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

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  •  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-)
      Recommended by:

      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.

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