Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Morning Wooten

techniques that could be considered mean-spirited or at least insensitive ~Jim Wooten, 1-22-09

This is the Jim I will not miss.

The difference between the Bush Administration’s approach to the events of 9/11 and his critics’ is that Bush saw the attack on the homeland as an act of war. Most of those who opposed him on the war that followed saw it as a criminal justice matter, something akin to gangland killings on a larger scale.

Pardon me, but, bullshit.

Following 9/11, all America, with the exception of a thin sliver of pacifists and anti-war kooks, answered President Bush's call to take the battle to the terrorists' homeland with a resounding yes. 46 nations followed us into Afghanistan in an effort to stamp out al-Qaeda and their ruthless supporters the Taliban.

Then we invaded Iraq and it all began to fall apart.

What followed was a death spiral of US prestige in the world. What followed was a government wiretapping its own citizens, detaining its own citizens and yes, torture. What followed was a cascading failure taking our country from its highest pinnacle to one of its lowest depths.

Jim rolls out the usual litany of revisionism and fallacy claiming there was no torture, only "mean-spirited" and "insensitive" activities. He claims a renunciation of torture will tell the world the U.S. now plays by "recess rules".

He also claims that if the remaining detainees are brought from Guantanamo to the U.S., they will be treated like "pick-pockets" and "shop-lifters". How easily these supposed ardent defenders of our great nation slap in the face a judicial system which has served us well for 220 years.

What Jim fails to note is that by threading the loophole of detaining combatants on non-U.S. soil, the Bush administration gambled it could avoid constitutional protections that lace the bedrock of our principle. But what it did not appear to concieve is one day the detention camps must be closed and the remnants must be cleaned in a manner which not only continued to insure our security but also saw justice served.

Even Republican presidential candidate John McCain correctly noted Guantanamo is a stain on the honor of America. It is a stain which is deep and difficult, but it will be removed. Fortunately for us all, President Obama recognizes the need for prudence and deliberation to prevent damage to the fabric beneath.

But it will be closed. Thank God for us all, it will be closed.


Sara said...

I love that he raised the specter of the Brian Nichols trial. How soon he forgets the last great federal court trial of a terrorist who killed hundreds of Americans...Timothy McVeigh. It wasn't nearly the circus of the Nichols trial and it resulted in a conviction. Why? Because federal judges don't play those silly reindeer games. They can surely handle the trials of foreign terrorists, if that's what the evidence shows is residing in Guantanamo.

Unknown said...

Timothy McVeigh did not involve our intelligence apparatus and the ability of defense attorneys to compromise sources and methods through discovery.

Timothy McVeigh was also a US citizen who committed terror on US soil, not an unlawful combatant fighting our soldiers and allies without benefit of uniform or country.

Can we call this case Apples v Oranges?

griftdrift said...

"an unlawful combatant fighting our soldiers and allies without benefit of uniform or country"

And you know this how Dale? Because the government told you so?

Further, what's yours and Jim's solution? Continue torturing them or just take them behind the barn and shoot them?

Unknown said...

So the detention camp, nto the military base itself, will be closed and the detainees moved somewhere else. Is it to impertinet to as "So what?". The same people will be imprisoned byt the same governmetn for the same offenses... it will just be somewhere no called Gitmo.

This is a huge case of stule without substance.

Wooten is correct on one point, we have defined torture down to "mean spirited" and "insensitive" treatment. Abu Ghraib wasn't torture, it was low grade fraternity hazing. Water boarding is not torture and neither is getting a woman or dog too close to you or making you stay awake. Broken bones, branding irons, bamboo under the fingernails, starvation, untreated disease abd injury, etc is torture. You knwo, the kind of stuff that broke McCain so that he gave up info.

Torture is beheading and mutilation, like our Muslim enemies practice.

Sorry for the rant, but I think this whole Gitmo and "torture" thing is a bunch of crap.

Regarding the "death spiral" of US prestige, is that why France an Germany have replaced the two most anit-Bush leaders in Europe with pro-western, one even pro-Bush, candidates?

griftdrift said...

