Monday, April 20, 2009

Dunk 'em again!

The New York Times expects outrage:
C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.
The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah . . .
The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Look, we hanged Saddam Hussein and sent the 101st Airborne to kill Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay. What is "waterboarding" compared to violent death?

Who could possibly give a crap about the "rights" of terrorist scumbags like Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed? Their "rights" would not have been infringed if they had gotten a 9mm slug through their skulls the day they were captured. Excuse me for not being surprised that, having mercifully allowed Abu and Khalid to continue breathing, the CIA doesn't treat these vermin like guests for Sunday dinner.

If I were president -- and remember, this is merely a hypothetical -- the CIA would have taken Abu and Khalid to the Texas State Fair, where they would have been strapped tightly to a telephone poll. Tickets would be sold at $20 each for one whack at 'em with an aluminum baseball bat.

Everybody would get their turn, one whack at a time, until there was nothing left of Abu and Khalid except a bloody stain. The $20 per ticket is a nominal fee. The real money would be in the pay-per-view royalties. But remember: This is merely a hypothetical.

UPDATE: Welcome, Andrew Sullivan readers. Please read my reply, in the comments below, to Tim Burns's insufficient appreciation for hypothetical discourse. There is a special place reserved in Hell for people who treat any statement by me beginning, "If I were president . . ." as if it were a policy prescription.

The hypothetical was meant to contrast (a) the tender-hearted concern for the "rights" of terrorists manifested by the New York Times with (b) the manner of treatment that Abu and Khalid could expect from attendees of the Texas State Fair.

Perhaps I could better illustrate the purpose of a hypothetical by beginning a sentence, "If I was hung like a porn star . . ." Oh, wait.

UPDATE II: Linked by Mike at Cold Fury, Jimmie at Sundries Shack, James Joyner at Outside the Beltway, and by Stephen Gordon at the Liberty Papers. Gordo also links Bob Barr, but neglects to mention that Barr used to work for the CIA. (Coincidence? I don't think so!)

Speaking of hypotheticals, if Bob Barr were a major-league babe magnet . . . Oh, wait.

Note to Mrs. Barr: Bob was perfectly innocent. This photo was my idea, and my suggestion of raising money for the Georgia Libertarian Party by having an impromptu "Skinny Dipping With Bob" fundraiser was entirely hypothetical.

UPDATE III: Moe Lane at Red State:
The American people don't really want to reach any sort of understanding of terrorists ("Why do they hate us?"); they just want them dead, or wishing that they were . . .
In the numerous comments below, I've been lectured by "progressives" who seem convinced that I am an inhuman thug who doesn't understand the concept of "rights." I've also been lectured about the inauthenticity of my speaking on behalf of truck drivers. Both of my brothers are truck drivers and I assure you that my modest (hypothetical) proposal for Abu and Khalid is extremely merciful compared to anything my brothers would propose.


  1. Robert Stacy McCain, a member of the rare Seventh Day Adventist congregation which denies Jesus and defies the law, writes an essay more applicable to Stalin's NKVD or Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge than Lincoln's Republicans.

    The American Spectator favors political murder, eh?

    You must be so proud. Maybe you can raise one of your kids to be a torturer! Good Luck

  2. What part of "hypothetical" don't you understand, Tim?

    The point I was trying to make, in invoking the Texas State Fair "Whack-a-Terrorist" hypothetical, was that the New York Times does not comprehend the attitude of the Ordinary American. Concern over the "rights" of terrorists is strictly limited to the elite, a concern that the elite media tries to amplify by its front-page handwringing over Guantanamo Bay, etc.

    Once you get outside the elite bubble -- perhaps you should try talking to a truck driver now and then -- you'll encounter a much more practical common-sense attitude about such things. Ordinary Americans tend to understand that waterboarding a terrorist is very mild treatment, compared to the treatment that the terrorists have meted out to, inter alia, Daniel Pearl.

