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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 05:42 AM
Original message
William Pfaff : hang the torturers !
Edited on Mon Apr-27-09 06:17 AM by tocqueville
columns : American Fascism
on 2009/4/23 12:40:00 (750 reads)

Paris, April 21, 2009 In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, author of Babbit and the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize, published a novel entitled It Cant Happen Here.
..............
When It did happen was in 2001-2008, in the Bush administration.
..............

There was a takeover of the government by a self-willed executive power, unprecedented in American history. The president and vice president acted on a novel and legally unsupported claim to unlimited wartime presidential and executive-branch power. The justification was an illegal, undeclared war.

International law and American treaty obligations were defied, as were established American law on the conduct of war and the treatment of prisoners, constitutional protections, and the surveillance of citizens.
All of this occurred without meeting serious, or at least successful, Congressional or judicial challenge, with little or no objection from the national press, and all but unanimous support from the national audiovisual media. One neednt go through all that again.
................
Yet there is a limit. The latest case of the human moral vacuum created and encouraged during the Bush years is so outrageous, perverse, sadistic and nihilistic that it demands attention, for all that it tells us about the rest that has happened. I speak of the ordered, authorized, and conscientiously supervised water-boarding of two prisoners 266 times.
The men who authorized, ordered, and performed such acts should be hanged. It is as simple as that.

It then would be possible to face the future with a response to Can It Happen Here.

http://www.williampfaff.com/modules/news/article.php?st...

William Pfaff (born in 1928) is an American author, op-ed columnist for the International Herald Tribune and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. He was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and is of German, English, and Irish origin. He currently resides in Paris.
________________________________________________________________________________________

my two cents

The Germans, the French, the Norwegians and others did it : they tried and condemned traitors, collaborators, war criminals. Some were executed, some got prison, some were acquitted. Those nations thus redeemed themselves. There should be no exception for the US, specially from a nation which has always presented herself as the beacon of liberty in the world.

edited comment :

This opinion piece leads to several questions :

1) were the US during the Bush years a fascist state ?
In my meaning no if you compare with the classical examples (Germany, Italy, Spain...). one of the main differences is that in the US the clamping down on dissidence was lenient, compared to the classical examples. But I would call the situation "quasi-fascism".

2) should the culprits be fully prosecuted, inclusive the former tops of the Bush administation ?
In my meaning yes. Or else the US will end up in a "Chilean situation" specially because of the torture. With the major difference that the US plays a special role in the world and thus need a "special" redemption.

3) Are the mechanisms of US citizens collaboration (active or passive) comparable to Vichy France ?
In my meaning basically yes. With the difference that the US weren't occupied by a foreign power and the internal repression limited. On the other hand this can be considered as an aggravating factor (lack of harsh repression) since it makes the cowardice even greater. By this, no blame is to fall on the ones (DU included) that did oppose openly the regime and took some risks.

tocqueville
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't know about the hangings
but I would venture a guess as to the perpertrators of all this will see jail time.
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geckosfeet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 06:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Thier policies resulted in the deaths of hundreds. Why is hanging not an option?
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conscious evolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 06:03 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. millions
Their policys resulted in the deaths of millions.

Hang'em high.

Never forget
Never again.
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 05:53 AM
Response to Original message
2. I agree
Give em a fair trial...then hang em. The problem today is there is little or no deterrent for crimes to be committed. If people knew they faced a rope or lethal injection, maybe they would think twice about having such far reaching thoughts. I hate criminals and I think we do not put enough to death. Why should I pay to keep them in jail for life? Fuck them! Let them pay dearly for trying to make us pay for their transgressions. Prisons should have criminals doing "hard labor" for the entire length of their stay. If they don't work, chain em to a damned wall. Criminals gave up certain rights when they committed their crimes.

We need to empty the prisons of drug possession violators. It's ridiculous for us to pay for their incarceration when they can be paying us for their crimes! Obviously, I am not to liberal when it comes to criminals, but I am tired of seeing people commit crimes for large sums of money, then doing a year in a minimum security prison. Every inmate should have to work hard every day.
Heck, there are criminals who commit crimes so they can go to jail so they will have medical and dental attention and get free food every day while sitting in their cell watching TV! It's a good thing I am not King. Criminals would not like me at all!
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 06:27 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. You have never broken a law in your life?
Frankly I find that impossible to believe.

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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Nothing I could be thrown in jail for.....
... a couple of traffic violations. That's it.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. How would you know?
There are a great many things one can be put in jail for these days, there are quite literally tens of thousands of pages of arcane laws on the books and you claim to have never violated any of them.



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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:44 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Okay, none I know of........
...how does that work for ya?
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
19. But you hate "criminals" so much..
And the definition of "criminal" is someone who has broken a law, any law.

I doubt there is an adult in America today who has not broken some law or other, we are basically all criminals really.

Do you think if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about?

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geckosfeet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. I am pretty sure th Uben has yet to violate the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th articles of the bill of rights.
Your nuanced argument, if one were to call it that, should also take into consideration the harm inflicted by the violation and the nature of the crime itself.

Blatant disregard for the Bill of Rights is far far more egregious than among many things, traffic violations. So if we are all criminals, my vote is to go after those who have violated the laws of the country, and let locals go after those who violate municipal or local regulations.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 06:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. you agree... but you still don't understand
that's why you fall into an apology of what you condemn !!!!!!

