Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby RaharuAharu » Fri May 22, 2009 9:03 am

Be Sure to click the Link to see the videos linked in the the Article.
Edit: The Speech in Question http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/21/ ... nnSTCVideo
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/21/ ... index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney Thursday said the Bush administration's "enhanced" interrogations of al Qaeda prisoners, saved "thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands" of lives.

Dismissing critics who said the policy amounted to the torture of suspected terrorists, Cheney called the techniques the Bush administration approved "legal, essential, justified, successful and the right thing to do." And he said President Obama has weakened the country's ability to combat al Qaeda and other extremists by eliminating them.

The former vice president said U.S. intelligence officers "were trying to prevent future killings" and did not commit torture. But he defended the use of "waterboarding," which the United States has prosecuted as torture in the past, as a valuable tool used on three top al Qaeda figures.

"In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists," he said.

Cheney made his remarks during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, just minutes after Obama laid out a similarly scathing criticism of his predecessors in an address on national security at the National Archives in Washington.

Cheney argued the power the Bush administration exercised in the war against al Qaeda was clearly granted by the Constitution and by legislation passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. The administration was responsible for preventing "something much bigger and far worse" than those attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

"The intelligence officers who questioned the terrorists can be proud of their work, proud of the results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people," he said.

Cheney said Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility was undertaken "with little deliberation and no plan." And he argued Obama's decision to release Bush-era interrogation memos was a reckless and unfair distraction in the fight against extremists, noting it was opposed by Obama's own CIA director, Leon Panetta

Cheney reiterated his argument that if the public has a right to know about various methods of interrogation, it should also have a right to know what those methods achieved.

Only detainees of the "highest intelligence value" were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, he said. Only three detainees, he noted, were waterboarded.

With thousands of lives potentially in the balance, Cheney argued, it didn't make sense to let high-value detainees "answer questions in their own good time."

Cheney conceded that at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a "few sadistic guards" committed illegal, immoral acts and therefore "deserve Army justice."

But he drew a distinction between the activities at Abu Ghraib and sanctioned interrogation techniques "conducted within the constraints of the law."

It would be a "horrible precedent" to have an incoming administration "criminalize" the policies of its predecessor, he said.

"I would advise the administration to think carefully about the course ahead," Cheney said.

A total ban on certain interrogation techniques, Cheney said, is "recklessness cloaked in righteousness."

In fact, according to Cheney, Obama has reserved for himself "the right to order the use of enhanced interrogation, should he deem it appropriate."

"It's almost gone unnoticed that the president has retained the power to order the same methods in the same circumstances," he said.

But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama has "absolutely not" left any exceptions for himself in his executive order barring the use of Bush administration-approved tactics such as sleep deprivation.

"The president of the United States signed an executive order doing away with enhanced interrogation techniques," Gibbs told CNN. "The policy of the government of the United States of America is to no longer use these techniques, and they won't be used."

Cheney suggested that Obama draws comfort from being criticized from the right and the left, believing he has found an acceptable middle ground.

But, "in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures leave you half-exposed," Cheney said.

"Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. ... There is never a good time to compromise when [the lives of the American people] hang in the balance."

The former vice president said the Bush administration's national security policies delivered numerous "blows" to extremists targeting the United States.

He said every plot for an attack in the United States since September 11, 2001, had failed.
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"When President Obama makes wise decisions ... he deserves our support," Cheney said. "And when he faults or mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer."

Obama delivered his own speech earlier Thursday at the National Archives, touching on virtually every point Cheney would make.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby draque » Fri May 22, 2009 1:19 pm

Ugh. It's supremely ironic that Cheney accuses Obama of being shortsighted. If we were to assume that information obtained by torture were legitimate (which all evidence seems to dispute), and we were receiving information that strengthened the US, we would still have to deal with the fact that we as a country are showing ourselves as willing to break long held principles. Moreover, it makes it more than a little bit absurd that we would ask that prisoners captured from our side be treated humanely. By allowing torture to occur within our own ranks as a sanctioned interrogation method at all, we're endangering our own troops. Ah well, I have a feeling that I'm just preaching to the choir here...
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Skatche » Sat May 23, 2009 9:03 am

It would be a "horrible precedent" to have an incoming administration "criminalize" the policies of its predecessor, he said.

