Morally Lost

Much of the Conservative pushback on the torture report today has been to argue that the torture was actually much more useful in terms of information gathering than the Senate report concludes.  Who gives a cr*p?  Are these really the same folks who lecture me about morality for wanting to allow gay men to marry, but are A-OK with torture?

In the rape discussion, those who show skepticism about false stories of rape are considered, unfairly, rape apologists.  But these folks I am hearing today are truly torture apologists.  It is sickening.  If Conservatives were truly just in a Bismarkian blood and iron mode, I guess at least they would be internally consistent.  But many of these guys are neo-Conservatives, who are essentially advocating torture as a means to spreading our positive values around the world.

Conservatives, correctly I think, criticized the Obama Administration for blaming the Libyan embassy attack on YouTube video.  They argued that he should have been standing up in front of the world and explaining free speech and educating the world on why we don't punish folks for its exercise, even when we disagree with them.  All fine, except how does advocating for torture play into this bully pulpit theme?


  1. J Bryan Kramer:

    So let me pose this ethics question to you. If you were able to extract information that allowed us to prevent the attacks on 9/11 by waterboarding one terrorist. Would you do it and would saving 3000+ lives and unknown billions of dollars justify frightening someone into giving up the information. In my book waterboarding is not torture. Smashing bones, electric shocks to peoples plumbing, and burning bamboo under the fingernails are torture. They cause permanent physical harm. Waterboarding does not.

  2. mesocyclone:

    Yeah, I give a crap. See my post on your previous spew. We are not apologizing for torture. For one thing, what those prisoners experienced was nothing more than what I and thousands of others experienced in SERE school. So it ain't torture. Beyond that, this stuff does in fact work, and anyone with a clear head has to know that - from history if nothing else.

    So yeah, I'm A-OK with what the CIA did. I wish they would keep at it where necessary. And I think there's nothing immoral about discomfiting murderers in order to prevent the murder of more of our civilians.

    War is not a Libertarian picnic, Coyote. Grow up.

  3. Titan28:

    I think you need to look hard at what liberals define as "torture." Loud music, sleep deprivation, raised voices, not getting proper meals, etc. Did some men or women in the employ of the CIA go too far? It's possible. Should they be punished for that? I say no. And before I say anything else, I'd first like to see the evidence, and on a case by case basis. For example, did the CIA torture thousands? Hundreds? Dozens? You tell me. You're so in a snit over this, you must have the exact numbers. Because they do matter.
    This is war. Bad things happen in war. You know what else is bad? Apologizing for what you did. Seems that's all we do today in America, apologize. I'm tired of it. As I said, war. Another thing about all this: they started it. Or would you disagree?
    I'm willing to admit the CIA made mistakes. Whether America needs to fall on her sword over them is another matter. Obama loathes this country. All of the people around him, and that would include that muffin Feinstein, foster his agenda and believe in his cause. You should not take a word they say at face value--about anything. I mean, do you think it's possible this is a final mad blame Bush dash, to get Bush and his crew in the dock, on the front pages, while Barry sneaks in through EPA dictat onerous rules on C02, ozone, methane, mercury? Or do you think this is really about morality?
    Your term 'torture apologists' needs clarification. Anyone who questions what the Democrats are up to is a torture apologist? Is that like, if you don't agree with the prevailing wisdom on climate change, you are a denialist? Let's be clear here (to steal a phrase from our Fearless Leader). No one is defending torture when they say we need to stop beating ourselves up over what happened. Beating ourselves up on the world stage is stupid. If you don't get that by now, after 6 years of this clown in the white house, who simply never tires of apologizing for this country, you never will.
    Don't forget. America could have annihilated Afghanistan, if we so chose. It was an option. And parts of Pakistan to boot. No one would have said a thing. What did we do instead? We responded proportionately, put our people in harm's way, got thousands of them killed and wounded, mainly because we played by the other guy's rules, with absurd rules of engagement, none of which would have happened had we hit them a whole lot harder, with much less regard for civilian casualties. We have the gun power.
    But fighting the war the way we did required we make use of the CIA. We made choices; they had consequences. I think we should live with them instead of whining about how bad we are. We are not bad. Not matter what the CIA did, it still doesn't make us morally equivalent to monsters who slit the throats of flight attendants with box cutters.
    Again, get your facts straight. No one is advocating torture as a means to spreading our values around the world. And I sure do want to know, quite specifically, what you and others like you call torture. For example, I don't think waterboarding is torture. Is it fun? No. Cutting off someone's finger is torture--and THAT I don't endorse. Same goes for ripping out eyeballs, using electricity, stabbing, shooting. So there is a big definitional problem, sort of like what liberals are presently doing with 'sexual assault' on campus.
    What is torture? What do you mean by it? Is it the same as what the NYTimes means by the term (which would be everything). Where do you draw the line? That's what the argument is about after all. The extreme views: one side says everything we do is torture; the other says nothing we do is torture. Then there are people in the middle, which is where I expect most of us really are. We don't want to be barbarians. But we don't want to be suicidal fools either.

