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TalkLeft first alerted us to the latest cause célèbre of the Right Wing Media Borg -- the effort to defend torture at all costs. And caught in the crosshairs is Sen. Durbin, who had the unmitigated gall to call it like it is:
When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here [at Guantanamo Bay]--I almost hesitate to put them in the [Congressional] Record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:
On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.
If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.
To the pea brains on the Right, incapable of reading the English language in its most basic, unuanced form, they claim Durbin is calling our troops Nazis. The Wingnutosphere is making that claim. Rush is making that claim. Hannity is making that claim. Drudge is making that claim. Look to Fox News to jump on the bandwagon tomorrow.

Of course, what Durbin is saying is that such torture -- undisputed, by the way, and read from an FBI report -- is more at home in a place like Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany than in a modern Democracy.

And that's the truth. Plain and simple.

Remember when torture was bad? And getting rid of it was good? President Bush, Oct. 8 2003:

"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."
Scott McClellan, Dec. 10, 2003:
"There was an announcement by the Iraqi Governing Council earlier this week about the tribunal that they have set up to hold accountable members of the former regime who were responsible for three decades of brutality and atrocities. ... We know about the mass graves and the rape rooms and the torture chambers of Saddam Hussein's regime. ... We welcome their decision to move forward on a tribunal to hold people accountable for those atrocities."
President Bush, Jan. 12, 2004:
"One thing is for certain: There won't be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms."
And let's not forget, "torture" was used as a rationale for this war -- as in, we'll invade and end the torture.

Of course, none of that has happened. The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command. And Dick Durbin had the balls to say it so on the Senate floor.

And these cowards -- these people who will neither serve the cause they claim is so vital, nor urge others to serve it -- now rush to defend behavior that is indefensible?

Steve Gilliard:

I am tired of the phony bravery of these people, their cowardice shines through like a beacon. They condone abusing those in our custody but refuse to serve this country in combat, as they wish others would do.

But the larger point is this: America is supposed to have higher standards than the Nazis or Stalin, not embrace them or use them as a defense. There is no reason that we should have a gulag in the sun or be accused of torture. We should have jailed and tried these people legally. Not acted like the people we're supposed to be fighting.

One day, Americans will be subjected to this and then what will these people say "it's unfair"? Well, we tossed away our conscience and morals to achieve this end, and the result will be grim. But they won't be the ones paying it. They will be hiding behind their keyboards like the cowards they are, whining, lying and rejoicing in the suffering of others and wishing to see evem more brutality, but only from a safe distance.

John Aravosis:
Apparently, the Republicans who dominate the party today, on the radio, online, and in the halls of Congress, think that the only good American is a Stalinist, a Nazi, a fascist, or any other brand of totalitarian thug who beats the crap out of innocents because he can, because we're Amurrikans, God damn it, and if we want to throw you in jail for an eternity, with no lawyer and no charges, and torture you until your head explodes and you go absolutely insane, that's our right because, well, because FUCK YOU.

That's the thinking and the mantra of today's brand of Republicans who run the party and run the right-wing noise machine. The law is irrelevant, the norms of humanity are irrelevant. With God on our side - well, the Baptist fundamentalist God on our side, thank you - they can do no wrong.

Steve Soto:
If you consider torture legal and acceptable (even if innocent people are tortured), then Dear Leader's main post-hoc justification of the Iraq invasion it itself illegal, because Saddam Hussein would have been doing something that was legal (in your eyes - for he was only torturing "his enemies"). So, if you have a problem with torture being highlighted and publicized, then maybe it's time for you to become Saddam Hussein's lawyer. That is a more appropriate role for those who seek to condone, ignore, minimize or support torture.
And more people will chime in.

Really, what is the Right trying to accomplish here? Inflict so much pain on Durbin that others will think twice before they levy legitimate criticisms of the war? Are they so hell-bent on their political correctness that any criticisms of the war effort is considered treasonous?

Last time I checked, the American people were giving up on  Bush's folly. Last time I checked, most people still think torture is wrong, worthy of condemnation. Last time I checked, the War Pundits, War Politicians, War Preachers, and 101st Fighting Keyboarders still refused to personally sacrifice for the war effort. Last time I checked, that sad lot still refused to call their own supporters to sacrifice for the war effort.

At a time when REAL support for the troops means providing them with the equipment and manpower necessary to fight the war effectively, they agitate for neither.

Instead, they try to shut down a US senator reading from an FBI report. From Bush's FBI. Because the truth hurts. So we must supress it. And we'll do it by shedding crocodile tears for the troops. Because who gives a shit about them, so long as our heroic, do-no-wrong President looks good on the evening news.

Well, I stand with Durbin. Proudly. Because opposing torture is the Right Thing, despite violating the wingnut manual of political correct speech. And the rest of the Senate Democratic caucus better be standing with him as well.

You are either for torture, or against it. Let the chips fall where they may.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 11:58 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i stand with durbin (3.94)
    not only because torture is abhorrant and wrong, but also because, as history shows us, the techniques of empire eventually come home to roost. if we do not stop this now, we will have to deal with it sooner or later here in our own communities. totalitarian states by nature devour themselves, because they are obsessed with the enemy within.

    every person responsible for this must stand trial, publicly. we must not let this slide, even it if upsets the nation to acknowledge what has been done in our name. no whitewashes.

    crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

    by wu ming on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:03:43 AM PDT

    •  speaking of whitewash... (4.00)
      How long can they keep getting away with this crap? Their blatant hipocrisy makes me gag. Its always just more of the same, and no one anywhere has to accept any responsibility. I just happened to notice the latest Michael Moore 'must read' section. He listed the 20 holdout Senators who refused to sponser the Senate apology for the lynchings in the South. Not surprising here is they were all from red states. He linked thier respective contact numbers as well on the list.
    •  This is one of many reasons to support Durbin. (4.00)
      He is also a very good senator that has supported the troops where it counts, fights for what is right, and is an effective low key whip.  He also has a sense of humor, garners votes from all over the state, and is someone that would sit down to discuss almost anything with anyone.
      •  Support... (none)
        I don't know. I think it's time for Edwards and Biden to say Durbin doesn't speak for them.
      •  As a constiuent (none)
        I just visited Burban's site and e-mailed my heart-felt support, especially since he won't apologize.  Good for him!
      •  Durbin's webpage is being freeped by wingnuts (4.00)

        I just added a letter but it didn't come up yet.  

        Dear Senator Durbin,
        Please don't even pay any attention to the wingnuts who are calling you a traitor and say you are aiding and abetting the enemy.  Talk about blaming the messenger!! If the soldier who wrote to you blamed the policy set forth by the Bush administration rather than blaming you for speaking out about the atrocities done in our name, he might actually have to stop and think about our actions, and Republicans have become the party of a non-thinking "Yes": Yes to anything and everything this lying, warmongering administration proposes to do.  

        Keep up the good work!  You are doing a great job being the voice of conscience to an adminstration that has no conscience and no shame.

        "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

        by adigal on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 08:52:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Every little bit helps (4.00)
          My letter below:

          Senator Durbin, while I am no longer a resident of the fine state of
          Illinois, I grew up there and would be proud to have supported you.

          Thank you for speaking the clear truth regarding this government's
          illegal, ineffectual and immoral use of torture. We should never be
          justifying our actions by saying we're better than the worst, but rather
          by striving to be the best.

          You will doubtless hear the ranting and raving of those to whom any
          questioning of American actions is treason -- ignore them, please; you and
          I both know full well that questioning one's actions and reflecting upon
          them is a large part of being mature, whether as a person or as a nation.

          I thank you once again, and wish you the best of fortune.

    •  asdf (4.00)
      easiest way to frame this is to do what the goopers would do. deflect it and turn it into an issue of the other side, specifically the RW supporting torture.

      "why are you defending the use of torture? why are you defending saddam's actions?"

      don't let them get a word in edgewise, they don't do it for us. turn it around, make it about them. let them sheepishly explain why torture was wrong and evil when saddam committed it, and fine and dandy when we do it today.

      alcohol and night swimming. it's a winning combination!-l.leonard

      by chopper on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:39:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another possible response (none)
        To the pea brains on the Right, incapable of reading the English language in its most basic, unuanced form, they claim Durbin is calling our troops Nazis.

        "If the parallels between us and them bother you so much, then surely you'll be willing to stand up with me in calling for an end to these inexcusable torture chambers."

        Of course, the snarky one that came to mind first was:

        "If the shoe fits..." but that wouldn't particularly effetive.

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
        What is the White House Hiding?

        by mataliandy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:36:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the point... (4.00)
          dems should be making here is, you either support the use of torture or you condemn it. the issue is not, as the GOP wants to make it, how vociferously you condemn the people that do it.

          this is all just an attempt to change the subject so the goopers don't have to admit their support of torture and refuse to dole out the appropriate punishment for those who perform it.

          remember all the RW shills talking about abu ghraib? 'fraternity pranks'??

          i don't care who you are, if you tie people up and torture them, you deserve far more than harsh criticism and nazi comparisons.

          alcohol and night swimming. it's a winning combination!-l.leonard

          by chopper on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:15:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ignore idiots and support Durbin (4.00)
      If you would like to call Senaotr Durbin to express you support, the number is 202.224.2152.  

      If you would like to e-mail him, click here.

      These people take a lot of crap from Rush and Hannity-programmed idiots.  It's important to tell them when you think they are doing a good job.

      •  Thanks (none)
        I called but am getting a busy signal.  I did send an e-mail and will keep trying to get through via the phone.  The interns will be busy today!

        George W. Bush makes Reagan look smart, Nixon look honest, and his dad look coherent.

        by Dave the pro on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 08:24:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  support durbin (none)
        indeed thanks and done via e-mail.Seems more and more Illinois is going to stand as a bastion of blue and sanity in this strange country that's been foisted upon us.Now if the cubbies could just win a series all mostly would truly be right with the world, and I'm not even from Chicago or Illinois for that matter.
    •  First of all... (4.00)
      the Nazis used forced nudity and forced shaving, the Russians used forced nudity. Forced nudity is torture and it is a defined as an inhumane practice under international law.

      The reason Drudge and others are focusing on rap music is to distract us from the real torture which is forced nudity, forced cross-gender nudity, short shackling for hours, use of dogs and the use of an extreme reaction force that would purposely strick "pressure points" for not complying with sometimes illegal and other times mundane orders that were constructed to violate their religous faith.

      What I would like these people to answer is why are they advocating that we not comply with court decisions that have said that the Geneva Conventions DO apply unless a COMPETANT tribunal determines otherwise.

      Since no competant tribunal has reviewed any detainee case then they all must be affordeed POW status.

      What I want to know is whether these right wing talking heads agree with Justice Scalia or do they think he is an activist Judge that Senator Cornyn would like to shoot.

      Anthony Scalia   Hamdi vs. Rumsfled

      The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive. Blackstone stated this principle clearly:

       "Of great importance to the public is the preservation of this personal liberty: for if once it were left in the power of any, the highest, magistrate to imprison arbitrarily whomever he or his officers thought proper ... there would soon be an end of all other rights and immunities. ... To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole kingdom. But confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to gaol, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten; is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government. ...

           "To make imprisonment lawful, it must either be, by process from the courts of judicature, or by warrant from some legal officer, having authority to commit to prison; which warrant must be in writing, under the hand and seal of the magistrate, and express the causes of the commitment, in order to be examined into (if necessary) upon a habeas corpus. If there be no cause expressed, the gaoler is not bound to detain the prisoner. For the law judges in this respect, ... that it is unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not to signify withal the crimes alleged against him." 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 132-133 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone).

      If you didn't get all that Justice Scalia calls the Bush administration a despotic regime!

      Here is the majority opinion of the court written by Justice O'conner:

      The capture and detention of lawful combatants and the capture, detention, and trial of unlawful combatants, by "universal agreement and practice," are "important incident[s] of war." Ex parte Quirin, 317 U. S., at 28. The purpose of detention is to prevent captured individuals from returning to the field of battle and taking up arms once again. Naqvi, Doubtful Prisoner-of-War Status, 84 Int'l Rev. Red Cross 571, 572 (2002) ("[C]aptivity in war is 'neither revenge, nor punishment, but solely protective custody, the only purpose of which is to prevent the prisoners of war from further participation in the war' " (quoting decision of Nuremberg Military Tribunal, reprinted in 41 Am. J. Int'l L. 172, 229 (1947)); W. Winthrop, Military Law and Precedents 788 (rev. 2d ed. 1920) ("The time has long passed when 'no quarter' was the rule on the battlefield ... . It is now recognized that 'Captivity is neither a punishment nor an act of vengeance,' but 'merely a temporary detention which is devoid of all penal character.' ... 'A prisoner of war is no convict; his imprisonment is a simple war measure.' " (citations omitted); cf. In re Territo, 156 F. 2d 142, 145 (CA9 1946) ("The object of capture is to prevent the captured individual from serving the enemy. He is disarmed and from then on must be removed as completely as practicable from the front, treated humanely, and in time exchanged, repatriated, or otherwise released" (footnotes omitted)).

       ("[The Founders] knew--the history of the world told them--the nation they were founding, be its existence short or long, would be involved in war; how often or how long continued, human foresight could not tell; and that unlimited power, wherever lodged at such a time, was especially hazardous to freemen"). Because we live in a society in which "[m]ere public intolerance or animosity cannot constitutionally justify the deprivation of a person's physical liberty," O'Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U. S. 563, 575 (1975), our starting point for the Mathews v. Eldridge analysis is unaltered by the allegations surrounding the particular detainee or the organizations with which he is alleged to have associated. We reaffirm today the fundamental nature of a citizen's right to be free from involuntary confinement by his own government without due process of law, and we weigh the opposing governmental interests against the curtailment of liberty that such confinement entails.

      An interrogation by one's captor, however effective an intelligence-gathering tool, hardly constitutes a constitutionally adequate factfinding before a neutral decisionmaker. Compare Brief for Respondents 42-43 (discussing the "secure interrogation environment," and noting that military interrogations require a controlled "interrogation dynamic" and "a relationship of trust and dependency" and are "a critical source" of "timely and effective intelligence") with Concrete Pipe, 508 U. S., at 617-618 ("one is entitled as a matter of due process of law to an adjudicator who is not in a situation which would offer a possible temptation to the average man as a judge . . . which might lead him not to hold the balance nice, clear and true" (internal quotation marks omitted). That even purportedly fair adjudicators "are disqualified by their interest in the controversy to be decided is, of course, the general rule." Tumey v. Ohio, 273 U. S. 510, 522 (1927). Plainly, the "process" Hamdi has received is not that to which he is entitled under the Due Process Clause.

      Here is what the court is saying: the Geneva Conventions DO apply unless a competant tribunal determines otherwise.

      A competant tribunal cannot use coerced evidence obtained through a traditional battlefield interrogation.

      The detention of combatants is soly to prevent them from returning to the battlefield and is not for exacting revenge or punishment as is occurring currently.

      To summarize the judgement of the court - they are saying stop acting like a despotic regime and follow the constitution and the law.

      We need to do something about all of those
      activist supreme court judges don't we? (sarcasm)

      •  The music is also an instrument of torture (none)
        They wouldn't be playing loud music if it wasn't painful or unnerving to the captive.

        Trying to pass off blaring music in someone's ears while his hands are chained so that he/she can't even cover his/her ears as equivalent just playing music that the person doesn't like is asinine.

        The blaring music is still in instrument of torture regardless of which fascist regime first used it.

        1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

        by mungley on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 10:18:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The essential fact has always been and remains (none)
      that if we can't "win" whatever conflict we find ourselves in by being the kind of people we believe ourselves to be, then it doesn't much matter what the outcome is.  

      Americans have pretty much allowed the Bush admin to get away with this kind of shameful (&^$# because they've controlled the dissemination of information and created the impression that every other American is OK with this or unconvinced that it happens.  And they're poised to put in the final nail by defunding and/or moderating the content of PBS and NPR.  

      Democracy in the US has been over for years.  We just haven't acknowledged it yet.  

      •  No (none)
        If I recall, Americans are not being "duped" by the administration, they supported it at the polls in 2004, and more improtantly they support "red state" values to the hilt (at least rhetorically). This is not mis-voting by the public, they vote their "faith". As Toqueville said, the people get the government they deserve. The average SUV driving, carb-guzzling, anti-intellectual American deserves this government.
    •  this is just ridiculous (none)
      Look, what they are doing in Gitmo is outrageous and I condemn it.  It's disgusting and has made me mistrust my own government.

