Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Still More Regarding The Torture Issue

I can't help myself. When I see still another thoughtful piece on this issue of "torture", I feel compelled to share it with the likely vein hope of turning on a light in the dark and totally empty halls of the psuedo-sanctimonious liberal minds of some who visit here. This Bruce Walker piece puts the issue in perspective, as surely as previous links have, but sometimes a different voice alerts the dead spirits of the falsely pious where other voices failed. Some may wonder why I even try. I believe that the nausea one feels and the contempt felt by another is really a moral detoxification beginning. (When one introduces nothing but healthy foods and supplementation into a fouled system, the patient may endure several days of gastrointestinal torment as the body, egged on by the good stuff, purges itself of the toxins that made that body home.) Should these deluded souls see the light, the nasty reactions will cease and they will be transformed into more sensible judges of morality. This is my fervent hope because I care.

141 comments:

Mark said...

All's fair in war.

Marty said...

In a nutshell your linked article admits that war is hell, violent, and torturous - but it also states it's necessary.

I agree that war is hell, violent and torturous - but I disagree that it is necessary to stop violence and/or terrorism.

I believe more research needs to be done regarding non-violent resistance and it's successes.
"In their study, "Challenging Goliath: Comparing the Relative Strategic Effectiveness of Violent and Nonviolent Asymmetric Warfare", Dr. Maria Stephan, Director of Educational Initiatives at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and Dr. Erica Chenoweth seek to examine the successes and failures of different asymmetric means of warfare - in which a weaker non-state actor challenges the state. In doing so, Stephan explains, they aim to assess "the relative strategic effectiveness of different asymmetric warfare types (i.e. guerrilla warfare, terrorism, and non-violent conflict), and look at the extent to which these groups have achieved their stated objectives"."

Does Terrorism work?"Classic examples of successful non-violent movements include the Indian independence movement led by Gandhi; the 1986 "people power" movement that ended the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines; the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa; the 1989 popular anti-communist popular uprisings in Central and Eastern Europe, such as the Polish Solidarity Movement; more recently the so-called "colour revolutions" in Serbia, Georgia and the Ukraine; and the independence intifada in Lebanon during 2005."

The question in my mind is how can we, as a nation, help those who wish to resist their opressive regimes non-violently rather than invading their countries with bombs and guns and in doing so become an occupying force?

Marshall Art said...

"I agree that war is hell, violent and torturous - but I disagree that it is necessary to stop violence and/or terrorism."


That's true of many on the left, and even some on the right. But unfortunately, there is nothing that proves alternatives work in every situation. And while time is wasted testing those alternative ideas, people suffer and die.

But even your example doesn't speak to the kind of evil we now face. Keep in mind, it's been going on for about 1400 years. In this scenario, it's not a matter of "weaker non-state actors" challenging the state. Instead, it's an ideology that is not just running the state, but in most ways enjoyed be the state. The terrorism we now fight is a part of a larger group separated by nations' boundaries but connected by that ideology. There's nothing peaceful that hasn't been tried, for example, by Israel to get the Islamists to call off their dogs.

Ghandi wasn't appealing to a Talibanic style gov't. Nor were the other groups presented even though some were acting against communist or other type of dictators. Indeed, had Ghandi a Sadam Hussein to encounter, he'd have been just another dead opponent. In addition, in most of the examples, there arose such a number of protestors that they amounted to a potentially dangerous and violent opponent, that the numbers had made oppressive resistance to their protests unpractical. Some dictators just won't stick their necks out.

But though diplomacy can work in some instances, it is naive to think it'll work every time with every situation, and it ignores the reality of human nature, particularly the nature of the most radical, such as the terrorists we now face.

Marty said...

"And while time is wasted testing those alternative ideas, people suffer and die."

People are suffering and dying anyway. The violence has only escalated.

"Keep in mind, it's been going on for about 1400 years. In this scenario, it's not a matter of "weaker non-state actors" challenging the state. Instead, it's an ideology"...

1400 years. An ideology.

My God Marshall, what makes you think the U. S. can change the landscape with bombs and guns after 1400 years?

It's madness.

I say get our kids the hell out of there and then take care of them when they get here.

Marshall Art said...

"My God Marshall, what makes you think the U. S. can change the landscape with bombs and guns after 1400 years?"

You are aware, Marty, that in that 1400 years there has been countless attempts at diplomacy? The idea of trying to talk and find common ground is not a new one in the least. So it's not a matter of changing the landscape, though it has had a positive impact in a variety of ways since we liberated Iraq, it's a matter of realizing that until they decide that they are done with dying, we are at war and will continue to be for some time. All the talk about giving peace a chance wouldn't get one street gang to lay down their guns. It doesn't work on assholes who think dying while killing us is a gold pass to heaven. Yeah, it's madness allright. That's why we need to fight them. They're freakin' crazy.

And here's another no-brainer prediction for you. Once we get our kids the hell outa there, we'll be sending them again soon, right after we bury more of our own citizens killed in the next terrorist attack.

Marty said...

"it has had a positive impact in a variety of ways since we liberated Iraq"

Wow. I'm speechless.

"Once we get our kids the hell outa there, we'll be sending them again soon"

Then send your kids. Mine's already been there and done that.

Dan Trabue said...

You are aware, Marty, that in that 1400 years there has been countless attempts at diplomacy? The idea of trying to talk and find common ground is not a new one in the least.

You are aware, Marshall, that in 6000 years there have been countless attempts at war and torture? The idea that we can best beat evil by embracing it (at least a little) is not a new one in the least and has not proven itself as especially effective.

In truth, this is a fallen world. No solutions work perfectly. Peacemaking attempts and diplomacy WILL fail, without a doubt. So will war and torture.

The question then becomes, which methods can we embrace without becoming that which we oppose?

Seems to me.

Marty said...

Statement Of FBI Agent Ali Soufan At Torture Hearings

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

"Wow. I'm speechless."If you believe that Iraq was better off under a cruel despot than they are now, with a real chance of developing a more democratic society, then you're in denial. If you think that countries such as Lybia, who have changed their tune as a result of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, isn't a positive change, then you're in denial. And if you think that to now respond to me with tales of what's still wrong with those countries changes the truth of those positive impacts, you are worse than in denial.

"Then send your kids. Mine's already been there and done that."Not up to either of us as we have a volunteer army, as you well know.

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

One more thing. No more links, please, that aren't countered by the words of others that have claimed otherwise. It doesn't refute in the least the notion that "torture", of the forms described in the memos, have their place in the execution of war.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

The use of violence or activities that some may label as violence does not in itself denote evil. This is what you fail to understand. I will once again ask you to consider Jesus driving out the money changers from the Temple. Was he using evil in upturning tables or angrily accusing the money changers? Or were His actions righteous? Notice that there is no indication that He had spent any time in diplomatic maneuvers attempting to rid the temple of the money changers through peaceful means. Nor is there any indication of remorse by Jesus for behaving as He did. How evil He was!

If our president decides there is no choice but to employ the most vicious and savage strategies mankind has ever known in order to save lives known to be threatened, and he makes this decision because all else has failed and time is running out, he is not "embracing evil", but doing what is necesary for the sake of saving lives. He's doing it to known bad guys who have forced his hand by not cooperating. The president's actions are then noble and righteous.

It has never been put forth that harsh techniques are used for fun or without just cause. In such situation it would be evil to withhold such techniques and allow people to die just to appear more holy, pious, sanctimonious, moral.

Dan Trabue said...

re: Jesus in the temple...

Jesus did not employ deadly violence. He chased out animals and overturned tables. He staged a Civil Disobedience event that killed not one innocent bystander nor anyone, not even the guilty.

As to diplomacy, well, we know that Jesus went to the temple regularly for some 30 years and saw this unjust system in the temple on a regular basis. We don't know how Jesus may have dealt with it for those 30 years. Perhaps he DID engage in diplomatic talks with the offending parties, or not, we don't know.

The point is, I'm not objecting to acts of CD. I'm objecting to employing deadly violence and torture.

(and a side point I'd make is I find it highly offensive to compare Jesus' actions in the temple to torture or war. This is our Lord and Savior we're talking about, not some thug.)

If our leaders want to emply a CD approach that is not deadly and does not kill innocent bystanders nor involve engaging in evil (like torture), then I will likely support them and not call it evil.

Marshall Art said...

"Jesus did not employ deadly violence."So what? Now you're playing games. So violence has to be deadly now to be evil? How convenient for your argument. Then you don't understand what constitutes evil, particularly from a Christian point of view. You understand it from a "hippie-Jesus" point of view. A violent act is a violent act and the intent behind it determines if it is evil or just. Violence alone is morally neutral.

You're also playing games with what actions constitute civil disobedience. Since when is it OK to disrupt the business of another? Overturning tables, scattering animals, driving out sellers who, BTW, are allowed to be there, all are violent acts that you call tolerable only because you want it to be so.

And as we know just from the ongoing discussion of this issue, "torture" is a subjective term that befuddled people like yourself like to apply to the most benign activities if it helps paint the previous administration in the worst possible color. Then, you focus on the generous use of the word "torture" for the emotional impact the word naturally has the average person. You never say for example, that you oppose the "attention grab" that might be used to extract info that might save people. That wouldn't raise anyone's hackles. No. You say "torture" because you know how the word plays in peoples' minds. It's a cheap trick.

Ooh! Time out! Have to fetch the kid from school!

Marshall Art said...

With child safely home I continue:

I was not comparing Jesus' actions in the temple to torture or war, but now that you mention it, considering the gentleness of some of the enhanced techniques as described in the memos, overturning tables and driving people out aren't so far apart from the "attention grab". So you can spare me your false sense of outrage. To put it into perspective, what would you prefer, overturning tables or letting people die?

The point is and always has been what shouldn't we do to protect the lives of our citizens, soldiers and allies? Is there the possibility of one so vile and contemptable that his comfort is no longer of a concern to you that outweighs the lives of your own people? Is there any number of lives that would justify less than two minutes of a scumbags' life with his face having water poured out upon it? Try for once pretending you have the courage to respond to these types of questions directly. Tell me how the life of even one civilian is worth sacrificing in order to spare a known evil-doer the low level of discomfort due to the application of the techniques described in the memos.

Craig said...

Dan,

Well played. The clever introduction of the modifier "deadly" before violence was smooth. However, it makes it hard to take all of your previous statements on violence seriously. Sorry to break it to you, but Jesus picked up (or constructed) a weapon, and proceeded to use force/violence to disrupt a group of lawful merchants who had permission to be where they were. Finally, (I love to get to break out the D.T. argument from silence), the text nowhere suggests that Jesus didn't whip people. BTW, are you really suggesting that this constitutes "civil" disobedience?

Dan Trabue said...

So violence has to be deadly now to be evil?

Um, yeah.

Teacher using force That could be considered violent) to stop a fight?

Not evil.

Teacher slitting the throat of a bully?

Evil.

Forcibly tackling a suicidal person before the throw themselves off a bridge?

Not evil.

Shooting them to stop them from killing themselves?

Evil.

Jesus overturning tables and chasing animals out of the temple?

Not evil.

Fair enough?

What makes it evil is the killing of innocents and the use of deadly force and embracing torture.

Shades of gray, I suppose, but not that hard to get for most folk.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig said:

Finally, (I love to get to break out the D.T. argument from silence), the text nowhere suggests that Jesus didn't whip people. BTW, are you really suggesting that this constitutes "civil" disobedience?

Neither does the text suggest that Jesus DID whip people. The way I read it, it sure sounds like he's driving out the animals and the business folk are chasing their goods.

"CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE," is an illegal action against some target for political or other reasons. I'm not suggesting that his actions were "civil," (as in nice or sweet) if that's what you're asking. Just that it was an act of civil disobedience. Breaking the law for some point. You are familiar with the concept?

Bubba said...

Dan, first of all, there's nothing in the Bible to support the belief that Christ's driving out the money-changers was actually an act of civil disobedience. That conclusion is not even built on an argument from silence; on the contrary, it must argue against what Scripture clearly teaches.

The Gospels are absolutely clear that Pilate thought Jesus was guilty of no crime, that Jesus was a completely innocent man. By definition, civil disobedience entails disobeying the law -- you yourself argue as much -- but Christ disobeyed no law, neither God's law nor even the civil law of the Roman empire: He was killed as a perfectly innocent man.

Pilate knew this, which is why he washed (or tried to wash) his hands of Jesus' innocent blood, and the Jewish leaders knew this too, which is why they produced false witnesses against Him.

The attempt to frame this particular event as civil disobedience is just as misguided -- and just as contrary to Scripture -- as the attempt to frame the Crucifixion as an act of political martyrdom rather than the atoning substitutionary death for our sins.

Cut it out.


It is absolutely repellent of you to suggest that we might become "that which we oppose" simply by choosing to use deadly force.

On the one hand we have a uniformed military that spends billions of dollars and puts its own soldiers at risk in order to minimize civilian casualties which are regrettable but ultimately unavoidable. On the other hand we have terrorists who deliberately target and kill as many civilians as they can; they hide their weapons and themselves among civilians, even in supposedly holy places of worship, and they strap bombs onto children to send them into pizza parlors and cafes.

