A Decade of Liberal Outrage, Wasted

In his new book, George W. Bush proudly defends his decision to authorize torture for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. You might think that a former President, only two years out of office, admitting to war crimes in no uncertain terms would make headlines, but CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and even the BBC are mum about it.

Perhaps this is because the revelation is not exactly new. Anyone paying attention knows that prisoners have been tortured and that such torture, far from being “a few bad apples” was approved procedure. The Bush Administration hasn’t exactly been coy about this, despite their supporters simultaneously arguing that waterboarding didn’t take place, that it’s not torture, and that these are bad guys so they deserve it anyway.

In fact, the crowd that is usually horrified at the “moral relativism” of the Left has absolutely no problem with abusing prisoners of war, since it’s okay in this case. Nor have a lot of Christians who I presume have read the book of Matthew lost much sleep over what they are happy is done in their name.

Of course, Guantanamo is still open as are the various CIA black sites, and still doing business as usual (though they say they’re no longer waterboarding.) Our Nobel Peace Prize-winning secret Muslim President hasn’t done much of anything to stop this, and in fact has added the ability to straight up kill people we don’t like, including citizens. And it’s not like our new Congress will stand up and demand an investigation…well, not one into Bush Administration misdeeds, at least.

In addition, this Mother Jones article reports that it’s not as though the abuses we’ve seen towards these prisoners are much different from what is going on in our regular prisons every day. I’m not sure why we don’t just throw all convicted (or merely accused) criminals into a gulag in Alaska for life, considering how little we care about a fair and humane justice system.

At this point, I’m only astonished that Bush doesn’t cop to shoplifting, snorting coke off Cheney’s head, and beating Laura with a golf club. We’re all either too numb or too “moving forward” to care. For ten years we’ve been screaming about the destruction of American humanity and for what? So that this fool can smirk his way up the book charts with tales of his awesome bravery and how Kanye West hurt his feelings.

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16 Responses to A Decade of Liberal Outrage, Wasted

  1. Rick says:

    Like the movie “A Few Good Men” we want them on the wall keeping us safe. If they have to bad things to bad people, fine, but we don’t want to know about, then we can sleep peacefully at night.

    Personally I have family that has dealt with the Afghans that are scared $h!tless and others that use villagers as cover to kill our troops. Play nice and disagree, fine. Try to terrorize then I am all for – Gene Police , You are outta the pool!!

    So no outrage on my behalf. I did not crash a saudi airliner in to Mecca and start this.

    They wanted it nasty, they get it nasty.

  2. Dave says:

    So as long as we’re slightly better than the bad guys, we’re still the good guys?

  3. jerm says:

    You got that right, Rick! If THEY wanna play dirty, so will we! THEY crashed an airliner into building! THEY behead people! THEY do terrible terrible stuff. Why shouldn’t we? Heck, THEY deserve it. When your opponent stoops to low, cheap, dirty, dishonorable, immoral and repugnant behavior, the best course of action is to follow suit. Even better, if you can beat them to it!

  4. Ken Lowery says:

    What’s a little 66,000 dead civilians among friends, huh, Rick? I mean we didn’t “crash a plane into Mecca” (pretty interesting that you equate a center of commerce with a unique religious icon, by the way), but we sure as hell are making up for it.

    THEY (whoever THEY are) started it! So whatever we do in response is justified!

    That crap didn’t work in grade school, Rick, and it doesn’t work when actual lives are being taken for no damn reason.

  5. Ken Lowery says:

    Also, the “they” who “started it” (which would say you have no idea what we’ve been up to before 2001) is not the “they” we are killing, torturing, and imprisoning en masse. But all those billion Muslims are the same, aren’t they?

  6. Lankyguy says:

    That George W. Bush authorized torture for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, thereby admitting to War Crimes, did make Olbermann, so it was on MSNBC. As was the observation that the current administration would do nothing about it, but then they would have done nothing about it, even if they had won the mid-terms.

