David Kirkpatrick

April 24, 2009

Right v. wrong

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:33 pm

These are the actual sides in the current discussion on torture— particularly the waterboarding technique which is defined as torture by every legal authority aside from the discredited memos created by the Bush 43 regime’s OLC.

The coda to the linked post:

… this is a defining moment for America. This is not now and never has been a question of right versus left. It is right vs wrong. It is a bright line which the black-and-white crowd has suddenly decided is oh-so-gray. But we have their testimony now. And history has it for ever.

April 23, 2009

Slow blogging and torture …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:41 pm

… this week. The continued bad to neutral economic news (don’t let the media pollyanna’s fool you) and the ongoing torture revelations have spent those subjects for me. At least for the remainder of this week. 

I’m tapped out on the torture story for the time being. I’ve been charting it longer than most of the media and blogosphere. The grim reality is it is as bad as could be imagined.

It was ongoing and systemic, poorly-drawn legal documents were created in attempt to provide legal cover after the fact, and it’s becoming fairly clear Cheney used torture to create false leads in the connection (none we now know) between Iraq and al-Qaeda. We went into a drastically costly on many fronts war based purely on the lies of the sitting vice president and his cronies.

And according to those in the know who aren’t in CYA mode right now, the torture produced no real, usable intelligence. The shame that will forever blot the Bush 43 regime is it knowingly overturned a non-torture policy of the United States of America that pre-existed the very existence of the USA. General George Washington instituted the policy during the Revolutionary War.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney overturned a directive from our first president, repeatedly lied about the program’s existence, attempted to cover up the war crimes and now administration offcials and GOP party hacks desperately attempt to defend these shameful and criminal actions.

History will not be kind to the Bush 43 regime.

April 22, 2009

Sanity on torture from the right

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:44 pm

This blockquote is taken from a much longer round-up on the torture reports, and is a very important point to consider when discussing the “merits” of torture.

I personally think anything gained by torture is far outweighed by the reprehensibleness of the practice, but since we’ve moved past debating if the Bush 43 regime tortured or not, and are now discussing whether a civilized nation ought to be torturing anyone, Manzi’s point is a breath of fresh air from some of the more strident voices on the right.

From the link:

At National Review, Jim Manzi waded into the “very serious ongoing [torture] debate here at The Corner” and writes that “my only contribution is that I don’t think this debate has defined ‘works’ properly.”

It seems to me that the real question is whether torture works strategically; that is, is the U.S. better able to achieve [its] objectives by conducting systematic torture as a matter of policy, or by refusing to do this?

When you ask the question this way, one obvious point stands out: we keep beating the torturing nations. The regimes in the modern world that have used systematic torture and directly threatened the survival of the United States — Nazi Germany, WWII-era Japan, and the Soviet Union — have been annihilated, while we are the world’s leading nation.

April 16, 2009

The reaction to the OLC torture memo release …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:44 pm

… from an unnamed Bush 43 regime official isn’t surprising even if it is disappointing.

From the link:

A former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush called the publication of the memos “unbelievable.”

“It’s damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama’s action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are,” the official said. “We have laid it all out for our enemies. This is totally unnecessary. … Publicizing the techniques does grave damage to our national security by ensuring they can never be used again — even in a ticking-time- bomb scenario where thousands or even millions of American lives are at stake.”

“I don’t believe Obama would intentionally endanger the nation, so it must be that he thinks either 1. the previous administration, including the CIA professionals who have defended this program, is lying about its importance and effectiveness, or 2. he believes we are no longer really at war and no longer face the kind of grave threat to our national security this program has protected against.”

Of course this is the lede Drudge ran with for his link to the Politico story. I’m going with option number one here. I seriously doubt Obama expects he’s put the nation at any higher risk than we already face. If there is proof these torture techniques work, maybe it would behoove those in the know to offer something other than, “We know best. Trust us.” Every bit of evidence that has come to light has exposed the torture produced nothing other than false leads, wasting precious resources chasing shadows.

And, of course, there’s that pesky war crime aspect to the techniques as well. And the overturning of U.S. policy dating back to the Revolutionary War.