People died at Abu Ghraib, Dale. John McCain who you hold as an example of someone who knows torture has said waterboarding is torture.

It saddens me that the veil of denial has covered some people so completely that the only thing they will admit is torture are the methods of The Inquisition.

Sara said...

Beheading isn't torture, it's murder.

And this isn't about what happened at Abu Ghraib, which was far less frightening than the things alleged by the folks held at Gitmo and those subject to rendition to places like Syria.

Also, do you think the FBI doesn't have an interest in keeping its domestic terrorism sources and methods from getting out? They put agents under deep cover and conduct surveillance on fringe groups too. Yet, we still manage to conduct trials based on evidence collected by the FBI using those methods, without the world coming to an end. Federal courts are used to dealing with issues of classified information and sensitive intelligence.

The real problem is people need to stop believing that the shit they see on "24" is real.

Unknown said...

"And you know this how Dale? Because the government told you so?"

Actually, because thir countries have not told me otherwise by claiming them as their soldiers. This would be why the Geneva Convention protections do no apply.

My solution is to hold them until the war is over and they are no longer a threat.

People died at Abu Ghraib? People died at a Santana concert I worked, doesn't mean either was tortured.

Unknown said...

You're right, beheading is not torture, that would be why I included mutilation. I forgot burning. Grift says people died at Abu Ghraib, ostensibly from torture, so death may just ne the final step in torture.

Yes, "alleged" by the whjolesome and trustworthy "folks" at Gitmo. Do you think that homeless panhandler is really going to buy food with that money, too?

The FBI didn't catch McVeigh, therefore their sources and methods would not be subject to discovery. If an FBI agent is compromised in deep cover with the Mob in NYC or drug cartels in Miami, they can get away by driving away in their car or hopping a bus. The CIA agent in the mountains of Afghanistan or downtown Tehran can't really do that now can he? Like I said Apples v. Oranges.

I am against Clinton's policy of rendition. I think we should handle the bad guys because, with the possible exception of the Israeli's, we have the best and smartest anti-terrorist people in the world.

"24"? I agree, I also wish people would stop believing the shit put out by HuffPo, DailyKos and Gitmo detainees.

griftdrift said...

And you know they are combatants how? Because the government told you so? How about the dozens released so far because they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time?

Hold them until the war is over? Oh that's a good laugh. Shall we also hold people on drug charges until the war on drugs is over? When will the war be over Dale? Please for the love of God, can one of you right wing parrots just once, JUST ONCE, define the circumstances under which this war will be over?

And are you kidding me? Are you seriously fucking kidding me?

You are going to compare the tragic death of some concert goers to people who died in our custody? In a place where whether you like it or not it has been admitted there was torture?

My own predliction to not inflame caused me to use the rather benign picture above. Should I use one of the more gruesome ones with blood running across the floor?

But I won't. Because it appears there is nothing, no mountain of evidence, not even blood in front of your nose that will convince you that what we did was so very wrong.


So be it.

Sara said...

But by what definition will the war be "over?" We have this vague "war on terror" that we keep being told will NEVER be over. If they are enemy combatants who do not belong to any country, then that must be the "war" they were taken from. So, since that war will never end, do we just keep holding them until they die in prison or until our planet ushers in a new era of unprecedented peace? And we never give them the opportunity to prove they are being held by mistake? Are you seriously advocating a policy of throwing people we seized in a hole and forgetting about them until they die?

Unknown said...

I just don't hink the things we were told about Abu Ghraib were torture.

The guys were put in close proximity to a woman. Ooooh, the horror!

Close proximity to mean ass dogs on leashes. How awful!! Was anyone bitten? I never heard so.

Men were forced to make cheerleader pyramids in their underwear. What a travesty!!!

Give me a break.

It saddens me that Bush Derangement Syndrome has affected some people so completely that they see this as torture simply becaseu Bush was President when it happened.

McCain thinks water boardign is torture. Great, he also says torture doesn't work. He is wrong, by his own description of his experience, about tortures efficacy, so maybe he is wrong about waterboarding.

griftdrift said...