    This is not an endorsement of waterboarding -- nor an endorsement of clobbering Abu and Khalid at $20 a whack -- but rather an effort to put the situation in perspective.

  3. Compare waterboarding to the events of 9/11, those who survived and those who didn't. Those who perpertrated that event (and others) knew the consequences to their actions if caught. Those who experienced 9/11 first hand, had no idea, no choice, they just went about their normal lives not expecting the tragedy about to befall them. And do not think that US POWs, or other citizens captured on foreign soil are treated humanely. The terrorists who plot against us do not have rights as US Citizens and they do not care about OUR rights. If the government agencies feel they have sufficient evidence to interrogate a suspected terrorist, they should use every means necessary to obtain the information that will protect US CITIZENS from future attacks.

  4. Do people really think these terrorists types are going to give information because we say "pretty please". We should let them withhold knowledge and kill our people because we don't want to hurt them?

    Torture is ugly. No one likes it, like war, but sometimes what choice do you have?

  5. Mr. McCain, if they had to be waterboarded dozens of times, what does that say about the effectiveness of the method? They would tell you nearly anything to reduce the torment, as Senator McCain said himself.

    Furthermore, is torture a sound substitute for international cooperating and international intelligence gathering? You have no guarantee that the information is accurate, as it comes from the supposed enemy, and not a trusted ally or expert in the intel area.

  6. Who Would Jesus TortureMon Apr 20, 12:23:00 PM

    This blog post is something that should be sadly expected from the Right. Remember Abu Ghirab? Why, back then, the talking point of the Right was "a few bad apples". Whoops, then we find out that mistreatment of prisoners was a systemic program, authorized by the highest seats of authority. Then, the talking point became, "it's rough, but it's not torture.".

    NOW, we find actual internal memos that spell out point for point "enhanced interrogation methods" that bear an almost word for word similarity to methods used by the Gestapo, Khemer Rouge, KGB, and WWII-era Japanese soldiers. Of course we used to call those methods "torture".

    As predicted, the Right has now decided that the US should, in fact, torture prisoners if we deem them to be bad people. I guess all those pesky domestic laws and international treaties that specifically prohibit torture don't mean jack in the eyes of the Right? Ends justify the means, huh.

    Seriously, if the Right wants to endorse torture as an official and approved state policy, then we no longer get to condemn the human rights practices of any other country on the planet.

  7. One of my favorite reads, apart from the Other McCain, is Moran's RightWingNutHouse. Love the guy, but he doesn't see the light on this issue. Any chance you'd consider applying your talents to presenting a case for it that might persuade my friend Rick? I've tried, to no avail, but he respects your punk-smacking abilities far more than mine (this is not to imply that he's a "punk"- as I said, I'm a fan of his).

  8. Mr. McCain, you wrote: "Concern over the "rights" of terrorists is strictly limited to the elite, a concern that the elite media tries to amplify by its front-page handwringing over Guantanamo Bay, etc."

    What elite would that be? I'm not a member of any elite group, unless by virtue of being among those many who believe that the United States should not engage in barbaric behavior, contrary to all international law and everything we claim to be. I know plenty of farmers, cooks, hair dressers, waitresses, clerical workers, clergy, lumberjacks, factory workers, and other average, everyday working class Joes and Joannas who agree with that. Your claim that non-elite, working class people all think like you is BS. Thank god.

  9. 183 times in one month? That's like 6 times a day, every day, no days off, no Sundays, etc. Now, I could give a flip about a terrorist learning to breath underwater, but what sort of slavedrivers are the guys running these interrogations?

    Now, two serious questions:

    One: what exactly is "one incident" of waterboarding? Is this dramatic report really telling us that he got dunked 15 times before he started talking, 12 different times? Or did he actually get the full "waterboarding treatment" (whatever that means) 183 seperate times in one month?

