Prisoner Abuse: What We've Learned

The administration's once quiet sanctioning of torture has turned into a full-blown defense of the practice -- even as the president insists, "We do not torture." I wish that statement didn't ring so hollow. It remains unclear exactly where the line is between abuse and acceptable coercion, but when John McCain, an overwhelming majority of his fellow senators and dozens of military leaders say the use of torture is more harmful than helpful, I'm inclined to believe them. Put simply, we should not need to sacrifice our morality to fight the War on Terror.

So what have we learned this week?

Torture -- yes, even of non-citizens, and yes, even of terrorism suspects -- goes against fundamental American principles, and may make the fight against terrorism more difficult.

"Prohibiting torture of those captured by the U.S. in the war on terror is not only the right thing to do, but the first important step by an otherwise inert Congress to establish a rule of law in the war on terror," writes Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), in support of Sen. John McCain's amendment to the defense appropriations bill. "It is appropriate to grant broad latitude and discretion to the president in matters of national security in times of war, but we must not wholly abandon the Founding principles of liberty and justice which generations of brave Americans have given their lives to protect."

Debater ErrinF argues:

The terrorists want more than to just destroy our bodies ... they also want to manipulate our minds to make us act irrationally in reaction to their terrorist acts. ...don't let hysteria and fear rule our decision-making process. If our enemy is so very deadly, then all the more reason to stay calm and collected in the fight against them. ...America has faced many threats in the past, and we've prevailed against all of them. We will do so in the war on terror as well, so there is no need to start radically changing our American principles, such as adopting torture as an acceptable American practice. ...Whatever happened to American pride that we can triumph over any evil? Instead we see these days that America is somehow desperate and must resort to whatever possible to achieve victory. Again I say we can achieve victory without relenting one iota of our higher moral ground.

Regardless of whether torture works, it is widely agreed that there are better methods.

Military leaders and many current and ex-servicemen (like Debater Colonel Chip) oppose the use of torture. We will be at war again, they note, and if we use torture against our enemies, we leave the door wide open for captured Americans to be treated the same way.

False confessions are also a big problem. How can a confession obtained under torture ever be admissible in court, or really, ever be used against anyone at all? (Example: the case of Ahmed Abu Ali.)

Some interrogation materials -- including the Moran report, one of the "timeless documents" on the subject (read this!) -- contend that being nice and taking an interest in the welfare of prisoners consistently yields reliable information, even from the most ideological captives. (Total Information Awareness has done some excellent blogging on the issue of detainees, and this entry on the Moran report and whether "violence equals strength" is no exception.)

The administration has condoned torture from early on, so to pin all the blame on the individuals who actually committed the abuses is unfair.

As early as 2002, the administration was considering how to legally rationalize torture.

In his May 24, 2004 speech, President Bush blamed the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib on "disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values." But with the vice president unabashedly pushing for the sanctioning of torture, how can we believe that any of the abuse -- which we now know went far beyond just Abu Ghraib -- was just the work of a few rogue recruits?

The rules regarding treatment of prisoners were fuzzy at best; actively encouraging at worst. Writes Brigadier General David R. Irvine, a former intelligence officer and professor of interrogation, "I would respectfully suggest that what our troops have earned, by their willingness to put their lives in harm's way for our national security, is not doubt, but clarity. As 27 retired admirals and generals who joined me in a letter to Mr. McCain in support of his amendment said, 'Our service members were denied clear guidance, and left to take the blame when things went wrong. They deserve better than that.'"

When it became clear just how widespread the maltreatment was, the administration had a decision to make: disavow the abuse and crack down on it, or go all out in defense of torture. This is an administration that truly believes that the best defense is a good offense (Bush Doctrine, anyone?) so it should come as no surprise to us that they came out swinging on this one, too.

We should beware of false dichotomies ...

Many torture supporters seem to believe that if a prisoner is not tortured for information, that must mean he's being coddled. Matt Margolis comments in Blogs for Bush: "Last I checked, being forced to wear panties on your head isn't torture... I know many on the left believe we should be housing these terrorists at 4 star hotels with free room service, but those of us who want to win the war on terror don't believe in coddling killers who want to see the US destroyed..." Along the same lines, Debater Johnnyg comments, "Okay, say we decide not to hurt or scare the bejeezus out of them during interrogation. Instead, we politely ask them to tell us what we need to know, and if they refuse, we put them in a cruddy prison cell for the rest of their lives."

Both fail to recognize that there's a lot of ground between coddling a prisoner and torturing him. Simply refusing to torture a prisoner does not mean he'll be getting pancakes for breakfast every day before he heads off to his spa session.

... And of false assumptions.

There also seems to be a general presumption that those who are tortured will always be the prisoners who have good information that we desperately need and that they wouldn't share otherwise. But invariably, if torture is permitted, innocent people will be tortured -- probably more often than innocent people get put to death in America, because at least to get the death penalty the criminal must have first gone to trial. Those being tortured wouldn't have had a trial, and in many if not most cases would not even have been granted the opportunity to see a lawyer.

In Irvine's Washington Times op-ed, which you should go read right now, he writes, "what we've learned since Abu Ghraib suggests ... torture is used indiscriminately, and that we are beating the daylights out of many people who are guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or being unable to communicate in English. The Army inspector general has estimated that as many as 80 percent of those arrested in our sweeps and held for intelligence or security reasons were potentially eligible for release upon proper review of their cases."

Still up for debate: Where do we draw the line?

In the Atlantic Monthly, Mark Bowden draws the line between "torture," which he defines as the infliction of severe physical pain, and "torture light," which he says includes "sleep deprivation, exposure to heat or cold, the use of drugs to cause confusion, rough treatment (slapping, shoving, or shaking), forcing a prisoner to stand for days at a time or to sit in uncomfortable positions, and playing on his fears for himself and his family. Although excruciating for the victim, these tactics generally leave no permanent marks and do no lasting physical harm." But is that accurate? Or is "torture light" really just a new term for torture? Amnesty International, Bowden notes, says even threatening torture is unacceptable.

Andrew Sullivan says, "The press must now ask the president: does he regard the repeated, forcible near-drowning of detainees to be torture? Does he believe that tying naked detainees up and leaving them outside all night to die of hypothermia is "torture"? Does he believe that beating the legs of a detainee until they are pulp and he dies is torture? Does he believe that beating detainees till they die is torture? Does he believe that using someone's religious faith against them in interrogations is "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment and thereby illegal? What is his definition of torture?" (The post continues with "some more questions" -- really worth a read.)

Where is the line between unethical and immoral, and are unethical interrogation tactics acceptable? In the Positive Liberty blog, Jason Kuznicki poses five ethical dilemmas. Some he was thinking about thanks to discussion here at The Debate, but he also mentions "the use of fake lawyers to extract information from detainees -- lawyers who aren't representing the detainees in any sense at all, but who are really government interrogators working under false pretenses."

Back to Bowden: "So if we formally lift the ban on torture, even if only partially and in rare, specific cases (the attorney and author Alan Dershowitz has proposed issuing "torture warrants"), the question will be, How can we ensure that the practice does not become commonplace--not just a tool for extracting vital, life-saving information in rare cases but a routine tool of oppression?"

If torture is to be un-banned, we must ask not only how to define it and how to control it, but we also must decide who should be subject to it. If, as many argue, the Geneva conventions don't apply to members of Al Qaeda because Al Qaeda is not a state, what about members of other terrorist organizations? IRA members? Basque separatists? What about Palestinians? Are all eligible for torture because they're not part of a national army?

And say the police have picked up one member of a homegrown terrorist cell, akin to the one responsible for the London bombings, and there is reason to believe an attack by his comrades is imminent. Should a terrorist suspect who is a U.S. citizen be tortured for information about such a plot? Since the argument for torture seems to be predicated on the idea that terrorists are an entirely different class of criminal than any other, what is to stop the government from denying eighth amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment to U.S. citizens held as terrorist suspects? (Schiff reminds us of Jose Padilla, "indefinitely detained without charge, under lock and key in a Navy brig, since June 2002. When an American can be plucked off the street in Chicago and detained without charge or regular access to a lawyer for more than three years, every citizen has reason for concern.")

What remains to be seen:

Even if the McCain amendment is passed, would this administration abide by it? If not, what punishment might they face? Or, as the Chechen Times seems to suggest, is torturing suspected terrorists O.K. if it "occasionally saves lives and is not revealed, thereby not imposing itself on the public conscience"?

Will Congress "call the president's bluff," as Schiff advocates, forcing him to choose whether to concede the point or use the first veto of his presidency to support his presidential prerogative to torture foreigners on foreign soil?

By Emily Messner |  November 18, 2005; 12:15 PM ET  | Category:  Conclusions
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The strict ban on torture is one of the key elements that separates us from the animals we fight. Aside from the astounding likelihood that someone uninvolved or simply not being in possession of any critical information will be subject to this, the simple fact remains, that using torture, or the threat of torture, on anyone is tantamount to taking the Constitution out of the National Archives, throwing it on the street, and urinating on it in full view of the public.

How many times has the US, its government, and its people pitched a fit when Americans are subject to foreign justice which does not meet the rigorous criteria for fairness and impartiality that we live by within this country? How can we act as we do in these cases, then turn on the proverbial dime and not extend that very courtesy that we demand of foreign governments on those foreign nationals we take into custody within our society?

The actions of the US government with regards to prisoners taken in the so-called War on Terror has degenerated from worrisome to outrageous. Everything this nation supposedly stood for in terms of humanity and justice have been utterly defiled by the actions of this adminstration and its CIA lapdogs. September 11th was a horrific event, but it was absolutely no excuse to turn this nation into a damned police state.

Torture, secret courts, secret evidence, secret extraterritorial prisons, prisoners held without charge or trial, "rendering" (the taking of prisoners that are kept off the books and not subject to ANY kind of judicial review).

What the hell country is this again?

Posted by: James Buchanan | November 18, 2005 12:59 PM

In any kind of engagement or detention, you always have to operate under some set of rules. I would think that that is a given. Now, there was an existing set of rules, based on the Geneva Conventions, etc. The minute you decide that you are not going to use those rules, then you have to establish some other set of rules. The idea that the administration thought that they could come up with a new set of rules that would be workable, in the context of an ongoing international war, is a good illustration of the arrogance and raw stupidity of almost all of their decisions. The argument that the Geneva conventions should not apply to various categories of detainees because of some aspect of their uniform, country of origin, etc. has absolutely no bearing on the fundamental argument. When you have a set of rules, you either use them or establish another set. The administration threw out the rulebook and sent a bunch of kids into a jail where they were getting feces thrown at them, and then asked them to help beat up and humiliate the prisoners. What a surprise that things didn't work out so well!
Oh, yeah, forget that part about being greeted with flowers.
peace,
on earth,
jim

Posted by: jim preston | November 18, 2005 01:18 PM

We went to war because Saddam tortured his people (forget WMD). He could have used the same logic that the Veep is using - we need to keep ourselves safe, so we need to torture, or abuse or treat inhumanely.

What is this country coming to?

Posted by: US Citizen | November 18, 2005 01:31 PM

When the Washington Times speaks up against this administration you know it has to be bad.

The President now has a big problem. He arrogantly dichotomized the arugement into "with him or against him". Where does that leave the Republicans who have finally realized that Jesus didn't sanction torture, the founding fathers didn't sanction torture, Ronald Reagan's shining city on the hill didn't sanction torture, and John Wayne's feelgood war movies didn't humiliate or torture, and they have an election coming up in a year? Bush left them no where else to go but to split the party. Big mistake. Bush is rapidly making himself irrelvant.

But let me use my bully pulpit to suggest a topic for next week to Emily: Henry Waxman's letter to President Bush about the yellowcake forgeries. The "smoking gun" documents "proving' the yellowcake sale were sent to the US by the Embassy in Italy in October 2002. Does anyone seriously think the top brass weren't waiting with bated breath for the documents to be authenticated? What a press conference THAT would have been! But instead we kept the documents for 5 months "unable" to determine their authenticity, which was about 4 months and 29 days longer than should have been needed to realize they were forged since the IAEA figured it out in a few hours. Further, the documents made it clear that the idea of the sale itself was bogus - if you looked at mine capacity it just wasn't credible that the mining of 500 extra tons could be hidden. SO, WHILE WE WERE EVOKING IMAGES OF MUSHROOM CLOUDS, SPOUTING ABOUT SADDAM'S "GATHERING THREAT", EXHORTING THE UN TO SPONSOR OUR INVASION AND UTTERING THE 16 WORDS, WE HAD IN OUR POSSESSION THE DOCUMENTS THAT SHOWED THE CLAIM THAT SADDAM OBTAINED 500 TONS OF YELLOWCAKE WAS NOT CREDIBLE. There are only a few ways to explain this - either our intelligence is so monumentally incompetent we should just give up now, or Bush lied, or someone other than Bush (e.g. Cheney) was setting up an elaborate plan of stovepipes and networks that kept Bush, Powell, and other top officials in the dark and fed them only what they wanted them to know. I think when they make a movie about Terrorgate instead of "follow the money" the mantra will be "follow the forgeries"

Posted by: patriot 1957 | November 18, 2005 02:21 PM

Ever since Bush 43 took office, he has been doing an end run around the values that this country is supposed to represent.

The fact that he would be willing to sink to Saddam's level should show just how debased and devoid of humanity this man really is - desperately clinging to power. To think that I once thought this man was simply stupid; instead, he is pure evil.

If Bush would actually listen to some of his own rhetoric every once in a while, he would know that this is indeed a war "to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people". I propose that in order to end terrorism, we need to win over ALL moderate muslims, because only then will then stop quietly acquiesing to these terror campaigns, stand up and say "This is not the image of Islam that we should be representing to the world". But if we are ever going to reach that point, it is absolutely critical that we remain on the moral high ground, and show the world that there is a better way of life, and that it can be theirs too.

Posted by: JK | November 18, 2005 03:07 PM

Yup, it was all a lie...so much so that the Dems were onboard with the same rationale for going to war way back in 1998. Personally, don't care why we went to war, just glad we're finally draining the swamp.

Posted by: Recovering Democrat | November 18, 2005 03:08 PM

Moderate muslims have had plenty of opportunities (especially here in the US)to condemn terrorism but rarely have I heard any of their official mouthpieces (CAIR, etc.)actually do it. We can all sit around the drum circle and chant for peace and harmony but until you get it through your head that "Jihad" is not some "internal personal struggle no more threatening than a kitten playing with a ball of yarn", we're up the creek.

Posted by: Recovering Democrat | November 18, 2005 03:13 PM

Recovering Democrat - the Dems went to war in 1998? How did I miss that?

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 18, 2005 04:34 PM

The passage of the Iraq Liberation Act, during the Clinton-Gore administration, in 1998.

As always, the indomitable Christopher Hitchens (himself no right-winger by any stretch of the imagination):

http://www.slate.com/id/2130293/nav/tap2/

Posted by: Recovering Democrat | November 18, 2005 04:43 PM

Recovering Democrat failed to read Emily's warnings here about false assumptions and false dichotomies.
There has been plenty of denunciation and indignation among Muslims against terrorism. And nobody is sitting around the drum circle chanting for peace. My God, what is it with these extreme conservative types and their need to grossly distort everything? And their latest affectation seems to be that something is wrong with the rest of us for not jumping aboard their platform of fear and hysteria in the face of terrorism.
Lastly, the handle 'Recovering Democrat' seems fraudulent, like some cheap Republican bumper sticker or other political gimmick. Too many of these types running around these days.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 18, 2005 04:47 PM

Recovering Democrat:

The Iraq Liberation Act, which you cite, ends with the following text: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act ." (That exception in 4(a)(2) refers to military assistance, training, etc. for designated opposition groups.)

So you should be careful what you use the Act to prove. You can use it to prove that back in 1998 nearly everyone, Democrats and Republicans, thought that if there were a way for Saddam to be removed from power without a war, that would be desirable. But you _can't_ use the Act to show that Democrats supported launching a war to remove Saddam, because the Act specifically excludes that.

Posted by: Beren | November 18, 2005 05:04 PM

What We've Learned about Torture:

1. Emily Messner cannot define what it is, where on the line between offering a terrorist a lollypop for info and lopping off fingers torture begins.

2. Without definitions, it is purely individual's subjective standards defining what practices they object to.

3. If any act of discomforting a prisoner is termed "torture" in the eager drive to establish moral equivalency, then panties on the head become the same "practicing torture" slur as radical Islamists using red hot brands on Shiite captives.

4. The Geneva Conventions were set up as a reciprocal treaty between warring parties. Efforts to make it unilateral, meaning claims that the US is bound to adhere to it no matter what the foe does - only introduces "Perverse Incentives" for future foes to emulate the Al Qaeda model rejecting all rules of war. It is not the worry of a future foe like China treating American captives like we treat unlawful combatants in interogation that should worry us - it is a foe like China determining it can violate all laws of war protecting civilian populations and executing captured legal combatants and having nothing to fear from America retaliating in the same. This is precisely what Geneva was set up to prevent.

5. Hating America for it's freedoms and liberties is the old George W, Bush meme. We see the odd alignment of the "America is evil" protestors behind this meme saying that the radical Muslims hate us for not conferring our Constitutional freedoms and liberties on them. That of course is wrong. They hate us for our policies and the fact that we are Jew lovers and infidel dogs.

6. Along those lines, the "treat them with kindness and they'll spill the beans" concept founders. That only appears to work when the enemy has been kept clueless by their leaders on who their foe is, but whenin captivity, they learn how kind and good the foe is and gladly share information. Such a hope founders against the rocks of reality in that the radical Islamists know exactly who we are. They see our culture on TV, know we are a powerful nation of infidels pushing our way of life globally, and hate our presence in the reason and policies that promote Israel and block Islamist traditional fundamentalism. Treating them nicer will have as much effect on them divulging intelligence as the Nazis would have had on captured American soldiers by being extra, extra kind. Because we knew the Nazi's nature, and they knew ours, that tactic never worked.

7. We have learned that counterinsurgency efforts employing humane treatment for 99.999% of the insurgent population are slow at best in getting results. Most insurgencies are suppressed and quickly defeated through brutality if negotiations fail. The Mau-Mau lost whole villages to black "scouts" trained by the Brits. The Malayasian communist insurgency of the 50s was defeated as soon as the war was defined as Malaysians vs. ethnic Chinese communists. The Indonesian communist insurgency was wiped out in two months. Assad took care of his uprising in a week. Saddam put down the Shia and Kurds in two months. If we wish to use the American model, which is to be as compassionate as possible, we should back it even with "coercive interrogations" - because if we fail and leave it for the Shiites and Kurdish Pesh Murga to defeat the Sunni insurgency, we damn well will not like witnessing their successful 3-month campaign.

8. We forget that the real atrocity is not treating illegal Muslim combatants poorly, it is them treating the secretaries on the 86th floor of the WTC center, Jewish teens at a pizza parlor, or children in a Beslan elementary school rather poorly. To focus on "the best compassion and care and lawyers" possible for radical Islamoids is to minimize the true atrocity.

9. The blood shed on 9/11 is not enough to get America really serious. It's not like we are facing Germans and Japs that had between them bagged over 9 million men, women, and children by the time we joined the war. Thus we still have the luxury of obsessing over ACLU and others claims to the radical Islamist's "sacred rights and liberties". But as obtaining and using WMD is designated by the militants as a Holy mission sanctioned under Jihad, we will soon be past the "luxury" stage.