      Last year four Americans were DISMEMBERED, STRUNG UP after they were BURNED ALIVE and Kos said "screw them", meaning they got what they deserved.

      He now says that putting prisoners in a cold room is a form of torture that should not be tolerated.  So torture is OK, even laudable, as long as it is our enemy who does it?

      So long Kos, haven't been a member for long and I'm sure you won't miss me too much because unlike you, I'm a demo that doesn't hate Americans that don't disagree with me.  You do, there is no other way to explain this hypocrisy.  

      Flame away if you feel like it...

  •  The hell with politics (4.00)
    and what's most convenient for the Dems.  Right is right.  Wrong is wrong.  I don't give a damn if standing up and condemning torture, condemning abuse, condemning this war is politically expedient or not.  It's morally right.  It's the American thing to do.

    This must stop.  Dems who are on board, are on board with me.  Those who aren't, as far as I'm concerned, are on board with the torturers and the murderers.  Stand or fall, people.

    •  That makes sense to me (4.00)
      but the country or a large portion of it has gone completely stupid. Too many people have allowed themselves to be perverted into believing that right is wrong and wrong is right.

      Since the church and most religions are responsible for teaching their followers the proper morally good way of life, I place much blame and notice of ineptness on them for the current situation. Afterall, if only one segment of religious following is enough to place such morally corrupt individuals at the top of the administration of the United States government, they too should be able to recognize the evil and destructive horror they have unleashed upon the world and themselves. It should be obvious that a gang of crooks are doing everything they feel is necessary and devoid of any truly moral family values to rob the country for only their benefit.
      I see it as being similar to a gang of crooks who find it necessary to destroy a store to get to the cash register. Plenty of stores have been robbed before but if you destroy it to get the money, you won't have a place to go when you need money again.

      If this country allows itself to be manipulated and administratively tortured much longer, there will no longer be the USA that we knew and little chance of reforming it. The people who refuse to acknowledge or care about the destructive course the government has taken will or should understand why right and wrong exist and why truth, caring and responsibility are necessary to a functioning society which hopes to continue. If things get much more fucked up it is time to form a new and different country for this one will have failed.      

      "The lunatics have overtaken the asylum." Who's responsible for this mess?

      by Skylor on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 03:26:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with this completely. We are way (4.00)
      beyond the time when "impression management" and "marketing" should matter.

      This administration and its propaganda class is out of control.

      Howard Dean speaks for me.

      by lecsmith on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:34:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Talk Louder (4.00)
      The only reason the right machine is going atizzy over this is because they know they are weak on this.  When they get loud, we get louder.  Don't back down.

      This whole "moral voters" won it for Bush is bullshit.  The Hate vote is what got him so much supporters.  It had nothing to do with the love and compassion of any religious tradition.

      Just get louder.  They can't stand it.

      "You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment." Frances Urquhart (House of Cards)

      by Yankee in exile on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:51:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Defending the indefensible (4.00)
      It used to mean due process and equal protection under the law. Internationally, it used to mean equal application of the law.

      That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.

      The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched. - Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, Chief U.S. Prosecutor, Nuremberg Trials (from his opening statement)

      Not rationalizing barbarity. (On the first publication of the Abu Ghraib torture photos)

      CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men --

      LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off? - Rush Limbaugh, 05/04/04 via MediaMatters (orig. transcript since purged from Limbaugh's website)

      Not rewriting law to avoid accountability for premeditated barbarity.

      White House Quietly Removes Anti-Torture Language from Legislation NY Times, Jehl & Johnson, 01/12/05

      [...] The Senate had approved the new restrictions, by a 96-to-2 vote, as part of the intelligence reform legislation. They would have explicitly extended to intelligence officers a prohibition against torture or inhumane treatment, and would have required the C.I.A. as well as the Pentagon to report to Congress about the methods they were using. But in intense closed-door negotiations, Congressional officials said, four senior members from the House and Senate deleted the restrictions from the final bill after the White House expressed opposition. [...]

      An August 2002 legal opinion by the Justice Department said that interrogation methods just short of those that might cause pain comparable to "organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death" could be allowable without being considered torture. The administration disavowed that opinion last summer after the classified legal opinion was publicly disclosed. [...]

      The only public statement from the Bush administration about the kinds of restrictions proposed by Mr. Durbin came last June, when the Defense Department expressed strong opposition to a measure in the military authorization bill. That measure, adopted by the Senate, also imposed restrictions prohibiting torture as well as cruel, inhuman and other degrading treatment but it applied only to Defense Department personnel. [...] the final version of the legislation included only nonbinding language expressing a sense of Congress that American personnel should not engage in torture. (01/13/05 NYT Jehl & Johnson via Veterans for Common Sense)

      WTF are Mad King George and his Royal Republicans up to now???

      by Peanut on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:11:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "this must stop"--Excellent! (4.00)
      To the Right Wingers who cry, "But, they behead people...." (and therefore it's ok to use water torture, to have human beings defecate on themselves, to be sleep deprived). When did the United States of America decide we are no longer a beacon of democracy and humanity? When did we become a nation that condones torture? When did we become a nation that allows brutality?

      Which nation are we? The one that apologizes for 100 years of lynching? Or, the one that allowed owners to beat enslaved people for trivial misdemeanors for 200 years?  Are we the one that used rubber hoses to exact forced confessions in back room interrogations? Or, are we the one that says to each defendent "you are innocent until proven guilty?"  Are we the one that supports health clinics for Native American people or the one that allowed the U.S. Army to massacre people at Sand Creek?  Ok, Fox News: YOU DECIDE! Which are we?

      We "need torture to get information?" Not according to the FBI. Not according to the Moran guidelines for the United States Army. Sherman Moran's seminal work for the military in World War II sets out a very simple (and in Moran's case a very effective way) to get information from the enemy: Make him feel safe.  The most effective interrogator for the U.S. military in the Pacifice Theater 60 years ago said that the more secure you make the prisoner feel the more information you will get and the more accurate that information will be. This is US Army stuff...not the ACLU, not the Red Cross, not Human Rights Watch. This is US Army Doctrine.

      What's the matter Rush, Sean, and Brit? You don't support U.S. Army doctrine for the last 60 years?

      Torture is wrong, it's unAmerican, and it's ineffective. What more do they want?  Maybe it's the school yard bully element in the right wing--and we know what happens when someone pushes back. First they scream they didn't do it. Then they howl they weren't really hurting anyone. Next they bellow they weren't the ones doing it. And finally, they rage against the people who turned them in and shed light on their outrageous behavior.  

      •  msnbc poll (none)
        on this subject located here only 73 votes so far on a call for Durbin to apologize,
        •  I went there (none)
          it was so warped.   Headline is "Is Durbin the new Dean?"  What is that supposed to mean?  When's the last time you saw a headline asking whether Sensenbrenner is the new DeLay, or something similar?   And the poll asked whether Durbin should apologize for "comparing US soldiers at Guantanamo to Nazis."  Obviously not what he said, but close enough for MSNBC work.   I voted, but did they ever twist things.
      •  Thank you, thank you, thank you (none)
        When did the United States of America decide we are no longer a beacon of democracy and humanity?

        I constantly preach the ills of George Bush/Dick Cheney/Don Rumsfeld's war and the torture going on RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSES to my daughters. Hopefully, their generation will never let something as horrific as this happen again. We are morally lazy to let this continue.

        My fantasy - Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld tried for war crimes

        by browne48 on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 10:05:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Two Wrongs make a Right (none)
      Half of this country is so afraid they let themselves believe this.

      We must stand strong.

      Wrong is Wrong, no matter the circumstance.

  •  Maybe we need to try another approach (none)
    Something like, "this sort of behavior represents the highest ideals of American principle, that anyone we deem to be anti-American deserves the most pitiable treatment, and that these heroic, model patriot interrogators should be recommended for medals and White House jobs."

    Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter: Gangsta rap for the overprivileged

    by doorguy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:04:06 AM PDT

    •  I like what you're saying, but (4.00)
      this issue is too big and too overarching for sarcasm.  No personal criticism intended.  This is where you stand up and be counted.  No snark, no smartass, no nothing but standing up for what's morally, patriotically, fundamentally right and humanly decent.

      We are not torturers.  We do not stand by and let torture be perpetrated in our name.  We do not allow ourselves to be led by torturers and those who condone and whitewash torturers.

      We pull the torturers and murderers out of power and put them behind bars, where they belong.

      If you're reading this post and haven't started working in some form or fashion to make this happen, then get off your sorry ass and get to work.

      •  Agree about sarcasm (none)
        It takes an agile and open mind to 'get' sarcasm. Don't waste your energy and potential 'message time' with it. Settle on a simple, straight forward message and repeat it ad naseum. That's the lesson the Christian Jihad has learned and is using so effectively.

        It's Joseph Goebbels' BIG LIE technique for the new millenium

      •  Indeed (4.00)
        It's literally that straightforward.  Either we're the Good Guys, and we condemn torture, and we prosecute those of our own people who think torture is all right, and we follow it all the way up the food chain to the president if necessary... or we're not the Good Guys.  No semantics, no snark, no standing on the sidelines.
        •  Moral superiority (none)
          We're not the Good Guys because we say we are, and certainly aren't them because we're the most powerful country on earth.

          Any powerful country that claims moral superiority should devote itself to fundamental fairness in its own society, protection of others from tyrants, and the humane treatment of captured enemies, civilians, and the country after the enemy has been vanquished.  (Compare the U.S. treatment of Germany and Japan after WWII to the Allies' treatment of Germany at Versailles.)

          When the United States claims it is above the law, it loses any moral authority it has for regime change in other countries.


      •  thanks, black max (none)
        Hard to imagine but the reminder is needed, just keep it straight: we are not torturers. I can't stand to engage in conversations about it. I can't believe I have to. I see Rep. Duncan Hunter displaying food and these are the times I live in. Thanks for your comment.
      •  We do? (none)
        Most people have an average sense of morality (imagine that!). America is a democracy and we will win or lose with the people we have, not the people we wish to have. Unfortuantely, the people we have (not evil, just average) are not worthy to live in an above average country. If we had to recreate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights today, we would fail because the conditions for such documents were that a superior subset of the population of Europe were the drafters. After 2 centuries of regression towards the mean, we are drifting towards the most common style of society throughout human history: aristocratical despotism.

        With our morally (and otherwise) average people, it wont be long until America resembles Turkey, Brazil or some other average country. If you don't want that to happen you need to find a way to improve the people, and to do that you must first admit that they need improvement. No more left-wing romanticizing about "The People". The people will never do anything good in their current condition. Hell, they voted for Bush after he ran the country into the ground for four years! What more evidence do you need that something isn't right in America? Public apathy towards torture?!? You get my point.

    •  Also, too long (none)

      Torture and mistreating human beings is wrong, no matter who does it. We have never done it before and we need to stop it now.

      Clear and concise, that's the way to go.  I say let's all call a talk radio station today with this message.

      I know one number offhand, because I call it, but never get on:
      Hannity 800-941-SEAN  (should be DUMB, but, oh, well)

      "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

      by adigal on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:23:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to redefine the debate (4.00)
    I think a lot of the problem with torture coverage is that the Republicans have successfully focused the media attention on the less reprehensible acts. I doubt many people know about the worst acts and the number of people that died in U.S. custody.

    Until we can get the point across that these are serious acts of torture and not as Rush Limbaugh implies troops just letting off steam, the Republicans are going to have the upper hand.

    •  There is no debate. (4.00)
      There is simply outrage.  There are simply Americans who stand up and say, "No more, god damn it."

      We take this country back, or we throw in with the kommandants and the storm troopers.  We do what we need to do, media-wise and whatever, but we do it 24/7, as hard as we possibly can.

      This is intolerable.

      •  Word (4.00)
        The fact that we are having this "debate" at all is appalling.  The fact that McCain voted for Gonzales is appalling.  The fact that these lying, sanctimonious bastards are trying to justify torture makes me want to book a ferry to the Hague for the lot of 'em.
    •  Honey glazed chicken (4.00)
      On the talking heads shows the apologists for Gulag conditions kept referring to how good the meals were at Gitmo.  THe phrase honey-glazed chicken was worked into the response to just about every question.  The pandering host never once pointed out that serving a good meal doesn't make the torture all better.

      It's like the Jacko defense. "Look, here are three boys whom he did not molest, so he must be innocent"


      •  Wow! (none)
        You mean Emeril Lagasse could cook for me if I'm locked up forever?  Well BAM!

        I caught that too, and how asinine.

        This is where decent people yell and scream and don't let up.

        "You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment." Frances Urquhart (House of Cards)

        by Yankee in exile on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:55:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Being forced to lie in your own excrement (none)
        For crying out loud!

        Being forced to lie in your own excrement is torture, regardless of whether that excrement started out as honey-glazed chicken or moldy crusts of bread.

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
        What is the White House Hiding?

        by mataliandy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:51:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Right-wingnut Chicago Tribune likes the honeyglaze (none)
        Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass (blinded-by-the-right) worked honey-glazed chicken into his crap about Christina Aguilera isn't torture enough...

        Guantanamo is no place for a pop princess
        Column by John Kass
        Chicago Tribune, 6/16/05

        Have U.S. interrogators been too mean in questioning suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay?

        I don't think so. They didn't go far enough. For example, they foolishly used the recorded voice of pop star Christina Aguilera as an implement of torture.

        Music as weapon is a brilliant tactic. Just ask former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. The problem at Guantanamo wasn't music. They used the wrong music and failed to call me first.

        Intelligence officials did their best to break the terrorists with unspeakable torments, including offering plenty of honeyed chicken, fruit, various breakfast cereals and, for the less devout, photographs of naked women.

        Then they blew it big time by using Aguilera.

        Does he even realize he just compared Commander-in-Chief Bush to deposed despot Manuel Noriega?

        I wrote and told him he must enjoy torture and that he at least probably wouldn't crap on himself because he wouldn't be getting any honey-glazed chicken for 24 hours while he lies shivering and hogtied on the floor, peeing on himself and pulling out his hair.

        The jacKass is even taking suggestions for "worse" torture songs at his blog.

        The Tribune is a national paper y'all.

        The guy ought to be fired, but he'll probably be promoted.

        John Kass' email:

        The Tribune's public editor, N Don Wycliff (a right-wing apologist): or

        Letter to editor:

        Commentary submission:

        Kass' Tribune messageboard for songs

        Generic John Kass Tribune message board

      •  Meals are pretty good on death row, too. (none)
        The new American cuisine.
    •  Turn to the subjects (none)
      Point out that the US is using these methods on innocents, that no real experts were involved. Instead, it was more of a vengeance trip than a desire for real intel.

      In the TV Series "Babylon 5", the authors gave one of the main characters one of the best explainations for why innocent people lie: they don't want to be blamed for something they didn't do, so they try to put as much distance between themselves and the alleged crime as possible.

      This post is best understood if you look at the fnords first.

      by Saint Fnordius on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:26:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Their bullshit is beginning to not (none)
    work anymore.  It is growing more and more desperate to defend this administration and it's actions, and it is just not working so well.  I was not sure if this day would ever come, but I believe we are now turning the corner and the people are (finally) starting to wake up and smell the stink.  Even ole Rushbag is starting to sound a bit hollow in his defense.
    •  well, when they are saying... (none)
      that detainees have got it good....  what do you say to that!  i just heard a clip of rummy talking about how gitmo could be a resort because of where it is located!  so these detainees are living at the hilton!  they should feel lucky i suppose to be living so well.

      i wonder if people are buying this?  During WWII, pows from germany were treated 'well' all things considered.  The geneva convention or whatever treaty they were following at the time was followed to the letter because they wanted their guys treated as well.  of course the us pows weren't being treated well, but the us acted in good faith.  

      these people sitting in gitmo are in a black hole.  they have been given no rights.  and are held with no charges.  i don't think they have yet been able to see lawyers, even though they are supposed to.  no matter how 'good' they've got it at the gitmo hilton, you can't escape the reality of the situation.  as someone said a few days ago...  let the sounds of hotel california run through your head.