    Second: 6 times a day, for a month? At what point does this technique become ineffective as the terrorist falls asleep from boredom while you are doing it? Or, being cagey actors and sneaky as hell, begin to fake the reactions that the interrogators expect, ending the episode? Surely our interrogators aren't really so gullible of uncreative that they don't see this, or recognize the diminishing effectiveness of a technique used more frequently than most people use the toilet.

    From the way it's been described to me, waterboarding is hard physical work. After the first 30 times you "broke" a guy, wouldn't a reasonably bright interrogator start to assume that maybe there isn't any useful information left, or that maybe Mr. Terrorist just doesn't know the answer to the question you are asking. Are we to believe that the CIA actually employs thugs and drones who willingly undertake strenuous interrogation techniques even when there doesn't appear to be any return on the effort. Or, maybe that's the point intended to be taken from the report...? Perhaps there is more politics in this report than we are asked to believe.

    I smell deceased aquatic critters here, and I'm not sure I believe anything else in this report until someone explains how these fantastic numbers could be real. I'm seriously sceptical about who wrote this report, who it is really about, and what political spin was put on it by any "new" political appointees. Hopefully someone will do some digging and find an unclassified way to explain all of this with clarity.

  10. Of course they would have deserved that sort of punishment. That's not the point. The point is, we deserve better than to be the ones who are willing to administer that sort of punishment. Do they deserve human rights and a jury trial? No. Neither does any other sort of murderer. But we should give it to them anyway. That is what separates us from these barbarians. It's what makes us good, and them evil. When you surrender that moral high ground - which we have worked to maintain since the founding of our nation - you have surrendered to evil.

  11. and if you don't have a terraist handy, just torture the first paki cab driver you can find. really, is anyone truly innocent?

  12. "...perhaps you should try talking to a truck driver now and then -- you'll encounter a much more practical common-sense attitude about such things..." i think you underestimate the intelligence of truck drivers in an attempt at self-aggrandizement. truck drivers are able to understand that torture does not work...and in neither of these cases is there evidence that it did. if you like vigilante justice, an eye for an eye, etc. i suggest you move to a country where these things are common plca. it's not how things are done in the united states and for good reasons you will clearly never be able to understand.

  13. This "Ordinary American" is outraged. When will the far right realise they aren't in the majority? Another four or five presidential losses?

  14. I'm an ordinary American. And I don't know a damned thing about whether waterboarding is mild. I know they do it to people in SERE training, so it must suck, otherwise people wouldn't need to have it done to them to help them resist it. I don't think you know anything about what ordinary Americans think, other than your truck driver friend who you fetishize as "ordinary" or "real" or something. I also think that tough guy statements about what you "would" do in hypothetical situations are stupid.

    It's easy to torture. It's hard not to torture.

  15. Many of the people "we" tortured - and many who died from the assault - turned out to be innocent. With no legal process, innocent civilians, accused terrorists, and terrorists all become the same thing. Operating outside the law with surprising cruelty has made us what our enemies accused us of being.

  16. The average American thinks torture is great because they have been told by the torturers that they got great information from doing it (lies), that it isn't really torture (despite the fact that we prosecuted people after WW II for doing the same thing), or because the Pres/Vice Pres said over and over again that we don't torture (we do).

    If our Great Republikan Leader had told the truth about how useless and dehumanizing torture was, would people support it? Who would Jesus torture?

  17. the New York Times does not comprehend the attitude of the Ordinary American.Robert McCain, perhaps you and the "average American" need to get out in the world a little more. It has been authoritatively documented by an author who has written on the ineffectiveness of Bush-era CIA tactics and who is himself an expert on the SUCCESSFUL interrogations of terrorists that torture DOES NOT WORK on two types of militants: those who have an extreme degree of loyalty to their compatriots; and those who believe, firmly, that God authorizes their actions. Both of these positions are requirements for belonging to Al Quaeda.And I'll want to know what you and the "average American" will think when an American servicemen is caught by the Taliban, Hizbullah or Al Qaeda and is tortured and the torturers justify their actions (becoming HEROES in much of the enraged Muslim world) by saying, "We're only giving the Americans some of their own medicine."

