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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 05:13 AM
Original message
The Consequences of U.S. Torture Policy to the Iraqi Insurgency
Seymour Hersch and others have thoroughly documented that the U.S. governments habitual abuse and torture of terrorist suspects, with the expressed consent of the Bush administration, has provided little or no military value towards our fight against terrorism. Therefore, it would appear that the recent passage by Congress of the detainee interrogation bill is not about protecting our country, but rather is mainly a desperate attempt by the Republican Party to accrue near dictatorial powers in the hands of the Bush administration while simultaneously providing talking points for this Novembers Congressional elections.

Aside from the fact that the torture provisions in this bill are morally shameful, disgrace the United States in the eyes of the world, obliterate fundamental rights provided in the U.S. constitution and the Geneva Conventions, and put U.S. prisoners at grave risk of being tortured when captured, it is imperative that we consider the value of our torture policies to our War on Terror. Since the War on Terror is the only subject on which the U.S. population trusts Republicans as much or more than Democrats, and since Republicans have repeatedly sought to make democrats appear weak on terror or soft on terrorists for their efforts to preserve our Constitution, it is only right and fair that Democrats focus on this issue and seriously question the value of the Republican torture policies.


A brief historical perspective

Since George W. Bushs rhetoric on his War on Terror has been characterized by various right wing corporate media whores as Churchillian, lets take a look at a quote by Winston Churchill on the subject. This quote, following World War I, expresses as well as anything Ive seen just how useless and out of the mainstream torture was considered by the civilized world even as long ago as the early 20th Century. Referring to the barbarity of that war, Churchill said:

The Great War differed from all modern wars in the utter ruthlessness with which it was fought. All the horrors of all the ages were brought together .... Every outrage against humanity or international law was repaid by reprisals often on a greater scale and of longer duration .... When all was over, Torture and Cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian States had been able to deny themselves: and these were of doubtful utility.

In order to make official the views of the civilized world on the treatment of prisoners of war, including torture, the Geneva Convention of 1949 on The Treatment of Prisoners of War made explicit, in Article 3, international prohibitions against cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and torture, as well as the judicial rights of prisoners. The United States was a signatory to this and, until the administration of George W. Bush, has always supported it.


The role of torture in justifying the Iraq War

Beyond the reasons that Ive already mentioned, one of the main arguments against torture is that the information obtained from it is of highly questionable value. A person who is being tortured is highly motivated to say whatever he/she thinks will stop the torture. This means that the tortured person is likely to say what he/she believes the torturers want to hear, rather than the truth.

An excellent example of this is provided by the attempt of the U.S. government to obtain information that would support a war against Iraq: In January of 2002, captured Al Qaeda operative, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, stated while being tortured that Al Qaeda had received chemical weapons from Iraq. A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) intelligence summary the following month said that al-Libis statement about Al Qaeda receiving chemical weapons from Iraq lacked pertinent details and that it was most likely false and based solely on his desire to stop being tortured.

Nevertheless, that didnt stop Colin Powell from using the information obtained from al-Libi under torture, in his speech to the United Nations, as part of the Bush administrations proof that Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons, and therefore as part of the justification for our ill advised invasion of Iraq.

Additional evidence of the Bush administrations eagerness to use information obtained through torture, not to identify real threats, but to justify policies already decided upon, is provided by a description by Ron Suskind of statements made by Bush to CIA Director George Tenet about captured Al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah: I said he was important, youre not going to let me lose face on this are you?... Do some of those harsh methods really work? Zudaydah was then tortured and spoke of several Al Qaeda plots.

As Four Star General, former Supreme NATO Commander, former Democratic Presidential candidate, and hopefully future President of the United States, Wesley Clark (whom Im guessing knows a lot more about these matters than George Bush or any other Bush administration architects of the Iraq War, none of whom have had any military experience except for Colin Powell) says in this video, torture does not work. General Clark explains that the United States has never treated its prisoners as the current Bush administration treats its prisoners. During World War II, for example, we treated our German prisoners as human beings. Consequently, they felt safe with us, and they sang like canaries.


