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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 05:01 PM
Original message
And Then They Came For Me
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/and-then-they-ca...


And Then They Came For Me

by digby

One of Sullivan's readers sent this in:

First they tortured in ticking time bomb cases but I didn't mind because it was a clear and imminent danger.

Second they tortured "slow-fuse" high value detainees and I didn't mind, because you never know what might happen.

Third they tortured Iraqi and Afghan prisoners who weren't high value, but who might have had useful information, and I didn't mind, because they were acting in good faith.

Fourth they tortured prisoners to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, and I didn't mind, because surely there must have been such a connection.

Finally, they came to torture me, and nobody cared, because if I was being tortured, I obviously deserved to be tortured, and, as Peggy Noonan says, some things are just mysterious and it's best to just keep on walking.



Of course, if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about. None of our torture techniques leave lasting damage, which is what separates us from the evil ones.
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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nothing to add, but
K&R

:cry:
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CynicalObserver Donating Member (157 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Weapons of mass destructive power really muddle the equation
I am greatly concerned about the inevitable creep of government powers once a baseline is established, not only on this topic but on pretty much any. That said, what about where there really is a perceived imminent threat of something just catastrophic? Is there a probable death count that justifies it, ever?
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Senator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. The muddle is with the "really . . . perceived imminent threat."
Because I'm sure that's not what you really meant. Also, I don't want to single you out personally since that is how the "dilemma" is near-universally stated. And that's the muddle. Perception is not reality. And the word "imminent" is vague. I'm certain you meant something closer to "confirmed knowledge of an in-progress attack."

Two other muddles are also folded into this common statement of the "perceived" dilemma. First, the suggestion that torture ever "works," it doesn't. Second, that a body count is a valid method of assessing relative "cost" of the proposed possible outcomes.

But that said, no, even in that virtually-impossible scenario there's no justification.

The prohibitions against torture, degrading treatment, and other war crimes -- that our greater generations fought and died to forge -- are an attempt to advance all of the civilized world away from our barbarous past. For decades Americans have opted be a part of that advance, in fact have led it, and have attempted to preserve that legacy for our children and grandchildren.

No matter how "terrorized" we feel -- due to threats real, perceived, imagined, and/or manufactured -- we've no right to question the collective wisdom of past Americans, nor endanger the peace of future ones.

Oh, and welcome to DU.

--
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AllentownJake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Torture doesn't work
Its as simple as that. When you are being tortured you will "break" but what "breaking" means is you will say anything your torturers want or think they want in order for the torture to stop. It also means you will lie to make the torture stop.

The only thing torture is good for is getting people to say what the torturer wants them to say.

So unless making a propaganda tape with a suspected terrorist admitting to things he may or may not do or giving up intelligence which may or may not be true will save lives somehow its kind of a pointless exercise and it destroys our moral high ground.
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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. it's more than that. no matter what it's effectiveness or lack of effectiveness....
to do so is to allow it to be done to OUR people. and i can assure you no american that is saying that they support this would be saying that it is ok for them to do it to OUR troops. but it's like spanking kids, in a way. I tried spanking my daughter after nothing else I tried seemed to work to stop her from doing something dangerous to herself. I can't even remember what that was anymore. But, I spanked her. And do you know what happened? She started hitting. My actions seemed to tell her that it was ok to hit people to resolve a problem. Torturing ANYONE gives license to others that this is an acceptable action. And how can we have any justification for being angry at anyone who now does this to our soldiers... much less anyone else!!
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. It works really well as punishment. That's why they do it six times a day!
If it worked, the would only have to do it once!!
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OHDEM Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. No.
It's been against our law and international law for decades for a reason. The reason = it's barbaric and DOESN'T WORK ANYWAY!

The only reason The Bush Administration used torture was to try to get someone to give them an excuse for their illegal, unethical war in Iraq.

The real world isn't "24".
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:26 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. Remember the threat of "Mutually Assured Destruction"
during the Cold War?

It doesn't get worse than that.

