The Judgement of the Safe

So… that torture report.

One of the advantages of being interested in history is that it gives you perspective. Sometimes – often – the perspective it gives you is “Thank heavens I was born in the mid twentieth century and not the mid sixteenth.”

One of the reasons for this is their treatment of prisoners. Normal Judicial Procedure in Shakespeare’s England was to sweep up all suspects and witnesses, dump them in jail and at the magistrate’s leisure interrogate them to determine if they were in fact guilty of anything.

So, suppose you’re on the street, and the guy next to you gets stabbed. You’re going to jail. While in jail, you’ll have to pay for your own food and you’d best have some bribes available for creature comforts.

But Sarah, you’ll say, we’re not in the sixteenth century. We’re more civilized now. Yes, and thank heavens, though in many ways we’re also softer, and I want you to remember that, as we go on.

Torture was extensively used in the sixteenth century. We’re not talking “won’t let you sleep” or “you must stand up” or even “no water.” No, we’re talking really honest to Bob torture, where they tore you apart bit by bit until you were permanently damaged. It was the only way they knew to get people to talk. Hold on to this, too, there is a reason.

I know in Marlowe’s time – so just before Shakespeare got big – there was a playwright who was arrested on suspicion of nothing much, and when he came out he couldn’t write again, because he couldn’t hold a quill. (And he couldn’t walk, and other stuff.) It’s been very long since I worked in that time period, so I don’t remember his name.

One of the reasons most of us, sane human beings, think that Anne Boleyn was innocent was that the confessions were not only tortured out of her supposed lovers, they were REALLY tortured. We’re talking the stuff of nightmares. Think of the worst possible way to torture someone. Yep, that’s it.

Torture of that kind is used almost nowhere in the world these days. Correction, it’s used nowhere in the western world. You and I and even the anonymous people reading this blog to go scream on twitter what a horrible person I am, know this still goes on, at this level or close enough in the Arab world and in some of the more benighted parts of so called “developing countries.”

When I posted Cedar’s article on police corruption, an Indian FB friend posted that at least police don’t routinely flog the soles of your feet, just because they can, etc.

Yes. So, this goes on in a great part of the world, up to and including the unimaginable Elizabethan tortures if you’re talking Iran or Syria or any of those charming places.

Even next door, I have heard you REALLY don’t want to be arrested in Mexico.

But Sarah, say you, what does this have to do with us? We’re the United States. We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe in individual rights. Our criminals aren’t tortured, why should our enemies be?


First, let me say I disapprove of torture – by which I mean REAL physical torture. Do I need to say this? Oh, yes, I do, there are idiots and SJWs (but I repeat myself) reading this.

I disapprove of pulled fingernails. I disapprove of cut this and that. I disapprove, even, of cane flogging the soles of someone’s feet. Other things I disapprove of – not a complete list – include but are not by any means limited to: beating someone with rubber hoses, burning someone with cigarettes, etc, etc, etc.

What about other levels of torture, i.e. “enhanced interrogation techniques” – sleep deprivation, loud music, etc – how do I feel about them.

Oh, I don’t like them. Depending on the severity of them they can extract false confessions, and I don’t think they should be used on citizens, protected by the constitution of the United States.

Besides, to be fair, the resistance of someone raised in modern America is not that of a man in the sixteenth century. Sure, if you read student doc, a blog on the er… interesting things that show up in emergency rooms in urban America, you probably suspect as I do that such resistance to pain and discomfort is much higher of someone raised in the underclass. Thus the observation that someone who has a low ratio or teeth to tattoos can show up shot through the heart and survive something that a normal suburbanite would never have endured two seconds. But I guarantee they’re still pampered princesses compared to people in the third world who, themselves, might be more sensitive than ANYONE including the upper class in Elizabethan England (who lived in conditions we can’t even fully imagine.)

And that, you see, is the rub. The rub is that first that life, liberty, pursuit of happiness thing? Those are rights given to us by the constitution. By us, I mean Americans by birth or adoption. We are not in fact mandated to give that protection to anyone else. And in many cases it might be ill advised.

Oh, boy, I can hardly write for the screams of the SJWs at that last one.

Chill. Listen. I know reading comprehension is not your forte, and also that you know a lot of things that just ain’t so, however do try to comprehend that this is not a civil war, in any sense. The people on the other side aren’t Americans. They don’t think like Americans, they don’t believe like Americans and they haven’t grown up like Americans.

They’re not also the little brown peoples of your pampered (and racist) imaginations where, because people can tan (to about my level, but never mind) they are inoffensive, clueless, a bit stupid, and will only do bad things in reaction to American evil. Do try to understand these people, though very different from you and htough, perhaps, raised in conditions of privation and material want, are fully realized human beings with their own agenda.

Their beliefs are not the same as yours, but they are – to them – just as important and as real as your beliefs are to you.

Oh, sure, some of their beliefs match yours. They’ve been told by their teachers, just as you were, that America is the source of all evil, and that if they wipe America from the map everyone will be happy or at least that they get to rule. (In this last one they’re at least more realistic than you are, not that they would, get to rule, I mean.)

They and you are wrong. In their case they were told this by their corrupt leaders who are afraid that America will prove so attractive it undermines their tyranny. In your case, you were told this by your corrupt leaders, who want to cater to your vanity and lead you to destroy the constitution and rules that keep them from becoming full tyrants.

But that is a side spur to this. What matters, right here, right now, is that these people are fully actuated human beings, possessed of self determination. And they hate us.

No, please, don’t say “not me”. Be you ever so “progressive” and ready to throw your co-citizens under the bus, they still hate you. In fact, they might hate you more. Their values aren’t ours but tribal honor and loyalty is something the Arab world understands at a gut level.

What this means is that they will try to harm us. 9/11 served as a wake up call for some of us. I suspect it did for you too, and that’s why you’re already siding with the enemy because you think they’ll win. That’s because you view every American through the lens of your circle. Trust me, some of us are neither cowards nor wilting flowers.

And that’s the rub. The other part of the rub. Neither are our enemies.

The people who want to hurt us grew up in conditions that make our normal treatment of prisoners a summer vacation.

Worse, they come from a part of the world where internal restraint of possible violence is not a thing. If you don’t torture them, they don’t assume it’s because you are holding back due to your impeccable morals. No, they assume that you’re not torturing them because you can’t – either because you fear their retaliation or because you’re soft. That means that they will be more sure than ever of their side’s win, and they’re not going to talk. Because, hell, if they talk, their side will do unspeakable things to them. Things that would make Elizabethans blench.

But Sarah, you say (well, those of you who aren’t SJW’s. Those are already shrieking and I don’t understand banshee), that doesn’t make it right for us to torture them or even to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” on them.

Right according to whom? Right how? By whose moral law?

Yeah, sure, it’s against most of the religions dominant in the west (though not where these people come from.) It is also morally repulsive – to us, by Western codes – to hurt someone who can’t defend himself.

Is it realistic, though? Meaning, is it something that can work outside of a movie?

I don’t know. And neither do you. It is not your job to do this, and you can’t know. They’re dealing with a completely different culture, with people raised in much higher hardship levels than even poor people in Detroit, okay? More, they’re dealing with people raised in a culture where might makes right, and who turn that around and assume if there’s no might, there’s no right. Worse, they’re dealing with males in a culture that is a true and extreme patriarchy, a culture where most of these guys think of themselves as invulnerable and untouchable by virtue of being male and by virtue of their religion. If you don’t pierce that cultural bubble, they’re not going to talk.

But surely, Sarah, you say, we’re civilized and there’s stuff we can do to get the truth without torturing people.

Um…. M’kay then. I like science fiction too!

The truth is that the whole psychological science thing never came along as sf writers thirty or fifty or even seventy years ago predicted. The human animal is too unpredictable for an exact science.

Which leaves with the old, icky methods.

Now, perhaps – perhaps – you can work on them with mercy and lovingkindness. Perhaps it works just like in the movies. I don’t know. I’ve never done this work. I knew someone who used to interrogate would-be communist terrorists (a different beast, from a different culture) who said if you have to slap a prisoner you are incompetent. For most prisoners you could get them to crack with the “good cop” routine. But he said in a pinch, and if you had an urgent need, you had to resort to sleep deprivation or making them break potty-training. (Apparently Heinlein was right about this having a devastating effect.) Which are I presume “enhanced interrogation techniques.” (Though not to the water boarding level.)

Here’s the thing: this is not my job, and it is not yours, and it certainly, thank heavens, is not the job of the Sandra Flukes of this world.

So – I don’t know under what time-pressure people were working, and I don’t know what they had to do. And I’m not going to judge them.

It is important to have supervision. People with power over others will get out of control. But it’s also important to know the person coordinating the compilation of this report was Harry Reid and what he’s trying to do. (Mostly make us look away from Gruber’s deposition and from the slo mo disaster this administration has brought to America.) And it’s important to remember two things: you’re not the men doing this and you don’t know their circumstances.

It’s also important to remember that most of the people being interrogated are NOT the peaceful camel herders that the movies portray. These people have histories that, to quote from Grosse Pointe Blanke, read like a demon’s resume. And that’s important, both for what they could do and what you have to get through to make them crack.

Put it this way: Imagine we had a president who really cared when innocent village girls are kidnapped by the Boko Haram. I mean, cared about it more than to have his wife tweet a pouty-face picture saying “Bring back our back our girls.” And kindly, don’t tell me that it’s a foreign country and none of our business. Note that “our girls.” Let’s say we’d captured one of the rat finks who kidnapped these kids. We have to find the rest before they are raped/killed/sold into perpetual sexual slavery to strangers.

What would you do to get that one guy to talk quickly? Think carefully and don’t flatter yourself. You’d do whatever you had to do.

To do anything else would be to go into a street fight and try to fight by Marquess de Queensbury rules. Those work fine in the boxing ring, if everyone is following them. In an alley fight, they’ll get you massacred.

So – do I think we owe it to our higher selves to be better than the parts of the world where prisoners are routinely tortured? Sure. If for no other reason, because it hurts those of our men having to torture. They’re not built or educated for this.

But I also think there’s times and circumstances, and I have neither the training nor the experience nor the knowledge of the circumstances to say “and you must never do this.”

The chokepear and the iron maiden should be out of bounds, but waterboarding? I don’t know. It depends.

To release a report of this kind, with this kind of sensationalism, devoid of context is to invite the ignorant public (and I’m part of this) to pass judgment on things they can’t even imagine.

We can demand that our agents work with as much decency as possible, but we can’t, from where we sit, decide where that line is. We simply don’t have the equipment to do it.

Yes, I believe in individual life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for as many people as possible. But make no mistake, I’m an American first and last. And if you need to violate the rights of those who aren’t Geneva signatories, who don’t recognize any rights and who would blow up men and women and children in a normal morning, in the middle of NYC, to preserve the life and liberty of Americans, it’s not even a contest. Do it.

It goes along with the right of self defense. We have the right to find out what they’re plotting so that we can use to stop attacks on us.

What about innocent camel herders? What about them? Most of these assets we interrogate aren’t so easy to capture that we’re sweeping up crowds, en masse, from the Arab street. Whatever movies tell you, trust me, if we were doing that, you’d have heard about it. In detail. These are people who have committed acts of terrorism in the past – proven, often watched and self-confessed – and will commit them again in the future.

Unless we can figure out what they’re up to.

So, do I like torture? No. I’m as capable of getting on my moral high horse as anyone else. A nd I think the Elizabethan system made for lousy policing, and if we start going that way, even internationally, that’s a BAD thing.

But I also think we’re nowhere near it and our agents, thank heavens, don’t have an unfettered hand in decisions. They are watched and overseen.

The rest of us, here on the street? Sure, they ultimately work for us, and to be fair, we should keep an eye on them. But unless you take the time to read all the reports and have a clearance that allows to you to get what the rest of us don’t, be aware what you’re reading is only half the truth.

And you can’t judge men doing difficult and morally perilous work on the front lines. You just can’t. You can say “I’d prefer we didn’t do this” – so can I. But screaming about the eebils of America? Oh, please. Try being picked up for a traffic violation anywhere in the third world.

Grow up. Understand you don’t know everything and that your moral rules and scolding are not and will never be the last word.

You can hold onto them only because rough men are willing to do rough things on your behalf.

You are not now, and if you’re very lucky you’ll never be, in the sort of morally perilous position where you have to choose between your moral beliefs and someone else’s life.  You’re not in a position where you have to choose whether to be rough to a prisoner or risk territories being taken in which women and children will be raped, treated like chattel, and suffer unimaginable torture.  (For illustration look at the areas taken by Isis.)

Your job is to understand this and to stop demanding that people choose between the black and white that exist only in your imagination and in the movies produced by people for whom a hangnail is unimaginable torture and going without their favorite bottled water an emergency.