Effect on the enemys will to fight

It is well known that the end of World War I was substantially facilitated by a massive surrender of German soldiers to Allied forces, even against the orders of their command. The precise reasons for this are not fully understood, and there is little question that the Allies would have won the war even without the massive late war surrender of German soldiers. But certainly these events spared a lot of lives of American and other Allied soldiers. Similarly, as World War II in Europe was coming to a close, with the Americans closing in from the West and the Russians from the East, the German soldiers did everything that they could to surrender to the Americans rather than the Russians. Can anyone seriously doubt that in both cases the willingness of the Germans to surrender to the Americans was based upon their knowledge that they would be treated as human beings? Can anyone seriously believe that they would have been as willing to surrender if our military had operated under current Bush administration torture policies? General Clarks words, from the above noted video, make it clear how the humane treatment of prisoners works much better than torture, both for obtaining useful information and for encouraging the enemy to surrender.


Effects on the Iraq insurgency

It is a well known fact of guerilla warfare that support of the local population is critical in determining the probability of success for either side. With that in mind, perhaps the most striking series of polls to graphically illustrate the sinking fortunes of the U.S. military in Iraq are the public opinion polls sponsored by the Coalition Provisional Authority asking Iraqis If Coalition forces left immediately, would you feel more safe or less safe? The results for those answering less safe were as follows:

November 2003: 11%
January 2004: 28%
April 2004: 55%
May 2004: 55%

That same poll, in May 2004, indicated that 92% of Iraqis saw the Coalition forces as occupiers, versus 2% who saw them as liberators and 3% who saw them as peace keepers. And 86% wanted the Coalition forces to either leave immediately (41%) or as soon as a permanent government is election (45%).

These statistics obviously raise the question of what caused such a dramatic and abrupt rise in the discomfort that Iraqis felt with the presence of U.S./Coalition forces. One likely answer, it seems to me, is the awareness of how we were treating Iraqi prisoners. The revelations of the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib under the auspices of the U.S. government were first made in April 2004. Though we have no way of knowing precisely when Iraqis first became aware of this, it would seem likely that the revelations in April did not come as a complete surprise to many Iraqis.

How might this have impacted U.S. casualties? I don't know, but for the year beginning April 2003 there were 540 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, compared to 929 during the year beginning April 2004, approximately concurrent with the rather abrupt rise in the percentage of Iraqis who felt less safe with Coalition forces present than absent (though we dont know precisely when the rise occurred or how abrupt it was).


How is all this related to support for Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden?

A World Public Opinion (WPO) poll of Iraqis, released just a few days ago, September 27th, sheds additional light on the current situation.

George Bush and his neoconservative cronies would have us believe that our current purpose for being in Iraq is, first, to fight the terrorists so that we dont have to fight them here, and secondly, to stabilize and bring democracy to Iraq. With regard to the second purpose, polls clearly show that the Iraqis dont want us there, or at the very most they want us to propose a plan or timeline for leaving so its difficult to make the case that were fighting for their benefit.

If our military operations in Iraq were really centered around the fight against Al Qaeda, it seems that one would expect to see increased support for Al Qaeda among the Iraqi population concurrent with their desire to see Coalition forces leave and the escalation of U.S. casualties. Yet, the current WPO poll shows overwhelming hostility of Iraqis for Al Qaeda and bin Laden, with 82% having a very unfavorable opinion of them and an additional 12% having a somewhat unfavorable opinion of them. I dont claim that this represents proof, and Im certainly no expert on military matters, but its difficult for me to see how a guerilla group could be so successful in fighting off the most powerful military in the world when the local population is so overwhelmingly against them. Remember, our military problems in Vietnam were largely related to the fact that the Viet Cong enjoyed a great deal of support from the local population.


Current attitudes of Iraqis towards the U.S. military/Coalition forces

The same September 2006 WPO poll also shows that the opinions of Iraqis towards Coalition forces differ little from what they were following the Abu Ghraib revelations in late April of 2004: 71% would like the US-led forces to withdraw within six months (37%) or a year (34%). An additional 20% would like them to withdraw within 2 years the important point being that the great majority want us to withdraw. 78% believe that the U.S. military is provoking more conflict that it is preventing. 58% say they believe that a U.S. withdrawal in the next six months would likely decrease the amount of inter-ethnic violence, and 61% say that that would increase the amount of day to day security.