"I would advise the administration to think carefully about the course ahead," Cheney said.


Yes: I am arguing against this purely on legal grounds. Bad precedent, bad precedent. Has nothing to do with the fact that it's my ass on the line, no sir.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Mitsukara » Sat May 23, 2009 2:11 pm

If all else fails, I'm sure he's still got his huntin' gun and sharpshootin' skills to back him up.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Monocheres » Sat May 23, 2009 6:43 pm

draque wrote:If we were to assume that information obtained by torture were legitimate (which all evidence seems to dispute)


All evidence? Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- the guy who was the mastermind behind 9/11 itself -- sang like a canary once he was waterboarded. He spilled the beans on a "second wave" al Qaeda had planned, that would have been even bigger and would have smashed L.A. Because the information was timely, that plot was thwarted.

There were tens of thousands of people in the the WTC towers when those planes hit. But the NYC cops and firefighters were amazingly efficient at evacuating folks out of there that day, so we only lost 3000 people. (Heh, "only", sob.) But if things had been just a little different, the death toll could easily have been an order of magnitude greater. So what do you think a dozen planes might have been able to do to Tinsel Town?

draque wrote:Moreover, it makes it more than a little bit absurd that we would ask that prisoners captured from our side be treated humanely. By allowing torture to occur within our own ranks as a sanctioned interrogation method at all, we're endangering our own troops.


Yes, that's quite the going theory, isn't it? Except that that sort of trite moralizing assumes that the enemy is bunch of goody-two-shoes 19th-century-style toy soldiers who have been fighting by the Marquess de Queensbury's rules. Oh, my, we mustn't upset them now, lest they--gasp, swoon--take their gloves off.

Get real. These extremists already treated kidnapped Americans in the vilest and most degrading ways imaginable, subjecting them to the most horrendous excruciating tortures, in the end unceremoniously dumping their foully mutilated corpses on the road-side for their comrades to find. And none of it even to extract any kind of strategic intelligence, but simply out of pure sadistic hatred for everything Western and "un-Islamic", and with the clear intent to shatter the morale of our troops in the field. How could anything we do on our side possibly make it worse than that?

I should point out that Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- the guy who was the mastermind of 9/11 itself -- is still quite alive and well. After suffering less than what most academy cadets receive in hazing, he is now getting fat on three "culturally-appropriate" square meals a day. In fact, except for the little matter of not being able to change his address, you could even say he's thriving. And who knows, maybe now Obama might even let him out for good behavior...

Makes quite a contrast don't you think?
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Anna » Sat May 23, 2009 10:42 pm

I didn't know that Jack Bauer is a member of this forum.

You know, we german had once ways for making that you talk.
And with this great history behind me, I must say: No torture.

Indeed, sometimes it does gives the informations you need but it can also be very contraproductive.
You can confess everything what your "interviewer" wants to hear, only for that he stops it, that the pain and the fear will be gone.
To prevent a wrong result, you have to be tortured more, to put the puzzle together, still with with the possibility that the results are wrong.
That's the simple reason why confessions because of the torture will not be accepted by the court.

But it is also a fact that a modern kind of interrogation, like the police does, can give results.
You don't sit blue-eyed in front of the evil man and hope that he will give nice answers.
These people are trained and know tricks how to get results, and it can be rough, yes.
Sadly on a TV screen it doesn''t makes a good show.
And it is also reported that the US military normally prefers the non torture methods.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Skatche » Sun May 24, 2009 11:11 am

Monocheres wrote:All evidence? Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- the guy who was the mastermind behind 9/11 itself -- sang like a canary once he was waterboarded. He spilled the beans on a "second wave" al Qaeda had planned, that would have been even bigger and would have smashed L.A. Because the information was timely, that plot was thwarted.


Sauce plz.

