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Will international law cause the Obama DOJ to prosecute Bush administration officials who may have authorized torture?

In a previous post, I asked whether the Obama administration was likely to prosecute Bush administration officials for authorizing waterboarding after Holder announced that he believed that waterboarding was torture. I concluded that the "chances of prosecution remain slim." Obama has said that he is reluctant to launch prosecutions and he has considerable discretion to prosecute or not. I was talking about domestic law, but others apparently thought I was talking about international law as well, and have claimed that international law changes the story.

Attention has focused on the Convention Against Torture, which provides:

7(1) The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

(2) These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. In the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 2, the standards of evidence required for prosecution and conviction shall be no less stringent than those which apply in the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 1.

Kevin Jon Heller offers a lucid analysis here. For the sake of argument, let us assume that international law does in fact require some kind of prosecutorial activity. What of it?

Begin by observing that we have two substantive laws that, for present purposes, have equal standing: "you may not torture" and "you may not decline to prosecute torturers." The first law is domestic (as well as international), the second law is international. People who agree that the Obama administration has no domestic legal obligation to enforce the first law should concede what is obvious to nearly everyone: not all laws are enforced. Putting aside private rights of action, domestic laws are enforced only when there is political motivation to enforce them.

If not all domestic laws are enforced, why should we think that the second law, the international law, will be enforced? Because it is international rather than domestic? In fact, just as in the domestic setting, some international laws are enforced and some are not. While in the case of domestic (federal law), the executive branch decides which laws are enforced and which are not enforced, in the case of international law the decision lies elsewhere, with the relevant international actors, in this case with foreign states. The enforcement of international law, just like the enforcement of domestic law, depends on political will and interest. Foreign states are free to press or not press claims they have as a result of U.S. violations of the torture convention.

The question, then, is whether foreign states are likely to accuse the Obama administration of violating section 7 of the CAT, and to pressure it to come into compliance with the CAT, if it refuses to prosecute. The answer is probably no.

Foreign states have no more incentive to press their Convention Against Torture claims against the Obama administration than the Obama administration has to press domestic anti-torture or war crimes charges against Bush administration officials. International law gives them only self-help remedies for U.S. violations, and few states will want to expend the diplomatic resources on an issue about which they care relatively little—certainly compared to all the other areas of disagreement, such as climate, trade, energy, and security—and about which they are so unlikely to obtain a receptive hearing from the United States. Are foreign states likely to try to embarrass the incoming Obama administration by accusing it of violating section 7 of the CAT? It seems safe to conclude that if the Obama administration chooses not to prosecute and thus to violate CAT, other states will, in essence, "settle" their claims for a price of zero.

Foreign states are in a difficult position, akin to the difficult position of the Obama administration. Just as domestic prosecutions risk exposing the complicity of Democratic politicians in the Bush administration's interrogation policies, foreign international law claims would risk a similar sort of blowback, exposing and highlighting the routine CAT violations of foreign states. I am not just referring to European complicity in CIA renditions. Putting aside the European countries and a handful of other countries, virtually every state in the world engages in systematic torture of political opponents, suspected criminals, insurgents, and many others. Yet the legal sanctions being imposed on Russia, China, Indonesia, Egypt, and India are zilch. These facts strongly suggest that states do not regard routine CAT violations by other states, to say nothing of section 7 violations, as sufficiently important to warrant the diplomatic resources that would be necessary to remedy them. For this reason, if Obama has strong domestic political reasons for refraining from prosecuting Bush administration waterboarders, international law will not change his mind.

In a later post, I will discuss the possibility that foreign states will prosecute former Bush administration officials who travel abroad.

Awesome-O:
Prosecution of Bush administration officials y the O-ministration will not happen. Why? Because rendition and other questionable practices didn't start with Bush. If I'm defending a Bush administration official charged with any sort of war crime, I'm calling Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, and the rest as a witness.
1.23.2009 11:01am
Anderson (mail):
As someone pointed out at Lawyers Guns &Money, "submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution" does not eliminate prosecutorial discretion.
1.23.2009 11:05am
PLR:
Your later post should be interesting. Will John Yoo be able to hop a plane to Europe for his well deserved break from the rigors of academia and the defense of fascism? Enquiring minds want to know.
1.23.2009 11:07am
Steve:
If I'm defending a Bush administration official charged with any sort of war crime, I'm calling Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, and the rest as a witness.

And if I'm the judge, I'm ruling your evidence irrelevant and inadmissible. This hypothetical trial - which I agree will never come to pass - would not have to be some Saddam Hussein-like spectacle where the defense gets to launch into whatever tirades it pleases. If the charge is torture, it's neither a legal nor a factual defense to argue that the prior head of state tortured as well.
1.23.2009 11:11am
Hoosier:
PLR

I am begging you:

When you use the phrase "fascism," try to mean something other than: You are to my right, and I don't like you. Boo!
1.23.2009 11:21am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Steve.
And the issue, Clinton &Co., becomes public, admitted or not.
You may have no problem with that, but Clinton &Co. might well. Clinton, both male and female, have to travel abroad to collect their contributions. Well, they don't, really, but it would be like a C&W star not touring to support album sales.
In addition, Clinton &Co. would then be subject to prosecution here or abroad because, even if not admitted to your court, the evidence is out there and fairly substantial. 'nother interesting trial. Clinton &Co. and their dem buds have enough influence to see that trials don't happen, but the only way to do that is to hide the evidence in the first place. Which means no Bush trial. Or give Berger another key to the archives. Whichever.
1.23.2009 11:25am
wfjag:

it's neither a legal nor a factual defense to argue that the prior head of state tortured as well

Wrong. There's considerable dispute on whether waterboarding is "torture". See, e.g., Obama spy choice won't call waterboarding torture, Reuters, Jan. 22, 2009 at www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE50L63F20090122


When you use the phrase "fascism," try to mean something other than: You are to my right, and I don't like you. Boo!

You mean Hoos, that there's a different definition -- like the historical one that facists were socialists (i.e., the leftists/progressives of Europe)?
1.23.2009 11:26am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
awesome:

rendition and other questionable practices didn't start with Bush


Rendition seems to have started with Reagan. Reagan and Clinton both did extraordinary rendition, but on a much more limited basis, compared with what Bush did:

The guidelines for Clinton-era renditions required that subjects could be sent only to countries where they were not likely to be tortured -- countries that gave assurances to that effect and whose compliance was monitored by the State Department and the intelligence community. It's impossible to be certain that those standards were upheld every time, but serious efforts were made to see that they were. At a minimum, countries with indisputably lousy human rights records (say, Syria) were off-limits. Another key difference: Renditions before Bush were carried out to disrupt terrorist activity, not to gather intelligence or to interrogate individuals.


