T Nation

All for My Security

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Benjamin Franklin

Thanks, Pat! Though certainly I have no particular “stature.”

If there were actual infringements on our rights I’d be very concerned about it, too. The thing is, the things claimed as infringements don’t seem to me to be, and usually are obviously only infringements of imagined “rights” of non-US-citizen terrorists.

For example, citing mistakes in the no-fly list is not demonstration of our rights being taken away.

By analogy, let’s say (I don’t know if this is quite accurate, but for example let’s say) that the instant-check list used for gun purchasing purposes is by law and to a pretty high degree in fact comprised only of felons. There is, in our example, not only no effort to include non-felons, but the Feds in fact try to keep the list free of non-felons and for the very much greater part succeed.

However, every now and then there’s a mistake and a non-felon is told, when trying to buy a gun, he is on the list and he winds up having to straighten this out before being able to buy a gun.

Would you see the left screaming that the instant-check law and list violates our rights, deprives of our freedoms?

No! They would say, correctly, that the cause of the problem is fairly rare error, not that the law should be repealed because it deprives us of our Consitutional rights.

Neither does the no-fly list deprive us of a single Constitutional right. If it had a high error rate then for sure we should be mad at the government about that error rate and demand they do better. But not to whine that there should be no list of known terrorists to which we deny boarding of commercial aircraft, as so many in the left demand.

[quote]lixy wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Boo-hoo, if an individual is captured in battle that the military has reason to think is a terrorist but ultimately he is not, I really do not cry a river if he’s waterboarded.

Understood. It is, however, safe to assume that the innocent party’s family and entourage will get very upset about it.[/quote]

Not really… waterboarding is absolutely nothing compared to what people in that part of the world do to each other.

If this innocent (and if so innocent what was he doing with the terrorists or doing holding a weapon aimed at US troops, etc? It’s not as if people are being randomly rounded up off the streets. And for that matter if waterboarded, as in fact it’s only done in select cases it’s going to be because of much more evidence than merely the above) had instead been captured by say Al-Qaeda and thought, whether mistakenly, to be against them and interrogated for infomation, you think what would be done would be less than waterboarding? No, it would be way worse.

And not just Al-Qaeda, but most governments in the area or the people’s own recent government would have interrogated far worse. Things have to be evaluated relative to an actual context, not a completely-detached-from-the-situation context such as a “You can’t touch a prisoner or criminal! In fact, they must have cable TV!” liberal ideal.

The idea that the person’s family would be so shocked by the waterboarding that they’d turn into terrorists themselves and therefore that should stop us from getting information from a person who understand to be a terrorist and believe to have information needed to save American lives is, as personal opinion, pretty melodramatic and unrealistic in its estimation of how people respond.

It just ain’t that big a deal. It’s unpleasant. Really, really unpleasant by all accounts, but not even painful.

Boo-hoo!

Water Boarding = unpleasant

Just like with Einstein’s relativity formula, you can just about justify everything with this “grand relativizer formula”.
You can substitute it with every form of abuse, nothing will be a big deal. I won’t go into colourful examples, even when it’s tempting.
It already should be telling when we’re talking about a torture technique which is used by the most evil (by US definition) regimes.

Also:
Wiretapping is going out of control in the western hemisphere. I share Beowulf’s opinion here, no general problem with it, but do get a judge’s warrant.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Thanks, Pat! Though certainly I have no particular “stature.”

If there were actual infringements on our rights I’d be very concerned about it, too. The thing is, the things claimed as infringements don’t seem to me to be, and usually are obviously only infringements of imagined “rights” of non-US-citizen terrorists.

For example, citing mistakes in the no-fly list is not demonstration of our rights being taken away.

By analogy, let’s say (I don’t know if this is quite accurate, but for example let’s say) that the instant-check list used for gun purchasing purposes is by law and to a pretty high degree in fact comprised only of felons.

There is, in our example, not only no effort to include non-felons, but the Feds in fact try to keep the list free of non-felons and for the very much greater part succeed.

However, every now and then there’s a mistake and a non-felon is told, when trying to buy a gun, he is on the list and he winds up having to straighten this out before being able to buy a gun.

Would you see the left screaming that the instant-check law and list violates our rights, deprives of our freedoms?

No! They would say, correctly, that the cause of the problem is fairly rare error, not that the law should be repealed because it deprives us of our Consitutional rights.

