The trick question about torture

cemetery I see those miles of white markers at Arlington Cemetery – thousands on thousands of small white gravestones placed over the bodies of young Americans who gave up their lives to save our American values. We have not always acted beautifully – not always in accordance with our highest ideals. We have failed from time to time. But Americans as a people have not failed.

Not yet.

The would-be torturers ask: “What do we do when we know an attack is eminent and that one person knows when and where the devastation will occur? He will not respond to ordinary interrogation. Shouldn’t we torture him for the answer?”

The question is a trick question – a dishonest hypothetical construct. Let me show you why:

The torturer will always argue that the man he has strapped to the gurney knows when, where and by what means the bomb will fall. How does the torturer know this? Has he tortured others to find out? Haven’t we opened the doors to torture in exponential proportions? Haven’t we provided an excuse to all who wish to torture and the rationale to torture at will?

The torturer himself may be unstable, misinformed, evil, stupid or paranoid. His agenda may be pathological. Do we test the torturer hoping to discover if he is solid and credible? In general I would not trust the life of a harmless bunny rabbit to someone who is willing to torture another human being. There is something shadowy and fearsome about such a person who would allow himself to perform such horrors on another human being. It is easy to get caught up in trick questions that have no concrete attachment to reality. We ought not argue such questions because they open dangerous pits from which we may never be able to extricate ourselves.

Let me ask my own hypothetical question: Suppose we could store all of our American values, in, say, a cup. To whom would you entrust the sacred cup? Would you deliver it to some unknown person who was chosen by Lord knows who, who, himself was chosen by Lord knows who, to protect and preserve the cup for a nation?

Another hypothetical question: Would we deliver the wealth of a nation to someone who instead of torture, could roll out a train loaded with thousand dollar bills – billions – to purchase the necessary information to save the nation? It would, of course, greatly affect our taxes. It would break many of us. We might argue that the enemy might well accept such massive wealth under false pretenses but still destroy us. Yet the enemy may well also accept torture without telling us the truth and in the process of torturing we would have sacrificed our values as Americans.

Torture is evil. To accept it under any case – and all cases will eventually prove to be hypothetical – is to tell ourselves that we really don’t believe what we say we stand for.

Torture is evil. To accept it under any case – and all cases will eventually prove to be hypothetical – is to tell ourselves that we really don’t believe what we say we stand for. It says that we lied to those kids who gave up their lives and whose bodies rot under the little white markers at Arlington Cemetery. It says we have a set of life rules that when tested have no meaning, because they can be set aside at the whim of some unidentified torturer in a hidden room. That person does not speak nor act for me.

Likely he does not speak nor act for any of us.

Photo Credit: beggs

51 responses to “The trick question about torture

  1. I’m grateful that you’ve spoken out about this issue as we’re in need of leadership and rational debate about the immorality of torture, of the importance of adhering to the rule of law, and not succumbing to the temptation to follow the Russian proverb that warns: “Choose your enemies carefully for you will become like them.”

    Leadership is especially important now, when so-called Christian like Gary Bauer are emulating not Jesus Christ but Jack Bauer of “24.” Gary, sounding like Jack, said recently that “What is a follower of Jesus permitted to do?” He went on to say that he does not consider water-boarding torture and that “if we believe the person we have can give us information to stop thousands of Americans from being killed, it would be morally suspect to not use harsh tactics to get that information.”

    So much for Jesus’ advice, long-forgotten in modern Christianity, to “visit the imprisoned.” Bauer thinks we should follow this advice, but his interpretation involves bringing not love for the prisoner but instruments of torture to use on him. Praying for your enemy, what my former pastor used to call the hard, rare part of Christianity, has become, to “Christian leaders” like Bauer praying that he breaks quickly so that you can “morally” protect your tribe from the darker-skinned heathens.

    After hearing Bauer’s advice, and the many voices echoing his, I’m reminded of Jefferson’s comment: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

    Thank you for being a voice of sanity on this issue, when so many others seemed to have gone completely crazy with hatred and the rapacious desire for power.

    • This guy is on par with Francios Marie Arouet, a.k.a.: Voltaire.
      I wish i could have studied with Gerry…
      Anyone reading this:
      if any of these opinions move you, read Gerry’s book _how to argue and win every time_. It is not about clever words.
      It is about finding your soul and letting it speak.
      Man does this guy have soul.
      he is like the Freddie Mercury of legal defense. No peer. Gives everything, no quarter.
      Every time i re-read his book, i grow. He is a truly enlightened, just like Lao Tzu.
      Thanks Gerry. Thank you so very much. You have so many children through your efforts.

  2. How many of the long line of white tomb stones, are young men who died in Viet. Nam ?
    And, what may we still dare ask was the value they died for, big sale quotas for agent orange production by chemical companies.
    Oh, what a pandora’s box you open.

  3. Torture is not only evil, but shown to be highly ineffective way for information gathering. There are much better ways to get the information rather than resorting to torture.