Dale, if your only arguments are to repeat buzz words invented by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (fraternity hazing, Bush Derangement Syndrom) then go elsewhere.

I'll take the word of that well known Bush hater Andrew Sullivan - "My own view is that the American conservative movement's embrace or defense of torture was the moment its intellectual collapse became irrecoverable. When conservatism abandoned core values of American decency in favor of pure force, exemplified by torture techniques designed by Communists and Nazis, then it ceased to be conservative in the sense that Burke or Hayek or Oakeshott or Kirk would begin to understand"

Unknown said...

How about the 80 or 90 that have been recaptured already?

I didn't compare the death of concert goers to prisoners. I said that neither was evidence of torture. Large populations of people inevitable have a death among them.

And no evidence of international law or history will convince you. We disagree.

At least I was respectful in my disagreement.

War on Terror is over when the jackasses who are plotting to attack us stop releasing videos and traingin people to kill us. There is an answer.

Stop plotting to kill us and we will stiop imprisoning you. SOunds fair to me.

Sara said...

What on earth does recapture have to do with torture?

Unknown said...

Bush has never said the war has no end. He said it will be long. See my definitopn of over in my response to Grift.

"And we never give them the opportunity to prove they are being held by mistake?" Obviously not true as we have released hundreds of combatants from detention.

"Are you seriously advocating a policy of throwing people we seized in a hole and forgetting about them until they die?" Yes, much like we do with murderers and serial criminals in our civilian prisons. Gitmo is hardly a 'hole". they get food, medical care and religious freedom. Also, we will never be able to forget about them as bleeding hearts like yourself will always be crying about how unfair we are being to the assholes that were and still are actively trying to kill innocent Americans.

Unknown said...

Grift - I use those phrases becasue they accurately describe the situation. I was the first person I heard describe Abu Ghraib as "fraternity hazing". Actually, that isn't fair to Abu Ghraib, fraternity hazing is more serious. People die there to, so by your definiton it is torture, although it is voluntary.

I heard Bush Derangement Syndrome at work from one of my employees and thought it fitting.

I don't listen to Rush and Hannity anymore becasue I am working while they are on the radio.

I spout the right "party line" just like you two spout the left. Yeah yeah I know, YOU aren't a liberal. right....

Sara said...

"Yes, much like we do with murderers and serial criminals in our civilian prisons."

After a TRIAL and appellate process. Not just because someone said they were killers and everyone else agreed it must be so.

Funny how 2 seconds after touting your respectfulness in argument to Griftdrift, you feel the need to call me names. I wonder why that is?

griftdrift said...

Dale, you can label me any damned way you want. I honestly don't give a fuck. But I refuse to stand by while you and others call decent people who disagree with the policies of the past administration deranged.

And they are buzzwords. And they were and are repeated ad nauseum daily by the liars or as some would say entertainers of that bastion of decency, talk radio.

And I don't give a damn how you heard them. Your continued use of them only furthers my lack of caring about any point you make.

Unknown said...

I have never thought Andrew Sullivan was all that insightful in his commentary. I can go troll the web and give quotes by commentators of equal or greater standing who say exactly the opposite. What's the point?

If you are going to debate with other peoples words, I will go elsewhere, but only from boredom.

I come here because I like your views and enjoy the debate. I consider your opinions, almost always different from mine, to usually be intelligent and reasonable. If you want an echo chamber, then I guess the post I saw yesterday on another site (Peach Pundit maybe?) about your aversion to debate is true.

I said the same thing to Sara a while back. Don't put your thoughts on the Web and only expect people to tell you how brilliant you are. It doesn't work that way.

Unknown said...

Continued use? I used thenm ONCE and then respionded to your post. One time.

I don't call people who disagree with te Bush administration deranged. I use that to describe people who think the Bush Administration never did anything right and mistate the facts, either intentionally or ingorantly.

I was trying o lighten the mood by referring to our previous conversation about whether you were liberal or conservative or liberatarian or whatever.