  4. Incunabulum:

    Would you shackle a man to a wall for 17 days 'just in case' he might know something? Would you throw a naked man in a near freezing cell and leave him to die of hypothermia overnight? Would you torture people you didn't think had any information 'just to be sure'?

    Look through the 'summary' (at 500 pages its a huge summary) - we aren't talking waterboarding and stress positions, nor are we talking torture to upset planned actions. We're talking an incompetently run, no oversight, operation that has *actually tortured* people.

    An operation that can only say, vaguely, how many people they snatched up and their final disposition.

  5. Incunabulum:

    I think you need to take a look at the released summary - its far more than waterboarding and stress, for for less good reasons. Its shows not a CIA where some 'went to far' but a deliberate policy.

  6. Ann_In_Illinois:

    Luckily we have a new, more moral administration that has set aside there barbaric tortures and now simply kills people with drone strikes. After all, the painful memories of days without sleep could haunt someone for years....

    Besides, this study proves that torture isn't an effective way to get information because, as John McCain says, it will make them tell you anything you want to know. Clearly we'll get more information from people after we humanely kill them plus some bystanders.

  7. me:

    Rectal rape with permanent damage? Freezing to death?
    I am not sure if I am more disgusted by the readers of this blog coming across as fans of unaccountable dictatorial actions or by the sudden trust into a goverment beaurocracy to make correct life-and-death snap decisions (guilt determined by mere suspicion, brought to you by the same folks who forget prisoners in cells and accidentally kill them. Oops).
    The US has come a long way since WWII.

  8. a_random_guy:

    There are a shocking number of torture apologists here.

    The Senate report confirms something that has been known for centuries: torture is not a useful means of interrogation. Torture provides two things (a) revenge and (b) a playground for psychopaths. That's it. Neither of those are things that the USA, as a constitutional state, should be seeking.

    This was a case of lowering yourself to the moral level of your opponent. Fighting evil terrorists? Let's throw away the principles this country is supposed to stand for, violate half-a-dozen treaties on international rights and the treatment of prisoners, try to dodge US domestic law by "outsourcing" the torture. It's shameful, and it doesn't even gain you anything.

    What's missing from the Senate investigation is prosecution. Torture is a clear violation of both US and international law. From Bush and Cheney on down to the last individual CIA operative: I want these bastards prosecuted. We have them to thank for helping the terrorists take the US one step closer to being a police state. If the US won't clean it's own house, then I hope to hell that someone brings the case before the International Criminal Court.

  9. Pheasant Plucker:

    Ann, you rock. Well said.

  10. Max Lybbert:

    I haven't read the report, or the executive summary, so I'm going off of secondhand information here. I will note that when this is discusses, leftists are generally the first to bring up effectiveness (and, true to form, they always do it smugly). I have never understood this approach: would they really support torture if it were effective? Why mention it? Do they expect other people only support torture because it's effective?