    Also, I’d like to turn what you said around, it’s not that we don’t believe what we stand for. It’s that we don’t stand for what we believe in. However, as a society, I think there’s been a pretty fundamental shift in what we actually stand for. I’m amazed how many people claim to believe in the constitution, but as soon as something is mentioned that they disagree with in there, then it’s just a 200 year old outdated document we shouldn’t be following (2nd amendment being the prime example).

    So really, what DO we stand for these days? I think that’s the question that we should really ask ourselves. It all seems highly hypocritical one way or another.

  4. Gerry, you’ve hit a nerve. A lot of nerves, actually. Some more sensitive than others, some already deadened by the anesthesia of some vainglorious concept that we may do unto others as we would not have then do unto us. No matter how it’s sliced, the knife cuts, the victim bleeds,the captive has the disadvantage. Some would cringe and croak at the sight of frog blood as it’s disected by a hawk on a highway. Yet, these same Pharisees applaud systematic torture of an untried human being with only the word of the torturer pronouncing their guilt. Would you trust your child with a known child molestor? Would you join hands with an exocannibal? Yet, mentally,many freely,blindly join the evil actions by accepting and condoning the torturer.With not one shred of evidence. As children, we learn that we become like the company we keep. Bad company rubs off. Good company uplifts. We go blindly like sheep led to the slaughter,n’est pas? Build it and they will come,hook, line and sinker. Build a good story and repeat it often enough and it will become..”fact”? To some,yes,it will take on a life of it’s own. Would we call this..”rumour”? “rumblings”? Consider the the source a phantom,nameless,press approved unknown,or perhaps a sociopathic pervert disguised as a public official or in priestly garb? We can discard any moral principles momentarily if the villain “deserves” his torture to loosen his tongue. OH… but, what if he/she is innocent without the benefit of a trial of fact,witness,even a shred of proof? Oh, as long as the tortured is not “our”citizen, their life is not equally valued.
    What about the hard core,sadistic psychopath administering the torture? What a fine neighbor he would make. Turn him loose. All the counseling, therapy in his lifetime will not unravel,de-fuse his propensity,his mouth watering lust for inflicting pain. Frankenstein roll over. Run, villagers! He might be coming to your town next.

  5. pathwhisperer

    No kidding, that’s a trick question. It implies that you already know the answer. Then why torture?

    Torture always becomes a fishing expedition. Thus the innocent are tortured along with the guilty (let’s assume the guilty are mass murderers for this discussion and thus not totally undeserving of that treatment in the minds of many). It is a complete fallacy that only the guilty would or could be chosen for torture. Again, if you knew already, you wouldn’t have to torture them.

    But torturing the innocent is of no concern to the pro-torture monsters. That the Christian right is backing the Bush/Cheney torture policy is pure blasphemy.

  6. But, Nancy Pelosi, the now Speaker of the House, was briefed on the torture, called “enhanced interrogation techniques(EIT) by the CIA, and all in high places knew, so that must have made it AOK. See all the wire stories hitting the tubes 5/ 15/ 09.
    Now, Ms Pelosi claimed she was never told, or some version.(CIA backlash flap to lay that -all the big wigs knew deal on the white wash).
    So, if powerful people in D C were put in the loop on torture that makes it AOK, no matter what you
    say, apparently Gerry !

    The USA Gov funds torture around the world.

    Amazing, the USA ambassador in the subject central American country was from Wyo, a buddy of Cheney.(See the books, warning, way before Iraq etc).

    So, if Nixon knew, and the plumbers knew(Watergate)—that is criminal. But, if Nancy Pelosi and all her high powered club(s) in D C knew, it is just swell, peachy, in double clutch standards shuffle Ville
    It is rather amazing, isn’t it.
    But that old legal sword “knowledge”, and knowingly on conduct.
    Yep, some knowingly coveredup, and that is not hypothetical, that is the status— D C @ large.
    Here we go again: what did they know, and when did they know it, etc…
    But, 9-11 was bad stuff, so just not easy to put so much in the evil box.
    But, there is more than hypo questions, there is some real heavy duty things, on security, and national security, black ops, and power run amuck—here, real time, 2009.

  7. Gerry, I couldn’t agree more; torture IS evil. Moreover, it is a CRIME, although many people appear to have forgotten that little fact. If any private individual had gone and tortured one or more people, regardless of the person’s reasons, the torturer would be arrested, tried and convicted, and rightly sentenced to prison, very possibly for a life sentence. It should be no different for a government official who has broken the law in such a cruel and inhumane fashion.

    No one can or will convince me that torture is “justifiable,” no matter what the reason. And I am angry that so many have convinced themselves they can accept the idea of torturing someone yet still retain their humanity. It is a grotesque LIE that should never be accepted as “truth.”

  8. Of course, there too is that Wall – the Viet Nam Memorial. America never elected as President, any person, who served in the U. S. Military, who was a Viet Nam Vet, to a war escalated by LBJ, and the
    slain JFK.
    Arlington is only one of many places, in the USA, where there are long lines of white crosses– marking those who made the ” ultimate scarafice”, as young men, and women.