==============
wfjag:

There's considerable dispute on whether waterboarding is "torture".


There is a long history of US courts treating waterboarding as a form of torture (pdf).

And aside from the question of whether or not waterboarding is torture, Crawford says we tortured (without even resorting to waterboarding).
1.23.2009 11:37am
Steve:
Wrong. There's considerable dispute on whether waterboarding is "torture".

"Waterboarding isn't torture" would be a defense. "The previous head of state waterboarded as well" would not be.

In addition, Clinton &Co. would then be subject to prosecution here or abroad because, even if not admitted to your court, the evidence is out there and fairly substantial.

The evidence is already "out there." It wouldn't become any more "out there" as a result of being suppressed in a hypothetical trial.
1.23.2009 11:44am
donaldk2 (mail):
Just let a prosecution be undertaken, which can be characterized as obeisance to "international law", and there will be an outcry such as has not been heard since FDR's Court-packing proposal.
1.23.2009 11:48am
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Anderson has it right. And the second section underscores the point that the prosecutors, at least in the US, can exercise discretion:


These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State

.
In ordinary cases, prosecutors decide not to proceed with charges all the time, and for all sorts of reasons. The convention says that they can, and should, do the same here.
1.23.2009 11:49am
Abdul Abulbul Amir (mail):


If the charge is torture, it's neither a legal nor a factual defense to argue that the prior head of state tortured as well.



Yes, but thats not the arguement that will be presented. It will be argued that method X is not torture and both present and previous administrations have so concluded.

Some future society may deem the loss of liberty in locking a person in a prison cell to be torture. That will not mean ex post facto current prison inmates are tortured.
1.23.2009 11:51am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Considering the conditions and practices in, eg, French prisons, I don't expect a lot of enthusiasm for pursuing this,
1.23.2009 11:54am
trad and anon (mail):
Who are these people who think Obama will prosecute Bush administration officials because of international law? Lots of people on the left have argued that he ought to prosecute them (because of international law, among other arguments) but I'm not aware of anyone who thinks he will in fact do so. Holder certainly isn't making any such argument in the linked post. I'm sure there are people somewhere on the loony fringe who expect President HUSSEIN to start the prosecutions immediately after he imposes Sharia law, but you don't seem to be talking about those people.
1.23.2009 11:56am
Nathan_M (mail):

If not all domestic laws are enforced, why should we think that the second law, the international law, will be enforced?

Leaving aside the difference between international and domestic law, isn't there an importance difference between the government deciding not to rigourously enforce a law of general application, and the government deciding not to comply with a law that applies to it?

I think everyone would agree it is proper for the government to exercise discretion in enforcing laws, but that doesn't imply the government ought to exercise discretion in complying with the law itself. For example, if a law required that "all homeowners shall paint their houses blue" the executive would have discretion in enforcing this. But if the law required that "the White House shall be painted blue" I would argue the executive is required to paint the White House blue, and it does not have discretion.

This is not to suggest the government should always comply with international law, which is any entirely separate issue from whether it is complying.
1.23.2009 11:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
abdul:

It will be argued that method X is not torture and both present and previous administrations have so concluded.


But demonstrating that a prior administration conducted torture (if we assume that you could accomplish that demonstration) is not the same thing as demonstrating that the prior administration ever "concluded" the act was something other than torture. The prior administration may simply have decided (for whatever good or bad reason) to break the law.

By the way, the federal anti-torture statute did not exist prior to 1994.

Some future society may deem the loss of liberty in locking a person in a prison cell to be torture. That will not mean ex post facto current prison inmates are tortured.


This argument has relevance to acts of torture that Bush may have committed prior to 1994.
1.23.2009 12:08pm
Awesome-O:
Rendition seems to have started with Reagan.

By all means, feel free to call Ronald Reagan. Service should be easy. I know exactly where he is.
1.23.2009 12:09pm
commontheme (mail):

For the sake of argument, let us assume that international law does in fact require some kind of prosecutorial activity. What of it?

This perfectly summarizes the criminal mindset of the _Bush_ Administration.
1.23.2009 12:14pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Steve.
Attorneys can be astonishingly prolix when it suits their tactics. Also curious. The evidence about Clinton is "out there" to the extent that most folks know something or other happened but he's a dem so it's probably okay.
Trying to avoid nations with bad records.... I believe Egypt got to play with some of the boys. Either the trying didn't work out--note nobody says it did, only that somebody was supposed to pretend--or the idea of a safe place to put these guys was kind of a joke.
So, if the hypo trial goes forward, the defense will have volumes of details infinitely more precise than the evidence that's "out there", and it will make you sick. Or it would if it were Bush being accused. But I digress. If there were justice in the world, Bill C couldn't go abroad.
But, coming from nations who welcomed Putin and Arafat, and any number of others with dirty hands, it's a joke. And, domestically, coming from those who failed to call for arresting those worthies when on our soil, it's a joke.
An obvious joke..
1.23.2009 12:14pm
trad and anon (mail):
Yes, but thats not the arguement that will be presented. It will be argued that method X is not torture and both present and previous administrations have so concluded.
But accepting, arguendo, that past administrations so concluded, why is it relevant? The legal conclusions of a prior Presidential administration are not binding on the court, or even persuasive.
1.23.2009 12:20pm
JB:
Just let a prosecution be undertaken, which can be characterized as obeisance to "international law", and there will be an outcry such as has not been heard since FDR's Court-packing proposal.

Precisely. Why won't Obama prosecute the Bush Administration? Because, as has been shown amply over the last year, when presented with the opportunity to commit political suicide, Obama invariably declines. This is what separates him from other Democrats.
1.23.2009 12:23pm
Anderson (mail):
it's neither a legal nor a factual defense to argue that the prior head of state tortured as well

-- Wrong. There's considerable dispute on whether waterboarding is "torture". See, e.g., Obama spy choice won't call waterboarding torture, Reuters, Jan. 22, 2009 at www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE50L63F20090122


I'm suing you for whiplash from that non sequitur. Ouch!
1.23.2009 12:25pm
trad and anon (mail):
Precisely. Why won't Obama prosecute the Bush Administration? Because, as has been shown amply over the last year, when presented with the opportunity to commit political suicide, Obama invariably declines. This is what separates him from other Democrats.
Absolutely. But you haven't noticed the other elephant in the room: like all Presidents, Obama will commit crimes while in office. Does Obama want to set a precedent that it's OK to prosecute a former President and other high administration officials for their crimes? Unless he gets shot, Obama will be a former President one day too.
1.23.2009 12:28pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Professor Jordan Paust's latest draft on this called "The Absolute Prohibition on Torture" is downloadable at SSRN at

The Absolute Prohibition on Torture

Also Professors Anthony d'Amato and Paust's op-ed on Prosecute or Extradite is available here

As you will see if you read them, they focus on obligations on the United States in the Geneva Conventions creating the absolute obligation to prosecute or extradite - not just the Convention Against Torture language.