    It's hard to think of where to start. The news stories I've read mention a wide range of things, some of which I can't call torture. For instance, one detainee was cleaned "with a stiff brush." That doesn't bother me in the slightest. I can't figure out why the reporter included it in the story. On the other hand, some things certainly were torture, or were at least beyond anything that should be allowed under US law (e.g., rectal "force feeding"). But the stories I've read also mention that lawyers never signed off on those extreme techniques, and that President Bush wasn't aware that they were being used (his statement "we do not torture" must be judged based on the knowledge he had or should have had).

    I naively assumed that since the CIA asked for legal advice about what qualified as torture (e.g., ), it would have followed that advice and stayed on the right side of the line. According to the summaries I've read, it did not do that. Then again, the CIA has a long history of getting what it wants outside the law (consider its efforts to spy on the Congressional committee that was investigating it), so I really shouldn't have been surprised. But how do you rein in an agency that doesn't listen to its own lawyers? Especially when the agency is considered indispensable?

    So, no, I don't believe effectiveness has anything to do with the discussion. Torture is off limits because it's defined as "things that have no place in a civilized world." I wouldn't consider everything in the report to be torture, but there are things that certainly were.

  11. bigmaq1980:

    This is the problem with torture. The hypothetical scenario does make for a good debatable point. It is an ends justifies the means argument.

    Perhaps in such extremely narrow circumstances it does. Maybe we shouldn't rule it out completely, but we darn well need to have a MUCH better process in place.

    The current process breaks down because of lack of accountability and transparency. And, thus, we have not a slippery slope, but a near frictionless cliff.

    Look, even if we account for the bias this Senate report may have baked in, are we not kidding ourselves if we think we received the truth about the use of the torture by these organizations? So, who is to be believed?

    And, when we see these reported cases, have they not veered far from the extremely narrow circumstances? It seems to have evolved to "if it saves but one life it is worth it". With that weak argument we could justify mandatory helmets for walking. It just doesn't hold up to serious scrutiny.

    Heck, we saw how poorly managed even basic prison management can be. Take Abu Ghraib abuse as a disgusting example...

    Can we trust that torture would be even better managed?

    No sympathy here for these enemy combatants. They'd just as soon trigger a mass tragedy upon innocents themselves. But, two wrongs don't make a right.

    Only accountability and transparency seems to keep these things in check.

    If we don't take a stand at this point, how far does it need to go before it is too late? Maybe we are too late...

  12. J Bryan Kramer:

    You didn't answer my question.

  13. jimc5499:

    Where are all of these dead prisoners? Who froze to death? As a SERE school graduate, I agree with mesocyclone. I'd like to see the specifics on this "anal feeding". Were these people who were trying to commit suicide by starving themselves to death? When you are fighting people who have no problem with cutting their prisoner's heads off with a knife, excuse me if I don't get worked up over them being given a "time out" when we capture them.

  14. Mercury:

    Four elephants:
    Many hypothetical, "ticking bomb", pro-torture scenarios, including 9/11 itself, would be obviated by not having what amounts to open borders.
    Raise your hand if you think torture wouldn't work on you.
    There should be bright lines regarding how the U.S. government is allowed to treat a U.S. citizen vs. a non-U.S. citizen.
    There is little substantial difference between Republicans and Democrats at this point and the convergence is getting tighter. Quick, what are the biggest three differences between the UK's Conservative and Labour parties?

  15. MNHawk:

    I prefer we go back to fighting wars like they used to be fought. Killing people and destroying stuff until the enemy cries uncle. I lost that fight. Instead, my country has chosen to fight wars by going after individual people. Well, these are the people. This is the the way Americans have chosen to fight. I'm going to lose more sleep watching Islam advance than I am because Muhammad pooped his pants in an American prison.

  16. stan:

    Someone got his moral panties so twisted his vision got blurred.