Your job is also to wonder why this report was released now, on practices that started being discontinued in Bush’s second term, and to wonder what exactly the people in power now are doing that they’d rather hide behind whipped up outrage at actions since stopped than to examine the actions of the powerful right now.

Stop emoting and start thinking.  Yes, your friends will think badly of you, and the SJWs will shriek some more.  (We should harness that.  Could power entire cities, I tell you.)

But you might prevent you and yours having to suffer far worse than is detailed in those reports.

Maybe.  If you are very lucky.

291 thoughts on “The Judgement of the Safe

  1. Few additional thoughts. Nearly ALL of these. . .individuals. . . were caught ON the battlefield. As Unlawful Combatants.

    Which means, technically, we can shoot them out of hand, and nobody can say “boo”. What “rights” they retain are the ones WE CHOSE to grant them, but may be revoked at any time.

    This is WAR. In war, it doesn’t matter who is RIGHT. All that matters, in the end, is who is left. And I choose my family and my nation, over a bunch of terrorists.

    Because they’d choose THEIR families and THEIR nation, if they win. . .

    1. The Geneva Conventions REQUIRE that unlawful combatants, taken on the field of battle, be executed out of hand — summarily, as it says. This is the judgement and sentence of civilization for their perfidy, which strikes at the foundations of civilization. (And is their purpose in engaging in it.)

      The really despicable thing is that we DO NOT kill them where they stand on capture — for whatever reasons of state convenience and realpolitik. Not that we give them sponge baths while supine.


    2. And then the SJWs will go and have vapors about how under the laws and customs of war, there is no such thing as an unlawful combatant. . . .

      Which, in plain English, means that we named the group. Yes, the terms were “lawful combatant” and “civilian” but that you could shoot a civilian who engaged in warfare (rather than self-defense against soldiers) was well known. Chesterton’s writing in World War I tended to the jingoistic, but when attacking a German report on atrocities in Belgium, he agreed that the Germans had the right to execute civilians who attacked troopers. And in World War II, Volkssturm was not quite the morale boost that Goebbels hoped partly because of doubts that the armbands were a sufficient uniform, and consequent fears that the Allies would exercise their rights to shoot the members.

      1. Good point. Since Viet Nam, our troops are expected to treat anyone who shoots at them or places a bomb as a legal combatant. And we are seeing the reasons why these laws were instituted. As in Mogadishu, where our soldiers killed about 900 local combatants rather than surrender (Durant was treated better than expected simply because of the character of the honorable local man who ended up taking care of him, and he was turned back over to the U. S. Army because our representative said, you need to turn him over or the gloves are off, an empty threat with Clinton in charge, but they didn’t know that.) We are permanently past the point that our men went past during the Battle of the Bulge when they found out the S.S. had murdered all the POWs at Malmedy. Up to Viet Nam, soldiers did not add their own optical sights to their rifles, because this would make the enemy who might capture them think they were snipers; now most U. S. troops serving in combat zones have optical sights on their rifles for deadlier accuracy, because, what’s the difference?

        1. I failed to point out to anyone who did not read “Black Hawk Down” that the Mogadishu forces had recently killed a unit of Pakistani UN troops they captured, mostly by disemboweling them.

          1. Who were, I might point out, “fellow Muslims…”.

            Makes you wonder what might have happened to anybody else…

            Of course, the Pakis had something of a reputation for abusing the Somalis on racial terms, as well. Somalia is a strange little country, filled with people who are also a little hard for the average Westerner to comprehend.

            I sat gate guard when I was a private in Germany with a bunch of Eritrean and Somali refugees who were hired as uniformed security by the Germans for the base, and it was an interesting experience.

            Discovering that the skinny little guy you were on guard with had been an Eritrean fighter on the front lines from childhood to about age 29, and had likely killed more Ethiopians than hunger?

            A little odd–He seemed like such a polite guy, and unless you knew the background of the Eritrean conflict, you’d never have had a clue what he had gone through, and what he’d likely had to do to survive. I was a very polite and respectful person with him, which I regret was not the case with many of my peers. Some of the black guys in the unit liked to make fun of him, and give him crap, but I never did that–If you saw the look in his eyes, when they turned their backs on him? You’d understand.

            I made a point of buying him coffee, and speaking respectfully to him. Especially after the stories of him sneaking up on the Ethiopians late at night with some kind of Eritrean traditional knife…

            1. Story I heard, one of those ‘can’t ever be verified because there were no records.

              This happened back in the day, during the big Estrada-done war against the Muslim separatists in Mindanao, which I think is the ONLY good thing he did. (The person who told it to me related that he had grown up in the area, and knew the attitudes and people, and frankly, sided with the Philippine government on this one. He is an old school journalist, one of the contemporaries of my father’s time in the press.)

              Anyway, he was visiting a military encampment, one of the ones ensconced deep in the mountains, and they’d just gotten through a week-long back and forth engagement with Muslim insurgents, and had finished burying the bodies the day before. All of a sudden, out of the jungle walked a small group of Arabs, puzzling the everliving hell out of the sentries. They walked right up to the front of the gates and started demanding, in English, that their brothers be released from captivity.

              This puzzled the soldiers at the gate even more, because they hadn’t seen any foreigners lost, so they called their captain, who came to the gate and asked them what they wanted. They said, “Set our brothers free, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters!”

              “Ooooh, I see what you mean!” The captain let them into the camp. The journalist says that in ‘short order’ they find out that these Arabs had been financing the local rebels, who had been rampaging, terrorizing, or slaughtering local farmers, both Muslim and Christian – the Muslim ones if they refused to help or shelter or turn on their Christian neighbors, as a ‘message’ to other Muslims in the area.

              Being very accommodating, the captain said he’d let them see their MILF brothers. He gave them shovels and had them dig down into the grave pit. Then they had the Arabs return the shovels and then buried them alive.

              Asked if this had been in a report, the journalist shook his head. “I didn’t report it because while it confirmed that outside groups had been helping the MILF cause instability in the region, it wouldn’t have done any good and Saudi Arabia would have been angry. Besides, those idiots weren’t supposed to be there, and they thought that our soldiers would be soft like American troops. Not after the dead they’d seen.”

                  1. No, especially since my pastor’s name is Biff.

                    The funny thing is, if one of us came up with these groups’ names in our fiction, it would immediately be mocked, and for good reason. But in real life?

                    1. Might I recommend Soft Targets, by Dean Ing, for your reading pleasure? Whole plot revolves around giving terrorists exactly as much respect as they deserve.

                    2. Which one of the Lt Leary novels was it Drake said he couldn’t quite base the battle off of the real one, because noone would actually believe the flagship had been firing blanks the entire engagement?

                1. Yes, one can believe practically any actions attributed to them, no matter how stupid, after one realizes that they chose the acronym themselves… and then expected to be taken seriously.

    3. IIRC, it’s not quite “shoot them out of hand” and more like “a hearing, and then six months later they can be executed.”

  2. One huge glaring gap in all this, of course, is that the Democrats are concerned only with torture carried out by our side. Why have there been no prosecutions for enemy war crimes?

    Heck, why have there been none such since after World War II? We could have snapped up some of those responsible for POW abuse in Korea or Vietnam, if we cared to do so, especially if they imagined themselves safe traveling abroad. For that matter, post 1980’s Vietnam was sufficiently corrupt (and afraid of China) that we could have quietly gotten the Vietnamese themselves to hand over POW camp officers and guards to American justice.

    Why do we hold only Americans to be morally-responsible for their actions? And the Leftists clearly do — I’ve had them look at me as if I were insane for pointing out what I just did here.

  3. Did we behead anyone? Then I think we’re ahead of the power curve right there.

    If you eat meat you’re on the same moral level as the butcher. If your country uses enhanced interrogation techniques, you’re doing it (by complicity). And I am all right with that.

    Someone in the CIA said if these techniques hadn’t been used, we wouldn’t have found bin Laden. And yet the dems scream “Torture doesn’t work!”

    As you point out, we don’t know what we’d do when we’d have to make a choice between our moral beliefs and someone’s life, we should be happy someone else is making that choice. And that someone is watching them.

    And as a parting shot, this was like, what 6 years ago? “What difference at this point does it make?”

    1. Seen on Twitter: “Razor @hale_razor · Dec 9 Benghazi was a long time ago, but let’s have a national conversation about Bush’s CIA policies.”

  4. In one of Tom Kratman’s Terra Nova stories, one of the lesser bad guys was captured by one of the Bigger Bad Guys.

    The Big Bad wanted the Little Bad to give him the activation codes to some nukes.

    The Big Bad threatened to torture Little Bad.

    Little Bad said that “torture doesn’t work” and Big Bad said then I’ll keep torturing you.

    Little Bad asked “what if I give you the wrong codes (which would permanently prevent arming the nukes” and the Big Bad said “then I have no reason to stop torturing you”.

    Little Bad gave up the real codes.

    1. And the thing that those screaming “torture doesn’t work because they’ll make things up!” don’t understand the concept that when you know some of the answers, and can prove that you do, but you don’t let them know WHICH answers you also have, the incentive to be creative is drastically lowered.

      1. well, it’s because they read about Elizabethan torture or at least Anne Boleyn. But here’s the thing, they didn’t make things up so much as “Tell us this is true” shouted the interrogator…

          1. Jerry Pournelle observed once that before the Supreme Court excluded illegitimately obtained evidence, the general practice was to hand over the confession to the jury and explain how it had been obtained. “Yes, I did it!” did not generally win a conviction. Providing details on the crime that were unknown to the general population or even the police, OTOH. . . .

    2. Kratman deals fairly in depth with the fact that torture does in fact work, in that series, and further wrote an essay or two on it that are very good.

      McCain lost any integrity he might have held in my eyes when he stood up and claimed that torture does not work. I can understand a Sandra Fluke or someone, who has never had anything more serious than her birth control payments withheld from her; believing that sort of claptrap. McCain however was a POW in Vietnam, he knows very well that torture does work, he has been there and seen it in action. For him to stand up and say it does not was a bald faced lie; and one that he had to know a significant portion of his listeners knew was a bald faced lie.

      1. He knows torture works because he’s been tortured. I can understand why he might wish to avoid questions about how it worked on him. I can understand him not wanting his country to start down the path toward the people who tortured him.

        I understand, but I don’t agree. He’s simply too close to the subject to make a rational decision. Much like how we forbid rape victims from sitting on the jury of a rape trial. It’s unfair to use his opinion on this subject in making a decision about him (other subjects are fair game, of course).

        1. McCain may also honestly believe that torture of him was unsuccessful. Denial is a powerful detergent.

          His experience of torture in no way makes him an expert on it, he merely has particular insight.

  5. The report has done what it was intended to: get people focused on Bush instead of Obama. All the same, worn-out, tired liberal clichés (Dick Cheney started the War on Terror for fun and profit) which I got sick of 10 flipping years ago have been trotted out once more.

  6. On the radio yesterday, I heard someone say, “How far do we have to go until we’re worse than the Nazis?”
    Well, let’s see…
    1. We’d have to use these techniques on our own people, and engage in widespread use of them. Even Dianne Feinstein said only around 50 or so CIA employees engaged in these practices.
    2. We’d have to round up the entire Sunni population of Iraq and Pashtun population of Afghanistan and every Muslim in the country and starve them to death while using them as slave labor.
    3. We’d have to invade several more countries and do the same things to their hostile populations (say, around four or so.)
    4. We’d also have to make euthanasia and abortion/infanticide for disabled children mandatory
    5. We’d have to ban all political parties opposed to these things, and then round up their leaders down to the county level and starve them to death while using them as slave labor.

    So, in other words, yes this whole torture thing is awful, but the Chomskyite left really needs to actually bother to read some history.
    The right’s complaints, at least, sound like they have some relationship to reality, even if they are slightly overwrought.

    1. No, the Democratic Party is already worse than the German National Socialist Workers Party.

      The vast majority of the victims of the NSDAP were not American Nationals at the time.

      The level of ongoing concern about what the Romans did to the druids, what the druids did to their own people, or Joe Kony indicates that there is some sort of rating system that goes off closeness.

      While the Democratic Party falls short of the NSDAP, if one rates all humans the same in each category, the Democratic Party comes out ahead once you correct for their victims being Americans.

      If foreigners have constitutional rights, then we are obligated to protect them, which means empire.

    2. “4. We’d also have to make euthanasia and abortion/infanticide for disabled children mandatory”

      And have an ever decreasing standard for disabilities. By the end of the war, doctors were killing kids for badly molded ears.

    3. Let’s test this.

      The US is just as bad as Nazi Germany!

