Whitehouse’s Dog and Pony Show

So, Senator Whitehouse is pretty proud that he’s finally getting a chance to question Bush Administration lawyers about “torture memos.” I wonder if he’s interested in questioning members of Congress, particularly House Speaker Pelosi, about what I’m sure Whitehouse would consider a lack of oversight of the program?

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Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

Another punt on the issue of torture from AR. Instead of asking any serious questions about the federal government secretly detaining suspects and using Gestapo techniques on them, you would rather take a meaningless partisan shot.
One would think that real ideological conservatives — as opposed to crass partisans opposing everything the other party does — would care about rather basic things like the rule of law, an accountable executive, and limits on the power of a central government to act as a totalitarian torturer. That the techniques the United States used with the express authorization of the White House were indistinguishable from those employed by the Khmer Rouge and the Nazi SS should be warning flag enough for AR.
But it sure is easier to take a quick swipe at Sheldon than question the actions of your own side. Bravo again AR.

Marc
12 years ago

Consider it one partisan swipe in reaction to another, because that’s all that Sen. Whitehouse is doing here. If you don’t think so, well, maybe you should change your handle.
I haven’t asked any serious questions about the torture debate because I’m ambivalent about how we treat cowards who don’t abide by the Geneva Convention–kill civilians as a matter of policy, cut off heads and all that. If we can get info from them to save more lives, so be it.
Now, if these were American citizens or those who operated within the standard boundaries of international conflict, that would be an entirely different story. That being said, I will grant that my mind is open on waterboarding–I admit to going back and forth as to whether its above-board, so to speak. Which is where most people are and why Whitehouse’s bid to somehow criminalize one possible interpretation of a policy debate is nothing more than partisan, too. (I’d also note that, pragmatically speaking, waterboarding seemed to get results).
Finally, the hyperbolizing about rampant executive gestapo like unchecked torture mongers is quickly losing its potency as we learn that multiple members of Congress of both parties were informed of the program and didn’t raise an eyebrow. Well, until around 2004 or 2006 or so….wonder why that was? Couldn’t have been for partisan reasons…..

Jim Cavanaugh
Jim Cavanaugh
12 years ago

Seldom Whitehouse is the typical rich,never did a real days work,RI liberal. Far as I’m concerned they can stick buring timbers up the fingernalis and any other place available on thesee scum of the earth murdering Islamic Jihadists. I will volunteer to help.

chuckR
chuckR
12 years ago

We can gauge how partisan Whitehouse is by whether or nor he investigates any Clinton era officials. Even the ACLU states that extraordinary rendition was dreamed up during the 1990’s.
Its like the lefty inference that while TX governor, GWB started the executions of convicts convicted of capital offenses. Its convenient to forget that his predecessor, Democrat Ann Richards, a convention keynoter for WJC no less, was governor in similar circumstances.

Tim
Tim
12 years ago

Let’s waterboard Wheldon Shitehouse.
Imagine the “truth” we could obtain concerning how the blood of Jennifer Rivera came to be on Wheldon Shitehouse’s girly soft hands. Imagine the “truth” we could obtain from Wheldon about the needless closure of Rhode Island’s credit unions thus ruining lives and prompting suicides because Wheldon Shitehouse and Bruce Sundlun were seeking a John Wayne moment.
(Btw I’d love to have a serious debate about the use of torture and enemy combatants but since we’re not using torture what would be the point? )

Patrick
Patrick
12 years ago

“Now, if these were American citizens or those who operated within the standard boundaries of international conflict, that would be an entirely different story.”
But we do waterboard American citizens who operate within the standard boundaries of international conflict. It’s called SEAL training. We do it to our own servicemen and women, so is it still “torture”? Why is no one up in arms that we are “torturing” our own service people? How much irreparable harm can it really cause if we do it to our own people. And if it doesn’t, but has shown to be somewhat effective in getting information, well that just sounds like an interrogation technique to me.

Will
12 years ago

“Another punt on the issue of torture from AR.”
You’ve apparently already made up your mind as judge, jury, and executioner. Most conservatives don’t think waterboarding is “torture”. I presume most don’t like the practice, but compared to other alternatives, I’m not sure what else could have been done. Perhaps they all should have been shot on the battlefield instead of being taken prisoner? It’s a case of apples and oranges. If we thought it was torture, I presume most of us wouldn’t approve of — or at minimum, tolerate it.
“a meaningless partisan shot.”
That would be Senator Whitehouse’s job. He seems to be king of the hyper-partisan vitriol on the subject. All you need to do is look at the name of his so-called “investigation.”
“That the techniques the United States used with the express authorization of the White House were indistinguishable from those employed by the Khmer Rouge and the Nazi SS should be warning flag enough for AR.”
And with the knowledge of the leadership of both houses of Congress. The White House did not do anything alone. You apparently have so little disregard for historical accuracy, and so want to smear the prior administration, that you’re willing to throw your country under the bus by even remotely comparing something which did not result in the death of a single individual — for the purpose of safeguarding Americans, versus two notorious regimes which tortured, enslaved, and killed millions of people.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
12 years ago