10. Bush has shown a real gift for incompetence, IMO. He insisted that this was a war against a murderous small number of "evildoers" that could be fought on the cheap, with no sacrifice but tax cuts for the wealthy instead, and fought only in the military sphere, not the field of engaging and winning on the battlefield of ideas. For 4 years, he declined to even say who the real enemy was. Radical Islam, and to an extent Bush is still afraid to say, the supporting sentiments and beliefs of Mainstream Islam that enable and remain mostly silent about the depredations of the Jihadis.But the Left and a good part of the Democratic Party will pay an enormous price if another 9/11 or bigger happens in America or they are seen in later years as being the prime cause of America's strategic defeat in our 2nd land war against the murderous, intolerant ideology of radical Islam.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 18, 2005 05:06 PM

As an extreme conservative, let me take time out from robbing your pension fund, affix my monocle and ask:

"There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?"

To be honest, those are not my words but the text of an editorial that appeared in the LA Times (not exactly a hotbed of evil seal clubbing conservatism) on November 13, 2005. A legitimate question I think.

And yes, the handle would make for a good bumpersticker!

Posted by: Recovering Democrat | November 18, 2005 05:09 PM

It's hard to consider somebody with the affectation 'Recovering Democrat' to be a moderate independent, but I suppose you might be, monocle or no. Still seems like a Republican foil, though.
As for the quote from the LA Times, you could replace the word 'Muslim' with 'Christian'. We could all be held to task for the accusations you are making against Muslims. What's your point exactly? And you still haven't addressed that your 'Jihad-ball of yarn' analogy was a gross exaggeration of some people's position on the War On Terror.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 18, 2005 05:31 PM

Errin writes: "There has been plenty of denunciation and indignation among Muslims against terrorism."

Sure there has, Errin. Of the 'we deplore and condemn this senseless violence with extra vigorous hand-wringing with sugar on top ......but......the real blame is with the filthy Zionists and their infidel American lackies and their purient and corrupt culture that threatens the noble people of Islam until our Just Grievances are resolved and Palestine and Andalusia are returned to us.'

Errin further writes: "Lastly, the handle 'Recovering Democrat' seems fraudulent, like some cheap Republican bumper sticker or other political gimmick. Too many of these types running around these days."

Yeah, exactly Errin! Sort of like a predictable hate-America Lefty -sympathetic to the enemy - who insists on saying he/she has "transcended" old Left-Right labels and is a "libertarian progressive"....who....BTW...obsesses about FOX news exerting mind control and talks of other labels like "cheap Republican bumper stickers".

Which brings up the interesting question of why the Left is ashamed to say they are identifiably Left anymore? In the old days, Leftys loved to say they were Leftists and further distinguish between their identifications as Trotskyites, Marcusians, Post-Mod anarcho-communists McGovern Democrats, Maoist, Che backers, and so on. Now we have Leftists who term themselves "progressive green vegans", "patriotic libertarian progressives" or simply limit themselves to subtle identification to others by the NGO or activist group that they belong to, like "New York-Iran Friendship Commission", "Coalition for Latin American Land Redistribution".

Why is that, Errin, when conservatives are not afraid to say they are conservative and belong to the Right? Or moderates who freely say they as individual are moderate as a whole but, say, lean strongly conservative on national security, crime, and property rights, but liberal on health care, and slightly liberal on abortion? Why now are the Lefties so wary of saying they are Lefties? Could it be that you worry that by loving the rights of unlawful combatants so much or by using lefty smears to attack a President on any grounds w/o restriction for partisan gain that you worry you may be way out on a limb if the shit once again hits the fan???

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 18, 2005 05:33 PM

On Iraq: We are there now because of bogus intelligence. There was obviously a long term consideration given to toppling or crippling Saddam by every administration since we booted them out of Kuwait. Lets cut the BS juxtaposition of those considerations from the current occupation, those considerations, the liberation of the Iraqi people, had squat to do with why we are there. The one single linchpin that lit the fuse on the current invasion was the purported threat to the United States, end of line. Had this yellow cake crapline never come up, we would still be sitting on the Saudi border growling at Baghdad.

Point of fact, the Bush Administration fed Congress bogus data and Congress bought it, hook, line and sinker. Now that said WMD accusations are shown to be false, there's some serious questions the Bush Administration needs to answer about why they rushed this thing to the press without adequate verification. Some in Congress show at least the willingness to acknowledge that our presence there is a gross mistake and take corrective action.

The SOB lied to us, that's why we're in Iraq. As a threat, Saddam was neutralized beyond abusing his own people, evil though that was. If Bush had just been bloody honest to Congress about his desire to pursue Iraqi liberation from that angle, we wouldn't be having these convulsions over bogus terrorism connections.

Back on track. Frankly, I don't give a damn about who does what to us. It is also true that currently there's a LOT of ambiguity about what constitutes torture and what does not. Senator McCain may have fallen short of adequately defining what he meant in that ban, but he's absolutely correct to have opened the debate. There's nothing wrong with kicking this door open so that Congress can hash it out in Committee or on the open floor what the heck "torture" actually is for the purposes of this ammendment.

Its not a bad idea, it just needs some serious brainstorming out of lawmakers to put it into meaningful terms.

As far as going to any lengths to preserve American lives, I fall back on Ben Franklin for my stance. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety."

If we cannot face the prospect of dying in the effort to preserve the humanity of our way of life, then we are nothing more than 275 million hypocrites living a lie. Soldiers aren't the only Americans that die in the cause of freedom, New York and Washington showed us that sometimes, its the civilians who make the ultimate sacrifice because we chose to be free.

God help us if WE become to cowardly to accept the benefits of such risks.

Posted by: James Buchanan | November 18, 2005 05:44 PM

Chris Ford - if I follow your points correctly:
1-3.We need a standard of behavior - McCain suggested the Army Field Manual. What say you to this?
4. didn't get your point
5. Agreed. but why is it so "unpatriotic" to look at our policies and how they affect other people? Maybe some of those policies have an important purpose and should not be changed even though it makes others hate us. But maybe some are the result of arrogance and incompetence or simply inconsiderate. Is it weak to be considerate now?
6. Agreed, mostly
7. What's the point - we can't afford to leave a failed Iraq, so how we fix it is less important than that we fix it?
8. This argument fails - from their perspective we weren't very nice to the 6,000 innocent men, women and children who died from the rain of American bombs on Baghdad in the initial invasion either. So we better think twice about generalizing the "they're terrorists they don't deserve good treatment" to a population, especially since evidence from the Red Cross and multiple other sources says about 80% of the people we arrest are innocents.
9 This arguement is not entirely honest. The fight against terror was going on in Afghanistan, until WE moved it to Iraq by conducting a first strike invasion under false pretenses. We would likely have had an unlimited supply of recruits to finish the job in AFghanistan (which we did NOT finish). People are willing to sacrifice their children to the war on terror, but not on the altar of neocon arrogance. But, I expect you are correct that eventually we will be forced to do so, because as soon as we leave Iraq the terrorists will just move back to Afghanistan, the large majority of which is now back in the hands of the Taliban and where they will be even harder to fight. Then things will really get warmed up. But before my family goes off I'm holding out for an apology for botching it so.
10. Bush failed. Period. I don't know who will "win' or "lose' in the debate about how we fix his mess. As stated, I strongly suspect the fight will go on in Afghanistan and neither left nor right will win. Or can win for that matter. This war needs to be won by moderate Arabs, and so far we're losing them, too

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 18, 2005 05:48 PM

What Chris Ford Has Learned About Torture:

0. Chris is an extremist and not here to learn at all. 99.999% of his arguments are gross distortions, false dichotomies, false assumptions, straw men, you name it... His is a voice for hysteria in the face of terrorism, a modern McCarthyism if you will. Such fear and cowardice cannot be at the root of American motives if we are going to truly win the War On Terror.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 18, 2005 05:49 PM

Wow. You sure showed me with that ranting tirade, Chris. The voice of reason, you are. I cannot answer any of your questions however because I do not live in that Left/Right world you so desperately cling to. Grow up and accept that the world and politics can be more complex than what your talk radio tells you. Pathetic.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 18, 2005 06:04 PM

Chris, don't sully yourself with such intellectual dishonesty. This dichotomizing of America was the tactic Bush used to cultivate his power but Americans are FINALLY getting wise. Hopefully, such tools of fascism (divide and conquer) will lie dead for another 50 years in this country now that the curtain has been pulled back and people are getting a look at them in use. You actually have a few good points but no one will listen to that kind of intellectual dishonesty anymore.

The truth is, most Americans ARE moderates. Some of us lean slightly to the right and think REpubs represent our ideas better, but that doesn't make us raving fascists (unless you're a neocon or Pat Buchannan). Some of us lean slightly to the left and think Dems better represent us but that doesn't make us raving terrorist loving Communists. And we're not going to let people like you bully us into having to choose up sides anymore. We want to have real debate.

FINALLY Americans are learning how they were duped into accepting an agenda cloaked under Jesus and gay marriage. Bush has pulled back the curtain even farther by accusing his critics of being in bed with Michael Moore. Its old, people know better now. We're not buying it anymore

Posted by: patriot1957 | November 18, 2005 06:12 PM

I just love the rumor that no Muslims have ever condemed terrorism. Perhaps reading fatwas is not your thing. If not, then you likely have not read the fatwas of the Grand Mufti of al-Ahzar, or those of the Saudi Wahabbi.

Nor would you have noted the small demonstrations against 9/11, the Casablanca bombings, or the more recent Jordanian hotel bombings. These demonstrations were small, by the way, because Middle Eastern regimes fear mass protests. Big protests often get out of control and start making ridiculous demands like greater press and speach freedoms, or actual democratizations. Nope, got to keep those demonstrations on the Down Low.

In short, there have been plenty of demonstrations against terrorism.

As for including Israel and anti-imperialist sayings, I supose it would be like asking Bush to stop mentioning the war against terror in the same sentence as Iraq, or going to an anti-WTO/labor rally and not finding a couple of anarchists. Individuals and groups are not generally single issue oriented. We should not be surprised to see individuals advocating multiple concerns simultaneously, especially if, say, an anti-terror rally includes voices decrying Israeli terror tactics. . .

Posted by: Chris | November 18, 2005 07:41 PM

The hilarious part of Chris Ford's comments is that he seems to be still under the illusion that his point of view is that of "America." Unfortunately for him and his crowd, 'America' is getting smaller every day. The majority now encompasses all of us treasonous, spineless, weak-memory types who hate 'America' and the troops.

Hah.

Anyway, I just dropped in to see if anyone was left who would admit voting for Bush. Evidently, one or two remain.

Posted by: johnuw93 | November 18, 2005 10:31 PM

Chris Ford,

You write, "That only appears to work when the enemy has been kept clueless by their leaders on who their foe is, but when in captivity, they learn how kind and good the foe is and gladly share information."

Umm... so are you saying that we actually _are_ as vile as radical Islamist terrorists claim that we are?? Or if not, then why wouldn't a captive discover a dfference between what he'd been told Americans were like, and what he actually encountered?

Posted by: Beren | November 18, 2005 11:50 PM

I voted for him, and I criticized him here. I still adhere to the basic reasons we are over there, and it is not because of WMD and such.

And I am not a "torture supporter" as mentioned above. The thought of it gives me the creeps. I was asking questions and seeking alternatives. I did not see many here. It seems that there may be rare circumstances when it should be on the table. That why I stated "never say never."

However, the Carl Roves, Dick Cheaneys and the cronyism going on in the Repulican party do make me sick. Not to mention the crazyness of attempting to insert "intellegent design" in our public science classes.

I'm still a Republican. I want a better man or woman to lead us.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 19, 2005 12:13 AM

Well, part of it is WMD in an indirect way like Chris Ford mentioned, not that there was really some in Iraq at the time of the invasion.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 19, 2005 12:17 AM

The media goes to town on these subjects, and won't even bother to check their own skeletons (the Woodward Affair, now).

That said, sometimes torture is justified, if not public executions -- in dire circumstances (when there's thousands to millions of lives on the line), sometimes even civilized nations MUST take a stance that brings zero questions of their resolve.

Granted this isn't the case in Iraq (and I do hold accountable those in charge [not so much the grunts who are indeed just following orders, in this case] accountable for justifying torture/abuse on low level informants), but in the nature of true WMD warfare a country should never be handicapped in doing what needs to be done to stamp out terrorism.

If we look back in time of our own history, if Lincoln never ordered troops to fight the Confederacy what would our country be today? Sometimes it takes muscle and blood to bring unification (and protection) <-- and you can be very sure prisoners from Anderson to Blue Belly prisons up north didn't fair well before the Geneva convention, too.

It's easy now from arm chairs, think tanks and college lunchrooms to debate "abuse/torture is never tolerable", until some creepzoid, with a bomb, walks into your sheltered life and kills all your friends -- then makes you crippled for the rest of your life.

Sometimes it is necessary -- and damn any terrorist that tries to kill my family and friends, as that sucker is going to be drawn and quartered in the public square.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 19, 2005 07:17 AM

Washington Post Explains How the Nazi-Created CIA Protects Us

www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info/audio
www.globalresearch.ca
by Kurt Nimmo

November 19, 2005
Another day in the empire

Dana Priest of the Washington Post tells us the CIA has "joint operation centers in more than 2 dozen nations" and the agency's job is "to track and capture suspected terrorists and to destroy or penetrate their networks." Never mind that the CIA created the Islamic Terror Network (along with MI6, Mossad, and other intelligence "services") and this is sort of like a cop selling drugs to a street corner pusher and then busting the dealer and his customers. Call it job security, or rather terror security. If not for the CIA's billion dollar effort in Afghanistan, there would be no al-Qaeda. But I suppose we can't expect Priest and the Washington Post to mention such bothersome details.

Priest writes: "The Americans and their counterparts at the centers, known as CTICs [Counterterrorist Intelligence Centers], make daily decisions on when and how to apprehend suspects, whether to whisk them off to other countries for interrogation and detention, and how to disrupt al Qaeda's logistical and financial support." In other words, the CIA and its freelancers are completely out of the accountability loop and are free to kidnap anybody they want, mostly Arab and Muslim cab drivers and dirt farmers, and torture, rape, and kill them. Of course, this does not put an end to terrorism but instead make sure more terrorism is created, as the victims of this abuse and sadism are certain to become "al-Qaeda" terrorists or sympathizers, that is to say they will support attacks against the United States (since "al-Qaeda" is more a state of mind than an actual organization).

"The network of centers reflects what has become the CIA's central and most successful strategy in combating terrorism abroad: persuading and empowering foreign security services to help. Virtually every capture or killing of a suspected terrorist outside Iraq since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks--more than 3,000 in all--was a result of foreign intelligence services' work alongside the agency, the CIA deputy director of operations told a congressional committee in a closed-door session earlier this year."

As usual, a bit of translation is in order. The CIA's "central and most successful strategy," as it has remained since the terror organization was created with implementation of the National Security Act of 1947, is to align itself with fascists far and wide, military dictators and the sadistic goons that rise to the surface of the political cesspool favored by the CIA (a natural occurrence since the CIA nurtured "extensive relationships" with "former Nazi war criminals," including "at least five associates of the notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann" and "at least 100 officers within the [Reinhard] Gehlen organization" who were "former SD or Gestapo officers," see The CIA and Nazi War Criminals at the National Security Archive). Thus "empowering foreign security services" means allowing various morally repugnant scumbags and bottom-feeders to wantonly torture and kill, something the CIA has done at the behest of various presidents since Truman created the agency.

"The initial tip about where an al Qaeda figure is hiding may come from the CIA, but the actual operation to pick him up is usually organized by one of the joint centers and conducted by a local security service, with the CIA nowhere in sight. 'The vast majority of successes involved our CTICs," one former counterterrorism official said. "The boot that went through the door was foreign.'"

Again, this is nothing new and Priest's report is hardly revelatory. From its very inception in 1947, the CIA has employed proxies to do much of the actual dirty work--from fascist Greek Colonels mass murdering "communists" (anybody who opposed their regime) to "Baby Doc" Duvalier hacking to death the opposition with machetes in Haiti--the CIA has often lurked in the shadows and is usually "nowhere in sight."

"The centers are also part of a fundamental, continuing shift in the CIA's mission that began shortly after the 2001 attacks. No longer is the agency's primary goal to recruit military attaches, diplomats and intelligence operatives to steal secrets from their own countries. Today's CIA is desperately seeking ways to join forces with other governments it once reproached or ignored to undo a common enemy."

In fact, recruiting "military attaches, diplomats and intelligence operatives to steal secrets from their own countries" has never been the CIA's "primary goal," but rather window dressing. As noted above, the purpose of the CIA is to make sure fascist and authoritarian governments rule for the sake of the "investment climate" on Wall Street and other neolib rat holes. As the former CIA agent John Stockwell has noted, the "CIA and the big corporations were, in my experience, in step with each other," in other words the CIA, and in fact the U.S. government in general, does the bidding of transnational corporations. "Now more clearly than ever, the CIA, with its related institutions, is exposed as an agency of destabilization and repression. Throughout its history, it has organized secret wars that killed millions of people in the Third World who had no capability of doing physical harm to the United States," Stockwell writes elsewhere. As for the "common enemy" mentioned by Priest, this happens to be most of the people in the world.

"The White House has stepped up its criticism of Uzbek President Islam Karimov in the past year for his authoritarian rule and repression of dissidents. But joint counterterrorism efforts with Tashkent continued until recently. In Indonesia, as the State Department doled out tiny amounts of assistance to the military when it made progress on corruption and human rights, the CIA was pouring money into Jakarta and developing intelligence ties there after years of tension. In Paris, as U.S.-French acrimony peaked over the Iraq invasion in 2003, the CIA and French intelligence services were creating the agency's only multinational operations center and executing worldwide sting operations."

Isn't that special. No mention here of the fact "Bush welcomed Uzbek President Islam Karimov to the White House, and the United States has given Uzbekistan more than $500 million for border control and other security measures [i.e., money provided for torture and murder]," according to the New York Times. In fact, Uzbekistan is an important stop along the bloody trail of Bush's rape and torture gulag. "Uzbekistan's role as a surrogate jailer for the United States has been confirmed by a half-dozen current and former intelligence officials working in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. The CIA declined to comment on the prisoner transfer program, but an intelligence official estimated that the number of terrorism suspects sent by the United States to Tashkent is in the dozens.... Details of the CIA's prisoner transfer program have emerged in recent months from a handful of former detainees who have been released, primarily from prisons in Egypt and Afghanistan. In some cases, the prisoners said they were beaten and tortured while being held." Islam Karimov, the dictator of Uzbekistan, "is very much George Bush's man in central Asia," according to Craig Murray of the Guardian. "There is not a senior member of the US administration who is not on record saying warm words about Karimov. There is not a single word recorded by any of them calling for free elections in Uzbekistan," or criticizing Karimov for shooting down hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators or boiling to death opponents, such as Muzafar Avazov and Husnidin Alimov in the Jaslik prison in 2002.