It also might be worthwhile or at least incendiary to point out that there's more than just waterboarding in question here.

I read that one of our guys recently pleaded guilty to one of the charges against him - conspiring to provide support and resources to Al Qaeda. The guilty plea came after more than five years in solitary confinement. After five years of solitary (hell, after five months), I think I'd be ready to plead guilty of conspiring with Martians, if it would get me out quicker. Waterboarding and other torture methods have precisely the same problems.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby strange_person » Sun May 24, 2009 12:00 pm

Monocheres wrote:Get real. These extremists already treated kidnapped Americans in the vilest and most degrading ways imaginable, subjecting them to the most horrendous excruciating tortures, in the end unceremoniously dumping their foully mutilated corpses on the road-side for their comrades to find. And none of it even to extract any kind of strategic intelligence, but simply out of pure sadistic hatred for everything Western and "un-Islamic", and with the clear intent to shatter the morale of our troops in the field. How could anything we do on our side possibly make it worse than that?
It's about quantity, not quality.

You're right; there are some people out there who hate us for who we are, are willing and able to act on those feelings, and probably couldn't hate us any more no matter what we did. They are competent adults, fully responsible for their own beliefs and actions, and persuading them one way or another is probably futile. The only ethical way to deal with such people is to deny them resources, and prosecute them to the full extent of the law at appropriate opportunities.

The problem with torture is not that it provokes such people to greater extremes of passion and violence; rather, it makes them look good. Confirms their worst accusations in the eyes of the public, and thereby elevates them to the level of legitimate, equal opposition. Only by refusing to torture, by taking the easier, gentler road (though a lack of conflict may make is seem less righteous) can we reveal the real terrorists as the sadistic lunatics they are. Show their children the true range of options. Without a constant stream of new recruits, the old guard will marinate in their own hatred, shrivel, and become irrelevant.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Wizard CaT » Sun May 24, 2009 3:13 pm

Monocheres wrote:He spilled the beans on a "second wave" al Qaeda had planned, that would have been even bigger and would have smashed L.A. Because the information was timely, that plot was thwarted.

So what do you think a dozen planes might have been able to do to Tinsel Town?


That's another argument about why we shouldn't have tortured.

strange_person wrote:They are competent adults.


I doubt it.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Monocheres » Sun May 24, 2009 7:16 pm

strange_person wrote:Only by refusing to torture, by taking the easier, gentler road (though a lack of conflict may make is seem less righteous) can we reveal the real terrorists as the sadistic lunatics they are. Show their children the true range of options. Without a constant stream of new recruits, the old guard will marinate in their own hatred, shrivel, and become irrelevant.


I'm sorry, but this is the height of naivete. There is an existence proof against your thesis: the Palestinians. They have mastered the art of indoctrinating their children from the tenderest of ages into the most virulent form of racist hatred imaginable. Just watch their television shows. That situation is not getting better, it is getting progressively worse. This, despite the many peace overtures made to them over the years by the more liberal governments that have from time to time cropped up in the West and in Israel. No scratch that: it's getting worse, because of all those peace overtures. Indeed, it appears that the very effort to set a good example, to take the "easier, gentler road" as you call it, not only does not shame groups like Hamas into suddenly acting "civilized" and "reasonable", but in fact encourages them that they are winning. You see, when you believe that "THE God" (translation for Al-lah) is on your side, and you know, down to your very soul, that no matter what happens, your enemies will ultimately be consigned to burn in Hell for being corrupt infidels, then any depraved brutality you commit upon them is righteous and justified, and any depraved brutality your enemies fail to commit on you is just a sign of their weakness.

These are adults, with their eyes wide open, totally convinced that their evil is actually good. I think if you tried to patronize them by flaunting "turn the other cheek" as a superior morality, they would smile at the insult, and happily slit your throat.

I am not advocating we engage in "depraved brutality", or become like terrorists. But appeasement will not win their hearts and minds. The only thing that might ever convince them to rethink their morality, to wonder if God is really on their side, is to prove to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are stronger.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Skatche » Sun May 24, 2009 7:45 pm

Monocheres wrote:I'm sorry, but this is the height of naivete. There is an existence proof against your thesis: the Palestinians.