If we do not prosecute, it appears pretty much that we are just saying we are willing to give some legitimacy to the illegal acts of torture.

On torture in other countries, surely people are aware of all the human rights organization efforts with regard to the activities in those countries or the State department reports on human rights in these countries or the periodic report process of the UN Committee on Torture. There is also the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on this. Then there are regional courts or structures working on this. Torture is a peremptory norm so efforts to diminish the nature of the US violation (others do it) only tell us that things are hard to do sometimes. No one said it was going to be easy.

In any event, you will note that a referral to a prosecutor (not a special prosecutor like Fitzgerald but as an Acting US attorney for Eastern District of Virginia) for at least a part of this has been done at the end of the Mukasey Attorney Generalship with regard to obstruction of justice in the destruction of the Al-Qahtani torture tapes. See the NYTimes article Prosecutor who unraveled Boston Corruption turns to CIA tapes case

So those who say there would never be a prosecutor are wrong - there is one now on part of this. How far his search will go and what it will turn up in terms of facts and persons of interest and defendants is something that we will see. But, the ball is rolling. So those speaking to prosecutoral discretion - one part of that has been overcome for one part of this torture.

Best,
Ben
1.23.2009 12:30pm
Calderon:
I have little knowledge of international law, but clicked on the Convention Against Torture, scrolled to the bottom, clicked signatures, and saw that the US is listed as having "Signed but not Ratified" the CAT. Without ratification, does the CAT have any "binding" effect on the United States? (Setting aside the question of what it means for something to be binding when other parties have no practical means to force the US to do anything)
1.23.2009 12:31pm
John (mail):
I think we are overlooking the point that, as a whole, the American people have no interest in dragging Bush et al. before the courts for actions intended to protect the country, no matter that they may have been improper or worse. Obama recognizes this.
1.23.2009 12:31pm
Anderson (mail):
Because, as has been shown amply over the last year, when presented with the opportunity to commit political suicide, Obama invariably declines. This is what separates him from other Democrats.

Well said, especially the last part.

A "truth commission," OTOH, will work. Everyone against The Truth, raise your hands? ... Anyone besides you GOPers over there? No?

The public, for whatever motives, is likely to be curious about What We Really Did to Those Guys, and will support such a commission.

Also, the commission would be an obvious compromise, so instead of looking vindictive, Obama would look moderate.
1.23.2009 12:32pm
wfjag:

Yes, but thats not the arguement that will be presented. It will be argued that method X is not torture and both present and previous administrations have so concluded.

Dear Steve: AAA said it better than I did. Also, the incoming "top spy" for the Obama administration was unwilling to testify in confirmation hearings that waterboarding was "torture."

The Obama Administration cannot afford to raise this issue. If it gives in to pressure of the lunatic left of the Dem. Party, then it faces the legal defense of selective prosecution and the political consequences of the electorate deciding that it is misusing criminal prosecution for political reasons -- unless it decides to fire its new CIA Director and prosecute the husband of the sitting SEC State and lots of other Clinton Admin. people (including, quite likely, the Obama A.G. (now nominee) who was a high Clinton Admin DOJ official when the same acts were reviewed and approved by the Clinton Admin. DOJ). If another country tries to do it, the domestic political consequences for the Obama Admin. will be even worse -- and the rhetoric about being able to secure cooperation from foreign "allies" will be blown out the door. If the UN tries to do it, the Obama Admin. will be forced to place a "League of Nations Going Out of Business Sale" sign on the UN HQ, as it invites the UN to find another location before the closing door hits it in the ass (and/or Uncle Sam's boot does so) and to get along without the US's financial support (Switzerland is very beautiful, but, it's also a really expensive place to locate).

All talk of prosecuting Bush, et al, for war crimes amounts to are wet dreams of BDS sufferers, and is more evidence of their impotence than anything based in either reality or on a solid legal analysis. Clinton Admin. officials did it. Bush 43 Admin. officials did it. And, if there is good reason to believe that a captured terrorist has knowledge of an impending attack on US soil, or US citizens or installations overseas, Pres. Obama will authorize use of waterboarding to obtain the information. And, then we'll be entertained by the excuses our news media and pundits will start making to justify why it wasn't really "torture" because The One said it was justified in that case.
1.23.2009 12:36pm
ArthurKirkland:
My general principles:

We should stop conducting or facilitating torture.

We should stop kidnapping people. We should stop operating secret prisons. We should stop subjecting people to endless detention without charge or trial. In general, the United States should stop acting like a particularly unthinking bully.

We should uncover all of the relevant information. Who did what to whom, where and on whose authority? Why were people apprehended? How were they treated? Why are they being held? Why were they released? Why have they not been charged?

We should establish effective methods to prevent torture and other severe misconduct by even the weakest federal officials that might serve in the future.

The preceding point might overlap with prosecution of those who engaged in misconduct. I believe, however, that it is more important to address the earlier points first, and that the disclosure of information should occur before any prosecutorial decisions are made.

Until we assemble and sift the information, however, it seems reasonable for a Representative or Senator to propose legislation that would prevent expenditure of federal funds to assist any person who, after leaving the United States, is detained in another country for war crimes or similar misconduct (unless the travel involved official and approved United States business). A simple advisory -- "don't taunt those on whom you might have trod" -- ought to suffice, but the judgment of some of the relevant people is readily questionable. I am inclined to provide fair warning even to the downright belligerent.

I once had a client, Jeff McCullaugh, who endured unspeakable abuse in prison. His offenses? A busted tail light and mistaken identity (coupled with Judge Henry T. Fleming's inhumanity). Against that background, I don't see much outrage in practical restrictions on the leisure travel of people whose conduct could reasonable be determined to be criminal.

I have now, of course, completed my opening statement.
1.23.2009 12:36pm
Ariel:
Art. 2 s. 3 of the Constitution says that the President must take care that the laws be faithfully executed. It was put in the Constitution precisely to deny the President the ability to selectively enforce the laws (a problem that existed in England and took a civil war to sort out).

Precisely because of the plethora of laws out there now, prosecutorial discretion is a must. But is this really a desirable situation? Wouldn't a more libertarian position be that the laws should be limited such that prosecutorial discretion is no longer a factor?

FWIW, I don't think Obama should prosecute Bush officials. But I do think there is the Constitutional mandate to do so, even if it is routinely ignored in all matters of prosecutorial discretion.
1.23.2009 12:43pm
Anderson (mail):
Calderon, my detailed answer got eated, but the page you checked is 12 years old; we've since ratified, subject to the Torture Act's watering down "severe mental pain and suffering" to some degree.
1.23.2009 12:46pm
Sigivald (mail):
Commontheme said:This perfectly summarizes the criminal mindset of the _Bush_ Administration.