I would think people whose President just got inaugurated would be a little less touchy today.

griftdrift said...

I love debate. But if I want to argue with someone who resorts to uses "spouting things from the left" or "suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome", I will just yell at my radio. It will be more fulfilling.

And the reason I quoted Andrew Sullivan is because he is one of dozens of conservatives who consider torture wrong.

Then again in the span of minutes you went from John McCain being an expert on torture to not knowing what he's talking about on torture.

So why bother countering any of your arguments? You will just find a way to eel away.

Now I think I will go yell at my radio.

Unknown said...

Recapture has nothign to do with torture, I was referring to Grift's question about how I know they are combatants.

We recaptured them on the battlefield where they were trying to kill our guys again.

That was my point.

Unknown said...

Grift - I pointed out in BOTh posts about McCain that he contradicts his own experience on torture. That is a consisten statement that I have made ever sine HE started talking about how torture doesn't work.

I looked back where I contradicted myslef on McCain and can't find it.

Sara - the only "name" I called you was a "bleeding heart", but it is ntop neccesarily a perjorative. The definiton is "A person who is considered excessively sympathetic toward those who claim to be underprivileged or exploited." Based on your statements about Gitmo and other aggrieved parties in other debates, I think ti fits. Doesn't mean it is a bad thing.

Unknown said...

Sara - If you are still offended, I apologize because I didn't mean it to be so.

Unknown said...

"So why bother countering any of your arguments? You will just find a way to eel away."

I don't "eel" away, I have to correct gross misrepresentations of my words like this one...

"Then again in the span of minutes you went from John McCain being an expert on torture to not knowing what he's talking about on torture."

Here is everything I can find in this thread that I said about McCain

"You know, the kind of stuff that broke McCain so that he gave up info."

"McCain thinks water boarding is torture. Great, he also says torture doesn't work. He is wrong, by his own description of his experience, about tortures efficacy, so maybe he is wrong about waterboarding."

Those are not contradictory in the least.

The ONLY person in this thread who described McCain as an expert on torture was YOU with these words

"John McCain who you hold as an example of someone who knows torture has said waterboarding is torture."

Countering my arguments means understanding them or not mistating them to suit your argument. I am pretty sure you understood me.

Sara said...

I find it very hard to believe that you did not mean bleeding heart to be perjorative. But if you say so.

It doesn't fit in this situation, however, because my concern isn't for the poor tortured enemy combatants because I feel bad for what they have endured. It's because I love the Constitution and hate to see it so wilfully and disgustingly trampled. This country was founded on fundamental principles that tell us we should aspire to do the right thing even when it is difficult, to treat our enemies with more fundamental decency than they would treat us with, to never abandon our first princples out of fear or hate. To imagine our country being a place where people are seized a half a world away, thrown into a hole, and never heard from again until they waste away and die...that is something that I cannot abide. It's not because I feel bad for the guy who gets waterboarded, or electrocuted, or beaten to within an inch of his life (all of which the US military has done to people in its custody since 9/11), it's because we are better than that. Or at least we used to be, and we should be.

But if you want to just assume I'm a sappy liberal who feels bad for every living thing that experiences pain or difficulty, go ahead. I can't control what people believe once I explain what I believe.

Unknown said...

I believe what you say about the detainees, but you seemed to take their word for treatment at Gitmo over the statements of our government and civilian observers. I don't trust them, at all, and choose to believe the numerous statemetns of others from both the Bush Administration and the opposition.

I have the same respect for the Constitution, we just see different approaches to protecting it and our country. I disagree that it has been trampled upon, you disagree with me.

Does the Constitution apply to our armed forces in wartime? I certainly hope not and am pretty sure it doesn't. If so, should they have Mirandized Saddam when they dragged him from that spider hole? It is a different game with different rules.

I know that many people, at home and abroad, think Gitmo makes us look bad. To them I say "I don't care". You have the luxury to think we are "bad" when our being "bad" enables you to have that luxury. I don't hink that Gitmo is bad. Ugly sometimes, but not immoral. The critics don't "like" us, but we are the first people they call when they have a problem, be it a typhoon, earthquake or military attack. I have never worried if people liked me or not, if I am doing the moral and ethical thing.