Oh, dude. To even pretend you can paint an unambiguous moral picture of the Israel/Palestine conflict renders your contribution to any intelligent debate irrelevant. Seriously, there should be a Godwin analogue for that sort of thing.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Monocheres » Sun May 24, 2009 8:22 pm

Skatche wrote:
Monocheres wrote:I'm sorry, but this is the height of naivete. There is an existence proof against your thesis: the Palestinians.


Oh, dude. To even pretend you can paint an unambiguous moral picture of the Israel/Palestine conflict renders your contribution to any intelligent debate irrelevant. Seriously, there should be a Godwin analogue for that sort of thing.


I didn't say anything of the sort. Nobody is free from moral dilemmas in that corner of the world. I was merely refuting the idea that "playing nice" and "setting a good example" is a strategy that will reduce the steady stream of terrorist recruits. It's based on a false set of premises.

Are you trying to tell me that the leaders in the Palestinian territories are not brainwashing their grade-school kids to say that "Jews are dirty pigs" and "I'd like to grow up to kill Jews?" It's happening.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Skatche » Mon May 25, 2009 8:13 am

Monocheres wrote:I didn't say anything of the sort. Nobody is free from moral dilemmas in that corner of the world. I was merely refuting the idea that "playing nice" and "setting a good example" is a strategy that will reduce the steady stream of terrorist recruits. It's based on a false set of premises.

Are you trying to tell me that the leaders in the Palestinian territories are not brainwashing their grade-school kids to say that "Jews are dirty pigs" and "I'd like to grow up to kill Jews?" It's happening.


The original question was whether taking the moral high ground against terrorists (i.e. by not torturing them) will prevent more people from being converted to terrorist ideologies. You claimed that Israel/Palestine was a clear counterexample where, even though we're being super-nice and offering peace treaties and so forth, those nasty Palestinians are still managing to brainwash their kids into thinking we're the spawn of Shaitan or whatever. I claim there is a long history of mass human rights abuses by Israel against Palestine (Palestine's got a pretty bad record too, only they happen to be on the losing side), that many of the "peace treaties" are deeply unsatisfying to the Palestinians in light of those abuses, and hence that any brainwashing that takes place over there is probably just icing on the cake.

You also have to keep in mind the question of scale. Yes, Palestinians hate Jews, but they're too poor and dispossessed to do much about it. Israel arbitrarily claims a new chunk of Palestinian territory for itself, kicks hundreds or thousands of people out of their homes, sells said homes to a bunch of wealthy people, and builds walls to keep the Palestinians from coming back. If provoked, they send in their army and kill a bunch of civilians.

The Palestinians simply do not do this sort of thing. I'm sure they would if they could. I'm sure they would wipe every Jew, man woman or child, off the face of this Earth if they had the resources. They would kill them slowly, burn them on mass pyres and dance on the ashes. But they don't even have an army to send in; all they can afford are puny rocket attacks on the nearest cities to the Gaza border (because they can't reach any further) and the occasional suicide bomber. The number of Israelis they've killed in the past year - if I remember the statistics right - is in the tens.

That's the kind of enemy we're facing here. We are not fighting an army threatening to crush us, here. We are a global superpower with a massive intelligence network trying to squish a bunch of tiny, loosely organized cells, the vast majority of which will fail to have any direct impact on U.S. soil (9/11 was a fluke, greatly aided by Bush's incompetence, in case you've forgotten), and we are doing this by indefinitely and unconstitutionally holding people who may or may not be even tangentially connected to these cells and then torturing them for information. Even without the moral issues, it's stupid.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby strange_person » Mon May 25, 2009 10:04 am

Monocheres wrote:But appeasement will not win their hearts and minds. The only thing that might ever convince them to rethink their morality, to wonder if God is really on their side, is to prove to them beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are stronger.
Oh yeah? Funny thing about that: we are stronger. We've got guns 'n' bombs 'n' stuff. You know why Iran wants a nuclear program? In international diplomacy, nukes are what separates big-time from small-time. It's the national equivalent of a moving out of your parent's basement and getting a job.