  17. mahtso:

    18 USC 2340:
    “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
    (2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
    (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
    (B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
    (C) the threat of imminent death; or
    (D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
    (3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.
    As such, much, if not all, of what is being discussed here does not constitute torture under the law.

  18. Zachriel:

    Of course it was "intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering".

  19. Titan28:

    One thing (among others) that troubles me is the committee's categorical assertion that not one single instance of actionable intelligence came as the result of enhanced interrogation techniques. That assertion, removed from the cloak of respectability offered by the committee, is a long-standing liberal, left-wing claim that no one speaks the truth under torture (again, definition, please; yelling and loud music don't count).The claim is nonsense. Ask American vets from the Viet Nam and Korean Wars. I've read more than enough, in books and articles on all sides of the equation, to know that while some men will say anything under torture, to make it stop, others will give up useful information. Everyone has a breaking point. I was in the military. We are TOLD that in our training.
    So, tell me the committee, like environmental fanatics, and the gender goon squad, didn't have the answer they were looking for ahead of time. Now, am I saying that not one interrogator went too far? No! But when I see the committee going on, at great length, over the difference between the number 98, as supplied by the CIA and the number 118 (or some such) that they came up with, and these numbers are men who were subjected to enhanced interrogation, I am reminded of debates about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. I would have thought that hundreds and hundreds of prisoners where subjected to harsh methods. If the CIA indeed whittled that number of men down to 118, that means they weren't randomly hurting every prisoner they got their hands on. Correct? It seems, forgive me for suggesting this, as if there might have been some kind of rational process in play. Can that possibly be? My question: exactly how many prisoners were subjected to harsh interrogation methods? Why use innuendo when, as the committee claims, they have the facts at hand?
    If you and others like you can't or refuse to understand that this report is above all a hard-core political document, you understand nothing. These bums on the committee want to cover themselves in virtue. Virtue wrapping is a habit among the looters and scalawags in Washington. Another point: context is everything. Think of what the concerns were when these interrogations were underway. And while such concerns don't justify torture (what is torture; again, I want specifics; pinching isn't torture, slapping isn't torture, turning the heat off isn't torture), there may well be exceptions to the rule.
    Why stop at the CIA? Why not go back to World War II and dig up those American veterans who simply murdered Germans once we hit their soil. Murdered. Thousands of Germans from what I understand. Bullets to the head. Lined up against the wall and shot. For fun, like. Because our guys were mad. What folks at the UN, that august conclave of dunces, would call war crimes. And while we're at it, consider the fire bombing of Japanese cities during that same war. War crime! What about the Sioux? The Apache? You'll forgive me if I say I have no trouble whatsoever with what CIA interrogators did to some of these prisoners. It's small beer in my book. My main beef about Gitmo is that these monsters were given good food, comfy beds and Korans, i.e., the best living these creeps ever had. I would have put them in dungeons (you know, like in pirate movies).
    Context. Try it again. Many people today, especially the young (under 30) don't have the foggiest notion of what life was like in the U.S. - Soviet Union bi-polar days of Eisenhower, the Korean War, Viet Nam (or they get their ideas from a bunch of teachers who get their ideas from books written by Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky). If you subtract the existence of the Soviet Union from the U.S. foreign policy equation, as both students and teachers do these days, you can easily arrive at the notion that American foreign policy, in Africa, Central America, the Middle East, was close to insane. Put another way: our 20-th century foreign policy makes no sense without the existence of the Russians. Same goes for what the CIA did with these interrogations. Context. What would you do to prevent a nuclear weapon from going off in Manhattan? How high a suicidal moral horse do you want to ride about on?
    This is war. This is war time. The men we imprison at Gitmo and elsewhere want us all dead, every one of us. We are confronted by an enemy that would happily, if given the chance, use a nuclear weapon on us, use thousands of them if he could. They hate us and our way of life that much. And folks over here worry about their feelings, what happens to them if we yell and make threats. Show me someone cutting off a prisoner's finger. That's torture. And the person who did that should go to prison.
    As to those torture claims: let's get specific. All this innuendo bothers me. Tell people like me EXACTLY what the torture was, when it happened, where it was done, who did it, and how many times. Don't give me this she's a slut, who, I can't say, how do you know, I know, when did it happen, seal of the confessional, how many times, mum's the word, business. To me, this seems like a witch hunt. The CIA is the witch.