Historically,infiltrators in civilian clothing were summarily executed,and the example of the German infiltrators caught in the Battle of the Bulge is illustrative of the point. Waterboarding or other maltreatent of enemy soldiers captured on the battlefield would be inexcusable. These few terrorists who were subjected to this treatment were in fact known to be prime movers in the attacks on the US which killed thousands of innocent people. I don’t really care how they were treated. Sheldon always talks about his “fatha”. How his “fatha” was a Marine,CIA officer,and diplomat(Ambassador to Laos and Thailand)and maybe we ought to see what milieu his “fatha”operated in,because the CIA 86’d people out of hand in the 50’s and 60’s. Laos was the venue of the “Secret War” in the 60’s.The stuff that went on there and in Vietnam during Operation Phoenix made waterboarding look like summer camp. Sheldon is a born to the manor piece of crap who had the skids greased for his sorry ass his whole life. He is an incompetent at anything he does-the buck was on his desk regarding Jennifer Rivera-if he was too ignorant to know how dangerous the Ponas were,then he had no business being AG. I know first hand what a totally worthless US Attorney he was. If George Bush was so bad,why didn’t he go after Eric Holder,Janet Reno,Bill Clinton,and Hillary for conspiracy and selling pardons? If anyone takes the time to check,selling pardons in Arkansas is a time-honored business.(Gov.Blanton for example). It would be ok as far as I’m concerned to exterminate these known terrorists as soon as their usefulness is over with. It would not even provide justice for the innocent kids on a school trip on one of the hijacked planes. But it would be a start. Why no problem with the… Read more »

EMT
EMT
12 years ago

For those interested, THIS is torture: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/05/09/uae.torture/index.html
Dumping water on somebody’s head isn’t even on the same planet as what this guy dude.

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

So Marc, your new standard for treating others with basic human decency is that they be “American citizens or those who operated within the standard boundaries of international conflict”? For everyone else, it’s no holds bardded huh? Is that the new “conservative” policy on torture? Forget the Geneva Conventions. Forget the moral standards of modern society. Forget the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Here’s the very simple principle that modern western societies have followed in the modern era: torture is always wrong. Churchill refused to torture Nazis caught infiltrating England during Britian’s darkest hour. Washington refused to torture captured British troops when the fate of his army and new nation were at stake. But over at AR, you would leave it up to the executive to decide whom, when, and how to torture. As for Congress having signed off on this, it appears that the record is not quite so definitive on that matter. Knowing what we know about the Bush/Cheney Whitehouse, do you really believe that they fully briefed Congress on the details of the torture program? Please. A few vague statements here in there , shrouded in vague claims of national security I’m sure. Complete and objective disclose? And if a few leaders in Congress were fully briefed, who cares? Investigate them too. Will, your facts are just wrong. There were several deaths in US interrogation camps as a result of the “interrogation” program, documented quite famously at this point. And thanks for the reflexive “you’re unpatriotic” smear. Had you not been so quick to toss your smear, you would have noticed that I compared the techniques the US used to the techniques used by the Khmer Rouge and the techniques used by the Nazis. There is no real dispute on that point. Waterboarding has a prominent… Read more »

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

So Marc, your new standard for treating others with basic human decency is that they be “American citizens or those who operated within the standard boundaries of international conflict”? For everyone else, it’s no holds bardded huh? Is that the new “conservative” policy on torture? Forget the Geneva Conventions. Forget the moral standards of modern society. Forget the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Here’s the very simple principle that modern western societies have followed in the modern era: torture is always wrong. Churchill refused to torture Nazis caught infiltrating England during Britian’s darkest hour. Washington refused to torture captured British troops when the fate of his army and new nation were at stake. But over at AR, you would leave it up to the executive to decide whom, when, and how to torture. As for Congress having signed off on this, it appears that the record is not quite so definitive on that matter. Knowing what we know about the Bush/Cheney Whitehouse, do you really believe that they fully briefed Congress on the details of the torture program? Please. A few vague statements here in there , shrouded in vague claims of national security I’m sure. Complete and objective disclose? And if a few leaders in Congress were fully briefed, who cares? Investigate them too. Will, your facts are just wrong. There were several deaths in US interrogation camps as a result of the “interrogation” program, documented quite famously at this point. And thanks for the reflexive “you’re unpatriotic” smear. Had you not been so quick to toss your smear, you would have noticed that I compared the techniques the US used to the techniques used by the Khmer Rouge and the techniques used by the Nazis. There is no real dispute on that point. Waterboarding has a prominent… Read more »

Pragmatist
Pragmatist
12 years ago

And another thing Will. Waterboarding is hardly the full extent of what we did. The International Committee of the Red Cross report documents in painful detail the full panoply of torture techniques employed by the CIA. Do beatings combined with weeks of no sleep, little food, close confinement in a box so small that your wounds open up every time you move an inch, a few dozen waterboardings, and being chained in a stress position for days on end so that you shit over yourself constitute torture? Read the report, then tell me that it wasn’t torture.
Finally, many of the people confined, and several of those tortured, were guilty of nothing. They weren’t “mass murderers”. Several of them were hapless grunts who knew nothing and were rounded up in the mountains of Afghanistan because they looked like “the usual suspects.” Is it your position that the US government can detain and torture in secret anyone it chooses? Whether they are guilty of anything or not? Even after it is clear that they have no information?

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