      •  One question (none)
        I'd like to ask Rush and Co.--Would you rather have lemon chicken inside a chain link fence/cell  or a hot dog in the freedom of your own back yard?  Then, there's the condescending racism of the argument "They never had it so good."  Please! Are we "doing them a favor" by locking them up?  Are they so poor, or so beast like, that they should PREFER to be locked up? The patronizing "massa" mouthings from this administration and it's radio minions is appalling.
        •  well... the slaves had it good too didn't they? (none)
          wasn't the rationalization for slavery that the slaves were better off as slaves?  i cannot be sure, but i think that was at least part of what supporters said.  i know its not the same exact thing, but i don't think either group should just accept the position they were forced into.
          •  not exactly the same thing but (4.00)
            perhaps the same white-is-right mindset?

            Remember the southern apologists who said, "They never had it so good--they were fed and clothed and cared for?"  The implication being that African-Americans were incapable of being successful and independent without white assistance?  Granted the analogy isn't a perfect fit, but doesn't the Duncan Hunter Menu Motif sound just a little like "they" are now eating well (at our expense)?

            Then there's the "They want to kill us" riff. Didn't some slave owners/apologists argue that the reason for the floggings was to "maintain control and secure our safety." (From all those happy well fed people?)  Weren't African-Americans who had the courage to revolt killed because white supremacists believe that otherwise the slave owners would be murdered in their beds?

            Underneath the arguments for torture is the face of American racism.

    •  I agree (none)
      We gotta defend Durbin, but I think we MAY be seeing the great unraveling of the GOP. It'll take some time, I assume, but blowback is coming.
    •  Turning the corner (none)
      I agree. And I didn't think I'd see this day either. With all their talk about "turning the corner" on Iraq and the economy, the corner is finally being turned on them.

      "If you don't know where you are going, you might not get there." --Yogi Berra

      by vlogger on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 09:25:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like Durbin (none)
    His heart always seems to be in the right place, not consistently taking the temperature of public opinion before speaking up.  I wish he'd been able to re-convene Harry Truman's WWII committee on war profiteering.  That has a snowball's chance in hell of receiving bipartisan support, but also desperately needed.

    I'm sure Joe "old buddy" Biden will be leaping to the floor to stand shoulder to shoulder with Durbin.  Any second now...

    •  A List Should Be Made Of Any Democrat... (4.00)
      who couches his defense of Durbin with anything like "well it wouldn't be my choice of words...".  


      •  Call Vegas (none)
        What's the over/under on how many minutes after 9am this morning, before Lieberman is in front of a camera, suggesting that Richard Durbin doesn't speak for him, and should be more responsible in choosing his words?
    •  Sen. Durbin is the senator (4.00)
      in Illinois I am most proud of.  He has fought the liberal fight for a long time.  I hope you will email his office and let him know we stand with him.

      Conservatives say "Silent Spring" is a dangerous book! Why do Conservatives Hate Birds?

      by xanthe on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 02:10:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why don't you diary it. (none)
        just a suggestion, but I'm sure he'd want to know his constituents stand with him.  Maybe if he gets enough support he will speak louder.

        I only say this because I live in wingnut Texas, and I'm totally jealous you have him.

        "You might think that. I couldn't possibly comment." Frances Urquhart (House of Cards)

        by Yankee in exile on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:59:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well,... (none)
          ...Sen. Durbin speaks for ME...
          <i>especially</i> since I voted for him. I can't possibly be more proud of an elected official. Show me a more committed, consistent, intelligent and good-hearted member of Congress.
          Durbin '08, anyone?

          "I have come here to chew bubble gum and to kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum. Oh -- have you read the Downing Street Minutes yet?"

          by Newton Snookers on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:08:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Funny you should say that (none)
          you might want to look at my last diary wherein I note my diaries never make the New York Times best sellers list.  

          Conservatives say "Silent Spring" is a dangerous book! Why do Conservatives Hate Birds?

          by xanthe on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 10:29:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I first began to notice this new agenda... (4.00)
    as I was watching 24 (the television show.)  The premise was that a nuclear bomb was to be used against the American people.  Therefore, anything that the protagonist did was okay, because he was saving the citizens of the United States.  Torture of an innocent man with crude electrical shocks, for instance.  Torture of an innocent employee of CTU (California Terrorist Unit) to obtain information.  Killing the ambassador to China in a raid to get an informant, who was then tortured in the van for information... the list goes on and on.

    It got worse when the president, who looked suspiciously like George W., was shot down by a hijacked Air Force jet, and his vice president, who looked like Nixon, had to take his place.  The VP didn't approve of torture, and so his actions cost CTU valuable time.  The vice president was portrayed as indecisive and wishy-washy, unable to stay the course and stand his ground - catch phrases we all know and hate from George W. Bush's stance on the war.

    This year's season of 24 was so blatantly manipulative that at first I decided not to watch any more.  Then I decided that I wasn't being fooled, and continued to watch it until the end.  Which ends with our protagonist escaping across the border to avoid the Chinese authorities, who have decided (with good reason) to prosecute him for killing the ambassador.

    The television show 24 has become the voice of the Right.  What worries me is how many other television shows owned by right-wing corporations are trying to manipulate the hearts and minds of the American people?

    Beware, couch potatoes.  The television is lying to you.

    I don't give them hell. I just tell the truth and the Republicans think it's hell. - Harry S. Truman

    by Jensequitur on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:11:48 AM PDT

    •  It is (3.75)
      on Fox Television, after all.
    •  That is also what Dirty Harry series was about (4.00)
      Hypothetical to justify vigilante justice.

      Hypotheticals can justify any crime.

      Couch potatoes are going down some strange paths.  Seems like quite a few current TV shows start off with a maggot filled corpse.

      They have seen too much on TV to be shocked at real life until it comes knocking at their door.

      •  not exactly (none)
        What you say might be true of the original "Dirty Harry", but the series as a whole was more complex and balanced. In "Magnum Force" Harry gets on the wrong side of an organization of rogue cops who are assassinating criminals they can't convict of anything. When Harry investigates and starts to find out things about them, some of the younger rogue cops confront him: They don't understand. He's their hero. Why isn't he with them?

        "Magnum Force" leaves a strong message that things can go horribly wrong when you start ignoring the rules.

        •  Yeah I didn't get too far in the (none)
          Dirty Harry business.  I am glad it ended well.

          Just like the maggot filled corpse TV shows though, they could end well and I would never know it.  I would have quit watching a long time ago.

    •  Actually I think 24 is a touch more complicated (3.50)
      Actually I think 24 is a touch more complicated than that.  They certainly have done the things you say.  Ex-president Palmer is positively throbbing with presidential authority and manliness in the way he decisively tells people to do anything at all so long as it pushes the agenda forward.  The VP (so wimpy I can't even remember his name) is painted as completely pathetic, and worse, a liability to America, because he won't sanction torture quickly enough.

      However -

      and people not wanting to see spoilers should look away -

      Jack Bauer has become a monster.  Torture is now about the first thing he thinks of when he needs information.  He held a gun on a doctor and forced him to let an innocent man (the husband of his girlfriend) die so that he could work on an injured man who had information.  To my mind he is no longer a conflicted personality, he is a monster.  I think the writers intended that, they wanted to show that the sort of things he did in previous seasons, when they seemed much more excusable, have eroded his moral fibre to the point he is at now.

      Of course I think the writers also realise that a lot of their audience won't get this, but will be sitting in their lazyboys, shouting "hoo-yah, go git them brown-skinned terrorists Jack, that'll teach em to mess with 'merica" at the TV.

      They, the writers that is, win both ways.  The complex interpretation is a bonus in my opinion.  Some shows (Law & Order springs to mind) have one protagonist spout the standard right wing line and another the standard left wing line, the audience is left to decide which they prefer.  Once again this is probably win-win for the writers since the audience will decide that the show supports their ideology and the other was put forward to be beaten down.

      There are plenty of shows that just play to the 'hoo-yah' audiences though.  I think it's a mistake to expect too much from prime time television.

    •  Some of what you said is wrong (none)
      If you watched.. The Chinese Ambassador was killed by Friendly Fire .. his own agents accidently shot him in the back while Bauer was escaping with the opperative.  I am not disagreeing with what you are saying.. just making sure you get the story straight.  I also felt that "24" was trying to justify what we are doing at Gitmo.. which turns my stomach every time I read or hear about some new form of torture we are trying.  
      •  That's true... (none)
        Jack didn't actually kill the Chinese ambassador - but he did authorize the operation that killed him.  

        I don't give them hell. I just tell the truth and the Republicans think it's hell. - Harry S. Truman

        by Jensequitur on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 11:38:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well... (none)
      I understand the trepidation, especially about this season - it definitely seemed to have a more right-leaning stance. However, the history of 24 shows that you can't really peg it as simply a right-wing front, mainly because David Palmer - who is the ex-president - is a Democrat. Also, you have Keeler (who was in season 3, and whom I'd be hard-pressed to find a resemblance to George W., both look-wise and intellectually, as a moderate Republican.

      Also, in terms of the torture have to look at Jack's personal life to understand a lot about the show and the direction it goes. In season 1, there was no torture. However, that changed in season 2, and Jack did more of it because he had lost his wife in season 1. As portrayed at the beginning of season 2, this had a large effect on him, and when he returned, he became a rather soulless man who served his country - but almost no one else, except Palmer.

      I don't think the goal of the show is to say that torture is good or that it's the only way to solve a problem. I'm a huge fan of 24, and while I do keep my eye out for political references - the Amnesty Int'l and Michael Moore slams were really cheap shots that the writers should've stayed away from - 24 has done a generally good job of being as nonpartisan as possible.

      "You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it." -Malcolm X

      by PsiFighter37 on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:30:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (none)
      I'll never watch 24 again. I'm not even sure why I finished watching the season... after they started torturing folks in the third or fourth episode, I was downright sick.

      It may be fiction. But it's a fiction that's too close to reality for me to support with my television watching.

  •  "The pea brains on the Right" are here.. (4.00)
    ..too, we've already had a Minstrel Man drool in our pool.
  •  Colin Powell on abandoning Geneva (4.00)
    Colin Powell on determining that Al-Qaeda and Taliban members are outside the protections of the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War...


    It will reverse over a century of US policy and practice is supporting the Geneva conventions and undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops, both in this specific conflict and in general.

    It has a high cost in terms of negative international reaction with immediate adverse consequences for our conduct of foreign policy.

    It will undermine public support among critical allies, making military cooperation more difficult to sustain.

    The countries Powell is talking about are our closest allies the UK, Australia, Canada and he was 100% correct. It's not about Guantanamo as bogeyman - it's about a ridiculous misguided tough guy policy that did nothing to advance the fight against terrorists and everything to undermine that fight.

    •  Just to clarify (4.00)
      None of the abuse or subsequent reaction is in any way suprising. Sec. of State Powell laid out immediately the consequences of the proposals by then White House Council Gonzales in 2002. More from Newsweek:

      Gonzales also argued that dropping Geneva would allow the president to "preserve his flexibility" in the war on terror. His reasoning? That U.S. officials might otherwise be subject to war-crimes prosecutions under the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales said he feared "prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges" based on a 1996 U.S. law that bars "war crimes," which were defined to include "any grave breach" of the Geneva Conventions. As to arguments that U.S. soldiers might suffer abuses themselves if Washington did not observe the conventions, Gonzales argued wishfully to Bush that "your policy of providing humane treatment to enemy detainees gives us the credibility to insist on like treatment for our soldiers."

      When Powell read the Gonzales memo, he "hit the roof," says a State source. Desperately seeking to change Bush's mind, Powell fired off his own blistering response the next day, Jan. 26, and sought an immediate meeting with the president. The proposed anti-Geneva Convention declaration, he warned, "will reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice" and have "a high cost in terms of negative international reaction." Powell won a partial victory: On Feb. 7, 2002, the White House announced that the United States would indeed apply the Geneva Conventions to the Afghan war--but that Taliban and Qaeda detainees would still not be afforded prisoner-of-war status. The White House's halfway retreat was, in the eyes of State Department lawyers, a "hollow" victory for Powell that did not fundamentally change the administration's position. It also set the stage for the new interrogation procedures ungoverned by international law.

      What Bush seemed to have in mind was applying his broad doctrine of pre-emption to interrogations: to get information that could help stop terrorist acts before they could be carried out. This was justified by what is known in counterterror circles as the "ticking time bomb" theory--the idea that when faced with an imminent threat by a terrorist, almost any method is justified, even torture.

      Tell it to the innocent cab driver in Bagram that was hung from a ceiling and beaten to death by Americans.

      This isn't hindsight. It took all of one day for Powell to respond to the White House voicing his concerns about just how bad a mistake ignoring Geneva would be. Democrats need to focus on the Powell dissent and highlight Bush's terrible misjudgement. The President's Secretary of State told him point blank he was going to violate international standards and lose essential support because of it and he did it anyway.

      It's productive to rehash this because eroding Bush's Congressional support is the best result for the safety and security of our nation. The man is a dangerous liar.

  •  What about our own sides Pro-Torture (4.00)
    Senators that supported the Abu Gonzales nomination? I know I can never support Lieberman, ever again no matter what he does. The man is a political disaster for us. I also stand by Durbin 100% and I wish all of the Democrats would do the same. I just worry about some of our ass kissing turncoats. All of our 7 of the 14 Mod Squad Senators make me very nervous...I was glad to hear about Dodds rejection of the latest Kansas Repugs Bolton Crumb of non-information that was pathetically offered up today. Some of our Senators are Awesome, others (as my grandma used to say) need a lickin.  btw/ Great Diary Kos.

    *Can we please have a party when Bolton goes Down?*

    by Chamonix on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:23:25 AM PDT

  •  Durbin (4.00)
    When I visited Sachsenhausen, a former Nazi concentration camp, even though I'd read so much about the Holocaust, being at one of those places makes words in a book seem like, well, just words.

    I remember remarking to Frank that those committing torture at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and in Afghanistan would be very comfortable as SS guards.

    Very comfortable.

    •  And coming from you (none)
      that's a pretty strong sentiment, as you're usually the first to smack someone down for an inappropriate Nazi reference.
      •  Well, there is mass murder (4.00)
        and that's why I hate it when people say "Bush is Hitler, Heil Bush!"  because it hasn't come to mass murder (millions and millions of lives).

        But then there's torture, and what the SS guards did in the way of torture is very comparable to what is being done in the name of Freedom™ and the War on Terror™.

        We should stop saying just "torture" and start saying "torture sanctioned by the Bush administration".

        Or, for those Freeper dumbasses with low IQs ("big words are sooo hard!") we could just say "torture that Bush thinks is moral."

        •  Hitler did not get around to mass murder (4.00)
          (of millions and millions) until 1941.  Does that mean Hitler before 1941 was not Hitler?

          All crimes have to have their beginnings, and at that point they may not seem that bad.

        •  how about torture in the name of god. (none)
          because the bible says very clearly... thou shalt torture thine enemies.
          •  Actually,, the Bible DOES say something like this (none)
            because the bible says very clearly... thou shalt torture thine enemies.

            In at least one place (not recalling which book of the Old Testament at the moment), God rains devastation down upon the Israelites for failing to slaughter the women and children of a defeated nation  -- as he commanded before the war.  Although the Israelites di dexterminate all the men and boys as commanded, they spared women and (at least) girl children.  Only when the Israelites repented -- and massacred all the survivors they had initially spared -- did God end his punishment.

            Some scary stuffr in the Old Testament -- and the GOP's stalwarts seem to embrace all these nastier bits (and ignore the many more that command mercy and justice -- even to foreigners and enemies -- not to mention the poor and powerless).

            •  Oh MY GOD!!! (none)
              this is why i think the bible is bullshit!  Sickening!
              •  The Bible is an extraordinary document.... (none)
                Not bullshit at all.  But it serves as a sort of mirror of the moral and spiritual values of the time each part was written (and/or finally revised).

                One CAN pick the nasty primitive bits as a justification of hateful behavior today -- but that only by ignoring the other parts that make clear such behavior is not decent for civilized persons.

                •  you can see the hypocrasy! (none)
                  because you could take from the bible that polygamy is ok...  you could say so many things are ok if you take things out of context or pick and choose... and that is what people do.  i don't personally accept the validity of the bible... but there are people who supposedly live by it and use it as justification for things they do...  i know there are people out there who accept hte bible.. and actually live by it.  i am specifically referring to people who are 'christians'... like bush and the nutjobs out there parading around as religious folk.
              •  Biblical punishment for rape (none)
                is stoning the victim to death. It's not just violent and freaky Revelations that's got icky stuff in it. The bible is kind of a rorschach document, it has both wonderful and awful texts in it. Requires thoughtful, good people to interpret and use the good parts for good.