  9. And who extols the need to torture — Dick Cheney. Gerry, your argument proves itself!

  10. Offering a train load of money just does not work either sometimes. How many millions is on Bin Laden’s head? Shows you the core values that his people have about him. Why can so many have such a misplaced value? Maybe because the as the young are raised, they were taught to hate the very people that are now torturing . Talk about reinforcement on so many levels. We shall harvest what we sow.

  11. Khalid Sheick Mohammed attended a small Baptist College in North Carolina before he went back to Saudi Arabia to join the Muslim Brotherhood. He was the “master mind” of the 9/11 attacks according to the “9/11 Commission” and was captured by the Pakistani government and the USA in Pakistan in 2003. Since then he has been in US custody in various parts of the world and is currently at Guantanamo. Everyone agrees he’s been tortured by the US. Whether or not he’s the one who platted the 9/11 attacks, he’s now scheduled to be the hero of those who wish ill will upon us. Under torture he has “confessed” to every terrorist act against us, and others, committed over the last decade and to plotting many that never happened. Being formally charged by the US of the 9/11 attacks, he has demanded to plead guilty to the charges and to be given the Death Penalty–i.e. to be martyred for his beliefs.What kind of man is this? Certainly, he’s not like “one of us”–or is he?
    That’s the problem. By engaging in torture and terrorist acts, we become like him. We demonstrate that we can be just as brutal and violent as he, and we thereby lose ourselves and our values. His confessions were no doubt extracted from him under physical and pyschological pressure.
    He wants to be publicly executed so he can propogandize his plight for his own murderous ends. Are we going to accomodate him, or will we live up to our own purported ideals? We all wait to see.

  12. One PS, the Geneva condition studies regards lack of choice or the denial choice in medicine to be a basic element found in torture. Of course, torture is not a word or field that America has defined yet. It is however a subject that must be studied and such elements eliminated if we are to be able to move forward and aid humanity.

    It is the access to medicine by choice for all individuals that is the principle the medical foundation should be built upon. Otherwise, we open the doors to past failures in history, and again, and reduntly, fail, or become mediocre.

  13. Oh further information regarding parting from the company of the pastor’s church who confessed to the habit of pornography.

    I made the comment that I thought that any services to any and all economic groups, or resources, should be by choice, and always resource grown. I was met with threats by the associate pastor, who promptly walked about telling the handful of women in the sewing group I was psychotic. Of course, I am not, having all been in one fight at age eleven defending my older brother from a gang of bullies, and successfully I might add.

    However, we have been approached when having coffee by total strangers, who have threatened us with police action as we calmly sat and had coffee. The pastor posted our photo’s online. They have formed a slanderous group. I imagine that they pursued the last surviving guest with such slander, to protect themselves by discrediting him, from talking about what he must have observed at this church.

    I imagine a restraining order may be in order.

    Their last guest before us, Martin Cotton, was brutally beaten by a group of Eureka Police Department officers, using nightsticks, for around twenty minutes. He rose the last time, this twenty-six year old slight blonde youth, and in appearance his limbs looked like spaghetti. Martin was finished off after transport to the police station, according to street witnesses. Also, according to a street person, the church must have networked, as the directive to “finish Martin off” was given by a church minister.

    A restraining order may or may not help here in their attempts to bully us.

  14. Dear Mr. Spence

    “Thanks” for this post! As you know I have a personal interest in the torture issue.

    For emphasis, my interest is not just because it’s evil, but, because it’s being done to everyday American’s and IT WILL COME OUT!

    Wonder what people will think once they realize that the TI issue is REAL and is happening right here in our own back yard.

    Love “Light” and Energy


  15. On the claim that Pelosi was briefed about torture, it’s important to not stop there but to realize this claim is being made by people attempting to stop Pelosi from implementing a truth commission to delve into why this happened and who knew about it. I hope their attempt backfires and their claims lead to a cry to investigate and find out, rather than accepting the word of people who claim there’s nothing to see here.

  16. The world sees Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Represenstives, on the AOK CIA, and torture, and they wonder—Is america, at th D C level a giant lying machine, who has nothing but contempt for its own people, as the top leaders stand for nothing, devoid of any values.
    I cry for America, we have been betrayed.

  17. It started out with reading an excellent logical thought provoking writing about torture. It made me think. I walked downstairs to tell my wife that Gerry Spence had written a good article she should read that explains why there is no excuse for torture.

    I read on. Good thoughtful, creative comments from readers. My coffee half finished I read a conspiracy theorist leading us to a website claiming that there are forces so smart and sinister that they are collectively planning to get me. They even have electronic and biological insights that are 10 to 15 years ahead of what my scientist friends tell me they are working on at MIT and other places of science. These “scientists” are also in on the plans, even though they claim to be friends and I watched one of them grow up from infancy. I close the blinds on my windows and slowly drink my coffee.