Neither does the no-fly list deprive us of a single Constitutional right. If it had a high error rate then for sure we should be mad at the government about that error rate and demand they do better.

But not to whine that there should be no list of known terrorists to which we deny boarding of commercial aircraft, as so many in the left demand.

[/quote]

I am less worried about mistakes and more worried about abuses. No matter how hard one may try, you cannot stop the abuses. There were enough loop holes in the Patriot Act to get Tommy Chong thrown in prison for selling water bongs. The mere appearance of impropriety allowed to prosecutors unchecked power to do what ever they wanted to the guy.

That’s one example, but I am not for leaving any opportunities open for abuse, because as certain as taxes abuse will happen, especially when concerning the government.

It is the same kind of logic people have for traffic light cameras and stuff…“If you’re not doing anything wrong then you should have nothing to worry about.” You can apply that same logic for having cameras in your house too. Same issues with not have very strict rules for wire taps.

A lot of this is really espionage and that’s really realm in which it belongs. Espionage, but default is illegal activities. It happens, it has to happen and it will continue to happen and I am all for it. I am not for legitimizing espionage tactics on the general public through the legislature.

If you suspect terrorists in your country, then wire tap, spy on the them, monitor them them illegally. If you find them guilty and they cannot lead you to bigger fish, kill them and bury them at sea…Who’s going to complain?

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Boo-hoo, if an individual is captured in battle that the military has reason to think is a terrorist but ultimately he is not, I really do not cry a river if he’s waterboarded.

It’s unpleasant. Very unpleasant, I understand.

But it ain’t the end of the world and the howls the liberals have about it have far more to do with an unending trend of extreme sympathy for any enemy of America while caring little to nothing about those that protect America, or even being against them (for example screaming for their prosecution at the most dubious of evidence, etc) than it does with simply being opposed to the act itself regardless of who is at the receiving end.

Name me a liberal who has objected to waterboarding the enemy who has a single public statement expressing that they want our own waterboarding of our personnel to stop???
[/quote]

There is a difference if a member of an elite unit is trained to be able to handle tortured to some degree or if someone else is tortured.

Then, the very fact that you accept that someone whose status is unclear may be tortured shows that you have already moved beyond “torturing terrorists”.

How many more steps are you willing to take, because if you take enough you become undistinguishable from your enemy.

With the slight difference that your enemies can do no real damage do civilization as a whole, a superpower losing its moral compass can.

[quote]jre67t wrote:
Plus Orion = Fudge Packer[/quote]

Classy.

There’s another problem with the thesis that it will increas terrorism, by virtue of angered relatives or neighbors, to waterboard persons captured because of reason to believe they are terrorists and waterboarded because of reason to believe they have information that can save American lives and that information isn’t coming forward any other way.

That problem is that Islamic terrorism has never had as its cause rough or cruel treatment. The causes are their version of their religion – not only “kill the infidel,” but that the only way to receive the highest level of reward from their God is to kill non-adherents to their religion for their non-belief – and perceived weakness of the target, e.g. perceived weakness of America due for example to Mogadishu and due to the perception that while they cannot discourage the United States military and cause it to give up or otherwise hand them victory, from reading and watching the American media they believe the American people weak enough that the American people will soon hand Al-Qaeda victory, victory they could never win any other way.

And given that 49% of American voters in 2004 voted for a candidate who had committed treason and of whom there can be little doubt he would have handed victory to Al-Qaeda, they have reason to think that.

Perceived weakness (along with being non-believers in their version of Islam or in our case for the great part, non-believers in any sort of Islam) is the cause of Islamic terrorisn. Not waterboarding terrorists or any other “rough treatment.”

If rough treatment were the cause or a cause of Islamic terrorism, then countless Middle Eastern governments would be the targets of Islamic terrorism. They’re not. So would the Russians, to far more of an extent than they are.

Frankly, if our response to Mogadishu had been to annihilate the anti-US forces there, and the responses to US embassy bombings had been similar, I expect we’d have no more problem – some problem but no more than – the Russians do.

They understand power, strength, and force. They also understand weakness as a sign that they can be top dog.

If anything, the waterboarding issue is perceived by them as yet another sign of American weakness, that we are even debating it at all. What weak fools those Americans are.

Stopping waterboarding will, if anything, only convince them yet further that we are so weak that they will surely win.

Not the other way around, as some suggest. They are not going to be won over by how big our hearts are because we stopped waterboarding. That is not realistic.