                Reality - Humanity - Sustainability

                by Em on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:02:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "requires thoughtful, good people" (none)
                  That would be people like Pat Robertson and his righteous army, if you ask them.

                  In my experience, "thoughtful, good people" are that way because they conscientiously doubt their own ideas and motives.

                  Only someone with a pre-existing streak of moral certitude uses the Bible as the canon of ethical instruction -- or rather, rationalization.

            •  This is the story of the Amalekites (none)
              Read it - and think about it next time someone selectively quotes some intolerant passage from the Koran, because all these "holy books" have a lot of unholy mayhem in them.

              1 Samuel 15:1-3

              "Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy [a] everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' "

              But Saul only killed all the people, wanting to keep the livestock for himself:

              "Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves [b] and lambs--everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed."

              God is so angry at Saul after this incident that he essentially withdraws his favor from Saul, although he remains king of Israel a little longer.

              BTW, although I can't find it, the number of Amalekites slaughtered was, according to the Bible, 160,000 men, women and children.

              •  No, I was thinking of the Midianites.... (none)
                ...and remembered things slightly wrong.

                The Israelites initially took women and children captive, which angered God.  He then ordered all adult (non-virgin) women killed, as well as all male children (of any age).  Girl children could be kept alive -- and were distributed as booty to the successful warriors.

        •  Hmmmmm (none)
          "Mass" murder is one murder in the name of "God."  GWB mentality is doing this in the name of some sort of evangelical business they voice as the excuse for torturing anybody who is Muslim, has a forign-sounding name, attended a wedding, etc. etc. etc. in the wrong sort of church.  In addition, it does NOT take one about the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who just happened to be born in and live in the neighborhood that Rumsfeld decided to "shock" into "awe."  How is that a more legitimate form of torture and murder than that in WWI?  It is insane and we are crazy to have allowed this to happen.  We all have blood on our hands for this dreadful invasion of a country that was essentially harmless to our country and to people who, with the exception of Sadaam and his flunkies, were innocent of anything that we could possibly have know of.
  •  Time magazine (4.00)
    Has an article that details the treatment the prisoner who was thought to be the 20th hijacker went through/is going through.

    I am sure you can see it on their website. I just got the magazine today. It is the brand new issue that has it.

    Just a heads up.

    "Babble, Babble, Bitch, Bitch, Rebel, Rebel,Party, Party, sex, sex, sex and don't forget the violence...." Marilyn Manson " This is the New Shit"

    by Chaoslillith on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:24:32 AM PDT

  •  Well, if they are acting like Nazis... (4.00)
    ... a comparison is apt.

    Although, I think a better analogy would be that this is the type of behavior that we would expect from a brutal dictatorship like Saddam Hussein's. And then some comment that we would expect the Bush
    administration to condemn torture, not condone it.

    So, how can the right wing publicize these comments without mentioning the torture? It baffles the mind...

    76% of dKos readers think I'm a secret wing-nut operative!

    by Gustavo on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:25:31 AM PDT

    •  They will quite comfortably gloss over (4.00)
      the German shepherds, the electrodes, the beating deaths, and focus on something borderline from the latest news story.

      I'm dead serious about this - this week it's Christina Aguilera, for some reason. Their reaction is "so what if we made the terrorists listen to loud music, at least they had rice pilaf."

      Last week it was Koran-pissing, as in "well, if having their Korans mishandled is the worst that happens to them, then they're doing pretty well."

      No, assholes, being beaten to death is the worst thing that's happening to them.

      •  You made my point (4.00)
        From a few of the comments that I have read from Seymour Hersh it sounds a lot worse than what Senator Durbin saw, and even worse than the things that you mentioned.

        Culture of life my ass.

        Improved conditions make better men, and better men improve conditions. Simon N. Patton

        by mm201 on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 02:16:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hersch (4.00)
          "The worst is the sounds of the boys screaming"

          Talking about Abu Graib.  Even our august senators were green at the gills after watching/listening to those tapes.  

          Doesn't anyone care?

          Doesn't anyone realize that, even if you think Taliban supporters deserve whatever they get, that there is no way to separate the innocent from the guilty in Abu Graib?  

          And the right accuses us of being hateful.  Are THEY so hateful that they condone this kind of bullshit even if it is applied to the innocent?

          •  "There is no way to separate the innocent (4.00)
            from the guilty in Abu Graib" or in Guantanamo, for that matter. Is the U.S. really prepared to condone the torture of the innocent along with guilty as a matter of policy? Is that what we stand for?

            If it is, we might as well flush the Constitution down the toilet. We're sure not using it for anything.

            •  Sadly (4.00)
              that is what a majority of our esteemed congresspersons are saying.  

              I think this is the biggest issue going right now --among the many Bush sins and scandals--because it is at the heart of what our country really stands for.

            •  Is the US willing to condone the torture of the (4.00)
              guilty??  I don't care if someone is guilty of the most heinous crimes, to torture them is morally wrong and dishonors us as a nation.

              "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

              by adigal on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:24:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's also not allowed under the Constitution (none)
                8th Amendment to the Constitution

                Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

                Don't blame me, I voted for Kerry.

                by mndemguy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:59:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Last time I checked... (4.00)
    Hannity, Rush, Republicans, PNAC, and fundamentalists were all assholes. Oh, and chickenshits.

    The festering wave of crap they spew will indeed roll back upon them, maybe very soon, and they won't have any idea what hit them or why things smell so bad.

    Just you watch.

  •  No torture. (4.00)
    Torture isn't tolerable. Ever.

    Durbin spoke the truth, unvarnished.  That's currently called a "gaffe".

    Senator?  Tell them to Cheney themselves.  

    "Too many policemen, no liberty; Too many soldiers, no peace; Too many lawyers, no justice." Lin Yutang (1895-1976)

    by ogre on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:30:29 AM PDT

  •  Dubya ought to have said (none)
    "Bring 'em on" to the torturers.

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:31:31 AM PDT

  •  Goddamn, Kos (4.00)
    You and Atrios been takin your Wheaties or something?
    •  Agreement ... Great post / thoughts Kos ... (none)
      Have received three different group e-mails with various Wingnut twists on Durbin's comments.  Due to sensitivities in terms of the community where I work, I usually just trash such material.  

      Today, this excellent diary provided excellent cut-and-paste material for responding that went out to 1000+ people with an opening paragraph:  "Like Saddam, the Vietcong, and Taliban, do you stand with torture?  Or, do you stand with President Bush in believing that torture should stand as he said in January 2004 about Iraq ... "One thing is for certain: There won't be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms."  Considering what we've learned about Abu Ghraib, was he right?"

  •  The new America. (4.00)
    This is just disgusting. Defending the indefencable and attacking anyone who points it out.

    We held our "moral authority" because our worldwide  public face was one that deplored this kind of shit, our private one wasn't so clean.

    We crushed the Nazi movement with Nuremberg. We, the west, showed that we afforded the most dispicable people on the planet a fair and open trial. We showed the Nazi's for what they were for all to see. That is what gains you respect.

    With gitmo and abu ghraib we have flushed our "moral authority" down the toilet. We've shown that our rhetoric is just that, rhetoric. Platitudes designed to look and sound pretty, with nothing to back them up.

  •  Call Durbin today (4.00)
    Don't leave him twisting in the wind.

    Washington, DC
    332 Dirksen Senate Bldg.
    Washington, DC 20510
    (202) 224-2152
    (202) 228-0400 - fax

    230 South Dearborn St.
    Suite 3892
    Chicago, IL 60604
    (312) 353-4952
    (312) 353-0150 - fax

    525 South 8th St.
    Springfield, IL 62703
    (217 ) 492-4062
    (217) 492-4382 - fax

    701 N. Court St.
    Marion, IL 62959
    (618) 998-8812
    (618) 997-0176 - fax

  •  Calling all Illinoisans (4.00)
    Now would be an excellent time to call Senator Durbin's office and thank him for his courage and hard work on the torture issue, and make it clear that he should not apologize; that there is nothing to apologize for.

    Now would also be a good time for Illinoisans and non-Illinoisans alike to write a letter to the editor in support of Senator Durbin. You might mention his extensive record of support for soldiers and veterans.

    Or you might mention that Illinois Rep. Dennis Hastert has never apologized for attempting to legalize sending suspects to be tortured in Syria and Uzbekistan.

    Or that the administration has never apologized to Maher Arar, Khaled el-Masri, or the families of Dilawar, Manadel al-Jamadi, or the unidentified detainee who died in the "Salt Pit", to name but a few.

    Or you might say something shorter and more to the point.

    I have done a lot, a lot of research on this issue, and I have followed the Senate debates thoroughly. I don't think there's a single person in the Senate who's done more to oppose the use of torture than Senator Durbin. This is actually only the third best speech he has made on the subject; the first two are here and here. I am making an educated guess on this, but I am pretty sure he is the reason for the unanimous judiciary committee vote on Gonzales, and that he wanted to filibuster the nomination and would have if they had had the votes to sustain it. He is one of five co-sponsors of S. 654, a bill to ban "extraordinary rendition." He probably is largely responsible for the filibuster of William Haynes, the author of the D.O.D. torture memo, and p

    He is the only member of the Democratic leadership who has really responded adequately (though Harry Reid certainly deserves a lot of credit too, as do some of the committee chairs....I don't mean to diminish anyone else, but if there's one person who's been essential it's been Durbin.) If his voice was silenced on this issue, it would be disastrous. The hopes of Congress acting on this issue are pretty slim now. If Durbin is cut off at the knees for this, it's going to get even worse.

    Anyway, he's had our back, on this issue and in every way imaginable, for years and years now. He co-sponsored the SAFE Act, the Truth in Trials Act, the amendments to the bankruptcy bill and too many measures in support of veterans to list. He opposed Bush's worst judicial nominees, and help filibuster an energy bill that was quite popular in Illinois and a disaster for the country. He was one of only two Senators up for re-election in 2002 to vote no on the Iraq War (the other was Wellstone, obviously).

    Over and over again, he's had our back. Time for us to have his. Call his office, or email them, or write a letter to the editor, or all of the above.

    •  Count me in! (none)
      LTEs, calls to the Senator--you got it from me.

      Plus, don't forget, there's a lot of us working on the FOIA documents on the project led by SusanHu.  We WILL show the truth on this.


      The answer to "compassionate conservatism" isn't timid progressivism.--Sen. John Corzine (D-New Jersey)

      by AAbshier on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:08:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just emailed his office (none)
      and will write my LTEs today. He's a great Senator and I hope he receives more support and praise for his work.
    •  Another proud Illinoisan (none)
      I really love the way Durbin is stepping up lately. I think he's always done a decent if not spectacular job, but in the last few months he's really elevating his game and I could not be prouder. He's doing a great job as the Whip.

      I wrote him once before when that knucklehead fascist whose name escapes me (the one from Homeland Security who was talking about delaying the elections if there was a "terrorist threat") was in the news. And I got a personal reply a couple of weeks later which I'm pretty sure he wrote himself. He was all over it.

      Class act 100% of the time. I'll be writing him today with an attaboy.

  •  They shall reap whirlwind (4.00)
    Those Torture Cheerleaders will be getting theirs.  And when it comes, it is going to be ugly.  Their bible thumping shocktroops would be best served to read their bibles a little closer:

    "Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law....Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.

    They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off...

    For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.

    I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing.

    They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.

    For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof."

    Now I'm not a holy roller.  Fact is, I'm an atheist in the mold of a Richard Dawkins - I likes me science, unfiltered.  But the language of Scripture has a moral resonance that is fitting when it comes to transgressions like these: When you breach the covenant of human decency, at some point, that breach will turn back upon you a thousandfold.

    In the words of Arthur 'Bomber' Harris (RAF) regarding the firebombing of Germany in WWII: "The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a dozen other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind."

    What angers me most is that it shall be our soldiers in the field that bear the brunt of that storm.

    PolisPundit - An Agenda for a New Liberalism

    by goblue72 on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:56:41 AM PDT

    •  if we continue to keep this up (4.00)
      it might end up as more than just our soldiers who reap the whirlwind.

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 01:17:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  incoming (4.00)
      Not just the soldiers. If MI5 couldn't prevent the occasional IRA bombing in the UK what are the odds we'll remain unscathed?
      •  Agreed (none)
        What the republicans are overlooking is that this torture breeds terrorists, it does not deter them. Of course we won't remain unscathed - and imo, the odds of attack get worse for us everyday that republicans are in power.

        Just called Durbin's office in DC to voice my support.  Staffer seemed worn out and disinterested, but said thank you.  

        "I said no deal; you can't sell this stuff to me" - Townes Van Zandt

        by btrflisoul on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 11:16:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  see the public's pulse on durbin at (4.00)
    go to and check out letters to leaders--look and see what people are sending durbin--if you go to him you can under his pic read "more letters to senator durbin"-you can see the right wing in attack mode.  And you can send him your support too for free--if you want to pay 5.95 for 30 days time posted-you can do a soapbox alert....
  •  a new time (none)
         Our troops are not doing anything that the administration is not in compliance with. We are all capable to band together and bring charges against the administration. If we dont, then it is on our hands , not our troops.
  •  torturing the guilty... (4.00) also wrong - legally and morally.

    i know it's easier to condem torturing the innocent.  and it's pretty damn stunning that the right seems to support that too.  but we need to be clear that torture - no matter who is tortured - is wrong.


  •  Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs (4.00)
    Charles Johnson at LGF made an extremely dishonest post about what Durbin said.

    He quotes Durbin, but he leaves out two key sentences, in order to make the prisoner abuse seem trivial.

    Here is Johnson's post -- &only

    Notice he leaves out these two key sentences from Durbin quoting the FBI report --

    "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water.  Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more."

    Of course the dishonest Johnson cannot include these two sentences, because then the torture doesn't sound so trivial.

    Here is a post I just made at Little Green Footballs, under the username ramashiva.  Let's see whether Charles leaves my comment up and/or bans me for making this comment.

    ramashiva  6/16/2005 01:27AM PDT

    Charles, your post on this matter is extremely dishonest and misleading. In order to make the torture at Gitmo sound trivial, you deliberately snipped the first two sentences from the FBI report which Senator Durbin quoted --

    "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more."

    When you add those to sentences, the torture doesn't sound so trivial, does it?

    Shame on you, Charles, for making such a misleading post. One of the reasons I read your blog is that, even though you are on the far right from my perspective, you are usually pretty honest.

    And shame on you for claiming that Durbin compared American soldiers to Nazis and KGB. He did no such thing. He simply stated that such torture belonged in Nazi Germany or a Soviet gulag, not an American military facility.

    •  I didn't know it was still possible (none)
      to sign up for a Late German Fascists account. Well done. We'll see if he has any integrity at all, and I'm sure the other commenters will shit themselves.
      •  LGF Sign Up Still Possible (none)
        It is indeed possible to sign up for an LGF account, but they don't make it easy.  I too had found that it seems the bank window was shut during normal operating hours but that an occassional knock on the door at weird hours found the account activation feature open.  In my case I managed to find the seam around 11:30 PM EST on a Saturday evening just this past month.  

        You might be able to locate a crack in the door too by just trying randomly.  Good luck.  They certainly want to keep the clum exclusive though.

  •  I hate to quibble.... (3.12)
    And for the record I'm about as squarely in the Durbin camp as you can get on this issue, but statements like this don't help:

    "The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command."

    From your post.  

    There's pretty much no sense in which that is true.  

    Before everybody jumps up my ass for saying so, the reason I point it out is A. for the sake of keeping things accurate, and B. because I spend a lot of time in various formats speaking about this issue and trying to call attention to it.  And statements like that, besides just being inaccurate, do nothing but hand the other side talking points on a silver platter.  Whatever point you (or I) might be trying to make can often go up in smoke with a single sentence like that (unless you're just preaching to the converted, but even then, a note like that will play flat to the ears of people like me, a converted).  

    Take that however you will.  Commence with the ass-jumping.  

    •  in the most important sense it is true (4.00)
      The badness of torture is invariant over inflictors.
      •  well phrased (4.00)
        You said what I meant to say but better and two minutes earlier!