The evidence of our strength is written indelibly across the world. They already see it, it's reflected in their tactics. You're right, though; it's not enough that we look strong, that we have more money and shinier cars. We need to prove it's not a bluff, that we're not just insustainably swollen on our own corruption. The way we prove that is by exercising restraint, being scrupulously honorable, and then, when the situation calls for it, kicking all their asses without breaking a sweat.
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strange_person wrote:They are competent adults.


I doubt it.
Legally competent. They can clothe, bathe and feed themselves, manage their own finances.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Tychomonger » Mon May 25, 2009 10:20 am

Every culture "brainwashes" to an extent. Children are raised with a certain set of ideals and beliefs which let them thrive in the society they were born in to. Religious faith and political ideology are the results of such "brainwashing". I acknowledge that many of my core beliefs are arbitrary choices between two or three options which were chosen for me by my upbringing. Go team!
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby draque » Wed May 27, 2009 6:57 am

Monocheres wrote:All evidence? Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- the guy who was the mastermind behind 9/11 itself -- sang like a canary once he was waterboarded. He spilled the beans on a "second wave" al Qaeda had planned, that would have been even bigger and would have smashed L.A. Because the information was timely, that plot was thwarted.

There were tens of thousands of people in the the WTC towers when those planes hit. But the NYC cops and firefighters were amazingly efficient at evacuating folks out of there that day, so we only lost 3000 people. (Heh, "only", sob.) But if things had been just a little different, the death toll could easily have been an order of magnitude greater. So what do you think a dozen planes might have been able to do to Tinsel Town?


Could you link me to some info on Khalid Sheik Mohammed? I looked him up on a few sites, and although they said he had been waterboarded, they also mention that the information he gave was largely untrue, and given simply because he wanted to tell the interrogators whatever they would like to hear.


Yes, that's quite the going theory, isn't it? Except that that sort of trite moralizing assumes that the enemy is bunch of goody-two-shoes 19th-century-style toy soldiers who have been fighting by the Marquess de Queensbury's rules. Oh, my, we mustn't upset them now, lest they--gasp, swoon--take their gloves off.

Get real. These extremists already treated kidnapped Americans in the vilest and most degrading ways imaginable, subjecting them to the most horrendous excruciating tortures, in the end unceremoniously dumping their foully mutilated corpses on the road-side for their comrades to find. And none of it even to extract any kind of strategic intelligence, but simply out of pure sadistic hatred for everything Western and "un-Islamic", and with the clear intent to shatter the morale of our troops in the field. How could anything we do on our side possibly make it worse than that?


That’s certainly a good point. The current regimes that are being fought in the Middle East are largely unconcerned with things like human rights. That being said, I still think that establishing torture as a standard is foolish. The majority of world powers are on board with no torture policies, but if they become the minority, they’ll be squeezed into a situation where they won’t have much choice but to adopt policies that allow torture to be able to keep up with intelligence of other countries.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby strange_person » Wed May 27, 2009 8:28 am

Except for the small problem that torture doesn't provide sound intelligence. If there's still any doubt about that, try a thought experiment.

Imagine a game of "telephone," except, at the end, instead of having the message's last recipient to tell you what they heard immediately, you deprive them of sleep for a week and half-drown them. Even if they knew, even if they were willing to help, do you really think extreme stress will improve their ability to remember tactically-significant details? Compared to a situation like this, that is.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Monocheres » Wed May 27, 2009 7:48 pm

draque wrote:Could you link me to some info on Khalid Sheik Mohammed?


Here's a relevant article flowing from the recent controversy over Obama's selective release of classified memos regarding KSM and waterboarding. And here's an earlier article from before the inauguration. Note that KSM was one of only three detainees who were waterboarded, and that CIA had very strict criteria for the kind of situation that called for that technique.