I think you'll find, in practice, that every single Administration ever has ignored "international law" and "international consensus" and "what other countries think" constantly.

That is to say, every time it was at all politically inconvenient at home, or interfered with what they judged the best interests of the United States to be. (And of course, this is true of all other nations, in the general case.)

If that's "criminal", then you've just criminalized "having a country", which might make a certain kind of Transnationalist happy, but which everyone else will laugh at, so to speak.

Acting as if international law is really binding in any important way, or more than posturing that is occasionally obeyed (or followed only when it's politically expedient, or used as a fig leaf to cover an action that would be unpopular if taken for other reasons) seems untenable, given the facts on the ground, worldwide.

That you may (and apparently do) want it to be otherwise, and to live in a world where international law is somehow Really Binding (and Really Law, rather than Gentleman's Agreements between non-gentlemen, ignored at will) will not change any of that.

(Me, I want less control, less State, and less pseudo-law. But that's another argument for another time.)
1.23.2009 12:51pm
Awesome-O:
A "truth commission," OTOH, will work. Everyone against The Truth, raise your hands? ... Anyone besides you GOPers over there? No?

As long as the Truth is that Pelosi and Reid knew about enhanced interrogation/torture, and that Bill Clinton authorized rendition, then there are going to be plenty of hands in the air over on the Democratic side.

And since Obama was a United States Senator from 2005 to 2008, does he get called in for a grilling about what he knew and when he knew it?
1.23.2009 1:04pm
Bryan C (mail):
Obama will not allow such prosecutions to happen because he is President now, and because he is not stupid. He will inevitably face exactly the same kind of accusations as Bush has faced, especially once the perpetually angry hard-left figures out that Obama is not their dream date. The push by Bush administration critics to define down "torture" to include things like embarrassing terrorists with terrifying lacy underthings will have exactly the opposite effect that they hoped for: Real, honest-to-god torture will not be eliminated because doing so would now hamstring the use of all sorts of harsh but legitimate interrogation methods.

It'd require the Obama administration to argue in favor of keeping those methods. They know they'll still need them; every wartime President has needed them, though they've usually been either accepted as SOP or simply kept out of the public eye. The Bush administration was honest and dogged enough (or substitute "evil and inept enough") to debate those sorts of controversial issues, even if you didn't like the conclusions they reached. But Obama? He'd be taking a hard-line against his base for an issue that he could just as easily leave at the status-quo. That's not his style.
1.23.2009 1:09pm
PC:
If it gives in to pressure of the lunatic left of the Dem. Party

It's interesting that only the "lunatic left" would be calling for the application of the rule of law.

As long as the Truth is that Pelosi and Reid knew about enhanced interrogation/torture, and that Bill Clinton authorized rendition, then there are going to be plenty of hands in the air over on the Democratic side.

Do you have a problem with asking Democrats what they knew and did too? I don't.

And since Obama was a United States Senator from 2005 to 2008, does he get called in for a grilling about what he knew and when he knew it?

I don't have a problem with that either. Either we are a nation of laws or we are not.
1.23.2009 1:13pm
Sarah K.:
I remain skeptical that prosecutions will happen as well, but I disagree with the statement: "People who agree that the Obama administration has no domestic legal obligation to enforce the first law should concede what is obvious to nearly everyone: not all laws are enforced."
For the theoretical discussion at the heart of this post, might there not be a difference from a garden variety law and law specifically directing enforcement? Additionally, by declining to enforce a garden-variety law, the prosecutor is merely declining to enforce the law. By declining to enforce a law that is further the subject of a law that says "you may not decline to enforce," the prosecutor (or in this case the "State Party") is himself breaking a law. Of course, who prosecutes that? But these are not exactly so much on the same footing as the original post suggests.
1.23.2009 1:16pm
Crimso:

There is a long history of US courts treating waterboarding as a form of torture

Just as there is a long history of them treating blacks as less than human. Sometimes they're wrong. Personally, I don't know in this case whether they are wrong or right. Is it really a settled issue in terms of the law?
1.23.2009 1:21pm
PC:
Is it really a settled issue in terms of the law?

It was until the Bush administration came to power.
1.23.2009 1:23pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'Rendition seems to have started with Reagan.'

Actually, J.Q. Adams or Van Buren, but who cares about our own history?
1.23.2009 1:27pm
BGates:
Everyone against The Truth, raise your hands? ... Anyone besides you GOPers over there?

I think opposing The Truth is just one of several Un-American Activities the House could investigate.
1.23.2009 1:30pm
Just an Observer:
I think we are overlooking the point that, as a whole, the American people have no interest in dragging Bush et al. before the courts for actions intended to protect the country, no matter that they may have been improper or worse. Obama recognizes this.

Actually there seems to be a roughly even split, if anything a slight preponderance of opinion in favor of pursuing an investigation. See this recent Washington Post-ABC News poll:

35a. (HALF SAMPLE) Do you think the Obama administration should or should not investigate whether any laws were broken in the way terrorism suspects were treated under the Bush administration?

1/16/09
Should 50
Should not 47
No opinion 2


However, that close a division probably does not offer much political cover to counter the expected (and threatened) backlash against such action.

My personal opinion is that there should be a proper DOJ investigation that should go where the facts and law take it. It may turn out that it is not legally feasible or prudent to actually indict. But the decision to indict -- or not indict -- should not be made for purely political reasons, such as a political desire for bipartisan good feeling.

I rather expect to be disappointed.
1.23.2009 1:52pm
Anderson (mail):
I rather expect to be disappointed.

Me too, hence my faute-de-mieux call for a truth commission.

But after 8 years of disappointment, I've gotten pretty damn good at it.
1.23.2009 1:56pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
The reason there will not be prosecutions or a Truth Commission is such things are unpredictable.

The Democrats have a good thing going. New, popular president, big majorities in both houses, some new governors. Every trend is going their way.

Trials might be the final nail etc. But they also might energize the GOP and create sympathy for an unpopular former president.

Its the same reason there were no impeachment proceedings after 2006.

O is a smart politician. Smart politicians don't like unpredictable things.
1.23.2009 1:57pm
c.gray (mail):

Either we are a nation of laws or we are not.


I imagine those planning to try Caesar for corruption on his return from Gaul expressed similar sentiments.

They got _exactly_ the sort of "nation of laws" they deserved, too.
1.23.2009 2:00pm
Awesome-O:
Do you have a problem with asking Democrats what they knew and did too? I don't.