On the one hand we have intelligence agents who, after reassuring the captured terrorists that their lives are in no danger, waterboard the terrorists to obtain information that we now know has saved innocent lives. On the other hand, we have terrorists who behead journalists out of sheer malice, who videotape and distribute the murder for PR purposes.

On the one hand, we have forces fighting to protect societies that are among the most decent in human history, societies that esteem, however imperfectly, individual human rights, justice, and dignity for all. On the other hand, we have forces fighting for a political ideology under which women are killed by the state for the crime of having been the victim of gang rape.

What's really evil, Dan, what's really vile, is your apparent inability to distinguish between these two groups.


Where you draw the line...

"What makes it evil is the killing of innocents and the use of deadly force and embracing torture."

...is pretty hilarious considering your support of the legal sanction for abortion, and your enthusiastic support for a politician who is so extreme, he doesn't even stop at partial-birth abortion, where an infant is dismembered mere moments before leaving the womb. Barack Obama even opposed a bill protecting survivors of abortion from infanticide.

(Barack Obama won "So that all our children could fly." To the extent Obama will have his way, there will be fewer children flying here and abroad, because some will be murdered in the womb, and some will even be left to die in a hospital janitor's closet.)


At any rate, you have no business invoking Scripture to suggest that this is where the line should be drawn.

We just went round and round (again) on the subject of the Bible's claims to record divine commands to wage wars of annihilation, and it's absolutely clear that you don't deduce your ideas about morality from the Bible.

Instead, you use your ideas about morality to edit the Bible.

You not only reject as inaccurate and ahistorical those passages in the Bible where God commands wars of annihilation, you theorize that these passages are human speculation (driven by "revenge fantasies") rather than divine revelation.

And you don't even stop at those passages where God commands the use of deadly force, you question those passages where He employs such force more directly through natural disasters.

And you go so far as to question the historical accuracy of the Bible's account of THE PASSOVER, one of the central events of Judaism, an event which Jews still commemorate -- and an event through which we understand the Crucifixion as the central event of Christianity, an event which we still commemorate.

It took long enough, but you finally explained that you believe that the Bible's accounts Passover, the Deluge, and similar events are not "historically accurate."On all your questions about what God may or may not have done, about the historical veracity of a Death Angel literally going around a city and killing innocent babes, of a flood designed by God to wipe out the earth, etc, I will say that I don't know everything God does. I can't judge God.

However, taken these stories as historically factual does not strike me as fitting with the descriptions of God throughout the Bible. Because of that, I tend to not think of them as historically accurate.
[emphasis mine]

You reject the historical accuracy of the Passover. You shouldn't dare lecture anyone about anything regarding what's biblical, because you quite clearly and quite blatantly do not accept what the Bible teaches.

Mark said...

Art, you are doing it wrong. The way to make Dan answer questions directly without obfuscation and distraction tactics, is to ask him one simple yes or no question at a time so there is no possibility that he can misunderstand.

Then, when he answers that question without dancing around it, ask another one, and so one. Eventually he will either give up, or disappear until you have moved on to other subjects.

Craig said...

Dan,

As is becoming common, your contention that you are the only one who can interpret Biblical silence continues to be puzzling. Not to mention your flat hermeneutic here. Why would Jesus whip innocent animals, when the humans were the "guilty" ones?

Seriously though, you can't keep trying to have it both ways on silence.

Although your point about Jesus being Lord, actually buttresses his "right" to use violence.

"What makes it evil is the killing of innocents and the use of deadly force and embracing torture."

So, you are contending that "deadly" makes force evil, with the exception being torture.

So to continue your exercise.

Policeman using deadly force to keep someone from killing a hostage=evil (because it's deadly)

Making a terrorist uncomfortable=evil (even though the whole point of these techniques is to keep the terrorist alive.)

Nice try, why not just admit you've modified your position on violence, so we can move on. It would be a waste of time to have to search through your blog to cut and paste a sampling of your previous views on violence.

Marshall Art said...

Indeed, this isn't the angle Dan has played in the past. Adding "death" to the equation hardly improves his case. In fact, a recent response actually bolsters my argument nicely.

"Teacher using force That could be considered violent) to stop a fight?"


Using force is a violent act. The teacher's intention was benevolent, thus no evil. No sin.

"Forcibly tackling a suicidal person before the throw themselves off a bridge?"


Also a violent act with a noble purpose. Intention again dictates the moral value of the action. The same with Jesus overturning tables and driving out the money changers. Violent actions, but no sin nor evil.

As we have seen in these discussions, torture is what one wants it to be. Not everyone agrees waterboarding should be on the list. For my part, I don't care what you call it, I care about the intentions that drive it's use in addition to what's at stake if the technique isn't used.

Dan, you like to repeat that we shouldn't repay evil with evil. But since the intentions are to save innocent lives, to beat the crap out of a suspect who is the only person with the info to save those lives is not repaying evil with evil. Our intention is to save lives, not beat the crap out of the guy. When properly laid out with all the facts, it's not that hard to get for most folks.

But what IS evil, is risking those lives, not even sacrificing them for sure, but merely RISKING those lives, rather than cause discomfort to an evil-doer who has the info necessary to save them. That's evil incarnate disguised as compassion.

Feodor said...

It's nice that MA cares so much for Iraqis and Libyans. It's nice that he feels so good about fighting evil and liberating foreigners and sending our troops to do good so that we can gain an upper hand on historic forces.

He's convinced me. I'm ready to send our troops into the Sudan. Have a million died now? Two million? Two and a half million displaced and in starvation.

Somalia, too. Failed state, pirates on the sea. Muslim war lords -- don't stop to imagine what life is like for the children.

The Congo is on a precipice, we should go in as preemptive strike to keep evil from getting to yet another killing spree.

Kenya is tending toward a failed state, we have to do something now or evil will grow immeasurably.

In Nigeria, Muslims threaten Christians and are on a slow exercise of land and resource grabbing and quiet killing. We need to effect the balance of good and evil there.

God, when I think about Marshall's words concerning the historic battle between good and evil for the last 1400 years, I find that at no other time in history are we as close to being overrun as we are right now.

Just look at the places evil is growing -- and perhaps taking advantage while we fight this long, drawn out fight in Iraq -- honorable as it is -- and now getting further into a worsened Afghanistan.

And Pakistan with the nuclear weapons! Nuclear weapons -- something we only thought may be possible with yellow cake in Iraq -- now actually happening in Pakistan.

WE KNOW NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE IN PAKISTAN AND WE KNOW THAT MUSLIM EXTREMISTS ARE ONE GOOD MONTH OF WAR VICTORIES FROM OVERRUNNING THE COUNTRY.

How can we wait? The ultimate victory of good or evil hangs in the balance.

Can we really afford to take on so many fronts to fight evil, liberate people, and preserve the future of Christendom?

Can we afford not to?

Isn't Christ asking us -- fuck the moneychangers in the temple -- shouldn't Christ be asking us to obliterate the evil actively working to harm us in Somalia, the Sudan, the Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, even Egypt, and God knows Iran?

Christ is calling us to war!!!!!!! Now for the sake of our children's children. And to liberate other children from these horrors.

Crusade! Crusade! Crusade!
Marshall is right! Marshall is righteous!
He wears the mantle of Pope Urban II.

Dan Trabue said...

Someone said:

By definition, civil disobedience entails disobeying the law -- you yourself argue as much -- but Christ disobeyed no law, neither God's law nor even the civil law of the Roman empireYou think that overturning tables in the temple and chasing out people's animals was not breaking a law(s)? Well, I don't know Roman law, but I can't imagine that was legal.

So, when I suggest that Jesus was committing an act of CD, I'm just suggesting that this fits the definition of CD. I don't see how it doesn't (unless, of course, overturning tables and driving out animals was not illegal, but I'd have to see something more authoritative than your hunch that this was the case).

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, you're becoming as bad as the rest of the inmates. I'm going to have to give up on you, too, I reckon. Here you say...

But what IS evil, is risking those lives, not even sacrificing them for sure, but merely RISKING those lives, rather than cause discomfort to an evil-doer who has the info necessary to save them. That's evil incarnate disguised as compassion.

No matter that I've repeatedly pointed out to you that this really has nothing to do with the alleged terrorist (or whoever) we have in custody. It's absolutely NOT a matter of compassion for many (most?) of us opposed to torture.

It's a matter of righteousness. It's a matter of refusing to take part in evil. Our reasoning is that it is WRONG period to take part in torture. That it is anti-Christian, anti-humanity and anti-American to do so.

So, if you wish to berate us for a wrongheaded sense of doing the Right thing and of seeking to uphold our Christian, human and American ideals, by all means, do so.

But don't try to muddy the waters by building up strawmen to knock down. That's the sort of goofiness that just makes people shake their head at the lies and deception and walk away.

[By the way, nicely played, Feodor.]

Marty said...

Thank you Feodor! You have hit the nail on the head!

I am still speechless over what Marshall has advocated. He says that when we can't counter his arguments we cut and run. My silence has everything to do with the fact that I basically have nothing left to say that could make any difference here. Everything I say, every article I link to falls on deaf ears.

Marshall you have allowed the torture apologists and warmongers to get inside your brain and pickle it. You have had to set aside the teachings of Jesus in order to embrace this madness.

Even as my son was signing on the dotted line he knew he was going against everything Jesus taught. And in the midst of his rebellion, he lost his faith.

We may have a volunteer military at the moment, but if you and yours have your way it won't be voluntary for long. Perhaps when you and yours have to sacrifice your loved ones for this madness you will then understand the futility of it all.

Les said...

"My silence has everything to do with the fact that I basically have nothing left to say that could make any difference here. Everything I say, every article I link to falls on deaf ears."

This is just dawning on you now? I've said it before and I'll say it again - that's the point of this blog. It might not be what Marshall Art envisions - or claims to envision - but at the end of the day, that's all it is. Your accepted data source doesn't match their accepted data source, so both sides reject each others' data sources. It's not a recipe for forward motion. Rather, it's a formula for chaos disguised as argument. Be like me - full time lurker, part time commenter. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.

Bubba said...

Dan, referring to me as simply "someone" is unnecessary and frankly childish. I didn't hurl epithets at you, I just pointed out that your positions are morally vacuous, hypocritical, and unbiblical.

If you can't take that sort of criticism, perhaps you should go back to writing odes about the joy of bike-riding and stop accusing others of embracing evil with their support of the use of deadly force and harsh interrogation.

If you have no problem accusing us of holding evil positions (and, now, hurling epithets like "inmates"), you should start to learn to take what you dish out.


About the substance of your response, you can certainly speculate that what Jesus did was a crime, but what's clear from all four Gospels is that Pilate did not think that Jesus was guilty of ANYTHING.

In Matthew 27:23, he asked the bloodthirsty crowd, "what evil has he done?" implying that he thought Jesus was an innocent man -- an implication made all the more clear by Pilate's immediate attempt to wash his hands of Jesus' blood.

The same question is asked in Mark 15:14. In Luke 23:4, Pilate actually asserts, "I find no basis for an accusation against this man."

And, in the fourth gospel, Pilate is recorded as having repeatedly claimed, "I find no case against him." (Jn 18:38, 19:4, 19:6)

Your theory that Jesus was a criminal is not merely extra-biblical, it's anti-biblical. It's not an argument from silence, speculating where Scripture says nothing; it's an argument against what Scripture itself asserts.


I'm not surprised to see you applaud Feodor's comment, but I do wonder, does your church make any effort to feed the poor and alleviate suffering even though there are at least hundreds of millions who will never benefit from your efforts? If you recognize that no decent system of criminal justice will ever solve every murder, much less win a conviction against every murderer, do you oppose their work to indict and prosecute any murderers?

The United States cannot address all the world's problems, but that's not a remotely good argument against our attempts to address some problems, particularly those that also threaten our own interests.


You praise Feodor for his false dilemma; funny enough, you also argue against straw men:

But don't try to muddy the waters by building up strawmen to knock down. That's the sort of goofiness that just makes people shake their head at the lies and deception and walk away.First, I will remind you that apparently even Obama's Attorney General has admitted that harsh interrogation of high-level al Queda terrorists has led to the capture of other terrorists and even the interruption of planned attacks.

But beyond that, in arguing against the use of deadly force, you invoke such pressing examples as a "Teacher slitting the throat of a bully" and "Shooting [suicidal men] to stop them from killing themselves."

You're right to denounce goofy strawmen for the "lies and deception" that they reveal.

But you're in no position to denounce them when your own arguments depend so heavily on such absurd strawmen as these.

Bubba said...

Marty:

What teachings of Jesus has Marshall set aside, specifically?

And if your son eventually lost his faith after enlisting because "he knew he was going against everything Jesus taught," can you name even one specific teaching that your son rejected by enlisting?

Feodor said...

I don't come here because I think I'll persuade Marshall. I come here because out in the real world prejudices don't come so pure and elemental. Or, they are not so openly expressed. Coming here re-sharpens my own position and rededicates me to the values I share with diverse and humanist communities. It both scares and inspires. If we cannot think out of this anxious paper bag of Marshall's, then we will contribute to losing ground in civil society. I've been through two cycles of that now, Reagan and Bush. I don't two more.
________

As for Marshall's argument, to me..