    For the sake of Constitutional liberties and the rule of law in the United States, this HAD to be stopped, and Obama found the CORRECT way of stopping it by, in effect, tying the hands of all future Presidents regarding the torture of prisoners. I applaud him for doing so, and here in Europe almost everybody is saluting him for restoring America's honorable traditions.

  18. Mr McCain, your declarations that we should adopt a "Texas State Fair" model in our treatment of suspected terrorists shows only that you fail to comprehend the value of the rule of law in civilized society. You compare the treatment of the detainees in Guantanamo with that of individuals such as Daniel Pearl; but the critical issue is that the two should not be comparable.

    The United States, as the beacon of liberty, freedom and democracy - a description I would be surprised to hear you deny, should not engage in any matter that allows it to be compared to the deplorable acts of ruthless non-state actors. To do so would only further diminish our image and standing in the international community and prevent us from projecting our great values across the globe. We, as a nation, government or people, should not take any action that comes close to those which violent fringe elements of any society perpetrates.

    The U.S. is signatory to numerous treaties that ban the usage of torture and the harsh treatment of enemy combatants, of any type. If we were to ignore the standing of these international laws and the values of our nation set forth by our Founding Fathers and the many subsequent leaders of our nation, we would devolve into a state which follows not the rule of law, but mob rule. If we were to do so, the very foundations on which our nation was established would erode and collapse, leaving us with no moral, legal or rational basis to continue operating in a just manner.

  19. Good heavens.

    I do care about the treatment of "terrorist scumbags like Abu Zubahdah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed."

    Once we decide that presidents or CIA heads can decide on their own who is guilty -- and then put whoever they think is guilty into secret prisons and torture them -- it's a quick hop to the same treatment for US citizens.

    That's the point of modern law and the US Constitution, isn't it?

    The horrors of 9/11 didn't change that. I don't believe our Constitution is too weak or quaint to withstand the attacks of 9/11, no matter how bad the bad guys.

  20. @Magnus
    The Bush administration surely liked torture, which is why they asked the Justice Dept. to give them cover via memoranda after they started doing it. That must be the "rule of law" that the GOP was agitating about RE: Clinton. Do whatever you want, then use lawyers to cover your tracks. Finally, please provide some evidence that information gathered via torture was actually useful in any way. Pretty please.

    If you want to leave foreign policy decisions up to long-haul truck drivers, that's your prerogative. Sort of like sending in the water polo team to play the NY Giants. I guess that marks me as an "elitist", you know, I prefer for our government to be run by people who actually understand it's powers and responsibilities.

  21. How is your "hypothetical" any different from a lynching? Is a lynching okay if "everybody knows" the victim was guilty of a crime? It's not just the rights of terrorist suspects. There's also our right to see them brought to justice -- actual justice, not mob justice. It would have been great if Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had been brought to justice -- in a real, legitimate trial -- for one of the worst crimes ever committed against America. Bush robbed us of that possibility. It's like when Ruby shot Oswald. Maybe you think that was okay too.

  22. They're called HUMAN rights for a reason. That means you don't lose them by being a miserable human being, a terrorist, a nazi, or anything else. And those rights include a right not to be tortured.

    The shifting arguments here are just hilarious.

    * Waterboarding must be used because it is a ticking time-bomb situation!
    Wait, they had time to get justificatory memos.
    * Waterboarding can be used because it is so effective that it only has to be used once (paraphrase: we broke KSM in two minutes bla bla)
    Wait, we waterboarded him 183 times, so it must not be too effective
    * They're terrorists, so fuck 'em.

    It's disgusting, and there's a reason we prosecuted the Japanese for this.

  23. Just trying to clarify with those of you who don't think what we did was torture...would the same actions be acceptable if they were used by soldiers of another country on our own troops?