Orion, I stand by saying that if, as is the case, the liberals who complain endlessly in the media about terrorists being waterboarded show no concern ever about our men, who did NOT specifically agree ever to be waterboarded either, being waterboarded, then this proves that their concern really is not that it’s so horrible, but rather that, as usual, they can’t stand seeing criminals being anything but coddled, while not giving a flip about the hardships of non-liberal Americans.

It’s part of a very consistent pattern of behavior, being concerned almost beyond belief for the “needs” and “rights” of criminals – including undoubted, proven, heinous criminals – and of those who fight against the United States. It’s a long-standing, very consistent pattern of which this is just yet another example.

Say all you want that this proves that I or others must therefore be on the path to being terrorists ourselves: you may believe it but it’s not a valid argument and is not true.

[quote]orion wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Boo-hoo, if an individual is captured in battle that the military has reason to think is a terrorist but ultimately he is not, I really do not cry a river if he’s waterboarded.

It’s unpleasant. Very unpleasant, I understand.

But it ain’t the end of the world and the howls the liberals have about it have far more to do with an unending trend of extreme sympathy for any enemy of America while caring little to nothing about those that protect America, or even being against them (for example screaming for their prosecution at the most dubious of evidence, etc) than it does with simply being opposed to the act itself regardless of who is at the receiving end.

Name me a liberal who has objected to waterboarding the enemy who has a single public statement expressing that they want our own waterboarding of our personnel to stop???

There is a difference if a member of an elite unit is trained to be able to handle tortured to some degree or if someone else is tortured.

Then, the very fact that you accept that someone whose status is unclear may be tortured shows that you have already moved beyond “torturing terrorists”.

How many more steps are you willing to take, because if you take enough you become undistinguishable from your enemy.

With the slight difference that your enemies can do no real damage do civilization as a whole, a superpower losing its moral compass can. [/quote]

Torturing someone that has been trained to handle torture? You just have to torture them more to get the info. Torture is a tool. Unfortunately, enemies don’t always give up info willingly, so they have to be encouraged. The agony of not telling has to out weigh the agony of telling.

If it is necessary to torture some asshole to get info on another asshole then so be it. Every country is guilty of that to some degree. It is just the price of doing business…The stupid part from the U.S. is that it is on tv here…All this stuff is and should forever remain clandestine.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
There’s another problem with the thesis that it will increased terrorism, by virtue of angered relatives or neighbors, to waterboard persons captured because of reason to believe they are terrorists and waterboarded because of reason to believe they have information that can save American lives and that information isn’t coming forward any other way.

That problem is that Islamic terrorism has never had as its cause rough or cruel treatment. The causes are their version of their religion – not only “kill the infidel,” but that the ]i]only way to receive the highest level of reward from their God is to kill non-adherents to their religion for their non-belief – and perceived weakness of the target, e.g. perceived weakness of America due for example to Mogadishu and due to the perception that while they cannot discourage the United States military and cause it to give up or otherwise be discouraged, from reading and watching the American media they have believe the American people weak enough that the American people will soon hand Al-Qaeda victory, victory they could never win any other way.

And given that 49% of American voters in 2004 voted for a candidate who had committed treason and of whom there can be little doubt he would have handed victory to Al-Qaeda, they have reason to think that.

Perceived weakness (along with being non-believers in their version of Islam or in our case for the great part, non-believers in any sort of Islam) is the cause of Islamic terrorisn. Not waterboarding terrorists or any other “rough treatment.”

If rough treatment were the cause or a cause of Islamic terrorism, then countless Middle Eastern governments would be the targets of Islamic terrorism. They’re not. So would the Russians, to far more of an extent than they are.

Frankly, if our response to Mogadishu had been to annihilate the anti-US forces there, and the responses to US embassy bombings had been similar, I expect we’d have no more problem – some problem but no more than – the Russians do.

They understand power, strength, and force. They also understand weakness as a sign that they can be top dog.

If anything, the waterboarding issue is perceived by them as yet another sign of American weakness, that we are even debating it at all. What weak fools those Americans are.

Stopping waterboarding will, if anything, only convince them yet further that we are so weak that they will surely win.

Not the other way around, as some suggest. They are not going to be won over by how big our hearts are because we stopped waterboarding. That is not realistic.
[/quote]

That’s when you fill’em full of LSD and then water-board them.

