous torturers is worse than getting along with them.

    Now, once the absolute version of your argument is shot apart, we can get down to discussing whether or not the compromises in this case were worse than the alternative of going for prosecutions. But we can’t have that discussion so long as you are going to cling to the absolute position.

    So, do you agree that shipping war materials to the Soviets was the right thing to do, or should we have just let the Nazis overrun all of Europe? If you go with the latter proposition, I’ll concede that you’re at least being consistent with your earlier rhetoric while also saying that you’re bugfuck insane and that we have nothing else to talk about.

    If you go with the former, then we can start to have a rational discussion over whether or not Obama correctly weighed the alternatives that faced him.

  293. 293
    Cassidy says:

    I believe the American people would have lined up behind such exposures, and supported any appropriate prosecutions.

    You seem like the kind of guy I need to talk to. I have this great deal for you. I’ve got some prime ocean front property in Arizona just looking for a buyer like you.

  294. 294
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Gotta highlight this again:

    I do think that, as you argue for them, you should realize that they are unlikely to happen.

    That is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever read.

  295. 295
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Dog On Porch:

    I already told you, I believe the American people would have lined up behind such exposures, and supported any appropriate prosecutions.

    You have a higher opinion of the American populace than I do. I think they were terrified for years because they were told to be and they were okay with anything being done if it was done in the name of keeping them safe. The pendulum may be starting to swing back the other way, but I think hung juries and acquittals would be the result of any prosecutions.

    Just like they did during the war crimes trials in the aftermath of WW2.

    How many Americans were charged with war crimes? Wait, it was the Germans and Japanese. I wonder if that had any effect.

  296. 296
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Dog On Porch: And I think you badly misread the American public. However, my question was meant more as a what if. If I am to believe the things you wrote, then you would have to believe that a world in which Barack Obama tried to prosecute the torturers, failed, and lost his re-election to Romney is better than the world we live in.

    If that is the case, then you are being consistent, as much as I disagree with you. However, if you won’t agree to that statement then you really don’t mean the things you’ve said. All we disagree on is whether or not the American public would go along with those prosecutions. And I submit that if that’s all that divides us, most of your rhetoric in this thread is unwarranted.

  297. 297
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    No, there isn’t any difference. I do accept that a depressingly large percentage of Americans think that torturing Muslims is the right thing to do. I consider not accepting that to be an exercise in denying reality. Accepting that it’s true doesn’t mean accepting that it’s right. It does mean trying not to be delusional.

    Read again what I wrote. You’re saying that many “Americans think that torturing Muslims is the right thing to do,” and that you can accept this state of affairs. Think about your acquiescence before reiterating it.

  298. 298
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic: I just can’t get behind Brand. I mean, I like what he’s been saying lately, getting real assertive with truthiness, but who gives up naked Katy Perry! Seriously?!

  299. 299
    Dog On Porch says:

    @Cassidy: Like I said, you lack the common sense guts to recognize a fight worth fighting.

  300. 300
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT:

    You’re now saying that all your arguments against Obama prosecuting Bush and Cheney werent’ really arguments against prosecuting Bush and Cheney.

    No, I am not saying that. I am saying that, if you think the prosecutions are vital, you should argue for them. I doubt the prosecutions will ever happen, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t advocate for them. It isn’t that complicated.

  301. 301
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    All we disagree on is whether or not the American public would go along with those prosecutions.

    Is it your impression that the American public did “go along with” everything the President did from 2009 through 2012? If not, how do you explain his re-election?

  302. 302
    Cassidy says:

    @Dog On Porch: Yep, you are just the buyer I’m looking for.

  303. 303
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cassidy: she’s like America’s #3 or 4 Sweetheart, so yeah, very questionable. He’s probably an Al Qaeda agent.

  304. 304
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    How many Americans were charged with war crimes? Wait, it was the Germans and Japanese. I wonder if that had any effect.

    And a surprising number of Japanese war criminals were acquitted. By the time the Tokyo trials got underway, the Indian and Indonesian judges had come around to viewing the trials as a form of Western imperialism and the were reluctant to convict a lot of the defendants.

  305. 305
    LT says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Uhm, no. You made an absolute statement that one should never tolerate evil.

    What comment of mine are referring to?

  306. 306
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cervantes: This is a fantastic form of logic: People liked things I did do, therefore things I didn’t do would have been popular as well!

  307. 307
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes:

    Read again what I wrote. You’re saying that many “Americans think that torturing Muslims is the right thing to do,” and that you can accept this state of affairs. Think about your acquiescence before reiterating it.

    Why are you assuming that I haven’t thought about it? I have. And I can accept that fact because not accepting it means being flat out delusional. Again, accepting it doesn’t mean that I like it. It just means that I think it’s true. And I most definitely think it is true that a large percentage of Americans think that it was perfectly okay to torture Muslims over the last decade.

  308. 308
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT:

    That is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever read.

    One can advocate for things while recognizing that it is long shot.

    ETA: For example, I spent a lot of time in the streets of Madison during the winter of 2011 advocating for the repeal of the anti-union laws, but I didn’t ever have a lot of hope that our advocacy would cause the repeal.

  309. 309
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic: One of those folks.

  310. 310
    different-church-lady says:

    Just like they did during the war crimes trials in the aftermath of WW2.

    Those were [germans with the letters N Z A and I]* being prosecuted, not people in the previous administration.

    You honestly think if Eisenhower tried to put Truman in jail for the atom bomb, Americans would have lined up? Because that’s a much closer analogy.

    *(Stated in this bizarre way because I’m trying to figure out which bit is making FYWP think I’m a spammer.)

  311. 311
    Corner Stone says:

    @LT: I’m waiting to hear the response to this because the Stalin example is one of the most flat out fucking bizarre rationales I think I have seen to advocate for not prosecuting torture in our own country, and by US officials.

  312. 312
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes:

    Is it your impression that the American public did “go along with” everything the President did from 2009 through 2012? If not, how do you explain his re-election?

    No. There was an unspoken addendum to that that I thought was obvious but I guess not. I think that the public would not go along with prosecutions to the point that it would have impaired Obama’s chances of being re-elected. Watching Democrats in Congress run away from him, and many of them would have, would have hurt him. The fact that those Democrats running away from him would have meant that he didn’t get the ACA passed, didn’t get the stimulus passed, and didn’t get any sort of financial reform passed, would have hurt him even worse.