I looked him up on a few sites, and although they said he had been waterboarded, they also mention that the information he gave was largely untrue, and given simply because he wanted to tell the interrogators whatever they would like to hear.


There was an interview with one of the CIA interrogators (wish I could find it again...) where he described exactly that, that they were expecting that and factored for it. He also related how KSM would often lie to inflate his terror accomplishments, clearly hoping the story would get out and make him into an even bigger hero for the jihad movement. They factored those out too. But they were pretty skilled at discerning when he was really cracking, and kept only the parts of his confessions that they could corroborate afterward with independent evidence. That's the stuff that's standing up in his military tribunal.

I wish Obama would release the parts of the memos, and the whole memos, that he deliberately left out, the stuff that Cheney's calling for. Then we'd all know the whole truth about what those interrogations yielded. It was a pretty cynical political stunt for Obama to cherry-pick just the descriptions of the techniques simply to make the Bush administration look bad and make himself look all high-and-mighty, while holding back on the results, which might actually make the Bush crew look like a bunch of geniuses.

Let me ask you something: If waterboarding really doesn't work, if all they got out of KSM was a bunch of desperate lies, then wouldn't the parts Obama left out prove that? I suppose someone might counter that, well of course those memos would be full of fabrications designed to make Bush look good, because hey, it's not like the CIA are dedicated professionals or anything, right? Well, I don't buy that for a second, but even if it that were true, don't you think all the left-wing fact-check sites would be able to pick any lies apart inside of a New York minute? So why doesn't Obama release those memos?

Could it be, oh I dunno, that maybe Cheney is right?

EDIT: I particularly like the end of the newer article, I just had to splice it in here (my emphasis added):

While waterboarding was exceedingly rare in CIA interrogations of al-Qaida terrorists, it was routinely used on certain members of our own armed forces who went through “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” (SERE) training. According to another previously classified memo that Obama released last week, some branches of the U.S. military stopped using waterboarding in training certain troops not because waterboarding had harmful long-term effects, but because it was so universally effective in extracting information.

“With respect to the waterboard, you have also orally informed us that the Navy continues to use it in training,” said a 2002 Office of Legal Counsel memo to the CIA’s Rizzo. “You have informed us that other services ceased use of the waterboard because it was so successful as an interrogation technique but not because of any concerns over harm, physical or mental, caused by it. It was also reported to be almost 100 percent effective in producing cooperation among trainees.”


In other words, there's no point training you to fight it, you ain't gonna beat it!

According to the CIA, it produced cooperation in the mastermind of 9-11 and thus yielded information used to stop a 9-11 type attack on the West Coast.

President Obama says he has prohibited the interrogation techniques described in the Justice Department memos he released. Next time the CIA catches a KSM, they must be kinder and gentler with him.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby draque » Thu May 28, 2009 11:06 am

Monocheres wrote:Here's a relevant article flowing from the recent controversy over Obama's selective release of classified memos regarding KSM and waterboarding. And here's an earlier article from before the inauguration. Note that KSM was one of only three detainees who were waterboarded, and that CIA had very strict criteria for the kind of situation that called for that technique.
[...]
There was an interview with one of the CIA interrogators (wish I could find it again...) where he described exactly that, that they were expecting that and factored for it. He also related how KSM would often lie to inflate his terror accomplishments, clearly hoping the story would get out and make him into an even bigger hero for the jihad movement. They factored those out too. But they were pretty skilled at discerning when he was really cracking, and kept only the parts of his confessions that they could corroborate afterward with independent evidence. That's the stuff that's standing up in his military tribunal.
[...]
“With respect to the waterboard, you have also orally informed us that the Navy continues to use it in training,” said a 2002 Office of Legal Counsel memo to the CIA’s Rizzo. “You have informed us that other services ceased use of the waterboard because it was so successful as an interrogation technique but not because of any concerns over harm, physical or mental, caused by it. It was also reported to be almost 100 percent effective in producing cooperation among trainees.”


Huh. In terms of the reliability of evidence obtained from waterboarding, I do have to admit that's pretty convincing.