We tortured

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:18 pm

Of course the United States public has known this for a long while, but seeing the actual memos from the highest levels of the Bush 43 regime really jabs the point home.

We, the United States of America, in a direct reversal of a non-torture policy implemented by the then General George Washington, who later became the first president of this nation, authorized the torture of another human being.

This singular act is easily the greatest betrayal of our national honor ever perpetrated by the executive branch. History will not be kind to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or any other person involved in the Bush 43 regime who knew of these policies and remained silent.

Here is Andrew Sullivan on this dark dayin American history. He has kept the light shining on this travesty as well as anyone in the blogosphere and media.

From the link:

I do not believe that any American president has ever orchestrated, constructed or so closely monitored the torture of other human beings the way George W. Bush did. It is clear that it is pre-meditated; and it is clear that the parsing of torture techniques that you read in the report is a simply disgusting and repellent piece of dishonesty and bad faith. When you place it alongside the Red Cross’ debriefing of the torture victims, the fit is almost perfect. I say “almost” because even Jay Bybee, in this unprofessional travesty of lawyering, stipulates that these techniques might be combined successively in any ways that could cumulatively become torture even in his absurd redefinition of the term. And yet the ICRC report shows, as one might imagine, that outside these specious legalisms, such distinctions never hold in practice. And they didn’t. Human beings were contorted into classic stress positions used by the Gestapo; they had towels tied around their necks in order to smash their bodies against walls; they were denied of all sleep for up to eleven days and nights at a time; they were stuck in tiny suffocating boxes; they were waterboarded just as the victims of the Khmer Rouge were waterboarded. And through all this, Bush and Cheney had lawyers prepared to write elaborate memos saying that all of this was legal, constitutional, moral and not severe pain and suffering.

Bybee is not representing justice in this memo. He is representing the president. And the president is seeking to commit war crimes. And he succeeded. This much we now know beyond any reasonable doubt. It is a very dark day for this country, but less dark than every day since Cheney decided to turn the US into a torturing country until now.

December 24, 2008

Dick Cheney, self-avowed war criminal

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:50 pm

I don’t see how these comments fail to create serious legal implications for Cheney and the rest of the Bush 43 team.

Possibly the group could be exonerated given the gravity and uniqueness of the situation, but I doubt it. Many countries other than the US deal with much higher levels of terrorism and don’t resort breaking international law.

From the link:

Mr. Cheney, by contrast, is unbowed, defiant to the end. He called the Supreme Court “wrong” for overturning Bush policies on detainees at Guantánamo Bay; criticized his successor, Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.; and defended the harsh interrogation technique called waterboarding, considered by many legal authorities to be torture.

“I feel very good about what we did,” the vice president told The Washington Times, adding, “If I was faced with those circumstances again, I’d do exactly the same thing.”

The difference in tone, friends and advisers say, reflects a split over Mr. Bush’s second-term foreign policy, which Mr. Cheney resisted as too dovish. It also reveals their divergent approaches to post-White House life. Mr. Bush, who is planning a public policy center in Dallas, is trying to shape his legacy by offering historians a glimpse of his thinking, while Mr. Cheney, primarily concerned about the terrorist threat, is setting the stage for a role as a standard-bearer for conservatives on national security.

December 22, 2008

Dick Cheney, enemy of the people

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:22 pm

He’s gone on record admitting to advocating, promoting and authorizing a war crime. And he’s still wiping his ass with the Constitution and gloating about it.

Sullivan does a great job of summing things up here.

From the link:

And Cheney’s colorful explanation of this theory is also extremely revealing:

 

The president of the United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.

He could launch a kind of devastating attack the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.

What Cheney is saying is that if the president of the United States has the power to destroy all civilization alone, he has the power to do anything up to and including that. Chris Wallace asks the right questions, but it is very telling that he didn’t ask about torture. I presume that was agreed by Fox and Cheney in advance. I can see no other reason for the lacuna.

But what we know with real clarity is the following: the vice-president long ago became an enemy to the Constitution and to all it represents. He should have been impeached long ago; and the shamelessness of his exit makes prosecution all the more vital. If we let this would-be dictator do what he has done to the constitution and get away with it, the damage to the American idea is deep and permanent.