    And remind me again, how many of the progressive heroes in Congress would even back Obama up when it came to closing Gitmo? Can any rational person look at the outcome of those votes and think that Obama would have gotten any support AT ALL if he tried to prosecute torturers? Bernie Fucking Sanders shivved him on that one. And you think they would have been any more courageous over torture trials?

  313. 313
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I think that the public would not go along with prosecutions to the point that it would have impaired Obama’s chances of being re-elected.

    Lets get real: if he had tried it he never would have finished his first term.

  314. 314
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Recommending that someone you’re engaged in an argument only argue their position if they “realize that [it is] unlikely to happen” is just flatly bizarre. And that’s not a stretching paraphrase. You said this:

    I don’t think that one shouldn’t argue for the prosecutions; I do think that, as you argue for them, you should realize that they are unlikely to happen.

  315. 315
    Debbie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I agree. It’s a pity hindsight doesn’t come until later.

  316. 316
    Cervantes says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    This is a fantastic form of logic: People liked things I did do, therefore things I didn’t do would have been popular as well!

    That was not my “form of logic.”

  317. 317
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @LT:

    What comment of mine are referring to?

    How about:

    Should presidents or prosecutors confronted with difficulty regarding prosecuting known and obvious crimes live in fear of possible bad consequences?

    Your whole argument has been that Obama shouldn’t have weighed the consequences of whether or not to prosecute.

  318. 318
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Lets get real: if he had tried it he never would have finished his first term.

    How about now? He’s been re-elected. He just called it torture. What’s the excuse now?

  319. 319
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT:

    You said this:

    Yes, I did. Why is it bizarre?

  320. 320
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cervantes: Ahh, I see, so because he wasn’t popular on everything, doing something that was unlikely to be popular wouldn’t have mattered?

  321. 321
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: So you’re honesty implying that hazarding a dip of his toe in the “yeah it was torture” pool is the same as being able to try to throw the previous administration in the pokey?

  322. 322
    satby says:

    @askew: because no one that was tortured or killed in the war was other than white, right? Rogue government agencies and torture are white people problems.

  323. 323
    SatanicPanic says:

    And if prosecuting Bush were a popular idea, just sitting around, waiting for someone to exploit it, I wonder why so few pols ran on it. I mean, they’re leaving votes on the table, right?

  324. 324
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: For me, looking at it as a lawyer, acquittals would be far worse precedent than non-prosecutions. And, as I have noted, I think acquittals (or hung juries) are far too likely.

    There is no statute of limitations on war crimes. Bush, Cheney, Yoo, et al. will have the specter of prosecution over them forever.

  325. 325
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    I do think Obama is hedging his statement a lot. And from afar it seems like that statement is geared actually to make sure there is no room for conservative attack. It also seems a lot like Obama is terrified of both the CIA itself, and that the conservatives would parse his words and accuse him of being chicken.
    Let me point out something: Nobody knows if the INTENTIONS of the torturers were noble! I find this attempt to repeatedly say, “They were honorable men” etc stupid, because they could very well have been psychos – and all probability says they and the men on top were sickos. Similarly nobody knows if this was actually related to the “aftermath of 9/11”.
    The two assumptions are:
    1. This happened in bad times!
    2. This was done by men with noble intentions
    These two shine through in Obama’s statements and they have no factual basis.

  326. 326
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    It also seems a lot like Obama is terrified of both the CIA itself, and that the conservatives would parse his words and accuse him of being chicken.

    It’s not just conservatives he has to worry about. I will again point to the votes on closing Gitmo. Why would anyone have confidence that even Bernie Sanders would have Obama’s back if he tried to prosecute people?

  327. 327
    Cassidy says:

    Ya’ll deserve this.

    http://youtu.be/hHUbLv4ThOo

  328. 328
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: I read Obama’s statement as saying that the previous administration and a large enough proportion of the American people panicked and so completely lost their shit following the 9/11 attacks that they were willing to okay anything no matter how horrific in order to feel “safe.” He just phrased it diplomatically.

  329. 329
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cassidy: Palate cleanser from one of those artists.

  330. 330
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    I saw a lot of discussion up here about the “understanding” word; and how “understanding is not excusing”.
    But the issue with that word is he has no actual basis for it. Is his understanding right? What is the basis for including it in a statement? Are the torturers really men who had to “turn off the switch” for noble reasons?
    Since he has no basis for it, why include it? It is that CHOICE that speaks volumes. It is that choice that makes us all infer where his sympathies may lie.

  331. 331
    Cervantes says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Ahh, I see, so because he wasn’t popular on everything, doing something that was unlikely to be popular wouldn’t have mattered?

    No, you still don’t see — but perhaps you’re trying. Kudos.

  332. 332
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Again, if his understanding is based on an assumption of panic rather than nobility, it changes things.

  333. 333
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    But the issue with that word is he has no actual basis for it.

    Huh? I’m not even sure what you mean by “. . . he has no actual basis for it.”

  334. 334
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    No. There was an unspoken addendum to that that I thought was obvious but I guess not. I think that the public would not go along with prosecutions to the point that it would have impaired Obama’s chances of being re-elected. Watching Democrats in Congress run away from him, and many of them would have, would have hurt him. The fact that those Democrats running away from him would have meant that he didn’t get the ACA passed, didn’t get the stimulus passed, and didn’t get any sort of financial reform passed, would have hurt him even worse.

    You’ve built up an entire panoply of ill-effects here, all stemming from a decision to prosecute war-criminals. You’re asserting that this one unpopular decision would have led to a Romney presidency — when, actually, Obama made a number of unpopular decisions and was nevertheless re-elected. So (and I’m spelling this out not so much for you but for certain helpless others) the question is: what makes you think this one unpopular decision would have broken the camel’s back? What objective basis, if any, do you have for this suspicion (or excuse)?

    And remind me again, how many of the progressive heroes in Congress would even back Obama up when it came to closing Gitmo? Can any rational person look at the outcome of those votes and think that Obama would have gotten any support AT ALL if he tried to prosecute torturers? Bernie Fucking Sanders shivved him on that one. And you think they would have been any more courageous over torture trials?

    Again, if you were President, would you ask the House or Senate to vote on criminal prosecutions?