      Now, if I am not “disappeared” within a week, you’ll know the above statement is false.

  7. Okay, I know you know this and you know I know you know this, but it must nonetheless be said: The Constitution does not, repeat, NOT “give” us rights. It RECOGNIZES pre-existing inalienable rights.

    It is on the basis of such recognition that we delegate a portion of our sovereignty to the government.

    Non-citizens, having not delegated a damned thing to the government have no claims under the Constitution except those which we benignly extend. And which we can malignly withdraw.

    1. An important quibble. Non-citizens, outside this country, have no claims under the Constitution. If they are inside this country by and large, they have delegated their sovereignty just as everyone else has, they just do not get to vote on their representation. Also, as soon as you say that non-citizens inside the country have no rights, you had best be prepared to prove your citizenship at all times, or you will have non of your rights recognized and after you are crippled, killed, or stripped of all posessions, you might get a “sorry, we did not know that you were a citizen”. Maybe.

        1. I seem to recall that there was a movie about that. “Born in East LA” if I recall. I did not see it, so I am relying on the publicity at the time.

      1. That only applies to non-citizens who have delegated their sovereignty to our government, i.e. those here legally. Illegal aliens do not count.

    2. I read “endowed by their Creator” as “We won’t discuss this, but we will cross frozen rivers and kill you for it. On Christmas Day.” Regardless of the truth of religion, that’s who we are.

  8. It is also morally repulsive – to us, by Western codes – to hurt someone who can’t defend himself.

    Except when that person is a beneficiary of “privilege” in which case any attempted defense is an exercise of that “privilege” and thus an act of oppression.

    As the president of Smith was recently advised, ALL lives do not, in fact, matter.

    1. Because it’s convenient for Obama to have him some Bush hatred right now.
      I’m sorry, that is the truth and I haven’t had enough caffeine to wrap the thing in clean linen.

      1. You racist white Portagee you!
        Had the midterms gone the other way any bets as to this whole issue never seeing the light of day?
        As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in downstate Illinois under the oh so benevolent thumb of the Chicago machine. All I can say is der leader certainly learned his lessons well, damnit.

  9. In a fanfic piece I did a few years back I used sensory deprivation interrogation. If my research was correct, it is wicked, if time consuming. No _physical_ harm is done to the prisoner, but it supposedly gets results.

    1. It is my understanding that nothing was done to any detainees that is not also regularly done to our own soldiers in SERE training. By our people, to our people, to prepare them for what they might encounter in a real situation.

      1. Doesn’t the Geneva Convention specify that enemy POWs have to receive the same treatment as their captor’s soldiers? In that case, no problem, we’re following the law to the letter. ^_^

        1. No, were we to follow that rule all those detainees at Gitmo would have long since been publicly beheaded on TV.
          The US, since at least WWII has always treated its prisoners of war better than our enemy has done to those of us they capture. The German Stalags at least paid lip service to Geneva, Japan not so much, and we had best leave North Korea and North Viet Nam for another day’s discussion.

    2. Echoes of the very first Twilight Zone episode- “Where is Everybody” -with the AF guy cracking after being in complete isolation for weeks… and he was a *volunteer* doing an experiment to see if a single astronaut could endure a mission to the Moon.

      (Trivia tangent: the episode was originally supposed to have a twist ending, but it was omitted so as not to risk alienating the audience. Though it was an interesting twist, I like that they didn’t include it in this episode, especially since they used it to great effect in the second season’s “King Nine Will Not Return.”)

      I’d like to read that piece sometime if you’re willing, Wyldkat.

        1. I am a fan of what writing of his I have read, and have been visiting his blog on the regular. Your recommendation may tip the scales in favor of a purchase. Christmas is coming!

      1. I’ll have to pull my TZ collection out and rewatch that episode and then find King Nine. -sigh- Have the whole set and only made it through half of season one. Just not enough hours in the days.

        The story in question, “Song of Silence”, is located in the Gatchaman Fanfiction Archives. I have a collection of just over a dozen stories ranging from silly to serious – from barely readable to not half bad. (in my highly biased opinion.)

        No account is necessary to read, just to leave comments.

        ((If you’re not familiar with Gatchaman or any of it’s American variations, it is a 1972 Anime – so it’s bad SF, but fun to write. If you are familiar with the series, I write *very* AU.))

        1. “Battle of the Planets” was my absolute favorite thing at six years old. I’ve since found an English dub of complete Gatchaman episodes on YouTube (it may be taken down by now, it’s been a while). I’m sure I’ll feel at home! Thanks.

    3. I have a panic reaction that is apparently rather violent in instances where I think I’m having trouble breathing and then get startled. I don’t know, because the one well observed time it happened I blacked out for at least five minutes. I’ve also been low enough on sleep that I hallucinated a giant black cat running next to my car. (Maybe. Different argument….)

      I very much believe that waterboarding and sense dep and sleep dep are all very nasty, and work. Wouldn’t want to use them for anything but extreme cases… but still don’t believe they’re torture.

      1. The reason I never learned to swim is that if water goes above my chest and is cold I DO become a scared cat. A very large, lethal scared cat. Dad gave up. 😛
        So, I imagine…

        1. The reason why a person has to be really brave to rescue a drowning person. He finds a large, lethal scared cat wrapped around him.

          1. That’s why rescue swimmers have to learn nerve pinches that are so painful as too immobilize a victim.

        2. I do not disparage the unpleasantness — for some, the horror — of waterboarding. But here’s a prism for viewing it: Would you undergo the procedure to raise money for charity*?

          Waterboarding, I might want $100, you might want $10,000 but flensing? Nails pulled out? Fingers removed a joint at a time? Not for any amount.

          *Pick mainstream charity of your preference: Salvation Army, Wounded Warriors, March of Dimes, Comic Book Defense Fund …

      2. I’ve also been low enough on sleep that I hallucinated a giant black cat running next to my car.

        There were little black poodles jumping (backwards) out of the car in front of me. The one with the *really* fat guy–nearly as big as the car–sleeping on the roof.

        Then the sharp-curve sign turned into a utility truck and back.

      3. “I very much believe that waterboarding and sense dep and sleep dep are all very nasty, and work. Wouldn’t want to use them for anything but extreme cases… but still don’t believe they’re torture.”

        If my research was any indication, sen-dep and sleep dep are very effective. Didn’t look into waterboarding.

        Heck, half the results I saw were from *college* psyh studies, so if we can do that to our “College Kids” then we can do it to the prisoners – just call it “enhanced studies”.

  10. As pointed out, these folks are not some random nice person pulled from the streets. they are illegal combatants who can be shot on sight by our forces.
    My biggest beef is after so long, why are so many of these still alive? We are not likely to get any good information from some slimeball who has been getting fat on Halal for more than 5 years.
    I’ll leave off how I think we should have them shot by a Jewish Lesbian using a lard lubed bullet, cremated, ashes fed to pigs, the pig manure cremated and the ash mixed into ceramic used for urinals installed in a synagogue.

    Also, it is hard to call something “torture” when the same methods are used on our own soldiers during certain forms of training.

    1. Ah, but in every single novel and movie about the War on Terror, everybody in Gitmo is a well-spoken young Arab man who did get snatched off the streets and got hauled away with a bag over his head so that the CIA could steal Mideast oil.

      1. So, that’s … what, about two dozen people who saw those movies, and another couple hundred who read the books?

        OTOH, there’s no telling how much of that film footage was bootlegged in the M.E. and inserted into fauxcumentaries (and not just the ones by Michael Moore.)

  11. A baseline for defining torture is whether a reasonable person (so all you SJWs take one step back) would be unwilling to undergo the technique.

    Having the soles of my feet beaten? ‘kay, maybe, but as I already have bad feet I think I can imagine the effect and would much rather not.

    Having body parts cut off? Getting flensed? ANYthing to do with knives, axes, scalpels, hammer, tongs, vises (okay, nipple clamps we’ll discuss in private) or needles — that’s right out. All of it, Don’t need to try it.

    Anything Game of Thronesy — molten lead in the rectum, for example — doesn’t need trying either. Particularly House Bolton entertainments.

    Water boarding? WTF, bring it on. I can see it might be traumatic but no permanent physical damage, so I have no problem.

    “Torture” is a word thrown about for rhetorical demagogic purpose, to disable critical thinking in a culture which deems it torture to be wearing 4″ heels for five hours.

    1. I’m pretty sure I’d rather be water boarded than wear 4″ heels for five hours. Given my mass and the state of my feet, the end result would be less damaging.

        1. back when I was a skinny young thing I had 7 inch heels on a pair of sandals, mostly for the purpose of infuriating the guy I was then dating. It was walking en pointe the whole time 😉

    1. Didn’t you notice Jon Gruber was testifying before a Congressional Committee about his lying to misleading the stupid public about what Obamacare actually does and how it actually works.

      Then there are the 2010 emails between Lois Lerner and the Election Crimes Division of the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ’s Criminal Division. See:

      1. Actually the problem isn’t what Gruber said in all those videos, of which a new seems to turn up every day, but the attitude of Gruber and his cohorts. The long videos are SO much better than those little snippets that have attracted all the attention. You really get a good feel for how the elites think and it’s pretty ugly.

      2. The left after all do seem to have a propensity for excusing their bad behavior by pointing at other bad behavior. And when there is none to point to they just make chit up. Zeus Odin Yaweh somebody please let’s get some adults to take charge instead of this endless run of petulant spoiled teens of advanced age.

    2. What is Obama doing? Trying to stay unimpeached. Trying to finsh out his term without going down in even Liberal Establishment history as aflailing incompetant.

  12. Enhanced interrogation concerns me (as it ought concern all of us, vigilance is critical), I don’t like it. I’d go so far as to say I detest it.

    Which is not to say I’d rule it out.

    One of my concerns regarding enhanced interrogation stems from a knowledge of my own capacity for violence. The Boko Haram illustration is apt, and something I’ve been in a position to contemplate before.

    Once upon a time in dusty Iraq, along about the time the insurgency was having some success against LOGCAP convoys, shortly after Thomas Hamill broke free, a rumor floated around. I have no idea the veracity, but it’s not really important. It was said the insurgents were trying to capture an American woman, so they might execute her on video and break the American spirit.

    It wasn’t nearly my first opportunity to mentally explore my limits, but it was an interesting reminder.

    Vigilance and oversight. Critical doubt, cynicism, skepticism. All of this and more are appropriate when the agents of our government wield power. (If only the screeching flowers understood what this paragraph really meant…)

    We must watch carefully. Because some of us…

    If Boko Haram had one of my girls — I’d cast aside all hope for my soul and do the job.

    1. They always seem to think that they have a monopoly on viciousness, and that by trying to “break our spirit” they are not running any serious risks of raising our wrath.

      1. They do think it. I’ve talked to various ME’ners, most of whom were average citizens. We baffle them: apparent strength, unused. They’re not sure if we’re weak, squeamish or what.

        The insurgency jumped straight to the blinkered assumption of weak. We’ve yet to correct that assumption.

          1. Yep. I’ve met a few people who’ve been to the West and had a little better understanding of the scope. But not enough to influence the rash.

    2. “capture an American woman, so they might execute her on video and break the American spirit.”

      Lest anyone forget, that was the whole opening scenario of Ghost.

    3. It was said the insurgents were trying to capture an American woman, so they might execute her on video and break the American spirit.

      Sounds like someone actually listened to the intel guys. That’s a basic statement of how these guys work.

  13. Principal Wood: There’s only three things these kids understand — the boot, the bat, and the bastinada. (He laughs. Buffy stares at him.) It’s a… it’s a… it’s a bad joke. It’s the bastinada. No one ever knows what that thing is.
    Buffy: A wooden rod used to slap the soles of the fee in Turkish prisons, but if made with the correct wood, makes an awesome billy club.

    That may be a sign you’re dealing with a really evil regime: that torture isn’t something they might resort to in an extreme emergency, but they actually have custom instruments produced for particular tortures.

  14. America is first, a social contract. Its behavior is only relevant between two contract holders. For everyone else, I suggest the Kzinti Hot Needle of Inquiry, but Waterboarding is probably quicker. Sometimes, just knowing what is next makes the tongues looser.

    When one of the two choices involves the lives of friends, family other Americans, the rationale for what interrogation technique is ‘beyond moral’ can wait to Sunday 1/2 time. Interrogators should ‘err on the side of saving lives’ in their decisions, and have no regrets on doing so.

    P.S. The needles must be heated in pork fat.

    1. Let me know if you ever set foot in my country, so I can be well armed and ready to shoot you on sight. If that genuinely is your attitude towards everyone not an American citizen, you are not safe to have around.

