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View Diary: Chris Matthews is a sack of garbage: liveblog (134 comments)

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  •  Were you watching the same show I was? (9+ / 0-)

    I saw this very differntly:

    My favorite part of the Turley Shout Down was the part where Tweety and Pat Buchanan decided that anything less horrible than bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was totally cool to do anytime you feel like it.  

    I didn't hear this at all.  I heard him ask Turley exactly the kind of question that is the most difficult in the whole torture debate -- and the one where even some Dems would come down differently from many here.  He asked about the "ticking time bomb" kind of thing -- is it ok to do an evil thing for an overall much greater good, like to save thousands of lives? He talked about the order on September 11 that, if necessary, that third plane could be shot down to avoid it hitting the Capitol.  It was presented in terms of doing an evil thing -- killing innocent passengers -- for the greater good -- preventing a strike on the Capitol.  The Hiroshima was presented in that discussion.  It not in any way presented as "anything less than the atom bomb was ok."  It was the same question -- was it ok to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people so as to convince the Japanese powers that be to end WWII?  Turley said that decision was ok.  So the next question is, is it then not ok to waterboard IF you have the ticking time bomb -- and he made this clear in the hypothetical he was presenting -- if waterboarding is very likely to save a bunch of lives? Turley said no to waterboarding even in that instance, based on the treaties we signed.

    Maybe it's because I'm a lawyer, but what he did kind of reminded me of the discussions in a law school class.  Where's your principle?  How absolute are you about that prinicple?  Are you willing to compromise that principle for a greater good?  How are your principles applied in different situtations?  

    Yes, he's always rude about talking over and interrupting people.  But for those who didn't see the segment, that's what I saw happening.  If you think that there is no room for any discussion of using a technique like waterboarding in a ticking time bomb situation, then maybe you found the discussion useless.  But, like I said, I saw it as the kind of intellectual discussions that we had in law school.  

    •  good lets keep talking it out your way (1+ / 0-)
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      your moral relativism will ensure that people will be tortured in the furture, because arguing is fun amirite?!

      "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system." --George W. Bush

      by Irishkorean on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 05:01:26 PM PDT

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      •  Did you read my post? (5+ / 0-)

        your moral relativism will ensure that people will be tortured in the furture, because arguing is fun amirite?!

        1.  What is "my moral relativism"?
        1.  I did not say arguing was "fun."  I said that on a moral/principle issue, if someone is arguing that the country needs to set morals/principles and be guided by them, it was helpful to examine the extent of someone's principles, how someone applies those principles, and when, if ever, someone is willing to compromise those principles.  That is not "fun" -- it is the kind of discussions thinking people have when they discuss applying morals and principles on an issue of great importance. Few moral/princple issues are completely black and white, or are beyond discussion for thinking people.  
        1.  No, youarenotrite.  
        •  There were never any... (0+ / 0-)

          ..."ticking timebombs" in our use of torture in Afghanistan, Iraq or at Guantanamo. Most of the detainees were/are entirely innocent of anything except being handy for a warlord's henchmen to grab and turn in to US troops for money.

          So arguing a ticking timebomb scenario cannot justify torture of prisoners of war in violation of US and international law and treaties.

          Now, should you ever have the opportunity to torture someone in a REAL ticking timebomb situation, let us know how that works out as far as beating the clock with reliable information.

          •  Nobody was trying to justify our (1+ / 0-)
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            past use of torture, except maybe Buchanen.  I certainly am not.  Certainly Matthews was not. He was asking (in his usual awkward and rude style) were there ever, under any circumstances, instances where a great evil -- torture -- could be used in the name of a greater good -- like saving a lot of lives?  

            Now, if I had been faced with Bin Laden on Sept. 10, 2001, would I, had I been President, ok'd waterboarding on him if there was a good chance it could have prevented 3000 deaths?  I don't know. What if you had Hitler and you knew Jews were being gased every minute you held him, but you knew it would take you a couple of days to find the concentration camps?  Would you waterboard him to try to save the lives that would be lost in the meantime?  What if you captured an insider from the Japanese echelon in 1945, and if you could get info from him, you could end the war without dropping the bomb?  