As for Indonesia, the Nazi-infused CIA has a long and sordid relationship with the country--or rather its fascistic military. According to former CIA agent Ralph McGehee, "the CIA universally compiles local 'Subversive Control Watch Lists' of leftists for attention by the local government," in other words the CIA has specialized in providing death lists to fascist governments. McGehee elaborates:

After the CIA's overthrow of Arbenz's government in Guatemala in 1954, the U.S. gave the new government lists of opponents to be eliminated. In Chile from 1971 through 1973, the CIA fomented a military coup through forgery and propaganda operations and compiled arrest lists of thousands,
many of whom were later arrested and assassinated. In Bolivia in 1975, the CIA provided lists of progressive priests and nuns to the government which planned to harass, arrest and expel them. To curry the favor of Khomeini, in 1983 the CIA gave his government a list of KGB agents and collaborators operating in Iran. Khomeini then executed 200 suspects and closed down the communist Tudeh party. In Thailand, I provided the names of hundreds of leftists to Thai security services. The Phoenix program in Vietnam was a massive U.S.-backed program to compile arrest and assassination lists of the Viet Cong for action by CIA-created Provisional Reconnaissance Unit death squads. In fact, former Director of the CIA William Colby compared the Indonesian operation directly to the Vietnam Phoenix Program. Colby further admitted directing the CIA to concentrate on compiling lists of members of the PKI [Communist Party of Indonesia] and other left groups.

Thus in Indonesia, in 1965 and 1966, between 250,000 and 1,000,000 people were killed, many of them as a result of the diligent work of the CIA. "The CIA desperately wants to conceal evidence of its role in the massacre, which it admits was one of the century's worst. The U.S. media seem equally determined to protect the American image from consequences of covert operations." Dana Priest, as an official stenographer tasked with writing glowing reviews of how the CIA protects us from CIA-created terrorism, certainly does not put any of this into context. Of course, it should be noted that the Washington Post was, under the CIA's Operation Mockingbird, probably the numero uno disinformation and propaganda asset for the agency (Philip Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, was a documented CIA agent).

"The first two CTICs were established in the late 1990s to watch and capture Islamic militants traveling from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt and Chechnya to join the fighting in Bosnia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia, two former intelligence officers said," Priest writes.

Translation: the CTICs were facilitating the movement of terrorists into these countries, in particular Chechnya and Bosnia. "As was revealed during the Kosovo crisis," writes Anup Shah, "some NATO members (e.g. the U.S.'s CIA) had long trained the KLA against Yugoslavia" and "other western-trained Islamic terrorist groups have also been operating in Chechnya in the past." Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab, the main Chechnya rebel leaders, were trained and indoctrinated in CIA and sustained by Pakistan's ISI, according to Michel Chossudovsky. "Despite Washington's perfunctory condemnation of Islamic terrorism, the indirect beneficiaries of the Chechen war are the Anglo-American oil conglomerates which are vying for control over oil resources and pipeline corridors out of the Caspian Sea basin." As fits the CIA's list of job requirements, Basayev "has also been involved in a number of rackets including narcotics, illegal tapping and sabotage of Russia's oil pipelines, kidnapping, prostitution, trade in counterfeit dollars and the smuggling of nuclear materials."

Priest expends a few thousand glowing words, making excuses for this massive terror organization, based on Nazi intelligence and initially staffed with Nazi war criminals, while never telling us the truth about the CIA: in addition to being the largest, most organized, and well funded terror organization in the world, it is a primary example of the Hegelian dialectic: it utilizes the Fichtean "thesis--antithesis--synthesis" model, first covertly creating terrorism, then reacting as our saviors to its custom-made terrorism, and finally proposing draconian measures to combat the terrorism it initially fabricated, thus dismantling our liberties and erecting a police state, as all faithful Nazis demand authoritarian government.

Posted by: Che | November 19, 2005 09:02 AM

There is an overarching mentality that governs the Bush-Cheney philosophy on treatment of detainees. What strikes me about that mentality is its uncanny resemblance to the McCarthyism of the mid-1950s.

If you look at the rhetoric McCarthy used in his daily tirades against communists, you come across the persitent theme that we were dealing with some inhuman monolith, some international enemy banded together to destroy our way of life.

As we now know from history, Communism was anything but monolithic. If it had been, the Cold War would still be churning merrily along with China replacing the old Soviet Union at the head of this monolith.

In the same way McCarthy did, Bush-Cheney and their neocon toadys--or the neocons and their Bush-Cheney toadys, if you prefer--are using this same brand of fearmongering, telling us that this pitiful band of ragged thugs loosely organized throughout the Third World, is indeed a monolith world wide conspiracy dedicated to overthrowing our way of life and taking away our precious freedoms.

This is nonsense. As long as these people are in power we are going to be fed this preposterous drivel and they will--like McCarthy--justify all manner of extra-Constitutional power and authority in their misguided crusade against what is essentially a law enforcement problem.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 19, 2005 10:26 AM

It's easy now from arm chairs, think tanks and college lunchrooms to debate "abuse/torture is never tolerable", until some creepzoid, with a bomb, walks into your sheltered life and kills all your friends -- then makes you crippled for the rest of your life.

Sometimes it is necessary -- and damn any terrorist that tries to kill my family and friends, as that sucker is going to be drawn and quartered in the public square.

SandyK
-------------------------------------------

Revenge is a cheap excuse for using torture.

Posted by: James Buchanan | November 19, 2005 11:37 AM

Jaxas, you may be willing to bear living forever in a police state. I am willing to for a short time, for example, five years. However, current conditions will continue to exist and only get worse for the rest of our lives, and also our chilren's lives.

This war should have been much more aggresssive, which would have required many more men and women and many more sacrefices from all of us. The US should have rapidly expanded it to all these countries supporting terrorists. There should have been a valid threat of extreme destruction, just short of using nuclear weapons, even to those possessing such weapons for not complying. The effects would probably have lasted at least 30-50 years.

Posted by: | November 19, 2005 11:45 AM

Jaxas yammers about "McCarthyism" as if it was a major force in history rather than the strawman the Left erected.

Interestingly, there is a challenge to name one name of someone who was falsely accused of "communist activities" - made 2 years ago by Ann Coulter. This is because we got to the KGB files after the Soviets fell and now have access to the FBI files of that era. On top of the Venona files and the associates named by some of the NYC Jewish radical organizations that were indeed in bed with the Soviets.

After 50 years, historians are curiously enough buttressing right wing maven Coulter's case. Documents show the Hollywood crowd was deep into communism, did indeed meet in secret cells. The Rosenbergs were as guilty as sin. Nixon was right - Alger Hiss and 8 others he went after at State were indeed Soviet agents.. Eward R. Murrow was wrong about his longtime friends like Lawrence Duggan being patriotic Americans. Duggan was a mole that cost 100's of lives. Oppenheimer did indeed lie about communist associates and admitted it later. Even the ACLU had to purge out half their leadership to get rid of communists who had infiltrated the group, though the Communist's progeny - such Red Diaper babies as Ira Glasser and Nadine Stroesser, took over later. The NAACP had to clean house of it's communist funders in the late 50s and early 60s. Walter Duranty of the Times was a committed communist who excelled at putting disinformation in the US media...and so on.

What happened after the "Red Scare" was sympathizers well entrenched in academia and the media still saw the Soviets as a lesser threat than America and created the "McCarthyism" myth. Many saw people in goivernment and Hollywood who grew up in the same East Side neighborhood as they did have their careers suffer. Hollywood saved itself by being confronted with a choice between bucks and socialist progress - by going for the bucks. Walter Reuther cleaned out the AFL-CIO of communist ideologues, lawyers, and labor organizers. The "Red Hunters" may have made a mistake by not cleaning out the universities & the media of those who favored the Soviet model over the American one. And milked that jeremiad for decades.

But too much info is now available to the historians and the public since the Soviets fell and we got into the files to deny that McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, Walter Reuther, and Nixon were patriotic Americans, and mostly right. Many retired Soviet propagandists and spymasters have written interesting personal histories. In another 10 years, historians will have many books that follow Coulter's "Treason" and the more academically respectable french "Black Book of Communism" with stories of heroic Americans that defeated the Communist incursion into our country, then faced years of abuse for doing so, like Ronald Reagan. And, historical works identifying those Americans and Brits in the media and academia that were willing parts of the Soviet disinformation campaign, and ideological sympathizers, who will be identified. The phrase "McCarthyism" will transmute into "the men and women that ended the threat of Communist subversion".

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 19, 2005 11:54 AM

The administrtation's embrace of torture and other attrocities should come as no surprise. Even before the towers collapsed on 9/11, the Bush strategy has been to encourage a lynch mob hysteria. Being human beings themselves, even mainstream journalists when presented with no leadership advocating anything else lapsed into this mentality. That's why assaults on our civil liberties as embodied in the "Patriot Act", absurd "security measures" in our airports, the bureaucratic nightmare of the department of "Homeland Security" and the hysterical jump from Afghanistan to Iraq were allowed to take place. I'm sure Osama bin Laden has surpassed even his most optimistic visions of successs thanks to the devastating combination of cynical manipulation and incompetence America has suffered at the hands of the Bush administration. This very public endorsement of torture by Cheney and others in the administration holds our country up to ridicule and scorn and puts us squarely at the center of the "axis of evil". It shames every American citizen.

Posted by: Joe Roman | November 19, 2005 12:25 PM

Isn't this debate a bit superfluous? Why are we asking whether torture is justified, when President Bush has told us "we don't torture"? Why ask about justifications for something that is not done anyway?

It would seem that the folks who wish to defend Bush administration practices (ie, using torture) must first call their President a liar.

Posted by: johnuw93 | November 19, 2005 01:17 PM

Talk about rewriting history. Check and double check your facts, c. ford. Use an index for your "truths". Get a radio show, and use the fair and balanced bs. Much of what you write in theses pages is many times unverifiable, ie. Let history follow Coulter's Treason, for more proof.

I am willing to wait for cronyism, corruption, and the Bush "spin machine". History will judge the reasons for not following the Geneva Convention. And allowing the "patriot" act. The moral ethics of the republicans in power of the 3 governing branches will be scrutinized.

Coulter's, limbaugh's, and other conservative entertainers will be viewed objectively and with a different perspective.

I submit, that many are unable to see facts without being "colored" by the right or left. Since hindsight is superior to conjecture, I will have to wait.

Posted by: cynical to know it alls | November 19, 2005 01:54 PM

By all means, tell us more about how great McCarthyism was, Chris Ford. I hear you also have proof that actual witches were burned in Salem. Leftist witches.
Chris Ford is pro-McCarthyism because he is a hysterical coward. He can't engage in any debate without hiding behind and clinging to his extremist Right wing view of the world, constantly putting out distortions and misrepresentations of those that dare challenge his delusional little mind.
Proof of this man's cowardice is how he cursed out another poster here and refused to answer their charges of intellectual dishonesty. That is the mark of a coward that can't face the facts that his own arguments often contradict themselves and depend heavily on twisted logic. I've encountered this evasiveness numerous times from him, so much so that others have commented what an inadequate debater he is. As soon as he starts losing an argument (or is even challenged), he hides like a coward from honest debate and confrontation, and instead falls back on cheap, weak, cowardly tactics that avoid any real discussion of the topic. And let's not forget the vast majority of his arguments are stupid and illogical anyway, so, whether or not he is a coward (which he is), he is still an unskilled and inadequate debater. It's too bad so many of us have had to waste our time on this Right wing crackpot, but it just goes to show that we as Americans have to remain ever vigilant against those in our society that are extreme and hysterical. McCarthyism and torture are wrong, and so are people like Chris Ford who support both.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 02:02 PM

SandyK's argument is ridiculous. It completely throws out any Constitutional or moral discussion of torture, and merely says we have to support torture to take a stance and appear tough. While his/her argument may be 'muy macho', it is little more than empty bravado. Staying the good guys and staying rational is going to win us the War On Terror, not thumping our chests and saying "We torture our enemies! Grrrrrrr!".
Try using real logic instead of romantic tough guy scenarios, Sandy. Being a paper tiger isn't going to accomplish anything.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 02:16 PM

Joe Roman - I have always loved the "secret plot conspiracy theory" you espouse!!! By working up "hysteria" over a mere 2700 civilians butchered and a 800 billion economic hit, Bush "plays right into Binnies hands" by infringing on the precious sacred civil liberties of radical Islamoids - which as we all know will follow the slippery slope leading to execution of innocent soccer Moms!! The Patriot Act and lack of full rights for unlawful enemy combatants are supposed to signal America's irrevocable decline into the Dark Night of Black Fascism!!

One shudders, yes shudders to think war involves any balancing between civil liberties of the enemy and civil liberties of the radical Muslims!! After all, Joe Roman likely comes from the generation that thinks they can have it all.

Looking back, don't even get into Lincoln and his chucking Habeas Corpus, his military tribunals....just think of the Evil Fascist FDR and what he did to end American Precious Civil Liberties Forever!!!

The bastard!!

See, FDR put the whole country under rationing, screwing our freedom! He had 3 million civilian workers as fixed in war production jobs with no transfer possible for the duration. All industry was not free enterprise anymore, but under diktat of the War Production Board. The press was censored! Soldiers mail was censored! Radio was censored! 9 million Americans were involuntarily drafted and sent to, for what was the fate of hundreds of thousands - death and maiming!!! Parts of the country were under military law! Internment!

We of course never recovered from the American Hitler's destruction of our civil liberties in WWII, right Joe Roman???

Messner writes: "Torture -- yes, even of non-citizens, and yes, even of terrorism suspects -- goes against fundamental American principles, and may make the fight against terrorism more difficult."

Pre-Geneva, the US had no problem with treating the enemy as badly as they treated our people. Nor were we reluctant to take unlawful combatants and stand them up against a wall and spatter their brains if they refused to exchange information for their lives. With nary a single NGO or ACLU lawyer in sight.

Emily also writes: "False confessions are also a big problem. How can a confession obtained under torture ever be admissible in court, or really, ever be used against anyone at all?"

Only because she creates the false dichotomy that Muslim combatants are either legal POWs entitled to fair treatment as POWs - or are to be presumed innocent civilians entitled to vastly more rights until they receive full due process as criminal suspects in American civil courts. More rights than for uniformed soldiers creates those Perverse Incentives that the Geneva Conventions were expressly written to prevent. They strongly discourage unlawful combatants outside all rules of war - by saying the capturing military could do pretty much what they wanted with unlawful combatants (no decent treatment as POWs accrues to them). Otherwise, both sides would find advantage in fighting out of uniform and by killing civilians not capable of defending themselves. The failed model is thinking a terrorist is a criminal, and best fought by putting terrorists, even suicidal Jihadis, through the "crown jewel" of America - our adversarial court system, so "justice is achieved" by comfortable prison cells, special Muslim food, and lawyers galore. Let's just say that we are not worried at all, outside the Lefties, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was interrogated, vs. given the right to the 5th and a team of ACLU lawyers to safeguard his "precious rights". He can bring up he only spilled the beans on his 9/11 Team under duress, but military tribunals are more concerned with truth than with criminal rights. Unless the liberal Democrats return to power in America and free him on "mistreatment" grounds, KSM is royally fucked.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 19, 2005 02:16 PM

Errin -

You just do the typical Lefty debating tactic. Turn the whole thing away from the facts expressed by folks like myself, Sandy K, johnnyg in NE DC into making your rebuttal purely an attack on the MOTIVES of the individual writing the opinion you object to. Nothing on debating the facts they present as reasons why they have that opinion.

It's classic Marxism. It was started by the early Bolsheviks as an offshoot and variation of Talmudic scholar's debating tactics. Never go to confronting facts, but question the debator's motives and morality in the hopes that by ad hominems, you put the non-Marxist on the defensive and thus win the argument. In Errin's case, putting his/her "cowardly, FOX-watching, dishonest, bumper sticker sporting Republican" on the defensive. Not that Errin is a Leftist of course - she has transcended those Oh, so cenventional labels to be apotheosised as a "libertarian progressive". Sounds better than a bed-wetting liberal who reviles most of America, but for the 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendements of the US Constitution...

But frankly, Errin is one of the last Marcusians, right out of that Commie's main guidance in the New Left where he contributed to Confrontation Politics with his great essay "Repressive Tolerance".

News Flash, Errin, Marcuse and the "New Left" tactics you emulate were 40 - yes 40 years ago. They are out of favor because even Lefties have concluded Marcuse's methods were intellectually dishonest. And still, the Left shrinks and only has centers of power in academia, the media, and the judiciary, and even those dwindle by the day. Yes, you have those wonderful "rallies" as wealthy anarchists and so on protest world trade and so on, but even the Old Lefties are saying that the love of radical Islamists rights is foolhardy. But younger Lefties love the energy of radical Islam and it's utter anti-American purity, even if radical Islam is utterly fascist and intolerant and 180 DEG out from what the Old Left stood for.

I don't care. Keep it up. We love to see you folks keep crawling out further on the limb.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 19, 2005 02:54 PM

Mr. Ford

As a "bed wetting liberal who reviles most of America" I'd just like to take a moment to politely ask you to go f--- yourself.

Or maybe you should just join the service if you feel so strongly that our little war of aggression in Iraq is justified - god knows they need more willing dupes like you.

Go ahead, put your money where your mouth is.

Posted by: Mr. X | November 19, 2005 03:25 PM

This coward Chris Ford has some nerve. It is he who is constantly deriding people and avoiding any discussion of facts. The post he just left is utter proof of what a hypocrite he is, not to mention a prime example of this reactionary crackpot's meaningless babble about nothing that's got to do with anything.
I invite anybody to peruse Chris Ford's posts here on The Debate to see that he is the one most guilty of what he is making accusations about. Of course, the post he just wrote in and of itself shows what a despicable hypocrite he is, and how utterly laughable it is that he claims he is on the side of facts. Diatribe after diatribe shows that he has no respect whatsoever for the factual, and instead lives in a world of the delusional.
99% of this joker's arguments against his opponents are labeling them a Leftist and then indicting the entire Leftist movement. Getting him to stay on point and adhere to the facts at hand is impossible!
So don't come off like you're Mr. Fairplay, Chris Ford. As usual, the only person buying your lies would be yourself.
Continue to make your weak and inadequate posts, as they only go to show that both you and the torture you support are way out and wrong for America.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 03:36 PM

How the CIA created Osama bin Laden
BY NORM DIXON

www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info/audio
www.conspiracyarchive.com

"Throughout the world ... its agents, client states and satellites are on the defensive -- on the moral defensive, the intellectual defensive, and the political and economic defensive. Freedom movements arise and assert themselves. They're doing so on almost every continent populated by man -- in the hills of Afghanistan, in Angola, in Kampuchea, in Central America ... [They are] freedom fighters."

Is this a call to jihad (holy war) taken from one of Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden's notorious fatwas? Or perhaps a communique issued by the repressive Taliban regime in Kabul?

In fact, this glowing praise of the murderous exploits of today's supporters of arch-terrorist bin Laden and his Taliban collaborators, and their holy war against the "evil empire", was issued by US President Ronald Reagan on March 8, 1985. The "evil empire" was the Soviet Union, as well as Third World movements fighting US-backed colonialism, apartheid and dictatorship.

How things change. In the aftermath of a series of terrorist atrocities -- the most despicable being the mass murder of more than 6000 working people in New York and Washington on September 11 -- bin Laden the "freedom fighter" is now lambasted by US leaders and the Western mass media as a "terrorist mastermind" and an "evil-doer".

Yet the US government refuses to admit its central role in creating the vicious movement that spawned bin Laden, the Taliban and Islamic fundamentalist terrorists that plague Algeria and Egypt -- and perhaps the disaster that befell New York.

The mass media has also downplayed the origins of bin Laden and his toxic brand of Islamic fundamentalism.
Mujaheddin

In April 1978, the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) seized power in Afghanistan in reaction to a crackdown against the party by that country's repressive government.

The PDPA was committed to a radical land reform that favoured the peasants, trade union rights, an expansion of education and social services, equality for women and the separation of church and state. The PDPA also supported strengthening Afghanistan's relationship with the Soviet Union.