        1. No, I don’t know that is what he means. Look, he is explicitly saying that questions of morality are only to be asked by Americans about other Americans: America’s behaviour ‘is only relevant between two contract holders’. In other words, America can do anything it likes to any foreigner, and that’s just tickety-boo with him.

          I am going here by exactly what he said. If he did not mean that, he should not have said it. If you have evidence that he meant something else, point me at his words saying so – not yours.

            1. So, rather than address the rampant violations of the laws of warfare being perpetuated by a bunch of uncivilized people in the Middle East, you’d rather start a shooting war with the US?

              That seems to be incredibly counter productive towards reducing global torture levels.

              All I can figure is, you either, don’t seriously believe what you are saying, or you haven’t really considered the ramifications there of.

              1. Shooting someone you believe to be a psycho after he enters your country, based on his own words, is not starting a shooting war with the US.

                Might get you in jail for murder, but it cannot even for dramatic effect be considered “starting a shooting war with the US.”

                I don’t think Tom’s reaction was an especially good way of pointing out a way that what someone said could easily be interpreted, to very bad effect, but at least it was a reasonable reaction to the odd interpretation.

          1. “America’s behaviour ‘is only relevant between two contract holders’.”

            Actually that statement there very specifically excludes your country, since both you and us are signatories of the Geneva Convention we ARE contract holders. Terrorists from your country (or terrorists from the US going to your country) are contract breakers, but unless they are specifically endorsed by your government, they are individuals breaking the contract, not representing your country as a whole.

            1. There is another exception. I think most nations these days expect that they will be spied on in one form or another by other countries, even allies. Traditional spies have always been treated as non-uniformed combatants and generally not subject to Geneva protections, and although we recognize that they are government-endorsed, we don’t recognize them as wholesale repudiation of the Geneva conventions by the endorsing government.

              Although these days the penalty for spying from a friendly nation is more likely a private nastygram to the embassy of the endorsing government in question with the threat of a public nastygram to follow…

              1. Which was also why it was/is SOP to deny any knowledge or association with a caught spy, and one reason that spies were supposed to be ‘clean’ with nothing tying them back to their government. It is sort of an exception, but the theory is that their isn’t supposed to be any proof that the spy is working for his government, no matter what the capturing government KNOWS they don’t really have the proof to back it up.

          2. It is pretty explicitly explained by context. There was loud whining in the Bush years, now silent, claiming that the protections in the US Constitution outright applied to people in general, including in your country.

            Those statements were false. If they had been true, Americans would be obligated to rule your country.

            I, for one, want nothing of that.

            Barring only your country getting into a military dispute with mine, involving the essential sovereignty of my country, and even then your people would have to work at holding the attention of mine.

            Under US Law, protections for foreign persons living in foreign jurisdictions is mostly not in the Constitution, but in treaties and other Federal laws. These later are easier to adjust.

            If Americans deciding who may be killed or tortured under American law is not to your liking, and diplomacy does not satisfy, perhaps you can get your fellows to try killing us, and see if we come to see things your way.

  15. Perhaps ATH needs a glossary? By searching for SJW and going back to May, I’ve worked out that the SJ part is “Social Justice”, but what about the “W”? Whiners?
    Please elucidate.

      1. Weenies.

        This works doubly well given the vast overlap between the SJW crowd and those who believe sausage-shaped-objects are magically the source of all evil in the world today.

        1. …and I find myself remembering a certain villain from Freakazoid! retorting:
          “NO! YOU ARE THE WEENIE!!!”

  16. I’ve always had a problem with the SJW class. They never have experienced the consequences of their beliefs which is why they have proliferated in Western society.

    Unless one is a sadist or psychotic, doing violence to another human being can be psychologically traumatic. Did you know that in WWI, they had a lot of problems on the battle field with soldiers being reluctant to shoot at their enemies? The targets they used for training were the standard bulls-eye ones you’d use at the range. Once they changed the targets to human silhouettes, the incidences dropped.

    This reluctance to do violence hangs on the recognition of the entity that you are about to do violence to as a fellow human being. If that connection is broken, for whatever reason, all bets are off. Group using violence to realize their agenda share that characteristic. If you are dealing with someone who has decided that you aren’t human, and more to the point deserving of extermination, offering to hold hands and sing Kumbaya puts you at a disadvantage – usually with fatal consequences.

    If you could get information from individuals who think nothing of beheading people just by asking nicely, then we wouldn’t need to have this discussion.

    1. “I’ve always had a problem with the SJW class. They never have experienced the consequences of their beliefs which is why they have proliferated in Western society.”

      Disconnecting people from suffering the consequences of their decisions and actions is always a bad idea. The group of people that you’re describing as the “SJW class” has been disconnected from consequence for generations, now. They’re quite the same people who got us involved in Vietnam, against the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and who subsequently disowned the entire situation, along with the second- and third-order effects deriving therefrom. You will really have to go digging in history to find a more egregious example of soft-headed thinking, and outright betrayal. The Democrats got us into Vietnam, and then when Nixon managed to finally extricate us with a somewhat half-ass victory, the Democrats in the person of Teddy Kennedy turned around and betrayed the solemn promises made to South Vietnam in the treaties we signed. I’m still not entirely convinced that he wasn’t an active, knowing tool of the Soviets, either–Witness what that little drunken pervert did during the Reagan years, virtually offering to betray the nation to the Soviets.

      “Unless one is a sadist or psychotic, doing violence to another human being can be psychologically traumatic. Did you know that in WWI, they had a lot of problems on the battle field with soldiers being reluctant to shoot at their enemies? The targets they used for training were the standard bulls-eye ones you’d use at the range. Once they changed the targets to human silhouettes, the incidences dropped.”

      Mmmm… Not so much, I’m afraid. You don’t need to be a psychotic or sadistic to kill people, and the assignment of that capability to the category of “mental illness” is a first-order error of thought. It can be psychologically traumatic to properly socialized members of a modern Western society, who grew up in a mostly Judeo-Christian cultural matrix, but if you think that that makes it somehow a universal truth of the human condition, I’d like to introduce you to some readings in history. Contemplate the level of “psychological trauma” demonstrated by such disparate parties as the average Roman legionary, whose wartime exploits almost always included a level of conduct that today we’d term “horrific war crime”, or the amount of PTSD displayed by your average Mongol trooper after doing unto Samarkhand what they did. D’you really think that there were hordes of Mongolians suffering from PTSD trauma, after slaughtering the entire populations of those cities at swordpoint, and who also made a point of exploring the entrails of their victims for any little treasures the residents thought to hide by swallowing them?

      I’d be laughing at you, right now, but the sad fact is that you’re only a product of your times and home culture–You don’t know any better, and have ascribed things to others that you feel yourself, which means you’re probably a decent, civilized human being. You think these things are natural, universal, and the fact that they aren’t is something you’re only intellectually aware of.

      You’re also totally unsuited for survival in the real world, where the cultural values and mores you were taught and which you absorbed to the point where you describe their lack as a “mental illness” neither exist, nor work.

      If you truly think that normal human behavior is a sign of mental illness, you’re in for a rude shock the moment you actually encounter it–Because, you are the aberration, not the norm. The norm is that insular tribesman who has not one issue with killing you because you’re not a member of his tribe. What you and I grew up with? That’s the aberration, the oddity–It’s a triumph of the will, a veneer established by civilization and the hard work of our forebears. It is also horribly, horribly fragile.

      And, as an aside? That vignette about the change in training from bullseye targets to silhouettes? That’s pretty much bullshit, entirely. The change in training you’re describing didn’t take place until after the Korean War, particularly in the US Army. The Marines never really adopted it, either–They were still using mostly bullseye targets on known-distance ranges into the 1990s. It’s also a fraud, mostly perpetrated by S.L.A. Marshall, a man who is best described as a fabulist, and not a historian. So much of his work is fraudulent that it is not even funny, and the amount of stuff he took credit for is beyond belief.

      The biggest reason they changed the training had little to do with some fantasy “reluctance to kill” issue that they were trying to condition out of the troops; it was really a hell of a lot simpler than that. If you train people to shoot at bullseye targets, then guess what? They look for bullseye targets mounted on great, big frames on the battlefield, and when they don’t see those, they don’t shoot. By changing the targets over to more realistic silhouettes that are partially hidden in brush, they made training more realistic, and conditioned the shooter to look for things that actually, y’know, looked like men presented against real-world backgrounds, as opposed to big round things on white sheets.

      I’m here to tell you: When someone else is shooting at you, and you’re scared shitless, as you almost always will be in a combat situation? Your “empathy for others” goes right out the f**king window, and you’ll do things that you never imagined you might, to include setting those heavily-armed strangers on fire. You may, as a civilized person, experience some issues after the fact, but in the doing? Bud, you’re going to kill like a champion as soon as your hindbrain processes that whole “him, or me…” thing.

      All that bullshit cited by Grossman and Marshall, in their works? I don’t lay that off to any “reluctance to kill”, at all. It boils down to piss-poor training, more than anything else, along with lousy leadership. Ever wonder why the Germans didn’t have a major problem with that issue, and we did? It’s because they trained the living shit out of their men, before they saw combat, and then closely supervised them. We sent a bunch of half-trained amateurs off to war, didn’t provide them with effective leadership, and then decided to derive “universal truth” from their experiences afterwards. Morons, one and all.

      Anyone believing the twaddle that Marshall put forth doesn’t have one whit of real-world experience–If you think that I’d tolerate only having two or three men out of my squad actually firing at the enemy, or that I couldn’t tell who’d been doing so from checking their ammo pouches and watching them? You’re delusional. The fairy-tale BS he describes in his books is just that–Fairy tales he made up in support of the stuff he’d already come up with. Some runny-nosed little cowardly shit doesn’t fire at the enemy during an assault or defense, he’s risking my life and the lives of every man on the team. Care to guess how that would go over, in your average combat unit? Yeah, right… I think you can do the math.

      Although, when I think about it, that might be a good explanation for the exquisitely high casualty rates suffered by individual replacements fed into combat actions–Their peers applied corrective action with a bullet. No matter what, that sort of behavior won’t survive more than one or two actions–It happens a third time, and the peer review process is likely to be quite fatal.

      1. I think he was using “can be” as in, if there’s no chance of trauma at all you’re crazy, not “can be” as in “you have to be a little crazy to not suffer trauma.”

        1. Either way, it represents a huge blind spot: You don’t have to be crazy to be a killer of men, women, and children. You just need a clarity of vision, the willpower, and the means with which to do it.

          If you believe otherwise, you’re rather prone to falling prey to the same intellectual fallacies that did in many of Germany’s Jews during the war: “Oh, they’re not talking about me. These are my fellow Germans, civilized people… I served in the Great War… They’re talking about those other Jews, those nasty, filthy uncivilized ones from Eastern Europe… They won’t kill me, I’m a good German. See, here are my medals from the Kaiser…”.

          There’s a reason why you should look askance at any and all strangers you don’t know well. What’s going on in that mind, behind those eyes? You have no real idea. Maybe the conditioning took, maybe it didn’t.

          Hell, there are a few family members under whose roof I won’t sleep unless there’s a loaded gun under my pillow, and a locked door on the bedroom.

          And, if you think I’m joking? I’m not.

          1. Your response suggests that my attempt to explain didn’t work, since you seem to be arguing on a totally different topic. Can’t think of a different way to put it, though.

            1. My apologies, then… What I’m objecting to in his post is the idea that “capacity to kill” automatically equates to “mentally ill”. Mainly because the corollary to that idea is that “sane” means “safe”, and that the sane aren’t a potential danger to your life. You don’t have to be nuts to be a killer, at all.

              If anything, I am rather more worried about the sane person who decides to kill me than the nutter. The sane person is going to have a clearly thought-out plan, and one that might work at getting past my paranoia and defenses. The crazy person? They’re a lot easier to spot, and they might be distracted by their drive to have the cat prosecuted for war crimes against the local mice…

              1. The Carrot Rule. (ie, if there’s someone pointing a gun at you, pray they are a bad man; a good man will kill you quickly, in all meanings of it)

                I’ll try it again… don’t think it’s really an appology needed thing, just a mismatch of understanding… basically, if someone doesn’t have the capacity to be harmed by harming another person, they are broken.

                In our culture, as you point out, we’ve got a very strong teaching to try to make that person identifier thing apply to everybody. I know it’s not universal– Christ’s idea really was radical…but that’s also why, I think, you read it the way you did. Because you KNOW how common it is for people to assume their “everybody is people” thing is a normal human reaction, when as best I can tell the normal human reaction is “MY people are real.” And that a lot of Americans have double-think where they will say “oh, yes, of course all people are real” but will then dehumanize, to the point of cheering the violent death of innocents, those who aren’t their people.