"If they don't work, chain em to a damned wall" = torture
"gave up certain rights when they committed their crimes" = enemy combattants, Guantanamo's lawless

Who are you then to judge others, when you "advocate" their behaviour ?

The question isn't so much the harshness of the penalty (the headline was meant to be provocative), but the fact that the crimes are not ordinary "civil" crimes, but fall into the category of what we call in French "forfaiture" (not to be mixed with "forfeiture") or "prvarication" :

that is to say crimes committed by civil servants (elected or appointed) in the exercise of their functions. Which give them an extraordinary dimension (state crime) which cannot be compared to "ordinary" crime.

One doesn't judge a war criminal and a serial killer on the same grounds ! Or if you want you cannot compare the Nuremberg trials with the trial of OJ Simpson, except for the basic respect of the rule of law and fair trial.
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. You like to put words in people's mouths.......
....but you are wrong. I do not advocate anyone to commit a crime. Where the hell you got that is beyond me. You can't talk your way out of it. Just tell the damned truth!
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. you advocate methods...
to punish criminals in general that curiously remind of what the Bush administration is blasted for. Not my words (chain, wall, no rights).
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:59 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. Yeah, right...
You conveniently left out the "if they refuse to work" part. They would have a choice. If they choose not to participate, then they can rot in leg irons. Rehabilitation is the goal. Those who refuse to cooperate can opt for the consequence.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. if they refuse to work...
Edited on Mon Apr-27-09 08:44 AM by tocqueville
"if they refuse to talk, if they refuse to cooperate"...maybe we should go "enhanced"..

where did I hear that before ?

rehabilitation by "rotting in leg irons" ???

cm'on
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. Didn't hear it from me
....so there is no reason to bring it into the conversation, is there? And yes, I have no problem putting prisoners in shackles when they refuse to cooperate. They do it everyday in every state in the union and probably in every country in the world. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but you are failing miserably.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
21. Harsh prison conditions and denial of human rights to prisoners are generally
used by fascists to terrorize the poor. By encouraging such policy, and fostering it in your own mind in your hatred for "criminals," you are simply abetting the fascists, in my opinion. Hatred should have nothing to do with our courts and our justice system. Objectivity should prevail, as much as possible. That is why we have juries of 12--to bring some citizen objectivity to the situation, to rein in over-zealous prosecutors and "hanging judges," who would throw mostly the poor, the black and the brown into dungeons, willy-nilly, if they had their druthers. Of course neither juries, nor prosecutor, no judge, nor cops constitute an all-seeing God. Mistakes can be, and are, made--so what do you say to that? Someone is unjustly convicted for murder, say, and sentenced to be killed? It is crazy and dangerous to say that you "hate criminals" and that your hatred should be made into policy. As a matter of fact, that is what has happened in the U.S. 'justice' system, and it is very wrong.

I can understand anger, even rage, at the slaughter of a hundred thousand people, and the displacement of millions, to steal their oil, and the torture of hundreds and probably thousands of prisoners. It is horrendous. But I do not favor "hanging" as the remedy. I would much rather see Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld (et al) wearing electronic leg-irons and cleaning bedpans in veterans' hospitals (community service) for the rest of their lives, with a webcam on them for all to see--and of course confiscation of all of their assets (like they do to pot growers). We get a lot more bang for our buck by appropriate rehab-type punishment than with an orgy of death, even aside from the issue of the morality of state-sponsored murder. Think of the lesson to other office holders! You won't get to go out in a blaze of fascist glory--you'll be stuck with cleaning up shit and pee and blood for the rest of your lives, to care for those who are far more deserving of our compassion and far braver, than you are. Wouldn't it be great for our kids to see this--Bush cleaning bedpans for the soldiers he sent to an oil war?

That's objective justice! Hanging them is...infantile, pointless machismo, and the wrong image for a just and progressive future, and it is what they do.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 06:06 AM
Response to Original message
5. fuck that. I'm against the DP and liberal advocates for it disgust me
The DP is wrong. Always. Just as wrong as torture.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 06:14 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. the DP in this case is symbolic, rethoric...
Edited on Mon Apr-27-09 07:03 AM by tocqueville
it can be commuted into a life sentence without parole. I am an opponent myself. The idea is to make such a statement : "never again"...
Besides historically speaking nobody is weeping on the executions at Nuremberg, Saddams hanging etc... even if opposed to DP by principle. If OBL was captured, tried and sentenced to death the opposition to the sentence would be of principial nature, but the outrage non-existent.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. It makes it soooo much better that you're just joking.
Edited on Mon Apr-27-09 07:12 AM by BlooInBloo
HANG THEM!!

hahahaah! Just kidding - it's just RHETORIC dontchaknow! hahahah!



Boy is that hilarious.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. I wasn't joking
I quoted Pfaff. I only meant that the "hanging" stuff (why not a firing squad) has to be seen in a context of reprieval of state criminality. What Pfaff means is that the punishment must be proportional to the crime so make an example and prevent repeat. I am not advocating hanging myself, but I think that life sentences or very long prison sentences would be appropriate.
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 07:45 AM
Response to Original message
14. "Now, um, we suddenly believe in the Christian virtues. Smirk." - Torturing Republicon Chickenhawks
Instant Conversion to real Christianity for Republicon Homelanders.

Read All About It.
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MrPerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-27-09 08:01 AM
Response to Original message
18. War criminals are traditionally hung by the conquering country.
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