Nope, just pointing out why it won't happen. Prosecution of Bush administration officials will be to the post-Bush era what impeachment of Bush was to the Bush era: an unrealized masturbatory fantasy of the BDS crowd.
1.23.2009 2:01pm
wfjag:
Dear Anderson:

The only whiplash you're feeling is from the BDS whipping around inside your skull when you realize that the head spy chosen by The One won't say that waterboarding is "torture" and it's beginning to dawn on you that The One won't pursue a criminal investigation against Bush, et al. That fantasy ain't goin' ta happ'n, Cap'n. But, you've been disappointed for 8 years, so you and your hubby can be disappointed for 8 more years.
1.23.2009 2:14pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Banning torture is not enough by Professor Jordan Paust today on Jurist is a further discussion of the prosecute or extradite obligation.
Best,
Ben
1.23.2009 2:21pm
Bad (mail) (www):
"In ordinary cases, prosecutors decide not to proceed with charges all the time, and for all sorts of reasons."

This is why it pays to be good friends or political allies with prosecutors when you commit crimes.
1.23.2009 2:29pm
Anderson (mail):
Wfjag, you are usually smarter than that. What you wrote made no sense, and I pointed that out.

I'm not happy that the DNI candidate won't speak to the issue, but I'm not surprised. Politically, he has no %age in ticking off the CIA.

Legally, his opinion is irrelevant; if the DOJ tells him that waterboarding = torture, then he tells CIA et al. that's what the law is.

I am well aware that politics requires compromises; if we cease torturing people in fact, I can tolerate my dissatisfaction with how we define "torture" in law.
1.23.2009 2:54pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
There's considerable dispute on whether waterboarding is "torture".

This is sort of like the climate change debate. Don't confuse the fact that the conservative movement will put out some very dishonest talking points in the service of its causes with an actual honest "debate". Among practitioners of international human rights law (including, I might add, those who represent defendants accused of torture), there is no debate at all that waterboarding inflicts severe mental suffering not attendant to lawful sanction.
1.23.2009 3:16pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

There's considerable dispute on whether waterboarding is "torture".


I think that's true insofar as we've seen several different things referred to as "waterboarding." The people who claim that "waterboarding is torture" and cite things done by the Soviets, Vietcong, Japanese, etc. as an indictment of what we're allegedly doing usually gloss over the fact that while it may have been called "waterboarding" or a "water cure," the description of "waterboarding" or a "water cure" is quite different from what we've allegedly done. AFAIK neither of the three individuals claiming to have been waterboarded have said that someone shoved a funnel in their mouth with a hose inserted to fill their stomach full of water and then had someone stomp on their bellies until they burst.
1.23.2009 3:26pm
PC:
different from what we've allegedly done

What do you mean "allegedly?" President Bush admitted to it.

AFAIK neither of the three individuals claiming to have been waterboarded have said that someone shoved a funnel in their mouth with a hose inserted to fill their stomach full of water and then had someone stomp on their bellies until they burst.

That's not what the Khmer Rouge did either.
1.23.2009 3:36pm
David Larsomn (mail):
On another note, is there any reason whatever that we should give a rodent's rear end what international law might provide for, given that it is enough to be American, be called an American, have any connections with Americans, have ever talked to an American, etc. to guarantee a conviction in any such process, the election of our first affirmative action president notwithstanding?
1.23.2009 3:46pm
Anderson (mail):
Right. Smothering someone with water in a manner so excruciating that most people can bear it for only a few seconds? Might be torture, might not. It all depends on a few technicalities.

Where were you when Stalin needed you, Mr. Winston?
1.23.2009 3:47pm
bonhomme (mail):

Right. Smothering someone with water in a manner so excruciating that most people can bear it for only a few seconds? Might be torture, might not. It all depends on a few technicalities.

Where were you when Stalin needed you, Mr. Winston?

Stalin had all the help he needed doing the horrible things he did. Lefties in America still have a hard time denouncing him and do still embrace Stalin's philosophy.
It's interesting you used the word excruciating which of course calls to mind crucifiction. Nobody walks away from crucifiction with no physical injury.
1.23.2009 4:00pm
PC:
Lefties in America still have a hard time denouncing him and do still embrace Stalin's philosophy.

Cite? Someone mainstream please.

It's interesting you used the word excruciating which of course calls to mind crucifiction. Nobody walks away from crucifiction with no physical injury.

There's only one person that I can think of that was said to walk at all after a crucifixion, and there's a religion based on him. That's probably because crucifixion is a method of execution.
1.23.2009 4:20pm
bonhomme (mail):
Crucifiction a method of execution? No kidding. I was pointing out that Anderson called waterboarding "excruciating". People subject to crucifiction do not walk away without injury from crucifiction. I'm juxtaposing that with the type of waterboarding Americans have used which results in little to no physical injury.

RE: Stalin's philosophy. Stalin's philosophy is heavily influenced by the writings of Marx and Lenin. Folk Marxism and actual Marxism and Marxist-Leninism and etc. so heavily influences Leftist thinking and rhetoric one cannot enter interaction with a leftist without being hit by it as if by a cudgel.
1.23.2009 4:32pm
CDU (mail) (www):
PC Wrote

Do you have a problem with asking Democrats what they knew and did too? I don't.

Regardless of how you feel, it's the current, Democratic administration that's going to make this decision, and they probably don't want the Democratic leadership under oath on live TV being asked "what do you know and when did you know it".
1.23.2009 4:32pm
bonhomme (mail):

There's only one person that I can think of that was said to walk at all after a crucifixion, and there's a religion based on him.

I said no one walks away without injury. That includes the one you speak of. See for eg: John 20:24-27.

In part, "Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'"
1.23.2009 4:39pm
Anderson (mail):
Lefties in America still have a hard time denouncing him and do still embrace Stalin's philosophy.

Omigod. Words fail me, or at least, words that won't get my comment deleted.

When the Republican Party that DEVOTES ITSELF TO IMITATING STALIN'S TORTURERS gets over its devotion to torture, *then* you can drag up dumbass 1960s Leftists.

And if "leaves no marks" is your definition of "non-torture," then you and the NKVD are on the same page. God help you.
1.23.2009 4:45pm
bonhomme (mail):
Why the quotes around "leaves no marks" Anderson? I said walks away with no physical injury.


When the Republican Party that DEVOTES ITSELF TO IMITATING STALIN'S TORTURERS gets over its devotion to torture, *then* you can drag up dumbass 1960s Leftists.