                The Middle East is still the culture that Christ was so radically countermanding. If not worse. But a lot of….Westerners? I guess?… can’t accept that our world view is so vastly shaped by history, and so they have to assume that things are universal when they’re not. That triggers the GI:GO.

                If I am right about what he was saying, then you actually agree, but what you’re “hearing” isn’t the same…. and I think that was clear as mud, but I’ve got a headache and am so tired….

                1. What one side of the debate is inclined to forget is that for tribal cultures the only human beings are members of your tribe and its allies (maybe.)

                  Thus it entails no distress to kill non-members of the tribe. In fact, it is meritorious, like killing a rabid weasel caught sneaking into the communal chicken hut.

                  It is impossible to discuss this topic intelligently without recognizing that basic fact.

                  OTOH, civil wars are widely known as the bloodiest of conflicts, and they pose no such challenge to the definition of human beings.

              2. Are there crazy people that have the capacity to kill? Sure there are, but I’m not so sure that there are sane people that don’t have the capacity to kill. To absolutely rule out the capacity or necessity of killing another human, regardless of circumstances, is the very definition of insanity.

                I’m not even so sure that I would consider you sane if you had a “psychologically traumatic” reaction to killing someone in some of those circumstances. There are plenty of circumstances where the only sane reaction is to kill someone, and I can’t really see having a long term* traumatic reaction to doing so in some of those circumstances as being anything like normal.

                *from context I am assuming he is talking long term PTSD type reaction, not having the shakes for a couple minutes after the deed is done.

      2. By changing the targets over to more realistic silhouettes that are partially hidden in brush, they made training more realistic, and conditioned the shooter to look for things that actually, y’know, looked like men presented against real-world backgrounds

        Until relatively recently most men had experience hunting and did not need training in identification of camouflaged targets. The bulls-eye was a simple tool for measuring accuracy of troops already able to effectively identify and target obscured enemies.

    1. Rick, it’s possible. It was a throw away line in All Night Awake. Part of my issue is that I USED to have an eidetic memory, so I didn’t have any significant notes on research BECAUSE duh, I remembered. Then I fell and hit my head. there are entire periods of my life of which I remember not a single day, and some of them are recent. Things happen and I completely forget them. Unfortunately I’m JUST NOW, in middle age learning to take notes and schedule stuff on paper. It’s very weird NOT remembering.

      1. He’s the only candidate. Barbara O’Sullivan says: “At Newgate Prison, Thomas Kyd underwent interrogation and rigorous torture by the pressing and crushing of his fingertips under the instructions of William Deyos, one of the Keepers of Newgate.” Other sources say he was racked.OTOH, the best scholarly sources I have say that his torture at Newgate is probable, but there’s no documentary evidence. As is the case for Shakespear, or Marlowe, or a bunch of others, there’s damned little surviving documentation of the various players and playwrights of the period before the theater became legitimate. He was picked up on a charge of heresy after they found some of Marlowe’s arionist writings inter-mingled with his papers.

        Anyway, he’s got to be the one you were thinking of.

        As to your not remembering, yeah, I understand. I have never been able to keep a schedule because I would become distracted and forget about an appointment until after it was due to have happened. I’ve always been subject to falling into a fugue state and losing hours (or sometimes days) in work. But even without the brain trauma you suffered, my medium term memory has suffered. I remain hopeful, and have some evidence that the problem is that the index is becoming full, and that adding new material into the index is increasingly difficult because there’s so much in there already that the indexing function is lagging badly. I still can learn, I can learn prodigious amounts, but I now have to take the time to incorporate it.

        Fortunately for the rest of my life, I have been able to employee an assistant to take care of the fussy bits of my day to day schedule — thank God.

        1. well, except I dwelt so deeply in this stuff, that it could be another one. there was a whole set of them employed by Ned Alleyn who was sort of a packager of the day. There’s indications sometimes he locked (well, tossed) fifteen of them in a room and said “I need a tragedy on… blah blah in three days.”

    2. According to Wikipedia, it’s believed he was tortured, but it says nothing about his being subsequently crippled.

      Possible the question is still in the air, and Sarah happened on an account that thought it true.

  17. The whole point is to make their political opponents subhuman. That way, they can start the revolution with a clean conscience.

    1. They couldn’t start a bonk in a brothel, much less a revolution. The Ferguson thing is their attempt, after the OWS failed to ignite the grass roots. (Rolls eyes SO hard they fall out.)

      1. Agree absolutely. The thing is though, they think this time it will work. And when they crash and burn they piss and moan about how unfair and biased and racist and misogynist everyone outside their circle is, lick their wounds, and gear up for another run.
        It would be laughable how predictable they are were it not for the significant collateral damage done to innocent bystanders in the process.

    2. And THIS is somehow the thing that really frosts my flakes. There are REAL bad guys out there, who wouldn’t bat an eye at killing every last self-deluded mother’s son of them. But they prefer not to grapple with them at all. They have a softness of mind that mirrors their luxury-softened bodies. So they choose for their targets their fellow citizens, people who grew up in the same country and times as they, who DID “build that” for all to enjoy in freedom and peace. They have no problem betraying their heritage by reducing we who share it to the status of “legitimate target of physical violence” – witness the unsubtle and blatant “old folks should die off” and “unborn babies are just clumps of cells” and related preaching.

      The cultural and class warfare propaganda, the “achievers are victimizing you” and “success is unfair” stuff is different only in degree, not kind. We scoff at those bellweathers of anti-humanity but their poison certainly works, because quite ordinary and everyday people live their whole lives seriously desiring that all the members of their personal “oppressor class” be exterminated.

      Luckily, many of them are also profoundly lazy, and can’t be bothered to do more than whinge on social media about it. A real fight to the actual death against someone who has a lot worth fighting for? Ewwwwww. (They fight back so horribly unfairly. When will we finally pass gun control WAKE UP AMERICA!!eleven!) But their poison is seeping into the cultural groundwater and folks without these qualms are taking up the cause and that’s when you get your actual riots and other serious unrest. And once the latte shops have to close and the boutique food stores can’t get the fair trade baby kale and the police are too overwhelmed to protect their fat soft hides any longer, they’ll wail and cry that this must have been the fault of everyone else but them, the fools.

      Since their fellow travelers all fete and celebrate each other for such “bold thinking,” they never notice exactly how crazy it is that they are actively criminalizing the very people most likely to save all our lives if the world goes pear-shaped, while also busily at work making that outcome the more likely.

      Sorry, that was long. It just…. erg… GRRRRRRR…. qpg908qnn avrn;cd;a

  18. The famous Air Force gadfly/OODA loop guy/Warthog designer/patron saint of Marine warfighting, Colonel John Boyd, famously said that holding the moral high ground was also a weapon of war, and one of our most powerful ones.

    American soldiers are particularly good at being the good guys, and eke every advantage out of it. American soldiers fight pretty badly whenever they think they might be the bad guys. I don’t know if the same is true of American intelligence officers, but I would assume it is. This is one of the big reasons that Communists and leftists are always trying to eliminate America’s moral advantage over most of the world.

    So yes, I think it was stupid and counterproductive, as well as evil, to abandon the WWII doctrine of no torture. I resent that I spent five or six years refusing to believe that the Bush administration would ever authorize such a thing, and I regret that I didn’t start writing disapproval letters to the White House when the first rumor came in.

    Interrogators with strong guidelines are forced to become creative and tricky. Putting on the thumbscrews is a lot less creative than messing with somebody’s head in a non-hurtful way. Even the UK guys in WWII, with their extremely flexible unwritten constitution, found that it worked better to serve tea and sympathy to even the most horrific monsters. (And of course, the WWII interrogators could hold their moral advantage over people’s heads, too.)

    This doesn’t mean that we are equal to Nazis or KGB or terrorists, not by a long shot. But I do feel betrayed. I did not elect the Bush administration so that we could have CIA torture chambers, just like the feverdreams of those crazy Ft. Benning protestors. Even if they don’t care if it’s one of their presidents doing it, I care if it’s any of ours, left or right.

    This doesn’t mean that I believe in being super-nice to unlawful combatants, and sure, we should start shooting most of them as spies. But if we’re going to hold them captive, we shouldn’t be torturing them, any more than we’d torture snakes. It’s un-American and injurious to the war effort.

    1. Look, the soldiers are nice in contact with normal civilians. These people? We need the information they have. After that, sure, shoot them and get it over with.
      Look, what I’m trying to get across — this isn’t torture as ARAB COUNTRIES define torture.
      No, it’s not injurious to the war effort. As to what went on in WWII you might wish to read some memoirs…

    2. Oh, why it’s not injurious to the war effort: different culture. The other side expects far more than this. Being nice to them doesn’t unsettle them or cause them to re-examine their assumptions. I grew up in a culture with strong traces of Arab culture. TRUST ME ON THIS: the nicer we are the more they think we’re the weak horse. FIRST we have to break them. Then we can be nice.
      Would we have got Japan’s surrender by being nice before the atomic bombing. No?
      What is worse, torturing a few murderers and terrorists or burning civilians alive? Go think on that for a while.
      The hearts and minds this lost are the leftists. Would Bush ever have won them? Go back and remember the months pre-nine-eleven. Good Lord, when the towers fell I THOUGHT it was the left in a hissy fit of hatred for Bush. I’ve never been so relieved as when we found out it was Bin Laden.
      This is not black and white, and you are reacting to “torture” as though we’d put them on the iron maiden. We didn’t. And if we had, that STILL wouldn’t be injurious to the war effort. It might be injurious to the tender consciences of Americans. BUT there is a reason there are rough men, etc.

      1. Good Lord, when the towers fell I THOUGHT it was the left in a hissy fit of hatred for Bush.

        Well now I’ve had a disturbing thought. Given that we can tell what the Left is doing by seeing what they most loudly accuse the Right of, and given how loudly they claimed that 9/11 was an inside job…

        Have any Leftists groups been investigated for ties to al Quaeda? Their rabid hatred of Gitmo and enhanced interrogation may hide a fear of discovery.

        1. Google up the name “Jamie Gorelick”.

          Read her bio, her activities in government. Now, juxtapose that information with the eventual effect of what her policies resulted in, which was as close to a direct cause=effect chain as I’ve ever seen. Now, consider what the Democrats did to ensure that she sat on the 9/11 Commission, and that there is evidence out there that she was having “lunch meetings” with Sandy Berger during the period of his thefts from the National Archives. Also, consider that we still don’t know the point of what Berger was up to, by doing that…

          Jamie Gorelick is either the unluckiest government apparatchik in the history of forever, or… You tell me. I’m not a big believer in luck, at that level.

          Still so confident that 9/11 wasn’t an inside job, but from the previous administration? Consider further that Clinton declined having Osama bin Laden turned over to him on a golden platter by the nice people running Sudan…

          There was a whole hell of a lot that never came out in public, or when it did get revealed, nobody provided the context for the public to be able to connect the dots. Blame the media. Personally, I think that 9/11 had all the trappings of a possible false flag operation by the Clintons, just like the OKC bombings. We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of that one, despite sufficient evidence of things like involvement from the Iraqis and the terrorist organizations behind 9/11. There are way, way too many “odd coincidences” surrounding all these events for my comfort. I’m not a big believer in conspiracy theories, but when the nut jobs who are can link not just one or two “strange little details”, but dozens… You really have to start wondering.

          There’s an old saw in intelligence work: Something that happens just once is likely bad luck; same thing, twice? Perhaps an unfortunate coincidence. Three times, the same thing, the same way? That takes us right up to “enemy action”.

            1. Yep. And, we still don’t know what documents he got out, what he snuck in, what he might have edited, or what the motivation was. Rest assured, however, that it was something significant being accomplished.

              He should have been one of the ones we subjected to interrogation, because there’s something there with this whole thing, which was swept under the rug. Just like with how Gorelick found a place on the commission, when she should have been one of the witnesses getting grilled.

              Want to know why I call them the Stupid Party, instead of the Republicans? That, right there, prime evidence. Malfeasance in office, incompetence–Doesn’t matter which.

            2. Yup. Cursed be his name forever, may he be damned to the deepest hells where all the card catalogues are out-of-date, the elevators never work, the book carts all have one wobbly wheel, and the librarians direct you to the wrong floor of the wrong building. And the air-conditioning is either off or cold enough to freeze the whooses off a polar bear .

              No, I don’t resent his making life harder for the rest of us archive users, not at all, really. Why do you ask?

              1. I hear you, but I think you’re missing the point: Berger would only have run the risk of doing what he did if the reward was worth it.

                What was there, for him to be doing that in the National Archive, that made that risk worthwhile?