  7. Rick says:

    @Dave- Nope. If you attack, I defend. If you have no honor and try to terrorize and bomb, then you will receive the wrath of those you attempt to terrorize. I do not like the idea of our forces torturing. But what I was expressing is that most of America would prefer not to know it is happening, as long as they feel safe.

    @jerm- Excuse me. Did we pull up to a masque in Baghdad and take over and kill half the people? NO – Well terrorists did with a roman catholic church.
    Did we pretend to be friendly and then blow ourselves up in a market square when 80% the people or more are of my same faith and religion?Nope again. This has happened 27 times in Iraq and I believ 12 times in Afghanistan.
    Did we carpet bomb or perposely attack civilain targets? NO
    No stooping here.

    The attacks against the Swiss and Russian embassies this week were for what reasons…..? The frickin swiss are nuetrals. If you want to catch the slime of the earth how many times does someone have to go undercover and wallow in the filth. Same issue here. Some one had to get dirty to get the information that was determined to be urgently needed. It is not nice and it is not something I could do myself at all. But I fully understand why it happened. No boo hoo for the bad guys on this one. However if you do it and you are found out, there are laws to prosecute.

    @ Ken – No I am not speaking of Muslims or Christians. I am speaking of terrorists. Not in just name but action.

    I disdain torture. But I fully understand and I am not naive that in order for a person that is willing to do die for their cause to reveal information that drastic measures are used.

    @ Languy- You are correct there are rules concerning torture and information gathering. If any president or country leadership is found to have done so they should be dealt with. Both Putin(Russia) and Bush(USA) authorized some henious actions for dealing with terrorists.

    I am just a realist that this stuff happens and just normally does not find the light of day. I will not feel bad for the individuals involved. They were not innocent victim(s), but captured terrorists.

  8. Rick says:

    Switching gears before I forget Dave,

    I meant to comment on the successful tree removal you posted a few days ago. I am glad the concrete did not go to the bottom.

    Are you thinking a few smaller trees along the fence line? It sounded like the ckicken coop idea is nixed :)

  9. jerm says:

    Man Rick. Right again. We have totally not pulled up a mosque land killed half the people inside. Just like a quarter or something. As was pointed out, and its a pretty conservative estimate, 66,000 civilians have died in Iraq. Now, I take heart in knowing that most of them are muslims, and so they totally deserved it. Some of them are christian, or other faiths, but how can you really tell them apart? As the crusaders said during the genocide of the Cathars in southern France, “Kill them all, God will know his own”. So true. And that stays with us today. When people like Tim McVeigh bomb a building housing a day care, killing children, surely God was on hand to sort out the damage.

    You’re right, unlike in world war II, we have totally not firebombed or carpet bombed anyone. In fact, we’ve totally been nice to everyone. Why the hell are the folks in the middle east and asia claiming that we’ve killed tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians?

  10. Rick says:

    @jerm – mosque land killed half – I am sorry I did not understand

    The firebombing of Germany in WWII was horrible, but not relevent to this conversation other then the cruelty of war.

    66,000 civilians killed I think is light. It is probably closer to 100,000 from the variety of bombings and combat actions since 2003. Most deaths in the last 5 years have occured from insurgent fighting and terrorist bombings.

    Your statements or rant about McVeigh and the OK City bombing are not only irrelevent to what the discusion was but am unsure of your kill Muslims slant. I do not believe I spoke of any religion I specified terrorist not Muslim, Christian, or Martian. I specifically spoke that terrorists are going to be treated roughly because of the actions they have taken.

    To reiterate. Dave’s original post was, Bush admits to basically torture to immediately gain knowledge to prevent further attacks and the media is giving him a pass.

    My response was that it was like the movie a few good men that we want them on the wall protecting us but we don’t know when they do icky things.

    The typical American may know that some slimey things are happening in their name but just make them feel safe and on the side of right.