But most important is evidence of the strength of feelings against the U.S. presence. 61% of Iraqis (up from 47% in January) feel strongly enough about the U.S. presence in Iraq to actually approve of the attacks against U.S. forces. A question that this raises is why, if only 37% of Iraqis favor U.S. withdrawal within six months, do 61% approve of attacks on U.S. forces. WPO believes that this apparent paradox is based on the Iraqi belief in U.S. imperialistic intentions (related to our torture policies?). 77% of Iraqis believe that the U.S. plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq, and 78% believe that if the Iraqi government told U.S. forces to leave within six months they would refuse to do so. These beliefs are highly correlated with approval of the attacks on U.S. forces.


Conclusion

U.S. torture policies in Iraq and elsewhere, ever since the onset of George W. Bushs War on Terror, are barbaric, a disgrace to our country, and a gross violation of the norms of civilized society, unprecedented as official policy of the United States Government since it came into existence. Nevertheless, many Republican voters are willing to accept all that if they believe that these policies will make them safer. Furthermore, many of them project their cowardice onto Democrats, which they rationalize based on the efforts of Democrats to treat our prisoners, whether or not they are suspected of terrorism, as the human beings that they are (and only a small minority of them actually are terrorists anyhow).

What these Republicans dont understand is that, for many reasons described in this post, our torture policies make us substantially less safe, not more safe, and they greatly obstruct our efforts against terrorism and terrorists. This is a point that Democrats need to drive home prior to November 7th.
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joemurphy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 05:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. Bravo for posting this! n/t
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 05:49 AM
Response to Original message
2. Great post
Iraq is all the proof you need to understand that torture always fails. Indeed it has facilitated the torture of American youngsters who are just as dispensible to the Kissingers and Bushes of this world.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. Thank you malaise -- Actually I think that as far as Bush Co is concerned
their torture policy has succeeded. Mainly, it has succeeded in emphasizing the one election issue calculated to scare people into voting Republican. We can't let that happen again.

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Felinity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks and a K&R
Why is it that sane argument and Reason seem to get no traction?

Torture doesn't work.
Torture doesn't work.
Torture doesn't work.
Torture doesn't work.
Torture doesn't work.
Torture doesn't work.
Torture doesn't work.
Torture doesn't work.

What's so hard to understand?
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. My opinion on that
I believe that Republican voters are too fearful about this to think straight.

And many of them are taken in by all the tough rhetoric of our "leaders".

And then, we have a corporate media that is in many ways allied with the Republican Party. They supported the war by simply transmitting the Bush administration arguments to the American people without challenging them.
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shivajidas Donating Member (5 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
4. How do you morally protest against the kniving of throats by insurgents
If your army tortures people and gets away with you; how can you morally take a position against the blood-thirsty millitants who saw or slowly knive the throats of innocent hostages they capture in Iraq?

Stop torture on all sides please
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #4
14. Yes, that is a very good point
Edited on Wed Oct-04-06 05:13 PM by Time for change
By virtue of its torture policies, as well as its imperialistic pursuits, cronyism, corruption, election fraud, etc. etc., the United States under the Bush Government has lost almost all moral credibility. They have thus given up any claims to moral leadership, and have thereby facilitated the development of a chaotic world. Our only chance is to get rid of this corrupt regime.

Welcome to DU shivajidas :toast:
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-05-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
21. Hi shivajidas!!
Welcome to DU!! :toast:
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
5. This excellent post belongs on the front page!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. Thank you mom cat - I was surprised to see it there
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-05-06 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. It is where it belonged. It is an excellent piece that needs to be seen
by everyone. That is why I contacted the mods and they obviously agreed with my assessment. Cudos on your excellent piece!
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
6. Throw Diebold and all election theft machines into 'Boston Harbor' NOW!
Bust the Machines--Vote by Absentee Ballot this November!

If everyone who despises the Bush Junta--60% to 70% of the American people--votes by Absentee Ballot, the reign of these diabolical machines will be OVER!

-----------------------------

I am increasingly impatient with political arguments seeking the persuade people of the obvious--that the Bush Junta and its "pod people" in Congress are fascist pigs. SIXTY-THREE PERCENT of the American people ALREADY oppose torturing prisoners "under any circumstances." (May '04)

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

Congress, like Bush/Cheney, was (s)elected by Diebold/ES&S, and not by us!