    And Diane Feinstein is the good guy? On what planet can that be so?

  20. Titan28:

    Was it revenge that blew up the Cole, Khobar Towers, the Marine barracks in Beirut, and, last but not least, the World Trade Center?

  21. Titan28:

    So you're saying you could have done better, in terms of competence.

  22. mahtso:

    When terrorists made an attack in Spain a few years ago, one of the given reasons for the attack was that it was revenge for things that happened when the Spanish drove the Moors out hundreds of years before.

  23. AnInquirer:

    Of course, "enhanced interrogation" techniques are ugly, and naturally we will be uncomfortable in how close (or over the line) that these techniques get to torture. Nevertheless, the report loses credibility when it says that effectively no useful information was obtained. That conclusion is in violent disagreement with specific examples provided over the past several years and with the current CIA assessment of the information gathered. Moreover, the investigators for this Senate Report did not even talk with the self-admitted "chief legal architect" for these enhanced interrogation techniques. So the report itself, the timing of the report, the purpose of the report smell like rotten politics. How we react to the moral issues raised in the report can be a different question -- a question on which I do not have any clear answers.

  24. Nehemiah:

    Another good post Titan28. Donald Trump had a good line. We cause them to lose sleep while they cut off heads. Who's going to win.

  25. Titan28:

    Thank you. Cheers, Nehemiah. Have a beer on me. If you have not, you should read the Times articles, and then the reader comments. Times readers are a special breed of cat. Words like Bush (I'm not a big fan of his), CIA, wow. How it affects them is something to see.

  26. Rick Caird:

    You need to be sure the report is accurate in the first place. I am not convinced. It is more likely to be a Lena Dunham polemic than it is to be an accurate statement of what happened. It is also designed as a
    "get out of jail free" card for the likes of Feinstein who now wants to claim she had no idea, no idea at all, of what was happening.

    This is a political document with the Alice in Wonderland effect of "Sentence first, trial later". Believe it at your own risk

  27. CapnRusty:

    Bravo! Well said; both posts.

  28. CapnRusty:

    Let's do this. Let's abide by the principles set out in the Geneva
    Conventions and other treaties on human rights, only with respect to
    other nations which have signed, and which universally apply, those
    principles. However, with respect to those "nations," or other groupings
    of people, which have not signed such treaties, let them know if they
    harm a hair on our citizen's heads, we will turn their topsoil into
    glass. We did that twice, and the world was at peace for sixty years. We
    probably need to do that again.

  29. mlhouse:

    And as I have said in other posts, the liberal view of using "torture" is what they see in the movies as some bad cops try to coerce the good guy into confessing to a crime. They claim anyone will say anything under duress, and that may be true. Some innocent people have confessed to murders they did not commit under duress.

    But this is not hte same thing. This is obtaining acitonable intelligence. Torture know why? If they just blurt out anything, and they are proven wrong, then you can upgrade their discomfort. Almost every high ranking terrorist was completley broken. They gave up everything they knew. And that meant that the al Queda that exists as of the 9/11 attacks was almost completely destroyed.

    I am in favor of doing whatever it takes to keep this nation safe from these monsters. That Kahlid Shiek Muhammed, the barbarian that cut off Daniel Pearl's head was put in some discomfort matters little to me. That he coughed up valuable information that led to the detention of other murderers and thugs, GREAT.

  30. Mike:

    I agree that the report loses credibility by claiming they got no useful information. That's really not believable. Given that they are untruthful about this, how much else are they untruthful about?