    I added my opine that if a terrorist is captured and they are tortured to get them to break and give up info. I am not happy but I fully understand it and I will not shead a tear for those that use terror as their weapon.

    Have a good weekend.

  11. Sniffnoy says:

    Rick, you’re missing some basics. Suppose we grant that the people tortured were terrorists; then the torture is still illegal under the 8th amendment and the Geneva conventions. But in fact we can’t sensibly grant you that, because people being held in Guantanamo are *not* convicted terrorists, they are just *suspected* terrorists. Many have not even been charged with a crime. Torturing people on the basis that you suspect they are terrorists is not sound methodology.

    Now maybe you might have a fraction of a sliver of a point if torture were, in fact, any good for getting information. However, contrary to what you might expect, it isn’t. This has been tested repeatedly. Torture simply does not get reliable information; consequently, it is not helpful to anyone. Well, OK, it’s helpful if you are a tyrant and would like to frame someone, because it is very useful for securing false confessions, but that’s not something a just society has any business doing. Indeed, this same effect means that our use of torture has in fact actively *hindered* us getting reliable information out of our captives – people being tortured will spout whatever nonsense they think you’d like to hear, which will generally have little relation to the truth! What reliable information we do have, was not obtained via torture.

    You say we don’t want to know about torture occurring. Might I suggest instead that those who are complaining about torture, are, in fact honest, and *do not want torture to occur*? And if it *is* occurring, *do* want to know about it, so it can be *stopped*? They can’t accomplish your goals very well with a deliberately distorted picture of reality, after all.

    I do want to be protected from terrorists – by legal methods. Security is a tradeoff; our goal should not be achieving 0 deaths, but achieving the most lives for the cost, and that cost is paid not just in dollars but in our personal liberties. I also want to be protected from terrorists by effective methods, of which torture is not one.

    If Bush honestly approved torture because he thought he would get reliable information from it… then not only was he still acting illegally, but he didn’t do his research, and was dangerously negligent.

    TLDR: You should go read some Bruce Schneier or something, because it’s clear that you’re ignorant both about the basic facts that are relevant here and about how you can sensibly think about security. Really, your facts are wrong. Fix that first.

  12. Rick says:

    @Sniffnoy- TLDR yourself sir/madame. Dismissing the discussion is wrong. You would do better not to respond and move on to other topics then to insult those discussing the subject here.

    I disagreed with jerm but I did not dismiss his discussion with me. I indicated where I had trouble understanding or not seeing relevent information.

    The fact of the number of civilians killed was not wrong, and my OPINION that most American’s stick there head in the sand on the torture issue is an opinion based on my observation. I can look online at polling data if you wish a fact based arguement. We were have a discussion.

    I can insult you with a dirogatory statement, Fix your ability to discuss first then come back, but the is insulting. This is not a debate class it was a post. A response and some discussion concerning the responses to the post. I do not feel like anyone was dismissive, sarcastic yes, but not dissmissive.

    By the way, Schneier’s views on Digital security while insightful are not as effective as actual CIA operatives handbook on torture which was exposed by the Baltimore Sun in 1997.

  13. Rick says:

    I apologize I am typing while on the train and the many typos in my previous post.

    For Sniffoy edification and to support the opinions I expressed earlier, I present Prof E. San Juan Jr. article from May of 2010.

    “Since the Abu Ghraib and the Guantanamo prison scandals, the world public has now become sensitized to the moral/political problem of torture, whether used in peace time or in war. In 1997 The Baltimore Sun first exposed the CIA’s training manual applying torture against anti-government subversives in Central America. The manual refers to the 1983 Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual based on the Vietnam-era predecessor called the 1963 “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation.” Interviews of both victims and security agents in Honduras confirmed that kidnapping, surveillance, infiltration of spies, crowd control, torture and murder in the 1980s were committed by the U.S.-supported Honduran, El Salvadoran and Guatemalan military in the war against communism during President Reagan’s administration.”