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
Water Boarding = unpleasant

Just like with Einstein’s relativity formula, you can just about justify everything with this “grand relativizer formula”.
You can substitute it with every form of abuse, nothing will be a big deal. I won’t go into colourful examples, even when it’s tempting.
It already should be telling when we’re talking about a torture technique which is used by the most evil (by US definition) regimes.
[/quote]

Nope. There is a qualititative difference, world of difference really, between actions that cause physical damage and/or physical pain vs those that do not. If a person wants they can – and some do! – call even yelling at someone to be “torture,” and that is their particular definition of the word, but that is not my definition nor does it have to be a reasonable person’s definition. Neither does a non-painful, non-physically-damaging method have to be called torture. You may call it such, you may call being yelled at “torture” for all I know, but I do not and neither does everyone else have to.

As for the attempted argument that if bad people do a thing, then that proves we should not do it: these evil regimes probably allow their prisoners to breathe, too. So we should not allow them to breathe because the evil folks do that?

They interview prisoners, sometimes without coercive techniques, to get information. So we shouldn’t do that either?

Wrong logic. That a given thing is done by bad people as well as good does not mean that therefore the good people are doing a bad thing. It depends on the thing.

You can cry for the poor waterboarded terrorists all you want. It’s your right. I’m not going to. I don’t think it’s a problem whatsoever. It would be a problem if people were being pulled off the street and subjected to it, etc, but there is zero trace of evidence that that is the case.

Those liberals that are publicly loudly anti-waterboarding would not even agree to waterboarding of a terrorist that beyond doubt knew where an armed nuclear weapon was stashed and beyond doubt was already a mass murderer. They want even that to be illegal, and would want far harsher punishment for an American military officer that waterboarded the terrorist than they would ever want for the terrorist. That’s how far gone they are. Such a position, frankly, is a sign of mental disorder, not of great piety or concern for rights of Americans.

If you genuinly view WB as a legit means to extract information (on which most experts would disagree, even the GOPs candidate) then fine, but make it legit.
Make them sign the necessary papers on how to conduct it properly. And even then you’re still only marginally better then North Korea. You want that?

But seriously:
“Neither does a non-painful, non-physically-damaging method have to be called torture”
How on earth did you come to that conclusion?
If you’re sitting in a cell and Ahmed comes with his pals and plays “drown the american swine a bit”, chances are 99%, you’ll (pick any three) shit yourself, tell them anything, pee yourself, experience near death, cry like a baby, become apathic after a month, be mentally scarred for the rest of your life. And certainly, when rescued by americans, you’ll tell anyone who wants to know: “yes, the bastards tortured me!”
Any tests (there were a couple of journalists, we even had a jolly thread here with Hitchens as a “victim”) done under almost sterile surroundings are a joke compared to the reality.
You can torture a person with almost anything, even a simple crowbar to make them cry for mommie and tell you everything. The strange thing is, that water boarding, which is a tad more complicated and involves usually a team of brutes is a classic. Why is that? Why not give Ahmed simply a lead pipe, a rope and some razors? Because waterboarding is the more effective torture.
Time tested.
Your thoughts are simplistic and fail even the most basic tests (would you want to live in a society where you could get waterboarded by your fellow police officer?)

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
Name me a liberal who has objected to waterboarding the enemy who has a single public statement expressing that they want our own waterboarding of our personnel to stop???

Yes, because if someone hasn’t spoken out against something, they must believe in it.

Yup, if everyone in a given group (e.g. the group comprised of liberals that complain in the media about terrorists being waterboarded) screams loudly and repeatedly and with great indignation about a thing being done to one group that they know it’s occurring to (terrorists) and not at all about it occurring to another group that they know about (our own servicemen) then it indeed indeed fair and correct to conclude that they are more bothered about terrorists being made to experience the unpleasantness of waterboarding than our own people being made to experience it.

They complain about the former but not the latter because the former bothers them, and the latter, they don’t give a flip about. It’s not really that waterboarding is too awful for them, it’s that it is those poor terrorists being waterboarded that causes them to cry a river.
[/quote]

If you honestly believe that, you are in a sad, sad position. Did you ever think that perhaps they understand that we CAN stop water boarding, while we CAN’T stop terrorists from water boarding our soldiers… unless aren’t THERE to torture in the first place?

Ever heard of holding a moral high ground? Or, at the VERY least, appearing to.