Were you shaking when you wrote that? I can bring up leftists anytime I'd like.
1.23.2009 5:07pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:

Putting aside the European countries and a handful of other countries, virtually every state in the world engages in systematic torture of political opponents, suspected criminals, insurgents, and many others. [emphasis added]


You cite to the Human Rights Watch 19th annual World Report, which summarizes human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. Assuming arguendo that the report justifies a claim of "systematic torture" in each one of them (it doesn't), I'd hardly call 90 of 200+ countries as "virtually every." Not even close. I mean if it were 190 of 200, it still be an exaggeration to say "virtually every," but 90 of 200+?? I mean, a little respect for the English language and your readers, please.
1.23.2009 5:28pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:

It seems safe to conclude that if the Obama administration chooses not to prosecute and thus to violate CAT, . . . .


I was interested in the argument as to whether or not the Obama administration has a legal responsibility to prosecute Bush administration officials for torturing. Your answer seems pretty clearly to agree with Glenn Greenwald and others that the answer is "yes" even though you, IMHO correctly, predict it will not occur for practical reasons.
1.23.2009 5:32pm
MarkField (mail):

RE: Stalin's philosophy. Stalin's philosophy is heavily influenced by the writings of Marx and Lenin. Folk Marxism and actual Marxism and Marxist-Leninism and etc. so heavily influences Leftist thinking and rhetoric one cannot enter interaction with a leftist without being hit by it as if by a cudgel.



Now, now. Comments like that will have Hoosier chastising you severely, like this:

"I am begging you:

When you use the phrase "fascism," try to mean something other than: You are to my right, and I don't like you. Boo!"

Any minute now. I swear.
1.23.2009 8:07pm
Kirk:
Anderson,
The public, for whatever motives, is likely to be curious about What we Really Did to Those Guys, and will support such a commission.
Au contraire: nobody with the slighest recollection of the Church Commission will favor this idea in the slightest, unless their motiviation is to further harm America.
1.23.2009 8:37pm
ArthurKirkland:
By "further harm America," you mean compound the problems caused by those who facilitated, conducted and concealed torture and other abuses during the most recent seven years?
1.23.2009 8:41pm
David L.:
Steve appears to be factually in error when writing: "If the charge is torture, it's neither a legal nor a factual defense to argue that the prior head of state tortured as well." The precedent would be the the Nuremburg tribunal, where one of the charges against Grossadmiral Karl Doenitz was having conducted unrestricted submarine warfare. Affidavits and interrogatories submitted by Allied naval commanders, notably Admiral Nimitz, established that the Allies had waged precisely the same sort of warfare, and sentence against Doenitz was not assessed on this count.
1.23.2009 8:58pm
Borealis (mail):
If a foreign country arrested a former U.S. official for a violation of international law, that would effectively end the U.S. involvement in such treaties. Philosophically correct or not, that would be the result. A huge majority of the U.S. would oppose making the U.S. foreign policy dictated by the lowest common denominator of foreign powers, even foreign allies.
1.23.2009 9:48pm
trad and anon (mail):
Crucifiction a method of execution? No kidding. I was pointing out that Anderson called waterboarding "excruciating". People subject to crucifiction do not walk away without injury from crucifiction. I'm juxtaposing that with the type of waterboarding Americans have used which results in little to no physical injury.
Indeed. That is precisely why waterboarding is so often preferred as a form of torture: it leaves no marks, thus making it harder to prove that the victim was tortured. Plus, in this case it makes it easier to invent a controversy and deny that torture is torture.
1.23.2009 10:07pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wfjag:

the same acts were reviewed and approved by the Clinton Admin. DOJ … Clinton Admin. officials did it. Bush 43 Admin. officials did it.


I hope you'll tell us what you mean by "it." Waterboarding? Really? Got any proof? Got any proof of any torture by any president prior to Dubya?

=================
bryan c:

The push by Bush administration critics to define down "torture" to include things like embarrassing terrorists with terrifying lacy underthings


Crawford says we tortured (without even resorting to waterboarding). And she's a Bush official. Explain that.

=================
bonhomme:

I'm juxtaposing that with the type of waterboarding Americans have used which results in little to no physical injury.


I hope you'll tell us how you know "the type of waterboarding Americans have used." And I hope you'll also tell us how you know that we have imposed "little to no physical injury" by waterboarding. Did all those facts come out? I hadn't heard. But I guess you did. Please tell us where.
1.23.2009 11:09pm
Randy R. (mail):
Well, then I guess the old fashioned Chinese water torture test, sleep deprivation and so on, can't be torture, since they leave no physical marks, right?

And since those things, like waterboarding, aren't torture, I'm sure you will be happy to undergo them just to prove how lame they really are. Which, of course, gets us back to, if they aren't torture, then why are you using them?
1.23.2009 11:56pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I guess the old fashioned Chinese water torture test, sleep deprivation and so on, can't be torture, since they leave no physical marks, right?


I guess he also wouldn't mind if I sent various electric currents through certain parts of his body. Since that can also be done with no physical marks or injury.
1.24.2009 12:08am
Cold Warrior:
Calderon said:


I have little knowledge of international law, but clicked on the Convention Against Torture, scrolled to the bottom, clicked signatures, and saw that the US is listed as having "Signed but not Ratified" the CAT. Without ratification, does the CAT have any "binding" effect on the United States?


The Senate ratified the CAT in 1994. (And as everyone seems to forget, President Reagan -- not Clinton, not even Bush 41 -- signed it in 1988.) The Senate included several reservations, declarations, and understandings (RDUs); in the current debate, the most interesting is:


Inprovidingits advice and consent to CAT, the Senate also provideda detailed list of understandings concerning the scope of the Convention's definitionof torture. With respect to mental torture, a practice not specificallydefined byCAT,the United States understands such actions to refer to prolonged mental harm caused or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severephysical pain and suffering; (2) the administration of mind-altering substances orprocedures to disrupt the victim's senses; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) thethreatthatanother person will imminentlybesubjectedto death, severephysicalpainor suffering, or the administration or application of mind alteringsubstances or otherprocedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.


I don't think there can be a serious debate that waterboarding fits here.

So does the United States' commitment to prosecute torturers allow for some manner of prosecutorial discretion? Posner's question is a good one. I would submit that: (1) yes, there is prosecutorial discretion to the extent that not everyone involved in torture need be prosecuted; the state-party may use normal prosecutorial devices such as immunity agreements, etc, to serve the larger purpose; (2) no, the state-party is not free to simply ignore credible evidence that torture occurred; some manner of investigation is necessary, with some reasoned accounting for why the putative torturers are not subjected to prosecution. It is not enough to pull a Mark McGwire and simply say "I don't want to talk about the past." That is not taking our treaty obligations seriously.

Now, none of this speaks to the wisdom of the CAT, particularly in it's emphasis that torture is never allowed, regardless of the circumstances. We've certainly all been through that ticking time bomb scenario. But if 9/11 caused us to reconsider the wisdom of some of the obligations we undertook in the CAT, it seems to me that the proper response was to withdraw from the CAT. I haven't investigated how (or even if) that could be done, and obviously any country withdrawing would take a huge hit in world opinion. But it would have been the honest response, and a response that would have accurately captured the sentiments of the Bush Administration following 9/11.
1.24.2009 3:51am
Eli Rabett (www):
There are things that simply cannot be done to others if people or a nation wishes to retain any semblance of humanity. If that means that we have to take some risk, so be it.