Such policies enraged the wealthy semi-feudal landlords, the Muslim religious establishment (many mullahs were also big landlords) and the tribal chiefs. They immediately began organizing resistance to the government's progressive policies, under the guise of defending Islam.

Washington, fearing the spread of Soviet influence (and worse the new government's radical example) to its allies in Pakistan, Iran and the Gulf states, immediately offered support to the Afghan mujaheddin, as the "contra" force was known.

Following an internal PDPA power struggle in December 1979 which toppled Afghanistan's leader, thousands of Soviet troops entered the country to prevent the new government's fall. This only galvanized the disparate fundamentalist factions. Their reactionary jihad now gained legitimacy as a "national liberation" struggle in the eyes of many Afghans.

The Soviet Union was eventually to withdraw from Afghanistan in 1989 and the mujaheddin captured the capital, Kabul, in 1992.

Between 1978 and 1992, the US government poured at least US$6 billion (some estimates range as high as $20 billion) worth of arms, training and funds to prop up the mujaheddin factions. Other Western governments, as well as oil-rich Saudi Arabia, kicked in as much again. Wealthy Arab fanatics, like Osama bin Laden, provided millions more.

Washington's policy in Afghanistan was shaped by US President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and was continued by his successors. His plan went far beyond simply forcing Soviet troops to withdraw; rather it aimed to foster an international movement to spread Islamic fanaticism into the Muslim Central Asian Soviet republics to destabilize the Soviet Union.

Brzezinski's grand plan coincided with Pakistan military dictator General Zia ul-Haq's own ambitions to dominate the region. US-run Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe beamed Islamic fundamentalist tirades across Central Asia (while paradoxically denouncing the "Islamic revolution" that toppled the pro-US Shah of Iran in 1979).

Washington's favoured mujaheddin faction was one of the most extreme, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The West's distaste for terrorism did not apply to this unsavory "freedom fighter". Hekmatyar was notorious in the 1970's for throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil.

After the mujaheddin took Kabul in 1992, Hekmatyar's forces rained US-supplied missiles and rockets on that city -- killing at least 2000 civilians -- until the new government agreed to give him the post of prime minister. Osama bin Laden was a close associate of Hekmatyar and his faction.

Hekmatyar was also infamous for his side trade in the cultivation and trafficking in opium. Backing of the mujaheddin from the CIA coincided with a boom in the drug business. Within two years, the Afghanistan-Pakistan border was the world's single largest source of heroin, supplying 60% of US drug users.

In 1995, the former director of the CIA's operation in Afghanistan was unrepentant about the explosion in the flow of drugs: "Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets... There was a fallout in terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan."
Made in the USA

According to Ahmed Rashid, a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, in 1986 CIA chief William Casey committed CIA support to a long-standing ISI proposal to recruit from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. At least 100,000 Islamic militants flocked to Pakistan between 1982 and 1992 (some 60,000 attended fundamentalist schools in Pakistan without necessarily taking part in the fighting).

John Cooley, a former journalist with the US ABC television network and author of Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, has revealed that Muslims recruited in the US for the mujaheddin were sent to Camp Peary, the CIA's spy training camp in Virginia, where young Afghans, Arabs from Egypt and Jordan, and even some African-American "black Muslims" were taught "sabotage skills".

The November 1, 1998, British Independent reported that one of those charged with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Ali Mohammed, had trained "bin Laden's operatives" in 1989.

These "operatives" were recruited at the al Kifah Refugee Centre in Brooklyn, New York, given paramilitary training in the New York area and then sent to Afghanistan with US assistance to join Hekmatyar's forces. Mohammed was a member of the US army's elite Green Berets.

The program, reported the Independent, was part of a Washington-approved plan called " Operation Cyclone".

In Pakistan, recruits, money and equipment were distributed to the mujaheddin factions by an organization known as Maktab al Khidamar (Office of Services -- MAK).

MAK was a front for Pakistan's CIA, the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate. The ISI was the first recipient of the vast bulk of CIA and Saudi Arabian covert assistance for the Afghan contras. Bin Laden was one of three people who ran MAK. In 1989, he took overall charge of MAK.

Among those trained by Mohammed were El Sayyid Nosair, who was jailed in 1995 for killing Israeli rightist Rabbi Meir Kahane and plotting with others to bomb New York landmarks, including the World Trade Center in 1993.

The Independent also suggested that Shiekh Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian religious leader also jailed for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, was also part of Operation Cyclone. He entered the US in 1990 with the CIA's approval. A confidential CIA report concluded that the agency was "partly culpable" for the 1993 World Trade Center blast, the Independent reported.
Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden, one of 20 sons of a billionaire construction magnate, arrived in Afghanistan to join the jihad in 1980. An austere religious fanatic and business tycoon, bin Laden specialized in recruiting, financing and training the estimated 35,000 non-Afghan mercenaries who joined the mujaheddin.

The bin Laden family is a prominent pillar of the Saudi Arabian ruling class, with close personal, financial and political ties to that country's pro-US royal family.

Bin Laden senior was appointed Saudi Arabia's minister of public works as a favour by King Faisal. The new minister awarded his own construction companies lucrative contracts to rebuild Islam's holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina. In the process, the bin Laden family company in 1966 became the world's largest private construction company.

Osama bin Laden's father died in 1968. Until 1994, he had access to the dividends from this ill-gotten business empire.

(Bin Laden junior's oft-quoted personal fortune of US$200-300 million has been arrived at by the US State Department by dividing today's value of the bin Laden family net worth -- estimated to be US$5 billion -- by the number of bin Laden senior's sons. A fact rarely mentioned is that in 1994 the bin Laden family disowned Osama and took control of his share.)

Osama's military and business adventures in Afghanistan had the blessing of the bin Laden dynasty and the reactionary Saudi Arabian regime. His close working relationship with MAK also meant that the CIA was fully aware of his activities.

Milt Bearden, the CIA's station chief in Pakistan from 1986 to 1989, admitted to the January 24, 2000, New Yorker that while he never personally met bin Laden, "Did I know that he was out there? Yes, I did ... [Guys like] bin Laden were bringing $20-$25 million a month from other Saudis and Gulf Arabs to underwrite the war. And that is a lot of money. It's an extra $200-$300 million a year. And this is what bin Laden did."

In 1986, bin Laden brought heavy construction equipment from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan. Using his extensive knowledge of construction techniques (he has a degree in civil engineering), he built "training camps", some dug deep into the sides of mountains, and built roads to reach them.

These camps, now dubbed "terrorist universities" by Washington, were built in collaboration with the ISI and the CIA. The Afghan contra fighters, including the tens of thousands of mercenaries recruited and paid for by bin Laden, were armed by the CIA. Pakistan, the US and Britain provided military trainers.

Tom Carew, a former British SAS soldier who secretly fought for the mujaheddin told the August 13, 2000, British Observer, "The Americans were keen to teach the Afghans the techniques of urban terrorism -- car bombing and so on -- so that they could strike at the Russians in major towns ... Many of them are now using their knowledge and expertise to wage war on everything they hate."

Al Qaeda (the Base), bin Laden's organization, was established in 1987-88 to run the camps and other business enterprises. It is a tightly-run capitalist holding company -- albeit one that integrates the operations of a mercenary force and related logistical services with "legitimate" business operations.

Bin Laden has simply continued to do the job he was asked to do in Afghanistan during the 1980's -- fund, feed and train mercenaries. All that has changed is his primary customer. Then it was the ISI and, behind the scenes, the CIA. Today, his services are utilized primarily by the reactionary Taliban regime.

Bin Laden only became a "terrorist" in US eyes when he fell out with the Saudi royal family over its decision to allow more than 540,000 US troops to be stationed on Saudi soil following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

When thousands of US troops remained in Saudi Arabia after the end of the Gulf War, bin Laden's anger turned to outright opposition. He declared that Saudi Arabia and other regimes -- such as Egypt -- in the Middle East were puppets of the US, just as the PDPA government of Afghanistan had been a puppet of the Soviet Union.

He called for the overthrow of these client regimes and declared it the duty of all Muslims to drive the US out of the Gulf states. In 1994, he was stripped of his Saudi citizenship and forced to leave the country. His assets there were frozen.

After a period in Sudan, he returned to Afghanistan in May 1996. He refurbished the camps he had helped build during the Afghan war and offered the facilities and services -- and thousands of his mercenaries -- to the Taliban, which took power that September.

Today, bin Laden's private army of non-Afghan religious fanatics is a key prop of the Taliban regime.

Prior to the devastating September 11 attack on the twin towers of World Trade Center, US ruling-class figures remained unrepentant about the consequences of their dirty deals with the likes of bin Laden, Hekmatyar and the Taliban. Since the awful attack, they have been downright hypocritical.

In an August 28, 1998, report posted on MSNBC, Michael Moran quotes Senator Orrin Hatch, who was a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee which approved US dealings with the mujaheddin, as saying he would make "the same call again", even knowing what bin Laden would become.

"It was worth it. Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union."

Hatch today is one of the most gung-ho voices demanding military retaliation.

Another face that has appeared repeatedly on television screens since the attack has been Vincent Cannistrano, described as a former CIA chief of "counter-terrorism operations".

Cannistrano is certainly an expert on terrorists like bin Laden, because he directed their "work". He was in charge of the CIA-backed Nicaraguan contras during the early 1980's. In 1984, he became the supervisor of covert aid to the Afghan mujaheddin for the US National Security Council.

The last word goes to Zbigniew Brzezinski: "What was more important in the world view of history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? A few stirred up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?"

Posted by: Che | November 19, 2005 03:53 PM

Chris Ford made a boldfaced lie when he said I unfairly attacked SandyK's motives and person. Everybody can read my post opposing SandyK's argument to see that I focused entirely on the argument being made by Sandy as weak and simplistic, with not one single instance in my post of me attacking Sandy's person, only Sandy's logic. Go through that post and find proof of me specifically attacking SandyK, Chris, if you're going to make such an accusation. But you can't find any such proof, so you'll just run from the facts once again leaving a trail of even more baseless accusations to defend your last round of baseless accusations.
Another lie: I attack Chris as part of debating him. The truth: none of my attacks on Chris Ford's way out and depraved crackpot behavior are debating tactics. They are honest expressions of disgust for this cowardly nutcase. I already tried debating him strictly on facts, only to have him implode halfway through with some anti-Lefty rant that had nothing to do with anything. I'm not even of the Left, nor claim to be part of the movement! It is he that obsessively introduces the whole Right/Left thing into all his debates. I don't buy into the Left/Right nonsense... it is too arbitrary and ill defined, with conservatives and liberals virtually making it up as they go along. Spoonfed simpletons like Chris Ford may buy in hook, line, and sinker to the Left/Right presentation of politics, but progressives like myself want to evolve past the Left/Right debate and the corrupt two-party system it purports and is perpetuated by. I viable third party is what this country needs (or two NEW major parties), and I don't hear any 'Leftists' making the call for that these days. Instead, they just support the same system that keeps the Right intact and in power (Bush owes A LOT to having such weak competition as Gore and Kerry in the past. If presidential races weren't so protected from real competition outside the two parties, we might have persons of real presidential material in our White House these days). It's a joke that people like Chris Ford act like the Republicans and Democrats are in some major culture war when they are in fact strange bedfellows that have cozily shared power for too long. The Left Vs. The Right is a big sham, a fairy tale view of politics made for children. So, I am most certainly not a representative of the Left here just because I am expressing opinions against the Right. I dislike both, and do not support one over the other.
Lastly, Chris, the only debating tactic I need against you is to sit back and let you self-destruct. This tactic works brilliantly, as you come through every time! Way to make the Right look bad, you fruitcake. Why, you're just a Leftist posing as a Right wing nutjob, aren't you? I knew it all along... Chris Ford is a Lefty.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 04:48 PM

Chris Ford,

You write, "You just do the typical Lefty debating tactic. Turn the whole thing away from the facts expressed by folks like myself, Sandy K, johnnyg in NE DC into making your rebuttal purely an attack on the MOTIVES of the individual writing the opinion you object to. Nothing on debating the facts they present as reasons why they have that opinion."

Then, for the rest of your email, you proceed to use that very tactic, by assuming that ErrinF has hidden "Marxist" motives, despite the fact that ErrinF hasn't made any Marxist statements (or can you disprove this?), and has also said explicitly that he isn't a Marxist. Why do you do that? When posting online, you're talking with strangers. It takes a long time to really figure out what other people think. And you shouldn't assume without evidence that just because they hold one position that you disagree with, they hold all the other positions of people that you disagree with.

Also, just a factual correction. You write, "It's classic Marxism. It was started by the early Bolsheviks as an offshoot and variation of Talmudic scholar's debating tactics. Never go to confronting facts, but question the debator's motives and morality in the hopes that by ad hominems, you put the non-Marxist on the defensive and thus win the argument."

What on earth is your source for this? If you're claiming that the technique of using ad hominem arguments was initiated either by Marxists or by Talmudic scholars, that's simply factually incorrect. The technique dates back at least to ancient Greek rhetorical practice. You can find examples of it in Demosthenes and Aeschines. (mid-fourth century BC). It was certainly an old and well-established technique by Cicero's time (hence our Latin name for it).

Posted by: Beren | November 19, 2005 05:12 PM

I admit I derail Chris Ford's character constantly (and not as a Marxist debating tactic!), but Beren has just challenged Chris completely on the facts. If Mr. Ford is the Mr. Fairplay he pretends to be, he'll respond to Beren without any resort to sophistry, personal attacks, or right wing rants against the left. I challenge Chris Ford to do so, though doubt he will, as he is too dysfunctional and cowardly to engage in fair debate.
And, for the record, it's 2005. Marxism is dead. For Chris Ford to even interject it into the conversation shows that he's not in touch with the real world today, and hardly somebody to listen to when it comes to realistically winning the War On Terror, a war we can win without resorting to torture or buying into the hysteria of people like Chris who support torture.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 05:48 PM

Mr. MattFoxSeattle writes:

"As a "bed wetting liberal who reviles most of America" I'd just like to take a moment to politely ask you to go fuck yourself."

Thank you for taking the time out from planning your next hate-America, Muslim solidarity, anti-globalization Leftist protests to share that.

"Or maybe you should just join the service if you feel so strongly that our little war of aggression in Iraq is justified - god knows they need more willing dupes like you."

It is getting close to being predictable that when you see a volunteer soldier serving our country, that you are seeing a patriotic American from a Red State. 62% ID as Republicans, 20% independent, and 18% Democratic (and of the Democrats summoning up the patriotism to volunteer, most are conservative to moderate minorities).

76% of our volunteer troops come from Red States and Red districts in Blue States. The "dupes" FoxinSeattle refers to. As a bedwetting liberal, it is almost certain he never served his nation. As a conservative, it is almost 50-50 odds I did.

Which is a fact, since I was a volunteer officer who saw a small amount of combat in the Gulf War.

And care to elaborate on our "war of aggression" done with 22 nations supporting our enforcement of 17 UN Security Council resolutions directed at Saddam, though France stabbed us in the back?? Or the original author of "Regime Change" - namely Bill Clinton??

Beren - I don't doubt Marxist tactics like those used by Errin can be traced past the Talmudic tradition, earlier to the Greeks. Most debate and logic exercises can be.

More Beren -

"Umm... so are you saying that we actually _are_ as vile as radical Islamist terrorists claim that we are?? Or if not, then why wouldn't a captive discover a dfference between what he'd been told Americans were like, and what he actually encountered."

This goes to the Moran Report Emily Messner so hopefully addressed. In WWII, Japanese recruits were told a large number of pure fabrications about America. That we would dismember them for fun, homosexually assault them, things like that. The prisoners we caught were by and large the Japs with the weakest conviction about fighting to the death as well. So many did open up when they saw an enemy being more human than they expected. THe Germans were sometimes willing to cooperate because the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe were long at odds with the Nazi ideologues. Only 2% of the adult German population belonged to the Nazi Party. We had very little luck with getting true Bushido warriors or Nazi Waffen SS troops to squeal in return for a smile and a bit of chocolate.

It is a particular conceit that Americans have that if only we have time to show others how nice and wonderful we are that everyone on the planet would love us and cooperate, including the Nazi Waffen SS of yesteryear and the Islamoid Fascists of today.

But we know, if we find out who formed and leads Radical Islam, that they are hardly ignorant of America. The man who founded modern radical Islam, Sayyid Qutb, got his Masters from Colorado State in the 50s. DR. Ayman al-Zahwahiri, Al Qaeda's brains, went to American university in Cairo and visited the USA several times. Mohammed Atta lived in the West for years. The man who thought up and led the 9/11 Attack was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who lived in North Carolina for 4 years getting his degree. All expressed their growing hatred of Americans and Westerners the longer they lived in the West. How they failed to subjugate women, the Jew-loving, the immodesty of non-Muslim women, which they regarded as sluts all. Hatred of gays and America's purient love of alchohol, women in scanty clothes contributed.

So it is not a case of radical Muslims NOT KNOWING is, but of our religion and culture being completely incompatible with their version of Islam. A large majority of Muslim terrorist attacks that have caused American deaths have involved Muslim-American citizens whose hatred of all things American and Western is matched by only a few Lefties in similar circumstances. And the Islamoids we catch are the ones carefully selected to become unlawful combatants, with the weak and non-religiously committed weeded out. So the ones we face are not the weak, ill-informed Japs or the Germans that disliked the Nazis - no, we get the Muslim equivalent of the Nazi Waffen SS - who know us all too well - and from knowing us and our culture - hate us all the more.

Which is why, despite Emily's hopes, the Moran Report has no relevance. From early reports, attempts to treat Muslim Jihadis with kindness have only been met by contempt. Giving them to CIA interrogators or far worse to Jordanian, Israeli, Egyptian, Afghan warlord, and Saudi security forces "kindness" on the other hand, achieves wonders...

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 19, 2005 07:56 PM

22 nations supported us - hmm..., and just how many troops did Shrubco's little coalition of the coerced and bribed send to Iraq again? Heck, even Canada sat this little expedition out. The reason Colin Powell had to leave the UN without a new resolution supporting this misadventure was that he knew the US would get it's ass handed to us if we forced a vote on it.

Keep rewriting history, Mr. Ford - your buddies in the echo chamber surely appreciate it, even if the rest of the world sees through it.

35% and falling.....

Posted by: Mr. X | November 19, 2005 08:26 PM

Yo Edsel,

Just reviewing your last post. In addition to the other problems with your "logic" - where do you get this figure that being a conservative makes it a 50/50 chance you served your country? Your underlying point is as ridiculous as the statistics you use to defend it.

And spare me the Saddam as Hitler thing and the tired tactic of conflating Iraq with Al Qaeda - our invasion of Iraq was probably the best recruiting tool anyone could have handed Bin Laden (and, guess what, saying so doesn't make someone a bedwetter or traitor).

As before, go fuck yourself. Since you like looking up email addresses, feel free to find me in the phone book if you're ever in Seattle and we can have this little chat in person - you scare me not at all, mr. former army man (you do prove the value of keeping the military under civilian control, though)

Posted by: Mr. X | November 19, 2005 08:47 PM

And, to get back on topic, we didn't beat the Nazis or win the cold war by rationalizing torture as public policy. The Orwellian nature of Bush and Cheney's message on torture (we don't torture, but we have to be able to because there are bad people out there) speaks volumes about the morality and intellectual honesty of the Bush junta.