I still don’t understand why the government doesn’t SAY they’ll stop… move everyone out of gitmo and then keep doing it. Supporting it in public on the international level is making us look like fucking dicks.

In short:

It isn’t that they care about the terrorists, it’s that they care about America’s Moral High Ground and PR.

Get it? Got it? Good.

You seem not to have managed in the area of comprehending what was written.

Try reading my posts again and see if you understand this time around.

For exmaple, nowhere did I write, as you think I did, that the comparison I made was to liberal disinterest in terrorists waterboarding our soldiers.

If you don’t have the ahility are can’t be bothered to make the effort to comprehend what is said before writing out replies, and as a result argue against things never said, then attempted discussion with you can accomplish nothing.

That lack on your part is what is, to use your expression, “sad.”

(If you want to disparage where the other person supposedly is at, hopefully you can take it back. At least I am accurate in what what I say about what you have demonstrated in your post, while the reverse is not the case.)

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Frankly, if our response to Mogadishu had been to annihilate the anti-US forces there, and the responses to US embassy bombings had been similar, I expect we’d have no more problem – some problem but no more than – the Russians do.

They understand power, strength, and force. They also understand weakness as a sign that they can be top dog.
[/quote]

Damn straight, when the Russians got word their embassy was going to be bombed in Lebanon in the 80’s they set up a tank in front. We had guards without bullets guarding our Marine Barracks.

When a couple of Russians were kidnapped and killed in early on in Lebanon, the Russians found a brother of one of the kidnappers, killed him and sent his balls back as a warning to stop killing Russians.

All thoughout the 80’s Westerners were being kidnapped left and right in Lebanon, including a US General who was murdered. Ever hear about any Russians being kidnapped?

Fastforeward to today…hear much from the Chechens anymore?

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:

Frankly, if our response to Mogadishu had been to annihilate the anti-US forces there, and the responses to US embassy bombings had been similar, I expect we’d have no more problem – some problem but no more than – the Russians do.

They understand power, strength, and force. They also understand weakness as a sign that they can be top dog.

[/quote]

If that was true they would be all over us Europeans.

They aren´t.

They have a specific problem with the US.

Why is that?

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Orion, I stand by saying that if, as is the case, the liberals who complain endlessly in the media about terrorists being waterboarded show no concern ever about our men, who did NOT specifically agree ever to be waterboarded either, being waterboarded, then this proves that their concern really is not that it’s so horrible, but rather that, as usual, they can’t stand seeing criminals being anything but coddled, while not giving a flip about the hardships of non-liberal Americans.
[/quote]

I do not care what “liberals” think.

Even if they were against waterboarding for all the wrong reasons it could still be dead wrong.

The “liberal” idea of how to treat prisoners is simply a non-issue, not politically, I give you that, but in the grand scheme of things that goes beyond party politics.

Plus, if you really want to know what effect torturing has on the “enemy” watch one of the videos of a beheading of one of the Western hostages.

Seriously, afterwards you know why torture and things like Abu Ghareib hurt the US.

Because Arabs have the same gut reaction, multiplied by three.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
But it ain’t the end of the world and the howls the liberals have about it have far more to do with an unending trend of extreme sympathy for any enemy of America while caring little to nothing about those that protect America, or even being against them (for example screaming for their prosecution at the most dubious of evidence, etc) than it does with simply being opposed to the act itself regardless of who is at the receiving end.

Name me a liberal who has objected to waterboarding the enemy who has a single public statement expressing that they want our own waterboarding of our personnel to stop???
[/quote]

Please explain how I misread that. I think it means you are saying: Liberals care more about ending our torture policy then ending the tortue of our soldier.

It isn’t like you were subtle or something. Am I missing a glaringly obvious line?

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
But it ain’t the end of the world and the howls the liberals have about it have far more to do with an unending trend of extreme sympathy for any enemy of America while caring little to nothing about those that protect America, or even being against them (for example screaming for their prosecution at the most dubious of evidence, etc) than it does with simply being opposed to the act itself regardless of who is at the receiving end.

Name me a liberal who has objected to waterboarding the enemy who has a single public statement expressing that they want our own waterboarding of our personnel to stop???

Please explain how I misread that. I think it means you are saying: Liberals care more about ending our torture policy then ending the tortue of our soldier.

It isn’t like you were subtle or something. Am I missing a glaringly obvious line?[/quote]

Yes. You are.