    Later, I look between the slates of the blinds and realize that the world is still out there. It is a little cloudy but the grass is growing and birds are even singing.

    I start reading Matt Taibbi’s book THE GREAT DERANGEMENT. I read about the crazies in this country from the religious right to the left wing and how they sometimes unite under conspiracy theories. I open my blinds, grab another cup of coffee and realize that there is tremendous power in words. Today alone words got me to close the blinds on my windows and reopen them.

    I didn’t want to write this response. How can you go from a logical helpful dialogue about the issue of torture to seeing electronic listening and destroying devices far beyond your imaginations and want to even think or respond to this. But Matt Taibbi’s book THE GREAT DERANGEMENT helped me open the blinds on my windows.

    I think I will go back downstairs and tell my wife to read Gerry’s insightful comments on torture, but forget reading the responses. There are birds outside that need to be heard, trees that need to be seen and rain that needs to be felt.

  18. Ironic, isn’t it that the same Jesus, the Christ, as in “christian” was tortured to save mankind. So all the suffering of Jesus told to us in the bible and historical record is disregarded by the blind with the big beam hiding the light which might enter their eyes and recognize that torture of another human being is not a means to an end,but a means for the Great Satan to continue with business as usual. The same evil presence present in the torturers of Jesus and others at the hand of the Great Power Rome with the prodding of the Jews whose apple cart(excuse me, “money” cart) Jesus upset in the “Temple”. History just keeps on keeps on.. Keeps on, like the EverReady bunny, repeating itself. Man is evil, the children of their father. Maybe we all need an a>> whooping!

  19. Gerry, Are you going to call for a investigation of Pelosi, like Newt Gingrich did ? See:

    Also, the ex Speaker of the House(Newty), or the current speaker(Pelosi–the spinless) can’t wash away torture if a crime, can they, like some waving of a magic wand, and that sanctions a crime, like it is a mere walk in the park.
    Didn’t we learn in civics nobody is above the law, and Watergate was suppose to bring that to the forefront ?
    Now, what, just flowery speeches, and nothing is done–no accountability !
    No wodner, the GORY PICS (bad stuff, awful) are coveredup, it is so shocking that 1,000’s of GI’s would be in harms way, but then guys in the front lines are always in harms way, to what:
    It is not to make a mockery of the rule of law by the powerful, that is for sure.
    Didn’t you too take an oath Gerry, when you were admitted to the bar, so are you going to call for a full investigation in matters, so it is not covered-up. Looks, like fish or cut bait time is –here, and now.

  20. You are not entrusting that scared “cup” of “values”, to Nancy Pelosi, are you ?
    And, given her nod and winking D C spineless games, as a high official in Congess rubber stamped the CIA torture.
    Now, the torture was so bad, the photos must be covered up, because it is too shocking, but, are we to be given sermons on “values” from Nancy Pelosi, who one day plays America–its citizens– as suckers, the next day lies, and, just who is entrusted as to a major value in operation not the abstrast slogans: Like accountability, and enforcing the laws, even when some–in high power– seek to obstruct those, if they can game them for cheap political stunts.
    It is not hypothetical, crimes were committed, and they are being covered up, because some find that expedient.
    Not exactly “values”, but the ripping to shreds the very fabric of the Nation.
    I paid my dues in the U S Army, I don’t need Nancy Pelosi to lecture me on
    security, grave stones, and
    safety. Nor do I need a bunch of Chicken-Hawks, who were cowards, like Dick Cheney, who ducked out,(NAM deals) as someones else became a grave stone, a long line of grave stones, in not only Arlington, but the known–all over America, young men, who gave it all, because they were on the front lines, and the cowards were playing political games, with people’s lives.
    Sure, that cup of values,
    is it stored in Pelosi’s office, or Cheney’s, or National Guard Mission completed W..?
    All the party gamers, they are a disgrace—they have no values, and no spine.
    They just play so many as suckers, and it is the negation of values, zeoring out of values, & “values” and Nancy Pelosi do not belong in the same sentence.

  21. Geneva studies of torture state that the denial of personal choice in physicians and medical practices is a basic element of torture. This is found in peacetime as well as war and should be eradicated.

    Health and torture go hand and hand in culture. We must define our actions and correct them.

    The lack of this applied principle of freedom, private choice in doctor and medical practices and medicines, subsidizes mediocrity, suffering, and death.

    It cloaks and allows the miscreant to practice in healthcare fields. It allows mediocrity to thrive. It does so, mainly so successfully, because the economically stressed group it targets cannot afford to have lawyers to create law to protect them, or to stop the laws that do not protect them.

    One example, a denial of patient rights imposed by social services:

    · A small town dentist is very well liked and considered bright and competent. He is not a state employed doctor, does not accept Medicare, but allows patients on limited incomes to make payments to him. A woman explains to me that a town social worker pins this note to the dentist, “You are not allowed to continue to practice to patient’s that qualify for Medicare” In other words, they have no choice of a private doctor.