Posted by: Mr. X | November 19, 2005 08:56 PM

Chris Ford, your posts are full of Marxist tactics. I am tired of Lefties like you posing as extreme right wing nutjobs of low intelligence so as to make conservatives look bad. And, Lefty or not, your need for negative attention is pathetic.
Beren, I would be interested to hear if you feel the following statement by Chris Ford adequately addresses your critique of one of his earlier posts:
'Beren - I don't doubt Marxist tactics like those used by Errin can be traced past the Talmudic tradition, earlier to the Greeks. Most debate and logic exercises can be.'
That is all he said in response to your points on his gross hypocrisy in the whole 'Marxist tactics' post he wrote. I would charge that he cowardly dodged the issue and made an unfair snipe at me while doing so, continuing to label me Marxist without any corroboration or fact. You can continue to engage him civilly if you wish, but it's obvious to me that he is too twisted of an individual to seriously interact with. His extremism and dirty tactics denote a person beneath contempt. Let him ape the tactics of conservative talk radio goons elsewhere rather than bog down this debate with all his nonsense and fanatical reactionary drivel.
I hope it's obvious to anybody concerned that Chris Ford will not debate fairly, and is not here to have an open debate. He is a fanatic and small minded one at that, recklessly jumping from one lost argument to the next rather than fairly facing his debating foes. At this point, I'm not sure which is more ridiculous: The amount of times other posters have called him on the mistakes in his posts, or the amount of times he has cut and run from those situations he is called on the spot for his gross exagerrations and misrepresentations.
Which reminds me, Chris... a poster named Will is STILL waiting for you to respond to him directly over in the 'Does Torture Work?' Debate. He too has pointed out that you have ignored numerous instances you have hypocritically contradicted yourself in your own posts, and that you grossly misrepresented him rather than debating fairly.
Again, I say keep up the good work, Chris 'Lefty' Ford. The lies you tell yourself are a lesson to the rest of us. Your lack of fairplay in debate also shows just what type of person you are, a person of little character who supports torture.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 09:06 PM

And Chris "I'm Really A Leftist" Ford has yet to address the boldfaced lie he made about me attacking the motives of a poster named SandyK. Again, he is making baseless accusations and running from any honest confrontation.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 09:11 PM

I remember seeing a photo long ago of a group of American soldiers posing in front of a tank, smiling. At first I did not notice it, but there they were, a few Japanese dismembered heads sitting on the tank. How about the Tiger Force in Vietnam whose members strung ears around their necks.

Almost anyone is capable of doing horrible things during wartime. Those guys could be your uncle or grandfather and you would never suspect they would have been capable of such actions.

My point is, don't make us out to be something higher in the morality food chain when it comes to torture or mutilation in times of great duress. No matter how many rules of conduct, laws or treaties are drafted concerning torture, they will be broken by all parties.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 19, 2005 09:54 PM

Your point is overly nihilistic and unrealistically bleak, johnnyg. It's also specious reasoning in that you are claiming laws are invalid because they can be broken. I guess our entire Constitution is invalid then, because all of it's laws can be broken too. So don't tell me or anybody else that we don't have a higher moral ground to stand on by being against torture as Americans. Your negative view of human nature is not shared by the rest of us. And the points you just made about a photo of dismembered heads didn't prove a thing.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 10:36 PM

As another example, recently to my cousin told me that before his father-in-law died, he recounted how he, regular German army, was retreating from the Russians through a forest. What he saw he could never forget. As he ran, he saw a body lying next to almost every tree. As he got close to one, he realized that captured Germans were forced to walk around the tree with their innards nailed to it. This obviously was done to send a message to the Germans, which it surely did.

I am not saying this should be tolerated in wartime, but imagine how pissed off the Russians were at the time.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 19, 2005 10:37 PM

No Errin, I am not saying that laws are invalid because they can be broken and that our entire Constitution is invalid because all of it's laws can be broken. A prolonged war can cause the beast in us to surface, and sometimes you can almost understand why.

That is why war should be conducted in a way that things do not degenerate to primal levels. It must be quick and clearly defined. If we are to conduct a war like the current one in Iraq, we should have adequate manpower. A draft should have been a recognized necessity. Obviously, this was not the case with Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Posted by: | November 19, 2005 10:50 PM

My point to you, johnny, was that some conclusions in your post weren't a given, and that we can make ourselves out to be above torture, especially with a Constitution whose eighth amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments being inflicted. Lapses in keeping that higher moral ground do not negate the amount of immoral behavior holding that higher moral ground can prohibit.
Sorry if I came off like you were taking sides on the torture debate, and your post definitely made a good point even if I feel it drew a conclusion that wasn't necessarily true. If anything, your posts on atrocities help pinpoint the exact kind of thing we need to avoid in the War On Terror. Unfortunately, we've already had the Abu Ghraib debacle. Let's keep it from getting any worse by supporting John McCain and his efforts to make American torture illegal.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 19, 2005 11:10 PM

Errin the twit writes: "I focused entirely on the argument being made by Sandy as weak and simplistic, with not one single instance in my post of me attacking Sandy's person, only Sandy's logic. Go through that post and find proof of me specifically attacking SandyK,"

I observed you attacked purely on your usual way of psychobabble that pretended to get to the actual MOTIVE of folks like SandyK, johnnyg in NE DC, etc.

What you actually said, twit:

SandyK's argument is ridiculous. It completely throws out any Constitutional or moral discussion of torture, and merely says we have to support torture to take a stance and appear tough. While his/her argument may be 'muy macho', it is little more than empty bravado. Staying the good guys and staying rational is going to win us the War On Terror, not thumping our chests and saying "We torture our enemies! Grrrrrrr!".
Try using real logic instead of romantic tough guy scenarios, Sandy. Being a paper tiger isn't going to accomplish anything.

Posted by: ErrinF | Nov 19, 2005 2:16:17 PM

1. Ridiculous argument?
2. Sandy throws out the Constitutional and moral grounds by somehow worrying about the morality of a suicide bomber blowing up her friends, family, herself? Who all have no Constitutional Rights?
3. Her MOTIVE is to appear tough, a chest thumper.
4. Along with a MOTIVE to be macho but denouncing a Muslim suicide bomber is "empty bravado" to someone as discerning as our "libertarian progressive" (means bedwetting liberal Lefty)
5. Along with Errin's predictable psychobabble that the inner MOTIVE SandyK really has is an inclination towards "romantic tough guy scenarios" rather than "real logic".

Might I ask Errin, given you deplore "he-man" tactics like kicking radical Muslim butt, and several readers have confused your writing style and emotions with that of a female Errin, if your real MOTIVE is something deeper than your Lefty nature?

MattFoxSeattle writes: "And, to get back on topic, we didn't beat the Nazis or win the cold war by rationalizing torture as public policy."

No, we beat them by some good tactics in the West, naval supremacy, the 3 million man loss meatgrinder in the East, and roasting 2.8 million civilians alive in their cities. We won the Cold war in large part because we had a cautious foe more inclined to follow the rules of war than not, so we didn't have Soviet suicide bombers or Soviets out of uniform infiltrating our lines, nor seeking to use WMD on us. If they had done any of those things, nukes would have flown.

Mr. Fox further shows that Legendary Lefty knack for social etiquette: "As before, go fuck yourself. Since you like looking up email addresses, feel free to find me in the phone book if you're ever in Seattle and we can have this little chat in person - you scare me not at all, mr. former army man."

If you think right clicking "Mr. X" and displaying the email address you thoughfully provided is "looking up your email address" you aren't exactly the sharpest stick in Seattle, Fox. If I did look you up, I think we can safely exclude Boeing Aerospace or a high tech firm as your employer..

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 19, 2005 11:16 PM

Hmm, funny thing Edsel - right clicking your name didn't give me your email address. Care to share?

Posted by: Mr. X | November 20, 2005 12:08 AM

Incredibly desperate as usual in your argumentation, Chris Ford. I've heard about grasping at straws, but you're grasping at straw men. I'll take on all 5 of your stupid points to show just how illogical you are in your hysterical one-sided diatribes, and that I did not attack SandyK's person in the slightest in the post you were dumb enough to reprint and attempt to misrepresent in the same post, even though you have baselessly accused me of attacking Sandy's person and motives.
1. Ridiculous argument? SURE. I'm not saying Sandy is ridiculous. I'm saying the argument is. It is specifically mentioning the argument, not Sandy. Duh.
2. Sandy's argument was made seperate from any moral/Constitutional claims, and was simply made on the grounds of it showing the enemy how far we'll go to fight them. Your second point has nothing to do with anything, and certainly isn't proof of me attacking Sandy personally.
3. I denounce chest thumping as a tactic in the war on terror. I don't accuse Sandy of actually thumping his/her chest. I even say 'our chests' in that line, moron. Are you saying 'our chests' is specifically about Sandy, a singular person when 'our' denotes more than a single person?
4. The sentence that mentions empty bravado and muy macho is focused on 'his/her argument', not Sandy or Sandy's motive. It specifically says so, dolt.
5. 'Real logic instead of romantic tough guy scenarios' is indeed what I said. Again, I'm assailing the logic Sandy is using in his/her argument, NOT Sandy.

Pitiful. Again you use doublespeak and distortion instead of arguments based in real fact. Again you cowardly avoid the reality of the situation and show yourself to be a twisted, immature extremist that doesn't give a damn about honest and open debate. Like a spoiled child, you want to insist that you are completely in the right, when the fact is you are delusional and have to twist everything into a distortion or misrepresentation in order to make you feel as if you are on the right and winning side. I assure you that you are not and that each post from you reveals more of your deplorable, cowardly character to the rest of us who aren't in your fantasy world.
And once again, Chris Ford, you expose yourself as the very Lefty you claim to hate. You claim Lefties lack social etiquette, and yet in a post above you say the following (which I will censor for the rest of us):
"Patriot 1957 - Don't ask me questions in one post, then accuse me of intellectual dishonesty in your following posts. F**k you. If you want your comments replied to, be more respectful." Chris Ford Nov 18 2005 9:10:30 PM
What audacity Chris Ford has to accuse others of bad social etiquette! Or to lecture Patriot 1957 on being respectful. Notice how he is also 'responding' to Patriot's charge of intellectual dishonesty by attacking him/her and COMPLETELY avoiding the subject, not addressing the charges straightforward LIKE A MAN ? Chris Ford CUT & RAN from any discussion of intellectual dishonesty because that's what intellectually dishonest people do. And anybody can read Patriot 1957's original post questioning Chris's intellectual honesty to see that he/she did not deserve such an ugly response.
Enough already with this clown. I've pretty much exhausted my patience with this fool, though I am AMAZED at how he just continues to dig that hole for himself deeper and deeper. Seriously, Chris, what is your deal with such blatant hypocrisy? I guess it goes to your core as a hysterical person to irrationally latch on to any argument of the moment REGARDLESS of whether that argument contradicts your previous actions or argument. The worst is how you keep describing the horrible things these horrible Lefties do, only to have everything you describe be actions you have done! Amazing! As if you are completely ignorant of the fact that every post you make here can be read here, and that they all expose you as a Right wing crackpot who has absolutely no regard for fairness and honesty in debate, and indeed paint a picture of a person who recklessly and rudely jumps from one argument to the next, constantly evading honest, upfront debate while pathologically putting forward one misrepresentation after another.
At this point, Chris, you have so thoroughly exposed yourself as a coward and a hypocrite that I have no further use for egging you on to be the idiot you are. Thanks for the laughs. It was very enjoyable watching you discredit yourself. Maybe we'll debate again someday when you grow a backbone. And aren't such a reactionary kook. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 01:31 AM

Chris Ford and others who took umbrage with my comments on McCarthism missed my point. Look. The Cold War was not between Capitalism v. Communism. Both those failed systems disappeared long before the Cold War came into its full bloom in the 1950s.

The Cold War was between an America dedicated to containing Soviet expanionism and a more fascist than communist Soviet Union convinced that the Americans had them surrounded and were going to invade at any minute. Both Communis and Capitalism were already being replaced by a sythesis--a mixed economy of freemarkets interacting with pseudo-command economies. Some of those were a bit more siocialist oriented than we here in America like, but there it is.

We will never understand what is happening in the world until we rid ourselves of these old, tired Manichaen delusions.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 20, 2005 09:59 AM

My God, I didn't know that Capitalism is a failed system. Why have I been wasting my life on such this failed system?

Posted by: | November 20, 2005 10:12 AM

What is a "pseudo-command economy?" I guess I too have been Manichean deluded all my life. Go Capitalism!

I don't fault you for your feelings about socialism and business. At the expense of being condescending, I suspect you are young and will eventually learn the error of your ways.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 20, 2005 10:25 AM

My rhetoric is wrong? Do you know what war is, Errin? My mom survived WWII, while her neighbors starved to death around her, and they even ate her dog. Don't tell me what is wrong from your Ivory tower coccoon.

Duty calls you have two choices: either roll up and die, or fight to survive. There is no middle ground.

If it takes torture to get immediate intelligence from some two-bit homocidal idiot, so be it. Because the rights of the many outweigh the rights of a tiny few.

The business is to protect and save the most life, not protect 100 while a 1,000,000 die. >:(

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 20, 2005 11:43 AM

While letting Errin spin his/herself deeper into the hole of psychologically projected MOTIVES she assigns to others, lets get to Jaxas, who at least writes like he is in no need of psychoactive medications:

"The Cold War was not between Capitalism v. Communism. Both those failed systems disappeared long before the Cold War came into its full bloom in the 1950s."

Only is you are wedded to academic abstracts of what PURE communism or capitalism should be. Even before the 50s, both opposing ideologies were anything but pure. And now, both systems have variants still at work. The Soviet command economy version failed spectacularly, but with our usual fixation on one or two ME countries as the only thing that matters in the world, we have not paid enough attention to the spectacular failure of crony capitalism in Latin America and how most nations there are shifting to exploration of implimenting "Socialism Lite". Nor the Chinese model, which keeps Communist rule and overall economic control a la MITI in
Japan, but opens up markets and no longer attempts top down economic decision making. This version of communism is succeeding very well, though many economists say that Politburo language and politics aside, China has simply morphed into national fascism, albeit growing at 9% a year, rolling in money, and modernizing it's military.

On the torture biz, the lie detection technology I mentioned that may bypass "classic torture or subjectively, "coerced interrogation" to others" is beginning to be proposed for airport and security screening. This is the eyeball system that measures changes in parameters indicating the subject is being truthful or not. Predictably, and for a certain good basis, civil libertarians are worried about the loss of freedom to lie. (If the new detection technology proves reliable)

But it might become a big part of criminal law if the ACLU and others do not block it's use - and in cases of unlawful combatants not priviledged with taking the 5th despite efforts of Lefties to give them that right - lie detection technology could get at all the radical Islamoid knows as long as they are compelled, even physically compelled, to answer each question asked of them by the interrogator. Which might still be torture to some that you are forcing a Muslim engaged in unlawful combat to say something - and some detainees may only break their silence by coercion - but I think interrogations would be much more accepted if we frame it as compelling the truth out of the unlawful combatant who removes him or herself from Geneva protections by their violation of rules of war.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 20, 2005 11:50 AM

Chris Ford screeded...
===========================================
"This goes to the Moran Report Emily Messner so hopefully addressed. In WWII, Japanese recruits were told a large number of pure fabrications about America. That we would dismember them for fun, homosexually assault them, things like that. The prisoners we caught were by and large the Japs with the weakest conviction about fighting to the death as well. So many did open up when they saw an enemy being more human than they expected. THe Germans were sometimes willing to cooperate because the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe were long at odds with the Nazi ideologues. Only 2% of the adult German population belonged to the Nazi Party. We had very little luck with getting true Bushido warriors or Nazi Waffen SS troops to squeal in return for a smile and a bit of chocolate."
==========================================

Oh, God, did Stormfront released you from it's bowels?

Look, idiot, this "Jap" is one damn loyal American and one that will make sure YOU do your duty, brass tacks time -- you'd never would have to worry about "Heil, Hitler" or a Samurai (which mom's family was), would have to decapitate your stinking corpse for being a traitor.

BTW, the German Air Force; it's Navy; it's regular Army stilled followed Hitler's orders and paid the same consequences, as their axis counterparts did in Japan. So you can drop trying to rewrite history (well to the Errins of the world, it maybe even true!).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 20, 2005 11:55 AM

God, I feel like a moderate all right, right inbetween extremists...

===========================================
1. Ridiculous argument? SURE. I'm not saying Sandy is ridiculous. I'm saying the argument is. It is specifically mentioning the argument, not Sandy. Duh.
2. Sandy's argument was made seperate from any moral/Constitutional claims, and was simply made on the grounds of it showing the enemy how far we'll go to fight them. Your second point has nothing to do with anything, and certainly isn't proof of me attacking Sandy personally.
3. I denounce chest thumping as a tactic in the war on terror. I don't accuse Sandy of actually thumping his/her chest. I even say 'our chests' in that line, moron. Are you saying 'our chests' is specifically about Sandy, a singular person when 'our' denotes more than a single person?
4. The sentence that mentions empty bravado and muy macho is focused on 'his/her argument', not Sandy or Sandy's motive. It specifically says so, dolt.
5. 'Real logic instead of romantic tough guy scenarios' is indeed what I said. Again, I'm assailing the logic Sandy is using in his/her argument, NOT Sandy."
===========================================

Let's get some facts straight.

1. I'm a she. :)

2. I'm a former Woman Marine (so I take national defense very seriously, and despise commies and fifth columnists with a passion).

3. The Constitution protection only applies to US CITIZENS. Terrorists forego being US citizens the moment they wish to kill their own. There's a difference between disagreeing on topics and beliefs, and those willing to kill others who don't believe in their topics and beliefs. Those types lost their right to be considered human -- for even animals care about their own.

Don't claim I have no heart or "moral/ethical" because I do. I care for the many who can get killed by some two-bit crapper with a bomb or a vial of some deadly disease. If one person has to die for 100/1,000/100,000/1,000,000 to live, that 1 person will have to die. No and's, if's or but's about it. And I can assure you anyone in that dire straight will agree too -- but it's instinctive to want to survive.

We don't live in a Utopia. We'll never have a Utopia. All us humble humans can do is ensure the next generation can survive to carry on long after we pass on. This is basic evolution 101.

If you want to baby two-bit thugs, invite them over to your house, sit them down for a drink -- and I hope a heat seeking missle will land on it. Because I don't believe anyone -- that's any person alive and even their pets -- deserve to die for your belief of hospitality is more important.

Terrorists are like roaches, they ALL need to be exterminated (or let the animals devour them).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 20, 2005 12:18 PM

I agree SandK! Bullets to the head, missiles destroying a compound or cell are all justifiable, even if collateral damages are high. We were not able to prosecute the war this way because the American people as a whole cannot stomach it, along the belief that the gory business of war must be somehow become surgical in nature (in my observations, the media time and time again placed collateral damages in the main byline).

If you go back to my original post, that was my major point about all this. We should have responded with horrifying force, never relenting until the dirty job is done. These idiots running these countries, even to the insects, would give up on supporting terrorism on us because because the consequences of messing with the US would be unacceptable.