            Are we as a country likely to face that kind of choice?  Not likely -- maybe never.  But if you are talking about principles, and governing 300 million people based on those principles, it's a useful question to answer.  Would there ever, under any circumstances (even if the chance of it happening were very very remote), be a situation where you, as President, would approve waterboarding on someone?  Turley's answer is no, never, not even under those circumstances.  You may agree with Turley.  But the fact that you agree with Turley doesn't mean, in my view, that it is illegitimate to even ask the question.  

            •  Well, I have to point out... (1+ / 0-)
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              the mom in the middle

              ...that George Bush had very specific warning about precisely what bin Laden was up to before 9-11. He went on vacation. The hijackers were right there in Florida (and known to the feds) taking flying lessons. Funny that BushCo didn't kidnap and torture them then, isn't it? But then, if 9-11 had been prevented, no one would have any idea how many lives were saved from what didn't happen. Anybody with half a brain can think up some dire horror that never happened - I tortured this guy and he didn't do what he planned, so I saved at LEAST 5 million people!

              To me, this question is entirely pointless. Do we start arresting and/or torturing people because they fit some sort of psychological profile of a someday mass murderer? How many people will the authorities then say they saved? Make up a number - any number will do. There is a rather firm concept in law of innocence until guilt is demonstrated. Using the law or any arguable branch of law to pre-punish someone who has committed no crime (in order to prevent a crime you suspect may happen) is an abomination.

              The willy-nilly way BushCo collected its many prisoners of war guaranteed that a hefty percentage of them would be relatively innocent non-combatants in the wrong place at the wrong time. Torture them and they'll all confess to being Osama bin Laden himself. We know torture produces unreliable intelligence. We do not allow torture-induced confessions in our courts of law. This slippery slope is one that has already had its depths plumbed by tyrants and despots galore in the course of human history. It is nothing other than America's Greatest Shame. No, I would not torture someone just because I think they may know about or will do something someday to harm imaginary others.

    •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

      for supplying the break down for those of us who have yet to see it. From what you've written, the bigger gripe is that Matthew's argument was poorly conceived and likely simply not thought out.

      write(*,*) transfer((/7.8675962E+34, 1.4198914E+22, 2.8759284E+20, & 7.0309227E+28, 1.5274153E-43/),(/'x'/));

      by dpryan on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 05:14:18 PM PDT

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    •  Two things: First, how absolute is the law? (0+ / 0-)

      Second, this wasn't a ticking time bomb scenario. They were forcing information to justify invading Iraq.

      Not one of these cases of torture involved a ticking time bomb scenario so just bringing it up is going off topic.

      ... the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

      by Tirge Caps on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 05:25:43 PM PDT

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      •  Matthews didn't say this was a ticking time bomb (0+ / 0-)

        situation when we used waterboarding.  He was exploring the question of whether waterboarding was EVER permissible -- he was not discussing whether the uses to which it was put by the Bush adminstration were permissible.  It was really the kind of question that must always be asked when someone has a hard and fast moral principle -- are you ever willing to compromise that prinicple?  or is that principle more important that the good that you might be able to accomplish by violating that principle?  Sort of -- do the ends justify the means?  In Hiroshima, Turley agreed that the ends -- ending WWII -- justified the horrible, horrible means -- the atom bomb.  Matthews was posing the same question with respect to the principles surrounding toture. Perhaps he did not do it artfully -- he can be a very "clumsy" speaker.  

        Look, in the discussion of torture, I think it's a fair question to say, do you think it ever -- ever -- is permissible?  If we had captured Bin Laden before Sept. 10, and we had some idea that he knew that a really bad thing was going to happen the next day, but had no idea where in the world, or what it was, would you, if you were President, ok using waterboarding on him?  Yes, waterboarding is a bad bad thing, but is it ever ok to do a bad thing for a greater good?  Or would you say that the principle is more important than the greater good -- that it's worth preserving the principle for the long term, even if there are bad consequences in the short term?  That's a hypothetical question, but, for someone who is in a position of authority -- for example, like the President -- you should probably be clear about where you stand on something like this.  

        •  You know what, if that's ever the case (1+ / 0-)
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          Meteor Blades

          it's going to be done, it probably already has and no one knows about it because that's the way that shit happens. But making it a tool in the interrogators tool cabinet is a completely different animal on a completely different continent and it had no bearing on what that conversation was about. Bringing it up was a diversion and Matthews fostered it along.

          ... the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

          by Tirge Caps on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 05:47:37 PM PDT

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