    · The social worker supporting state, is denying patient rights to her clients, the right of choice of physician

    This is an example of the historically failed programs of past state programs. Doors to historically failed programs that we do not want to open as a free society.

    The principle of free choice, informed consent, must always be applied from the ground up. We need to rebuild social services. It should be the fruit of a free nation and an agency that is resource oriented and always driven by personal choice.

    It is more of a police agency, state control of the family, a goal described, I understand in Ms. Clinton’s thesis, but blocked from view to the public.

  22. We—some in America–are told we did not always act beautifully–in “accordance with the highest ideals”.

    A young man often has little option, like those who did not get 5 draft deferments, like the favorite son of Wyo, Dick Cheney, Mr so called tough guy, from his Party political stints. They—others– were sent to Viet Nam—front and center in the rice- patty fields.
    And, today, some other young men can’t find significant jobs, so they go into the U S. military.
    The uncounted ememy are those who betray America, but who are they ?
    Were some of Nancy Pelosi’s beautiful CA club spitting on returning Vets, returning to America in the 1960’s, early 1970’s, too VIP to serve, like the Burton Clique in the San Francisco chic club.
    Then–2009, she is gutless, to speak out when it counted, torture..
    Why is this a really big deal ?
    It is the guys on the front lines who get hurt–blow back, when people like Pelosi, and others in Congress make a mockery of real values, and play so many games.
    But, are they blind to that, or just don’t care ?

  23. Speaking of miles of Vet tomb stones:
    Arlington is a mere small part, but the most prestigious for the last rest.
    However, there are 128 National Cemetaries, in about 40 states, I drove by one the other day(not D C/ Va), the stone markers go on, it seems forever, as one looked out, over them. A lot gave their lives, (defending so called “values”, but so many died after they came back to the USA, with assorted problems.
    43 % of males that are over 25 years of age, that are homeless, are military Veterans.


  24. Hola Paw Paw,

    I read your post on torture and well I can’t say I am jumping on the bandwagon with this one. I agree that torture is ugly and evil and having been through SERE training in Okinawa I sure as hell would not want to be tortured. But I know from experience that after being “instructed” for a few hours I sang like a sparrow…

    Its easy to come out against the ugliness and dark things that our nation does in times like these and it is easy for those who have never felt the blood of their best friend run through their fingers to come out against the atrocities of war.

    I don’t know how I feel about it, but what would we do if it was our son or daughter’s life that was threatened and we had a person we believed had information we thought could help us save them?!? I know exactly how and what I would do…

  25. Mr Spence, i like your take on this.
    There is no justification for inhumane treatment.

    p.s. i’m reading your ‘in your case’ and love it to bits.

  26. Gerry,

    I’ve got great respect for your rhetorical skill, but you are ducking an issue worth debating by declaring it a non-issue.

    The discussion worth having is whether there is anything valuable enough to warrant torture, even accepting uncertainty. Other than true conscientious objectors, I don’t believe most people would sacrifice even one child of their own if they were told there was a modest chance to save them through torture.

    In the realm of criminal justice, we search, seize, and imprison people, depriving them of basic individual liberties. On what basis? We deem it necessary to protect innocent life. Do we do this with certainty? No. We build a system to get it mostly right. People disagree over the standards, but no one disputes the principle.

    In war, we destroy life, even life we know to be innocent. On what basis? We deem it necessary to protect something greater. Are we certain that every bomb we drop is necessary? No. We create standards to get it mostly right. Again, people dispute the standards. Only true pacifists dispute the principle.

    If we accept that we may deprive individuals of every right there is – liberty, property, speech, worship, association, even life – under certain circumstances, why is there no circumstance when it would be justified to inflict pain on someone?

    The issue of efficacy is important but separate. If you want to have that debate, have it. We should review the evidence and make an informed decision. Avoiding the discussion by declaring that nothing would justify torture is the dishonest trick.

  27. You would not believe how hard a mother bird works to feed its young chicks, flying all over to find worms. I have been watching this mother bird who establised a nest between a beam out on my porch. She flies off , then comes back with a worm. Then, does that again
    It is amazing to see.
    Maybe nobody reading about cattle prouds cares, about those birds, but it gives me comfort to know they are there.

  28. Black Swan reads a book on the great derangement.
    Pretty soon he decrees all commentors as having a loose screw. What is it about ex minister’s, and their dogma de jure.
    I found Ed’s comments, and others very lucid, and insightful.

  29. Kelly M.

    I wasn’t referring to Ed’s comments. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  30. I am not by setting forth the below doing so with any purpose of acknowledging that I agree or endorse all that Mr Ex V.P. says, but on your claim of “values”( that holy cup), Gerry, it looks like Mr Cheney is responding directly to you, as his Teton County neighbor, when Richard is around for some quick fly lines in the Snake, see:

    Here is what Mr Cheney harps on, an extract from his recent speech:

    “Critics of our policies are given to lecturing on the theme of being consistent with American values. But no moral value held dear by the American people obliges public servants ever to sacrifice innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things. And when an entire population is targeted by a terror network, nothing is more consistent with American values than to stop them.”