It is sad we are in this position, and our approach to warfare based on competing ideolgies will always lose.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 20, 2005 12:48 PM

Sandy, I never went after you or your motives; I instead took on your argument. THAT was what I was discussing with Chris Ford, because THAT was what he unfairly accused me of, and what he has yet to prove. You even acknowledge that I said your 'rhetoric was wrong', and yet you responded by attacking me and saying I was in an ivory tower cocoon. Attack my rhetoric like I attacked yours; Don't attack me.
I am not an extremist; I'm merely responding to one that is here, a right wing crackpot named Chris Ford. I am glad you agree that he is an idiot, and it was wrong of him to use your post as an excuse to go after me when he baselessly claimed I attacked you and your motives instead of your rhetoric.
But the fact of the matter is that I still disagree with your stance on torture. There is too much fear and hysteria in your argument, and I do not think that is the proper way to go forth for America. In fact, I have yet to hear anybody argue for torture that hasn't had the fear and hysteria generated by 9/11 fueling their positions. The US Constitution does indeed only apply to US citizens, but we cannot ignore the spirit of the Constitution and the American values it upholds. There's a higher moral ground to take on the torture issue, and we as Americans should take it by banning torture as a tool of our government. Don't buy into the 'desperate fight for survival' scenario being put out there as a reason for torture, because that simply isn't the case. The amount of false dichotomies and assumptions that continue to be made in this debate are a farce, and it would be nice if the pro-torture crowd could argue their viewpoints without grossly exaggerating the views of their opposition. Enough with the fear and hysteria crowd thinking their overly emotional and irrationally reaction to 9/11 is the way for us to proceed on the War On Terror. They have only served to make things worse for our country, and their support of torture as an acceptable American policy is reprehensible.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 12:59 PM

And johnnyg continues to prove my point of the fear, hysteria, and bloodthirstiness driving so many of those who would argue for torture as American policy. We're Americans, not animals.
Really, johnny, your call for 'horrifying force' is atrocious. It would lead to nothing but escalation and more destruction. Again and again you demonstrate a hatred for your fellow man, whether it's the racist comments you've made previously against Middle Easterns or your current immoral position of offering up wanton destruction and mass murder as a solution to all our problems. That you are so easily manipulated by the actions of the terrorists is pathetic. You play right into their hands by making such calls for what is little more than terrorism itself. You are literally saying that we should be terrorists in order to fight terrorists, that we should respond to their inhuman acts of murder with our own inhuman acts of murder. Not only is that stupid, it's downright evil. Your path will only cause us to lose the War On Terror, johnny. Way to be a proponent for death and destruction.
I would like at least ONE person here arguing for torture to not just be some creep who hates their fellow human being. The amount of fear, hysteria, and nihilism displayed by these pro-torture types is indicative of a type of person we don't want to listen to when RATIONALLY deciding how we conduct ourselves as Americans. Such people need to first deal with the psychological trauma they have incurred from 9/11 before jumping into the torture debate any further. I look forward to more hysterical, fear-driven arguments being made for torture. They will continue to expose the weak mentality and morality of those who are expousing torture as an acceptable American policy. Torture is unacceptable and un-American.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 01:20 PM

What kind of "War on Terror" do you propose Errin. My approach is not novel. Rather, US history has shown that when used effectively it is successful.

Posted by: | November 20, 2005 01:32 PM

A War On Terror that is free of fear, hysteria, and extremism. No torture or anything else that goes against the grain of the US Constitution. For starters, we could start going directly after Osama Bin Laden instead of engaging in all the distractions and superfluousness of things such as Iraq. We could also adhere to the Geneva Conventions in our conduct of the war and in our treatment of our enemies.
True, your approach may have worked in the form of Hiroshima in the past, where horrifying force helped end a greater conflict, but in this case, use of horrifying force is going to escalate the fight against the enemy, not end it. And you can bet the terrorists want us to escalate the conflict, as it gives them more power and legitimacy in their world by being cast as the defenders against an evil and decadent society. We can't play into that image by committing acts of horrifying force. Most importantly, we CANNOT become the monster by staring into the abyss too deeply. We need to maintain a higher moral ground for our own wellbeing as well as to actually win the War On Terror.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 02:01 PM

We will lose this war of yours.

Cutting off the money and other assistance to terrorists can only be accomplished by severely psychologically tramatizing (to use your words) the governments involved in this. They have let their people down in a big way. In the aftermath, the people, in turn, will establish something else, most probably something where they are not completely powerless to in the direction in their contry chooses to take.

If you consider us decadent, for example, our actions to win prior conflicts against evil, then I have reservaions about you personally.

All this can be accomplished while adhering to the Conventions.

Posted by: | November 20, 2005 02:18 PM

Chris Ford has yet to respond to the five points I made in response to his five point MOTIVE argument against me. It is typical of him to dodge direct debate; This isn't the first time myself or others have had to call him on being dodgy. In fact, a poster named Will is STILL waiting for Chris Ford to respond to him over at the 'Does Torture Work?' section of the debate. All Chris has to do is scroll to the top of this page, click on the 'Does Torture Work?' Debate link, then face his opponent like a man. Instead, days go by and Will's post challenging Chris 'Cut & Run' Ford remains unanswered by Mr. Ford.
I have fully accepted that Chris is a waste of time and is here for an audience of one (himself) so I don't expect him to adequately respond to the five points I made against his five MOTIVE points against me. However, he should at least respond to each and every point I made against him, and not just recklessly and cowardly run away from the argument as is so often his style. Even though I know his response will be inadequate, he should still respond. That I have to continually challenge him to follow through on the debates he instigates then selectively tries to avoid is very telling indeed.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 02:37 PM

Well, I have reservations about anybody who posts anonymously. Please show yourself and put a name to go with your arguments. I never said I consider us decadent... I said that our terrorist enemies view us as such, and giving into the decadent violence of horrifying force is to empower them by becoming that very image. Really, where do you come off saying I was calling the US decadent by me stating that the terrorists call us decadent? Me recognizing they have a certain view in no way implies that I agree with that view. Come on.
Your doom and gloom is empty. You act like this War On Terror is unwinnable unless we take it to the point of 'the nuclear option' (or as you put it, horrifying force, not even realizing that to horrify and to terrorize is the same thing). Utter nonsense. We are the Goliath in this fight. 9/11 was horrible, but it was in no way a mortal wound to us, and in no way is our back up against the wall in a desperate fight for survival, although many who give into fear and hysteria give in to such an exaggerated scenario. Again, you put forth an overly bleak and negative attitude that is not shared by most Americans. You may have no faith in us winning this war by taking the higher moral ground, but there are enough of us who believe strongly in the US being a force for good that we will win the War On Terror by taking the high road.
At least you acknowledge that we can accomplish our goals as a nation and at the same time adhere to the Geneva Conventions. That means no torture as American policy. So, while you've made some points about torture being avoidable in the War On Terror, you have made no concrete points establishing that the War On Terror MUST be as hardline and bloody as you claim it should be in order to succeed. Offer more fact and less opinion please if you expect us to start going down the deadly and excessively violent path you propose. You may state defiantly that a moral War On Terror won't succeed, but you have absolutely no proof to back up your theory, or at least have yet to put forth something that is anything more than just theory to support your amoral claims.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 03:08 PM

Sandy K -

I don't know where you are coming from on the Moran Report and the Germans/japs case. Or saying I'm from "Stormfront" - if only because it reinforces the inter-service dig that Marines are famous for bravery, not their reasoning abilities. Perhaps your reasoning abilities are OK, but you did not read what I said closely. In WWII, we found a good number of Germans disliked the Nazis and required minimal supervision as POWs. We had 700,000 German POWs inside the US, many just doled out to farms and factories and expected to return to the POW Camp at night or lose work privileges. Many were willing to talk to hopefully shorten the War. On the other hand, the few hardcore Waffen SS were under maximum security because no one wanted to let them out, and few if any, ever talked. Which group do you think the radical Islamists more closely resemble???

My point was that Al Qaeda and other Islamists groups screen for fanatical loyalty and ideological commitment to an extent that the Germans and Japs, fielding large mititary forces in WWII couldn't do. So the radical Islamists we interrogate are more like the 2% of miliatry Waffen SS that swore an oath of loyalty and death to Hitler than the bulk of German troops who were not at that level of fanaticism and thus more amenable to talking for inducements proffered. When we get to the hardcore Jihadis, we see the same death oath given and 100% of them are deeply committed....not in it for money, not living in primitive conditions in the hope of loot, booty, monetary gain...but because they deeply believe with all their hearts their death cult philosphy.

The "rewards-based" approach has failed pretty convincingly with radical Islamists. They believe killing infidels hands them the key to Paradise and their Jihad is noble with nothing immoral or criminal about it since it is divinely sanctioned by the dictates of the Koran - so offering them head bounties on other Muslims or delicacies likes goat eyeballs fried in rolled pistachio nuts hasn't worked. We find that even Uday and Qusay were not betrayed for money, but because they had pissed the informer off and offended his sense of honor and deep Islamic religious sensibilities.

Errin, you continue to display why people have become so fed up with the "New Left" shit you and your chorts espouse. It's been 40 years of the usual insults, always projecting not to the facts of the argument, but as Marxist Herbert Marcuse counseled "Go to the MOTIVES of the opponent! Never tolerate the dissent and go to the facts or the reactionary - instead impugn them." The reason your people are so marginalized is all your rhetoric is rehashed, decades long crapand it sounds as insincere as it did 30 years ago. To normal Americans, your Marcusian spewing of confrontational words comes across more like an immature university student having a temper tantrum than a debate.

Let's look at the "code words" you used in the last 2 postings that rebut your lie that you are only attacking the argument, not the person.

(idiot) (you responded by attacking me and saying I was in an ivory tower cocoon. Attack my rhetoric like I attacked yours; Don't attack me.)(right wing crackpot)(idiot) (baseless claims) (There is too much fear and hysteria in your argument)(fear and hysteria) (fear and hysteria crowd)(farce)(overly emotional and irrationally reaction to 9/11)(reprehensible)(And johnnyg continues to prove my point of the fear, hysteria, and bloodthirstiness driving so many) (johnnyg atrocious)(you demonstrate a hatred for your fellow man), (the racist comments you've made previously)(current immoral position)(you are so easily manipulated)(racist)(pathetic)my (moral highground) your's(stupid, it's downright evil)Anyone who argues for torture vin any circumstance is ( some creep who hates their fellow human being, for inhuman acts of murder.)(amount of fear, hysteria, and nihilism displayed by these pro-torture types is indicative of a type of person we don't want to listen to) (Such people need to first deal with the psychological trauma they have incurred from 9/11)(hysterical, fear-driven arguments being made for torture) (weak mentality and morality)


Oh, yes Errin, you never go after the individual! Just as you aren't a Lefty on the borderline of treason and 5th column membership but are instead a "libertarian progressive". You only use Marxist tactics in debate going to MOTIVE because, because...err...you must have read them somewhere. Your personal slurs and slams in parenthesis were in just 2 posts you made to SandyK and johnnyg. And, after apologizing for calling him a racist when he wasted his time explaining to you, you are right back to calling him a racist.

Not that it matters, because twits like Errin on the Left are getting marginalized more and more each year.

Racist! Islamophobic! Monster! Stupid! Idiot! Murderer! Inhuman! Disturbed people that question me when I never insult others!!! Sadistic Torturers!

Yeah, yeah Errin, sure....whatever.....Go take your lithium or hug a suicide bomber, not that I care either way. It's just frankly a lot of fun to see the Left descend into fever swamps of hysteria where they just get angrier and angrier - and the rest of America laughs at them. You've lost the ability to convince others to join, your numbers shrink, and no one trusts a deeply ideological Lefty to lead other than the stray Congressional District that "gifts us" with a a few Errin-like whack jobs like Cynthia McKinney.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 20, 2005 03:19 PM

That was my post. Sorry, I inadvertently missed identifying myself.

First, I am not suggesting nuclear weapons. Second, you believe taking the moral high ground, without taking decisive and powerful military actions against, say Syria, will win the war. However, they believe with equal, or perhaps greater fervor, that they are taking the high ground, and that eliminating the infidels is a major part of that. These are irreconcilable differences. As I stated previously, either we isolate ourselves from these regimes, as I stated previously and was called a racist for saying so, or we stand and fight.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 20, 2005 03:28 PM

Thanks for the response, Chris Ford. You are still dodging my five points I made in rebuttal to yours earlier. Again, no direct confrontation, but a running away from the matter at hand. Again, highly selective ignorance on your part as you deliberately avoid yet another straight debate. Again, a weird diatribe against the Left and imagined 'Marxist tactics' that has little basis in fact and COMPLETE basis in delusion and extremism. If you would just stand and debate rationally like a man and not an extremist coward, some of what you say may actually have merit. Instead, they are the blatherings of a reactionary nutjob that NOBODY is even remotely listening to.
It has become tiresome, Chris Ford. The posts you type are posts to yourself, nothing more. You just want to rant nonsensically about the Left, and that's that. Never have I met somebody so pathetically stuck in their own world. That you can't even stick to the subject and instead need to put forth one gross misrepresention after another belies your inherent weakness and lack of intellectual dishonesty. You think stubbornly and selfishly sticking to your stupidity is somehow making you look good here, when it is in fact exposing you as somebody not be listened to or bothered with. Your own incompetence has taken you to a point of irrelevance. I was glad to play my part egging you on to make one stupid post after another that only served to make your lack of fairness and intelligence all the more obvious to rest of us here. By all means, continue with your crazy rants and paranoid Lefty fantasies. It all combines to show who the real whack job is around here, and that you are an irrational person who should not be listened to on any subject, let alone the subject of torture. No Marxist tactics are necessary against a self-destructive loser like you. What a dupe.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 04:02 PM

johnnyg, you were called a racist for saying that Middle Eastern cultures were only good for heroin, persian rugs, and terrorism, and that we're better off completely without them. Usually, such statements denote a racist. You are being revisionist about it just being a statement about isolationism, although you did mean it to be just about isolationism, I believe (it came off as being about racism, and I wasn't the only poster to acknowledge that). But, your previous posts are kind of a moot point in regards to our current discussion, so I'd rather answer your points directly.
First, no, you are not specifically proposing nuclear weapon use. I merely used the term 'nuclear option' to describe going to the ultra-violent extreme you expouse when you talk of the use of 'horrifying force' to win the War On Terror.
Second, please explain how my being for the moral high ground in the War On Terror is the same as me being against taking decisive and powerful military action in the War On Terror. To me, they can easily be one and the same.
Third, I am confused as to what you are proposing. Horrifying force or isolationism? Both as our only real choices? I am in complete agreeance that many Middle Eastern regimes are in need of real reform, but I have yet to be convinced by you how that can be obtained, or even if we are the ones that can help obtain it. Care to elaborate?
Lastly, I never meant to imply that you were being deliberately anonymous. I just wanted some clarity on who exactly I was debating with. Thanks.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 04:34 PM

Between isolation and total war lies the problem: potential for endless conflict, which is ripe for breakdowns both on the individual and institutional level. Hence, the rise if incidents like atrocities, torture and so on. We cannot wage a major war like this without manpower (our current recycling troops is going to lead to big problems with these men and women). A draft should have been taken seriously after the 9/11 bombings. When I suggested this to people I know well shortly thereafter, they rolled their eyes.

My statements that upset you were definitely directed to isolation. I cannot find them on this page, but I know I had stated we should abstain from any contact with those cultures. I would call that isolating us, not a revision of what I stated earlier.

Remember Libya back pedaling in quick response to our invasion of Iraq? This appears to have been enough to scare him into abandoning WMD ambitions. Whether Libya still assists terrorists, I do not know. I see the reaction, however, which was a positive one, and came about only as a result of our invasion of another country.

I am certainly no battle planner, but this is how I see it possibly playing out. If there is any evidence of a country assisting terrorists, they should be given a cease and desist ultimatum. Failing that, the country should have at least one major city destroyed. Damn the structures that have stood there for hundreds or thousands of years. Anyone with sense would flee the targeted cities. If it happens again, either bomb another city into oblivion or take the country over, but this time use an overwhelming force. We must have at least a million troops in reserve to handle this (i.e., from a draft), and not be caught again with our pants down after the battle.

Posted by: | November 20, 2005 05:05 PM

Fair enough, johnny. You offer a viewpoint that is well crafted and independent minded. Although there is a lot of plausibility to it, I still think the overall reaction from Americans will be to roll their eyes and to consider this course to be too much of a hard line to take. Regardless, it is very commendable that you are not actually promoting fear and hysteria, but are making a tactical argument rather than an emotional one. Were the tactics you are promoting not so drastic, they might still be plausible. Not very American, but plausible.
One thing, though: I have still yet to hear how there is a real necessity for what you propose. I have not seen any proof whatsoever that we MUST adopt so drastic a policy in order to win the War On Terror, or that a moral, non-hardline approach to the war won't succeed. The impetus is on you to justify such, as I believe that is what you have claimed previously. Concrete examples, please, not just inferences like your Libya example.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 05:26 PM

ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By now it should be obvious that Mr Ford has a fairly ossified set of beliefs and rationalizations on the issue of torture (and a number of other issues). At the very least, we should compliment him for being consistent, and for posting a dissenting opinion in an openly hostile environment.

That said, it seems unlikely that Mr. Ford will be changing his mind anytime soon, and I am tired of reading (and participating) in winding discussions of the same essential point. Everything that needed to be said was stated four strings ago by at least six or seven interested parties.

I feel like it is the Palm Sunday service and I am never going to get out of the pew! Let Mr Ford believe that torture is justifiable and/or morally correct. Just stop the endless litany.

Posted by: chris | November 20, 2005 05:41 PM

Yeah, this horse is beat dead. I think we may have tortured it too.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 20, 2005 06:11 PM

I'll admit to culpability in antagonizing Chris Ford to the point of overkill. Pro-torture or not, the guy's a bad apple that uses tactics cheaper than any Marxist out there (btw, are there even Marxists out there anymore?). I'm not one to just stand back and let a reckless person like that do their dirty work without holding them accountable for it. No matter what side of the argument you are on, you should be debating openly and honestly, not selectively and dishonestly as Chris Ford does and has. Exposing extremism for what it is is important, albeit in this case it was very annoying and time consuming.
I look forward to the next topic on 'The Debate', though this next time around I won't be wasting my time on people who cannot stick strictly to the facts and logic when debating. And, please, no clowns that are just aping what they hear on their conservative talk radio shows ad infinitum. That's been played out to the point of boredom in this debate.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 20, 2005 07:32 PM

Vois.com the blog search engine

Posted by: vois.com | November 20, 2005 07:33 PM

Okay, I'm going to repost this from an earlier discussion where it hasn't yet received a reply (I hope not because of how horribly I wrote it!). It was specifically directed at Chris Ford, but I'd be interested in the reactions of any of you who are (like me) determined that we need to win the war against radical Islamist ideology, but who (unlike me) think we should use torture as one of our methods in so doing. [Executive summary: the war we're fighting is primarily an ideological conflict, not a military one, and in the _ideological_ conflict, using torture is suicidal, the equivalent of what handing out free assault rifles in Baqubah would be in the military conflict.] Here's the original posting.

Chris Ford,

I read your recent post with interest. With respect, I have to say that I think your understanding of the war we're in is almost completely flawed.

1. I'll start with a comment that you make towards the end, where you say, "Get serious. Make this a total war, unlike Bush has done with his half-assed approach. Fight the Islamist ideology and take no half-measures;"

Okay, so tell me, if we're going to turn this into a 'total war', how do you wage war, at all, on an ideology? Can you shoot an ideology? Bomb an ideology and watch it explode? I commend your enthusiasm to fight it. But what about the strategy? Where are the details? How do you kill an ideology? What would a successful conclusion of this war look like to you? Do we win by getting governments friendly to us throughout the Muslim world? By capturing everyone who's associated with Al-Qaeda? See, an ideology isn't defeated by military means. You may (often) need to use military force in a supporting role, but the war won't be _won_ by the military, because the conflict isn't military in nature - it's ideological.