"Torture is what you call it" is a fraud and treachery that condemns those who speak so to the eighth circle of hell. It is a refusal to accept moral responsibility. Still such wusses exist and to deal with their behavior specific tortures are defined in international agreements so they cannot try to define their way to respectability.

Embracing moral responsibility means accepting risks. Indeed this was one of the most important things that Obama said in his inauguration speech

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.


Sadly, moral wussdom has become the American way.
1.24.2009 8:10am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
cold warrior:

The Senate included several reservations, declarations, and understandings


Thanks for your helpful comment. In case anyone is interested, the text you cited can be found here: link, pdf.

… it seems to me that the proper response was to withdraw from the CAT


Keep in mind that besides CAT, there is also our own federal anti-torture statute (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C of the U.S. Code) that would have to be repealed. And of course this would not alleviate responsibility for violations that took place prior to the repeal.

I don't think there can be a serious debate that waterboarding fits here.


And here's another indication that waterboarding is torture. Bush's own State Dept declared that "submersion of the head in water" is torture. Both this and waterboarding are methods of using water to asphyxiate, so it's hard to figure why they wouldn't be treated alike.

The Bush State Dept also described sleep deprivation as a form of torture (and of course sleep deprivation is another technique we've used). But what they meant, of course, is that it's only torture when other folks do it.

So Bush isn't just a war criminal. He's a hypocritical war criminal.
1.24.2009 9:56am
MarkField (mail):

Keep in mind that besides CAT, there is also our own federal anti-torture statute (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C of the U.S. Code) that would have to be repealed. And of course this would not alleviate responsibility for violations that took place prior to the repeal.


Since most torture involves the commission of lesser included crimes (battery, e.g.) as well, there'd have to be a lot of laws repealed or modified in order to eliminate prosecutions.
1.24.2009 10:54am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Eli,
Please describe the risk you're willing for others to take.
1.24.2009 10:57am
ArthurKirkland:
Richard's logic is easy to follow. Americans should not willingly accept risk. Instead, the United States should destroy all risk-generating threats immediately. I look to Richard, however, for guidance concerning details. Should we warn the people of Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Egypt or Pakistan before we obliterate all of those risk-ridden countries next week, or would provision of 24-hour notice create unacceptable risk?

For the weaklings who would flinch at destroying hundreds of millions of people, set aside the moral misconceptions and focus on the economic benefit: Map-makers will be hiring.
1.24.2009 11:37am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Arthur
Please describe the risk you're willing other Americans to accept.
1.24.2009 3:17pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mark:

lesser included crimes


I didn't think of that. Thanks for pointing it out.
1.24.2009 4:17pm
ArthurKirkland:
Richard

I am willing to accept the risk that some people the United States does not kill will dislike Americans, will attempt to harm Americans, will harm Americans.

(Americans also must accept, regardless of whether I am willing, the risk that a number of activities -- torture, other forms of abuse, kidnappings, the killing of innocents, the maiming of innocents, the choosing of sides in foreign disputes, attacking the wrong country, financing despots, deposing democratically elected governments, etc. -- will be counterproductive.)

Please describe, Richard, the risk you are willing to have other Americans accept.
1.24.2009 4:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Arthur.
Then I expect you to show up a number of funerals and explain, that under the circumstances, it was all for the best and things worked out about as you had hoped.
Practically any other alternative would have made you feel bad.

You will note that I asked a question that made two commenters uncomfortable. I made no policy prescriptions. Yet they, unable to answer the question, decided to deflect the question by accusing me of wanting to do somethng horrible.

Not at all the first time.
1.24.2009 5:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

unable to answer the question


A description of you, here.

Not at all the first time.


Indeed.
1.24.2009 5:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
That first link should be this.
1.24.2009 5:51pm
ArthurKirkland:
Richard:

When you asked a question, I answered.

When I asked you the question, you ignored it.

Did it make you uncomfortable?
1.24.2009 6:06pm
davod (mail):
Crawford made up her own definition of torture.

Considering we have lawyers writing these articles, and I presume some lawyers responding, I cannot understand why no one mentions what the US signed up to when it ratified the UN treaty.

"In other "reservations" to and "understandings" about the ratification, we:

Rejected article 30 (1), which allowed any country to take a dispute about torture to the International Court of Justice for adjudication or arbitration;

Enunciated our own definition of torture:

That with reference to article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality."
1.24.2009 7:00pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Arthur.
You are the one who said we need to accept risk. I made no policy prescription. So I have no need to describe what the costs of it would be, since there is no "it".

I would make the point, however, that we are in a new situation. Prior to this, deterrence was useful. The potential bad guys liked their lives, their money, their positions, their trade status.
One of our enemies has some morons in charge who have said that they think losing 20 million Iranians in return for wiping out Israel would be a good idea. I'd be interested in how many they'd not mind losing to wipe us out.
I don't think the doctrines of the quiet past will serve us in the stormy future, the future being populated with potential enemies who think differently than previous enemies did.
For example, I was comforted to think the Politburo members were officially unbelievers in the afterlife.

So, it appears that you don't want anybody to know exactly what you think we should absorb as punishment. The potential victims might object. So you have to ascribe evil motives to me, to distract from the unanswered question.
1.24.2009 7:26pm
ArthurKirkland:
I am reluctant to ascribe to anyone a position so dopey as "accept no risk," at least not without a clear acceptance of that position, but you are tempting me, Richard.

You suggest that you are willing to accept less risk (at the cost of inhuman and criminal conduct, apparently, although you decline to recognize that as a cost), and demand of those who do not share your level of selfishness an inventory of the risks they would accept, yet decline to identify the risk you would accept.

Your policy, it appears, is to accept -- at least when frightened -- torture, "anticipatory self-defense," kidnapping of innocents, warrantless surveillance, limitless detention without charge or trial, and similar conduct by the United States. I wonder what principle distinguishes those methods of "self-defense" from simply eradicating Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, and other risky countries?
1.24.2009 7:47pm
Just an Observer:

Giving de facto immunity to war criminals is also inconsistent with international legal norms.

-- David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, writing in the Wall Street Journal

I took that quote shamelessly out of context, but the irony was too irresistable not to post it in this thread.
1.24.2009 7:55pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
davod:

Crawford made up her own definition of torture.