If right makes might, as he seems to argue, then to deny using the might becomes a denial of the right, of holding onto the right, and, for Marshall, the Lord who makes us right.

He takes up the second failed Bush doctrine on Iraq (the first being a pre-emptive strike to avoid a mushroom cloud) that is that liberating the people and establishing a democracy will both protect us in the long run and deliver a better life.

We can do this because we are in the right. Marshall expands this to say that we've been in the right for 1400 years and so are justified in the might we use against our enemies because the stakes are so high.

My problem with this totalizing argument is that there can be then no site of brewing "evil" -- as defined by Christian rightness -- that should be allowed to continue to do so without bringing our might down on it. Otherwise, we risk more attacks on ourselves and the slaughter of innocents.

Right makes might and must be put into play where ever wrong is creating evil.

The crippling thing to this King Arthur fairly tale is that every power has always found that it is not "right" enough to be able to handle might.

Every power using might because it thinks it is right has become a contributor to violent evil and lends motivation to those who embrace evil to do more.

The only realpolitik for a superpower is to use might for what it conceives of as right while always arguing that it is verging on being wrong. Go in slow, do not go in alone, always check on when harm is being done to individual rights.

This would be Christian realism

The only other Christian option is non-violent and active resistance. That Marshall denies this as a true Christian response is belied by the beliefs and actions of hundreds of thousands of Christians of antiquity who made the case that Christ would want them to turn the other cheek, not pick up the sword, not represent the kingdom with violence.

Ghandi was asked about Hitler. How could it ever work. His response was that of course there would huge losses, mounting dead. But 70 million died in WWII.

Could non-violence have stopped Nazi domination with far fewer deaths?

I don't think we can answer in the negative with any kind of confidence.

Feodor said...

Bubba's half measures are half right.

His take is to use might for right but only in self-interest. This bears some resemblance to Christian realism except that Bubbs does not include a respect for human rights.

But the real difficulty is isolating what "self-interest" means.

Oil? Do we want to stake our foreign policy on the morality of defending our energy interests?

The people to be liberated aren't too black, just brown? So nations outside Africa are our active fields of play?

Self-defense? But when is it self-defense? When the materials for attacking us have been gathered? That would be the first Bush doctrine. But it turned out we used might when we weren't right. Or is it the thought that counts in waging war?

Is our national self-interest to be the good liberator? Then how does Bubbs justify going here and not there? How do we decide how we choose yes and how we choose no? Tell me again why Irag is yes and the Sudan is no?

Tell us Bubbs, build a moral construct for war and torture that will not burn up in two seconds like straw.

Feodor said...

Bible lesson for Bubbs;

"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?'"

Bubba said...

Since Christ called individuals to Himself and not governments, I'm not sure His call to self-denial applies to matters of foreign policy, but thanks anyway for the lesson.

Feodor, I don't think Marshall or anyone else here subscribes to the idea that "might makes right." Instead, we believe that the right must sometimes be defended by might -- that on this side of the eschaton, peace and justice can sometimes be secured, however imperfectly and tentaviely, ONLY by the use of force.

Nor do I believe that anyone here believes that war should be waged simply to acquire oil reserves, and I find your playing the race card to be particularly repellant.

It wasn't the case that the Bush Administration's intelligence was so mistaken that it invalidated the moral justification for invading Iraq: Saddam DID have a WMD program. Thankfully it wasn't as far along as we suspected, but it appears that even Saddam thought his program had advanced further than it did.

You advocate that we "Go in slow, do not go in alone, always check on when harm is being done to individual rights," but none of these things are anything new. The supposed rush to war in Iraq was actually quite slow and deliberate, as Bush did try to persuade the UN to enforce its own resolutions and he DID gather a fairly substantial coalition; when people were abused at Abu Ghraib, the Administration prosecuted the guilty soldiers, and the recent memos help to make clear that -- even if you disagree with the particular line they drew -- the administration worked very hard to find ways to protect innocent lives while avoiding torture as it is defined both legally and even morally.

I won't try to give a glib equation for when the United States should and should not go to war; I don't think such an equation exists, but it's as idiotic to conclude that, therefore, we must never go to war, as it is to conclude that we must work to liberate all people simultaneously or none at all.

Frankly, I hardly see the point in debating the morality of American foreign policy with someone who advocates "always arguing that it is verging on being wrong."

That sort of explicitly knee-jerk second-guessing, which denounces America as imperialist when it intervenes, uncaring when it doesn't, and racist in any and every case, would cause a moral paralysis that would render us defenseless against some quite deadly enemies.

Marshall Art said...

Wow! Lot's here begging response. Unfortunately, I'M NOT OFF THE TOILET YET!!! (a personal shot to Feo's classless question at the other blog). That simply means I'm too busy to respond adequately. I will say, however, that it's nice to see Feo take the time to do more than just foul the air with inconsequential nonsense.

The main thing here is how my detractors have continued to miss the point I'm trying to make. And for Marty's sake, I will say that all the opinions to which I've linked have echoed my sentiments in each of their own personal ways. Marty's links have not addressed the point at all. For example, in her links to the WWII guy who interrogated Japanese captives, the argument hasn't been whether non-"torturous" techniques can work or have value. The argument is what if they don't and lives hang in the balance. Do we shrug our shoulders and let them die rather than to cause discomfort to an enemy? Is that truly what Jesus would want us to do? With what verse in Scripture can you back that up?

Other arguments Marty has offered suggest that war is not the answer. I submit that depends on the question. More specifically, we don't always get to ask any questions but are left with only two choices: fight or die. So those links were irrelevant as well as they assume no non-violent discussions ever took place or were attempted.

I will bring more, but I've already taken too much time now. So stay tuned. And Dan, don't go away just yet. You've been ducking the point as well, either intentionally or otherwise. Stick around. Les, perhaps you can show how I've been ignoring the points of my detractors. I don't think you can. I dare you to try.

Feodor said...

Bubbs, you don't read so good: "Then he called the crowd..."

Your distinction regarding who Jesus called is extra-Biblical interpretation. And I allow that mine is, too.

There is no biblical discussion that answers your distinction. The only consistent response is, "follow me." And he says that to both individuals and whole communities.

"Turn the other cheek," was not private conversation. He said it on a mountain in the open air to all who were gathered.

Bubba said...

Feodor, I'm not arguing that Christ's teachings were altogether private rather than public. They WERE public, but they were also personal rather than overtly political.

Even in the passage you quote, Jesus called the crowd, sure, but He didn't preach political reform. He preached personal discipleship.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

That call was made in public to a large crowd, but the call can only be answered individually.

Hence, the use of the third-person singular.

You apparently cannot distinguish between public-vs-private and personal-vs-political. Beyond that, you cannot distinguish between "he" and "they".

Please don't berate others about their skills in reading comprehension. You're embarassing yourself.

Feodor said...

Thanks, Bubba, for admitting that you are doctrineless regarding a Christian approach to the use of force. You use neither Ghandi nor Niebuhr nor Clauswitz.

And I did not say that Marshall is arguing "might makes right," I am arguing that Marshall is saying "right makes might," which is the moral formula King Arthur thinks is the solution until he ends up realizing that no one, and no nation, has ever been right enough to act the moral policeman to the world.

As it turns out, though, I am of the Christian realist camp and agree generally with Marshall and Bubbs that there are times when, as a nation state, we need to use force. I admire Dan's commitments to Jesus and find his biblical theology much more consistent and coherent than Bubba's smoke and mirrors game.

But where Bubba demurs, I do have a doctrine and will try to articulate it in relation to the last decade.

Invasion of Afghanistan was just. By going slow, I mean with deliberation. By not going in alone, I don't necessarily mean the UN, but I do mean managing to convince those allies who share our construction of representative democracy and contemporary enlightened political reasoning.

However, General Powell had a better hold on Christian realism when he argued for going in with massively overwhelming force. This tenet understands that its goal is to shorten conflict, thereby drastically reducing military and civilian casualties, cutting a clean political break from the Taliban, and fully supporting the establishment of a strong Afghani-cultured democracy.

Bubba defends Iraq, but the defense of Iraq is crippled before it gets started because Bush did not secure the peace in our first war on this front. This would be an example of not going slow.

Britain knew that that Saddam was no where near WMD and was not actively pursuing them. Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson knew the administration was making up evidence. Powell was very hesitant. But nobody went slow.

We know now that motivations were Bush's shame regarding the perceived weakness of his father and the neo-cons appetite for meddling in the Middle East. Bad motivations move too rapidly.

Three years of overwhelming force and Afghanistan would have secure peace and Pakistan would be a three or four times as secure as it is now.

Then, perhaps, Iraq. Then, again, we go in slow --meaning deliberately -- we do not go in alone and we go on with overwhelming force not in some charge of the light brigade so Rumsfeld can field test a new theory of war with the bodies of our soldiers.

Three years and Iraq would have secure peace. Six years. Done before now.

But the discussion of invading Iraq would have had to include consideration of all very troubling fronts on the war on terror. Perhaps a joint operation the Sudan and Somalia would make more sense.

But then that is the kind of deliberation with Just War principles that we did not get.

We got Christian lite and war three times as bloody and terrible than it needed to be.

We lost a couple of thousand more soldiers than we needed to. Hundreds of thousands more civilians than was necessary. We spent ourselves into oblivion and lost the kind of peace that would have remade international relations.

That you guys can't side with Colin Powell in the approach to war, simply indicates how much of the kool aid you have swallowed. And that Bubba has not stomach for discussion race issues is a sign that his tongue is so red, nothing else can alter it.

Bubba's yellow cake is the spoiled deserts of a party gone way wrong from the start.

And arguing the other side of a decision -- "are we wrong here, are we wrong here, let's look at whether we are wrong here" -- is simply the deliberative process and humility with power that is mature and moral use of power.

It is a check and balance on pulling a terribly swift sword.

Feodor said...

That you can't see the public as political is due to your privatizing glasses, Bubba.

Lenses refract light; i.e. you interpret.

You need to read yourself always, or your use of the word, "embarrass," becomes a petard on which you hoist yourself.

Feodor said...

And you've confused, "others," for a reference to just you.

See how easily pronouns don't conform to you juridical interests?

Les said...

Careful with the wording there, Art. When lefties like me come here to offer alternatives to your viewpoints, you're trend is to simply dismiss those alternatives, as opposed to ignoring them, per se. For example, go back and look at our very first exchange here at your then-new blog from June 2007 called "Random Thought...". I offered my opinions on a couple issues like the tax exempt status for churches and gay marriage. The exchange is a good example of your tendency to refuse to acknowledge there might be another valid - albeit different - perspective on devisive social issues. I always get a kick out of your claim that you can still be persuaded. Please - you're more set in stone than Mrs. Lot.

Bubba said...

Feodor, I apologize for misreading your comment on "right makes might," but I still don't think you've accurately summarized Marshall's position.


It's not that I have no doctrine regarding the morality of war, it's that I think there are no simple equations. You write that you were going to try to articulate your own doctrine, but I didn't see where you did: instead of providing a framework for determining when a war really is moral, all you did was present your alternative plan and, I guess, left the actual framework as an exercise.

There's actually some merit to the argument that Iraq required greater force than was used, and that the required force necessitated waiting until Afghanistan settled down. But that's no proof that what did unfold was a rush to war.

To argue that it was, Feodor, you have to stand behind liars like Plame and Wilson, speculate about Bush's psychological state regarding his father, and even -- once again -- lie about our waging war unilaterally. You write, "we do not go in alone," but we did no such thing: we led a coalition in Iraq, just as we did in Afghanistan.


I don't have a problem discussing issues of race. I'm just wary of people who invoke race as a political bludgeon even in the absence of evidence of racism.


About reflexive criticism, you write:

And arguing the other side of a decision -- "are we wrong here, are we wrong here, let's look at whether we are wrong here" -- is simply the deliberative process and humility with power that is mature and moral use of power.

It is a check and balance on pulling a terribly swift sword.

I'm not sure you're clear about what you support. If you support EVALUATING the other side of the question of morality, and merely ASKING the question of "are we wrong to do such-and-such," I have no objections.

If you support actually ARGUING the other side as a default position, asserting that "we are wrong" regardless of what position we're actually considering, what you present isn't a useful "check and balance" but is, instead, knee-jerk dissent for its own sake that can only lead to moral paralysis: it's amoral gainsaying that obscures what's really true and moral and right.


About what Jesus taught, if you have an actual argument that He preached self-denial as a matter of foreign policy, present the argument.

Marty said...

"Be like me - full time lurker, part time commenter. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show."

Yup. That's what I'm gonna do!

I already knew I would be farting in the wind here, but I wanted to give it an honest try. I think I provided some pretty darn good links while at it.

Les said...

Or salt, as it were. Salt, stone - oh, shut up.

Feodor said...

"... the required force necessitated waiting until Afghanistan settled down. But that's no proof that what did unfold was a rush to war."