        "invariant over inflictors" is great. OK if I steal it for my .sig?

      •  Say (3.25)
        Did my comment really merit a 2?  Just curious.

        In any case, no, "the badness of torture is invariant over inflictors" isn't really true in any practical sense either.  There are ways in which that could be true--a person starved and gassed is no better or worse off than a person detained and beaten to death for instance--but as a general blanket statement; no, that's not really true either.  Torture under Saddam was much worse than torture under US Command, in pretty much any way a reasonable person might define that.  Even Amnesty International, the ACLU, whatever human rights watchdog you care to name, would grant that.  In intensity, scope, whatever.  We can argue that point, I suppose, but not if you want to continue sounding reasonable or relevant.    

        My point, however, isn't that such and such torture is less bad than this or that, and sorry to sound like it was.  It's basic Communications 101.  Kos, at least as I take it, is trying to provide a rebuke to the wingnut accusations that Durbin is declaring moral equivalency between US Command and the Nazis (or whoever).  It doesn't help his point, in making that case, to provide a sentence like that which seems, at its face, to be guilty of exactly what it is the wingnuts are alleging was Durbin's point in the first place.  In the rebuttal, he pretty much offers the proof of what it is the wingnuts are fishing for in the first place: a statement explicitly equating, morally, US forces with Nazis/Saddam/Pol Pot/whatever.  Obviously, that's not helpful.  

        Unless kos' point was that Durbin was saying the US Command and the Nazis are just as bad as each other and that Durbin was correct in saying so, and upon further reading, maybe that is what kos is saying after all, but I don't think Durbin would agree with that statement--I certainly don't--and regardless, even if kos does, that pretty much legitimizes the wingnut reaction to what it is they thought Durbin was getting at in the first place.  In which case it isn't a question of the wingnuts missing the point, because they would be on the right track after all (whether you disagree with them or not is another matter, but their interpretation of the comments would at least be accurate).  

        There are ways to have this conversation without having to resort to useless hyperbole that won't "wake people up" but will instead legitimize the complaints of the opposition (at least in the minds of many).  Using a sentence like "the torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command" is not one of those ways.  

        •  Dead wrong. (4.00)
          The things that the US are doing are equivalent to the excesses of Mussolini, Horthy, Franco, Batista and assorted other dictators.  If them why not Saddam?
          •  asdf (3.25)
            Torture is morally wrong, illegal, and dangerously exposes our troops and citizens to the practice of the same tactics from our enemies. It's outrageous that BushCo is employing the same tactics he used as criteria for regime change. Whether it is in the nature of `terrorists' or insurgents to employ torture as part of their operations is immaterial to our condoning or using it as a nation.

            All that said, you cannot equate the sensory and discomfort torture described in that FBI memo with the methods practiced by Saddam's regime. To do so opens you up even more to a rhetorical counter-attack from BushCo's defenders.

            Instead call them gateway (a term they should be familiar with from the drug war) methods. State that employing any level of torture opens a gateway to worse and worse methods. That is why all torture must be forbidden. Concentrate on BushCo's hypocrisy as proven by the FBI (although BushCo has systematically weakened their credibility, and this may be the reason why).  

    •  quibble (none)
      I read this as: "Torture (abstract concept) was bad (morally wrong) under Saddam. It still is."

      But I agree it could be misunderstood.

    •  First hand accounts... (4.00)
      I live in the Middle East and, according to the Iraqi's I talk to, the deaths and tortures have changed very little in quantity or quality in the past few years. Only the perptrators have changed. And they culturally "understood" Saddam where the Americans' version of evil seems more random and illogical. Just what I've heard over here.
    •  Well, it's *early*, yet.... (4.00)
      I have to say, I don't agree with you at all on this:
      There's pretty much no sense in which that is true.
      in regards to *this:

      "The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command."

      How are you weighing or measuring torture? By the act? By the pound? Body count?

      Given the time, and at the rate he's going, Bush will SURPASS Saddam and set new world-land speed records doing it.

      It's inevitable if it is not ended.

      Maybe if it were put this way:

       How many family members would you have to lose to a random-brutal killer before you could consider their loss, and yours and would it be equal or worse in relation to an abstract number of thousands of people you've never known, nor even knew had lives in the first place?

      If we give our consent to the torturing, or maiming, or taking of life from ONE innocent stranger- and then are able to go on with our lives unaffected, neither thinking nor feeling any responsibility- or worse, totally unaware of any loss at all..????

      It's not the numbers that measure this kind of thing. We have a word for Evil. I've never heard one for Eviler.

      Actually- lets put it this way: an "evildoer is an evildoer"

      Please don't take this personally. It's more like I realized this while trying to wrap my mind around the concept you presented.

    •  I disagree (4.00)
      Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade.

      Tortue is tortue.

      Violating human rights is violating human rights.

      There is a time for safe launguage... this is not one of them.

      The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"

      by Love and Death on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 03:57:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We are living in Sadam's castle (4.00)
      We moved Sadam out and moved right in.

      The prision is still in business.

      What exactly has changed?

      •  Changes (4.00)
        Well, let me see, our guys rape little boys to torture their fathers.  

        I get the feeling even Saddam's chamber-masters wouldn't have done that.  Of course I have no proof of any kind, but it reeks of exactly the kind of "cutting edge" psy-ops recommendation that would emerge from the folks who have determined that it is good practice to touch deeply-religious prisoners with a woman's menstrual fluids, so they cannot pray.

        The torture methods seem, in most cases, to prey on the victim's religious beliefs - to shred their psyche, by steamrollering their moral values with depraved and evil acts.

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
        What is the White House Hiding?

        by mataliandy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:16:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, high school educated people (4.00)
          didn't think of these crimes.  They just don't know that much about Iraq.  They might have hit one or two, but not every single mean thing a bull's eye on the "victim's religious beliefs".

          The low level "bad apples" simply don't have the knowledge of the other culture to level such exact methods.  They would have used the methods from their highschool, I don't see any of that.

    •  I agree somewhat (3.00)
      The burden is on us, critics of Administration's torture policy, to not overstep or dramatize in making our arguments, even by a hair, because the right wing will jump all over it and use one tiny bit of hyperbole to dismiss every carefully constructed argument we make.

      I wish Durbin had been more subtle.  It would have been much more powerful to just read two witness accounts one after the other and just point out "One of those accounts was by [observer] in [name of Nazi prison camp] in 1943. The other was an account of a United States FBI agent observing conditions at Guantanamo Bay detention facility in 2005.  Can't tell which is which?  Maybe that's the problem."

      I also wish we could make powerful arguments that did not involve Nazis or gulags.  For example, the most powerful argument to me against torture is to ask what we would do if our citizens were treated like this while being detained in a foreign country, whether it's our soldiers or civilians.  Christian missionaries in a Muslim country.  American tourists wandering around in the wrong part of the India/Pakistan border.  American soldiers kidnapped in Iraq.  Appeal to the McCains and Hagels, not just the Kumbaya crowd.  This is not about coddling terrorists, it's about those pesky Geneva conventions that are more than quaint.

      •  People think, and learn, via metaphor (4.00)
        The human brain uses a form of mental short-hand to absorb new knowledge, by associating that new knowledge with something it already understands. Metaphor makes the information stick better in memory.

        As uncomfortable as it might seem, the Nazi metaphor fits, as would a Mussolini metaphor, as does the gulag metaphor, and any other historical institution of government-imposed torture you can name.  

        If fits because this country doing the same things those evil regimes did.

        If you can think of other metaphors that fit, use them. It is important that the evil reality of these torture chambers sink in and stick.  If these metaphors make that reality stickier in people's minds, all the better.

        Sure, the Rovian wasp's nest will be all abuzz with indignation, but they're still repeating the concept that our troops are behaving like Nazi's.  Even if they're saying it as a form of denial, the image is getting into people's heads.  

        The total lunatics on the far right will never go any further with their thoughts, but some of the people in the middle will start to feel the tiniest, niggling doubt that is so necessary to help them make the next step toward questioning.

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
        What is the White House Hiding?

        by mataliandy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:26:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tradeoff (none)
          THe metaphor only works if the person you are trying to convince is receptive to the possibility that the metaphor is apt.  For that reason, I think the use of metaphor is good for certain audiences, but backfires for others, particularly the usual cast of right wing  characters that Kos mentions in his post.  

          For them, you have to make the case that our fair haired American patriots will be stripped and forced to lie in excrement if they are captured and we'll have nothing to say about it because we did it too.

          EVen that won't win over the uberhacks of the right or the fighting keyboardists, but perhaps the McCains of the world, conservatives who spent some time in a Vietnamese prison would perk up just enough.

          •  That's the beauty of it (none)
            The listener doesn't have to believe the metaphor is apt.  

            The cognitive science shows that the association is made, period. If the metaphor is repeated often enough, the association then becomes permanent.

            That's why the media "wasp swarm" is so effective a delivery mechanism for administration propaganda - because the constant repetition creates permanent connections.  

            The more they repeat this metaphor, the more the association will become permanent for more people.

            Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
            What is the White House Hiding?

            by mataliandy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:01:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  seconded (none)
      I was going to make exactly the same point, but I decided to scroll down and see if someone else had already done it. Thank you.

      I also was struck by the "equally bad" phrase, and interpreted it to mean that torture under the American occupation was just as intense, widespread, and extreme as under Saddam. I think I lot of people would read it that way, and it could certainly be quoted in such a way as to make a winger's point about the crazies over here at dKos.

      Having read the thread, I understand that there is a second interpretation: Acts of torture that we condemned as morally wrong under Saddam are just as morally wrong when we do them. I agree with this point completely. But it wasn't my first reading of the text.

    •  The point was not to draw an absolute equivalence (none)
      I read the point as saying, hey Wingers? How come torture is bad when Saddam does it, and okay when we do it?

      The word "same," in my opinion, should never have been in there. The point could have been more clearly made.

  •  To the obscenity of American torture (4.00)
    is added the obscenity of Americans defending, rationalizing, and ignoring it.

    We have met the enemy, and he is us. --Pogo (Walt Kelly)

    by d52boy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 02:44:50 AM PDT

    •  I was looking at the comments at Eschaton (4.00)
      and the Republican commenters were saying that this wasn't torture:
      On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . .
      Oh, sorry, did I say they were saying that wasn't torture?  Sorry, in fact they are ignoring that paragraph, picking the one below about sauna heats and loud noise and saying that isn't torture, and that therefore there is no torture.  

      Not one of the cowards has the guts to address the paragraph above and claim that isn't torture; they just act like it doesn't exist.  What spineless filthy excuses for men these worms are.  

      •  It's too abstract (none)
        If they don't think it's torture, I wonder how many would be willing to say that should be standard police procedure for anyone arrested in the U.S.

        Or, for that matter, would be willing to go through that themselves. Or have their wives/fathers/children go through it.

        A lot of things don't sound so bad on paper, but are pretty damn painful when you experience them.

  •  BREAKING: Democrats' Spine Found Alive! (none)
    Perhaps the wingnuts will choke on their own froth. No, really: maybe they'll whip themselves into such a frenzy that one of them says something that the reality-based world wasn't supposed to know.
  •  John Conyers (4.00)
    This is why I Heart John Conyers.
  •  What have those (4.00)
    representing our nation done that we don't know about, I hesitate to guess, we are the enemy to those that believe in law and order in rest of the world.
    This is what happens to a nation when the extreme right wing take control, as history has shown us time and time again.
  •  This is what WW-II vets went to fight (4.00)
    OMFG, I can't believe the Right Wing Fainting Point of the night is that Durbin is compared the US torture gulag to "bad" torture gulags -- AND THAT'S WHAT THE OUTRAGE IS ABOUT.

    Not the torture. Not the sham case for invading Iraq.

    The brainless, fact-deprived, dumbasses in the wingnut noise machine forget that the incident Durbin described is precisely what WW-II vets went to fight.

    Torture and rape are war crimes. Invading countries that pose no threat to sovereignty nor territory is a llegal under international law, as universally accepted by democracies.

    OMFG. I can't believe these simple concepts aren't known to every journalist -- never mind child of adolescent age -- in a democratic country.

    Much as the Republican National Faith would like to co-opt freedom and democracy as a partisan product they define as they go along, they have no legal or moral basis to commit war crimes in the name of "freedom". They have no right to assume America today has the right of prosecution that it had at Nuremberg.

    I'm thunderstruck.

    WTF are Mad King George and his Royal Republicans up to now???

    by Peanut on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 03:16:54 AM PDT

  •  I haven't been able to find (none)
    a transcript from Wed Judiciary Comm meeting where Sen Seesions of Alab says, "Some of these detainees should be executed" - heard it on NPR last night.

    I guess the good senator doesn't really give a shit about due process. Well, in Cuba anyway. He did co-sponsor the lynching apology.

    •  Sessions (4.00)
      Jeff Sessions is known for making outrageous comments.  He once called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Association for Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) "un-American" and "communist inspired," and said they "force civil rights down the throats of people."  Sessions said of the Ku Klux Klan, "I used to think they're OK," until he found out some of them were "pot smokers."

      In 1986, Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions for a federal judgeship.  A Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, knowing some of his previous outrageous comments, rejected the nomination.  (Arlen Specter voted against his nomination.)

  •  Cowardly scumbags. (none)
    Durbin should challenge these motherfuckers to a duel.  Pistols at dawn and all that...I'll be his second.  Shit i'll do the shooting!
  •  I don't think Durbin should waste one minute (4.00)
    being worried about this - he speaks to the truth and the only reason the loonies on the right (and I heard a clip last night of Rush, full of righteousness, saying that if we are attacked again, blame should be laid on the Dem's door - hmmm, that might be BushCo's plan, come to think of it, they may be setting it up) - these people are the worst name-calling phony coward hypocrites there are in America today, and Durbin should stand by his remarks.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 03:30:56 AM PDT

  •  What disturbs (4.00)
    me about this abuse and torture is that so many are complicit in this.

    Obviously this is the Bushco policy and people such as the AG and others have supported this policy... Then there is Rummy and this upper level brass who know about this and either sanctioned it, looked the other way or gavce specific orders about this type of treating prisoners...  And finally there are the bad apples... so called... obvisouly scores of them who carry out this and who enable this and who remain silent about it.

    This stain of immoral behavior runs deep, top to bottom and seems very braod.  And then you have this notion that prisoners have no rights whatsoever... no right to be charged with a crime and defend themselves... prisoners are deemed guilty and given no chance to even prove their innoncence.  Of course in OUR justice system you are deemed INNOCENT until proven guilty.

    9.11 changed everything.  Amerika is in a war on terror and people are not GUILTY and NOT given even an opportunity to prove their innocence.  We are torturing people to get them to give anmy "informatiom"... and no one has demonstrated that the information is useful.  Even if the information were labelled top secret and an oversight "committee" viewed the information and approved the determination... at least there would be SOME LEVEL of proof that these detentions have been fruitful.  But NONE of this is happening.

    One hundred prisoners have died in custody.  That is a very high mortality rate.  We are obviously killing this prisoners "wholesale".

    Abu Graib... no one seems to be paying much of a price for what went on there... The big excuse is that in war and after 9.11 everything is different.

    Yea different.. we now have abandoned our values... We have let the inner monsters run run in the open and we have told the world that we can do whatever we want.

    The whole command structure from top to bottom is rotton.  Not everyone in the military... but at all levels we have a problem.  And we have a problem with the "right" in this country who can't see how terribly wrong what is and has gone on is.

    This isn't about loud rock music or rice pilaf in prison...  this is about trashing the soul of a nation.  They have done it in a few short years.

    Imagine if the light were turned on our OWN prisons... we would find some awful abuse in there as well.. I suspect.  

    How did this happen? Why?

    •  I've spoken with some (none)
      Democrats who are not, I repeat not, taking the long view of this. The moral view. They say, "If you knew that torture was the only way you could stop an attack on your country, it's not wrong to do it."

      So, it ends up with everyone tortured and our own soldiers at risk, everyone at risk, huge hatred toward us, our country's reputation and soul in tatters.  This is just wrong. No manner of persuasion will ever convince me it's not wrong, and as Soto said, hugely counterproductive.

      This is MORAL RELATIVISM which Republicans profess to despise so, but when we're attacked, they lose it.

      War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

      by Margot on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:31:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  *cries* (4.00)
    My country is gone.

