[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Cheney On America's Post 9-11 Policies

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cheney On America's Post 9-11 Policies

Dick Cheney's speech today to the American Enterprise Institute was dead-on. Every single word of it. Too bad it took a former VP to speak so clearly and eloquently about why we must do everything we can to stop terrorists (that's right...terrorists) from hurting and killing Americans again. Imagine if John McCain would have uttered even half of Cheney's words. To those of you who go into convulsions at the mere mention of Cheney's name but go into a coma upon hearing his voice...don't worry. Here's the transcript.


Blogger Rick said...

Great job of cutting and pasting, Robert, but let me ask you: Did the U.S. torture people? And if you say no, then please account for those that died while undergoing these "enhanced interrogation techniques." And also, how does torture or "enhanced interrogation techniques" square with your Christian faith?


9:37 PM, May 21, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

Hey, cutting and pasting is what bloggers do best, right Rick? And when it's Dick Cheney's words getting copied and pasted, it's extra special.

When (operative word) there's unquestionable and 100%-supported evidence that people died during enhanced interrogation, then you are welcome to come back and we can discuss the individual techniques used and how they may have been applied. Until then, it's totally and completely uncorroborated.

Finally, as a perfectly imperfect Christian, I sleep very comfortably at night with the belief that when people's lives are at stake, measures must be taken to ensure that those lives aren't lost. This DOESN'T mean interrogating people to death. But if the simulation of someone drowning with doctors standing by is what it takes to get life-saving information from a grand total of 3 terrorists, it squares just fine, thank you. If that constitutes torture in some people's minds, I'm fine with that too.

Heck, discussing issues with liberals can be torturous sometimes!

8:39 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Before I go through the trouble of collecting links to reports and photos, what kind of "unquestionable and 100%-supported evidence" are you talking about?


9:10 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Allen said...

I guess what you are trying to say is that torture, when done by us, is OK because we are saving lives?

I say this because, we as a country, not liberals or conservatives, decided that waterboarding was torture when it was done to our troops. Just curious as to the distinction. Maybe if other countries do it to only a few of our troops to get our plans on how we intend to do them harm it is ok?

Torture is either wrong, for everyone, or it is justified if serving a higher purpose, for everyone. We cannot condemn those who do it to us, then do it to others.

9:23 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

Rick: You figure it out. It's not hard. BTW, MSNBC (or NBC for that matter) doesn't count.

Allen: I'm afraid you're treading on a little moral-equivalence ground when comparing what's been done to Americans to what's been done to self-confessed terrorists who have killed Americans. The same rules DO NOT apply when we're trying to save innocent lives against those whose sole purpose is to kill Americans. If you think waterboarding is the equivalent of, say, cutting someone's limbs off or even killing them, fine. That's your call. I'm not buying it.

9:45 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Allen said...

I guess so. I believe that if we constitute something as torture, then we should not be doing it. If you do not think waterboarding is torture (which our country has prosecuted people for), then that is something we will have to agree to disagree on. But if you think it is torture, then we should not be doing it. Period.

9:50 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

That's right, Allen. Waterboarding in a controlled environment with doctors ready to jump in at any second hardly constitutes real, life-threatening torture in my book.

9:57 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Allen said...

Then that is a point where you and this country disagree. And I'm fine with that, we are, as free citizens, allowed and supposed to disagree with our country at times.

9:58 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Srcohiba said...

Robert, libs prefer using cushions and comfy chairs as part of their new interrogation techniques.

10:59 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Allen said...

That's the type of comment that makes people, and yes I'm referring to those dastardly liberals as people, ignore your comments. I know, you couldn't care less what those lowly liberals think of you, and I'm glad you don't. It's that kind of thinking that will ensure your dwindling percentage of the population keeps sucking on sour grapes after losing more power in congress and in the white house.

11:29 AM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

So we capture terrorists, non-uniformed fighters who are attacking and trying to kill our people. These people are not subject to the Geneva conventions. We could summarily execute them without breaking any rules (other than our own policies). Some of them have knowledge of plots, terrorist networks, other terrorists, and by holding their heads under water we can get them to give us info that will save innocent lives (we know this is true because we have done this and the info HAS saved innocent lives). But not inflicting pain on them should trump saving the lives of many innocent people? Why?