  335. 335
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): But is there an actual basis to say that is what happened? Is there even a way a government can make this as a finding – that the American people lost their shit? The answer is no.
    Let me say this: “The American people did nothing, it was a few men at the top. It was very much the political establishment.”
    Now is there anyway my conclusion can be proved false compared to the first statement? The answer is no. In fact, we all know my conclusion is what has a high probability.
    Given this, I am asking why even go there. It is clearly an incorrect statement to say the American people had anything to do with it.

  336. 336
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I really like Ke$ha. This is my favorite version of that song.

    http://youtu.be/4rTbInqWC54

  337. 337
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): He has no actual basis to say:

    recall how afraid people were after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And, you know, it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots”

    He does not know if the torturers were “real patriots”. He does not know if the “enormous pressure” had anything to do with it. He does not even know about the “tough job those folks” had.
    In other words, almost all his words above are really unverifiable. In fact, they are so unverifiable that governments do not go about trying to prove this kind of stuff when they run a prosecution.

  338. 338
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: I lived in the US during that time. It is my considered opinion that the government and a significant proportion of the American people lost their shit. I was living in London during the IRA bombing of the Tory conference in Brighton. I lived in Germany during a time when terrorists would leave bombs in random places. I’ve seen the difference between losing one’s shit and dealing rationally with a threat.

  339. 339
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cervantes: Pffft, whatever dude. Let’s just try something we know won’t work, because maybe it won’t hurt the president’s reelection chances. Let’s risk tangible things for symbolism. Good idea.

  340. 340
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cassidy: Well, sure. Mike Ness. I saw him during his tour supporting that album.

  341. 341
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Since he read the report in question, presumably an unredacted version, Obama likely has a lot more facts on this than we do.

  342. 342
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    Further his words deliberately mix up the men who actually did the tortures with the entire CIA or intelligence apparatus. After all who suits all the below words:
    “real patriots”
    “dealing with a tough job”
    “enormous pressure”
    All that applies to the intelligence agencies and the several thousand honest men working there. He seems to conflate them with the torture program implementers. Either that, or he is mentioning entirely unrelated people unnecessarily in this statement.
    ETA: In essence, it is a bait and switch, where we are asking about the torturers and he is talking about the intelligence workers.

  343. 343
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Cervantes:

    Again, if you were President, would you ask the House or Senate to vote on criminal prosecutions?

    Congress would have been more than happy to vote on it without him asking. How long do you think it would have taken them to pass a bill by veto-proof majorities forbidding the DoJ to spend any money on such prosecutions? Based upon the voting record we have what could possibly make you think that they wouldn’t do it?

    What objective basis, if any, do you have for this suspicion (or excuse)?

    Do I have to write it in all caps? He couldn’t even manage to close Gitmo. Bernie Sanders voted against letting him do that. Your assumption that this would be just like any other thing Obama did that wasn’t popular just defied belief. There is no appetite, absolutely zero, in Congress for any sort of accountability or even fixing the worst abuses.

    When polling agencies ask the public whether they thought there should be prosecutions, the public overwhelmingly said no. And this isn’t something like the ACA where those who supported it could hold out hope, correctly, that it would start to have material effects that would benefit people. It’s not something like the stimulus that would be over fairly shortly even if people didn’t believe it helped. Prosecutions would still be going on now.

    I’ll return your question: what evidence can you point to that prosecutions would have been anything but a political disaster?

  344. 344
  345. 345
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Uhm, I suspect he knows exactly how tough the job was.

  346. 346
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Asking someone you’re arguing with – without irony – to concede a large paert of the argument is weird.

    “I don’t mind you viting for Civil rights, as long as you admit it’s not gonna happen!”

    Also, you said this:

    If you were Obama, would you have pursued Bush, Cheney, Yoo, etc., from the beginning of your administration even at the price of economic collapse?

    That’s not only you taking a position on this (and then later waffling about it), it’s also you presenting specualtion – “even at the price of economic collapse” – as fact. Also weird way to argue.

  347. 347
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I seem to remember Pelosi specifically ruling out impeachment in 2006, and I can’t really imagine her flip-flopping on that.

  348. 348
    LT says:

    @satby:

    @askew: because no one that was tortured or killed in the war was other than white, right? Rogue government agencies and torture are white people problems.

    Oh ow.

  349. 349
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @SatanicPanic: Maybe she wouldn’t have but she was only Speaker until 2010.

  350. 350
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @SatanicPanic: Yeah, she is intriguing. I hate her pop stuff, but when (apparently) left to her own devices, she does stuff like this.

  351. 351
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Betty Cracker: Possible. But we can surely form our conclusions, based on likelihood. How likely is that this report said that some of the torturers were “patriots”? Does that even come within the scope of a government oversight report?
    So, it is one thing for normal citizens to say this, that they think the men who did this were patriots etc. It is entirely different for a policy maker to say it – particularly given the context. He cannot ever know if the men were patriots or if they acted from pressure. Sure, THEY can SAY that. But he does not know if that is true.

  352. 352
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic: if we’re going folksy

    http://youtu.be/0m4QE-KvuNU

  353. 353
    Cervantes says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    I find this attempt to repeatedly say, “They were honorable men” etc stupid, because they could very well have been psychos – and all probability says they and the men on top were sickos.

    Are you referring to the following?

    And, you know, it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that [our law enforcement and our national security teams] had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong.

  354. 354
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Possible. Just unlikely. All our bulls*** sensors should be going on about this one. The default position should be to think he has no idea; and that he is simply hedging to placate the intelligence agencies.
    That is certainly what we would think if this was a Republican president.

  355. 355
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Look, mate, I think it is vanishingly unlikely that the prosecutions you seek (and that the potential defendants richly deserve) will ever happen. OTOH, I think is is only right and proper that if you believe in them at any and all cost, you should argue for them.

    As far as the other question, you have been suggesting that these prosecutions should trump all, have you not?. I framed my question that with that in mind.

  356. 356
    LT says:

    My Lai: I understand why it happened.

    Also: hard-working patriots! don’t go getting all sanctimoniuous!

  357. 357
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Cervantes: I am pointing out two things:
    1. Many words in that statement are impossible for Obama to know for sure; and should not have been a part of a government statement.
    2. Those words actually apply to the broader intelligence agencies than to the torture implementers. So, including them is either irrelevant, or meant to conflate the intelligence agencies themselves with the implementers of this specific program.
    It is unusual to say when some corruption is found in a department like FDA to say:
    “The FDA workers are all facing a tough job”.
    I hope you see how absurd that would be. It would actually be offensive to a majority of those workers, since they should not even be mentioned in such a statement.