    He further informs us how the CIA uses this effective measure again and again in the Phillipines as well as other places in the world.

  14. Dave says:

    So Rick, if I’m reading correctly, it’s not that you oppose torture, it’s just that you’d rather not hear about it. So long as someone else does it and someone else suffers it and you don’t have to know, it’s not a problem. For me, it’s a problem. Maybe I’m just not a “pragmatist” who is willing to let these things happen in my name and in the guise of protecting me. Maybe I *am* a pragmatist and feel that, in addition to it being morally wrong, it severely hurts our image in the world and, instead of preventing terrorism, encourages it.

    In addition, we can’t really refer to most of the torture victims (KSM aside) as terrorists. We have no idea if they are or aren’t, we just round up the people that Iraqis and Afghanis tell us are terrorists for money. It’s not like we’ve bothered to have any real trials for any of them, and the ones we “know” are terrorists have “confessed” to it while being tortured. The only evidence we have that any of this has saved lives is from the people proudly admitting to the torture, who can’t tell us more because that would harm security.

    Pragmatic or no, I don’t want this done for me. I am not terrified of terrorists. I am not willing to sell my freedoms, my values, and my soul in the name of fighting them. I don’t sleep easier at night because I know that somewhere out there a kid is sodomizing another kid with a broom handle to get him to admit to evil misdeeds. And I’m more than a little frightened and ashamed of those who do.

  15. Rick says:

    Dave I am stating that most American’s want to watch their kids soccer game this morning, watch their college team play today, wake up go to church tomarrow and watch some NFL football and worry about their retirement. They are not wanting to be awake to the darkness that is in the world, just trying to figure out ways to kill them. They just want the powers to be to make them feel safe. They do not ask questions about the how, just the results. I think your original post and the Professor’s article support that, do you agree?

    Both of us sound like we are not asleep to the issue as many in America are. My personal opinion again is that I am aware of it and I do not like it. That said I am pragmatic that when you capture people operating in a terrorist organization (which those we are talking about here were) that powers to be may do things that are illegal and amoral in the pursuit of gaining control and knowledge. If they were not trying to operate as terrorists they would not be treated this way. I don’t want them to do so but they are going to.

    To qoute another movie, Wargames, “the only way to win is to not play the game.”

    Those that operate in support of terrorism agree to be dealt with no quarter asked or given. When you do not play by the rules you operate where no rules protect you either. It is not fair, but it is what is happening. Sadly my heart has been hardened to those that cross the line into terrorism. It is bad enough to deal with child abuser’s and murders in our midst but we have laws and boundries in our society to deal with them. There is no place for terrorism. I

    I thank you for presenting your feelings clearly. Your last paragraph is commendable and sums up what many feel. I also echo the sentiment that it may harden those opposed to us as a nation because of torture being authorized by our top officials.

    Hope you have a great weekend. I am almost home, finally, and I can’t wait to see my wife and kids.

    Be safe.

  16. pronoblem says:

    U.S. Department of State calls terrorism: “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

    Very convenient to use “sub-national groups”… we could never be called terrorists under that definition. Fact is, we are the biggest supporter of terrorism that the world has ever seen. There is a reason that we are a target, it is because we’ve been the bully and the exploiter – our imperialism since the late 19th Century – but a lot of our crimes as part of the Cold War. We don’t need to kill any more people; we need to change our foreign policy…

    I read commentary like I see here and I wonder how people can be so blind to the fact that WE are being retaliated against. You want to be safe, go to the mall, church, ball game and not worry about the rest of the world. Yeah. Those people – they are part of the problem. It is funny though… this “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” is so riddled with crime, gluttony, narcissism, disease, drug abuse and depression. All this extreme opulence combined with an ignorance to the world at large, connection to nature or concerns for the survival of human race at large – not just your clan – is not healthy… The soul of this Nation is very dark. We have lost our humanity. We are the New Rome.

    “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” ~Oscar Wilde