  31. Matthew Slyfield:

    Do you honestly believe that you will get more millage from believing what the public mouthpieces for the CIA have to say about it?

  32. nork:

    I have no trouble believing that. Anyone who ever worked in a large organization will have seen situations where the implementation was a royal clusterf*ck but the management layers cover their respective asses and whitewash with reports about how great a success things actually were.
    Other than that - if you give people incentives to turn in the neighbors they don't like and then torture a hundred peasants who know nothing, how on earth would you expect results? The entire problem is based on prejudgement of guilt: I assume you know something, therefore I torture. Too bad if you don't.

  33. me:

    I don't get people who distrust government so much that the only available official report on torture gets discounted as a political tool and verifiable facts (with officers and commanders in charge stating on the record what went on!) inside ignored but have no problem assuming that the secretive organization that carried out the acts must have done everything perfectly right based on no other information than "It's obvious".
    Seriously, watch a war movie and think about the fact that the despicable things the enemies in those movies do are things we do today.

  34. Ann_In_Illinois:

    You're talking about "The current process", but one problem many of us have with this partisan report is that they're taking things that happened at the beginning, when it was all still being worked out, and pretending that that this was the process through to the end and was deliberate and was done for bad motives. Yes, granted, we were not prepared for this at the beginning, and mistakes were made. But we only waterboarded three people total, and stopped doing it in 2003, and these were three clearly guilty people who gave us valuable information after this.

    Something horrible happened to us as a country, the CIA people scrambled to try to protect all of us, and now we're attacking them for doing what they were told to do, because it makes the rest of us feel better and lets Feinstein pretend that she wasn't involved.

    There's room for an honest discussion of what we should do in the future, under similar circumstances, but scapegoating people who were trying to keep us safe isn't consistent with an honest discussion. Some of us feel that we have to defend the CIA because they're being railroaded for political reasons.

  35. Rick Caird:

    Do you really believe that a report written only by Democrats that never talked to the people on the ground and manages to absolve Feinstein and Pelosi of all responsibility and knowledge is getting you more mileage than a full and complerte report?

  36. mahtso:

    It is my understanding that in addition to this report, there is information from the Justice Department's investigations that show no laws were broken. (I've not seen anyone even suggest that everything was done perfectly right.)

  37. Matthew Slyfield:

    No, but the full and complete report you mention doesn't exist and likely never will. Your apparent belief that such a report if it existed would exonerate the CIA of any wrong doing is without any foundation in reality.

  38. Titan28:

    At the risk of being a total bore...the more I read about and on this report, the more I come to understand that there is nothing new in it. True, the thousands of pages long basis for it all is under seal, but still: why are liberals in the press acting like this is some kind of revelation? It shouldn't be. And, as I follow the story, more details come out about the core weakness of what Feinstein has done: the committee talked to no one. They did not interview interrogators, or CIA higher ups. The report, in its entirety, all $40 million worth, is based on a reading of paper, emails and such. Are they kidding? Even the most idiotic historian knows that paper, in any way, is only part of a story. You need to built a context, so that what has been written makes sense. Consider: what if all anyone knew about you was based on what you had written in life? How complete a picture would they be able to get? So, this is even more of a political document than I suspected. It may even contain prevarications.
    Another thing (sorry). The CIA, by and large, acquitted itself--in my book--as well as it could have under the circumstances after 9-11. They made mistakes, sure. You might file that under the no one is perfect category. But there is another side to the CIA story. Sometime after Viet Nam, or perhaps it started during the Viet Nam War, the CIA lost its way. The account of the CIA that is provided in The Looming Tower, the best one volume read on terrorism in existence, I would say, shows an organization that is almost completely inept, driven by careerist bureaucrats who care more about their careers than they do about human life or American national security. In a sense, the agency was run by a bunch of politicians. The CIA allowed itself to become an almost stooge organization; it was all about politics, internal and external. That, the political angle, continues, of course. Think of the way the CIA leaked information during the Bush years. Essentially, the CIA was at war with Bush. Another thing that most people forget is that over the years, the CIA moved from being apolitical or somewhat to the right to being another typical liberal government organization. Essentially, prior to 9-11, what America had in the CIA was a money burning house of incompetence, an organization that had been wrong about every major foreign policy situation since the fall of Viet Nam. In the days just before the Soviet Union went under, the CIA was out saying the Evil Empire was going to last until the next Ice Age. So when I defend the CIA, please don't take it to mean I believe the organization isn't without sin. My view of George Tenet, the fellow Bush gave a medal to, is that he should have been indicted, although not for anything Feinstein has in what she has released.
    Now I'm going to shut up.