                Know that, and a bunch of recent history might well snap into clear focus, for the first time. 9/11 was not an accidental failure of government, nor was it unpreventable. Of course, if the Bush administration were to have undone the work of Gorelick, et al, they would have had to have started making changes on day one of the administration. By the time 9/11 happened, it was pretty much a case of them trying to figure out where and what had been done. Gutting the intel exchange between the criminal and counterintelligence halves of the FBI was the biggest part of the problem, and even with the time they had, I doubt it would have made a difference. The roots of 9/11 go back to the early 1990s, and you would have had to start there to enable the agencies to do their jobs and stop it from happening.

                1. This is the best conspiracy theory I’ve heard yet! Makes altogether too much sense. I’m not normally paranoid, but this presses all the right buttons. The Sandy Berger bs makes sense only as a massive effort to cover the Clinton’s fat asses. Remember the clintonistas were petty enough to mess with the Whitehouse keyboard’s letters. Bravo Sir, Let us hear more!

                  1. I don’t doubt there was a willingness to break both oaths and laws to benefit the Clintons

                    (see Leslie Fish and Kipling Song of the Red War Boat album Cold Iron as often and again cited by Dr. Pournelle – if on the one hand oath keeping be a good thing then surely it follows that oath breaking is a bad thing. Folks I know who were responsible for classified material – sat next to the safe and had the extra duty; especially in Berlin in the old days and other exposed places – took their oath seriously)

                    On the other hand the observed results of Sandy Berger’s assorted shortcomings have been negligible. If in fact the risk when and if caught is negligible then the cause may be equally trivial or maybe not. I see no conclusion that can be drawn save that Sandy Berger is high enough in the new class to be above reproach. A law unto himself – it’s not a crime when the President does it even by delegation.

                    Might as well decide the morality of dugout Doug based on the written record – see Trent Telenko Chicago Boyz

          1. Disturbing thought that. Plus, Bill is an Arkie, some of the staff might’ve been Arkies. Combined with the Democrat disdain for rednecks, the reputed Arkie/Okie differences might’ve been enough.

      2. “Oh, why it’s not injurious to the war effort: different culture. The other side expects far more than this. Being nice to them doesn’t unsettle them or cause them to re-examine their assumptions. I grew up in a culture with strong traces of Arab culture. TRUST ME ON THIS: the nicer we are the more they think we’re the weak horse. FIRST we have to break them. Then we can be nice.”

        This is why the Arab-Israeli wars have been going on so long, and why they aren’t likely to end any time soon. The Jews of Israel picked up too many bad habits from living amongst Westerners, and have utterly forgotten how to communicate with people like the Arabs. They’re framing everything as though they were dealing with civilized people, instead of primitive tribesmen. Every time the Israelis do something like invade Lebanon or the Gaza Strip, they beat the crap out of the Arabs for a few weeks or days, and then having delivered “a lesson”, they withdraw.

        This is not how the Arab mind works. You have to virtually destroy them, and only then will their fabulist minds really encompass the concept that they were beaten, and had to change. Every time the Israelis magnanimously restrain themselves from killing every Arab they can, and behave honorably in a civilized manner, that signals the Arabs that the Israelis are weak. It’s a problem of cross-cultural miscommunication: Every gesture of peace that the Israelis think they are making is actually read as a sign of weakness and “We’ve almost got them on the ropes…” by the Arabs.

        You want peace in the Middle East? One of two things needs to happen: Either the Arabs crush the Israelis, from which they’re not coming back, or the Israelis are going to have to do unto the Arabs what the Arabs would do to them, which includes killing all of them that they can, and then selling the survivors off as sex slaves. Barring that happening, peace ain’t coming–It’s just impossible with the way the Arab mind and culture works. Even after all the ass-kickings they’ve received at the hands of the Israelis, they still think they’re winning. How the f**k you communicate with someone who’s that delusional, I don’t know. The Israelis aren’t going to do it, that’s for sure–They’re way too civilized, right now.

        Of course, the idiot Arabs are doing their best to train them out of that, and I give it another generation or two, and we’ll be seeing Jews like the Roman-era Sicarii again, only this time with nukes and the very real ability to “shake the temple down…”.

        I’d wait a few years before investing in Middle Eastern property or assets. It’ll be on the market, dirt-cheap, and highly irradiated, eventually.

        1. By sheer, freaking, crazy luck we HAPPENED to run into the method that worked on the Japanese. If the bombs hadn’t happened, if we hadn’t gone in and rebuilt the culture itself… well, either Japan would be middle-east-type crazy, or virtually uninhabited.

          1. I don’t think it was luck, per se. There were a lot of people in charge of things who were fully familiar with Japan and its cultural foibles. Witness the non-bombing of Kyoto, for example–Had we destroyed that, surrender would have been a lot harder, just like it would have been if we’d have killed the Emperor.

            Then, look at how well MacArthur did as the guy running the occupation. For someone as screwed up as he supposedly was as a leader, he sure managed to learn a lot on the job in the little time he had.

            I think the big difference is that we had people in charge who knew Japan, and who did the necessities out of a clarity of vision. Something we don’t quite see, from here…

              1. Yep. And, that’s why Iraq turned into the mess it did. We didn’t kill enough of them. Just like Germany after WWI. And, I suspect, the Soviet Union after 1989.

                Leave enough of the enemy alive, and they don’t quite “get” that they lost the war. Without the reality of defeat being ground into them, the idea that they “lost” never really sets in, and they will not modify their behavior.

                I think there’s a lesson to be learned there, somewhere…

                1. Ruth Benedict’s book The Chrysanthemum and the Sword talks a lot about Japanese cultural fracture lines. She was part of the psychological warfare group that worked on what to do to the Japanese during and after WWII, and how to build them back up into something more democratic.

                  1. By and large Ruth Benedict did a great job.

                    However, between the military planners and Benedict’s team with the “Culture at a Distance” project there were a few plans that ranged anywhere from downright dopey to outright stupid, like something from a “Get Smart” or “Wild Wild West” episode – bat bombs, infiltrators setting off stink bombs near Japanese officers to make them loose face by seeming flatulent, etc.

                2. The problem with Iraq is different. We told them we were going to walk away, and we did. Noone is going to risk their neck for someone who won’t be there to back them up, and in the end, many of the Iraqis didn’t.

                  Those who did, are going to pay for our laziness and cowardice with their blood.

                  1. We also originally told them we would be there as long as it took and THEN walk away. Which is more or less what we told Japan and Germany. Unfortunately it is also pretty much what we said about Viet Nam. Sad as it is to say, most Iraqis were smart enough to know which conflict to take their cue from.

                    1. Actually, from what I can tell, we didn’t tell Germany or Japan that we would walk away when we were done. We just set up representative governments and let them handle most of their own governance, rather than turning them into US Territories. I recall we’ve still got bases in both Germany and Japan, and we still periodically get complaints from Japan, at least, for having them.

                      On the other hand, even though we gave Japan civil autonomy, we did turn it into a defacto protectorate fro a very long time, through imposing constitutional limits on their war-making capacity, and providing their primary national defense. To me, the fact that the current administration is basically dropping all that off of a cliff is going to be tremendously destabilizing to the region.

            1. “Then, look at how well MacArthur did as the guy running the occupation. For someone as screwed up as he supposedly was as a leader”

              MacArthur had his faults, being screwed up as a leader however was not one of them; and anybody who claims so is a raving idiot. Everybody he lead, not only his soldiers, but Marines and Navy personnel under his jurisdiction, Filipinos, and yes, Japanese, practically worshiped the ground he walked on. That is not a symptom of someone being screwed up as a leader.

              1. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that everyone liked him. “Dugout Doug”?
                An arguably unfair criticism, but still.
                That having been said, he does get kind of a bad rap, mostly for being both arrogant, pompous, and committing the unforgivable crime (at least to American historians) of being violently anticommunist.

                1. Oh not everyone liked him, Roosevelt despised him, and from all accounts Truman had very little more liking for him, and the reason he had so much power (in fact he also had the nickname of The Emperor) in Japan was to keep him over there, instead of coming home and running for President. From everything I have read and heard he got the name “Dugout Doug” from politicians and fellow officers who spent most of their time on the US mainland, and possibly some who fought on the European front. A lot of it was generated from him leaving the Philippines and directing the Pacific Front from safety, with the fact that he was ordered to do so, and argued vehemently enough against to be threatened with court martialing before obeying those orders, conveniently glossed over. Yes he was an arrogant, pompous jerk, who had a habit of surrounding himself with yes men, and pushing the limits of the authority invested in him by his political superiors; but while I’m sure there are some, I’ve never read or heard an account by soldiers that served under him that didn’t respect him as a leader, whether they liked him or not.

          2. One notes that the higher-ups in American government always thought Japan would be easier to salvage than Germany. Their reasoning was all the incidents where the armed forces resorted to violence to push things along. Deplorable though it was that the forces didn’t think it dishonorable, or even refrain from fear of consequences, and that the society did not firmly suppress and punish it, it still showed that the totalitarians had to drag the culture into doing what they wanted. Which is better than the culture meekly obeying.

      3. The story of the boy who was tortured while hanging upside down for not memorizing the Koran properly. In a Muslim country, even schoolteachers know an upside down person stays conscious longer during torture.

      4. I dunno–I’d say it is injurious to the war effort, but not because of our enemies’ reaction to it.
        It’s injurious because of how we as a nation react to the news that people acting in our names tortured. Self-doubt occurs to many–especially among those who give orders to the rough men, and point them at our foes. Questions arise as to our moral goodness. And in this kind of war, moral certainty among our leadership is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
        It’s kind of bonkers, really–our opponents are far worse than we are. But it happens.

          1. It’s the right and center people I know who are freaking that have me worried.
            The Chomskyite/McGovernite left could whine about the War on Terror all they wanted, but it didn’t matter. It was basically like a car spinning its wheels in the snow. Then someone threw gravel from Abu Ghraib and Gitmo under the wheels, and they got traction and could move forward, covering their fecklessness under a cloak of self-righteousness.

            1. “It’s the right and center people I know who are freaking that have me worried”

              I don’t know any right and center people that are freaking; well some of them now are about the idiots that released this report, but I’ve never known of any right or even center that freaked about enhanced interrogation.

    3. Look, I understand where you are coming from and agree with you, IF,IF, we were fighting in Europe. People with similar sensitivities to ours. We are fighting an entirely different culture here, the same rules don’t apply. As an analogy fighting westerners is like fighting a grass fire, dump a lot of water on it and it goes out. Fighting RIFs is like fighting an electrical fire, dumping water on it gets you electrocuted. You use the proper tools for the proper task.

      1. The tribes here used torture extensively (sometimes for religious and magical reasons, sometimes for practical reasons, sometimes for kicks). They took a lot of pride in resisting pain themselves without showing any sign of discomfort.

        And yet, we mostly didn’t torture Indians that we caught (or not on purpose and in a large scale way). Pioneer women and children were endangered plenty, and often our military and militia were desperately looking for hostages, but it wasn’t something that Americans usually did.

        Scumsucking bandits, yes, like the ones who tortured and killed Chief Logan’s wife and babies or the ones who killed the Christian converts at Gnadenhutten, but they usually attacked settlers, too (like the white missionaries at Gnadenhutten). It was common to accuse white renegades living with enemy tribes of committing torture, although a lot of people say even Simon Girty didn’t do it.

        1. Actually, it says here that although they killed every Moravian Lenape man, woman, and child in Gnadenhutten and scalped them too, there wasn’t actually any torture; they even stunned them with a mallet before the fatal scalpings. It was a very large group of Pennsylvania militia who did it, and they voted on it first. (The ones who disagreed got disgusted and walked home, but didn’t help the villagers escape or anything helpful.) So it was more of a kangaroo court thing.

          Heh, I guess the Ohio Historical Society didn’t really want us kids to focus on Them Evul Pennsylvanians What Done It.

        2. People say lots of things, people often in fact, talk about things they know nothing about. As far as torturing the Indians or not torturing them? Well you’ll here a lot of crap and very little verified fact. Somehow people don’t like to put in writing that they did things their religions preach against

        3. The population densities were different enough that the solutions we had would not have been improved using torture as an essential component.

          Those today who are squeamish about killing Indians are generations removed from the Indian wars.

          At the time, killing the Indians was feasible, and we had access to enough people willing to do it.

          The Plains Indians were the hardest nut to crack, and we were able to do so without a complete extermination.

          We did so by taking away their children during the formative years.

          There’ve been allegations that this involved outright torture. I do know that tribal constabularies in Indian Territory practiced corporeal and capital punishment, excluding captivity as they felt it cruel and unusual. The Indian schools would have been less effective if they hadn’t required the boys to spend long periods of time inside.