    We are no longer the good guys.

    Instead we are the enemy... led by Klink no less.

    The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"

    by Love and Death on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 03:47:51 AM PDT

    •  bah (4.00)
      wish i could edit my posts.

      To add to what an above poster brought up.

      I think we as Progressives need to take a moment and look at what our domestic prisons are like.  We have a truely gut churning incarceration rate in this country, and our domestic prisons are not much better than than Gitmo.

      IF we let our government get away with tortue at gitmo and elsewhere it will not take long for our our domestic prisons to catch up.

      ...if it's not too late already.

      goes to find a stiff drink at 6am

      The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"

      by Love and Death on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 03:54:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yep (4.00)
      when saddam's army was performing the torture, comparisons to naziism was just the tip of the iceberg for the rabid right.

      must hurt to walk with the shoe on the other foot.

      alcohol and night swimming. it's a winning combination!-l.leonard

      by chopper on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:25:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  War and the Law... (none)
    ...are ostensibly about defence and justice; but are primarily designed to terrorize the more vulnerable elements of a society.  
  •  The test (4.00)
    This is the issue of our lives. Where shall we stand? Are we going to be "good Germans"?

    If America remains defined by what the Right claims it is or must be, then we must oppose that America and wish for its fall, even if they call us "traitors".

  •  Oh, come on... (4.00)
    it's not like we're feeding prisoners into meat grinders...

    </snark intended as a defense mechanism>


    It's only a matter of time if another [insane] Republican president is elected. Someone from their cabal. Or someone who will sell their soul to serve their cabal. They'll never let someone like John McCain win. He'd never allow this. I'd like to think he wouldn't ever allow this. But as a former POW, why is he not speaking up louder?

    The Hannities and the Limbaughs and the Coulters of the world aren't worried...because they aren't the ones who will be fed to meat grinders. WE will. Mark my words. If two more Republican presidents are elected (i.e., if somebody doesn't blow election fraud and intimidation out the water soon), we'll see meat grinders or the equivalent.

    I don't care if it's Osama bin Laden they've got in Gitmo. IF you've got the goods against him (which I doubt because the goods will surely implicate the cabal), try him and lock him up for the rest of his life. That's torture enough.

    I hate what they're doing to our country.

    Fight terrorists wherever they be found/Well why you not bombin Tim McVeigh's hometown?? - Michael Franti

    by missreporter on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:03:29 AM PDT

  •  Need to shut up some neocons on another forum... (4.00) there a link (non-pdf) to his floor speech referenced above?

    On another forum I often debate a pair of neocon types who are always prepared to justify everything this Administration does.  I would sure like to shut them up.


    The answer to "compassionate conservatism" isn't timid progressivism.--Sen. John Corzine (D-New Jersey)

    by AAbshier on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:05:33 AM PDT

  •  I heard Sam Seder (4.00)
    talking to an idiot about this on Air America the other day. It is so freaking obvious that this is just a weak semantic argument that doesn't even make any sense. I wouldn't even worry about it except that the professional victims of the right have managed to do so much with so little in the past.
  •  Hillary on Today (none)
    No questions about Durbin's statement.  Hillary is touting an independent commission.  At least she didn't call it a "blue-ribbon panel."

    In other news, Ann Curry needs to switch to decaf.

    "Folly is wont to have more followers and comrades than discretion." -Cervantes-

    by Don Quixote on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:15:09 AM PDT

  •  To me, they are like out-of-control, lying (4.00)
    bullying gangs. Some adults (it will have to be us collectively) have to smack them down. Very few adults in authority are smacking them down. Their behavior is unacceptable. The Bush administration encourages lying and lawlessness.

    Howard Dean speaks for me.

    by lecsmith on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:31:06 AM PDT

  •  Re: 'rape rooms' (4.00)
    Remember when torture was bad? And getting rid of it was good? President Bush, Oct. 8 2003
    "Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."

    BTW speaking of "rape rooms" reminds me ---  when are we going to get see those Abu Graib videos of Iraqi women and boys being raped that the ACLU is supposedly getting released via a FOIA case?  Was that order appealed or what?

  •  Can you still remember (4.00)
    the days when 'nice' people didn't sit around talking about physical abuse and torture by U.S. authorities as if it was the most normal thing in the world? Those days were 'quaint', weren't they, when the Geneva Conventions on such matters were unquestionably accepted by the U.S. Nowadays we have super-hot men and women running the show, and those ideals are being ground into mincemeat for their pleasure and profit, without any return in heightened security or even at least peace of mind. The right wing will defend, until their deaths, their leaders at any price, with any lies they can fabricate, with any amount of deceit and swift-boat tactics they can invent. Many of those smae dumbbells are still beating the corpse of Terry Schiavo and denying the obvious results of her postmortem! They, after all, our fellow Americans, as Lyndon Johnson might have put it. What does Henry Kissinger think about all this shit?
  •  Great American Morals (4.00)
    Torture is OK, Lynching is OK, Lying is OK, Invading a country illegally is OK.

    Don't let the moral majority silence you, Sen. Durbin. If America is to recover from this dark period, a light has to be shown first. It is only through words such as yours that this can happen.


  •  I FEAR (4.00)
    for our sons and daughters if one of them is caught by the insurgents.
  •  Remember how they jumped on Amnesty (4.00)
    International for comparing our camps to a Gulag.  They really seem desperate to avoid having such comparisons made.
  •  Why stop at Guantánamo? (4.00)
    It happens in the United States, too. Calling Guantánamo a gulag really diminishes the extent of the institutionalization of prisoner abuse in the United States. The gulag wasn't a single prison. It was a system of prisons that at its peak may have held less inmates than the American prison system. Comparisons are difficult because the statistics are so politicized.

    Perhaps the only difference is that almost all the prisoners in the American criminal injustice system have had the benefit of what passes for due process. That also happens to have been true of the Russian gulag. The illusion of justice was fully maintained. There were judicial reviews and in some cases the prisoners were defended by lawyers who were paid by their families. Occasionally, to maintain the illusion, an appeal would be granted.

    The American courts have held that the Guantánamo prisoners have a right to some aspects of due process, but as far as I know, even this hasn't been implemented in any real way. Thus not even the illusion of due process is being maintained.

    I am not going to write a lengthy account of torture and murder in American prison system. Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News, a subscriber to my newsroom-l journalism discussion list, has repeatedly made the point that almost anything that has happened in Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib or any of the other CIA or military prisons can be found to have occurred in the American prison system.

    It's refreshing (if that is the right word) to see Sen. Durbin speaking out. I think, however, that the real point that has to be made, is that this could happen to you. I find it interesting that some people on understand this very well. I believe that we should be doing more to make sure that all Americans understand it. News and issues for journalists.

    by Jules Siegel on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 04:59:41 AM PDT

  •  Torture... (none)
    Is simply punishment and revenge, very little in regards to the actual collection of intelligence.

    Torture rings true to people like the wingnut that called into CSPAN yesterday: "some of my conservative friends say just to kill them all".

    I'm just waiting for the other Dem's w/o spines to start stabbing Durbin in the back like they do Dean.

  •  If WE as Americans (4.00)
    do not stand up next to Durbin and all that speak out against ANY torture we can kiss our "freedom and himan rights" as a nation good bye. It is time to get off our butts and off our keyboards and scream this from the mountain tops. There is absolutely no excusr for torture...none, zero, nadda!

    This shouls be a call for action to the nth degree, 24/7 until the GD media is standing right there with us. This isn't just a matter of prisoner rights this is now a matter of HUMAN RIGHTS. We MUST not f'ing rest until we call to account anyone that is PRO torture. NOW, what are we going to do about it folks?

    The more understanding one posesses, the less there is to say and the more there is to do.

    by Alohaleezy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:16:14 AM PDT

  •  Not just them! (none)
    A guy name Hugh Hewitt is also on it!  Yesterday, while driving home, he played the part by Durbin where he says, "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI..."


    All he did was focus on the Nazi reference.  The correspondent he was talking to said Hewitt sounded like a "baby" or something like that.  They're not even analyzing facts.


    Pro-Gun, Pro-Chair, Pro-War, PRO-LIFE?!

    by ZaBlanc on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:17:00 AM PDT

  •  "Casualties of War" (4.00)
    I remember a scene in the movie where Michael Fox, as the character, says that it's moments, combat in conditions like Vietnam, that we must act our best, be our best.

    Our god given free will gives us the ability to choose our actions.  This administration chose to condone torture.  They knew the consequences of putting GI's in these situations.

    It's unforgivable.  They have taken advantage of our Patriotism.

  •  bush has always been a coward (4.00)
    during the vietnam war, he went AWOL. that is called "desertion." for soldiers not born in greenwich, such as eddie slovik, the military has harsh penalities for this.
  •  Well said. (none)
    Unfortunately the bidens, the LIE-bermans and the rest of those backstabbers will say "we should not blah blah blah"

    When in fact what durbin did is correct

    The right knows they will win this, as they always have precisely because those backstabbers fuck it up.

    They roll out their huge noisemaking machine replete with 1000 horns, streamers and confetti machines to make you think that durbin ate a baby on the senate floor when in fact he called them out.

    They have no choice but to make the noise because it is the noise that hides the fact that they are fascists supporting this behavior.

    If we do back down, we deserve the same old shit that always happens and they win.  Again.  And Again.

    So FUCK THEM and keep harping this. KEEP SAYING IT OVER AND OVER!

    They are the party of torture.

    Get Dean out there to SUPPORT durbin and REITERATE IT in every speech and every talk show.


  •  The same, the same, the same, the same (4.00)
    Always always always. This is the system they have developed. The toxic agent (truth, reality) enters the mediasphere. It can not be directly contradicted or refuted, so it must be encysted, coated around with a thick gel of irrelevant debate. It is a dangerous entity, covered with proteins of fact that can lock into receptors on vulnerable minds, interrupting the precious, all-important kool-aid cycle that bathes the wingnut brain cell in soothing Bushphoria. But the toxic agent is vulnerable too. Always always ALWAYS there is some aspect that can be seized upon to monopolize all interactions with the object, preventing its dangerous fact-nodes from direct contact with sensitive tissues. They must not be touched. "Refutation" is self-defeating--it only feeds the toxic entity, allowing "debate" to focus on "reality"--all the most dangerous concepts. As we know, the precious serum-koolaid breaks down rapidly in the presence of facts and therefore must be completely insulated from coming into direct contact with them.

    Thus, instead of confronting the agent as a substance, we redefine it as an object. We create a thick gel of wingnut-generated "controversy" and smear it all over the object until it is perfectly reflective, mirroring back any media gaze directed at it. The messenger becomes the issue, for instance. We seize on that. All talk must be about who this guy is, his motives, his background, his lovelife, anything other than what he's actually saying. Or some other aspect. In this case, an easy controversy is generated: "He's calling the troops Nazis!" This encysts the object, rapidly building an impervious capsule of inert, meaningless controversy around it. Any time the agent tries to introduce itself into the koolaid flow, it comes swathed in a thick coating of "Next on CNN: Dick Durbin Calls Our Troops Nazis."

    Thus the wonders of nature, the miracle of health. The body-GOPolitic senses danger, reacts, antibodies flocking to the point of infection, and the dangerous fact-virus is rapidly encysted and escorted into the waste stream where it is carried to the memory hole and neatly flushed.  The process is automatic, having evolved over many years, and we can let it do its work without a thought, going about our business blissfully unaware of the fierce struggle going on at the cellular level. The lifegiving koolaid cycle is preserved, our neurons constantly bathed in a euphoric security blanket of confidence in the infallibility of Dear Leader.

  •  Kos... (none)
    This piece is some of your best work.

    Excellent job.

  •  I'm counting the days (none)
    The pictures are due to be released about June 29, if the Pentagon does not block things by filing an appeal.

    So I suppose that the site will need to upgrade their ability to serve streaming video.  But al Jezeera should be ready to do the lions share of the distribution.

    I have to admit though, even as a card carrying member of the ACLU, I am more than a little uneasy that the ACLU and those who support it need to be placed in this role.  Suppose the Bush administration does not appeal and instead gears up to blame the "left" for all the bad results from that release.  Does anyone even have an educated guess as to what the reaction will be in the Arab world if it starts to see rapes of Iraqi women and boys running in a loop on a TV in their home?

    I mean the whole idea of some of this stuff was a spook theory that Moslem Arabs could be made to flip out by just showing it to them.  What if that theory is literally correct?

    •  Don't shoot the messenger (4.00)
      The problem is not the pictures.  The problem is what they reveal.

      What needs to change are our brutal practices.  Loud, sustained protest, perhaps provoked by images, may be the agent of change.  Something's gotta give.  We are so dirty in this, all of us who have dutifully honored our national April 15 deadline every year since 2001.  (I wonder if Ward Churchill would call us all Little Eichmanns"?)

    •  Prepare to respond to what we know is coming (4.00)
      Wouldn't it be great if the left would get their act together and TALK TO EACH OTHER before big releases like this.

      Converging on a unified response to the anticipated smear swarm before it happens would be a smart thing to do. Then every spineless dem who appears on every smear-machine outlet could say the same thing:

      The torture caused this. You may have kept it secret from Americans, but the people in those countries, whose family members have been battered, tortured, and murdered in our names, already know what is happening.

      In 2003, the President, in a moment of great pride after the toppling of the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein said, "Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers." He said this because he knew, as we all do, that torture is wrong.

      It did not become good just because the person beating, maiming, and killing innocent civilians wears a different uniform.

      Ending torture is the only moral thing to do. I am sure you will stand with me in calling for an end to this immoral behavior.

      We know what's coming, so let's f-ing prepare for it! We've got to stop playing touch football while they're playing tackle.

      I won't hold my breath...

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
      What is the White House Hiding?

      by mataliandy on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:51:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But do we really KNOW what may be coming? (none)
        We know what's coming, so let's f-ing prepare for it! We've got to stop playing touch football while they're playing tackle.

        Well your idea about needing to be prepared to say something about this if it becomes a big story is a good one.  But what I am trying to get my mind around is whether it is really possible that our government intends let this stuff be made available to the Arab world.  Part of me is saying that they will use any legal tool available to them to prevent it and I am not sure that I really want to see a public release of rape videos of Iraqi women and boys.

        Perhaps I am just too old and square, but to me it just seems unthinkable that that sort of transnational political kitty porn is about to be released to the Arab media.  And it also bothers me that if it really is released then the ACLU will get blamed for all the resulting deaths.  If 17 died because it looked like an old story about desecration of the Koran was about to be confirmed, how many may die from those videos being put out?  What might happen to western hostages in the future?  Do we want to watch pornographic snuff videos of our people?

  •  Super Post, Kos (4.00)
    This is a great post.  I'd heard on this news this morning (CNN, actually) about the controversy over Durbin's use of the term "Nazi."  And I must say, I initially rolled my eyes -- one of my pet peeves is people who gratuitously overuse the Nazi comparison where it's not warranted, because they know that no matter what the context, "Nazi" will of course evoke images of the holocaust.    

    And if he had just used the Nazi term alone, I wouldn't have defended him. But by listing a few comparisons, this takes on a whole different context.  It's clear he's not trying to evoke the Nazi card, he's talking about the type of interrogation specifically that is characteristic of authoritarian regimes.

    Durbin is right on this one.  The GOP is full of crap.  And thank God the blogs are here to correct the BS reports of the traditional media.    

    StemPAC: Fight back on stem cells

    by Hlinko on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 06:12:37 AM PDT

  •  But, But (none)
    They're being served BAKED CHICKEN, and three kinds of fruit!! Doesn't that make it all better?? (snark)
  •  The Republican smear (4.00)
    is losing its sheen, I think.  Bush is losing support and power -- witness the curbs to his beloved Patriot Act yesterday, and the fizzle on his Soc Sec reform.  Americans are finally jittery (now, for god's sake) about killing people in Iraq.  Terri Schaivo could have been one of their own very private Idahos.  These guys have gone too far, and the lock-step "Heil Republicans" shtick is, I think, grinding to slow halt.  Or at least moving out of the goose-step phase.