As soon as someone explains clearly to me how we can protect ourselves AND try these guys in civilian courts, I am willing to change my position. That person will need to have serious military and intelligence credentials with no political ax to grind. So far, the retired Generals, current Special Forces and retired judge that I know say that civilian trial of these guys is a bad idea. I mean people I know personally, not pundits on the web or in the media.

I agree that the civilian system handles sensitive info, but not military info. The sensitive info they handle could help crooks escape capture in the future or conviction at trial, but the sensitive info the military handles keeps bad guys from killing Americans, both military and civilian. I see that as a fundamental and, so far, unaddressed issue. Someone telling me it is ok doesn't cut it, I want to know how it is okay. The biggest problem is that seemingly inconsequntial pieces of information can be strung together to form actionable intelligence by our enemies. The information in play at Gitmo is provided by resources who are likely still in place. When the FBI takes a John Gotti to trial, the undercover agents are sitting in the box to testify against them, not still in the 'hood trying to bust more wise guys.

I hate to burst yur bubble, but we are a LOT nicer to enemies captured ont he battlefield than we once were. If it takes beating the crap out of an enmy to protect our soldiers in the field, I am fine with that prospect. If he has imminent knowledge of pending deaths, so be it. If he has been sitting in Gitmo for two years, he doesn't know of anything imminent and I am not okay with it. War is unbeliveably ugly and it always will be.

Yes, you are a sappy liberal, but that is okay :-) I am a hard core conservative and that is okay too.

Sara said...

I'm actually taking my understanding of what has happened at Gitmo not from the detainees themselves, but from the reports of those service members who investigated allegations of torture, as well as those who spoke out when they were called upon to do things they could not stomach. People like Alberto J. Mora, Heather Cerveny, Samuel Provance. Countless more names that we will never know because their complaints to superiors have been dealt with internally and will never see the light of a FOIA request. The stories are out there, if you are not closed off to hearing from the people whose conscience compelled them to reveal what was being done to the people at Guantanamo.

Hell, Dick Cheney even admitted he authorized waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods at Guantanamo, so why are we still arguing about this?

Federal courts have dealt with sensitive military information before. Just read the Pentagon Papers cases. I'm not saying they are the best equipped place to deal with it, but I do not accept the argument that if a case rests on intelligence from protected sources, that case can never be fairly tried in any form of tribunal. It is very possible to close the proceedings to all but the most essential court personnel. Congress could even create a dedicated court with procedures specifically designed to keep the proceedings sealed. Hell, we have vaccine court, so why not Guantanamo court?

And if you are going to cite the military tribunals Congress created before that were shot down by the SCOTUS, those were found unconstitutional in large part because they allowed the prosecution to keep their evidence from the defendant, which violated due process. One of the lawyers who participated, Stephen Abraham, said it was a total sham because the tribunals heard basically no real evidence. However, the panels were assured the guy was really guilty but that the evidence was all classified, so they should just go ahead and convict him anyway. It was a complete show trial with no actual sifting of the evidence at all to determine if the detention or conviction was warranted. Why bother to have a trial in which no evidence is presented beyond the assurances of the prosecution?

There is a lot of disturbing information out there about how we have dealt with the detainees, and plenty of it comes not from the detainees themselves but from members of our military who spoke out. There's good reason for those of us who are disgusted by what this government has done to feel that way, and it can't all be washed away by saying the detainees' personal accounts are untrustworthy. I can completely exclude those accounts and still come to the informed conclusion that what has been done so far is unconstitutional and wrong. And, so far, the highest court in the land has agreed with me. You could claim they're just a bunch of bleeding heart activist judges too, but wait...all but TWO of them were appointed by Republicans!

Unknown said...

- I thought you got the info from the detainess because that is what you said in the post to which I responded.... "which was far less frightening than the things alleged by the folks held at Gitmo and those subject to rendition to places like Syria."