  24. But what about those folks who we tortured and later learned were completely innocent? What is the standard of deciding who is to be tortured, and who gets to decide? It seems to me that you are saying that we can torture anybody we want, and let god sort 'em out.

  25. "Once you get outside the elite bubble -- perhaps you should try talking to a truck driver now and then -- you'll encounter a much more practical common-sense attitude about such things."

    What the %#@$ does it matter what "ordinary Americans" think of torture, or what the elite think of it, for that matter? Leaving aside the issue of its ineffectiveness, it is ILLEGAL. Not to get too pedantic here (although it appears you could use a few lessons), but part of the reason we have laws and regulations is to protect basic rights from the (sometimes unjust) whims of the people. If everyone decided tomorrow that it was totally cool to shoot the homeless when they ask for change, it WOULD STILL BE ILLEGAL TO DO SO. Truck drivers don't get to decide when to respect basic human rights--neither do doctors, or hack bloggers, for that matter. These laws are even more important to have in times when the collective blood of a nation is boiling.

    "Ordinary Americans tend to understand that waterboarding a terrorist is very mild treatment, compared to the treatment that the terrorists have meted out to, inter alia, Daniel Pearl."

    A totally irrelevant comparison, and the type of reasoning that inevitably leads to the rationalization of far worse things than waterboarding. Nice unnecessary use of Latin, by the way; is that how truck drivers talk?

    Judging by your picture, you probably haven't been as touched by senility as the other other McCain; you probably just weren't too bright to begin with.

  26. RSM said: "What part of "hypothetical" don't you understand, Tim?"

    So, are we supposed to read your "hypothetical" scenario of "the manner of treatment that Abu and Khalid could expect from attendees of the Texas State Fair" as an indictment of Fair attendees and not a defense of torture?

    Really? Okay then lets unpack. You must be implying one of three things:
    a) ALL able-bodied Texas State Fair attendees would gladly participate in the crucifixion of an accused murderer.
    b) The "average" (ie "truck driver") fair goer would join in the torture.
    c) Out of thousands of attendees there's likely a handful of revenge obsessed psychopaths, enough to do the job.

    Please explain. You sure make Texans sound like a vile disgusting bunch of criminals.

    Funny, my own experience says otherwise.

  27. So it's fine for the government to torture as long as they're doing it bad guys. Let's hope "bad guy" isn't easily redefinable.

  28. Tel got it right.

    If there was "nothing left of Abu and Khalid except a bloody stain", what I'm wondering is what is left of the hypothetical Texas State Fair attendees?

    Torture dehumanizes, not just the torturer, but also the torturee.

    "He who fights monsters should take care lest he become a monster himself."
    -F. Nietzche

  29. I do the same thing, except I say "If I were Supreme Dictator of the World..." That way people know I'm not serious, at least to the degree that I'm not serious.

  30. Liberals do not bother to argue whether or not "waterboarding" is illegal--they just jump to the conclusion that waterboarding is "torture" and that therefore it must be illegal because "torture" is illegal.

    We had good people doing their best to act within the law and still protect the United States from further attacks. I say the benefit of the doubt should go to the lawyers and the agents who were at the front lines.

    Liberals, however, care more about their own political ambitions than they do about America. The average "truck driver" out here certainly gets that.

  31. I came to your site through Andrew's link...interesting that you quote one of my favorite authors/thinkers, Arthur Koestler, on your title page..."Darkness at Noon" is probably on of teh best books ever written.

    I wonder what you think of his stand on capital punishment given your views on torture...

    We didn't hang Saddam, the Iraqis did...I was on my second tour in Iraq when he was captured, and I can tell you he was NOT fact he was given top notch medical care. As for his sons...clearly combatants on a battlefield...not sure why you'd want to use that as an example of how we'd treat individuals in custody.

    I am not an elite, nor in the media...and I am concerned both about the effect on future American POW's and the values that I as an American servicemember am defending when I see a vigilante mentality such as yours hold sway in discourse.