    4. I ask for specifics because I’ve seen a lot of people who have been told by what should be honest sources things which are not actually true. The note about very strict guidelines makes me suspect you may have been misinformed by (maybe several steps removed) one of these people, because all of the interrogation we’ve done to my knowledge has been under extremely strict guidelines, including having a professional on hand to make sure that their mental health is not damaged.

    5. ” Even the UK guys in WWII, with their extremely flexible unwritten constitution, found that it worked better to serve tea and sympathy to even the most horrific monsters.”

      When the interrogator figures the subject really is a known horrific monster then sympathy good cop/bad cop works. When the subject category of horrific monster, decent in a bad place or acted like a saint and deserves freedom of the city along with steak and eggs is totally unclear and the risk of mistake is high the application of enhanced interrogation is attractive. The record of the London Cage and other organizations is that they pretty uniformly stopped everybody they needed to stop. Nobody is perfect. That suggests they stopped some people they didn’t need to stop. There’s a good deal of self serving history/memoirs from the time it was interesting and profitable in the market place. Seems to me likely enough based on what has been admitted in recent years that there was ample enhanced interrogation all the way to death behind the London Cage, Double Cross system and all the rest of it.

  19. First, let me say I disapprove of torture – by which I mean REAL physical torture. Do I need to say this? Oh, yes, I do, there are idiots and SJWs (but I repeat myself) reading this.

    I’ve been growling at the radio all morning.

    The SJWs and their allies yet again have taken a well defined word, and mangled it into a state where our side can’t say a simple thing like “torture is bad” without having to define “you know, actual torture. The stuff that has permanent effects? Tearing out nails? Cutting off fingers? The stuff you guys laugh about those squares objecting to in prime time TV?”

    And for added disgust, there’s a sizable group of Catholics that have decided to jump on with the “let’s define torture as anything that’s not nice!” with lots of flat-out falsehoods along the lines of claiming waterboarding is the same as historical tortures. Even when I offer contemporary definitions of what they actually involved, they get ignored because it’s not nice.

    Well, raping the wife and daughters in front of a guy isn’t nice, either, but that doesn’t mean it’s torture. A crime against humanity, wrong, evil, etc– but not torture. Causes great emotional distress, to understate it due to limits of human language… but not torture.

    I am… greatly distressed… that people are unable to make a case beyond “I don’t like this, I don’t think we should be doing it, so it must be torture, which is morally impermissible!”

    (I happen to agree torture is morally impermissible, but I’ve also got one HELL of a lot stricter definition of torture, and it sure as hell doesn’t include anything that people inflict on themselves for parties like not sleeping for days at a time!)

    1. This. Waterboarding is unpleasant, but it is not life threatening nor does it result in permanent (or even temporary) physical harm. What is basically happening here is that anything that is unpleasant is being retroactively condemned, even though the EXACT SAME SENATORS approved over and over and over again in exacting detail precisely what was rarely being done at the time.

      If we collectively say “No US agency can do unpleasant but not-life-threatening or physically harmful things during interrogations, nor can they offer to stop doing said things in exchange for valid information” I think we will very soon regret it.

      I personally find an absence of access to my family and friends, cable TV, internet service, a large selection of books, and attractive members of the opposite sex unpleasant, let alone being confined to a small room or fed an unvarying yet healthy diet. Does this slippery-slope we appear to be on mean the the US prison system is by these new definitions torture? We already get judges deciding overcrowding is cruel and unusual punishment and ordering release of convicted criminals, and we all saw the efforts to apply US jurisprudence to battlefield detainees during the Bush administration. What is next?

      The practical result of this will be the outsourcing of any interrogations via the Clinton Extraordinary Rendition rules to allied but really nasty places, with CIA people as “observers” to provide a buffer between the Feinstein-Approved-Before-She-Condemned rough bits and any US Employees.

      1. Then there are the issues that come from applying the personal preferences of someone as strange as me to the problem.

        I very strongly dislike recreational drug use. My policy recommendations for such would’ve been significantly more offensive to people here, and crazy, if I hadn’t recognized that most people involved are not much like me at all. Wholly setting the hatred aside, a hypothetical examination of what I would prefer in their place does not produce results compatible with our justice system.

  20. Their beliefs are not the same as yours, but they are – to them – just as important and as real as your beliefs are to you.

    Baby steps. Get people to figure this out about people they actually live around, and THEN we’ll work on expanding it…..

  21. Iraq veteran (’03 – ’04), human intelligence. I can tell you exactly what the Arabs do to each other on a casual basis, but this is a family friendly blog. Let’s just start with – the only thing that happened at Aub Ghraib prison that was different from their every day life was that there was a woman involved, and pictures were taken. The men were embarrassed and lost face. Please don’t ask the condition of the prisoners we were handed by the Iraqi police. Pieces were normally missing.

    1. I am not asking. I grew up in a culture with heavy Arab influence, even after 900 years. We’re European… mostly. I can sort of see the other side from where I am, though.

  22. Odd side-note: there’s apparently some question of if the “Iron Maiden” was pure propaganda.

    They have been able to trace it to anti-Catholic claims about how the Inquisition was killing people in spiked things made to look like the Virgin Mary (seriously, WTF?! That doesn’t even make SENSE– it’s freaking blasphemous, and they think PRIESTS did this?), but there’s no evidence of it existing before people who “knew it had been used” made and used them. (Nuremberg, of course.)

    1. The Iron Maiden “looks like the Virgin Mary”? Seriously? What sort of blind imbeciles come up with these things?

  23. Herewith a suggestion for the next AQ-type we pick up and need information out of: Tell him that if doesn’t give us the information we want, we’re going to release him in Pakistan, and thank him publicly for his cooperation.

      1. I have to admit that I first saw the idea elsewhere, but I do like it. It could also be used as a way of preventing our currently no-longer-useful Guantanamo detainees from rejoining the battle against us, without us having to maintain them.

    1. Leak to the public that we have an intelligence gathering implant that records audio and visual of anything near the subject and transmits it – undetectabley – to the NSA. Then have everyone with pick up black out in custody and wake up with a new suture.

  24. I personally support a strict Doctrine of Reciprocity in all foreign affairs, economics transactions and the like.
    Let the world know that this is the way we’re playing the game – however you treat us (or individual Americans) we will treat you.
    No exceptions.

    1. Well, there is some merit to the Sonny Barger school of diplomacy: “Treat me good, l’ll treat you better. Treat me bad, I’ll treat you worse.”
      It’s just that, in situations short of potentially lethal attack, it’s difficult for a Christian to reconcile ~that~ with Matthew 5:44 “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you”. (Sigh) Well, no one said it would be easy.

  25. Nit-pick 1: The Constitution, and the government of the United States, grants no rights. The Bill of Rights prohibits the government from interfering with several specific rights. Where do rights come from? See nit-pick 2.
    Nit-pick 2: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Full quote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” All rights come from the Creator.

    Amendment 9 is one the least utilized arguments in Law. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Some examples of where the ninth could come into play. George Washington himself grew hemp. Why is it now illegal? If we once had the right to do something, we have the right now- but need to force the courts to see it. It’s why to enact prohibition a Constitutional Amendment was needed.

    The Constitution is really a very simple document. If a Court takes 99 pages of explanation as to why a law is unconstitutional, it means the law is constitutional, but the judge writing the opinion needs 99 pages of BS to explain otherwise. Same goes the other way. 99 pages of explanation of why a law is constitutional means it’s unconstitutional. The Constitution is simple enough that one paragraph ought be both necessary and sufficient to explain a whether a law is either in or not in compliance with the Constitution, or whether or not the Constitution even addresses the matter.

    1. Yes. I do know that. It was infelicitously phrased. what I meant is that we have the obligation to look out for the rights of the US citizens, as per the constitution, so our government doing that stuff here would be a direct violation. But abroad, it violates nothing. Mind you, yes, our government shouldn’t engage in these just because but only in protection of its citizens.

      1. I’m kind of, I guess the word is persnickety about the subject. I’m a counselor for all 3 BSA Citizenship merit badges, and ofttimes have to unteach things the young men have learned. It also means I read the founding documents several times a year…

        1. Well, I actually get upset when people say things like “Our rights are given to us by our government” so I understand, but I couldn’t figure out a non-three-paragraph way of explaining it. Did I mention the more sleep/caffeine deprived I am, the more verbose?

    2. Given I had blood drawn for tests early this morning and had to be fasting, so I wrote this not only COMPLETELY uncaffeinated but fasting for 24 hours, ya’ll are lucky it’s in English 😉

        1. “Oooh, you’re pregnant? Great! K, first, eat nothing for half a day. Got that? Now, drive in, leaving early enough that the morning sickness this produces can be…handled… on the way. Have someone who can’t find the broad side of a barn try to find your vein. Now, chug this jar of syrup, and if you hurl in half an hour you have to do it again tomorrow! Better hope that we don’t forget you’ve got a blood draw window of about five minutes, or you’ll have to do it again if we’re not sure about the results!”

          1. Eeegh, fortunately I haven’t had it that bad. The drink they give me tastes like a slightly too sweet Gatorade, and the pathology lab at the hospital is good with getting the vein. Sometimes I don’t even feel the prick. I was there for two or more hours and I napped for the duration, and they offered me an unused examination room to sleep in.

            Tested negative for gestational diabetes again so yay!

      1. Yup.

        I’ve twice had to go on a “liquid diet” for 24 hours. Which is not any and all liquids. It specifically excludes anything with fat or anything with more than minimal protein.

        Can you say “blood sugar crash”?

    3. The correct way to phrase our fundamental rights is “life, liberty, and property, as long as you can keep them.” Anything beyond what one can immediately hold and defend is granted by the government structure we create for the purpose. Government doesn’t grant you life, but it does grant you life largely free of worrying about being murdered.

  26. Hrm. “Torture,” is it?

    So this is an adult talk, then. That means we must gird up our loins and put on our thinking caps, because the real world Does Not Care about our feelings. Not one whit. Torture is not a common kitchen-table discussion around here, nor should it be. There’s a when, and a how, and a definition to it. Let’s get to it, then.

    Merriam Webster says torture is “the act of causing severe physical pain as a form of punishment or as a way to force someone to do or say something
    : something that causes mental or physical suffering : a very painful or unpleasant experience.” I would add that it is *generally* a punishment or a persuasion technique, but not always. There are some sick people in the world. Rather more than one would find comfortable, in fact. I would mention that a “very unpleasant experience” would have to go very, very far in that direction before I would qualify it as “torture” without irony.

    For most of us, it goes very much against our culture to commint to such acts. We tend to set the bar very high, as several folks here have mentioned (Eamon, Jordan, et. al.). There is, I believe, an honorable choice here as far as the “how” is concerned. In case you, gentle reader, are unaware, I must mention here that the path of honor is not always nice, nor is it often pleasant. Please do remember that.

    To keep one’s honor in this, as in any endeavor, requires discipline. Discipline, so that we go as far as is necessary and not one step farther. The enemy would *love* for us to see ourselves as evil. It aids and comforts him that we may think so. Thus, to torture for mere punishment is a waste. A waste of time, resources, and again, aids the enemy. We like to see ourselves as the good guys, as honorable men and women, we citizens, we Americans. Our soldiers and agents are also Americans, and if anything want to be the white knight even more, as they understand the harsh realities that exist outside our borders better. It is very, very important to keep that.

    So we say “thus far, no further.” And we do not take it as given that torture is a necessary tool in our investigative toolbox (even though it is when necessary), and request permission before engaging in it. But to shrink from it when it saves lives is worse than mere folly, worse than distaste- it is cowardice.

    Refraining from it out of distaste when doing so would safeguard our people is honorless. Our. People. Matter. As Kirk mentioned above, the soldier who won’t fight to protect his own is worse than useless, he’s a danger to those around him who are by default already protecting his sorry ass. So, too, is it a danger to us if we won’t take what steps we must to protect our own. The justification is not “hey, it could be worse” it is “to do any less would betray my people, my country, and the values I hold dear.”

    When it comes to existential threats, I have no f*cks to give for those who want to see my people beaten, raped, enslaved, and slain. Set on fire, blown up, stoned to death, and, yes, tortured for no greater crime than not kowtowing to their pathetic little creed. Our restraint is necessary to keep honor intact, but it is neither nice nor pleasant to blind ourselves to the fact that there are people in the world who *will* do to us what we will not to them should they get the chance.

    The people of America should sleep soundly in their beds tonight. In places near and far, rough men stand ready to do instant violence on their behalf. Honorable men. Good men. Our future rests on our willingness to defend ourselves. It would be a betrayal of those who protect us to abandon them now.

    And apologies if this is incoherent or rambling. ‘Tis late and stress tends to loosen that whole brain-mouth filter thing.

  27. “Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate—and quickly.