2. You write, "The notion that being nice to the enemy that follows no rules will "convert" them to our side is ridiculous." Ths is very revealing of a major misconception, I think. I didn't say that we would convert all of these jihadis to our side by abstaining from torture. I did say that it would help us greatly in 'converting' the general population in the Muslim world who are not terrorists. And look, the fact is that we _have_ to 'convert' those people. Them's the facts. You may not like it, none of us may like it, but it doesn't much matter whether we like it or not, because that's just reality. We have to win the ideological conflict in the Muslim world, or else we lose.

Remember that Al-Qaeda's main goals, at this phase of the conflict, are still really about the Muslim world, about gaining credibility and power there. The attacks on the west, even 9-11, as horrific as they were, did not have as their immediate strategic goal the destruction of the West. Al-Qaeda has to become much stronger before it can attempt something like that. Its immediate strategic goal was all about Al-Qaeda's position in the Muslim world, about simultaneously convincing the Muslim world that a) the West is out to get us and is trying to destroy Islam and all Muslims, and b) Al-Qaeda is a force that could actually inflict some prominent damage on the West, thus, Al-Qaeda can claim to be a credible defender of the Muslim world.

It's like trying to start a snowball fight. You stand on one side, and throw a snowball at the other. They throw back, but they miss you and hit someone near you. That person throws back, and so on. That is always a challenge in counter-terrorism (and counter-insurgency). The terrorists are delighted when you go after them but get innocent people instead, and kill them or torture them. You're making yourself look exactly like the kind of enemy that they're trying to convince their own people you are.

Now Al-Qaeda is trying to spread its ideology throughout the Muslim world. You don't really, in any of your posts that I've read so far, seem to address this issue at all, but you should. You say you want to wage a total war against this ideology, but you don't suggest any ideological means by which to do so. Engaging in torture is, as far as the _ideological_ conflict is concerned, the equivalent of distributing free rocket launchers in Fallujah. You say you want to win that conflict (and I believe you). But then why do you want to do something so damaging to our cause.

There's a curious dualism in what you write (to bring up the ACLU!), because when you denounce the ACLU and Amnesty International for making comments about treatment of detainees, you have lots to say about how they're handing a propaganda victory to the enemy, how they're damaging this country, how they're hurting us in this war. But you go silent about these same things when talking about our _own_ actual practice of torture. If talking about US torture is so bad for our ideological struggle with Al-Qaeda (and you're right that it is), then so is actually torturing detainees, because it's inevitable that, if we do it, it will become widely known, and we won't be able to disprove it. So it seems to me that your criticism of the ACLU implicitly contains a critique of your own position on torture as well, a critique ably stated by McCain.

3. You write, "We shrink from war, and now obsess about the "hearts and minds" of innocent Muslims who cheer the Jihadis on but are not at the tip of the spear themselves. In WWII we didn't care too much about "innocent German puppy dogs" or "innocent Nipponese babies" and how blowing or burning them up in their cities - Might Make Them Hate Us!!"

More of the same misunderstanding. Look, anyone who wants to win this ideological war _should_ be obsessing about the hearts and minds of innocent Muslims, because _that is where the battle is being waged_. You might as well denounce someone for "obsessing about the terrain and military defenses of Iraq" prior to the war. That's where the battlefield is. We didn't pick it, we may not like it, but that's the way it is, and there's nothing to be gained (and much to be lost) by ignoring reality here. The simple fact is, that until we win over the general Muslim population, victory will remain beyond our grasp. I'm not saying it because I want it to be true; I'm just saying it because it is. Dispute this, if you can. Can you think of a way we could realistically say that we had defeated radical Islamist ideology, when large numbers of Muslims around the globe still believed it?

Your examples of Germany and Japan aren't relevant. Those were military conflicts, not ideological ones. (Yes, I know that ideology was involved. But our own goal, in victory, was military, not ideological.)

Thanks for your post, and thanks in advance for any reply you care to make.

Posted by: Beren | November 20, 2005 09:39 PM

Just to clarify an ambiguous bit in my previous posting, when I write, "That's where the battlefield is. We didn't pick it, we may not like it, but that's the way it is, and there's nothing to be gained (and much to be lost) by ignoring reality here," I'm writing about the hearts and minds of the population throughout the Muslim world, not about Iraq.

Posted by: Beren | November 20, 2005 09:49 PM

23 of 84 posts by a Leftist who claims she is a man but writes like a effeminent one, who also says she/he is not a Leftist but a "libertarian progressive" though she/he dispenses the usual Leftist Marcusian boilerplate. Interestingly, if one goes back to look at Errin's posts, all consist if attacks on other posters, rather than any posts that primarily go to the debate. Looks like another twit on the margins of society wanting attention, but in hating America, coming uncomfortably close to the edge of treason in doing so.

Amusing because she/he claims she never assails other posters, but "debates" their points. Sooo angry is our Errin!! Last post was choice vindictive, sort of like a little wet, pissed poodle yapping......

(bad apple) (cheaper tactics)(reckless person) I nobly defend against their (dirty work)(hold the accountable) (for their dishonest debating tactics) vs. Errin's Marxist sophistry??(Exposing extremism) as "hero" Errin puffs in pride(very annoying and time consuming) Errin has nothing better to do(I won't be wasting my time) phew! Errin, that's a relief!!(clowns aping) (conservative talk radio!)(ad finitum) (played out to the point of boredom) not like Errins 23 attack posts directed at other posters - no, they were funny in a pathetic sort of way, like Dennis Kuchinich being in the Dem Presidential debates....

johnnyg writes -

"Second, you believe taking the moral high ground, without taking decisive and powerful military actions against, say Syria, will win the war. However, they believe with equal, or perhaps greater fervor, that they are taking the high ground, and that eliminating the infidels is a major part of that. These are irreconcilable differences."

That is well said. And as far as "winning" strictly by virtue of the "high ground with Muslims" under Clinton, we had Oslo, Mardid, 2 wars fought for saving Muslims, 1/2 our diplomatic time spent with Arafat and the Israeli du jour looking for "peace". France liked Clinton. We gave hundreds of millions to the Palestinians, billions to Egypt and Jordan.

The whole time, radical Muslims were gunning for us with all they had. The 1993 WTC bombing, intended to undermine foundations on both Towers and kill 60 -80,000 people. Embassy attacks and bombings. The Boijinka Plot to kill the Pope and blow up 11 airliners headed for the US. The Millenium Plot busted up by luck in the US and sharp work in Jordan. Planning by KSM for 9/11 started in 1998, full go ahead granted in late 1999. 3 other KSM operations started in 2000, as well as Al Qaeda agents meeting with representatives of AQ Khan seeking biologicals and nuclear knowhow. Libya, Irans, and N Korea's nuke weapons efforts went on.

All happened while we had the "moral high ground".

As you said, the radical Islamoids believe they occupy a moral high ground and their high ground gets higher through infidel killing. One more big radical Muslim attack and all the talk of "precious enemy rights" goes away, a Sate of Emergency is declared - and the serious killing starts, not Bush's half-ass war. And the 5th Columns in countries like France, the UK, Australia, Italy, and America get wrapped up, and Canada is politely requested to avail itself of a one-time shot at self policing it's internal threats...

But I do like helping smoke the likes to Errin out. Every war has their British Loyalists, Copperheads, WWI radicals, WWII Nazi sympathizers, the strange Lefty who had posters of Che, Trotsky and Ho Chi Minh during Vietnam. Now we have those that wish to give the most comfort possible to the radical Muslim enemy - ostensibly they claim to "seize the moral high ground" but really just the usual aid&comfort to the enemy desire you see in a small minority in any American War.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 20, 2005 10:11 PM

Clarification: Yes, there are still marxists out there. They renamed themselves neo-marxists, then when no one was looking, marxist thought morphed into 'Developmental Economic theory'. Look closely at critiques of free market economics like Alice Amsden's "Rise of the Rest" and you will see the basic ideas that states make great economic decisions for their prolitariate all the time (debatable of course).

Second, on ideology. Unfortunately, waging a war of ideology is mostly blowing hot air; an ideological battle involves multiple ideologies (each involving 'presentation' of the 'facts' and loads of ad hockery.

There are two ways that an ideology passes:

1. Its original proponents or their predecessors die and no one bothers to pick up the slack. See Neo-Marxism or various religious cults.

2. Its proponents sieze power and attempt to run a state using their wacky ideology. Generally, the more changes it introduces or just plain wacky the idea, the higher the likelihood of failure. For example:
a. the neocon idea of instituting a
free market in a state with no
security (or market for that
matter); Iraq.
b. Just about any Marxist regime that
has attempted to terminate the
state and create a prolitariate
utopia.
c. Religious cults bent on
establishing heaven on earth. The
Poplars, White Light group, etc.
d. Fundamentalist theocracy, such as
Iran. This is failing in slow
motion as forced religion is
slowly creating an intensly
secular populace.
e. Small occupation numbers can
establish security (Iraq or French
Vietnam).

Nothing stops and ideology like a dramitic failure. Of course, this means that the ideology had to have a run at power. And once the idea fails, non-ideologs are expected to clean up the mess and repair the damage. This rarely occurs. When it does, it doesn't take too long for some other ideolog to posit "the answers in 7 easy steps" and proceed to muck everything up.

A good example of how to stop an ideology rests with Jordans management of Islamic groups in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In a nutshell, king Hussein created a political game wherein the Islamic opposition would fail in a dramatic fashion within a system rigged by his political allies (meaning that the King and his rigged system was not personally blamed for the failure of the Islamist parties; their ideology and political capacity was seen to be faulty).

On the downside, such a method of ideological warfare involves a fair amount of risk and requires a subtle knowledge of the political terrain. This makes it unlikely that the U.S. could pull such a victory in Iraq or the Middle East at large (that lack of cultural empathy and/or language capacity). It also means that many current Middle Eastern regimes, which are incompatent or learning their leadership capacities on the job (see incompatent), would be unable to attempt such a solution.

This political reality seems to indicate that ideological strength and political capacity lies with the Islamic radicals. An unsettling proposition to say the least. And while an Islamic regime in Jordan, Syria, or Saudi would most likely fail in spectacular fashion, can America, our allies, or our economy really risk the temporary victory of an Islamist state? And do we really have a choice in the medium to long term?

Posted by: Chris | November 20, 2005 10:33 PM

Ford,

Try to stay on topic.

1. You and Errin don't like each other. Duh. Both of you insult each other then point fingers at the other one. I would call this childish behavior, but it seems the norm in the blogsphere, and most of us are adults.

2. Failure to hunt down and kill the enemy is hardly "coddling" them. Neither are attempts to understand their development and goals. It is more akin to understanding the psychology of a psychopath (profiling) in order to better hunt them down. Understanding terrorists perspectives is a key method in tracking and controlling them and is practiced by liberals and conservatives.

3. I applaud your use of facts. You are, however, likely unaware of how the funds are provided to Palestine.

As for the 'millions' sent to Palestine, well, you are correct and incorrect. Millions have been sent to the authority in the occupied West Bank. Until 1988 that was Jordan (which spent most of these paltry sums in the West Bank). Post 1988, the authority in the West Bank that has collected the money has been Israel. Hinky yes? The occupier collects and disperses the cash? And guesses on how much of the hundreds of millions are sent on to the Palestinians? So far the total is in the tens of millions. The low tens. Israel is afraid to give more because they believe the Palestinians will simply use the money to buy better weaponry (a strong likelihood supported by numerous Fatah attempts so smuggle armor piercing rockets into Gaza and the West Bank). The upshot is that Palestinian security forces lack the firepower to even take on Hamas (though again, there is the distinct possibility and historical precendent that a well armed Palestinian police force would turn their weapons on the IDF rather than Hamas).

Jordan has not recieved 'Billions'. Hundreds of millions, yes. With those millions, Jordan has managed to create a U.S. and Israeli friendly enclave in the Middle East with a ridiculously low rate of terrorism (just 3 incidents in the past five years: Foley, the missiles in Aqaba, and the current hotel bombings).

In the case of Jordan and Egypt our cash has bought stability and security (if not democracy). Palestine? Well, that is debatable, and not a debate I care to enter into just now.

Posted by: Chris | November 20, 2005 10:52 PM

Absolute force is unlikely to stop states from sponsoring terrorism for these reasons:

1. The terrorists, or their supporters, have a resource you want. The largest cash contributor is Saudi. Saudi is also our largest source of sweet light crude; a commodity we cannot find in equal supplies elsewhere. In order to keep our economy going, we cannot force Saudi to stop funding Islamic "charities". Also note the FARC, which controls a sizeable portion of the Columbian cocaine trade. The fastest way to strangle the FARC is to stop snorting so much blow. So far, Americans have proven unable to kick either the coke or oil habit.

2. The Bomb. Osama is allegedly in Pakistan, a state which has long sponsored terrorism for their proxy in Kashmir against India. Problem: Pakistan has the bomb. Nothing spoils a good conventional invasion like a couple of tactical nuclear weapons.

3. Iran is most likely developing the bomb. Also note that Saudi problem. While we don't buy Iranian oil, a disruption in Iranian supply would increase competition for other sources, and thereby increase overall cost.

4. Failed states. It is easy to attack the Taliban to stop their coddling of al-Qaida. It is much harder to track an enemy in a failed state bereft of social order. You could invade Afghanistan again, but I question who would put up any resistence. I also question whether you would find al-Qaida any faster than current.

The asymetrical warfare practiced by al-Qaida makes standard methods of winning wars difficult. Overwhelming force is unlikely to succeed (and thus far has not. See Iraq, Columbia, Kashmir, Chechnia, Georgia, Palestine, etc.).

I can understand the belief that force will work. If you neighbor is stealing your stuff a simple arrest or a little 'accident' will fix the problem. But in the case of terrorism, the neighbor is an un-named individual in a far off country with a legion of sneaky ninjas to do his bidding. Simple 'accidents' are unlikely to stop the ninjas, or your mystery neighbor.

Posted by: chris | November 20, 2005 11:14 PM

Beren - " "The notion that being nice to the enemy that follows no rules will "convert" them to our side is ridiculous." Ths is very revealing of a major misconception, I think. I didn't say that we would convert all of these jihadis to our side by abstaining from torture. I did say that it would help us greatly in 'converting' the general population in the Muslim world who are not terrorists. And look, the fact is that we _have_ to 'convert' those people. Them's the facts. You may not like it, none of us may like it, but it doesn't much matter whether we like it or not, because that's just reality. We have to win the ideological conflict in the Muslim world, or else we lose."

I'll write about your whole post if I can tomorrow, it is getting late and I need to do the work thing....but I wanted to address this one part of your post because the assumption we will lose unless we convince Muslims to love us and have a Mini-Reformation where they reject some tactics of war and intolerance of the views, even the existence of others not of the Islamic Faith - that have been an integral part of mainstream Islam for 1300 years.

I don't think much of the notion that you can make those in MAINSTREAM ISLAM like us and respect us and extend full tolerance to all Christians, Jews, Hindi, atheists - let alone the radical Islamists. Since it's creation, Islam has been at war with all cultures it has encountered, intolerant, and always striving in fits and starts to wipe the other side out of existence. ME and N African Christianity all but wiped out in 500 years time, war in Europe from AD 800 to 1653. The Zoroastrans of Persia exterminated, the Buddhists of N India, Afghanistan, Bengal, Malay, and Indonesia destroyed. The Hindis say that they lost 85 million in 550 years time to the Muslim sword.

But the whole of the Arab world, even with the oil revenues have a GNP less than that of Spain, with 1/8th the number of new books published as the Spaniards with 18 times the population. They are weak in industry, technology. Except for the Turks, Hezbollah, and the Pakistanis, they have shown themselves to be lousy soldiers in clashes with the West.

It is not likely "mainstream Islam" will convert. If it doesn't, it has two choices. End messing with the West, or face real war, cleansing, and eventual isolation of the Ummah. Winning their hearts and minds is not "a war we must win, or we lose" Beren. We will not lose the war or the clash of ideologies if the Islam vs. the Rest of the World conflict continues. No ideology is ready to fall before it's time, that is true, but rogue ideologies can be contained and then deliberately weakened - and certain death cults like the Aztecs, Thuggees, and Islamic assassins can indeed be exterminated. Rapidly.

With Islam, much has focused on how we can't fight effectively if the other side violates the rules of the Geneva Convention. But this is not true if the situation excalates, most likely in Europe as Islam begins it's attack on European civilization. It is simple enough to round up and expel a relatively powerless minority. It took a year to cleanse the German ethnics out of the East back to Germany. It would take about as long if things got serious to boot the Islamics back to the Ummah. As for actual war, people really missed, though no Muslim professional military did from watching what our military is capable of in Afghanistan and Iraq - how easy it would be with American precision munitions to rapidly disable the entire infrastructure of any Arab country, plus Iran - but excepting Turkey and Pakistan which would be far tougher to beat - we can put any nation back 1,000 years with just conventional weapons. We actually pulled our punches in Iraq, trying to save infrastructure - but in a week or so, an Arab nation could have it's entire electric generation, electric distribution, energy distribution, transportation grid inc. all bridges, telecomm network, water distribution and purification, food mills, air transport infrastructure as well as well as attrit military command and control so bad the people who had horses would be the ones with the most advanced part of their society when we finished..Nor would any of the other great powers come to the Muslim's rescue if the war heated up.

If we lose the war for at least convincing the Muslims to lay off terrorism and unlawful combat - though most may still hate the infidel anyways - if they fail to stop the war, we don't lose. The war just ratchets up to the next level.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 20, 2005 11:15 PM

Ford,

I think you need to read MORE Islamic texts. The fact of the matter is that contemporary jihadis cite only a very small corpus of Islamic jurisprudence. The parts that agree with them. In the West, we call this proof text.

The most oft cited is Ibn Taymiyya's short work on jihad. Contemporary theorists such as al-Ghazali (not to be mixed up with the sufi) and Sayyid Qutb cited a few lines of Taymiyya to support their jihad arguments, while ignoring the other 30 pages on reasons not to practice jihad (essentially, never). Qutb in particular faced serious critique on this point. In retaliation, Qutb began the modern fundamentalist method of ignoring those 10th to 15th century texts which called for peace and moderation to various religions and ethnicities, while reading the Quran selectively to 'reveal' the jihadist notions originally proofed from Taymiyya.

As for the 'wiping out' of Christianity, what are you smoking? Middle Eastern Caliphs specifically protected dimis of Jews and Christians for tax purposes. Only non-Muslims paid taxes, making them a very lucrative method of paying for militaries and palaces. The Ottomans raised this to an art form by comprising their famed Janissaries out of Christian slaves. The policies of the various Caliphates and Sultanates of the Middle Ages are responsible for the survival of a wide variety of minority religions and sects (Chaldeans, Sumerians, Copts, Druze, Alawi, Maronites, Eastern Orthodox, Jews etc. . .). The state religion was Islam and, shock and awe, those wishing mobility often converted to the dominant religion. Not much different than what happened in Sicily or Spain with Islam (Muslims converted to Christianity).

Now, one could make the argument that these groups lived in poor conditions, but then, these are third world countries by and large. Heck, the Spanish Inquisition did more damage to Spanish Jewish populations than 700 years of Moorish rule. The Moorish Jews were, by the way, responsible for the gold and silk production in Moorish Spain that produced a vibrant economy. With the Inquisition, the Visigoths killed any Jews they could get their hands on. And just for good measure, burned any books and wrecked the economy.

Visits to Middle Eastern countries reveals vibrant Christian communities. From the Coptic desert oasis churches, to the Maronite cathedrals of Lebanon. Much of Jabal Amman remains Christain as does the city of Madaba in Jordan. And aren't there a whole bunch of Christians in Jerusalem?