Crawford served as General Counsel of the Army (under Reagan) and Inspector General of the Department of Defense (under Bush I). Bush I appointed her "to the nation's highest military court in 1991 for a fifteen year term and [she] later served as its chief judge from 1999 - 2004." Then under Bush II she was selected to be in charge of detainee trials.

Please explain why three R presidents gave very senior positions to a person who is inclined to make things up. I know that Dubya is famous for hiring dishonest, incompetent people. But his daddy, and Reagan? Was that an issue for them, too?

I cannot understand why no one mentions what the US signed up to


You're joking, right? The exact text that you claim "no one mentions" was already cited upthread, here. What "I cannot understand" is why you're willing to make it so obvious that you haven't even read the thread.

What I also "cannot understand" is what makes you think that anyone is going to believe that Crawford, of all people, is less knowledgeable than you regarding "what the US signed up to."

And hopefully you'll tell us about your detailed knowledge of the situation, which proves that what we did falls short of the definition you cited.
1.25.2009 4:47am
davod (mail):
jukeboxgrad- Stop it. Your whining is geting old. You actually have to read what I wrote then conduct your own research to rebut.
1.25.2009 9:22am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Arthur. I'm suggesting no policy whatsoever.
I am pointing out differences from earlier times.
I hope that means we need to think differently but I made no suggestion as to what that thinking should be.
I'm still waiting for an answer about the risk we should accept to make you feel better. How about quantifying it?
What number of Americans dead of Islamic terror per year should we be expected to absorb?
We know many think Israel is expected to absorb a pretty substantial number--considering the size of their population.
What is our number, Arthur?
1.25.2009 10:06am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
You actually have to read what I wrote


What you cited was already discussed in this thread before you showed up and made a big deal about how no one knew about it but you. And it was also well-known by Crawford before you showed up to tell us that you're smarter than she is. So you should start answering questions instead of dodging them, because the whining is all yours.
1.25.2009 10:11am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I see O is contemplating an exception in the torture issue for CIA interrogation of high value targets.
You think we should have separate trials, or have both him and Bush together?
How do you want to work that?
1.25.2009 10:12am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I see O is contemplating an exception in the torture issue for CIA interrogation of high value targets.


I see aubrey is making shit up again. What else is new.

You're suggesting that Obama is "contemplating … torture … for CIA interrogation of high value targets." Wrong. If that's what you're claiming, show us your proof.

And if you're claiming something else, you should tell us what it is, and why it would merit "trials."

You probably think that no one notices that you're running a major trade deficit with regard to questions and answers. Aside from the questions you're dodging in this thread, you also have been dodging a bunch of them in lots of other places, like here, here and here. At the same time, you grant yourself the right to ask lots of questions yourself, even when your questions have already been answered. I wonder why you think anyone who behaves this way would be taken seriously.
1.25.2009 10:30am
davod (mail):
"KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda's efforts to obtain biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three individuals involved in al Qaeda's efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly biological agent -- and he identified one of the individuals as a terrorist named Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM's arrest. In fact, we did not know about Yazid's role in al Qaeda's anthrax program. Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal assistants in the anthrax program. Without the information provided by KSM and Yazid, we might not have uncovered this al Qaeda biological weapons program, or stopped this al Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.

These are some of the plots that have been stopped because of the information of this vital program. Terrorists held in CIA custody have also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti -- they were going to use an explosive laden water tanker. They helped stop a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi using car bombs and motorcycle bombs, and they helped stop a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow or the Canary Wharf in London. "

Facts not Fiction
1.25.2009 10:40am
davod (mail):
"You're suggesting that Obama is "contemplating … torture … for CIA interrogation of high value targets." Wrong. If that's what you're claiming, show us your proof."

Silly Billy. You will never know he has ordered this because they will keep it a secret.
1.25.2009 10:47am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
davod:

Facts not Fiction


Hopefully you'll explain why you posted a Bush press release that says nothing to address the questions you've been asked. And hopefully you'll explain why anyone should attach any credibility to the same person who said this:

- we found the weapons of mass destruction
- he wouldn't let them in
- a wiretap requires a court order

You will never know he has ordered this because they will keep it a secret.


And if you're correct, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?
1.25.2009 11:28am
davod (mail):
Jukie: Stop it.
1.25.2009 1:48pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
If you mean 'stop pointing out that davod is full of shit,' no chance.
1.25.2009 1:57pm
davod (mail):
Now now Jukie. You need to reload with some Ginko Biloba and Coenzime CQ10. Get that mind ready to absorb new information instead of being lazy.
1.25.2009 2:14pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Get that mind ready to absorb new information


Your irony impairment is severe. You showed up in this thread making a fuss about some text that (allegedly) "no one mentions" shortly after that exact text had been mentioned and discussed. Obviously your reading comprehension needs some work. Likewise for your understanding of the word "new." Check a dictionary.

This would be new information: you saying something which indicates you deserve to be taken seriously.
1.25.2009 2:39pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123267082704308361.html

Let's see if that works. Or search for "Jack Bauer exception", which ought to be easy enough for all the 24 fans onboard.

It's the O looking for wiggle room should the CIA bag a big one.

I got a bunch of hits by searching for various combinations of Obama CIA interrogation exception "high value target" AP.

Anyway, you want a separate trial or should both O and W be in the same courtroom.

I see I have been accused of asking a lot of questions. True. They're mostly rhetorical. As in, how do you like knowing the contradiction is so obvious?
1.25.2009 9:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
You need to show us the unredacted version of the article where it indicates that Obama plans to torture someone. My version doesn't have that part.

I have been accused of asking a lot of questions.


It's not just that you ask "a lot of questions." It's that you routinely cut and run when it's been proven that you're full of it.
1.25.2009 10:43pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The terrs are going to hit us again. We can't be lucky or good permanently and they're going to keep coming after us.
Considering how much crap Bush got for not acting on a PDB which said al Q wanted to use airliners against us sometime, someplace, somehow--what, exactly, would the critics have recommended Bush do?--O cannot afford to say, if the next hit happens on his watch, that he was being excessively kind to the terrs and so missed something. For political purposes, it will not matter that the terr in question knew something useful or not. Considering that the infamous PDB used to smear Bush was totally inadequate on account of having too little precise information.
If he has himself an exception, it will be used. Probably with some plausible denial. He cannot not do it.
1.26.2009 8:50am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
what, exactly, would the critics have recommended Bush do?


Almost anything at all would have been an improvement on spending a month clearing brush.

Considering that the infamous PDB used to smear Bush was totally inadequate on account of having too little precise information.


Naturally. After all, it didn't provide flight numbers and seat numbers.
1.26.2009 8:58pm
Vapid Hollywood Actor (mail) (www):
I pledge to smile more.
1.27.2009 2:26pm
GM:
How is this affected by the fact that Article 2 of CAT isn't self-executing?
1.27.2009 4:24pm

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