These people aren't domestic criminal suspects who are subject to habeas corpus and due-process restrictions, where our main goal is to find out who did it and not convict innocent people. The terrorist captives are like kidnappers who are holding someone's child captive in a secret place and won't divulge the location if they are asked politely. In that kind of situation no reasonable person is going to insist that the kidnapper not be tortured.

If we were routinely poking out captives' eyes or torturing on a large scale I might agree that we shouldn't do it. But we are being careful and have subjected few terrorists to painful interrogation, and the few we even waterboarded gave up info that saved thousands of innocent lives. I don't see a problem with what we've been doing.

4:18 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Allen said...

1) This claim that what we did stopped terrorist plots, where is that info. I've heard people make mention of it but haven't seen anything official. I am not being facetious on this one, I would genuinely like to know what was stopped as a result.

2) It's a shame there are laws that prevent us from torturing kidnappers and other people. Yes, I believe that giving freedom to the majority allows some to be less safe. Its a principal this country was founded on and one that the terrorists hate us for. I would like to keep it that way. Having morals and principals may cost lives, but it improves the quality of life that we enjoy in this country.

3) If you could steal something without getting caught, it doesn't make it less wrong. No, these terrorists do not fall under the geneva conventions, it doesn't make torture right. Interrogate, have a trial, whatever, but don't torture. It's a right or wrong thing, this country has deemed that torture is wrong, therefore it should be wrong. Its not right only when it benefits us.

4:29 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

I'll jump in with the following:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, after being waterboarded, identified the person who was plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.

Also, we have this interview with a CIA spy acknowledges another key finding via waterboarding.

Interestingly, the CIA spy thinks waterboarding is torture, yet he agrees with its necessity in certain situations with certain people. As I stated above, we can disagree on what to call waterboarding, but even if I were inclined to call it "torture lite", the lives it saves warrants the procedure.

4:54 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Cohiba: I thought your going to ignore liberals for a while. You were pretty damn proud of yourself...for a post.

People write essays and books on these kind of things and I seriously doubt that I would ever be able to convince anyone who is totally cool with summarily blowing off the head of a prisoner that we suspect of being a terrorist [see Jonathan, comment] that there is something so terribly and morally wrong with that. It's a difference in values and morals that is so deep that a comment block could never traverse the gap. So I'm not going to waste the time.

But I am going to work on getting some links this weekend.


5:37 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...


Where exactly did Jonathan state that he was cool with "blowing off the head of a prisoner"? It's not there, at all.

I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere for those gaps in values and morals.

6:01 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

These people are not subject to the Geneva conventions. We could summarily execute them without breaking any rules (other than our own policies).Maybe I misunderstood, but that's what I interpreted from this sentence.

And I think you're wrong about the gaps in values and morals. To me it's very clear and it's the only way to explain why this issue is so easy for some and so difficult for others. We'll have to disagree on that, I suppose.


7:09 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Rules of war such as the Geneva Conventions exist to protect captured soldiers and noncombatants. That is why the Geneva Conventions make a distinction between uniformed and nonuniformed combatants. By wearing uniforms enemy soldiers protect themselves from summary treatment, and they protect noncombatants. Islamist terrorists intentionally put noncombatants at risk by dressing like them (and by treating them and Allied captives brutally). This behavior gives the terrorists a tactical advantage, and it makes it more likely that our side will mistakenly harm civilians because we have more difficulty ID'ing the terrorists.

This is why nonuniformed combatants have traditionally and legally been treated as spies or saboteurs -- i.e., executed. For example, look at how FDR's government treated German saboteurs landed by U-Boat on the East Coast during WW2. Why don't captured Islamists whose goal is to kill as many Americans as possible deserve similar treatment?

So the question is how to treat nonuniformed combatants, now that most of our enemies fall into this category. To a reasonable person it might look as though the rules of war need to be updated. I don't see why treating captured terrorists as though they were domestic criminal suspects is the obvious way to do this. If we go this route many more people on our side will die, because captured terrorists will be much less likely to give us information. It appears to me that the Bush administration saw that times have changed and made a thoughtful effort in good faith to update our rules to the modern age. For this the Left accuses them of being bad people. Rick's suggestion that I am immoral for pointing out the tradeoffs here is a typical example, and typically stupid. I take it Rick is OK with thousands of innocent people being murdered because we don't waterboard a terrorist. That is the actual choice here. I think that so far we have handled such choices OK, and that it's worth erring on the side of inflicting pain on terrorists rather than risking innocent lives.