As a result of the fascist coup that occurred on Oct. 29, 2002, with Bush's signing of the "Help America Vote Act," the nation's election system was taken over by Bushite electronic voting corporations, whose voting machines and central tabulators are run on TRADE SECRET, PROPRIETARY programming code--code so secret that not even our Secretaries of State are permitted to review it. $3.9 billion was appropriated to bribe, entice and corrupt election officials across the land to purchase these extremely insecure and insider hackable machines. One hacker, a couple of minutes, leaving no trace--that's all it takes to change millions of votes.

Most members of Congress are therefore beholden to the following, and not to us.....

DIEBOLD: Until recently, headed by Wally O'Dell, a Bush-Cheney campaign chair and major fundraiser (a Bush "Pioneer," right up there with Ken Lay), who promised in writing to "deliver Ohio's electoral votes to Bush-Cheney in 2004"; and

ES&S: A spinoff of Diebold (similar computer architecture), initially funded by rightwing billionaire Howard Ahmanson, who also gave one million dollars to the extremist 'christian' Chalcedon Foundation (which touts the death penalty for homosexuals, among other things). Diebold and ES&S have an incestuous relationship; they are run by two brothers, Bob and Todd Urosevich.

These are the people who "counted" 80% of the nation's votes in 2004, under a veil of corporate secrecy--as the result of HAVA, the democracy-killing bill engineered by the biggest crooks in the Anthrax Congress, Tom Delay and Bob Ney (abetted by corporatist 'Democrats' like Christopher Dodd and Terry McAuliffe).

Also, SEQUOIA: The third major election theft industry player, which hired Republican Bill Jones, former Calif Secretary of State, and his chief aide, Alfie Charles, to peddle their machines--in an outstanding example of the highly corrupt practice of "revolving door" employment, one of many corrupt practices fostered by HAVA, including lavish lobbying, corporate secrecy, corporate lawyers writing our election laws, and the heady power of multi-million dollar electronics contracts in government.

-------------------------

What could anyone expect from this Diebolded Congress--except a mirror reflection of the ghouls in the White House, whose corporate buds were "counting" all the votes in SECRET?

I ask you, Time for Change. What is the use of laying out the arguments against Ghoul-dom, when the ghouls are "counting" all the votes with TRADE SECRET programming?

Torture is not the issue. The issue is TYRANNY! Non-transparent elections are NOT elections. They are a dictatorship!

------------------------

That said, it's a beautiful OP that points out the MAIN REASON that all Republicans and collusive Democrats should be in jail for treason--and not running for office--and that is that the war in Iraq was NEVER INTENDED to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis or other Middle Eastern Arabs or Persians. It is now, and has always been, a WAR OF DOMINATION. What the Republicans and collusive Democrats have done there is no better than--and no different from--what Hitler did to Czechoslovakia, Poland and France. Domination! Resources! Mass slaughter! Torture! Empire!

Torture is the handmaiden of Fascist Empire! It is necessary when you have NO RIGHT TO BE THERE, and NO GOOD INTENTIONS in being there.

It's a no-brainer that you don't torture people to get them on your side, or even to get information. You torture people to TERRORIZE them. And once word gets out that you ARE torturing people, the brothers, sisters, fathers, nephews, uncles, grandparents, neighbors, and even the young children of the tortured will fight you with any weapon they have, and will even ally themselves with the devil to take revenge on you and get you out. And if one of your purposes is WAR PROFITEERING, that suits you just fine. The more they fight back, the more billions you can steal from the homeland. And if your purpose is to invade and dominate country #2 and country #3, you now have a means of motivating the homeland: with every soldier that they frag with pipe bombs in country #1, the more widows and bereaved families you have at home waving the flag and desperately wanting it all to MEAN SOMETHING, with unscrupulous politicians, with guaranteed election, piously assuring them that it does.

It is classic imperial fascism, with the added gratuity of truly excessive--and, indeed, unbelievable--greed. Greed for oil. Greed for war profits.

And if you are going to do this to the United States of America--if you are going to drag it into an unjust war, and destroy its every ideal of lawfulness and justice and decent behavior--you have to rig the elections. That's what they did.