    Maybe I've had some happy pills because I'm certainly not an optimist by nature.  (And if that's the case, whoever slipped them to me is welcome to hit me again.)  But I really think things have changed, and the days of "ruining" a Democrat for speaking the simple truth are becoming a thing of the past.  Of course the moronic Wurlitzer -- the same one that told us with certainty that Jacko would be guilty "on at least one count" less than an hour before the verdicts were read -- will continue to spew hate and lies.  That's all they know.  But the listeners and viewers have added a pause, however brief, to reflect on what's going into their system before they go ahead and swallow it whole.

  •  Is it America? (4.00)
    Last night I counted three (yes THREE) "comics" making light of Gitmo and torture...Leno, Letterman and, yes, Jon Stewart. And the audiences laughed.

    Some things just aren't funny no matter how you look at them. Some things have no place as the building blocks or punch lines of a joke. Torture is one of those.

    Are our social "compasses" joking about this to lessen its seriousness? Laugh at it and it don't seem so bad? Joke about it and people won't take it seriously?

    I'm sure if it were Americans being held for years without charge or trial and routinely tortured because "we might get something of importance from them" there would be no jokes, no laughter. Just anger and outrage. And rightly so.

    Something profound and disturbing has happened to the US. And that much vaunted "measured, good and better judgement of the American people" seems to have disappeared.

    This is one sick country. It's on life support.

  •  Best Kos post ... (4.00)
    since at least as long as I've been lurking --

    and I stand with Durbin as well -- and the one million people who stood on 1st Avenue on February 15th, 2003, and the millions worldwide who spoke in one voice to demand an end to the madness.

  •  Here's my question: (4.00)
    Isn't it the Republicans that are always bitching about moral relativism? Like saying that liberals have no moral backbone, because we think gay marriage is OK, and that soon we'll be on the fast track to beastiality and moral anarchy.

    This would be a perfect time for the republicans to demonstrate that they aren't relativists by totally and unconditionally condemning torture. But instead they make conditions. It's OK to torture if the person you're torturing is bad. It's OK to torture as long as you don't torture as much as Hitler or Stalin. Sounds pretty relativist to me.

  •  I stand with Durbin (none)
    And his office will be getting a call from me expressing my support for and pride in his statements.  I hope others (especially constituents) will be doing the same.  It's a small gesture, but I know that if I were in his position knowing I had support would give me strength to do (and say) what's right.  
  •  Senate vote (none)
    Now that most senators have agreed that lynching was a mistake, how about a similar vote against torture---that it is wrong and un-American?
  •  Articles like this are why I come here (n/t) (none)

    Hopelessly pedantic since 1963.

    by admiralh on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:18:05 AM PDT

  •  It has reached the point (1.33)
    where the first thing I look for is the name of the source.  

    "FBI report", "informed insider", "whistle blower" et al are all members of a list to whom I lend very little credence.

    After all, the new book revealing that Bill raping Hillary produced Chelsea has equal credence.  Edward Klein,  the author, apparently used some of the above sources for his work: details at:

    My interest would be in the preponderance of the FBI reports, not what may be individual aberrations.

  •  GREAT POST!!!! (none)
    That is everything I've been feeling on this issue.

    Thank you for writing this down.  It makes me want to scream it from the rooftops!

  •  the major difference between the right and left (4.00)
    at least in this country, is not one so much of ideology, but of method.  for the right, the ends will always justify the means.  supporting saddam-type tyrants was good and patriotic when it helped us against the communists.  Suddenly, it became bad to support them, once we needed a reason to occupy a major middle eastern country.  Same thing regarding 'activist' judges or states rights.  When judges create rights like that to an abortion in Roe, it's an abuse of power.  But then they're supposed to rubber stamp shit like the Terri Shiavo bill or to throw out the new deal (Janice Rodgers Brown).  And now, of course, we have the dosie-doe on torture.  it's ok if it's done for a good purpose?  Well, being a PhD candidate for German history, I can tell you the Nazis (and others) also engaged in torture because they thought it served an end.  

    If you can't understand that-- that evil is not who you are but what you do --then all your preaching, all your ten commandment monuments, all your patriotic bumper stickers will do nothing but lead you staright into the heart of hell itself.

    "no one likes missionaries with bayonets" -- Robespierre

    by Dont Tread on Me on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:20:05 AM PDT

  •  Personally (4.00)
    I am thrilled with the right-wing response.

    How many peoplewould have been aware of what Durbin said, if they weren't being so high and mighty.

    Granted, they will distort his words, but a few will actually check it out.  And a few might actually stop to think for aminute about it.
    And realize he wasn'tcomparing this adminsitration to the Nazis or Communists, or the rest, but comparing the tactics and the torture.

    The fact is, if we heard of any American being treated like that, everybody, right or left would be up in arms, and this is slowly starting to seep into the minds of some people.

    And there is one other point.  There is the old saying about protesting too much.  When all they do is complain about the words ebing used, but not actually discuss the issues at hand, this also will start to get to some people.

    Sure, there are some who a) believe torture is perfectly okay, b) believe this country would never really torture anybody or c) have such fixed delusions that nothing will get through to them.  But these things will chip away a few here and there and I don't really think it will turn any of our current supporters away, because they realize the truth of the matter.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:27:58 AM PDT

  •  How To Make This Story Better! (4.00)
    While you read it, hum "God Bless America."

    What have we become? Torture, violation of due process, and a host of other offenses for... what? Because they're on the other side?

    This isn't just the Nazis or the Soviet gulags. This is the Viet-cong bamboo prisons. This is the French bastilles. This is the African slave death marches.

    This is humanity at its worst. And America is dying because of it.

    •  No Morals in an Immoral War (none)
      The question is can we have morals in a war that appears to started for an immoral purpose? According to the downing street memos President Bush team was nitpicking intelligence for their argument.  In more blunt terms he lied to start the war, now he needs to lie to stop it. Because he has not exit strategeery.  
      •  And Old Saying (none)
        I vaguely remember a saying like:

        Wrong is wrong no matter who says it's right. And right is right no matter who says it's wrong.

        Just because we're in an illegal, immoral, causeless war doesn't give us ANY latitude to perform these heinous acts of torture. None. It weakens us as a nation. And it weakens the whole human race.

        What's most terrible is that the torture is akin to something I'd expect in a Poe or King work (though some of Poe's references were to actual real world MEDIVEAL offenses), not something real human beings would have done. Chaining someone to the floor in the fetal position for 24 hours? Hanging them from the ceiling from their arms? Jesus... why don't we just reenact the "Pit and the Pendulum" while we're at it...

  •  Right-wing hosts going nuts on WLS (none)
    I guess Illinois' very own Dick Durbin's comment was simply too much for many conservatives that even the Chicago-area right-wing radio hosts are commenting on it.
    Although I am not a fan of WLS (Too right-wing except for two hosts on weekend.), I just happened to hear Don Wade criticize Sen. Durbin when he had a chat with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on his program.
    Debra Rowe who is filling in for Eileen Byrnes also is going to criticize Durbin later on her program.
    Sadly, they are just wasting their breath because it won't make a bit of difference presumably when Dick Durbin runs for reelection in 2008.
    Senator, you were absolutely right reading the FBI report, and criticizing torture.
    Go Durbin!
  •  Images of torture (4.00)
    Great thread.  I especially think that "Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers." is a very powerful statement from Dubya.

    You are either for torture, or against it.

    Brilliant.  Simply brilliant.

    When the images from Abu Ghraib came out, I thought for sure that was the end of it.  The Iraq War would come to an end and Bush would be defeated.  Oh, how I was wrong.  Now, we have evidence that the torture is the policy of our government.

    I still have faith that the images of Americans conducting torture will be the key to its end.  We need more of them.  Like images of war, these images are a powerful ally in the fight to stop the abuses.

    We must be clear that not only is torture wrong, morally, but there are also alternatives to protecting ourselves.  Torture is a medival technique that makes us no better than the tyranny of ancient times.

    We are smarter than that.  We are stronger than that. 9/11 did not change that.

  •  Bush's Freedom is mispelled (none)
    Free Doom

    Dean speaks out the truth. I like it
    Iraq is based on a 'pack of lies.' Telling the truth looks like the only remedy to it.

    by lawnorder on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:49:53 AM PDT

  •  GOP = Gutting Our Principles (n/t) (none)

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

    by vawolf on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 07:52:02 AM PDT

  •  Soto (4.00)

    Not that it matters much, but the post at The Left Coaster is mine, not Steve Soto's...but I'm sure Steve probably agrees with it.

  •  Wke up America (none)
    several years ago I was in Phnom Penh (spelling?) capital of Cambodia. One day I went to the museum. It was a former prison for Pol Pot's regime, small rooms with bare brick walls and floor, metal bed frames with car batteries attached to them, stains on the floor. The windows were barred but one could look out into the gardens and hear the birds cheeping - it added to the horror of what went on in those cells. We, Americans, our sons and daughters are doing the same thing today in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Baghran in Afghanistan that Pol Pot's psychos did years ago - they and we are `following orders'. Wake up and stop this horror before we lose our souls.
  •  Nothing will happen until we change the government (none)
    The torture will continue until we get control of at least one branch of Congress.  Case closed.  The Republican administration believe in the efficacy of torture as revenge, not as a source of information.  A big part of their base believe revenge justifies torture, independently of whether the object of torture did anything to warrant it.

    If we can get control of a branch of government, investigations can begin into who ordered the torture.  What is important now is to keep telling it as it is, to keep the facts straight.  When they are put in the dock, the accused will have the right to explain why they thought torture was acceptable; but they cannot be allowed to hold that it didn't happen.

    There will be war crimes trials when this is over.  The American people must be prepared to see people they voted for prosecuted for crimes against humanity.  This is going to be a very tough moment in our national history. We don't have a good record of facing these kinds of fact.   We have never totally faced up to the crime of slavery, or the extermination of the indigenous inhabitants of the territory we now call our own.

  •  have just been re-reading story on rendition (4.00)
    If you haven't seen it, I commend to you the story the New Yorker did a few weeks ago on the U.S. policy and practice of extraordinary rendition, titled "Outsourcing Torture." I apologize that I don't have the specific cite handy.

    The facts are familiar and repugnant, of course. Our government now routinely facilitates the disappearance of hundreds of people into the gulags and torture chambers of thug nations in a cowardly attempt to dodge responsibility for the immorality of what happens there. Our leaders claim their hands are clean--they want us to believe they are merely making hard choices to keep us safe, and they are operating within the letter of the law. Yet they ignore the higher laws--yes, the spiritual laws--that demand a higher standard of decency and humanity, while with the same mouth they lay claim to a mandate based on those higher moral laws.

    But our President and those who facilitate his policies at every level are worse that hypocrites. They have become that which they fear, and which they claim to fight against. They have become the tyrants who "disappear" and torture fellow humans because of suspicion and because they fear opposition. We have become Pinochet. We have become the apartheid regime of South Africa. Dick Durban speaks the truth, and every American should be appalled.

    Kos, thanks for bringing attention to this, and to the bizarre efforts of those on the right to justify one of the most horrifying affonts to the American ideal in our history.

  •  This is where Kerry (and countless other Dems). . (none)

        . . .really shit the bed.

       At this point, it's pretty apparent that this is a fucked up war, being executed in a fucked up way, yet still, you will find dem politicians unwilling to call it as it is (big ups to Durbin, incidentally).  Why is this? Because they are viewing the world with a very 'closed box' mentality.

      EX:  During the election, Kerry refused to come out totally against the war because polling showed that it was still popular with a majority of americans. Afraid of alienating a majority of the electorate, he let the polling box him in, leading to that maddening bumble-speak we all came to know and love.  What people fail to realize is that, if you believe you are right and the majority of americans disagree with you, then why not try to sway public opinion over to your side, as opposed to walking the tightrope of public opinion (bring the mountain to mohammed, so to speak).  I mean, isn't this what a leader is Supposed to do?

    In essence, what Kerry (and others) did is, instead of just trying to lift the toilet seat, they try to shit their pants in the most acceptable way possible.

    The day will progress as it goes on.

    by Blaze Firestormer on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 08:11:57 AM PDT

  •  Jeez! (none)
    I'm sick and tired of Republicans not so subtley defending torture.

    I'm glad someone is trying to call them out on their B.S.

  •  Awful YES torture NO (1.00)
    "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more".
    Fetal Position - the way I sleep
    Chained - Awful
    Excrement - Awful
    no food - people can live without food
                 for a long time
    no water - Awful

    On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . .
    air conditioning turned down - Greyhound turns
                                   down the air
                                   at night so
                                   the driver is
                                   forced to stay
                                   awake (so I've
                                   been told)
    Cold - Most Afghans and Iraqis suffer from bitterly cold winters

    On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees.
    100 degrees - Iraq daily high often 115 degrees
    100 degrees - Houston, TX in the summertime?

    The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night.
    Pulling his hair out - HIS action

    On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.
    chained - prisoners shackled in US courts
    chained - to prevent hair pulling?
    fetal position - the way I sleep
    unbearably hot - Washington, DC in the summer
                         Iraq for most of the year
    unbearbly hot
    loud rap music - sections of Jeb Bush's state
                       and George Bush's old state

    The US standard was always been to treat the enemy prisoners the way that we wish our own prisoners to be treated - ALWAYS!

    However, the conditions fall short of what I would consider torture. In fact, many of these conditions often reflect daily living conditions in the countries where the detainees come from.

    Nevertheless, I suspect that some of the conditions would be in breach of US military regulations and merit punishment.

    And if the United Nations wants outlaw the conditions described above, we should gratefully participate.

    •  I don't know (none)
      There's another case where a detainee was stripped naked, chained to the floor of cell, and left them overnight as the temperatures fell. This was in a secret CIA facility in Afghanistan, not Guantanamo.

      He froze to death by morning. Here's a Washington Post story on the case.

      Would you say that wasn't torture?

    •  Wow, you sleep chained or tied in a fetal position (none)
      I for one could not do that, unable to move or adjust position. Just thinking about it gives me a sense of muscles cramping and pain. But, to each his/her own. That would be a matter of choice.

      However, if it's forced on someone who is incarcerated, it is a different matter. It is forced and becomes torture.

      Also, I seem to recall many, many people died during the extended heat wave in Europe, what, 2 summers ago? Happened in Chicago, other US cities at other times. Governments were excoriated for not caring for their poor and elderly (who didnt' have or couldn't afford AC) and many measures have been taken to try to prevent such deaths.

      Cold? People die of hypothermia. Most of us have the choice of remaining clothed and adding more clothing in a very cold situation. Or seeking warmth. Too cold, we die.

      We have responsibility for the people we have put into our prison system, be it here or in Cuba, naval ships, or unknown places.

      Oh, and I thought the US standard for POW treatment was the Geneva Conventions....  


  •  GITMO (none)
    Well, I'm from Illinois and I'm immensely proud of Senator Durbin for stating the facts concerning the torture policy, regardless of what the right wingers may say.  America should stand forthrightly for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.  And our reputation for being a beacon of liberty is being sullied by President Bush's torture policy.

    I haven't decided whether I like Durbin or Obama best.  My Congressman - Rahm Emmanuel - is pretty cool too!

  •  Rush: calls left wingers "OBSTACLES" (none)
    Now, who is going to start taking these wingnuts seriously??

    From this thread:

    "RUSH: Hi.

    CALLER: Oh, I'm outraged by this. While you were on the phone with that other caller I got through to Durbin's office and I called him a traitor and I don't know if I could say this on the air, but I called him a sick SOB, and I said that he should resign. This is absolutely outrageous. The left-wing loonies -- the loony left -- in this country is just an embarrassment.

    RUSH: Well, they're more than an embarrassment. They're an obstacle.

    CALLER: They are.

    RUSH: They have become a danger. They've become... You know, we've got these international enemies we're fighting. We apparently have some domestic problems that we have to deal with as well and they're epitomized here by this kind of thinking about Senator Durbin.

    CALLER: It's all left over from the radicals of the sixties, and now their offspring.

    RUSH: Exactly right. You know, you have to have such hate -- you have to have such hatred and seething rage in your heart for your own country -- to be able to say this.

    CALLER: I don't understand this because I have such love for our military and our country. My brother did two terms in Nam, and I'm not talking about John Kerry tours. I'm talking full tours, and our military, they're awesome, and they're the most unbelievable military in the history of the world -- and, you know, you mentioned something about the heat in Iraq right now. Yeah, it gets to be 130 degrees, and they're just an embarrassment. This is just so upsetting to me.