There was no policy of torturing Soviets, in fact defectors came over to our side willingly to give information.
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
22. No! There is never a Jack Bauer justification for torture
The rest of the world has experienced catastrophes, they have survived. Just as they have survived we will survive.

What America is experiencing right now is irrational fear of being attacked which has been shoved down our throats since 9/11. Many of our youth don't know anything other than the constant fear mongering.

I am of the school of thought that if the previous administration had not been playing petty high school politics they could have prevented or mitigated the damage and loss of life on 9/11. There were red flags all over the place and they were too busy trying to dismantle Clinton era rulings and laws instead of protecting the country.

For crying out it has just come out that the mastermids were using a popular internet service to communicate their plans.

So back to your question....if one thinks that torturing international terrorist is the way to get answers to questions. Why not torture American suspects in the US over petty crimes and murders. Wait...you see we have been down this route before in the early 1900's and many an innocent man and woman were murdered and tortured in the name of justice. Humanity is supposed to evolve not devolve.

I don't fear Al Queda or people like them, I worry about getting car jacked or getting in a car wreck. It's about perspective isn't it? If we get attacked again then we will pick ourselves up and move forward.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
24. Here is what I don't understand?
If a person has been brainwashed to think that it is God's will that they murder and that if they die in the course of murdering other people, they will go to heaven and be rewarded with numerous virgins, why would they tell their torturers anything? Wouldn't they just tell themselves that all their pain would surely win them even more virgins on the other side? Wouldn't they see themselves as martyrs for good? Why in the world would anyone think that torture would be very effective on religious fanatics? It makes no sense to me.

I just don't think that torture was an effective way to get information out of these suspects. And the fact that they waterboarded one man 183 times in one month seems to me to be pretty hard evidence that the waterboarding was not getting them the information they wanted.

So I think your questions are irrelevant.

The secret in examining a witness at a deposition or in trial is in preparation -- knowing whatever facts are available to you as thoroughly as possible so that you can put two and two together, catch the witness in inconsistencies and outright lies. There are all kinds of ways to confuse witnesses and get them talking. The gentle approach can disarm the person. Torture is simply not as effective as many other ways of dealing with witnesses.
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unpossibles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #6
31. If anything, that scenario (which is completely fabricated, btw) would result in false information
Think about it: if someone is torturing you because of an imminent threat (let's just say it's not even a perceived one, but a known one), then the person being tortured knows that they only have to hold out as long as the time-bomb's counter, right? Do you think that would make them crack faster?

Furthermore, interrogation experts in the military and in the FBI have many times publicly stated that they can get more reliable information from acceptable practices than through torture.

The ticking time bomb is, as stated, a completely fabricated scenario. That has never happened, and likely won't happen outside of the show 24 and FOX "news" anchors' wet dreams.

Finally, let's look at this way: would you want any of these techniques used on yourself or your family/loved ones? What if someone you cared for were arrested and detained without trial and tortured because someone declared them an "enemy" - would you be able to sleep knowing that you had condoned and pardoned such behavior that was being used against your parents, spouse, child, or best friend? Of course not. Or rather, I hope not.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. That was a good one.
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wellstone dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. kr
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rhett o rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. 2nd
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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
5. I want my country to be
what it was promised to be

July 4, 1776
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Psychic Consortium Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
7. Bush took away that which makes this country great.
The values and beliefs that were a beacon to the world.

It is up to all of us to restore these values.


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OHDEM Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Right - by prosecuting the criminals involved. nt
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Psychic Consortium Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. What happens is up to the American people.
Obama gives us the truth and the pathway.
We have to decide to do the right thing or not.
He cannot do it for us.
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Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
14. There should be a permanent ban on coopting Niemoller.
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Fading Captain Donating Member (895 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. Agreed. Holy shit. Make your point in anyother way
this totally lacks the power people think it has.
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #14
29. Shit, dude. How much more do you need?
We have BushCo officials calmly discussing crushing a child's testicles while his parents watch. And you still think the Nazis were somehow "special"?