    Excuse me while I go back to my handwringing.....

  32. How is what you propose any different than the impromptu public stonings that happen in various parts of the muslim world? Is that what you want to equate the United States with? That would make us no better than the people who do our country harm.

  33. Apparently your hypothetical motiviation would be to punish Abu and Khalid. Is that why they were waterboarded? I thought it was to gain valuable information. I wonder if you would have stenographers standing by at the state fair in case any of the beatings elicited information about imminent terror attacks?

    I thought for imposing punishment we had some other system that involved due process, but maybe I am wrong.

  34. September 11th happened in NY, not Texas. NYers give a rats tail about how the middle of the country feels. Unlike W, a Texan, NYers may understand the broader implications of allowing torture.

  35. Our founding fathers were elitists who carefully wrote a constitution and then added ten amendments to protect us all--alleged terrorists included--from the truckdrivers.

  36. You're a sick fuck. Period.

  37. "Everybody would get their turn, one whack at a time, until there was nothing left of Abu and Khalid except a bloody stain."

    Pass. After all, WWJD?

  38. Andrew Sullivan's readers are almost as whiny and dim-witted as he is.

  39. And this is why so many people leave New York as the plague-ridden state it is.

  40. Even if you are ok with this being done to "bad people", doesn't it concern you at all that the innocent, mistakenly captured may also be tortured?

    What, that never happens? All caught are terrorist jihadists? SUre, just like all executed prisoners are guilty... Oh, wait...

    Not to mention what many others have - that you can't trust info obtained through torture.

  41. Timburns: what a shame that you have no idea what you are taking about regard the Seventh Day Adventist congregation. Do a little research...please!

    RSMcCain: I'm glad you're not President (for obvious reasons). What moral ground do we have to stand on when our soldiers are captured if we advocate torture? I know it can sound like a silly argument -- but in the long run (that's the key) we MUST hold the high ground. We have to have legs to stand on should we face a situation where (God forbit) 10 soldier are taken prisoner in Afghanistan. I know I don't want to see them tied to a poll at the Kabul State Fair. I know 'hypothetical', but what about what we should do in reality. Reality is a lot more difficult and doesn't lend itself to blog quips.
    Jonathan (Scriven)

  42. In defense of hypothetical statements:

    Everyone back off, Robert Stacy McCain is one of those "elitists" you read about. Living in Ivory Towers. He's just talking hypothetically, because he doesn't have the balls to deal with the real world.

  43. Mr. McCain have you served in the military?

    Just wondering where all this bravado comes from - my guess is that you not unlike the other billy badasses in the bush admin - dodged service but were all balls when it came to torture and war.

    You're nothing but a foaming crackpot. BTW, I live in Houston,TX and we wouldn't condone such acts - you, Rick Perry and his best buddy Ted Nugent could probably find some inbreeders in West TX that would volunteer.

    Your thoughts are ridiculous.

  44. Who is this guy to advocate mob murder? And why isn't he in prison?

  45. Behold, the moral compass of a fundamentalist Christian who used to write for the Moonies.

  46. timburns needs to open some windows, let some air into that room.

    You just don't get it, timburns, and it is kind of sad to see such deep, metastatic stupidity in someone.

    As for torturing terrorists, I'm all for being humane. I think they should always be given a chance to rehabilitate themselves.

    For example, after they have been waterboarded into revealing every last ounce of useful information, each one should be given darning needles, a large ball of yarn, taken up high in an airplane, then dropped out the door. If they can knit a parachute before they hit the ground, they get a certificate and are set free.

    I'm just slopping over with humaneness. Hypothetically speaking.

  47. Mr. McCain, it appears your blog has shown up on somebody's radar. That could be a good and bad thing but you'll notice these "comments" sure share a lot of similarities.

    The clueless have been let out once again.

    These poor saps have no idea what "torture" or "interrogation" mean -- at all. The level of ignorance in these comments -- well, you can tell their education, such as it is, has been sorely neglected.