Since the first piece happened without the second having happened, that's a rush to war. Or do you define "settled down" as simply a slow body count without any control of the situation?
______

"About what Jesus taught, if you have an actual argument that He preached self-denial as a matter of foreign policy, present the argument."

You've missed the relevant point. Any argument regarding a clear biblical address to political action rests only on interpretation. The new testament is ambivalent. You can make your argument, you can deny Dan's. But you can claim biblical support only by a superstructure of interpretive connections. The same is true for Dan. The same is true for me.

Your bluster about absolutizing your biblical judgment is absurdly self-ignorant, self-serving, and solely self-justifying. You exit reasonable discourse when you do that.

I'll leave it at "turn the other cheek" and the Sermon on the Mount generally. This is a passage heavily influenced by Graeco-Roman genres of ethical reasoning and has many parallels with texts of the time. "Matthew," who could not be Matthew by virtue of referencing these texts, was consciously crafting an ethical treatise for what he understood to be a new age, a re-newed, Messianic-fulfilled Judaism, and a call to new social practice.

But you may not be aware of these things.
_______

As for doctrine, my description covers a number of the tenets of just war theory and indicates some the ways in which the Bush prosecution of war violated these tenets.

If you want a formal delineation, do you own reading.

Briefly, it has to do with establishing the right to go to war for self defense or in defense of a third party:

- Just cause: Taliban, yes; Iraq, no
- Threshold of harm suffered: Taliban, yes; Iraq, no - Legitimate international authority: Taliban, yes; Iraq, no
- Right intention: Taliban yes, Iraq, no
- Probability of success: Taliban yes, but failed; Iraq no but barely barely succeeding
- Last resort: Not applicable to Taliban; debatable for Iraq.
- Proportionality: the anticipated benefits were certainly justifiable, but the execution of the last seven years has destroyed this.

Prosecuting the war:

- Prosecuted With Distinction: No, not until Petraeus, but I defer to Marty on this as I should no many other matters in this list.
- Minimum of collateral damage with greater benefit from attacks: A study will be required, but from media reports, usually in both theaters, with terrible incidents otherwise.
- Target necessity: Yes.

And then ending a war, the tenets of which have been undermined and made impossible by the failure to establish right to war in Iraq and failed execution of both wars:

-Appropriate Vindication
-Intention for withdrawal and treating our own just behavior issues

We should have been in the Sudan and Somalia after Afghanistan. And supporting Pakistan.

Iraq was not serious, not a serious threat to us, containable by Israel and Iran.

What brews now in the horn of Africa? Whatever it is it is on Bush's head. He emptied us of the resources to deal with it.

And Afghanistan and Pakistan are major trouble now.

Bubba said...

That you can list the principles of just war doctrine, Feodor, and briefly claim that Iraq falls short where Afghanistan does not, does not mean that those claims are simply and easily reached, much less that reasonable people cannot disagree with your checklist.

And you define a rush to war in Iraq as any invasion that started before Afghanistan was stable, but it's not clear that that definition is reasonable.


About the Bible, I understand that you believe it's foolish -- "absurdly self-ignorant, self-serving, and solely self-justifying" -- to believe the Bible has a clear meaning. I'm glad to see that you're consistent insofar as you believe that your own views require a "superstructure of interpretive connections," same as me, Dan, or anyone else.

What I don't understand is why you acted as if the Bible has a clear message. I don't understand why you quoted Matthew 16 as a "Bible lesson" for me, as if the passage's relevance to questions of foreign policy is obvious. And I don't understand why you now assert which such confidence what the author of Matthew's gospel was "consciously crafting."

It seems to me that, though you pay lip service to this idea that we're all governed by interpretative frameworks, you don't mind asserting your own interpretations as gospel truth, if you'll pardon the phrase.

It's only when people dare disagree with you about what the Bible actually says, that "reasonable discourse" suddenly disappears.

Feodor said...

The robustness of your own proposals in all that you have to say is as anemic as always.

Tell me why I cannot say that each of us has only proposals and then propose mine with as much gusto as I have, since they are, in fact, my commitments.

What I cannot provide for you, Bubba, is that old world confidence in any single culture's metaphysical understanding. Those days are gone.

There must always be some anxiety about one's relative nearness to truth. But in the modern age, we celebrate that, feeling it to be a good quotient of humility. Nonetheless, we offer our best with gusto for to do less is lukewarm and lacks integrity.

You have the choice that remains still before you: huddle in a past Victorian clarity that is no longer tenable and the refuge of the dying and disappearing... or brave anxiety and knowingly offer up hypotheses that must compete in the world and be burnished into better shape by the competition.

Either way, I'd advise you to offer something and cease your habit of hiding your own approach from criticism and simply do what you have now done.

As has been said about something else for which you would have not interest, you have "unwittingly proved the gravamen of [your] own critique: that it is easier to criticize than to propose."

Bubba said...

Feodor, tell me, when you write that the "past Victorian clarity" is no longer tenable, do you do so with any confidence in your own metaphysical understanding? Or do you offer this theory humbly?

You seem to think the age of certainty is dead: are you certain of that?

Your potshot, poorly disguised as unsolicited advice, I will file appropriately.

Marty said...

"Prosecuted With Distinction: No, not until Petraeus, but I defer to Marty on this"

David Petraeus was a yes man.

Feodor said...

Bubba,

Again, you'll have to do your own homework, there is a long body of work you'll need to catch up on --among these, no metaphysical proposals, it's all investigation -- and you should start with the foundations and work toward improvements that followed these:

Reimarus, Strauss, Renan, Weiss, Schweitzer, Gunkel, Wellhausen.

Hobbes, Locke, Hume.

Vico, Croce, Gibbon, Burckhardt, Auerbach, McLuhan.

Darwin, Einstein, Heisenberg.


Please don't project your anxiety onto me. Name it and claim it and you'll be healthier.

Now, no more not pertinent to the thread.

Marshall Art said...

OK. Lot's of stuff here. First of all, I wanted to address Marty's critique. I've got sad news for you, Marty. The war had nothing to do with you son losing his faith. It's a personal problem I hope he soon overcomes. It's not uncommon for people to experience an intensely truamatic episode and wonder about God. It's truly sad. That's when they should have been praying more and leaning on Him more. Again, I hope it's a temporary situation as I'm sure you do.

To all who accuse me of dismissing their arguments. That would depend on if your argument was relevant. If not, why should I spend time with it? You're certainly welcome to try and show how it IS relevant, but that still wouldn't necessarily make it so. But when you cut and run, that doesn't mean that my argument is right, or that I've won the debate, but by quitting, you suggest a problem with your argument.

It's important to keep in mind that the sources I present, for the most part, are presented because they mirror my own, already considered, opinions. They haven't shaped them. Feo recently made a crack about me not thinking for myself. But that is exactly what I in fact do, and my links are, as I say, the opinions of others that match mine. Take this issue of torture. Each of the articles to which I've linked are saying the same things I've said, but my hope was that perhaps being said in a different way will click with different people.

But for actual support for my position, I've used Scripture and anecdotal situations that explain what I've been attempting to put forth. Let's review what I've been trying to say in the last four or so posts on the subject:

1. "Torture" is a word that is being used to accuse, rather than to describe actions that properly match the emotional impact of the word. Before the issue of Iraq was ever on anyone's mind, to say the word torture would conjure up the most horrific images. Stretched on a rack, fingernails pulled out, bamboo shoved under the fingernails, burning, dunking to the point of actual drowning (as opposed to simulated drowing), whipped and beaten repeatedly, body parts cut off, electrocution, etc, etc, etc. Now we have the lapel grab, called in the memos "the attention grab". My position is that the actions depicted in the released memos are on the wussy side of torture if the word is to be applied at all. But some here insist on only using the word torture, without consideration for the actual technique, and acting as if it is on par with the above mentioned horrors.

2. That there are times when harsh techniques might be required and as such should not be prohibited from the president's arsenal. He is entrusted with the task of keeping his people safe. It can't be proven that "nice" techniques will work every time on every suspect, nor can it be proven that harsh techniques NEVER work. To handcuff the prez in this manner is immoral.

3. Imagine for a moment if it was learned that George Bush could have entirely prevented 9/11 by waterboarding one uncooperative known terrorist, believed by intel experts to be in possession of info directly related to the event. I dare anyone who has been opposing me to state that Bush's refusal to to so would have been the moral choice. And that's another point I'm trying to make. That the situation dictates the morality of the action, that intent, or as Christ would put it, the heart determines sin. Here's another Scriptural example: The Pharisees questioned Christ's driving out demons (or was it healing the sick?) on the Sabbath. Christ's response clearly spoke to intention.

4. It was horribly wrong to publicize this debate at all. To state publicly what had been approved and what now gives lefties the vapors, and then to publicly state that such will never be done was a strategically stupid and even insane thing to do. The good guys in the world know who we are and what we're about. The bad guys deserve to be kept guessing about what we are capable. Now they know. It's nothing and they've nothing to fear. It's rank stupidity and typical of the left. What's more, a president with stones will order it anyway when necessity dictates, as will others who's job puts them in such a situation that such a decision must be made.

5. Nobody is suggesting that such techniques be used without just cause or as a first resort. But while I keep hearing crap about whether it was necessary at all, or if it ever is, I never hear of how time sensitive info can be had from an uncooperative scumbag when lives are on the line. Never. One of Marty's fascinating but irrelevant articles suggested that, but I don't recall any such descriptions. Perhaps she knows of any that produced intel under those conditions. I'd sincerely love to hear it.


None of these points has been addressed directly with anything like real support or evidence. And if there's any dismissing going on, it's the dismissing of my arguments and the manner in which I've backed them up. Numerous examples of intention from the Bible and otherwise has yielded no rebuttal other than "it's always wrong". Hey. I'm the conservative. I'm the one who deals in absolutes, remember? Now, because there's no real argument that favors the opposition, the opposition relies on absolutes. Kinda like the Pharisees.

And finally, Feo began to debate and then quickly fell back on his usual cryptic crap and psuedo-intellectual mumbo-jumbo. He's my odds-on favorite for the annual "Baffle 'em with Bullshit" award. Nobody does it better. Unfortunately, he doesn't rebut anything. Oh sure, he's allowed to have his opinions, but to present them as the last word on the subject is not only arrogant, but insane due to the fact that he's got no cause to be so arrogant, as he is book educated, but not very intelligent. Drop more names, Feo, it fails to impress. I thought I was the one who doesn't have a thought of my own. You've traded understanding of an uncomplicated Bible for the teachings of mortal men to form your opinions. That makes you "of" the world and a man who needs others to tell you how to think. Even then, you don't do it very well. If you did, you wouldn't need to pretend to be so educated and erudite, and you'd be able to craft an argument in easy to understand terms. Intelligence and common sense do not required such pretention.

Feodor said...

Torture gets us false information. There, done with that.

Mark said...

Sometimes it does, Feodor, but sometimes it doesn't. But, if we don't try everything we feel is necessary, innocent people die. And you know it.

Feodor said...

Oh, right, you like links:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/14/iraq.torture/index.html

Feodor said...

If sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't, then everything you get is untrustworthy and inactionable.

What you missed is that we don't know it's bad information until well after the fact.

Torture gives us nothing we can use.

Les said...

"But when you cut and run, that doesn't mean that my argument is right, or that I've won the debate, but by quitting, you suggest a problem with your argument."

Says you. Arguments tend to run their course when no headway is made, and you've left threads hanging yourself, Art. For example, the old thread I mentioned earlier. That's the way it works in blogland.

Bubba said...

If harsh interrogation never works, that's a good reason that it shouldn't be used. If it only sometimes works, I think it's glib to say that's good enough to avoid its use altogether.

The criminal-justice system doesn't solve every crime, much less convict and punish every criminal. Miscarriages of justice are unavoidable: innocent men have been wrongly convicted, and whatever safeguards you put in to minimize that, are going to lead to injustices in the other direction, where truly guilty men go free. But all that isn't a good argument for not having a criminal-justice system at all.

More to the point, I believe that the CIA has admitted that harsh interrogation techniques HAVE led to obtaining information that was actually useful and usable. It was usable, because the information was used to capture other terrorists and prevent future attacks.

After he was subjected to the “waterboard” technique, KSM became cooperative, providing intelligence that led to the capture of key al Qaeda allies and, eventually, the closing down of an East Asian terrorist cell that had been tasked with carrying out the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

The May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that details what happened in this regard was written by then-Principal Deputy Attorney General Steven G. Bradbury to John A. Rizzo, the senior deputy general counsel for the CIA.

“You have informed us that the interrogation of KSM—once enhanced techniques were employed—led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles,” says the memo.

“You have informed us that information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discover of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemaah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave,’” reads the memo. “More specifically, we understand that KSM admitted that he had [redaction] large sum of money to an al Qaeda associate [redaction] … Khan subsequently identified the associate (Zubair), who was then captured. Zubair, in turn, provided information that led to the arrest of Hambali. The information acquired from these captures allowed CIA interrogators to pose more specific questions to KSM, which led the CIA to Hambali’s brother, al Hadi. Using information obtained from multiple sources, al-Hadi was captured, and he subsequently identified the Garuba cell. With the aid of this additional information, interrogations of Hambali confirmed much of what was learned from KSM.”