  358. 358
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Really? You’re going to switch back to that ?

  359. 359
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cassidy: Have you linked that one before? That’s a great song

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I like her pop stuff but I generally have bad taste. I read that she was trying to go in a different direction but her producer vetoed that and so she’s still making Timber style songs.

  360. 360
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cassidy: That’s good. Really good.

    @SatanicPanic: I get a bit “High Fidelity”-ish on occasion.

  361. 361
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic: I might have at some point. I like her pop music, but I’m a sucker for a catchy pop loop. There is a eurotrash quality to her songs. She is very talented, though.

  362. 362
    Sea boogie says:

    You know, it’s long been my feeling that when you are a presidential candidate, you can preach sunshine and light and transparency all the live long day. And once you are elected and in that office, you learn how shit really works, and you have to make a lot of compromises, because there is a lot of really dark stuff in the functioning of government agencies that as president, you have very little control over. I imagine that there are a whole lot of “holee-fuck!” moments when you get the keys to the car.

  363. 363
    SatanicPanic says:

    Since it’s the weekend I give you my usual weekend anthem

  364. 364
    Cervantes says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    I am pointing out two things:

    Thanks.

    I gather your answer to my question is yes, and I agree with the second of your “two things.” (I feel less strongly about the first thing than you do, but it’s a good point.)

    Also: How is your good lady wife?

  365. 365
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: No, that’s not what I would think if this was a Republican president. I’d think that he absolutely meant exactly what he said, except that I won’t agree to the premise that a Republican president would have used the word “torture” at all. There would be no hedging about it.

    I also think that a Republican president would have meant something different with that quote than Obama did. Words are funny that way. I will agree that Obama was using the phrase “real patriot” as a hedge in that sentence. It’s only partially about placating the intelligence services. It’s also about not walking out on a limb that would shortly be sawn out from under him. As I’ve said, it’s not just Republicans. Democrats in Congress have demonstrated over and over again that they won’t go out on that limb with him. And Obama isn’t going to do it all by himself.

    Look, I suspect that even without the fetters of politics that Barack Obama probably isn’t as inclined to prosecute people from the Bush administration as I would like him to be. But it’s possible to be less inclined than I would like him to be and to still be a fuckload more inclined than either Congress or the American public. And that means that Barack Obama is not the proximate obstacle to getting prosecutions. Without a Congress that would go along with it, at least to the point of staying out of the way, it doesn’t matter how much Obama does or doesn’t want to prosecute anyone. And without an American public that’s more supportive of it, it wouldn’t matter if Congress was more inclined.

    Prosecuting anyone over the CIA’s torture program wouldn’t be a short procedure. I doubt that even the first prosecutions could have been completed within two presidential terms and definitely not within one. If the public decided that the president who follows Obama would be one that was opposed to the prosecutions, they’d come to a dead halt and no one would serve time. It’s something that can’t be done without a consensus within the country that doesn’t exist, one that would produce a sequence of administrations that would pursue them.

    And since that doesn’t exist and Barack Obama doesn’t want to immolate himself on the pyre to futility, he has to find a way to go about his business.

  366. 366
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Let’s remember that I “framed” this by saying Good fucking Jesus, Obama saying “I understand how this happened” is fucking horrible. That stands on its own, but in as much as it speaks to future prosecution, I stand by it much more so. That’s the kind of thing that can taint a jury.

    My entry into prosecution debate today came in response to Betty C: @LT:

    “It would be swell if taking responsibility involved holding some of the actual perpetrators accountable.”

    I agree with that.

    You furthered it in a later comment, and I responded to it here: @LT/

    As far as this:

    As far and the other question, you have been suggesting that these prosecutions should trump all, have you not?. I framed my question that with that in mind.

    I think Bush and Cheney and all others found to be involved should be prosecuted for war crimes. I think the US needs an enormous shakeup regarding our ability to prosecute out own wrongs. I think it will do us and world very good when we learn to do sp. I think Obama had a moral obligation to prosecute our war crimes. He also, it should be noted had (and still has) a legal obligation to do so.

  367. 367
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    How likely is that this report said that some of the torturers were “patriots”? Does that even come within the scope of a government oversight report?

    I think it’s quite likely the report describes the operatives in detail, the circumstances they were working under, their past conduct, etc. No, we can’t “know” what’s in their hearts, any more than we can be certain Cole isn’t an 82-year-old former Rockette from Queens who enjoys impersonating an irascible 40-something male West Virginian on the internet. But we can review the evidence and draw our own conclusions. I hope we all get that opportunity very soon.

  368. 368
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Betty Cracker: Actually, RA makes an interesting point. I would argue that, indicted or not, those who tortured were war criminals. Obama’s comment does tend to conflate the actions of decent people who did their jobs as well as they could with those who committed war crimes. Not everyone in the CIA tortured. Not everyone in the army shot civilians.

    ETA: Completely unrelated to this topic, could you throw us a music thread. It seems there are musical thoughts going on. Thanks, if you see this and stuff.

  369. 369
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @LT:

    Because he’s a smart guy, and understands history and human nature?

    What the holy fuck indeed.

  370. 370
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I wouldn’t disagree. But that doesn’t mean the torturers weren’t acting from what they believed to be the country’s best interests and another person couldn’t, while not condoning the act, understand the motivation. Lord knows committing horrors in the name of god and country is common enough.

  371. 371
    LT says:

    @Betty Cracker: Betty, can you pop my last comment out of moderation, please? Been 20 minutes, just to note.

  372. 372
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    you moved the goalposts

    That’s what it does.

  373. 373
    Corner Stone says:

    What an amazing thread.
    No, wait. The opposite of that.
    We didn’t want these outcomes but now that they’ve been admitted to there’s nothing we should or could do about it.
    Nothing!

  374. 374
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Betty Cracker: When I was in Army OCS, we took a field trip to the site of the Andersonville prison camp. We also discussed Bill Calley and My Lai – years before Calley had graduated from the same OCS company. There simply are things one doesn’t do under any circumstances. The people arguing for prosecutions aren’t wrong. Like I said somewhere above, the decision not to go after these people was ugly. It may have been necessary, but it was ugly.