    If they are lucky, they won't get a real-life example of what I mean.

  48. Well of course people at the Texas Fair wouldn't hit him until he was dead. After a few whacks some kind soul would drill him in the head with a 45 to put him out of his misery.

    We're compassionate that way.

    And as for those who want to stand on the high moral ground so that our captured soldiers are treated humanely? Your standing on a puffy liberal cloud of imaginary nonsense. We already know how they return our pieces.

    And our innocent citizens as well.

    It's a good think I ain't a trucker. Who knows what they think!


  49. "Were." You want it to be "if I were hung like a porn star."

    If you were hung like a porn star, you wouldn't have had to resort to those stripes on the Speedo, Stacy.

    And stop flirting with Andrew; that's disturbing.

  50. RSM is looking at this all wrong! Okay to scramble the brain of a child while being born, however not okay to water board someone who plans on blowing up a child. To a liberal, an act of terrorism is nothing more than a form of a late term abortion. No wonder they want terrorists released and not to be tortured. You know that slippery slope thing.

  51. "The hypothetical was meant to contrast (a) the tender-hearted concern for the "rights" of terrorists manifested by the New York Times with (b) the manner of treatment that Abu and Khalid could expect from attendees of the Texas State Fair."

    I think it's generally for this reason that the administration of justice isn't left exclusively to the attendees of the Texas State Fair. (Leaving aside the possibility that Texas judges might just like funnel cakes as much as the rest of us, of course). The law is somewhat closer to the New York Times than it is to mob justice.

  52. Go OKC Potatoes!!!

  53. Water boarding is nothing. Now if we were torturing terrorist like Mel Gibson was tortured in Lethal Weapon I would get concerned.

  54. Now maybe if you WERE hung like a porn star we wouldn't have to sit through your impotent domination fantasies.

    Pathetic faux macho posturing.

  55. I believe that approach belongs more in a place like Iran or Afghanistan. Hypothetically, it's barbaric and backwards. Get some better ideas.

  56. Liberal icon FDR incinerated tens of thousands of women and children in the firebombing of Dresden, and imprisoned more than 100,000 American citizens for being of suspect ethnicity.

    Bush waterboarded three terrorists.

    There are excesses in every just war. But despite the left's hysterical, sanctimonious "dark chapter in our history" rhetoric, even assuming that waterbording KSM was such an excess, by historical standards it's a rather tiny one.

  57. Jon,

    FDR had nothing to do with the firebombing of Dresden. I know you mean well but the British were in charge of that operation. The British General then in charge of European air operations -- "Bomber Harris" was his nickname -- firmly believed in a bombing campaign as a means of demoralizing the citizenry and Dresden became one of his favorite targets. While American aircraft were involved, it was a joint British-American operation under British direction. Churchill later expressed moral reservations about Dresden and there were no more quite like it. It did not have the intended effect -- the Germans were still fighting ferociously until Berlin fell (and some pockets of resistance persisted even after that).

  58. "Gordo also links Bob Barr, but neglects to mention that Barr used to work for the CIA. (Coincidence? I don't think so!)"

    Considering his role at the CIA, it's more likely that Barr was torturing typewriters than jihadists.

  59. What a complete scumbag you are. What a coward with your pathetic hiding behind the chickenshit cover of "hypothetical". Other McCain? You must be joking. You are disgrace to the name and to your country.

    Let's see YOU try the experience of waterboarding like a journalist with some balls (like Hitchens).

    A truck driver attitude to justice is what has trashed America's reputation around the world and Obama is only now beginning to undo it. If you do not fully appreciate this is I suggest you get out a bit more.

  60. So, then, Mr. McCain, simply by saying that I am posing a hypothetical, I can post any sort of vile garbage and then be freed from taking responsibility for it? Sorry, that doesn't work. Your point is taken; you don't believe that these people have any rights that need to be protected, and the brand of vigilante "justice" you describe would suit you just fine, since that is supposedly what the average American thinks they deserve.