A CIA spokesman confirmed to CNSNews.com today that the CIA stands by the factual assertions made here.

In the memo itself, the Justice Department’s Bradbury told the CIA’s Rossi: “Your office has informed us that the CIA believes that ‘the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qa’ida has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.”

If this memo is accurate, we have already used information obtained through harsh interrogation: we can argue the techniques' effectiveness, but the position that they are wholly ineffective doesn't appear tenable.

What interests me more is the moral question: assuming that harsh interrogation is even somewhat effective (and it certainly seems that way), is it ever morally permissible?


Marshall, I think intent is a big part of the gut-level reaction against torture -- not the intent of American agents who use or have used harsh interrogation techniques over the last few years (the question of whether those techniques rise to the level of torture being an open question) but the intent of torture in earlier contexts.

People used to torture people to punish them for their crimes, exacting a punishment that is cruel and unusual and therefore immoral. People also used to torture people to extract false confessions in the context of tyrannical show trials, for instance during the Inquisition and from within the Soviet state.

But, in this situation, we're not attempting to punish people for past crimes or to force a false confession for crimes they didn't commit. We're trying to get information.

And in this case, we're not trying to get the bank account information of some rich but decent man, in order to rob him blind, nor are we trying to get the whereabouts of a man's loved ones to cause him even worse torment.

We're trying to get information from a terrorist, about his fellow terrorists and their plots to murder as many innocent people as they can.


Suppose a child got seriously injured and his arm became infected with gangrene, in a situation where modern, truly effective anesthesia wasn't readily available. (Such situations were completely unavoidable before advances in the 19th century.)

In order to save the child's life, a surgeon -- or butcher, or at least someone who knew how to use a bonesaw -- would have to amputate the child's gangrous arm, without the benefit of anasthesia, and against the child's wishes if he was, understandably, too terrified to go through with it.

I doubt anyone here would argue that the surgery is tantamount to torture.

(Then again, I doubt anyone would think that a strong argument against the use of deadly force can be made by invoking strawmen like slitting the throats of schoolyard bullies. Yet, that argument was made.)

Why is it not torture? The intent: the intent was to save the child's life.


Now, of all the things that U.S. government agents have done in interrogating high-level members of terrorist organizations, they hardly compare to amputation without anasthesia.

The pain is far, far less.

There is no permanent damage done.

And the subject is an adult terrorist rather than an innocent child.


The only thing worse about the terrorist interrogation than the gangrous amputation is the role that pain plays. In the amputation, pain is an avoidable side-effect that would have been minimized if it were possible. In the interrogation, pain -- or simply discomfort -- is the intended result. But, it's not pain for its own sake, as punishment for the tortured or sadistic pleasure for the torturer; again, it's not pain to induce a false confession or extract anything less than the most essential information.

The pain is being caused to save the lives of others.

What the absolutists must conclude is that, even though it's okay to cause pain to an innocent child as an unintended side-effect in order to save his innocent life, it's wrong -- ALWAYS wrong, without exception -- to INTEND to cause pain to a known terrorist and murderer in order to save others' innocent lives.

Even if the intent is rooted in saving the lives of thousands, they must believe that the intent to cause pain is always wrong.

The only thing I would ask is, is the intent to cause death ALSO always wrong?

In the cases of war and capital punishment, most thoughtful people do allow for the deliberate use of deadly force with the intent to kill.

Anyone who rejects altogether the use of deadly force with the intent to kill doesn't interest me all that much: I believe their position is so unreasonable that it's hardly worth discussing.

But what does interest me are those who accept the use of deadly force with the intent to kill, at least in some limited circumstances, while they are absolutists against the intent to cause pain.

What I wonder is, why the distinction? By any rational measure, death is worse than pain. If I had no choice but to endure terrible but brief pain or an immediate death, I would hope that I would choose pain.

If pain is less bad than death, why is the intent to cause pain always out-of-bounds, if you allow for the intent to cause death in limited circumstances?

One can argue that our instinctive repulsion to deliberately inflicting pain shouldn't be ignored, but it's worth nothing that appeals to the "ick factor" are rooted in conservatism.

(See Jonah Goldberg, in an article here, focusing on cloning but making points that could also apply to torture. Later he wrote, "without the ick factor we have to discuss each and every idea as if it had merit and once we do that, we've already lost something. I would rather live in a society that justified its prohibitions on cannibalism or, say, necrophilia out of disgust than out of pure reason.")

When the "ick factor" is part of the reason the average man or woman opposes, say, male sodomy -- not its legality altogether, just its being given societal approval through the redefinition of marriage -- their opposition is smeared as homophobia.

If instinct is to be reviled in that case, and if reason and rationality are so championed by the Left that, as Al Gore put it, opponents are guilty of an "assault on reason," a consistent leftist cannot appeal to an instinctive reticence toward intending pain as a good basis for arguing that anyone who approves of intending pain (however mild, and in the most limited of circumstances) as embracing evil.

If there is a rational basis for ruling the intent to cause pain completely out of bands, while the intent to kill is sometimes permitted, I haven't yet seen it.

Feodor said...

The CIA is not trustworthy to report on itself, especially when someone in the White House is pushing it to produce information and encouraging it to engage in legally questionable actions.

If torture is indicated as not only allowable but in defense of Americans, in defense of Americans who have just suffered attack, then the agents who carry out the will of the Vice President's office will not blink at producing reports to the legislative branch (seen as a weak link in defending America).

That our secret operations do not air the truth in public is nothing new. From the American Revolution to the Iran-Contra, our military and our spy services carry out executive intentions despite the possibility of doing illegal activities. They leave that deliberation up to others. They follow orders.

If Bubbs wants a rational for the distinction between causing imminent fear of death to someone under captivity and the actions of war under rules of battle, I can suggest the Geneva Conventions.

If that seems suddenly arcane in our new time of brutalism, Bubbs can visit Auschwitz. If that seems too dramatic to him -- since he seems overwhelmed by references to mass terror like Jim Crow -- he can pick up the phone and request an interview with John McCain. There are several options.

Feodor said...

And yes, Marshall, if we are going to talk calculus, I expect you and Bubba to have passed algebra. Since Bubba was asking how we get past Victorian hermetic values and all the way to the twenty-first century, it seemed to me to start him off where he needs to start off.

Bubba said...

The Geneva Convention only applies to signatories to the convention: not only has al Queda never signed onto Geneva, their tactics are deliberately in defiance of the rules of war. We are no legal or moral obligation to limit our questioning of al Queda terrorists to name, rank, and serial number.

To invoke Auschwitz or even McCain's torture is hardly fair, considering that even the harshest methods that have been used are nothing in comparison, that the goal has been intelligence and not mere sadism, and the subjects have been top-level terrorists and not innocent Jews or uniformed soldiers.


I'm not surprised you dismiss as untrustworthy the CIA's claims about its programs, Feodor. I suppose that's why you would never appeal to the authority of sources with their own conflicts of interests, like Wilson and Plame, right?

Your immediate rejection of CIA claims because of the source raises the question of what precisely you would accept as counter-evidence to your claim that harsh interrogation is completely useless.

It also raises the question of motive on the part of the CIA and the Administration they worked for. It's one thing to defend harsh interrogation techniques if you genuinely believe they save lives: what you're suggesting is that they knew the techniques were ineffective but pushed for them anyway. The only possible motives for that are malicious, and you would have to do much, much more to prove malice on their parts.

But then, you have no problem continuing to insinuate racism on the part of people with whom you disagree and do so without the tiniest justification.

To expect you to behave honorably at this point is foolish.


And, frankly, if you were really interested in explaining your own position with both gusto AND humility, your skepticism at metaphysical certainty would probably restrain you from insulting our intelligence every chance you get.

You've written that presenting one's best arguments without gusto "is lukewarm and lacks integrity."

Pretending to be humble while repeatedly displaying arrogance hardly involves integrity, either.

Feodor said...

Bubba,

You're shifting your feet. You claimed to have never "seen" an engagement of general principles for distinguishing the abstract notion of torture from the abstract notion of waging war. I provided you with disparate sources that you have in all likelihood "seen," and now indicate that, indeed, you have.

But now you shift ground and ignore the connected dots, and claim to be wanting for coverage of the particular cases of Guantanamo. This is a clear sign of a willful dodge. And since I think you're generally capable of drawing from various sources on general principles and applying them to the case at hand, the froth you've whipped up about being honorable is your own doing.

That's on you.

As for the veracity of the CIA, I don't have an "immediate rejection," as you claim. I hesitate to list books examining the cases in the Vietnam War, Iran Contra, and current Senators making this case.

Somehow documentation seems too intimidating to you two.

Name for me, please, the conflict of interest for Wilson and Plame? As I understand it, Wilson was reporting his findings in sworn testimony. The White House did not like his findings and so we heard of Plame. It seems to me that Wilson and Plame were actually working against their interests, certainly hers in doing spy work which you should applaud. But she was outed. By the same guys that approve of torture.

Power corrupts. Green lighting torture corrupts.

Or are you still denying general principles?

Bubba said...

I've already explained Plame and Wilson's conflicts of interests. I've laid out the sources and you've refused to connect the dots.

If you can pretend to have already addressed my question about why the intent to inflict pain is always forbidden when the intent to inflict death is not, I can pretend to have answered your questions, too.

Gosh, this is fun.

If anyone on the left wants to have an actual discussion, please someone let me know.

Feodor said...

Where.

Feodor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshall Art said...

Interesting. Feo bashes us that we haven't moved beyond Victorian thinking, yet he hasn't moved past the thinking the created Geneva, as if everything in the present matches those times perfectly. Nor has he moved past any of the various writers he's listed, as if we're should be impressed, and for all that still can't graps the simplest concept being discussed here.

"And yes, Marshall, if we are going to talk calculus, I expect you and Bubba to have passed algebra. Since Bubba was asking how we get past Victorian hermetic values and all the way to the twenty-first century, it seemed to me to start him off where he needs to start off."

Let me suggest you find one of your books to help you fathom this: Books provide information, not intelligence. You're stark proof of that.

"Torture gets us false information."There is no way you could ever hope to prove that this is true in absolutely ever situation with absolutely every human being. Some are such that the mere fear of torture will provoke their legitimate testimony, which is why the release of these techniques to the public and the promise to never use them was the height of stupidity.

Your references to McCain and Aushwitz fails by virtue of the fact that they are dealing with applications of torture, as well as types, that Bubba and I have already stated as being apart from what we are defending. Don't you have any books that teach you how to stay on point?

I'm not about to give blanket defense for all that the CIA has done during its entire existence, but I also will not assume that because illegal actions might have been taken in the past by some of its members, then all members are equally beneath respect. Or is it too Victorian to judge even CIA members innocent until proven guilty?

Feodor said...

This article reminds me that the Pope John Paul II did not find the invasion of Iraq to be justified.

www.nytimes.com/2009/05/16/world/
middleeast/16pope.html?hp

And I particularly like these words: he [Pope Benedict] went to Auschwitz “as a son of the German people, a son of that people over which a ring of criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the recovery of the nation’s honor, prominence and prosperity, but also through terror and intimidation.”

It is thoroughly American to investigate the question of how far we may have let ourselves unintentionally travel down a similar road.

It is imperialistic to get so blindly outraged at the questioners. And tellingly defensive.

Marshall Art said...

Regarding Bubba's wonderful comments of 10:07 AM, the only thing I would add is that the use of these techniques have been only on those for whom it was believed actionable intel could be extracted and only after other techniques failed. That's how I understand it.

Marshall Art said...

Still waiting for "nice" techniques that have worked in similar circumstances as have been the basis of my position. Anyone? Buehler?

Feodor said...

Marshall, if you have a process that gives you polluted results then you cannot rely on that process.

The veracity of the information you is only proved after the fact. Sure, you can bomb a town and then ask questions about who actually lived there. But that is a war crime for the high level of percentages of getting it wrong.

Besides the fact that torture was being used to get information that the White House WANTED beforehand: Iraq-al Queda linkage.

That further pollutes a polluted promise.

See, that is why I give you remedial foundations to contemporary western civilization. Because when we have these discussions, as I've said before, we are forced to go back to first principles.

Algebra before Calculus. Geneva before Terrorism. Milk before meat, faith before teaching.

Feodor said...

By the way, Bubbs, if I saw off your arm in some craxy intention to save a child's life, that wold be criminal. Good intentions alone are not enough. The act itself has to be a measure that works.
________

As for the information from terrorists, isn't this why lawyers impugn testimony from known liars?

Jessie Ventura, a former Navy Seal, says he can get Cheney to confess to murdering his grandchildren if he waterboarded him.

You know what this tells me? Not that Jesse Ventura is something of a nut job.

But men an awful lot like Ventura are the personality types drawn to waterboarding.

You guys are trying to make a moral silk purse out of an amputated sow's ear.

Bubba said...

Feodor, I personally don't have a problem with the question, is a given policy moral? When those who you would describe as mere "questioners" go on, not only to provide an answer in the negative, but to compare harsh interrogation with the Holocaust, it's not inappropriate to balk.