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Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. I'll go with "genocide,"
if the question is "how far must they go before it is comparable to genocide."
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #14
30. Yeah, where's all the Haters to shut this mess down?
Edited on Sun May-03-09 03:51 PM by omega minimo
:spray: "Coopting"? Dude, this thing is crushing the poem's testicles.

Yeah, makes ya wish for the good ole days when the likes of omega minimo at least took the time and attempted to honor the character of the framework in re-presenting it:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Where are all the Haters to hijack this one? It's got 40 recs and contains actual discussion, no matter how lame it is -- the linked one had some semblance and respect for the original, got 24 Recs and was haterjacked to scare off those who had something substantive to say.



My version attempted to tie together many issues affecting all of us today and would never ever even consider "comparing to the Holocaust, " as you say.

The combined effects of interconnected issues, which I tried to draw attention to, some might prefer to call "shitstorm" or "cataclysm" or "insanity."

At least this thread and it's godawful lift of Neimoller has been allowed to breathe and inspire discussion.

And if the haters had asked before attacking (some did) I would acknowledge (I did) the deeply respectful intent and unfortunate potential offense and possibly lame results that my "poem" contained.

There was a time -- long before the Internets and Teach to the Test and Jackass and COPS and President Cheney -- when Neimoller's poem was everywhere -- in homes and books, on posters and everyday items. It was internalized by generations and resonates as a human rights/human ignorance message for all, for all time. (This OP seems to have gotten a very watered down conception of it..........)

And no -- we never forget.

:hug:
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Torn_Scorned_Ignored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
17. and when they do
if you are in Northwest Ohio, your congresswoman probably won't help you.

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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
18. Niemoller would appreciate our ability to extrapolate from his gem. KnR
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Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Yes, he would definitely approve of
people on the internet comparing absolutely, literally everything they don't like to the Holocaust. I think this is the fifth "first they came..." I've seen this month, from Freepers complaining about taxes to people complaining about cigarette taxes here to people complaining about health care reform to this.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #21
33. Torture would be an appropriate category it seems to me, considering how much torture the Nazis did
(Checking self) Nope, still not a Freep.
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. And then they would torture our own soldiers and we couldn't say anything because
we already said that it was legal.
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live love laugh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
23. Who keerz? We are in the midst of a Swine Flu pandemic!!!!!!!!!!!!
:sarcasm:
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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. and the worship of and fawning over Susan Boyle.
:evilgrin:
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ooglymoogly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
25. B*sh has cried wolf far to many times, chased too many windmills
and done far too much damage for us to act credibly, boldly, without confusion and hesitancy to save the world when the real doomsday threat comes. We have yet to realize the real damage of the last 8 years and O is compounding it by not prosecuting the real culprits to show just how criminal and against the grain they were.
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debunkthelies Donating Member (290 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
27. I See A Revolution Coming
It's just a matter of time, it's already started in Europe, Americans are at the boiling point. :grr: :nuke: :patriot:
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
28. Americans in any town of this country could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked,...

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/05/02/zelikows-d...


SNIP:

Zelikow describes the logic of Bradbury's stance this way:

The underlying absurdity of the administration's position can be summarized this way. Once you get to a substantive compliance analysis for "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" you get the position that the substantive standard is the same as it is in analogous U.S. constitutional law. So the OLC must argue, in effect, that the methods and the conditions of confinement in the CIA program could constitutionally be inflicted on American citizens in a county jail.


In other words, Americans in any town of this country could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked, sleep deprived, water-boarded, and all the rest -- if the alleged national security justification was compelling. I did not believe our federal courts could reasonably be expected to agree with such a reading of the Constitution.

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #28
34. We've been Enemy Combatants since we said, ''No!'' to Bush.
As long as that election-stealing, warmongering little turd of a traitor was in office, I was proud to be an Enemy of the State.
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. ME too!! Proudly!! And it taught me to never trust any of them again!!
Thank you for being an Enemy combatant..

I proudly claim that as well!

fly
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