    As several others have pointed out, your analysis of the mind of the average American is highly suspect, but even if you are correct, so what?

    The point of our nation's hallowing of human rights is about who we are, not about who the supposedly bad guys are. Torturing captives demeans us, and is a betrayal of our basic belief that the rights we cherish do not belong to Americans only, but, in fact, belong to all human beings as a gift from God.
    Maybe you should read the Declaration of Indepependence and the U.S. Constitution again.

  61. Well, sheesh, we know there are un-American dirtballs among us, that's why we have elections. Thanks for letting us know about your fantasy life, and poor impulse control, though.

    BTW, your "elite bubble" notwithstanding, most Americans are decent, God-fearing folks that don't have petulant little shit-fits like an 8-year-old. We want our military and intelligence apparatuses to do the *effective* thing, not throw a tantrum. (c.f. The 2008 Election)

  62. Looks like I missed all the fun.

    I love someone calling you "Coward" while posting as "Anonymous." Heh.

    Hey folks, waterboarding isn't torture. In the long list of really horrible things man does to man, waterboarding is so far down on the list it isn't worth mentioning.

    You can stretch it and wrestle it all you want, but a hugely asymmetrical moral equivalence is a very weak argument.

  63. Good insights to be gleaned here about how regimes like that of Hitler garner popular support.

  64. This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 4/21/2009, at The Unreligious Right

  65. It is apparent that the liberals of this nation have completely forgotten the sound of human bodies landing on the street as they leapt to their death from the World Trade Center, or that flight attendants had their throats cut with box knives prior to having the airliner they were in flown into a building. KSM masterminded this atrocity and we are supposed to feel some kind of remorse that he got his head wet 183 times? Some previous joker actually compared this to what the Japanese did in World War II. Try reading Flags of Our Fathers and learn what torture is. We have never used bamboo to stake a person to the ground through their limbs and chest,cut off genitalia and stuffed them down someones throat or lit them on fire. And to those who say that waterboarding doesn't work, try telling ABC's Brian Ross that. How do you think we actually captured KSM? Ramzi Bin Al Shib gave him up after a few rounds in the pool. A great deal of the destruction of Al Qaeda's leadership was eliminated due to information gleaned from KSM, and the information wasn't acquired over tea. Grow up and join the real world. Your sensitive fairyland is going to get a lot of innocent people killed.

  66. Waterboarding is torture. It has always been torture, and always will be torture. In the Nuremberg trials, we sent Nazis to prison if they were found to have performed waterboarding. We called it torture then, and we should call it torture now.

    I agree that the average American has little concern for the well-being of terrorists. That being said, how many of the people we waterboarded were convicted terrorists *before* we waterboarded them? Zero.

    When we instituted a regime of torture, we did it in an extra-legal fashion that did not regard legal evidence concerning the guilt or innocence of those we tortured. On a very basic level, our inquisitors had no way to know whether or not they were about to brutalize an innocent person.

    I'll also note that your "average American" has little concern for science or the well-being of Wall Street capitalists, and we don't ever perform public opinion polls to determine the outcome of legal cases. It's clear that we, as a nation, don't tend to take our peoples' feelings into account when acting as a nation of laws. The feelings of the average person toward terrorists are moot.

    What's also clear is that our Constitution provides protections against "cruel and unusual" punishment, making waterboarding an unacceptable punishment in the eyes of US law. Remember that protection was written with the recent abuses of King George III against Americans firmly in the public consciousness, and we purposefully wrote this "never again" clause into our most sacred laws in response.

    If it's wrong when George III's jackbooted thugs do it to colonists, and it's wrong when Nazis do it to Jews, then it's wrong when Americans do it to Muslims, no matter how guilty any particular subject may be.

    And, yes, it's clear from the tone of your original post that you're endorsing both waterboarding and any other torture we'd care to apply.