  39. skhpcola:

    Leftists like Warren shiver at the thought of protecting the United States. After all, they think so little of our nation that they believe that our borders are a travesty to humanity and should be completely open. That's not hyperbole...he and his fellow leftists hate this country enough that they want to destroy us from within.

  40. skhpcola:

    No, but the full and complete report you mention doesn't exist and likely never will.

    If that's the case, your acceptance of the D-bag propaganda "report" still isn't justified...even if you prefer to think otherwise. You have an awesome tendency to believe the stupidest bullshit.

  41. skhpcola:

    The Democrat Senate report

    FIFY. The unilateral construction of this "report" should cause people interested in the truth to be suspicious. D-bags aren't renowned for their affection for intelligence agencies or the US in general.

  42. Matthew Slyfield:

    "You have an awesome tendency to believe the stupidest bullshit."

    No, the stupidest bullshit is your confidence that the CIA did nothing wrong founded on absolutely nothing.

  43. skhpcola:

    You can cease with the lame deflection of trying to put words in my mouth. I never even hinted that I think that the CIA did nothing wrong. But neither am I credulous of the details of this partisan and political report, as are you and Warren. It seems that both of you lap up leftist agitprop because you are all too eager to defame and denigrate the US. Liberaltarians are funny that way, which is why you and Warren are absurd in your political commentary.

  44. bigmaq1980:

    I hear you. And, yes, there is context, where this was all part of the initial "scramble" with a high sense of urgency. This does justify some latitude.

    The concept of "guilty" becomes irrelevant once we consider (rightly) that these guys are enemy combatants (POWs, if you will).

    And, yes, just like there was 80%+ of the population who were for the wars at the time, everyone has perfect 20/20 vision after the fact and are quick to blame (any "mistake" on Bush's "lies" - a highly debatable point when one examines the facts). I told a colleague at the time to just watch and see how long before all turn sour on it - people are fickle and cannot stand by the full consequences of their decision to support.

    That all said, not sure even a "purely" objective look at the facts wouldn't put the CIA in a defensive position to begin with.

    Given the power and the latitude to secrecy that they are given, any hint at misdoing (and there is more than a hint here beyond just the waterboarding) ought to be a red flag for closer scrutiny and critique.

    Not sure this is just a Dem thing either, as the criticism also haunts the current WH Admin - they must have known, and did nothing for about six years. We know the Dems will bend backwards to protect their dear leader.

    Just like our political leaders, we need to make sure the agencies they oversee are held accountable.

  45. Ann_In_Illinois:

    I've heard that this committee investigation began as a bi-partisan effort. It's sad for everyone that it fell apart to the point that it's hard to trust the claims and conclusions of either side.

    If any questions should rise above politics, it's these.

  46. Mike:

    The problem is that people are trying to make this easier than it really is. If nothing of value was gained by torture, then it's easy to say that we should never torture. But if torture does give useful information, then there's a moral quandary. Seems that a lot of people don't have the strength of their convictions to say that we shouldn't torture even if it would give important information.

  47. me:

    Yes. When that has been proven. When these are people who've been turned in by their neighbors whose only proof of guilt is "after we raped them for hours they told us anything we wanted them to", this argument is a bit more spurious.