9:02 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

Excellent points, Jonathan. Your last couple of sentences really put this issue in a slightly different but very important perspective. We're talking about waterboarding, where the captive not only survives multiple sessions but feels fit enough to represent himself in his own trial and mocks the American judicial system (I'm referring to Khalid Mohammed of course).

I wonder how those who are so adamant against waterboarding feel about war in general. Are they totally against war...period, or is war somehow acceptable because it's something that has to happen every once in a while to keep the bad guys away? The choice whether to waterboard a few terrorists is a piece of cake when compared to the decision Truman made when he was pondering dropping the bomb on thousands of Japanese citizens. Now THAT was a moral dilemma, one in which the decision continues to be debated to this day. Waterboarding doesn't even come close.

11:11 PM, May 22, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Robert: Have you ever been waterboarded?

Jonathan: So I take it that you ARE "totally cool with summarily blowing off the head of a prisoner that we suspect of being a terrorist," something that Robert was apparently shocked that you would say.

While you guys continue to live in an episode of "24," the fact of the matter is that torture doesn't work and that for all the torturing that has been done in the last 8 years, not one person has been saved. [Go ahead, now YOU show me some links]

We're better than Pol Pot. We're better than Josef Mengele. We're better than the sickest of Islamic radicals. You guys may not think so and you can continue to lower this country to the level of despots, dictators and animals, but many Americans won't join you. Although, strangely Christians will give you a high five. Figure that one out.

And, Jonathan, only someone defending torture would actually consider implementing interrogation techniques used during the Inquisition an "update."

Continuing...as far as prisoners dying after being tortured by the U.S., Robert....

#1#2Tell me if you want more.


4:09 PM, May 23, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Rick: Have you ever been blown up by a terrorist's bomb, shot, or been forced to leap to your death from a burning building?

Khalid Mohammad told us about the plot to do a repeat 9/11 in LA. But go ahead, hold your fingers in your ears and ignore the real-world tradeoffs while you accuse me of being a bad person.

Keep in mind that we rolled up Al Qaeda and other terror networks in Iraq based heavily on info given to us by nonuniformed combatants we captured and interrogated. You might consider what your insistence that we treat such people as we treat domestic criminal suspects would have meant in that context.

Your links confirm that you are either too stupid or too dishonest to acknowledge the difference between interrogation and sadism (the latter punished by our own government).

4:52 PM, May 23, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

You won't answer the question, will you, Jonathan? C'mon man. Do it. Just say it, "I am totally cool with summarily blowing off the head of a prisoner that we suspect of being a terrorist."


5:45 PM, May 23, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Jonathan: I asked Robert a question since he seems to know so much about waterboarding. I mean, if the Bush Administration says waterboarding is torture and Robert says it isn't, then he must know something we don't.


"A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn't think that the techniques disrupted any attacks."

You know, we can keep going on like this. You pull something from thin air, I blow it to pieces with linked material.

It's actually kind of entertaining.

And on sidebar, aren't torturers, by definition, sadists?


6:01 PM, May 23, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...


I thought the issue here was waterboarding, not sadism as Jonathan pointed out. You failed to mention, quite conveniently I might add, that the Abu Gharib perpetrators were punished. You do remember that, don't you? If not, it's in the piece you linked.

Our own special forces get waterboarded as part of their training. No, I've never been waterboarded. But let's use logic for a second (BTW, I really don't care what the Bush administration categorized it as). Do you think our military would subject it's own special forces (special forces, mind you) to possible permanent physical and/or psychological damage if waterboarding was so brutally bad? Of course not. It's "torture lite" at absolute worst, IMO. Does it really matter what we call it? I don't think so. It is what it is.

I won't repeat here the plots that waterboarding helped thwart, since they're easy to find and have already been mentioned in this thread. "Specific imminent attacks"? Sure, let's wait until we can see the white of the bastards' eyes before pulling the plug, why don't we?

If you think you're winning the argument, fine...I'll concede whatever that represents to you if it makes you feel good and superior morally. Facts and logic, however, aren't as generous or forgiving.