    RUSH: Well, I'll tell you what, you say you don't understand it. Let me try to explain it to you. This is what you get when you have a political party that's so obsessed with hatred for the sitting president that teal do anything they can to beat him, that they'll do anything to get their power back. I mean this is what you have. This is the epitome of it. Ken in Miami, I'm glad you called, welcome to the program.

    CALLER: Hey, Rush.

    RUSH: Yeah.

    CALLER: Mega all roads lead to Travis County cave bug dittos.

    RUSH: Thank you, sir, appreciate it.

    CALLER: I just called to tell you we already know about the entertainment that they offer at G'itmo: puppet shows and women invading your personal space.

    RUSH: That's a great idea. There already is entertainment at G'itmo. They do have puppet shows down there, and the scantily clad women, or women in general, and pictures. Pictures of scantily clad women that invade your personal space and you don't have to go anywhere! They bring it to you at G'itmo! That's usually 40 bucks in Detroit, 80 bucks in New York just the cover charge just to get in for this kind of stuff but at G'itmo they bring it to you! Excellent idea. We also thought that this might be something. You know, you need acts coming in and out of there. It's a resort, and so you have to have bands and so forth, entertainers to come in to entertain the vacationers. How about this?

    (Audio: Ted Kennedy singing Itsy-Bitsy Spider to frightened children.) (Video: Click here )

    RUSH: Senator Kennedy could go down with what's his name, Christopher Dodd and lead the revelers in itsy-bitsy spider and other select tunes.


    I wonder how Rush wants to "deal" with us?? I think I will send this to the FCC.  

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 09:14:46 AM PDT

  •  The Kos Doctrine (none)
    "You are either for torture, or against it."

    Spread the word

  •  Yep, Rethugs are in full-throated cry that Gitmo (none)
    is Good.  Don't call it Torture-call it "Toughness." Actually, need to be tougher. Problem with Dems is their leaders are wimps and weirdos like Durbin and Dean.

    That from Jack Burkman on MSNBC just now. Blondie kept saying, "Don't call it torture!"

    Also read that Bush is going to move to his strength, being the tough war president. Oh, and bring down gas prices.


    •  zeke L's diary ties right in with this thread: (none)
      "Pentagon Minutes: Gitmo=War Crimes" discusses the ABC Nightly News story about serious concerns that activities at Gitmo could place Americans in danger of committing crimes against both international and US laws.

      Seems actual military people have a different take on what constitutes torture than do Rethug fighting keyboardists and cable newser propagandists. Has some good links.


      But, then, the soldiers are the ones who actually could be a POW and subjected to blowback.  And they're trained to know the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions.  In some ways a very reality-based community.

  •  Wingnuts out for Durbin's blood! (4.00)
    Man this is pathetic.  I've been browsing right-wing forums a little bit, and these fools are now blaming Durbin for everything wrong in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and most of them seem to enjoy the idea of torture.

    THESE PEOPLE ARE FASCISTS.  It's time to start saying it out loud.  FASCISM.   This is what we are dealing with.

    They don't blame their COC who LIED them into Iraq, and is SOLEY responsible for our military deaths.  They blame a democrat, that had the balls to tell the TRUTH.

    FASCISM - It's here.  

    Will we let it take hold of our country like Germany in the 30's?  Or do we RESIST?

  •  Does torture even work? (none)
    Beyond humanitarian concerns, does torture actually work as an effective way to obtain information?  We've seen in many trials that it's easy enough to force a false confession even with fairly innocuous interrogation methods.

    Torture me for even a minute and I'd be likely to tell you whatever I think you want to hear.  I'll confess to being a witch, a spy, or a warthog in disguise.  

    •  No. (none)
      John McCain says it doesn't work. The FBI says it doesn't work.

      It's good if you want to see a guy defecate on himself, but that doesn't do much in the way of gathering information.

      Torture doesn't garner VALID information

      Keep in mind though........ CREDIBLE INFORMATION is not something George W. Bush wants.  Curve Ball got to make up stuff so Bush could justify the war.  He doesn't give a damn if a captive gives false information.   He only wants the names of more people to torture.

      1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

      by mungley on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 10:33:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm wonder what (none)
    right-wing blowhard John Derbyshire would have to say.  After all he lamented the fact that we didn't engage in Stalinist/Maoist/Nazi techniques such as these as it related to the Clinton family.
  •  The joys of moral relativism. (none)
    Remember the 90s, in which the Republicans were going on about how moral relativism was evil? Well, pathetic attempts at rationalizing and justifying evil things are now their stock in's okay if we do it; it's not okay if anyone else does it. At least they're consistent in their hypocricy; I'm sure they'll be back to condemning moral relativism by the next decade.
  •  Durbin's torture speech (none)
    The Rushite twisting of this is absurd.
    Durbin is one of my senators, and I read the Chicago Tribune online.  I'll check over the next two or three days to see if this makes editorial comment (unlikely) or a LTE (likely).  If it does, I'll fire off a response.
    Of course, that's not being done to knock down Durbin among his costituents, particularly; it's being done to paint war critics as extremists.


  •  Wel.. (none)
    I just sent Senator Durbin's office an email on their website expressing my total support of him.


    Any other people from Illinois should do the same.

  •  Wingnuttia in full-throttle smear mode. (none)
    Their name for Dick Durbin appears to now be Dick Turban...

    Real clever, huh?  

    These people make me want to puke.

    •  This implies that people in Turbins are bad... (none)
      The stupid hate mongers put their feet in it even more when they try to defend acts of evil.

      1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

      by mungley on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 10:28:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with Durbin (none)
    Torture is wrong.
    I'll tell Senator Durbin.

    There can be no back pedaling or apologies here.

    1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

    by mungley on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 10:08:27 AM PDT

  •  Hoagland = Bullcrap Artist (none)
    The word must have gone out from RNC/Wingnut Central to do a full-court press to scare folks into silence on Bush's myriad Iraq foul-ups.

    Atrios catches the WP's Hoagland whining that the insurgents are being made to look "romantic".

    My response is found here.

  •  I'm with you Kos (none)
    Torture is torture, concentration camps are concentration camps dammit!
    The founding fathers recognized that torture (cruel and unusual punishment) is worse and more unconstitutional than death.  
    How can these fuckers participate in and support this? This is not your father's Republican Party. This is a new animal, a monster that needs to be opposed at all costs.
    Keep up the good work. America may be nearly brain dead but unlike Terri it is still salvagable.  
  •  Repugs Only Lie When Their Lips Move (none)
    Durbin could say "I love America and hate the terrorists" and the Repugs would reprint the quotation as Durbin saying "I love. . . the terrorists."

    I like how Drudge's page includes a "he refuses to apologize" story, implying that an apology is expected here. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

    This is what these lying bastards always do when they're on the ropes. They cherry-pick words from Democrats, put them through the spin cycle, and spit them back out for their brain-dead constituents who will accept the spin without a single moment of critical thought.

    Gee, another example of dishonesty and stupidity carrying the day in the Republican party. What a stunner.

  •  Kudos Kos. (none)
    One of your best.
  •  write Durbin (none)

    Let him know you appreciate him speaking truth.

    •  Done (none)
      Here's what I told him:

      Senator Durbin, you made me proud to be a Democrat and an Illinoisan when you stood forth on the Senate floor and told the truth about what is happening at Guantanamo Bay. The Republican Attack Poodles will be yapping and nipping at your heels for awhile, twisting your comments bodily out of context and trying to get you to back down.

      Don't you do it, Senator. Your constituents have your back. You keep telling the truth to power, and we'll keep sending you back to Washington to do it. Keep up the great work, and remember, they wouldn't be sniping at you if you weren't doing something right.

    •  I'm not from Illinois, I'm from Seattle... (none)
      ...but I still wrote to tell him that he did a great job in speaking the truth.  I wish we had more congress-critters willing to speak out against torture.

      Does video or audio of Durbin's courageous comment exist?  I want to hear him say it.

  •  Senate Hearing & Media Yelling (none)
    Sen. Durbin is correct in his comparisons. Torture is dispicable.
    If you want even more anecdotal horror stories about  pro-torture talk radio, here's one from Kalispell, Montana:
    On my way home from work, I tuned in to 600 AM to see if it was still on the air. (The FCC recently dismissed their license renewal application.) Unfortunately it is, and a syndicated commentator was hollering (paraphrased) 'Durbin owes an apology to Holocaust, Pol Pot, and Gulag survivors.'
    Ironic fare from a station run by a man who publically taunts Holocaust survivors over the airwaves. Link -- click on Timeline
    One small nail in the coffin of this particular media black hole is a documentary showing next month on PBS's Independent Lens called "The Fire Next Time."
    This cruel hysterical style of propaganda has been selling for too long -- way past the point of spoilage, to putrification.

    Why do people insist on following that damn chicken across that bloody road?

    by MT Spaces on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 10:53:10 AM PDT

  •  "How hard it is to accept the truth" (none)
    After the current attempts to smear Sen. Durbin have died down, he will be honored for his willingness to speak truth to power. I am reminded of Sen. Abraham Ribicoff's confrontation with Mayor Daley at the 1968 Democratic Party Convention. Outside the convention hall the Chicago police and the National Guard were beating on protesters. Inside the hall, even delegates and reporters, including Mike Wallace, were roughed up.

    Sen. Ribicoff, at the podium to nominate to nominate George McGovern, said:

    "With George McGovern as president of the United States, we wouldn't have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago!"

    With Mayor Daley and his followers in the Illinois delegation booing and shouting obscenities, Sen. Ribicoff answered them:

    "How hard it is to accept the truth when we know the problems facing our nation."

    This is the answer to the wingnut condemnation of Sen. Durbin: "How hard it is to accept the truth."

    "`Our country, right or wrong!' . . . when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.'" (Sen. Carl Schurz)

    by one of the people on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 11:16:19 AM PDT

  •  No need for an apology Senator Durbin! (none)
    From hearing the comments of from the less abusive and fulminating right wing talk show hosts Bill Bennett and Laura Ingram during my morning drive this morning, I had thought that Senator Durbin had probably gone too far.  However, in reading the actual text provided in this thread, it is clear that he was spot on and saying what needed to be said.  It is amazing how even these supposedly Catholic Christian right wingers will twist and contort words and meanings in order to intentionally deceive.  An yes, I believe they are actually trying to excuse reported torture as not so bad and even justified.  I am thankful to have Dick Durbin as one of my could I have doubted that he was doing the right thing.  Hell, you know that a man's heart is in the right place when his pet dog came from an animal shelter.
  •  Ralpha Peters sums it up nicely.... (2.50)
    Gitmo Cocktail

    By Ralph Peters

    The demands to shut down our Guantanamo lock-up for terrorists have nothing to do with human rights. They're about punishing America for our power and success.

    From our ailing domestic left to overseas America haters, no one really cares about the fate of Mustapha the Murderer or Ahmed the Assassin. The lies told about Gitmo are meant to undercut U.S. foreign policy and embarrass America.

    The Gitmo controversy is about many things, from jealousy of the United States and outrage that we refuse to fail, to residual anger that we won the Cold War and exploded the left's great fantasy of a dictatorship of the intellectuals. But the one thing the protests aren't about is human rights.

    Except, of course, as a means to slam the United States.

    Torture? Who and when? Koran abuse? I'd rather be a Koran in Gitmo than a Bible in Saudi Arabia. Illegal detentions? Suggest a better way to handle hardcore terrorists. Maltreatment? Spare me. The food the prisoners receive is better than what I had to eat in the Army.

    Another thing: Would it be more humane to incarcerate the declared enemies of civilization in northern Alaska, rather than on a Caribbean beach?

    Has the Bush administration made mistakes regarding Guantanamo? You bet. The biggest one was attempting to placate the critics. By launching a new investigation every time a terrorist had a toothache, our government played into the hands of its enemies.

    The truth is that the terrorists and their defenders have something in common. It's not courage, which is one quality violent fanatics don't lack. It's that neither can be appeased.

    Any concession only increases their appetites. The Clinton administration's reluctance to respond to terrorist strikes encouraged al Qaeda. If the Bush administration closed the Guantanamo facility, any alternative holding center would be attacked just as rabidly and dishonestly.

    If we put our captives up at the Four Seasons, we'd be condemned because somebody smelled bacon at breakfast.

    You can't negotiate with terrorists. And you cannot reason with ideologues -- whether they're Islamist fanatics or pathetic old lefties fishing for a cause to give meaning to squandered lives. Terrorists, French and German neo-Stalinists, and our own democracy-hating intelligentsia aren't interested in facts. It's all about the comfort of belief.

    Let's get this straight: Nothing we could do would appease those who feel a need for our country to fail. We must stop trying to satisfy them.

    There's a military maxim that applies to all the nonsense about Gitmo: Don't let the entire battalion get bogged down by a sniper. By attempting to respond to the wild charges leveled by those who offer no solutions themselves -- who have no interest in solutions -- we've allowed anti-American basket cases from Harvard Yard to the German parliament to create an issue from nothing.

    Oh, and thanks to the "mainstream" media for assuming that our country's always wrong.

    There is a culture of torture in the world. Blessedly, America isn't part of it. When a few of our troops make mistakes, they're punished. Given the magnitude of our task and the unprecedented conditions we face, it's remarkable our errors have been so few.

    What should enrage every decent citizen is that the real torturers -- from Zimbabwe to China, from Syria to North Korea -- get a pass from the political left. If terrorists behead defenseless captives on videotape, it's simply an expression of their culture. But if a handful of U.S. troops play an ugly round of Candid Camera, that's a new gulag.

    As someone who takes human rights seriously, I'm appalled by the lack of sympathy the left feels toward the victims of any regime other than the Bush administration. Let's shout it to prisoners everywhere: If you're not harmed by an American, your suffering doesn't count.

    The left's hypocrisy is immeasurable. The grandchildren of those who defended Stalin are mortified that Saddam Hussein will stand trial. By taking such irresponsible voices seriously, we grant our critics a strength they otherwise lack and simply help them keep their lies alive.

    No matter what our country does, we will never please a global intelligentsia outraged that all their theories came to nothing. We can't satisfy al Qaeda, and we can't please those discontented souls who need to blame the United States for their personal inadequacies. It's time we stopped trying.

    What should our nation's leaders say about Guantanamo and our treatment of captured terrorists? A lot less.

    When comments are unavoidable, try this: "We're human. We make mistakes. We fix those mistakes. And we move on. Nothing will divert us from our mission of defeating terror and keeping our country safe."

  •  death camp (none)
    Is it a death camp if not a single person has died there?
  •  Sullivan on Kos (none)
    Maybe I missed it, but now Sullivan is giving Kos his "Moore Award" for hatred of the US. He's willing to entertain a clarification, though:

    KOS AGAIN: Some of you have emailed me to say that I'm misinterpreting Kos. Here's the argument: "The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command" does not mean "Saddam and the US torture the same amount" but rather "torture is just as wrong under US command as under Saddam's command".
    The sentence, when re-read, is indeed unclear and could be read either way, I think. Well: Kos can clear it up. All he need say is that the torture that has occurred under the U.S., while nothing like as extreme or as widespread as under Saddam, is still reprehensible. I look forward to his clarification on these lines and will happily link to it if it appears and withdraw his award nomination.

  •  Disgusting (none)
    This quote:  "Of course, none of that has happened. The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command. And Dick Durbin had the balls to say it so on the Senate floor."

    Equally bad?  Why are you smearing, Kos?  This link refutes your own slander.

  •  Right Wing smear machine??? (none)
    Yes that noted member of the Right Wing, Richard Daley, has now said Durbin should apologize  Face it Kos they are jumping ship.  Comparing what is reminiscent of fraternity hazing to some of the greatest crimes in human history is just plain wrong.  
  •  Insurgents are therefore torturing Iraqis (none)
    by blowing up oil pipelines and by preventing repairs to the electrical system.

    Did you even think about all the Iraqis dying at home from 120 degree heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter?

    Where are the concerned lawyers representing the rights of innocent Iraqi civilians suffering and dying from temperature extremes at home in Baghdad?

    "I for one could not do that, unable to move or adjust position. Just thinking about it gives me a sense of muscles cramping and pain. But, to each his/her own. That would be a matter of choice".

    CHOICE: How about a little experiment?

    You can tie me up for a night like an inmate if you agree to pay all the taxes I've got to pay for a year[$2,000 to $3,000].

    Is Jeb Bush, the Governor of my state, a torturer too?

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