    —Robert A Heinlein

      1. *wry* Sadly, these days in the place most of us will practice, most of them can’t recognize it, and can’t understand why you’re offering it when you explain….. Makes it very hard to carry the notion over.

      2. RES,

        Thanks! I’ll see if I can find a used hard copy. Not on kindle. 😦

        But as with all list of rules and guidelines wisdom is knowing when to break them.

        Always? As a rule this works well if your goal is “always” to avoid a fight. But some fights are unavoidable. Sometimes it is quite appropriate to pin your opponents against something and beat them into submission or break them and their ability to cause future harm.

        Sometime allowing your enemy time to reorganize, regroup or rebuild just allows them to comeback at you later; stronger and faster.

        Some determining factors for deciding which option is best; can you reasonable expect to turn them from enemy to ally; while trying to avoid pyrrhic victories and remembering sometimes their are no good options, and we do the best with the hands we draw in life.

          1. Having the opportunity to watch this again (although audio is 90% of it) I am reminded that there is a delightful Ben Franklin story around the 38-minute point.

        1. Apparently Nixon (certainly Humes) acknowledges that, and explains the purpose of “build[ing] your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.”

          Of course, when you do that you not only avoid cornering a rat, you get to determine the route of that retreat. Heh.

          1. RES, Mary,

            But where is that retreat leading? If all you have done is allowed them to get to a place of safety to regroup, then you haven’t won anything all you have done is postponed the continuing fight for a later date.

            If the other side still has the will to fight, then allowing your opponent(s) a line of retreat doesn’t solve or resolve the conflict. The underlying issues needed to be addressed by removing each parties desire or need to continue the conflict. If the other side still see as the enemy needing to be destroyed…

            “5) Never give up unilaterally what could be used as a bargaining chip. Make your adversaries give something for everything they get.”


            [Note: I put this link and another in a reply to RES up thread. Forgot to break one of the two links so as not to go into moderation. 😦 Sarah, Sorry for the extra work.)

            Don’t just give your enemy a line of retreat; they needed to earn it. (Example: The Palestinians never earn their reprieves, they see no reason stop what they are doing.)

            1. Josh,

              While I haven’t read RES’s link, I can tell from your response that you don’t correctly understand the principle of the “face-saving line of retreat”, especially if you bring up an example like the Palestinians, where, instead of following this principle, the Israelis have pushed the enemy back, then simply walked off the field, instead of pushing on until they force the terrorists and militant groups to show them respect first.

              The purpose is not to let the opponent walk away to lick his wounds and come back fighting, but to show the enemy that you can and will defeat them utterly, but then give them an out that will allow them not to lose their honor and dignity, while instilling the respect needed to keep them from coming back for more.

              Now, is this possible with the mindset of the jihadis? I don’t know. It may not be, because of the mentality they grow with their propaganda and methods.

              1. Wayne,

                First, not everyone will take this as “Face” Saving line of retreat magnanimously. Some will see it as a sign that you do not have the will to finish, because if you did why would you not.

                It’s one thing for two people or groups that do not have long standing grievances, to step back and allow the other side a face saving way of disengaging; so as, their honor and pride doesn’t force a fight that doesn’t need to be.

                The other is two long standing enemies that will see this jester as a sign of weakness.

                Second, some places in the world do not believe or hold that contracts and agreements be people and groups are inviolate. The strong dictate to the weaker party and feel know need to make concessions. Even among relatively equal parties agreements are only held as long as both party feel the other will enforce their part of it, and any change of power and all bets are off.

                Third, Israel doesn’t walk off the field because of a lack of will. They bended to international pressure, which the Palestinians rely on as to not have to change their ways.

                Lastly, my only quibble was with the use of “always.” Sometime it is appropriate to allow someone a line of retreat, sometimes it’s not.


                1. It doesn’t matter why the Israelis walked off the field, all that matters is that they did. That is why using the Palestinians as an example is invalid – because the principle was NOT followed properly.

                  In fact, as far as I know, there are NO modern examples of using this principle correctly. Germany and Japan in WWII are the most recent examples I can think of, in terms of armed conflicts. Now, in the realm of negotiations only, I don’t have enough knowledge of political history.

                  With the Islamic radicals, I don’t know what it would require, but probably the first part would be to make the civilians more afraid to remain silent than to report the radicals, and to destroy the radicals with overwhelming force, until about a million or so had been killed. That would probably give the other 99 million (based on the 10% estimate of how many are radicals, times the 1 billion Muslims) the notion that shutting up would be a good idea.

                  The overall point being that there IS a face-saving retreat. You just need to be able to find it. In the case of some, it involves compromise, but in the case of others, it involves proving that they have absolutely no chance.

                  1. Wayne,

                    The rule states “7) Always Leave Your Adversary a Face-Saving Line of Retreat” If you are “always” to give a face saving retreat how is the other side to believe you are willing to hold them to their word. The use of “always” breaks several of the preceding rules/commandments:

                    “5) Never give up unilaterally what could be used as a bargaining chip. Make your adversaries give something for everything they get.”


                    “6) Never let your adversary underestimate what you would do in response to a challenge. Never tell Him what you would not do.”

                    I can go and give countless examples of one side giving the other guy a reprieve or line of retreat and having it backfire on them down the line.

                    Rule 7 counts on the other side believing that the side with power will enforce their requirements. How is the other side to believe we have the will to stop them, if we are to always give them a way out?

                    If someone wants to kill you and there is no possibility of them changing their minds, how is “Always Leave Your Adversary a Face-Saving Line of Retreat” to your advantage and not to theirs?

                    Wether or not you want to believe it, some times it is quit appropriate to pin your enemy down and destroy their ability and will to cause future harm.

                2. In the case of Islam, it is a specific tenet prescribed by the Prophet that no agreement with unbelievers is binding unless it is to a believer’s advantage at the time, and it is blasphemous to behave otherwise.

  28. I have long pondered the apparent contradiction that the more your enemy perceives you as willing to use extreme measures, the less likely it is you will have to do so.

    Given my druthers, detainees would view every interrogator as Hannibal Lecter. As is, they view the interrogator as Caspar Milquestoast.

    1. I’m not so sure about that. From what I’ve read Al Qaeda training is that Americans are soft and won’t harm prisoners, or even strike them. Which means when an interrogator punched them in the face in completely rattles them.

      1. Japanese soldiers found it unnerving that American soldiers, contrary to propaganda, would boldly charge to the attack in dangerous situations.

  29. Unsalted lard makers excellent bullet lube and we should use more of it, and let people know we are using it. It’s a natural, green lubricant, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club would love it.

      1. All cooks know that lard is from pork and tallow or suet are from beef. *shakes head* What are they teaching in schools these days? 🙂

        1. Exactly, and you can’t use bacon grease because it has too much salt and is corrosive, though it would give the field a wonderful smell.

          1. There is an alternate method to getting your bacon on down at the range. Warning: this would increase the cost of bacon a *lot* due to the cost of feeding the “oven.”

            But fun. Oh my yes, fun. *grin*

  30. I haven’t read the comments yet, so most of my points have probably already been made, but here they are anyways.

    We are not bound by the Geneva Convention in our treatment of terrorists; the Geneva Convention only applies to legal combatants, in uniform, of signatory countries. None of these apply, and they were specified for very good reasons. One of those reasons was so that torture could be used on illegal combatants in order to get information from them. Leaving aside that practically none of the signatory countries besides us pays the least bit of attention to the Geneva Convention, AND leaving aside the fact that these terrorists are NOT legal combatants, and we are NOT bound to ANY specific level of treatment of them; everything we did was STILL within the bounds of the Geneva Convention.

    I not only don’t have a problem with the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) that we used, but in the case of terrorists and illegal combatants we are not signatories of the Geneva Convention and furthermore use all sorts of torture on their own prisoners (often for purely sadistic purposes, rather than in an attempt at information gathering) I don’t have a problem with actual honest to god torture being used, with graduated but very few absolute limits, as long as it is being used only on illegal combatants, and only for information extraction purposes. (yes this is a slippery slope, this is why you have oversight, so that it is not used on legal combatants, so that it is not used for the purely sadistic satisfaction of the interrogator/torturer, and so on).

    Thirdly this report is a bunch of BS, not only was everything we did legal, and ran by the Senators now writing the report, and done WITH their approval, but the report was now written without any of the writers speaking even once to any of the three CIA directors, or the guy in charge of overseeing the EITs in fact they refused to speak to them, when those were the guys charged with not only extracting the information, but deciding how to extract it, and they were the ones both deciding legalities and moral perameters to the methods being used, and overseeing that those methods were used properly and only when necessary. The obvious answer to the question of how you write an unbiased report, while refusing to even acknowledge, much less listen to one side, is… you don’t.

    Fourthly, this report is extremely damaging to our allies, and will no doubt have very long lasting effects on any future information sharing we might receive from said allies; if they even remain allies in more than name only (or possibly not even that) after this report has been released. This is the reason that even raving liberal idiots like John Kerry advised against releasing this report (and IMHO one of the main reason Feinstein and Obama did push release it, they both despise and hate the US and its allies, and are happy to do anything they can to damage them). The US has always honestly had a poor track record of keeping its promises and treaties, in large account due to our frequently changing political leadership, and shortsighted leadership that didn’t feel bound by decisions of previous leadership that they didn’t agree with. But most of our past leadership, while being shortsighted, could comprehend that screwing our allies to badly would cause not only them, but other potential allies to think twice about making important deals with the US, particularly when those allies had to rely on future administrations in the US to honor those deals. Some claim the current administration is so nearsighted and incompetent not to comprehend this, others claim they comprehend it quite well and are intentionally sabotaging future US administrations. Frankly it doesn’t matter which is true, the results are identical.

    Fifthly… anybody want this soapbox?

  31. On the matter of the timing of this report, Feinstein is quite open about it being a parting shot on losing the majority. Thus it is equivalent to the horde of excessive regulations passed by the Clinton Administration on their way out the door.

    The goal and purpose of such action is to create embarrassment for your successors.

  32. I did not see anything in the report that seemed excessive to me, except for the undue haste in releasing a slanted misleading report. Up until now I could tolerate Feinstein but no longer, the mask is off.

  33. I made a couple of tweets on the subject, which like most of my tweets, disappeared without a ripple. (I copied them to my Livejournal and a couple of Liberal friends who hasn’t commented in years suddenly popped up to give me crap.)

    To Wit:

    The PROPER Presidential response to the #TortureReport is to say “And there’s more where that came from if you don’t quit this shit.”


    You say Torture doesn’t work. I say Mr. Drill here can get me your ATM PIN. How many holes in your kneecap do you think you can take?

    1. Well, we have someone in an unapproved comment muddying the waters by a) calling us proponents of torture b) claiming it never works.
      I figure someone with that lack of semantic respect, so as to call what I’m doing “supporting” torture, instead of saying I’m not in the position to judge those who decide and to call what we do torture and who further claims that the people who “tortured” can’t prove they got anything (Oh, gees, willy, does he understand the US system of classified information) doesn’t deserve to be approved since I’m going to be AFK most of the day. However, if ya’ll want a chew toy I’ll reconsider. It’s been a long time.

      1. My position on Waterboarding as torture.

        There are people out there paying big bucks to get the F**k Waterboarded out of themselves… literally.

        So, my verdict; unpleasant but not torture.

      2. I doubt he has anything beyond that to offer.

        Besides, we already know that Kalid Sheik Mohammed (IIRC) decided after a few sessions of Waterboarding that he had fulfilled his duty to Allah for resistance and became very cooperative.

        But if it were really torture, we wouldn’t have anti-war activists doing it to each other in the streets.

  34. I think the Solomonesque Solution to the problem would be to pass a law that says ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques such as waterboarding or stress positions may be used in extreme circumstances provided that the U.S. Attorney General is forced to endure the same treatment for the same duration of time as the interrogation subject. It allows the techniques to be used in cases of extreme emergency, but it deters overuse for less important cases and encourages the use of gaining the intel through other means.

    Then I’d just nominate Chuck Norris as Attorney General.

  35. Sigh. WordPress. Catalog of expletives.

    Apparently there’s a cutoff point on number of comments WP deigns to forward on to my email. A capricious cutoff point.

    Expanded catalog of expletives.

  36. And what really bakes my cookies about all of this is, we could have had an actual debate on was is, and isn’t a line too far, if the faction authoring this hadn’t decided it was more important to turn it into a stick to beat their enemies with, rather than, say, figuring out what actually happened, or what should happen in the future.

    Heat without light.

  37. Had a chuckle on “liquid diets”.

    Read a story where a character is a vampire who as she says is stuck on a “liquid diet”. While she does have to drink blood (usually from would-be muggers or rapists), she also drinks and serves the best coffee and hot chocolate around. [Very Very Big Grin]

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