It's cheap theatrics disguised as amateur psychology to smear our understandable outrage as "tellingly defensive." If we said nothing, you would probably say something about our silence speaking volumes.

You're just playing games.


To go back, briefly, to Lord Acton, I actually disagree with the claim that power corrupts, as most people now use the phrase. I believe God is omnipotent yet holy: being all-powerful, He is not corrupted in the least. Power doesn't corrupt, it only casts pre-existing corruption in starker relief.

One funny thing is, Feodor, you're taking Acton's quote out of context. He wasn't criticizing the corruption of those who are powerful, but the corruption of historians who give powerful men more wiggle room:

I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holder of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. The inflexible integrity of the moral code is, to me, the secret of the authority, the dignity, the utility of history. If we may debase the currency for the sake of genius, or success, or rank, or reputation, we may debase it for the sake of a man's influence, of his religion, of his party, of the good cause which prospers by his credit and suffers by his disgrace. Then history ceases to be a science, an arbiter of controversy, a guide of the wanderer, the upholder of that moral standard which the powers of earth, and religion itself, tend constantly to depress.
What's even funnier is that Acton seemed to hold to objective truth -- the "inflexible integrity" of morality -- to a degree that you seem to dismiss as Victorian folly.

But, even granting your premise that power corrupts, I don't see an argument for the particular conclusion that you draw.

"Power corrupts. Green lighting torture corrupts."

The same can be said of "green lighting" the use of lethal force, and yet you do not argue that the intent to cause death is absolutely immoral.


If it's the case that harsh interrogation has never and will never provide any useful information, then you would have a very good argument against its use, and I would join you in your forceful yet (somehow) humble and uncertain opposition to even the mildest forms of harsh interrogation.

But Jesse Ventura's claim that he can "get Cheney to confess to murdering his grandchildren if he waterboarded him" doesn't prove that trustworthy intelligence cannot be gained from the technique.

And the claim isn't even entirely germane to this conversation, since no one here supports using harsh techniques to extract false confessions of past crimes. We support the techniques, to the degree that they actually are effective, to extract true information about future attacks.

Feodor said...

Orwell is right, again.

You can read that and openly suggest that "corrupts" actualizes the historian and not the king?

Wow.

And that you can read this while upholding torture with a straight face and dismissing Geneva, the Atlantic Charter, Charter of the United Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "The inflexible integrity of the moral code is, to me, the secret of the authority, the dignity, the utility of history. If we may debase the currency for the sake... success.... Then history ceases to be... the upholder of that moral standard which the powers of earth, and religion itself, tend constantly to depress."

Double wow.

And since none of the examples I give are Victorian, I think you know that you are spraying "Victorian" around as an awkward and deceptive euphemism for human conscience that has nothing to do with my point about the relationships between language and truth, science and culture.

That the notion that as perceiving beings all we have are our perceptions is missing from your worldview is obvious from the ways you retreat to your Adamic cave-like trust in an anthropomorphic God every time the news of the world shakes your foundations.

It is obvious in how you brazenly ellude the clear understanding that corrupting power applies to fallible, time imprisoned perceiving human beings and is not, cannot be, a linguistic attribute applied to a notion of a divine being.

You retreat to your metaphysical truths, a cloudy heaven and a fiery hell, and cannot admit that that is a song, a poem, a mythic approximation to sign for us who we are becoming, how we are loving, today.

Mind you monocle, Vicar, it's getting in our soup.

Feodor said...

War is hell. Torture is going to hell.

That is my formulation.

Bubba said...

Oh, I see. Your problem isn't with my "Victorian" thinking, it's with my Christian faith. I believe in the God of the Bible, and my faith in the authority of the Bible isn't something peculiar to Victorians, but something that has been held by all faithful Christians since the birth of the church.

You should be more honest about the linguistic attributes you apply to other people. For that matter, if you want to insist that perception and perspective makes metaphysical certainty impossible, you should have the integrity to stop insulting those who dare disagree with you.


I also see that you didn't address my most salient point, that if authorizing the use of force to inflict pain is corrupting and therefore forbidden in all cases, it's not clear why it's still morally permissible to authorize the use of force to inflict death, at least in very limited circumstances.

"War is hell. Torture is going to hell."

Don't simply restate your position, go about arguing for it.

Feodor said...

War is corrupting. But necessary in self-defense and in defending slaughter of innocents. Though historically, the people of a nation have rarely been moved to wage war for the sake of others. I'm hard pressed to think of a pure example.

That is why one aspect of Just War Theory (speaking of eluding salient points) is a process of addressing justice issues in the execution of the war itself. Again, asking if we went wrong, how wrong, and engaging in appropriate punishments and possible restitution.

Torture is corrupting and unnecessary and unjust. It's benefit is not proportional to its damage. It never provides a proportional advantage that cannot be met by legal means. It does produce collateral damage that is unrecoverable. It tears at the moral fabric of a people, at the moral fabric of international relations. It jeopardizes our soldiers to an even greater degree than the war itself.

It is destructive in ways that are irredeemable.

When the possibility of redemption, of justification can be envisioned, soldiers do not commit suicide at Vietnam rates. Soldiers do not storm into barracks and blow away their comrades. Interrogators do not kill themselves. Presidents do not shift from a justification of pure power for self-defense in a hostile world to a justification of an effort to liberate a people and spread democracy, and this shift happening overnight when the body count got over 2000.

Inflicting pain with force, using deadly force has to be justified for the human psyche to comprehend. When the hiker's arm got trapped under a rock, he cut it off rather than die. While traumatic, his psyche is whole.

The person who cuts their arm off while free, is deeply, deeply troubled.

If I cut your arm off to save you, I will be fine. In fact, I will be a surgeon. There will necessarily be pain, no matter what you take.

If I cut your arm off to save a child, I am already deeply, deeply troubled.

I think I've said that. But in some classes, repeating is a pedagogical tool.

Feodor said...

Shall we, for a moment, compare the incidents of suicide and murder in Iraq with that in Afghanistan?

30 to 1.

Feodor said...

And my point, your problem, is about your Victorian thinking Christian faith. It is a compound problem.

Marty said...

"Still waiting for "nice" techniques that have worked in similar circumstances as have been the basis of my position. Anyone? Buehler?"

Where have you been? This info is bleeding out everywhere! Plus I do believe I linked to testimony that stated such.

Feodor said...

Sorry, by 30 to 1 I mean to indicate a ration, not an absolute count.

Suicide by Iraqi soldiers and veterans is horribly, horribly high.

And, pertinent to this, more US Vietnam veterans committed suicide than soldiers killed in action (Marilyn B. Young, The Vietnam Wars 1945-1990).

Think about that.

Bubba said...

Feo, if you can make your argument without the constant insults, do so.


Terrorists have taken literally thousands of innocent lives in a single attack, and they would almost certainly attempt to kill tens of thousands more if they were ever to acquire more sophisticated weapons. Because of this, I don't think it's clear that the benefit of harsh interrogation -- which I'm not sure always amounts to torture -- "is not proportional to its damage."

If there are alternative approaches that are less questionable and at least as effective, I would support them instead, but those alternatives need to outlined rather than merely alluded to.

Just as the claim that harsh interrogation is useless needs be proven, the claim that there are better approaches needs to be proven.


About the Iraq war, Feodor, you continue to misrepresent basic facts that are readily available in the public record.

You imply that Bush shifted "from a justification of pure power for self-defense in a hostile world to a justification of an effort to liberate a people and spread democracy, and this shift happen[ed] overnight when the body count got over 2000."

This simply is not true.

In his televised address to the nation in March 2003, days before the invasion, Bush included the goal of Iraqi freedom in justifying the operation that would be known, from the very beginning, as Operation Iraqi Freedom:

"As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty, and when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

"The United States with other countries will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land, and the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace. That is the future we choose."

You could argue, as some hawks do, that Bush was being too idealistic. You could also sneer that this inclusion of freedom for Iraqis as part of the goal was the result of cynicism. You can quibble about whether WMD's were over-emphasized early on (they were) and American interests under-emphasized later (they were).

But you cannot claim that the goal of political freedom for Iraqis was fabricated after the fact.

The claim is clearly false, as is your earlier, repeated insinuation that the Iraq invasion did not involve a coalition of allied forces.

Marty said...

"First of all, I wanted to address Marty's critique. I've got sad news for you, Marty. The war had nothing to do with you son losing his faith. It's a personal problem I hope he soon overcomes."

Marshall you obviously aren't aware of the toll this war has taken on a lot of troops and their families.

Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually.

You've. Got. No. Clue.

Marty said...

"The claim is clearly false, as is your earlier, repeated insinuation that the Iraq invasion did not involve a coalition of allied forces."

The Great "Coalition":

United Kingdom: 11,000
Poland: 2,400
Italy: 2,700
Ukraine: 2,000
Spain: 1,300
Netherlands: 1,100
Australia: 1,000
South Korea: 700
Romania: 700
Bulgaria: 470
Denmark: 496
Thailand: 460
Honduras: 370
El Salvador: 360
Hungary: 300
Dominican Republic: 300
Nicaragua: 230
Singapore: 200
Mongolia: 180
Azerbaijan: 151
Norway: 150
Latvia: 121
Portugal: 128
Lithuania: 105
Slovakia: 105
Philippines: 96
Czech Republic: 80
Japan: 75
Albania: 70
Georgia: 70
New Zealand: 60
Estonia: 55
Kazakhstan: 29
Macedonia: 28
Moldova: 24

Total: 26,500

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

The numbers of troops from the other nations is not the least bit relevant when the question of "unilateral" action is made. That troops were sent at all by these countries makes a lie of the accusation. THAT'S the point.

Regarding my earlier statement about your son's loss of faith, I stand by it entirely. I am not ingorant of the toll of any war. I do not in the least bit take it lightly. Indeed, I'm very much aware of such tolls. As regards anyone losing one's faith, with all due respect, and I could not be more sincere in saying so, one's faith was weak from the start. As I said, it is not uncommon in the least for people to "lose their faith" after suffering in some way. That's a measure of how weak their faith was that they should lose it upon facing real trauma. For some it's losing a loved one, for your son, the war. Did he pray daily? Did he attend service regularly? Did he speak in a way that suggests he was strong in the faith? Did he preach or share the faith? You mentioned that after 9/11 he wanted to "kick ass" or words to that affect. Are those the words of a man of faith going to war, or just a gung-ho kid with the wrong idea?

The same could be asked about all those who's suicides makes Feo think his point is valid. Not people strong in any faith, I'd wager. Considering the era, a good bet indeed.

Bubba said...

Marty, I believe the UK deployed 45,000, not 11,000. But even if your numbers are absolutely correct, that's still not unilateral, is it?

So what's your point? The the coalition involved mostly American troops? Okay, I grant that, but that doesn't make the coalition a quote-unquote "coalition."

I appreciate your posting a comment that doesn't insinuate, for once, that you somehow have absolute moral authority on this subject just because your son enlisted, but this is still a non sequitur.

Marshall Art said...

"Torture is corrupting..."


Depends on the person or people applying it, as well as the stakes.

"...and unnecessary..."


Not proven in any way, shape or form, only insisted by those who wish to further malign the Bush administration.

"...and unjust."


This is the debate here and arguments supporting this claim are weak.

"It tears at the moral fabric of a people, at the moral fabric of international relations."


Only those who's fabric is already weak. Moral people understand the use of harsh techniques if the situation warrants. Other people play games to appear morally superior.

"It jeopardizes our soldiers to an even greater degree than the war itself."


This is the silliest argument of all. Will the evil-doers cut off the soldier's head twice? Will he burn his carcass for longer periods of time? The people we fight already do to our soldiers and civilians (they make no distinctions between the two) far more than we'd EVER think of doing to them. They pretend to use Abu Graib and such as excuses, but that's just because they know that such crap will be swallowed without chewing by too many confused lefty Americans.

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

One more thing for you:

"Where have you been? This info is bleeding out everywhere! Plus I do believe I linked to testimony that stated such."


I've been here waiting, just like I said. If it's been bleeding out everywhere, it should be easy to cite examples. Despite your links, you've yet to show what the examples for which I've continually asked. As I've said, your links specifically did NOT provide such examples. If you think I've missed something, try again. You know I'll look at 'em. Just don't give me crap if I show again how you didn't get it done.

Les said...

"I am not ingorant of the toll of any war."

But unless you were there and shared his personal experience, you can't understand it. None of us can. It's like telling a parent who has lost a child that you understand. Sorry, but no you don't. Until that pain is made real and personal, all one can do is speculate on the emotional trauma of another, and I'd be careful passing judgement on the spiritual health of someone you've never even met.

Feodor said...

Bubba, you've got to be kidding. We've been down this road beeeefffoooorre.

You spit and say I'm making it rain. I only respond to your tone and Marshall's tone. Stop the self-righteous edicts and the tone will settle to where you claim you want it.

I believe you were asking me to repeat my response to your confusion with, "if authorizing the use of force to inflict pain is corrupting and therefore forbidden in all cases, it's not clear why it's still morally permissible to authorize the use of force to inflict death, at least in very limited circumstances."

