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View Diary: President Carter: Many Children Were Tortured Under Bush (308 comments)

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  •  We should prosecute regardless.... (74+ / 0-)

    ...but let's be clear: these episodes will forever be a stain upon America no matter whether we prosecute or not.  Our government did these things, and for a variety of reasons, we failed to stop them.  And we'll always have that as part of our legacy.  

    Always.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 12:42:28 PM PDT

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    •  Forever a stain and it (28+ / 0-)

      WAS Done in Our Names.

      They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

      by TomP on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 12:59:46 PM PDT

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    •  At least procuting those that got us into this (6+ / 0-)

      mess will reborn our moral compass in the eyes of the world that after all we are a nation of imperfection who strives to do right by people. It sure will be a stain but also a cleansing if we successfully prosecute and punish those responsible.

      ...We have many issues that bind us together than separates us!

      by ThisIsMyTime on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 01:03:06 PM PDT

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    •  Justice must be done (5+ / 0-)

      But justice in this case involves the investigation and possible conviction of some of the highest ranking government officials, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield/Addington/Yoo - - these people are still seen and FOREVER WILL BE SEEN as heroes to the wingnuts, regardless of the evidence, regardless of the crime.

      If the decision is made to investigate and punish (which I think Justice demands), our country will face the most polarized, passionate, violent response we have seen at least since segragation, maybe the civil war.

      I live in a community in the RED, and there are plenty of racist bigots here who regard Obama's birth certificate as THE constitutional crises and if you played them a digital video tape of Cheney personally torturing a "possible" terrorist, even an innocent one, they will rally to his defense and see torturing/killing as merely "protecting" us from the terrorists.

      These people will fight.  Physically.  And they are armed better than our police, assuming our police follow the law.  I am very much afraid for our country.  The ONLY way to win, is to prosecute, punish and put down any defiance.  Many people will die needlessly.  This is so terrifying.

      Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't watching you.

      by 4CasandChlo on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 01:05:05 PM PDT

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      •  I don't think you fully appreciate.... (7+ / 0-)

        ...just how well armed the police are.

        Sadly, I don't think that is a good thing, but it is well beyond the topic at hand.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 01:10:21 PM PDT

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      •  and sadly, your comment speaks directly to (6+ / 0-)

        the real reason behind all the manufactured hysteria out there that "Obama wants to take your guns away".

        It has nothing whatever to do with hunting and sport shooting, or even self-defense. It's more than the desire of gun and ammo makers and dealers to profit handsomely from the hysteria.

        It has everything to do with the right wing zealots reserving their god-given right to rise up in armed rebellion when and if they decide that they are sufficiently pissed off, about whatever they decide to be pissed off about: taxes, submitting to the authority of someone who isn't their color or people they perceive as godless, or being told what to do and not do (i.e. having to obey the law), whatever.

        Obama was crucified during the campaign for his impolitic "clinging to guns and religion" comment. But of course, he was exactly correct.

        It is indeed scary.

        But you know what? I'm much more scared about not confronting directly what has been done in our name, about the consequences of the rot that is now eating away at the heart of our democracy, if we do not fully restore accountability and the rule of law.

        "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

        by flitedocnm on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 01:39:16 PM PDT

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      •  Sorry ... for where you live, the "people" (3+ / 0-)

        Wow... I can feel that.

        One more thing I'll add re your post is that a lot of Democrats will be dead set against investigation-prosecution of those at the top.

        They are protective and aligned with The Institutions (of officialdom, the presidency, the MIC/Business... as usual),  and, of course, they know that some very dirty laundry will come out in the wash, re things they knew, approved of, didnt speak out about... complicity, basically.

        So it will be more than the wingnuts unstrung.

        Still, its gotta be done.

        Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

        by NYCee on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 05:08:32 PM PDT

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    •  I'll take the prosecution of Bush and Cheney (12+ / 0-)

      as part of our legacy as well.
      Remember Bush was a guy who blew up frogs as a kid and mocked a woman on her way to death row, among the countless examples of his sadistic nature. I have no doubt he enjoyed his power to order the torture and killing of suspected terrorists- especially after having his incompetence and indifference exposed on Tuesday, September 11, 2001- he wanted payback and he wanted it fast- justice or no justice.  Cheney is in many ways as vapid an individual.  It was a simple bully's response to wounded pride.

    •  Despite Obama's suspension of... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, cybersaur

      ...all "enhanced interrogation" methods, it will ring hollow to the rest of the world unless we fully account for those crimes and bring the responsible individuals to justice.  Then, and only then, can we expect the countries of the world to hold us with any respect.
      The scum responsible for these atrocities need to be made an example of, lest we see it emerge again in another administration.

      The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true. J. Robert Oppenheimer {-8.25 / -5.64}

      by carver on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 01:22:59 PM PDT

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      •  We have no way of knowing if the torture (7+ / 0-)

        has stopped.

        My money says no.

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 03:40:56 PM PDT

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        •  I wouldn't take that bet n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Garrett, bobdevo
        •  Currently approved techniques (3+ / 0-)

          The following techniques, which have at times been approved at some level, are not allowed:
          --Waterboarding.
          --Forced nakedness (also forced sexual acts or sexual poses).
          --Hooding.
          --Use of military working dogs during interrogation.

          The following techniques are specifically allowed:
          --Sleep deprivation (4 hours minimum, which was almost always the standard).
          --Sensory deprivation (if not "prolonged": 30 days before a "break" period is required, which again, is pretty much the old standard).

          The following techniques may not be "excessive":
          --Noise.
          --Damp cell.
          --Hot, cold, dark, light, and unventilated cells.

          To get a sense of what is "excessive": intentional hypothermia is ruled out.

          The following techniques are nowhere restricted:
          --Stress positions. (I've seen it said that this is prohibited. I don't see it).
          --Sexual humiliation and other pride and ego down.
          --False flag (threatening to send them to Egypt).

          The following techniques are specifically encouraged for use in combination with the above:
          --Futility.
          --Fear up.

          Source: FM 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations (2006 version).

          •  "Not allowed?" And the enforcement mechanism is? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Garrett

            Some geezer with a clipboard is walking around to make sure nobody is doing anyting not allowed?

            FISA said warrantless wiretapping was not allowed.

            US Code said torture was not allowed.

            My confidence in the government not to torture is about 2%.

            "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

            by bobdevo on Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 04:20:42 AM PDT

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    •  Imagine Post War Germany without accountability. (8+ / 0-)

      Prosecution is the difference between learning from history and repeating it.

      I feel like we never really dealt with Vietnam. Which made Iraq possible (twice).

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

      by beijingbetty on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 01:34:32 PM PDT

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      •  I'm sorry, but Nuremberg was NOT accountability (5+ / 0-)

        I just have to say that, particularly because it goes to the heart of my point above.

        What mattered was stopping torture while it was happening.  The United States knew for years what was going on.  We did not stop it.  We barely did a thing.  Now we may prosecute some of those who were most responsible.  But that isn't even close to living up to our moral responsibility.

        That we hung a few Nazis after allowing the Shoah to happen doesn't mean much.  It was better than nothing.  But it didn't mean much, and the sad story of post WWII genocide around the world tells that tale.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 02:07:24 PM PDT

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        •  Post War Germany did not end with Nuremberg. (10+ / 0-)

          Modern Germans probably hate Hitler and the Nazis as much as anybody. They have done an absolutely staggering job of facing national shame and with accountability, courage and introspection.

          I don't see us as Americans facing the truth of what was done with accountability, courage and introspection. Like most things difficult, we face them with distraction.

          This is potentially our greatest weakness as a nation.

          The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

          by beijingbetty on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 02:14:16 PM PDT

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        •  point is, while justice does not change the past (4+ / 0-)

          it does change the future.

          it is hard and depressing to sort through our ruins of national disgrace, but that does not make it meaningless.

          i just detect a bit of defeatism, like prosecution makes no difference, in your original comment.

          justice and truth always make a difference compared to the alternative.