I wish Obama would release the parts of the memos, and the whole memos, that he deliberately left out, the stuff that Cheney's calling for. Then we'd all know the whole truth about what those interrogations yielded. It was a pretty cynical political stunt for Obama to cherry-pick just the descriptions of the techniques simply to make the Bush administration look bad and make himself look all high-and-mighty, while holding back on the results, which might actually make the Bush crew look like a bunch of geniuses.

Let me ask you something: If waterboarding really doesn't work, if all they got out of KSM was a bunch of desperate lies, then wouldn't the parts Obama left out prove that? I suppose someone might counter that, well of course those memos would be full of fabrications designed to make Bush look good, because hey, it's not like the CIA are dedicated professionals or anything, right? Well, I don't buy that for a second, but even if it that were true, don't you think all the left-wing fact-check sites would be able to pick any lies apart inside of a New York minute? So why doesn't Obama release those memos?


I'm an independent, so I'm overall a lot less concerned when a party is being underhanded to the other than most people. That having been said, I don't think it's really possible to know what the implications of the information are without seeing it first. Even assuming that it's inaccurate(and at this point, I'm willing to concede that it likely is accurate), there would still be the advantage of making a bluff, claiming to know much more than they actually do. I would like to see the documents eventually, but can understand that currently they could contain sensitive data.

I suppose there are really only three more points left for me to make, really. First, part of my personal drive to eliminate torture is that I worry about its potential application in the future. It's highly limited at this point, and only used on enemy combatants with potentially war-changing information, but it's only a small step from there to simply use it on any enemy combatant they choose. The term "enemy combatant" is so ill defined, that I would worry about it slipping into use in situations like the drug war, with people involved being labeled enemy combatants. Maybe I'm being paranoid there, but it's a concern. Second, there is the public opinion of the US worldwide to consider. That's more a pragmatic opposition to torture than anything else, but still, it's worth addressing. The third point is simply that the concept of torture squicks me, pure and simple. That's not any kind of logical argument, and I'm not presenting it as one, but it's true for what it's worth. The possibility, however remote, of it being applied to myself or anyone that I care about simply creates such a kneejerk reaction in me that it is difficult to think about condoning it. I'm torn here. I'm going to have to digest this for a while.

It certainly doesn't help that the people being tortured weren't even given military tribunals before being subjected to torture. Whether or not the torture itself is justified, being subjected to it without being given access to any kind mechanism to determine guilt (which, given how guilty the people involved seemed to be, wouldn't be a huge amount of trouble) strikes me as being massively in conflict with the core US principle of the inalienable right to legal representation and due process. I've heard people argue that the human rights guaranteed in the constitution apply only to citizens, but it's difficult to justify the word "inalienable" if that is the case.
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Re: Cheney Speaks out, tells us how he really feels.

Postby Monocheres » Thu May 28, 2009 10:46 pm

draque wrote:I'm an independent, so I'm overall a lot less concerned when a party is being underhanded to the other than most people. That having been said, I don't think it's really possible to know what the implications of the information are without seeing it first. Even assuming that it's inaccurate(and at this point, I'm willing to concede that it likely is accurate), there would still be the advantage of making a bluff, claiming to know much more than they actually do. I would like to see the documents eventually, but can understand that currently they could contain sensitive data.


Sensitive data. Weren't the descriptions of our interrogation techniques, as well as the extremely strict limitations we placed on ourselves as to when and under what conditions we would use them, exercising the excruciating restraint of a superpower that doesn't believe in torture, but is faced with certain Jack-Bauer situations -- wasn't all of that "sensitive data" too? Number one rule of counterintelligence: Never voluntarily reveal your techniques and practices to the enemy in a time of war. Obama has just done that. To make political hay.

The advantage of making a bluff. We waterboarded three guys. Three really, really, bad dudes. Just three. Under only the very direst of circumstances, that called for immediate action. But the impression the whole world got was that we were running Inquisition-style dungeons and pulling thousands of people's fingernails out just for fun. Wasn't that the advantage of making a bluff?
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