  375. 375
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Betty Cracker: I am sorry to keep going on about this, but:
    1. If Obama had said “The majority of intelligence workers are patriots and dedicated to their jobs”, that is fine.
    2. If he had said, “The torturers were people who were acting under political orders”, that is fine too
    3. If he had said, “These were hard-working, honorable men who had no other criminal record; and SEEM to have snapped under stress,” that is fine too, provided the report backs him up.
    But I think you know; and I know that the “patriots” term is actually a dogwhistle. We detect dogwhistles otherwise pretty clearly in this blog.
    The “patriots” term:
    1. Makes the broader intelligence agency be conflated with a few men
    2. Makes them out to have done it in the interest of the nation (even though it was against the law, thus making the law and natural justice in conflict)
    3. Makes it clear to future sickos that they could actually be considered patriots. I think we are familiar with this in the blog – after all we discuss about Cliven Bundy and his bunch knowing they are enabled by certain pundits.
    The most important factor here is, he is not saying they are patriots OTHERWISE in their lives. No, he says they were patriots WHILE implementing the torture program. That was my understanding. Could be wrong.

  376. 376
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I would argue that, indicted or not, those who tortured were war criminals.

    That’s an actual position? That’s something to “argue”?

  377. 377
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yes, that is why it is not worth going into it in a presidential statement. It is irrelevant, really.

  378. 378
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:

    Makes it clear to future sickos that they could actually be considered patriots.

    Or in another era, patriots like Ollie North.

  379. 379
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: You want to fight about semantics? Really?

  380. 380
    Corner Stone says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Ahh, I see, so because he wasn’t popular on everything, doing something that was unlikely to be popular wouldn’t have mattered?

    This is one the very weirdest readings of a response I have seen here in quite some time.

  381. 381
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach. I think I’m going to watch some Beyonce videos.

  382. 382
    Corner Stone says:

    “Your girl, B. Your boy, Corner.”

  383. 383
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: I did request a music thread. And I did call the torturers war criminals. Too fucking bad if my wording wasn’t sufficiently strident and over the top for you. Fuckknob.

  384. 384
  385. 385
    Cervantes says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Let’s risk tangible things for symbolism. Good idea.

    Here, is this “tangible” enough for you?

    “It was pitch black, with constant noise and not enough food,” he recalled. His American interrogators would pour freezing cold water on him and beat him, saying, “We know you are a sea man, but here we have more water than out there in the sea. It never stops raining here.” Suleiman also describes being hung from the ceiling in the “strappado position,” slung in chains so that his toes just touched the floor. He also says American interrogators would take the ablution jug (used by Muslims for ritual cleansing before prayer), and stick its long spout up his rectum. […]

    The litany of abuses described by Suleiman included severe beatings, prolonged solitary confinement, forced nakedness and humiliation, sexual assault, being locked naked in a coffin and forced to lie on a wet mat, naked and handcuffed, and then rolled up like a corpse. It was extremely tough. There were times when both of us clinicians, and the patient, broke down in tears.

    (Quoted from LT above.)

    This was what we did to an innocent person. And it will remain we who did it, unless we at least try to punish those who were more directly responsible.

    You can’t show twelve people the evidence and convince them that this was illegal and wrong? No, wait, I forgot: you’d rather not “risk tangible things for symbolism.”

  386. 386
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes:

    You can’t show twelve people the evidence and convince them that this was illegal and wrong? No, wait, I forgot: you’d rather not “risk tangible things for symbolism.”

    I really do not believe that we would get convictions. I think this is horrible, but I think it is true.

  387. 387
    LT says:

    @SatanicPanic: Please know that if you or any of your loved ones are ever violently raped by US agents, or anyone else, I won’t call calls for their prosecution “symbolism.”

    Just for you.

  388. 388
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I really do not believe that we would get convictions.

    Maybe you’re just a coward.

  389. 389
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cervantes:

    You can’t show twelve people the evidence and convince them that this was illegal and wrong?

    Not for a former US president. No way, not going to happen. That’s why it would be symbolism. This is the left’s version of the Boehner lawsuit or Sarah Palin’s call for impeachment. Political theater, and an unpopular one. No thanks.

  390. 390
    SatanicPanic says:

    @LT: If it were at the behest of President Bush you’d be stupid not to

  391. 391
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Like I have said many times, I don’t think that convictions would happen. From a legal POV, a lack of prosecution on something with no statute of limitations is better than acquittals.

  392. 392
    LT says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    You can’t [pick anything deemed “impossible” in American history]?

    No way, not going to happen.

    Slavery repeal, women’s suffrage, Civil Rights Act, first black president… We’ve had to overcome the likes of you so many fucking times. One day – hopefully – we’ll prosecute our own criminal leaders for crimes. That will be one of the most important days in U.S. history.

  393. 393
    SatanicPanic says:

    @LT: When you have a plausible plan for making that happen, let us know

  394. 394
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Fuck you. When is the last time you dealt with an American jury? I live in a very liberal city (Madison, WI) and I can almost guarantee that at least one juror would hold out on any jury.

    Hung juries and acquittals are worse legally than no prosecution.

  395. 395
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    You can’t show twelve people the evidence and convince them that this was illegal and wrong?

    You do live in the United States, right? This is the country where you can show a video of a schizophrenic man being violently beaten to death by police and the police will be found not guilty.

    Why do you think that the people who merely ordered torture but didn’t do it themselves are a slam-dunk for successful prosecution when we can’t successfully prosecute officials who are shown beating someone to death on camera?

  396. 396
    Cervantes says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Why are you assuming that I haven’t thought about it? I have. And I can accept that fact because not accepting it means being flat out delusional. Again, accepting it doesn’t mean that I like it. It just means that I think it’s true. And I most definitely think it is true that a large percentage of Americans think that it was perfectly okay to torture Muslims over the last decade.

    You see “that a large percentage of Americans think that it was perfectly okay to torture Muslims over the last decade,” and you lament this sad fact — but there’s really nothing to be done about it even now, yes? In fact, courage means accepting that it’s just the way things are.

    Plus you are (almost?) positively grateful that the Administration did nothing before November, 2012 to hold the torturers responsible for their actions, as that would have led to a Romney presidency. Yes?

    Oh, and you don’t see yourself as “flat out delusional.”