I answered it again but you are silent about this answer to you last question and instead divert attention to yet another problem.

I believe I've knocked down your last five or six confusions but you come back about the momentary central issue, you beat around another bush.

I'll document the change of war justification between Bush administrations when you recognize that I've answered your last several confusions. Maybe not to your satisfaction, but I've done so at your prompting.

Review, agree or disagree with reasons, acknowledge a stand off, whatever. But you have to stop running away.

Then we can resume.

Feodor said...

Marshall your objections are not objections. They are self-righteous bullshit. Particularly with Marty.

You have no point to make and therefore you make your dismissal by fiat the point.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

You're welcome to your opinion. I've related the situation to others who've lost their faith over personal trauma. I've had loss and trauma in my life as well. I reject the "you can't understand" argument. That's a justification, not factual assertion. So perhaps I can't imagine the exact circumstances of an individual's experience, I can understand the result and the impact on one's psyche. Everyone likes to believe it's worse when bad shit happens to them. Indeed, in less traumatic situations, I jokingly tell people, "It could have been worse---it could have happened to me." Whether appropriate or not, the point is the reality. It's worse when it happens to us.

So yes, I stand by my statement that to lose one's faith because the shit really hit the fan demonstrates the faith wasn't that strong from the start. You don't like the way it sounds and I can't help that. But it's reality and not meant to be a prick. I try to be as respectful as I can with Marty over such things, but I won't have it used against me as a weapon to score rhetorical points in a debate.

Marshall Art said...

Feo,

I fail to see how you've knocked down anything but your own posturing as an intelligent person. Certainly you've done nothing to even make a wash of a single statement made by Bubba, and you only give me crap. MY tone might be combative with you, but you've thrown down the gauntlet long ago and NEVER have made an attempt to play nicely that didn't devolve into the same old nonsense once the going gets the least bit tough for you. You can't play victim if you've yet to be one. As for my objections and what I make the point, I've only reiterated what the point has been since this is my blog, my thread and I determine what the point of discussion is. YOU, on the other hand, have a difficult time defending your position regarding the point and try to take it elsewhere, such as "Just War Theory", as if it is something anyone needs to abide, rather than just the opinion that it is. Try to stay on point.

Feodor said...

How do you that, Marshall?

How, when someone says your ears are too big, do you go and, in a fulminating effort trying to prove them wrong, you get your head stuck between the bannisters?

Why do you do that, Marshall?

Marty said...

"So what's your point? The the coalition involved mostly American troops?"

Yeah.

"I appreciate your posting a comment that doesn't insinuate, for once, that you somehow have absolute moral authority on this subject just because your son enlisted, but this is still a non sequitur."

I've never claimed "absolute moral authority". That is purely your own twisting of facts.

But you will have to admit that I do have an experience of war that you don't.

What the hell is a "non sequitur"?

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

I always have to be reminded myself

non sequitur---a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it

Marshall Art said...

Feo,

Not stuck at all, dude. A bit of a non sequitur right there, isn't it? You like to think others are baffeld, befuddled or somehow lost, but you are just blowin' smoke to hide your shortcomings. Give up the pretentious crap and just try to make your case.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

Went back and looked at that post from '07. Don't think I quit the debate as much as got distracted. Not long ago I had someone pick up an debate that was several months before. Since I get all comments sent to my email inbox, I didn't have to scan every posting to see if new comments were posted. The point is that if anyone wants to carry on a debate, I've got no problem. But in that one, I did not bail out. If you have something to add there, feel free. But as I take these discussions only so seriously, my lack of response might have more than one reason. But for visitors, there have been plainly stated cases of one or two choosing not to post comments that have made that choice out of defeat and low regard for their own case, rather than any real incident of my dismissing or ignoring their points.

Feodor said...

Don't yank so hard, Marshall, you're only making it worse. Your head went in and it will come back out the same way. Just take it easy, slow as you go. Those ears will bend.

Mark said...

We might do well to return to the virtuous Victorian era, especially Victorian Christianity. One might say if we err in doing so, we are erring on the side of righteousness.

I have lurked and haven't posted many comments and have discovered something about the nature of Feodor:

He is accomplished in practice of the old saying, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit."

His so-called brilliance is phony. His so-called education didn't teach him anything of substance. One doesn't have to be smart to be educated. Nor does one have to be educated to be smart.

A formal education only means you have learned to memorize whatever your professors (usually Socialists) hammered into your mushy little brain.

Feodor has obviously been taught what to think, but not how to think.

I won't engage him in his circular reasoning type arguments any more.

Feodor's arguments remind me of something Shakespeare's MacBeth said:

"It is a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Carry on.

Marty said...

ok...now to get to Marshall's questioning of my son's faith.

Thanks Les and Feodor.

Marshall you haven't asked any questions that I haven't asked myself a thousand times over. Something you didn't mention was guilt. Guilt that I felt by questioning whether I had been a good christian witness to my son while raising him.

In talking to a pastor friend of mine, he pretty much discounted the "weak faith" argument because in his mind it took a great deal of faith to be in the bottom of a tank in 130 degree temp and driving a humvee on dangerous roads.

Only God knows for sure though.

All I know is that my son considered himself to be a Christian, a believer, (albeit not too keen on organized religion)when he joined the army. When he came home he declared to me quite profoundly that he was now an Agnostic. His experiences with military chaplains and Iraqi Inmans, both claiming God was on their side, turned his stomach. He didn't see God in any of it and is now of the firm belief that religion is the cause of all problems in the world.

He wasn't a kid when he joined the army. He was a concerned father, whose son had been born on Sept 12, 2001 in New York.

Marty said...

"non sequitur---a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it"

Pfft.

My reply had relevance to what preceded it. In my mind, at least.

Feodor said...

Mark quotes MacBeth like that's a good thing. Mark, who was MacBeth again?

Mark reads Shakespeare but can't think Shakespeare.

I'm still doing remedial work here.

blamin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blamin said...

”All I know is that my son considered himself to be a Christian… he declared to me quite profoundly that he was now an Agnostic. His experiences with military chaplains and Iraqi Inmans, both claiming God was on their side, turned his stomach. He didn't see God in any of it and is now of the firm belief that religion is the cause of all problems in the world.”I believe that all thinking people wrestle with such thoughts at one time or another throughout their maturing process. I would guess that based on what you’ve said here, you’ve much to be proud of with your son, something all fathers hope for.


One thing you said reminded me of my late, little brother. ” …is now of the firm belief that religion is the cause of all problems in the world.”Being a father (or older brother and father, in my case) I hope you pointed him in the general direction of a few relevant history lessons. Of course you have to be careful that he knows you’re just guiding and not telling, if that makes any sense.

People who wish for power will use any excuse to justify their actions; religion has conveniently been used many times, but some of the worst instances of crimes against humanity had nothing to do with religion (in its classical sense).
……………………………….

I’ve followed Feodor with much interest these past couple days. And, I’ve seen a recurring theme that I’ve heard, and contemplated many times.

Per Feodor: ”There must always be some anxiety about one's relative nearness to truth. But in the modern age, we celebrate that, feeling it to be a good quotient of humility. Nonetheless, we offer our best with gusto for to do less is lukewarm and lacks integrity. You have the choice that remains still before you: (CAUTION, emotive content ahead) huddle in a past Victorian clarity that is no longer tenable and the refuge of the dying and disappearing... or brave anxiety and knowingly offer up hypotheses…”

Feodor, the luxury of contemplation that our society has afforded us, combined with advances in technology leads many an arrogant soul to believe they’ve stumbled upon some truth that few before them have considered. They also arrogantly believe that they can improve upon ideas that have failed over and over again, because they’re either smarter, or have studied past mistakes and can improve upon those failed themes. After all the philosophy behind those failed ideas is sound don’t ya know, they just weren’t implemented correctly by golly!!!!

No, nope, no-way, nada. There is nothing new in human relations, and despite advances on other fronts, human relations will remain the same. You can go back 100 years or 2500 years and find examples of civilized society to offset examples of barbaric society. And in every instance you’ll find the same problems in human relations that we face today, and will face tomorrow.

Human Nature, my friend, is something that’s constant. And because of that constant we need to rely upon eternal truths, because that’s what they represent, the eternal within us.

And before you dismiss and pooh-pah me with my obvious failure to grasp your (and your peeps) future vision, let me just say,
I’m sorry that one, such as you, with superhuman intelligence must coexist with us mere mortals.

I apologize if I’ve misread ya!

Marty said...

"Being a father (or older brother and father, in my case) I hope you pointed him in the general direction of a few relevant history lessons. Of course you have to be careful that he knows you’re just guiding and not telling, if that makes any sense."

Umm..I'm a mother, if that makes any difference and my son stopped listening to me a long time ago. I'm hanging on to that verse..."train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it"...

blamin said...

Sorry about that.

I can almost promise, your son will approach you one day (or many) and say “ya know, Mom, I was thinking about what you said…”

Ahh those days don’t happen near enough. But at least they happen!

Marshall Art said...

Mark,

I concur with your statements regarding Christian understanding, particularly if by that you mean a return to uncomplicated understanding, that is, man-made complexity. The Bible is pretty clear, intended for all and not just the scholar, particularly not the overly intellectual, self-important variety.

I also concur with your view of troll Feodor. Isn't he cute how he thinks he's all that? Wait. Did I say cute? More like annoying, like having bad gas during a formal dinner. He impresses himself, though. A legend in his own mind.

Marshall Art said...

Blamin,

Thanks for weighing in. Your comments are always thoughtful, welcomed and too few and far between.

Marshall Art said...

Marty,

(Again, hoping to tread lightly...)

If you're still with that same pastor, you might consider a new one. Though likely he felt on the spot, comparing faith in a tank with faith in God is more than a little curious. Indeed, it is no great faith to feel confidence in something one can see and feel and a tank inspires such confidence, even with the downsides made know aforehand.

But what can we feel and see where God is concerned that doesn't rely on faith alone? "Faith, the evidence of things not seen." He saw two men, one a chaplain, the other an Imam, and allowed their human voices to speak louder than the spiritual one within him. If he was the adult you say he was when he left for war, then his lack of faith and its loss is all on him.

Marty said...

"If he was the adult you say he was when he left for war, then his lack of faith and its loss is all on him."

I agree with that Marshall, after all I did say "in his rebellion he lost is faith".... but you do misunderstand what my friend was saying.

Bubba said...

Marty,

Respectfully, I still don't see how enlisting entails rebellion against what Christ commanded.

If a person believes that it does entail rebellion, he shouldn't enlist regardless of whether his belief is wrong. It's like eating the meat that had been offered to idols: Paul believed that there's nothing wrong with the food, but he told the church in Corinth to keep in mind the consciences of those around them (I Cor 10). If a Christian thinks enlisting is disobedient -- in certain circumstances or in all -- he shouldn't, but I don't see where what Christ taught necessarily leads to that conclusion.


About your son's agnosticism, I think it might be worth reminding him, quite gently, that the Gospels are quite clear that religious leaders can be quite capable of extraordinary evil: some conspired to kill Jesus, an innocent man, and Jesus Himself had no qualms about criticizing them for their hypocrisy.

But, for Jesus, the answer wasn't to renounce faith, but to have a genuine relationship with God, relying on the Father and His grace and His provision, through Christ.

I don't think it's the case that "religion is the cause of all problems in the world." I do think a good bit of evil is caused in the name of religion, but that doesn't mean that the questions religion raises aren't important; it doesn't mean that there aren't answers; it doesn't mean that the answers aren't already clear in Scripture.

And it doesn't mean that it's unimportant to seek answers and conform one's life to what one concludes is the truth.

And, anyway, renouncing organized religion doesn't solve anything.

Marriage counselors will often say -- I believe rightly -- that most problems concern money, sex, and children, but the solution isn't for all couples to live a life of poverty, chastity, and childlessness. The problem isn't having money, having sex, or having kids: it's the more basic biological needs for food and shelter, the desire for physical intimacy, and the strong instinct to procreate. Those things CANNOT be discarded; they can only be managed.

Likewise, organized religion seeks to answer the most important questions about existence, but denying those answers DOES NOT eliminate the questions, and it WILL NOT keep people from coming up with their own answers, and you'll still have conflict when different groups of people disagree.

Chesterton has been somewhat misquoted in saying a man who doesn't believe in God will believe in anything. He also wrote, "A man who refuses to have his own philosophy will only have the used-up scraps of somebody else’s philosophy."

Consider the results of philosophies that didn't depend on organized religion or Christianity in particular, and consider those especially that were not only humanist but were defiant against religion.

Consider the Jacobins and the French Revolution; they renamed Notre Dame the Cathedral of Reason but caused more terror than the Catholic kings they replaced. Consider Marxism and Bolshevism. Consider the neo-paganism of the Third Reich.

Some of the most evil regimes in the world rejected organized religion. An individual's agnosticsm won't necessarily lead to such evils, but it doesn't guard against them, either.

Bubba said...

Feodor, I don't think I've been ignoring your responses. I just don't think they've been satisfactory: as I've been trying to explain, they raise more questions than they answer.