It is no longer a matter of good arguments, and the Democrats getting their "message" right. 56% of the American people opposed this war--and knew damn well what it was about--way back in Feb. '03, before the invasion. And opposition has only grown since, with every disgusting revelation of torture and unaccountable billions "lost" in Iraq, and every death. EIGHTY-FOUR PERCENT of Americans oppose any U.S. participation in a widened Mideast war (in a recent poll posted here at DU). The American people don't need to be convinced. They need to be re-enfranchised!

It MAY be helpful to try to counter the bullshit in the war profiteering corporate news monopolies, about torture and war. It MAY hearten the majority and help drag it out of the doldrums of demoralization. But we must do so with the realization that these arguments are taking place in a bubble of illusion. Diebold/ES&S are putting probably a 5% to 10% "thumb on the scales" for Bushites, warmongers and corporatists. What difference does it make who wins an argument on TV? What difference does the reasonableness and common sense of Democratic arguments make, if Bushite corporations are "counting" all our votes with TRADE SECRET programming?

Our focus must be on RESTORING transparent, verifiable elections--restoring the mechanism of POWER by which the people rule. You can argue all day long with fascists, but if they have the POWER to do as they wish, in the teeth of overwhelming majority opinion, you are more than likely wasting your time, and you may even be diverting the discussion away from its proper focus: re-impowerment of the majority!

--------------------------------------------

Throw Diebold and all election theft machines into 'Boston Harbor' NOW!

Bust the Machines--Vote by Absentee Ballot this November!

If everyone who despises the Bush Junta--60% to 70% of the American people--votes by Absentee Ballot this fall, local/state election officials will not be able to defend this rigged electronic system, and the reign of these diabolical machines will be OVER!

It won't solve all of our problems all at once, but it is the ESSENTIAL first step toward doing so. Without transparent, verifiable elections, we CANNOT change the course of our nation.




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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Time For Change, we HEARD all of these arguments last week from the
minority members of Congress who would have been elected anyway--Diebold or no Diebold--and who bravely try to represent the majority of Americans, with only minority power, every time one of these outrageous bills or appointments (for instance, appointment of "torture memo" writer Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General) is rammed through.

The arguments against torture are overwhelming and totally compelling. But REASON and EXPERIENCE and LAWFUL, DECENT BEHAVIOR have no sway. Only Diebold/ES&S have sway.

You say the Democrats should drive these arguments home in their campaigns. I agree, provided that the FIRST THING they say is to VOTE BY ABSENTEE BALLOT, as a protest and strategy against Bushite-controlled, riggable electronic voting systems.

If they don't say this FIRST, then what good is it if people AGREE with them on TORTURE?

I think SOME of the Democrats are very dishonest on torture, on the war and on a number of fascist measures. Christopher Dodd is a good example. Someone posted his maundering, pious, self-righteous piece of crap writing on the Nuremberg trials here the other day. This man is more responsible than anyone else in the Democratic Party for BUSHITE corporate control of our elections. HAVA was his baby. He colluded with major crooks Tom Delay and Bob Ney to design it and get it passed in the Anthrax Congress. Last week's torture bill is the latest result of HAVA, the bill that made rigging our elections EASY and INVISIBLE.

Yakking about torture--and scoring brownie points with the left about torture--are quite different from DOING something to PREVENT torture from ever being made lawful in this land, by protecting our right to vote, and insuring transparency in our elections.

I would much rather hear a call for Absentee Ballot voting--and getting ride of these rigged machines--from any given Democrat, than more piety (or even good argumentation) about torture. Then I would know they MEAN it.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Do I understand correctly that you're criticizing me for posting about
something other than election fraud?

I'm sure that you must be aware that I'm very concerned about election fraud and have posted frequently about it in the past. If you take a look at my journal you will see several posts about election fraud.

But I do disagree with you about a number of issues:

1) Unlike you, I believe that the Republicans' ability to cheat in elections currently is finite, not infinite (though I admit I could be wrong about that). Consequently, I believe that it is important to address issues other than election fraud during a campaign.