    Cheney goes on:
    “In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.”
    Is Cheney right on
    “phony indigniation” ?

    He wants some matters to be declassified, President Obama does not, so how can we decide, members of the citizenery.
    We are put in the dark, but why, in a search for the full truth, in hopefully a functioning democracy.

    Any follow up Gerry to the above, in view of Cheney coming out with both barrels to reply to your line of concerns…? And in the wake of the Speaker of the House tripping over her faulty memory chips !

  31. Gerry, you might find this of interest, criminal prosecutions by the DOJ of those who engaged in illegal waterboarding:'s_doj_prosecuted_texas_sheriff_for_waterboarding_prisoners/

    Oooops, why did Cheney fail to note that in his recent fake indignation.

  32. Most interesting, read about Obama at Arlington National Cemetary/ May 25, 2009

    As one who served in the U S Army for over 16 years, I am proud my vote for Obama counted.
    Obama stands for deep values in America.
    I find Cheney’s grand-standing repulsive. But on this day, I observe the fallen heros, and honor their memory, and their ultimate scarfices.
    Obama truly honors those who serve in a uniform, for the USA. Obama knows that Bill Ayers in Chicago is a pukey corporate executives kid,
    he does not reflect Obama’s values.

  33. So, here is a view from
    Cheney’s old home town, a letter to the Editor in Wyomings Main State wide paper, which is:

    Re: “Writers understand what torture is,” by Sally B…. (Letters/May 25).

    Thank you for writing, Sally, I thought I was the only one in Wyoming who remembers 9/11. No, torture isn’t right; for all the survivors of 9/11 who will be tortured for the rest of their lives, no, it isn’t right. They aren’t tortured for 80 days or 180 days but the rest of their lives.

    This is just my belief, whatever it took to get whatever information we could out of those evil, evil people we needed to do. The sad part is I’m sure there are innocent people behind those wire fences, but as the saying goes, “crawl with snakes, you must be a snake.” Keeping the wrong company isn’t smart or healthy.

    Hooray for Dick Cheney for not hiding under the table, but for standing tall and telling the world why it had to be done.

    DOROTHY (last name omitted, here), Casper”

    Don’t we all remember 9-11. I take it Ms, D was never in the front lines in any War battles.
    Do you recall any of you, the tons and tons of agent orange that flooded Viet Nam, where even today(so long after the booby traps stopped springing), kids in that Country are deformed.
    I bet Ms D can’t even state in a cogent way, how the USA got into Viet Nam, in LBJ’s follies of
    tortuing young men in America for cheap political tricks, those made fodder for political gain, and chemical company sales quotas.
    Tell us, how brave was Cheney, at his Casper draft board, crawling on his knees for his 5 draft deferments, and now some in a PARTY CLUB pumps he is some brave courageous one.
    Please do not insult people who remember more than 9-11. Please, it
    only makes Cheney look more duplitious, and phony, and his fake speeches, now seem to be some addiction for the limelight. Why doesn’t he just go fishing on the Snake River in Wyoming, and leave America, alone from his constant phony bull.
    Still, Cheney has 2/3 of the State of Wyoming under some voodoo spell, like they are sheep, and unable to look deeper, at world affairs.
    No wonder Spence is a voice in the wilderness from the Resort area, where Cheney is not an
    real “inhabitant”—there, Jackson, Wyoming.

  34. Investigate 9-11 and DEMAND the truth. Once you do that, it is pretty easy to see that the war on terror is BS. Al Queda literally translates to “the list” as it was a list of CIA assets during the Russian/Afghan war in the 80’s. Bin Laden has always been a CIA asset and his family is knee deep into business with the Bush clan and that is why the only planes flying on 9-12-01 were the ones taking the Bin Laden family out of the country per the orders of King Bush II. That is why King Bush I was meeting with a member of the Bin Laden faimily on 9-11-01. Add to this clear evidence that the FBI was told to back off their investigation of certain “hijackers” by the CIA prior to 9-11-01. Additonally, there is also clear proof that several of the hijackers had in fact trained at U.S. military bases. The entire official story is a farce and if any believes that jet fuel burns hot enough to melt steel and cause skyscrappers to free fall into their own footprint, I have several hundred acres of beachfront property in Nebraska I will sell for a fair price.

    Since 9-11 we have had the media conditioning us to except torture, both with the news media downplaying it, comparing it to fraternity hazing and shows like 24, etc., glorifying torture as a way to make us all safe from the evil darkies from the middle east.

    Since 9-11 we have allowed our politicians to set up a complete police state apparitus in this country. The are fully prepared to impliment martial law. TARP and the ’09 bail-out are the final steps to create corporate facism, which is not a good thing, unless you are a fan of Mussolini.