What I want to see is a good argument for this contentious claim, a claim that is not remotely self-evident:

1) The intent to inflict pain is always immoral, even though the intent to cause death is sometimes morally permissible.

You try to prove this claim with other claims that are EQUALLY contentious:

2) Harsh interrogation is never effective.

3) It's never proportional.

4) It's never just, etc.

If these latter claims are true, I think it's obvious that the original claim is a necessary consequence, but these latter claims aren't obvious, and you don't try to prove them.

You're punting.

You're punting on defending one difficult claim by appealing to a half-dozen equally difficult claims.


About MacBeth -- and to return to the subject of being hoisted by one's own petard -- I recall that someone here had no trouble invoking the villain, quoting MacBeth "like that's a good thing."

Feodor, your comment from a few months ago...

Bubbs is like a mad murderous Scottish King with a lust for power: "sound and fury..."
...is in the same category as Mark's comment.

Feodor's arguments remind me of something Shakespeare's MacBeth said: "It is a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
The two of you alluded to the same speech to make the same general comment. What you insult others over, you permit for yourself.

I do try to avoid crude language, Feodor, but you really are full of shit.

Marshall Art said...

"I do try to avoid crude language, Feodor, but you really are full of shit."


Truer words are rarely spoken.

Marty said...

"If a person believes that it does entail rebellion, he shouldn't enlist regardless of whether his belief is wrong."

Ummm...Exactly. I believe that was my point regarding my son. "In the midst of his rebellion he lost his faith". At the time of his enlistment he was concerned for his newborn son's safety and the safety of his fellow Americans.
He put that before his faith. Not a wise choice, to be sure, but one he felt he had to make. Would he do it again? Probably.

"I think it might be worth reminding him, quite gently, that the Gospels are quite clear that religious leaders can be quite capable of extraordinary evil"

Yeah, we've had that discussion.

Feodor said...

Bubba remembers me comparing him to MacBeth because both are nihilistic in the end, coming to the end of the rope of reason.

Mark quotes MacBeth words with approval, thereby putting himself unknowingly in MacBeth's place as a nihilist. Mark knows none of this because, I presume, he does not have any experience handling narrative.

I say you are MacBeth for your nihilism. Mark speaks like MacBeth because the words tickle his ears.

But with your lazar focus on the strict, denotational operation of words and thoughts, you should be expected to know better and that the difference is vast. If you give yourself a minute of calm, you will see clearly. Mark, alas, may not.

Apparently Marshall cannot either.

So, Bubba, if you keep rushing and grossly fail to acknowledge the difference between shit and a fertilized mind, you will continue to confuse Mark, Marshall, and the demons of your lessor nature for me.

Mark said...

Re: "Mark quotes MacBeth words with approval"

No, I quote MacBeth because that part of his soliloquy reminds me of your comments. They sound intelligent but they are nonsense.

I'm tired of trading insults with you. Go find a blog where your inane comments will be appreciated. You know, somewhere where less intelligent people will be impressed with your elucidation.

'Cause we are not impressed. Not one little bit.

Feodor said...

Then you must really love, "to thine own self be true" huh, Mark?

Anonymous said...

Three

Marshall Art said...

"Three"?

Craig said...

Three, that would be the number of people who have been water boarded. Three.

Les said...

For what it's worth:

http://watching-tv.ew.com/2009/05/keith-olbermann.html

Mark said...

I believe waterboarding to be torture.

And, I believe if waterboarding is what it takes to make terrorists talk, go for it.

I don't think we have to play nice with people who wouldn't think twice about sawing our heads off.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

Watched the video. If we can assume that Mancow had knowledge of an impending threat to civilians, the info he would vomit is definitely worth the uncomfortable six seconds he lasted. If that's typical, then I'm actually for moving waterboarding up the list of good ideas for extracting intel.

For those who might wonder, I would suspect that those doing the interrogting are poised to check out whatever is being told. I don't think they drag their feet to find out if they were told "whatever they wanted to hear". If a suspect gave bogus info, they'd likely have to undergo the treatment until they gave good intel. If six seconds is all it takes for some, even thirty seconds, to spill the beans, then by all means, use it even if you insist on calling it torture. Torture is pretty much whatever one prefers not to endure but must. This method is said to have been closely monitored so as to avoid any real damage to the subject. Thus, if there's no real threat, the process can still be torture to undergo so the term "torture" might still apply. But if the interrogators are going out of their way to insure no real damage is inflicted, then what the hell are we talking about?

Feodor said...

Mark, I guess would sanction rape, too?

How do rape and torture compare?

Hard to know how you guys would parse such ugliness, since you've advocated the blurring of lines.

All's fair in war, apparently.

Marshall Art said...

*SARCASM ALERT!!!*

"Mark, I guess would sanction rape, too?"

Oh yeah! That makes perfect sense. Never saw THAT comin', did ya, Mark? Wow! It's so obvious! If one could condone waterboarding, which does no damage to the subject, who generally can't endure it for more than a minute or two tops, then of course that means one condones rape as well! Hey! I'll bet you condone burning someone alive, too, don't ya? Or tearing their arms off. Yeah, it's a logical extrapolation and must be true!

*END SARCASM*

Feodor said...

I can't tell you how happy I am, Marshall, that you can finally locate some disgust with what we have done with prisoners in "our" war on terror.

Now perhaps you are closer to understanding that disgust is the appropriate reaction to...

"All's fair in war."

There are limits. And all torture -- rape is but one example -- is beyond the limit.

Marshall Art said...

That's a patently stupid argument. Apparently it's whatever method it is to which you apply the term "torture" that then disgusts you. How simplistic, in a mentally retarded sort of way. Hold someone down and tickle them until they talk. Hey! They're laughing, ain't they? One could apply the term to anything, but not everything is worse than allowing innocent civilian to meet an untimely and preventable death. Is tickling a known terrorist, already known to have killed and tortured others, worse than letting people die who could have been saved by extracting the intel that could save them from the tickled terrorist? Is that what you're saying? It's torturous responding to your lame arguments. Hell, it's torture merely to read your lame arguments. If I could extract life saving intel from a known scumbag by forcing him to read all of your stupid comments, would I be wrong to subject him to such torture?

You, like others who have opposed me here, are too hung up on the word "torture" to have even a decent rudimentary argument. "It's torture, so it's wrong! Wah, wah, wah!!" Give me a break. What are the stakes? Who's lives are at risk and what character of scumbag sits between their life and their deaths? I have no doubt that each of the "saints" that have commented here against the use of "torture" as described in the released memos and OK'd by almost all of Congress, would not hesitate to sit on the chest of anyone they thought had knowledge of real threats to the lives of their spouse and/or children and womp the crap out of the dude's face until he spilled the last bean. To then insist that the president or others who's job it is to protect American lives should limit themselves to unknown, undescribed "nice" methods in every such situation is low and hypocritical. It's mere posturing for effect.

Marshall Art said...

Les,

I watched the video, as I said. Mancow is on WLS Talk Radio in Chicago, a morning guy. This morning, a talkshow host on another radio station has stated that there are emails that allegedly show Mancow was puttin' it on in the waterboarding stunt. The email exchange is between someoen from his show and a person who they hoped would administer the waterboarding to Mancow after the original person, a military man, declined after thinking it over. The person being solicited had asked about what was needed, how much was already set up for the stunt, etc, and was then told that it was supposed to just look like he was waterboarding Mancow.

I am relating this from memory, and the person on the radio telling this story did not say the emails were definitely legitimate, but is hoping for more details to come forth. Overall, no matter how these events play out, I stand by my initial response to the video. If that's typical in any way, I don't see how anyone could object, particularly given how it is said our people had medical people present to monitor the health of the subject during the process. If it's typical, perhaps it should be used more often.

Feodor said...

When you have nothing to say, you really do go on a rant. And I can't see how that's any fun for you.

Much less meaningful.

Marshall Art said...

That's cute, pretending I had nothing to say. The fact is that I have been saying the same thing over and over without a decent response from those like yourself who claim "torture" is always wrong. So let me make it simple for you, since you're such a simpleton:

Your pregnant wife, along with a group of friends, are unknowingly about to be murdered. In your custody is the one person who can stop it. He is a known scumbag, believed to be responsible for scores of killings including the bombing of a school bus. He is a religious fanatic who views death during his "holy struggle" is a one way ticket to glorious paradise. All efforts by expert and experienced interrogators to procure the life saving information that only he knows have failed. The scumbag knows that if he can hold out just a little while longer, he will have struck a blow for the cause by murdering all those people. But there is one piece of information the scumbag wishes the interrogators didn't know, and that's that nothing scares him more than the thought of being waterboarded. He's not so fanatic that he'll suffer a moment pinned to the board with a hose hovering over his face.

Your choice is clear:

1. Waterboard this evil person.
2. Let the innocent civilians die.

What's it gonna be? Grab yourself a spine and answer the question. And try to tell me that one is as bad as the other.

I challenge the others to answer as well. I know what I would do, and I wouldn't waste too much time deciding. Furthermore, there's no way anyone could ever convince me that God would ever disapprove of my decision.

Feodor said...

If my wife and friends are unknowingly about to be murdered, and the unknowing has to include me or the first step in your premise is stupid, then how do I know the person in my custody is the one person who can stop it?

Your stupidity takes us out of how the real world works.

You want to start with knowing something you cannot know.

You cheat reality, dickhead.

Feodor said...

You watch way too much television and X-men movies.

It rots your hold on what world you're living in.

Marshall Art said...

"If my wife and friends are unknowingly about to be murdered, and the unknowing has to include me or the first step in your premise is stupid,..."Don't pretend you don't understand the set-up, coward.

"You cheat reality, dickhead."

Once again we see the Anglican priest is a real class act. Answer the question, coward.

Feodor said...

Give me a real question, dumbass.

I wont answer questions that dazzle twelve year olds.

Feodor said...

I will say that if any interrogator thinks along the lines you present ("this guy could possibly be holding information that could save my wife's life"), then he and his superiors have not been trained worth shit.

That kind of emotionally compromised state disqualifies actual interrogators.

For professional reasons which you don't have the maturity to respect.

Marshall Art said...

"Give me a real question, dumbass."

More class from the fraud who claims to be a priest. It was a real question, coward. Answer it.

"("this guy could possibly be holding information that could save my wife's life"), "

Again you try to change the scenario. In the one I presented, the guy KNOWS, not possibly knows. As I stated in the challenge, I'm making it really easy for you to understand, yet you pretend there's confusion in order to avoid making a choice. C'mon, coward. Which will it be? Save lives, or sprinkle water on a known scumbag? Is it really that hard for a member of clergy so well versed in philosophies and sciences? Or would you rather simply continue to call me names and continue to disgrace the faith of which you claim to be a priest?

Feodor said...

Someone in Wichita exhibited the kind of bravery you extol.

Marshall Art said...

What a surprise that you would find any similarity between the killing of an abortionist and the discomfort imposed upon a terrorist. You're pathetic. Answer the question, coward.

Feodor said...

Far more real than your infantile scenario, here we have a guy who "knows" according to his understanding of the world -- and yours, too -- that a man is "murdering" the "unborn."

So, he put a stop to it.

How does this not meet with your demands?

How?

He "knew" "murder" was ongoing. He followed your logic.

This is what you have been trying to tell me is logical and even mandated: protect the innocent.

If your pathetic defense is that there are indeed laws and laws must be obeyed, I would say, yes, you are right.

Which is my point - there are laws against torture because the torturer never absolutely "Knows" what the case is. Inhumanity cannot be perpetrated on individuals for any reason. There are laws.

And if you think I am wrong that the killer is following your logic, read Neil's blog. He skirts with careful language, but he applauds the killing and damns the murdered doctor.

Marshall Art said...

I did read Neil's blog (a regular visit for me) and so I know that he neither applauded the killing nor did he damn the abortionist. This makes you either a liar or a very stupid. I can never tell with you. Probably a bit of both.

(For any not aware, Neil's blog is "4Simpsons Blog-Eternity Matters", at the top of my "Right Ones" blog roll. Read it and judge for yourself. I think you'll agree that Feodor has his head up his Feodor.)

As for the shooter, I'll leave it to God to judge whether or not his intention was pure enough to merit glory or damnation. That Tiller wasn't even in the act of killing another baby doesn't leave much hope for the guy in my mind.

As to the laughable comparison to the topic at hand, it's not quite as funny as the rape connection, but moronic all the same. So stop dodging, get a spine and answer the question, coward.

Feodor said...

Here's your boy, EL, on the subject:

"Justice... Justice... JUSTICE

May God have mercy on his soul... but he got what he deserved."

And your love object, Neil:

"I saw one Christian writing that the murderer took away Tiller’s chance to repent. Don’t worry, folks, God is sovereign. No one will be able to claim that they just needed a little more time to repent and believe."

Marshall Art said...

What part of "answer the question, coward" do you find so difficult to understand? Coward.

Feodor said...

Perseverator.

Mark said...

Feodor, your abject refusal to answer Art's simple question negates all your arguments. You have proven yourself to be without a defense and without integrity.

Anything you say from here on out means absolutely nothing. You might as well be pissing up a rope.