2) Specifically, I believe that torture is an important issue to address, election fraud or no election fraud. You say it is a no-brainer, but many Republican voters don't feel that way. According to this poll, Americans are not so anti-torture as you suppose:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10345320 /

3) I want to do whatever I can to prevent election fraud, and have offered my statistical services to a voting rights organization for this Election Day. If you're aware of anything else I can do (other than throw Diebold machines into Bost Harbor), please let me know. I don't think that posting on other subjects is hurting the election integrity effort.

4) I also very much disagree with your belief that absentee voting will solve all our problems. In fact, I have recently received e-mails from some credible sources, including Mark Crispin Miller, saying that whatever we do, DON'T vote absentee this November, especially in Ohio and Marland. It is easier under some circumstances to cheat with absentee ballets than with election day voting machines, even Diebold. Ohio seems especially poised to do this, and in fact, Republican operatives have been calling Democrats and advising them to vote absentee. I was in the process of considering posting about this, and your post has convinced me that I need to do this.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-05-06 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #8
20. Sorry, Time for change! I am extremely upset about the torture bill, and
I am also upset by the LACK OF A PLAN to rid us of the rigged voting machines that I believe are responsible for this outrage, and so many others. I believe that we have only a limited window of opportunity to get rid of this rigged electronic system, while decisions about voting systems are still local. That could change by fiat of the next Diebold Congress. THEN we have no recourse. None!

So I think the matter is very urgent--and we must do something about it NOW.

For one thing, we shouldn't be rewarding Diebold and ES&S, and their beneficiaries--and helping to pad their criminal profits--by VOTING ON their machines, and thus ENDORSING this rigged system, like sheep to the slaughter.

They'd have to tie me to a polling booth and torture me to get me to touch their goddamned, democracy-killing machines. We need to BOYCOTT them, to render them obsolete, to put such pressure on the system that election officials are FORCED to abandon them.

What they DO with our Absentee Ballot votes is NOT the point. AB voting is a PROTEST against the machines. And if enough people do it, a) local officials will not be able to defend the rigged electronic system they spent so much of OUR money on; b) AB voting will receive more SCRUTINY (as will all aspects of the voting system); c) a big citizen "vote of no confidence" in these rigged machines will send ripples throughout the political system--it means that people KNOW what's been going on, and are REBELLING against it.

You say, "I believe that the Republicans' ability to cheat in elections currently is finite, not infinite (though I admit I could be wrong about that)."

You admit you could be wrong about that. And that's the problem! The electronic system is so bad there is NO WAY OF KNOWING what they've done, or what they will do. We shouldn't be encourage people to COOPERATE with this by voting on the machines!

Absentee Ballot voting is the ONE WAY we have of NOT cooperating. BOTH ways of voting are vulnerable--AB voting, or electronic voting. But one endorses these rigged machines, and one does not.

It's a desperate choice, true. But it's the only choice we have been given. To me, it's like the Montgomery Bus Boycott. You either cooperate with segregation, or you walk five miles to work. Black citizens chose to walk.

We must choose to walk. It is a REFUSAL. It is a PROTEST. And if it's big enough, it will bring this rigged system down.

You say you think the Republicans are strategizing in OH and MD to get Democrats to vote AB, then to toss their votes. So Republicans have it both ways, don't they? They can EASILY disappear your vote in their electronic system, leaving no trace; or they can dump the AB votes into the river. But do remember this--because it's the whole point, really--a PAPER BALLOT is a TANGIBLE object that SOMEONE has to get rid of. A bunch of electrons is NOT. So I just don't buy the notion that AB votes could be easier to erase. Whether it's dumping the ballots or ballot box stuffing, with AB votes, SOMEBODY has to do it, and those acts are potentially VISIBLE. Electronic vote stealing is not visible, is not traceable, and furthermore can involve millions of votes changed in the blink of an eye. You just can't do that to AB votes. The scale of the potential vote stealing with "trade secret" electronics, and the untraceability, are MUCH more of a threat than anything that can be done to AB votes. (One threat that should be mentioned is corrupt election officials shoving the AB votes into a back room, and "calling" elections on the e-vote alone--thus making challenges and demands for recounts more difficult--and vigilance and monitoring are the only solutons to that one.)

AB voting PROTESTS all of this. It protests against this outrageous situation, whereby Republicans cheat every which way, but most of all, they cheat INVISIBLY, LEAVING NO TRACE. And it says: "I want a PAPER BALLOT, HAND COUNTED." That is the message of AB voting.