    The Dems are as guilty as Bush as they knew about what was going on, sat by and did nothing. They are still doing nothing, despite their rise to power on promises to the People to do something. Instead, they continue to participate in the cover-up. Now they are ignoring the demands of the voters to end all these stupid wars and are just driving us deeper into the Bush/Cheney Bomb and Kill foreign policy. Additonally, they are blocking any real investigations and prosecutions for what appear to be serious war crimes and Geneva convention violations.

    Why must we move forward? When we found the death camps in Germany did we just move forward? Did our leaders come out and say, “well we will think about closing these death camps in a year after we have had a chance to look into the matter”? People have died at Git-Mo and Abu Garib. People have been raped. People have been tortured, all in the name of the Good Ole’ U.S.A.

    Obama say he is going to close Git-Mo, but does not bother to tell you that renditions to other torture camps will continue. Due process will still be denied and people will still be held indefinitely. Now they are thinking about allowing these people who have been tortured to plead guilty without a trial and presumably be put to death. WTF? People have conitued to be torured in Git-Mo and elsewhere since Obama has been sworn in. We are still killing innocent women and children with our drone plane bombings, which is both terrorism and torture all in one.

    I think it is time for people to take off their political blinders and realize both parties are complete corporate sell-outs and are doing nothing to turn back 8 years of neocon nazi policies, and frankly the democrats were totally complicite in the whole thing.

    The elite count on The People to engage in the phony left/right debates. Meanwhile, the politicians are actually pushing the same agenda, which is controlled by the corporations and global elite and not The People.

    If NAFTA, GATT, Patriot I and II, John Warner Military Defense Authorization Act, TARP, Bailout ’09 are not clear evidence that both parties could care less about the People, I am not sure what else people need.

    Bottom Line: Either torture is good or it is bad……it is a black and white issue for me, with No, read, zero point zero, grey area at all.

    My favorite quote on the topic to date is from one of my favorite current statesmen, Jesse Ventura. Though he is often maligned by the corporate media (as is anyone who dares challenge the current corporate power structure controlling politics), he is honest to who he is and he speaks his mind freely, even if he knows most people will disagree with him. From Jesse:

    “You give my Dick Cheney, a waterboard and one hour and I will have him admitting to the Tate murders”

  35. See this on lateest development on tortue issue, a new law suit making headway:

  36. John Yoo never wore a unifrom of the U S military. He is a traitor, regardless of some bar card in CA…
    Most of the military men and woman buried at Vet cemetaries in America are rollong over in their graves.
    John Yoo = treason.
    John Yoo = traitor
    John Yoo = coward.

    Why put some rose petals of a gloss over matters, to sugar coat.
    The very notion of humanity in America is on the line..
    Mr Spence spotted an issue so significant, we dare not shy away from it.
    The DOJ defends John Yoo’s betryal, yes, the Obama Administration is behind Yoo’s betrayl, and is using your tax dollars to defend Yoo… Sad, ins’t it.
    Time to draw a line in the sand, and speak up, if you care about humanity in America.

  37. Torture, simply, is failure.

    Ignorance is brutal.

    We should all access the Studies of the Basic Elements of Torture, published in Geneva.

  38. Again the American press is not free. Incidents of torture abound here in America, as well as do certainly the elements of torture, still yet undefined.

    If we torture in wartime, there’s an incredibly high chance we also torture in peacetime.

    We must separate the methods of torture, and maintaining and growing peace.

    Peace, freedom, freedom of speech, personal freedoms, … simply to restore them in this society…simply to maintain them…takes everything you’ve got.

    We have also left out the definition of exploit in the doings of our society…which would be a step in recognizing the methods and elements of torture at home here in America.

    I would like Change…change that you can count on….but they must include these pertinent definitions.

  39. A little history…

    My Grandfather, a stonemason, was hired to care the fountain bowl in front of the league of nations. I am an immigrant.

    I think that we should insist that the Secretary of State be informed regarding the Geneva Convention, as unfortunately she failed to do acting in the Commission on Torture a few years back.
    Give me an informed retail clerk.

  40. EdgarLongenecker

    Gerry…. I’ll take you at your word, except that nobody expects a pig to change; except, maybe, into porkchops…”with a little help from his friends”… Please Check all the Jodi Arias; Arias Bias; websites, blogs, comments, and, rebuttals. Jodi Arias People you’ll see in hell…. Police nab California, woman, etcetera… She has no lieyer; her pubic pretender, has quit, after a year of imprisonment, while being a party to her peanut butter starvation; even in light of the nationwide peanut poisoning, soap opera. The Az-ininity of the interstate, kidnapping under color of law, by “facts,” now shown to be erroneous, constitutes a crime, by morphing her bail, into, [the crime, it’s actually always been;] ransom… thank you. I’ll look forward to how you ‘ll look on your white horse… Edgar…

  41. White horse? you must mean the Anti-christ.Kidnapping under color of law? where did you get alof this info?

  42. I read his post and found the trick to his trick question, “thousands on thousands of small white gravestones placed over the bodies of young Americans who gave up their lives to save our American values”

    The writer assumes that we are a nation of values. I know that is what we tell young people when we want them to patriotically be good people, but is it the truth?