8:36 PM, May 23, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Robert: Jonathan introduced the subject of sadism into this thread, not I.

But let's go back to your statement at the beginning of this thread...

"When (operative word) there's unquestionable and 100%-supported evidence that people died during enhanced interrogation, then you are welcome to come back and we can discuss the individual techniques used and how they may have been applied. Until then, it's totally and completely uncorroborated."

I provided you 2 links that prove your position wrong. Whether or not the responsible soldiers were disciplined does not wipe away my contention that prisoners died as a result of "enhanced interrogation techniques." That debate is over.

We're still waiting for Jonathan to clarify whether or not he "is totally cool with summarily blowing off the head of a prisoner that we suspect of being a terrorist." I say he is, you seem to believe he isn't. Or maybe you just can't believe that he is.

About your waterboarding question: if a person gets waterboarded a single time for training or demonstration purposes [like Hitchens or Mancow], no I don't think there's much chance of there being damage. But that, as you know and so disingenuously ignore, is not what we're talking about, Robert. We're talking about being waterboarded time after time, 183 times. We're talking about people not doing it for demo purposes and not knowing if they were going to die. We're talking about a procedure that the Bush Administration has acknowledged is torture.

Rationalize it, defend it, call it "torture lite," Robert. But make sure that you don't fail to mention it when you enter that confessional booth.

Who would Jesus torture?



3:38 PM, May 24, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

Mohammed was waterboarded how many times? And he was fit enough to want to represent himself in his trial and mock our judicial system. Poor baby. That waterboarding really got to him, eh?

One more thing, Rick. I don't appreciate you using my religion as a instrument to denigrate and accuse me of lacking morals. As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this thread, I am imperfect, but I arrive at my beliefs and values using my best possible judgment. Not ONCE did I bring up religion as a reason or excuse in favor (or against) waterboarding. It is a personal belief that no matter how you look at it, should NOT involve someone's practice of their faith.

As an admitted "lapsed Catholic", you sure have tons of nerve to accuse someone who attemps to practice his religion honestly of not applying whatever you consider to be Christian values. Perhaps one day you'll open your heart back to your faith, but one thing I would never do is use your wavering faith to accuse you of anything. That would be classless.

Thus, I will kindly ask you to stop bringing up my religion.

4:40 PM, May 24, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Where did I use your religion to denigrate you or say that you lacked morals in this comment thread, Robert?


10:13 PM, May 25, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

"Make sure you don't fail to mention it in the confessional booth".

"Who would Jesus torture".

All those statements is your way of using my personal beliefs, as admittedly imperfect as they are, as a cheap way to point out how much of a hypocrite I am, and how decent and moral you are. You don't have to state it explicitly, because your message comes through loud and clear. The article I linked in my latest post spells this general attitude out even further.

Other than thinking that your view of waterboarding is misguided and potentially dangerous to our country, I would never use whatever religious faith you practice in order to question your personal feelings on this issue. There are some things you just leave alone. Someone's religious beliefs is most definitely one of them.

10:31 PM, May 25, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

"All those statements is your way of using my personal beliefs, as admittedly imperfect as they are, as a cheap way to point out how much of a hypocrite I am, and how decent and moral you are. You don't have to state it explicitly, because your message comes through loud and clear. The article I linked in my latest post spells this general attitude out even further."

You mean the post in which you bring religion into the discussion?

Please, Robert. Bringing up my opinion that torture is in direct conflict with Catholicism and your religious beliefs is hardly denigrating you or your morals. Unless you believe that hypocritical people are immoral, I guess.

I wish you would have said something about how sensitive you are about bringing your religion into the conversation 27 comments ago when I asked you about it in the very first comment.


7:32 AM, May 26, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...


I gave you the benefit of the doubt after the first comment. You decided to bring it up again, this time upping the ante a little. This, along with your "expose" post in which you once again mentioned Christians who support waterboarding and their values, indicates that you are very much interested in judging those based on their religion and their inconsistently immoral beliefs. On top of that, you blur the lines between waterboarding, which as a definition of torture is HIGHLY questionable, and sadism which is something totally different. You'll do almost anything to make a point. That's your MO, Rick. You fit the stereotype of liberals who tackle issues based on emotion and play to the personal feelings and values of the other person.

After 5 days, this thread has run its course.

8:55 AM, May 26, 2009  

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