If you vote on the electronic machines, you are saying: Oh, maybe they won't cheat. I'll just chance it. And let this riggable system stay in place.

I DON'T think that the Bushite's ability to cheat is infinite. I think turnout can overwhelm the machines in some cases. And the election thieves also have to think of the future--of keeping this highly riggable system in place for future use, so that may limit how far they will go, in any given situation (--although it didn't limit them on the Ohio election reform ballot initiatives last year; they did a whopping 60/40 flipover on those). I also think that turnout and support of good candidates is ESSENTIAL. But I believe that an Absentee Ballot protest will HELP turnout. If all the disillusioned voters--the ones who say 'it's all rigged" and don't want to vote--know that, if they vote, and vote AB, they will be part of a PROTEST to UN-rig the system, they will be given NEW MOTIVATION to vote. It makes voting into a positive, useful PROTEST, rather than a passive act of hope against hope that things can be changed.

The current riggable electronic voting system is INSUPPORTABLE. It is fraudulent on its face. It was designed by the biggest crooks in the Anthrax Congress, and has made crooks of many election officials, and has nearly destroyed our democracy. We MUST protest this. We must not cooperate with it.

I apologize again, Time for Change, for the intemperance of my comments, as to your excellent piece on torture. It just triggered something in me. What can I say? To me, there no worse impact of Bushite corporate control of our voting system than this bill endorsing torture, and suspension of habeas corpus--the most fundamental principle of the American Revolution.

I am just sick with it. And I attacked you instead of attacking the responsible parties. I am very familiar with your posts. I admire your work very much. And you are absolultely right that grave issues such as these must be discussed and highlighted with good arguments and documentation. Educating the public on issues like this is a vital part of un-rigging the system. The American people are being subjected to 24/7 propaganda, and need to be re-enforced even in their most cherished beliefs.



--------------------------


There are several things people can do to help safeguard their Absentee Ballot vote. 1. Fill out ballot and envelope very carefully (to avoid disqualification). 2. Hand-deliver your AB vote to the polling place on election day, or to the registrar's office beforehand, or mail it registered/return receipt requested, or Fed Ex (to insure delivery). 3. Keep a photocopy of the envelope, the ballot and documentation of delivery. (AB votes were important to several '04 election studies showing bias to Bush in e-votes vs. paper votes.) 4. Check local rules on AB voting (to insure you are in compliance). 5. Demand to monitor AB vote counting and other poll activities on election day (take pix, document everything; work with an election monitoring group). 6. Write a separate letter to registrar/sec of state and media, demanding TRANSPARENT vote counting (and proper handling and hand-counting of AB votes). 7. Spread the word--the more people who vote AB, the more scrutiny it will achieve--and the more doubt will be cast on the rigged electronics (including use of electronics to "count" AB votes).



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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-05-06 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. That's ok Peace Patriot, I understand how you feel
Because I feel much the same way about this.

And I very much appreciate and admire the numerous efforts you've put into working to reform our voting system.

When you say that Democrats should boycott Diebold voting machines, I assume that you mean that they should vote absentee rather than on the Diebold machines, not that they shouldn't vote. But are you aware that in many jurisdictions Diebold machines are used to verify absentee ballots? Before you recommend wholesale absentee voting, please take a look at this post, which I just posted. You may change your mind about absentee voting, at least where Diebold machines are used to verify the vote:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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Terri S Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
9. Bravo!!!!!!
I'm too new to the boards to recommend -- but AWESOME post!!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Thank you very much Terri
And welcome to DU :toast:

You'll find lots of great articles and news items here.
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Fiendish Thingy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
10. The only purpose torture serves is for revenge, hatred,
and barbaric sadism; there is nothing about torture that is related to "intelligence".

Thanks for the excellent, well referenced/linked summary...
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. Thank you -- The Bush administration is about all those things that you
mention, plus one more. Perhaps the main point of torture with this administration is that it fuels the war, makes Americans (I mean Republicans) afraid, and keeps Bush and his cronies in office.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
17. fantastic post
promptly fowarded
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-04-06 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Thank you -- I hope they like it and find it useful
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