    Have I got it right?

  397. 397
    LT says:

    @SatanicPanic: “When you have a plausible plan for making that happen, let us know”

    Here’s a plan: dipshit rationalizing cowards like you stop making excuses for them and we’ll have a lot better chance of getting there.

  398. 398
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Why do you think that the people who merely ordered torture …

    Where did I say that’s whom I was talking about?

  399. 399
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes: Do you disagree that a significant percentage, if not a majority, of Americans were okay with damn near anything just following 9/11 that might keep them safe? How many of them will vote to convict someone who did what they wanted? I can give you my Salon TableTalk ID if you want to see whether I agreed with that. Hint: I did not.

  400. 400
    SatanicPanic says:

    @LT: OK. You’ve convinced me. You’re absolutely right. Now what’s the plan?

  401. 401
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    From a legal POV, a lack of prosecution on something with no statute of limitations is better than acquittals.

    This is not a position entirely without merit, I agree.

  402. 402
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Hung juries and acquittals are worse legally than no prosecution.

    Maybe the victims and victims families would think differently. I know I would.

  403. 403
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    Where did I say that’s whom I was talking about?

    Then I will rephrase:

    If police officials who beat a man to death on camera are found not guilty, what makes you so confident that government officials who tortured a man to death will be found guilty?

  404. 404
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: A fucking acquittal would mean that torture is legal. Or justified. How does that benefit anyone?

  405. 405
    Suffern ACE says:

    Ah. I see Reuters is on the case to explain where all the lying comes from. Training. So I guess even those folks not trained to be spies get caught up in the romance of it all. No, these aren’t bureaucrats merely protecting themselves from scrutiny and legal problems. They just do that because they do that.

    Was Andrew Cuomo ever at the CIA? He seems to have the same problems in that area.

  406. 406
    Cervantes says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Not for a former US president. No way, not going to happen.

    To start by prosecuting Bush or Cheney would be stupid, indeed.

    Who is suggesting that?

  407. 407
    SatanicPanic says:

    I am fired up and ready to go. What’s the plan?

  408. 408
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes: I really do fear acquittals. Today. In the future? Maybe not.

  409. 409
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): “majority, of Americans were okay with damn near anything just following 9/11”

    So fucking irresponible. Again, we tortured FOR YEARS after 9/11.

    Another shitty part of Obama’s stament: “”People did not know whether more attacks were imminent…”

    Jesus that is just empty and offensive. We tortured people at least until 2004, probably later.

  410. 410
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cervantes: Why are you getting cold feet? Don’t be a chicken! Go for the gold

  411. 411
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    A fucking acquittal would mean that torture is legal.

    You want to rethink that one?

    #unitednations

  412. 412
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    A fucking acquittal would mean that torture is legal. Or justified.

    Not necessarily.

    When someone charged with rape is acquitted, we do not conclude that rape is either legal or justified.

  413. 413
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @LT: Christ, you are stupid. I know that the US tortured for several years. I also am an attorney, and I don’t think that prosecutors can win a case arguing that. Should they win? Yes. Will they win? I sincerely doubt it. Do you understand the fucking difference between professional judgment and person fucking preference?

  414. 414
    Gravenstone says:

    @LT:

    What comment of mine are referring to?

    All of them, Katie.

  415. 415
    Xenos says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Agreed. Acquittals would be catastrophic. And they would be likely, even now.

    Pinochet comes to mind. Let them be disgraced, even if it takes an appallingly long time to come around.

  416. 416
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If police officials who beat a man to death on camera are found not guilty, what makes you so confident that government officials who tortured a man to death will be found guilty?

    Each case, and each jury, is different. Outcomes are never certain. Do you think I suggested otherwise?

  417. 417
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): “just following 9/11”

    You said that. About US torture. Arguing against prosecuting that torture. It’s a factually wrong representation of when US torture took place. You should just own that and move on.

  418. 418
    Gravenstone says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Lets get real: if he had tried it he never would have finished his first term.

    And the subsequent Republican administration would likely have happily GONE BACK to torturing! Truly a win win for our purest of purity trolls.

  419. 419
    Xenos says:

    @Cervantes:

    When someone charged with rape is acquitted, we do not conclude that rape is either legal or justified.

    And when high profile rape cases fail, that is not a signal that powerful people can get away with it? Acquittals on torture, where torture is brazenly admitted to, will be a license going forward.

    The deep state will not be taken out. Tamed a bit, but not fundamentally put in chains. There are serious limits to justice, and this is one of them.

  420. 420
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    Each case, and each jury, is different. Outcomes are never certain. Do you think I suggested otherwise?

    You are certainly an optimist if you think you can successfully prosecute government officials for torture. Tell us, how are you going to succeed where so many other prosecutors have failed? Give details and specifics for what your strategy is.

  421. 421
    Cervantes says:

    @Xenos: Yes, except in Pinochet’s case I do think the various legal proceedings helped expose him more and more — even, or especially, the farcical ones.

  422. 422
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes: Fair enough. It does muddy the waters.. I am scared of a judgment from a court that says that torture is okay if people really believed it was necessary. I fear that such a decision would end up as a 5-4 pro-torture decision by the current Supreme Court. I would prefer to let that question appear before a better Court.

  423. 423
    Cervantes says:

    @Xenos:

    And when high profile rape cases fail, that is not a signal that powerful people can get away with it?

    But I’m sure you don’t recommend that we refrain from prosecuting.

  424. 424
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes: Is the US a participant in the ICC?

  425. 425
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cervantes:

    Why are you responding to me when it’s Xenos’s comment?

    And I’m still waiting for my answer: what is your specific strategy for succeeding in prosecuting government officials where so many others have failed?

    ETA: Also, you seem to be conflating Now is a bad time to prosecute with Never prosecute. Not the same thing at all.

  426. 426
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Arguable as a matter of tactics, I agree.

  427. 427
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Why are you responding to me when it’s Xenos’s comment?

    Accident, sorry. Corrected it above.

    And I’m still waiting for my answer: what is your specific strategy for succeeding in prosecuting government officials where so many others have failed? ETA: Also, you seem to be conflating Now is a bad time to prosecute with Never prosecute. Not the same thing at all.

    Don’t be silly.

  428. 428
  429. 429
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes: My arguments tonight have been entirely tactical. I am disgusted by the torture that this country perpetrated over a period of years. So how do we as decent people handle it?