- We aren't arguing over whether waterboarding took place, but whether or not it is torture.

- The Supreme Court presiding over the tribunals is more evidence that the detainees are not being thrown down a hole and forgotten. They also preside over the civilian courts, so we can proceed with military trials.

- "It is very possible to close the proceedings to all but the most essential court personnel. Congress could even create a dedicated court with procedures specifically designed to keep the proceedings sealed. "

My concern is dissemination of information harvested during discovery, as I stated before. How do you keep the defense team from divulging information to current terror sponsors? Seriously, I would love to think there is a way to do that. It would get me one step closer to saying it is okay to try them here.

- Did the SCOTUS address torture or just the tribunals? I am pretty sure they only addressed the detainees habeus rights and required that they be charged. BTW, every Liberals favorite Republican, John McCain, said the SCOTUS was wrong. :-)

Pokerista said...

Semantics. My point is that we don't NEED the claims of the detainees because we have independent verification from people without a dog in the fight--the service members who blew the whistle and who investigated.

Do you dispute that waterboarding is torture? I sincerely hope you don't consider it fraternity hazing.

Funny, the Bush administration argued the SCOTUS didn't even have the power to hear the appeal of the detainees after Congress tried to take away habeas corpus for them. So it is only because the Court ignored that intention that their appeals were able to be heard and ruled upon.

"My concern is dissemination of information harvested during discovery, as I stated before. How do you keep the defense team from divulging information to current terror sponsors?"

You don't. There is a balancing of interests, and the fundamental right to challenge your detention wins. The best you can do is threaten the participants in the proceeding--lawyers, defendants, judges--with prosecution if they divulge intelligence outside the proceedings.

I think the torture question is currently before the Court but they have not ruled on it yet. They did, however, find that the detainee tribunals as operated under two different statutes were unconstitutional, in part because they did not allow the accused to know or confront the evidence against them. That was my point in citing the SCOTUS decision, the constitutionality of our treatment of these people and of your position that we basically just keep them until the neverending war on terror is over or until they die...which SCOTUS said was not constitutional.

Arguing with you is annoyingly exhausting because you fixate on things at the expense of the bigger picture.

Unknown said...

You made a clear and concise statement, I commented on it and then you changed it completely. That is not semantics, that is "eeling" out as Grift put it. Don't do that because he will stop talking to you, too. :-)

I do not think waterboarding is torture and was clear what I think is torture. I also was very clear that I thought Abu Ghraib amounted to fraternity hazing. I then detailed what I thought that meant.

So I am supposed to rely on the defense attorney to keep secrets that protect the citizens of our country? You don't seriously think the threat would work, do you?

The big picture is comprised of the things on which I "fixate" and they cannot be seperated. I am unwilling to say that the details, like revealing intelligence techniques to our enemies, are unimportant to the big picture, our security. The big picture is protecting our country from foreign military threats because, without that, nothing else is possible. The devil is in the details.

Finally, if this is so annoyingly exhausting, why do you do it?

Sara said...

Good question. I'm done bothering.

chamblee54 said...

Does Dale C. have his own blog?
If you can't say anything nice, say it on your own blog.

Joeventures said...

I was happy to not join a fraternity to begin with.

But after reading this conversation, I'm happier than ever that I never joined a fraternity, much less put up with the sort of torture they inflict on their own recruits.

whatwhatsthescene said...

well said, drgiftgrift.

i'd like to see jim wooten make it through gitmo.

or ANY of gitmo's defenders, for that matter.

doesn't matter if they have been charged with a crime. most of those at girmo have not been charged with anything ever.

if they are there, they must be guilty, so torure them, right? this is the america we grew up in? no, no it's not.

and that's one of many reasons why the bush administration (and it's strident supporters, see above) are a stain on american history...

whatwhatsthescene said...

um, now that i wasted 5 minutes reading some of the comments above, i'd like that time back please.

why are right wing nutjobs such complete clowns?

or is that a disservice to clowns, who are actually amusing at times?

Unknown said...

careful whatwhatsthescene our hall monitor chamblee54 will scold you for not being nice