          The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.

          by beijingbetty on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 02:19:51 PM PDT

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          •  Well, I don't think it makes no difference (7+ / 0-)

            But I also think we tend to wildly overstate what difference it does make.  There was a reason why, when myself and others were calling for impeachment, that we did so and we thought it made a big difference, and why we felt just making sure we elected a Democrat for President wasn't good enough by far.

            And I'm not willing to let us look past that.  It isn't ok.  It is not ok that we passed on impeachment and as a party focused on winning the election.  If we forget that, then we won't manage to change the future.  Because as sure as anything, that will happen again.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 02:25:36 PM PDT

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            •  But I do respect... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jay Elias, beijingbetty

              your words here... I think it is good, actually, that you express this outrage and despair, kind of... despite my response to Nuremberg comment...

              I too wanted impeachment, and so many put a damper on it. We sent around petitions and we stood outside handing them out to sign, even way after "off the table."

              There wasnt enough push here, from this community or other blogs... when you spend all your focus on elections, electing Dems, the Dems take their cue from that, no need to rock the boat, etc.

              Keep on keepin on :-)

              (Ray McGovern's words on a pamphlet I asked him to sign, think he might have made the smile face too)

              Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

              by NYCee on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 06:32:03 PM PDT

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              •  I think I let my polemic get ahead of me... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Garrett, NYCee, beijingbetty

                ...look, Nuremburg wasn't meaningless.  But it didn't mean what it was supposed to mean, and it didn't mean what "they" say it meant.  And that's my point.

                On a fundamental level, I can't see punishing torture as something which is of similar priority to stopping torture.  It is not the same.  "We" (and I put that in quotes because I don't mean anyone here) failed, when we had the chance, to prevent real individual human beings from being tortured and, in many cases, murdered.  And it is a travesty that people might get away with that, and we shouldn't let them.  But it isn't the same as saving the lives of those murdered in custody would have been.  Nuremberg did nothing to make up for the United States turning back the St. Louis.

                And that has a price in the future too.  Charles Taylor and Saddam Hussein may have eventually faced a trial.  But they murdered with impunity and ruled in luxury for quite a while before that, and they knew they would when they killed thousands.  And a future President may be moved by the threat of one day having to face a prosecutor for what s/he does in office, but should now expect that they will complete their office without so much as an impeachment hearing.

                And we need to remember that.  Cheers.

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 08:43:57 PM PDT

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        •  I dont agree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          beijingbetty

          I disasgree when you say "Nuremberg NOT accountability."

          The past cant be changed, but it can inform the present and future, as with Nuremberg.

          I and others were outraged and saddened that the Iraq war happened, despite our desperate efforts to prevent it, but lacking time machines and all, we did the best we could.

          I mean, rules of war, Geneva Conventions - give Nuremberg its due for birthing these constraints on war, because unrestrained  war has been our plague for centuries. After WWll humans couldnt resist fashioning these newfangled rules, while wearily surveying those mountains of bones and smoking rubble - war's achievement. They gave us as a foundation upon which to rise up stronger than before.

          Accountability is insurance against crimes in the future. Our rules of war, if we honor them, can act as a deterrent. These laws are at least something we can hold onto, something to point to, in outrage and with demands, if they have not been observed.  

          Having not observed them, without demanding accountabilty, we are sinking ever lower. That doesnt mean Nuremberg is shite, it means we (collective masses) havent been up to par. We have to take our heightened awareness, from all we have lived thru, and keep the outrage alive.

          One more point of disagreement: (sorry!) As for hanging a few war criminals being a paltry accomplishment, which you referenced, I think that was no accomplishment at all. Its the death penalty, old as the hills and not human progress but human weakness -- no matter how heinous the crimes. (Recalling, for example, that spectacle of the Saddam hanging - it made me sick, no matter how many millions he harmed.)

          Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

          by NYCee on Thu Jul 16, 2009 at 06:22:49 PM PDT

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