  430. 430
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes: Who is going to try an alleged war criminal? US Courts, right?

  431. 431
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I see; I thought you were asking about my comment re Pinochet.

  432. 432
    Cervantes says:

    @Xenos:

    The deep state will not be taken out. Tamed a bit, but not fundamentally put in chains. There are serious limits to justice, and this is one of them.

    Now if this is what the President had said this afternoon …

  433. 433
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cervantes: Do you really expect a US president to say that? Really? If you say yes, I will say bullshit.

  434. 434
    Xenos says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I took it as humor. LOL in a sick way.

  435. 435
    Cervantes says:

    @Xenos: Sick?

  436. 436
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Uh oh, uh oh, oh no no.

  437. 437
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Corner Stone: Do you have a point?

  438. 438
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Too fucking bad if my wording wasn’t sufficiently strident and over the top for you.

    Meh. You’ve been playing the bullshit meh game all night.
    “Oh mister! I’m so scared, mister! If we try them and they get acquitted they might go right back to torturing them, mister!”
    What the fuck do you think is going to happen the next time a Liddy or a Libby or an Addington or a Yoo gets in there? They’re going to get right back to it.
    And whether we call them down now, and make them sit there and fucking take it in a court of law, or watch them walk out, they are going to do it again. In our names.
    I, for one, would rather look in the mirror and just flat acknowledge this is who we are now. This is what we get up to. Rather than be a fucking coward and say I was too bullshit to find out what it was all about for fear of what came next.

  439. 439
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Besides being Crazy in Love with Beyonce?
    I guess not.

  440. 440
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s just fucking bullshit. Not pushing these guys into a fucking PD wagon and perp walking them is the same as not bothering to give a shit about who we are as a nation.
    It’s like not taking a blood test to figure out what’s killing you. We might as well fucking know. It’s not going to slow down on the eating us up part.

  441. 441
    Corner Stone says:

    And you know, all those assholes who keep throwing FDR in our faces. Yeah, we fucked up a bunch back in the good old days, too. You know Tommy J not only owned slaves, he also did some things with them that weren’t cool.
    Point being, I don’t want to go back to the 18th century, etc etc. And I don’t want to intern Asian American people for BS BS.

    I’d prefer to not do that stupid kind of reactionary and fearful bullshit anymore please. There’s simply no excuse for this.
    Thanks. Preciates ya’s.

  442. 442
    Corner Stone says:

    Oh well. Where are my cliff notes for 50 Shades of Grey?

  443. 443
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Cervantes: I agree. He didn’t say “use of torture” and he didn’t use Bushie euphemisms. Folks is a Midwestern thing, sounds more direct and down home. So it sounds weird on the Northeast but that’s not where Obama’s from or where he earned his political stripes. And at any rate it drew attention to the declaration.

    And rather than launch into a jeremiad, he’s reminding everyone that everyone’s human and subject to human failings. He’s also saying that these were failings and they weren’t justified. He’s the president, not the Lord High Executioner. Obama has tried his entire presidency to de-escalate the hysteria and the rhetoric and the rage of the Bush years but unfortunately just being who he is when he walks into the room makes wingnut heads explode.

  444. 444
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @LT: That’s why after the Japanese surrender the US Navy engaged in “de-Japanese-ification” on the Japanese isles to eliminate the neo-samurai menace root and branch NO WAIT THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN. Instead we pressured them to reform their governmental structures and made them dismantle their military in return for protection guarantees* and then GTFO’d. The US did force Japanese women to serve as comfort girls for US troops. Apparently that isn’t torture or a war crime (unless it’s Japanese doing it to Koreans).

    *you know, basically what the USA had lusted for since 1850, but it ended up working out okay for both parties as a matter of fact

  445. 445
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why we constantly get bogged down parsing and undermining our side.

    It’s because so many Dems want revenge and Obama isn’t delivering. Hence the love for useless dickface Alan Simpson. Unlike most Dems in contested districts he has no trouble raising money.

  446. 446
    Cassidy says:

    @SatanicPanic: I’m going to assume that there is no plan beyond bitching on blogs about the lack of purity in other commenters. Maybe they’ll start a poll on Facebook next.

  447. 447
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Dog On Porch:

    Yes, because the war crimes trials included trying the former POTUS for internment of Japanese Americans, amirite?

  448. 448
    Cervantes says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    @Cervantes: I agree. He didn’t say “use of torture” and he didn’t use Bushie euphemisms. Folks is a Midwestern thing, sounds more direct and down home. So it sounds weird on the Northeast but that’s not where Obama’s from or where he earned his political stripes. And at any rate it drew attention to the declaration.

    Yes, I agree, that bit of folksiness, as it were, is not the issue — but you can understand why others might have found it jarring in this context.

    And rather than launch into a jeremiad, he’s reminding everyone that everyone’s human and subject to human failings. He’s also saying that these were failings and they weren’t justified. He’s the president, not the Lord High Executioner. Obama has tried his entire presidency to de-escalate the hysteria and the rhetoric and the rage of the Bush years but unfortunately just being who he is when he walks into the room makes wingnut heads explode.

    But who’s asking for jeremiads? Having admitted that we had — and have? — torturers in our employ, it is not a “jeremiad” or “hysteria” or “rage” to clarify calmly as follows: (1) torture is illegal; and (2) it cannot be condoned; and (3) as with all crimes, the proper authorities should look into prosecution.

    Similarly, if a prosecutor states that some other crime was committed — grand theft auto, say, or rape, or possession of “crack” cocaine with intent to distribute, or fratricide — I should hope we would not be satisfied to hear a lot of folderol about “patriots” and their “human failings.” Everybody is a “patriot” with “human failings.” Should we shut down the Department of Justice?

    Remember: the only “human failings” of the innocent people we tortured were … what, exactly?

  449. 449
    Cervantes says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Why are you getting cold feet? Don’t be a chicken! Go for the gold

    I’d like to believe no one here can be as illiterate as this comment suggests.

  450. 450
    Cervantes says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): Not sure I understand the reference to Alan Simpson. I never liked him, either, in Congress, at Harvard, or anywhere else — but what’s your meaning?

  451. 451
    Cervantes says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): I agree that there is hardly any local precedent for the kinds of prosecutions that ought to happen. It would be naïve to think that our having held foreigners responsible for their crimes seventy years ago will automatically translate to local support for prosecution of our own torturers today.