    Just like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny as kids grow up they learn the values of the adults, and they soon realize where there is not a void in values there is complete disagreement on what values we should have.
    Take any hot topic today, lets say “abortion”. Half of the country tells us that every woman has a right to chose what to do with her body and the other half of the country believes the child has the right to live.

    Now whose value is the “American Value”?

    Neither is the answer, because the trick of the question is saying we are a nation of values when that is false, we are a nation of laws. By creating a nation of laws our forefathers gave us the freedom to be individuals.

    When we give the supreme court the opportunity to decide our values by a 5 to 4 vote then the tyrant becomes the supreme court and in every case half the country has somebody else’s values imposed upon them and has lost liberty.

    That cup that he was talking about, in the year 1776 it was full of liberty, now pour most of it out.

  43. Very good Dirk, hang in there. I hope the change you ‘re looking for isn’t the change we are heading for

  44. Dick Cheney is proud of those who ran a power drill while questioning detainees, claiming such things saved 1,000 of American lives, and he is totally pissed off a special prosecutor has been appointed by AG Holder(Obama Admin), and it remains to be seen if he will cooperate with the investigation.(the matters hitting the wires, late Aug, 2009)
    So, trick questions:
    Playing with the mind, the drill was not actually used to drill the skull.
    But the detainee was tricked to have bone chilling fear of such happening.
    So, many tricks, so many dangers, so many fears, so many questions.
    Trick questions, and trick drill tactics, abound.
    Where does it say in the constitution or any treaty that a CIA guy or contractor can’t run a power drill ?
    It was never employed on any skulls.
    Yes, fear abounds.
    Cheney was planting fear that a nuclear suit case might arrive in New York, and it would be no trick or treat hallowen show.
    What did that fear tactic do to you ? Did it blow your mind ?
    Dick is into National Security, he thinks he is protecting this nation.
    So, who is running tricks on who..?
    Looks like there will be a new fall reality T V show,
    on the whole trick drill matters.
    Since Dick likes to go up to Teton for his August retreat, and Obama is returning from Cape Cod,
    the new fall season of trick questions will be upon us.

  45. Did Cheney fake himself out, he tricked a lot of people, but his biggest trick was on himself.
    He must have started out human, then somehing happened.
    Is it a trick for him to tell us he saved us ?
    The trick drill, and the trick nuclear scare, this trick, that trick
    Dick is quite a trickster.
    He fools himself, but was it at expense of his humanity ?
    how come. So few feel Dick saved America.
    It is the mother of all tricks, apparently

  46. George Harrington

    Your comment to Bruce that ” the trick is to be human.” is so prefectly and pithily you that you should consider it as the title for your next book.

  47. The incidents of man’s inhumanity to man, is largely the story of history, from over 20 million wiped out in
    WW-2, to 9-11, to Dafur, etc. Cheney is of the view he is protecting America, and that steps were necessary to do so.
    Others, like Holder(Justice AG, O Admin), feel the line was crossed, as to illegal torture.
    While we enjoy the blessings of a civil society, in large measure, and act so human, how human would most act if living in a run down slum of Baghdad, or some places in Afghan, under back breaking impovershied conditions ?
    It is easy to give lip service to acting human, in a wealthy American enclave.
    We are born human, then stuff happens, and it does get tricky, out their beyond ambiance of Monticeto, and its refined elements.
    So, you are saying the world did not love us(USA) by the actions of Cheney.
    But, your pal , Simpson, the political Kingpin of Wyo politics, keeps saying Cheney is his own man, and does not read polls on approval ratings.
    Do you think then Cheney remained human, given his position and matters he confronted ?

  48. Did Bruce leave the human race, for a while ?
    Once born human, how did any lose that prey tell, Gerry, care to expound on that. ?
    Why did the Bush Administrations expose the U S to trillions in
    extra costs from high cost
    imported oil, when all cars could have been fueled by
    low cost compressed natural gas.
    But, Bush was more interest in high profits for
    Halliburton, he degraded all in the U S, he stripped
    our humanity, and that dirty trick is evil in its impacts to the World.

  49. Have you—Mr Gerry— spoken personally to your Teton, Jackson Hole neighbor about your concerns on torture, like one of the guys in the Valley… ?
    Oh, so he(Dick Cheney) really was not residing there(Jackson Hole), as like(real time) one of you, he just used it (a quick fly in spot for a ruse), so he could get a lot of power as V P.(gaming it using Jackson Hole).
    sickening, truly nauseating, and you all in Tetons went along for the ride, the ruses, the show, the tricks.
    Oh, but now Cheney don’t really live there(Jackson Hole), he actually resides near CIA Headquaters back in the beltway( D C area). Cheney is, was, and always will be a puppet of big oil like B-P.

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