    But in matters of justice, public opinion is not exactly everything. And besides, there are other processes than criminal prosecution. We have spoken here in the past about a Truth and Reconciliation model — but even that requires more truth than apparently many people are willing to demand or divulge.

    Uphill battle, no question.

  452. 452
    Sondra says:

    Here is another example of what the take-away from these remarks is going to be. Aside from the facts which are disgusting and which those of us on the left have known were since forever.

    We will be called the looney left because our response years ago was shock when Obama didn’t prosecute the motherfu@#ers who ordered and carried out this, (now acknowleged) torture and still think they should be in jail.

    We think this response is too understanding. Not because it may have happened just after 9-11 when Bush et alia were terrified that they had allowed the attack on their watch, but afterwards and for years (at least 8 years anyway) it continued.

    But I’ll bet you money that the take-away on the right will be just 4 words. “We tortured some folks”. They will say Obama was glib and too soft. They will not comment on the rest of the statement except maybe to continue to justify or rationalize the policies that Cheney and Bush put in place: although if they do that they will end up on Obama’s side of the argument and they will hate that.

    Then when someone from team Dem. points all of this out and the R-team starts talking crazy, the fools in the media will state that same old false equivalency nonsense that “both sides are crazy” -and bob’s your uncle, the whole country goes back to sleep until 2016.

  453. 453
    Corner Stone says:

    it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect

    Unbelievable.

  454. 454
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    Obama has tried his entire presidency to de-escalate the hysteria and the rhetoric and the rage of the Bush years…

    And for that many people on both sides of the divide will never forgive him.

  455. 455
    Cassidy says:

    I’m surprised our whackaloon emoprogs have been able to articulate an opinion on this subject without Glenn Greenwald telling them what to think.

  456. 456
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m surprised our authoritarian fascists can still type after their keyboards stuck together from spontaneous fluid emissions when the president said the go word “torture”.

  457. 457
    Cassidy says:

    The black and white simplicity of the emoprog world must be so comforting, when everyone who doesn’t think as they do is a fascist and it’s just simple to be told what to think. I’ve never considered simple and stupid as a way to go through life, but I can’t fault weaker people for being so easily led.

  458. 458
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Cervantes: Is jeremiad the wrong word? From the first few comments on the thread I got the impression that some people were disappointed that Obama didn’t read the riot act. Reading the riot act feels good, but it would be counterproductive to what Obama wants to accomplish.

  459. 459
    Corner Stone says:

    Sometimes, right and wrong is as simple as black and white. Some authoritarian fascists can attempt to make the argument that there is a grey area around torture…I guess.
    That’s what authoritarian fascist assholes do. Try and paint the people looking for justice as some kind of childish naifs, or just not hip to the scene.
    But they don’t actually seem to mind the power of the state torturing people. And they really don’t mind if it’s their guy blithely glossing over it.

    Tell us. What now? It’s been admitted this was torture by the power of the state. Now what? Political expediency? Oh so savvy pragmatic decisions?
    Just turtle assholes all the way down, I guess.

  460. 460
    Corner Stone says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    Reading the riot act feels good, but it would be counterproductive to what Obama wants to accomplish

    Which is what? What is it he specifically wants to accomplish in this regard?

  461. 461
    Cassidy says:

    Oh if it weren’t for the brave, brave emoprogs anonymously commenting in blogs and passing upworthy videos on Facebook. Who knows where we would be without the toothless, childlike simplicity with which they share their favorite posts. One day, these brave keepers of the pure will start a petition and their collective voice will be heard all across the tumblr and a few followers on twitter. Their outrage and anger will anonymously resonate on the forums. Oh brave blog commenters of purity, I salute you with a big bag of salted dicks. May you choke on your anonymous mediocrity while better people worry about actual governance.

  462. 462
    Corner Stone says:

    Torture. Right or wrong? Black or white issue?
    And if it’s wrong, then please tell us all how to elide the next step.

    Some folks done got tortured by us, and by the US. Now what? We get to make fun of people who think that doesn’t sail? Oh, it’s known? It’s yawn? It’s burger?
    Sure thing, fascist.

  463. 463
    Cassidy says:

    Keep preaching anonymous blog commenter guy.

  464. 464
    Corner Stone says:

    Keep making excuses for a torture regime not being called to account, fascist.

  465. 465
    Cassidy says:

    Oh yeah, give us that old time religion anonymous drunken commenter guy. You keep showing us how it’s done with these anonymous blog comments.

  466. 466
    Corner Stone says:

    Maybe there’s an emoji for fish kiss face against someone’s ass?
    That would be useful.

  467. 467
    Cassidy says:

    Keep being loud and proud anonymous blog commenter guy. Your purity is a beacon of light on this little blog. Lead that march to liberty!

  468. 468
    Corner Stone says:

    Being opposed to state sanctioned torture now = purity.
    Got it. Thanks, fascist!

  469. 469
    Cassidy says:

    Keep preaching it anonymous blog commenter guy. Keep the faith.

  470. 470
    Matt McIrvin says:

    20 years from now, the way most people will remember it will be that Obama did all the torturing.

  471. 471
    Cervantes says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Obama has tried his entire presidency to de-escalate the hysteria and the rhetoric and the rage of the Bush years…

    And for that many people on both sides of the divide will never forgive him.

    Is that really your analysis? That the Administration’s critics “on both sides” want a return to “the hysteria and the rhetoric and the rage of the Bush years”? This version of both-sides-do-it-ism doesn’t even rise to the level of being facile.

  472. 472
    Cervantes says:

    @Matt McIrvin: That’s one of the problems with admitting to the torture and then doing nothing about it.

    But it’s early days yet. We shall see if anything useful happens.

  473. 473
    Cervantes says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer):

    @Cervantes: Is jeremiad the wrong word? From the first few comments on the thread I got the impression that some people were disappointed that Obama didn’t read the riot act. Reading the riot act feels good, but it would be counterproductive to what Obama wants to accomplish.

    Sorry, let’s by-pass “jeremiad.” What do you mean by “read the riot act” in this context? If it’s easier, just point me to your “some people” above.

    And to repeat a question Corner Stone asked, what do you think Obama is trying to accomplish? (With that statement? With his stance on “reforms”? Or with something else?)

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