Is there discrimination? Certainly. Is/was there a concerted effort to wipe out religions other than Islam? No. Such a contention is the product of poor reading choices. Lay off the clash of civs stuff.

Posted by: Chris | November 21, 2005 12:01 AM

I thought this discussion was dead, but the last several posts are the most informative I've seen here. No one would answer my propositions. Thanks for doing so. I guess Errin went to sleep.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 21, 2005 12:14 AM

I addressed your propositions as soon as you made them earlier, johnnyg. I said they were well crafted and thought out, but that there was a need for you to establish further just if what you proposed could work, and if it was indeed the best of all alternatives. You never did such, though. Still haven't. Your 'horrifying force' theory is little more than America ruling the world with an iron fist. It's not plausible and lies completely in the realm of the theoretical. Commiting atrocious violence solves nothing. I was not sleeping, but you are dreaming if you think any rational human being is going to accept a reign of terror as the way to conduct the War On Terror.
Chris Ford, that is great you counted all my posts here on 'The Debate'; I haven't counted yours because I have better things to do with my time. You de-legitimize your arguments against me however by going off on another CRAZY right wing diatribe. What really shocks me is your response to Beren... NO rants against the Phantom Lefty Menace... NO needless mention of ACLU lawyers... NO selective evasiveness, misrepresentations, distortions, or other 'Marxist' tactics that have been your modus operandi in the vast majority of the posts you write. Here I thought I was completely wasting my time on you; Instead I see that I have trained you well on proper debate technique and behavior. Good boy. You can thank me later.
As for the other Chris, it is a shame you lump me in with Chris Ford just because I gave him a taste of his own medicine. If you read any of my posts that have nothing to do with Chris Ford, you will see them completely devoid of 'childish behavior'. And, while my antagonization of Mr. Ford may not have been the most mature of actions to take (at least according to the judgement call you've already made on me), there was little else I could do to actually get him to stay on topic and answer some of my challenges rather than running away from them. It may be a more convenient view for you to look down on both Chris Ford and myself as being similar, but if you actually took the time to compare all our posts against each other, you might find there is more to it than your initial observations. And, if you really want the whole 'Chris Ford Vs. Me' argument to be dropped, than drop it yourself. I've already moved on from it, so there is no need to continue to bring it up. Thanks a lot for passing judgement on me without bothering to even understand the full situation, though. I hope it made you feel superior, but it wasn't fair at all. Any other books you want to judge by their covers? Pardon me for playing hardball with bullying extremists such as the likes of Chris Ford. At least I ended it when I realized I had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with him; You still continue to engage him even though you've already labeled him 'ossified'. By all means, continue to engage him... just please leave me out of your conversations with him. Thanks again for slighting me even though I have never done the same to you. Very adult indeed.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 05:42 AM

Errin wrote...
===========================================
"Sandy, I never went after you or your motives; I instead took on your argument. THAT was what I was discussing with Chris Ford, because THAT was what he unfairly accused me of, and what he has yet to prove. You even acknowledge that I said your 'rhetoric was wrong', and yet you responded by attacking me and saying I was in an ivory tower cocoon. Attack my rhetoric like I attacked yours; Don't attack me."
===========================================

If you looked at my "motives" more closely, you'd understand I care and I care deeply for US citizens, and that they should live unscarred by two-bit stinking terrorists.

You can't baby terrorists. They will simply use you and kill you in the end. Their mission is to either to convert you to their beliefs, or you're dead. That type of extremism does NO ONE any good, and it's a species killer to boot!

When folks can't act civilized, let alone TRY, they cease being considered civilized and treated accordingly -- as they KILL INNOCENTS.

Look at the hell the Iraqis are facing every day. It's not from our troops blowing them up, it's from these FOREIGN insurgents, who have no allegience to Iraq and careless about Iraqis (only their single minded view of the world). It's wrong, simply and utterly wrong that INNOCENTS are killed for extremists.

The only way to win with terrorists is to make sure they don't ever get a toe-hold in the civilized process of city/state/nation building -- as their history proves they'll continue to welcome violence (Sinn Fein and the IRA don't renounce the future of more terror, nor will these so-called "insurgents"). It's their barginning chip, and one with blood all over it -- blood they had zero right to take.

Based on historical fact, not just sheer emotion, I base my beliefs upon. You can't win by negotiating with thugs, and if you try, you'll join the other victims.

Terrorists need to be purged, even if a nuke or neutron bomb is the answer (I leave no option off the table for the safety of this country). And don't give me a sob story about Japan and atomic weapons -- my mom lived through WWII in Japan, and by 1945 the civilians had enough themselves (they were all starving by then, in a day when you did starve, you'd die of opportunist diseases. Either by a atomic weapon or no food, many would've died if the war kept on <-- that's a fact that goes unsaid when commies try to control the history books).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 06:09 AM

Errin wrote...
===========================================
I admit I derail Chris Ford's character constantly (and not as a Marxist debating tactic!)
===========================================

That alone is telling of your own projection identification here, Errin.

Don't go asking for respect, if you don't meet folks half way.

My beef with Chris Ford is using the term "Japs" which is a racial slur (and mixing it with Nazi nostalgia, was enough to get my temper up), and called him front and center on it.

But I will agree with others who support torture (but will disagree to continue it as policy; and on low intel subjects who wouldn't have any knowledge of the logistics to plan extreme terrorist acts), on the fact that in times of dire emergency (like knowing a vial of Smallpox is out there in the hands of a terrorist), is justified.

The lives of the many justify that a few may have to die to ensure the many can live. This is real life, not Hollywood -- the many have to survive, even if the moral/ethical questions eat at us. Some things will forever escape our abilities to fix, and one of them is why Mankind kills his own and how to truly prevent it (throwing money; social programs; and mono ethnic populations doesn't work to stop folks killing others).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 06:28 AM

Johnnyg wrote...
===========================================
"I thought this discussion was dead, but the last several posts are the most informative I've seen here. No one would answer my propositions. Thanks for doing so. I guess Errin went to sleep."
===========================================

Stoking the fire, adding an extra log, and a pinch of gasoline.......... ;)

Would be interesting to see Errin logically try to justify babying terrorists (and without the histrionics). ;)

He seems to be full of idealogy of "right is right, and wrong is wrong", but seems to fail to see that worrying about 100 vs. 1,000,000 is justifying homicide, let alone genocide. It's like saying, the SS guards Allies would have to baby and ensure never get bad treatment, even though they willingly participated in the murder of millions. Oh, no, getting them eyebrow deep in decomposing flesh to clean up mass graves is too "inhumane"; or letting the former inmates take their spleen out on the thugs, "is barbaric" (no it's called a catharis). No, those thugs would have to get 3 hots, a soft cot, mail and other nice things because we're human and those guards are lower than cow dung.

:rolleyes:

Rebellions before were quelled by sheer violence. The UK was united not by babying Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it was done in the most brutal fashion.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 06:39 AM

Emily wrote:
===========================================
"Torture -- yes, even of non-citizens, and yes, even of terrorism suspects -- goes against fundamental American principles, and may make the fight against terrorism more difficult."
===========================================

What "American" principles. Americans (like any other country) has been torturing thugs since the beginning. It's how countries remain to be countries (or otherwise any two-bit thug would want to overthrow it).

Besides, on the ethnic side, is "American" priniciples the White-Male type? So what will happen in 2050 when it'll be the Hispanic male that supplants the White one? It'll no longer be "American"?

It's amazing how this is all stretched out, and shows the deep down prejudices of what folks think are "American" values.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 07:20 AM

Unfortunately, I just realized that there is one loose end I need to tie up in regards to Chris Ford. It resolves a baseless accusation made against me by him regarding my comments in response to a post by SandyK. I'll cut and paste to make my point, then be done with it.
First, the accusation from a post of Chris Ford's:

Errin - You just do the typical Lefty debating tactic. Turn the whole thing away from the facts expressed by folks like myself, Sandy K, johnnyg in NE DC into making your rebuttal purely an attack on the MOTIVES of the individual writing the opinion you object to. Nothing on debating the facts they present as reasons why they have that opinion.

Second, the actual post I made in response to SandyK:

SandyK's argument is ridiculous. It completely throws out any Constitutional or moral discussion of torture, and merely says we have to support torture to take a stance and appear tough. While his/her argument may be 'muy macho', it is little more than empty bravado. Staying the good guys and staying rational is going to win us the War On Terror, not thumping our chests and saying "We torture our enemies! Grrrrrrr!".
Try using real logic instead of romantic tough guy scenarios, Sandy. Being a paper tiger isn't going to accomplish anything.

Third, my FIRST response to Chris Ford's accusation:

Chris Ford made a boldfaced lie when he said I unfairly attacked SandyK's motives and person. Everybody can read my post opposing SandyK's argument to see that I focused entirely on the argument being made by Sandy as weak and simplistic, with not one single instance in my post of me attacking Sandy's person, only Sandy's logic. Go through that post and find proof of me specifically attacking SandyK, Chris, if you're going to make such an accusation.

Fourth, my SECOND response to his accusation, second because he selectively avoided my first response and the challenge it entailed:

And Chris "I'm Really A Leftist" Ford has yet to address the boldfaced lie he made about me attacking the motives of a poster named SandyK. Again, he is making baseless accusations and running from any honest confrontation.

Fifth, the post wherein Chris Ford finally takes my challenge, making five points to back his accusation:

I observed you attacked purely on your usual way of psychobabble that pretended to get to the actual MOTIVE of folks like SandyK, johnnyg in NE DC, etc.
What you actually said, twit:
SandyK's argument is ridiculous. It completely throws out any Constitutional or moral discussion of torture, and merely says we have to support torture to take a stance and appear tough. While his/her argument may be 'muy macho', it is little more than empty bravado. Staying the good guys and staying rational is going to win us the War On Terror, not thumping our chests and saying "We torture our enemies! Grrrrrrr!".
Try using real logic instead of romantic tough guy scenarios, Sandy. Being a paper tiger isn't going to accomplish anything.
Posted by: ErrinF | Nov 19, 2005 2:16:17 PM
1. Ridiculous argument?
2. Sandy throws out the Constitutional and moral grounds by somehow worrying about the morality of a suicide bomber blowing up her friends, family, herself? Who all have no Constitutional Rights?
3. Her MOTIVE is to appear tough, a chest thumper.
4. Along with a MOTIVE to be macho but denouncing a Muslim suicide bomber is "empty bravado" to someone as discerning as our "libertarian progressive" (means bedwetting liberal Lefty)
5. Along with Errin's predictable psychobabble that the inner MOTIVE SandyK really has is an inclination towards "romantic tough guy scenarios" rather than "real logic".

And last, my response to his five points, last because Chris Ford continues to evade and avoid responding to my rebuttal:

1. Ridiculous argument? SURE. I'm not saying Sandy is ridiculous. I'm saying the argument is. It is specifically mentioning the argument, not Sandy. Duh.
2. Sandy's argument was made seperate from any moral/Constitutional claims, and was simply made on the grounds of it showing the enemy how far we'll go to fight them. Your second point has nothing to do with anything, and certainly isn't proof of me attacking Sandy personally.
3. I denounce chest thumping as a tactic in the war on terror. I don't accuse Sandy of actually thumping his/her chest. I even say 'our chests' in that line, moron. Are you saying 'our chests' is specifically about Sandy, a singular person when 'our' denotes more than a single person?
4. The sentence that mentions empty bravado and muy macho is focused on 'his/her argument', not Sandy or Sandy's motive. It specifically says so, dolt.
5. 'Real logic instead of romantic tough guy scenarios' is indeed what I said. Again, I'm assailing the logic Sandy is using in his/her argument, NOT Sandy.

My point with all this? I directly responded to him at every instance, even specifically addressing his five points, and he could not respond in kind. He cut and ran from addressing my five points in rebuttal, and to this very moment, he would still be selectively dodging it and NOT responding to me, even though he was the one to make the accusation in the first place. I have to resort to posts like this just to get him to debate me face-to-face instead of suddenly him disappearing mid-debate.
Again, I re-iterate that I HAD to harp on this guy just to get him to follow through on what he selectively ignores. And I still want my 5 rebuttal points responded to by Chris Ford, or a retraction by him of the baseless accusation he has made. Beyond that, I want nothing else to do with that extremist crackpot.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 07:28 AM

Repeating what I posted earlier...

Would be interesting to see Errin logically try to justify babying terrorists (and without the histrionics). ;)

SandyK
I love the smell of Napalm in the morning... :D

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 07:59 AM

All fine and well, Sandy, but you continue to miss my point with the whole motives thing. Chris Ford accused me of attacking you and your motives in the post I wrote before. I said that post was directed against your argument, not you or your motives. The post is only one paragraph, and every sentence is specifically targetted against your argument and the logic being used, NOT you.
Do you mind addressing this? DID I disparage you personally in that post, or did I focus it on your argument instead of your motives?
As for your actual points for pro-torture, you act as though you are in the majority on this torture debate, when the fact is that you are in the minority. There are indeed American values out there, values you fail to grasp. Your Hobbesian view of dog-eat-dog, people-kill-people isn't shared by the rest of us. Some of us know what the higher moral ground is, even if you don't, and instead view the world amorally.
And that's cute that you of all people accuse me of histrionics, Sandy. If anything, it is the pro-torture view that is rooted in hysteria and overreaction in the face of the terrorists. The vast majority of your posts are very passionate and somewhat histrionic. Are you going to deny this? Talk about 'projection identification'.
Also, who said anything about babying terrorists? You're making a false dichotomy acting as if the choices are either babying terrorists or going after them without any regard to the rule of law. I agree with you that it would be interesting if I tried to logically justify babying terrorists, BUT, since that is not AT ALL the argument I am making, I won't be doing such. Address the actual arguments people make; Don't just re-define their argument as you see it, then put it out there as though your new definition of their argument is what their argument really was. You can roll your eyes all you like at imaginary statements you make then ascribe to your opponents, but that has nothing to do with anything. You are rolling your eyes at yourself.
Lastly, your overall argument is rooted in hysteria and fear. Note: Not you, not your motives, but your argument. It casts the world and history as something much darker than it actually is. It's full of extreme emotion with very little rationality. In no way is it going to win the War On Terror; What you propose is only going to satiate the bloodlust of people like yourself that are OVERreacting to 9/11. Cool heads and high morality is what will prevail against the terrorists, not vengefulness and an 'anything goes' mentality. Argue as rabidly as you like; You remain in the minority of Americans when it comes to finding torture acceptable, and your views will NEVER prevail. Torture is wrong morally, is un-American thoroughly, and will only serve to be counterproductive to our entire nation if we embrace it.
I look forward to a straightforward response from the extremist minority that is the pro-torture crowd here. All three of them. And, instead of misrepresenting my argument then rolling your eyes at the misrepresentation you have created, cut & paste what I actually say and argue against that. Thinking positively instead of so nihilistically might be a good step as well. America is about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; Your overly negative view of the world and humanity isn't.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 08:23 AM

Bring it, Sandy! I have addressed your 'babying terrorists' false dichotomy, And, again, it is HIGHLY hypocritical for you to accuse others of histrionics. Your view of terrorists is nothing BUT histrionic. It is so easy to demonize the enemy, instead of recognizing them as human beings. And you don't recognize them as human beings to 'baby' them... you recognize them as human so that you can wage war with them REALISTICALLY rather than JINGOISTICALLY. Maybe someday you'll stop frothing at the mouth and grasp that.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 08:31 AM

There seems to be a recurring theme in the posts of those that are pro-torture: Barbarism. Those who want us to torture want us to behave as barbarians in the War On Terror. Those who want us to ban torture as an American practice want us to behave as civilized human beings in the War On Terror. So, what will it be, America? Do we respond to 9/11 by turning into barbarians who torture, or do we respond to 9/11 by remaining civilized humans that do not resort to barbaric practices such as torture? Or is there a middle ground where we become civil barbarians? Barbaric civilians?
It would be great if the torture lovers around here would explain exactly how their viewpoint on torture and fighting terrorists ISN'T barbarism. Just try to be civil in your arguments, please.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 08:57 AM

Errin,

Have you ever heard of a carriage return to break some l-o-n-g paragraphs? When you say "one small paragraph", it becomes a giant one without them!

BTW, what have you addressed, but defending yourself in 12+ posts of late? Johnnyg, Chris Ford, and whoever else can't tell what the heck you're posting because it's one big unreadable block of "I, I, I" anyway.

Now, how about economizing on the wordage, and get to the meat -- this is a blog format, not the usenet!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 09:25 AM

One more question for SandyK. Which is a better example of projection identification: Your post wherein you call Chris Ford an idiot, or my post wherein I call Chris Ford an idiot?
To help you answer, I'll cut and paste a section from both.
First, your post about Chris Ford:

Oh, God, did Stormfront released you from it's bowels?
Look, idiot, this "Jap" is one damn loyal American and one that will make sure YOU do your duty, brass tacks time
SandyK
Posted by: SandyK | Nov 20, 2005 11:55:03 AM

Second, my post about Chris Ford:

At this point, Chris, you have so thoroughly exposed yourself as a coward and a hypocrite that I have no further use for egging you on to be the idiot you are.
Posted by: ErrinF | Nov 20, 2005 1:31:40 AM

So, Sandy, which is it?

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 09:30 AM

Attempting to argue a slightly right-of-center POV on a blog at the WP is alot like being a vegan at a Texas BBQ.

Posted by: | November 21, 2005 09:41 AM

===========================================
"Attempting to argue a slightly right-of-center POV on a blog at the WP is alot like being a vegan at a Texas BBQ."
===========================================

More like if you're Right of Mao you're an "ultra-conservative" to some here.

BTW, Errin, still waiting on some meat to go with those potatoes, not more "I,I,I" defenses. I'm getting too old for the party line BS (that debating tactic you just did, goes nowhere -- just wastes bandwidth.

So, Errin, still looking for a medium-rare New York Strip swimming in garlic butter. :D

SandyK
A very independent Moderate TRADITIONAL Conservative :)

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 09:52 AM

Johnnyg, you and Chris Ford and many others on the right are mired in the past as are your counterparts on the left. You are both still waging an obsolete culture war that grew out of differing world views that grew out of the 50s and 60s.

That hoary 20th century struggle is now all but irrelevant to all but those fringe elements in America on both the left and the right who--with the willing aid of a ratings hungry media--want to keep it alive.

The reality is that the world is already engaged in the so-called Third Way--a synthesis of capitalism and socialism resulting in mixed economies throughout the globe. When you cheerlead for capitalism, you are paying homage to a system that has already been assimilated into the larger world view of globalism.

If capitalism in its pure lazzez faire form had prevailed as you suggest, then why are you on the right laboring so mightily against that which you say has been so completely vanquished--ie, pure Socialism?

The answer is obvious. Socialism and capitalism both thrive having been assimilated into this synthesis called the Third Way. The angst on the right over this reality is simply so much "kicking against the pricks"--a sort of replay of disaffected workers hurling their shoes into the machinery of the Industial Revolution.

In conclusion, both socialists and capitalists are as obsolete as the old feudal systems of old. They just don't know it yet.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 21, 2005 10:12 AM

So now you're against free speech too, Sandy? I'll type as much as I like, and you can't do a damn thing about. God bless America.
Okay, per your request I will go over my last 12+ posts, though why don't we limit it to 12 to avoid long paragraphs? BTW, that post OF YOURS in which you chastise me for not sticking to the torture debate HAS ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION OF TORTURE, and focusses entirely on me. How can you accuse me of something and at the same time be doing that very same something? Care to answer that one?
Anyway, my last 12 posts:
12- Pointing out your hypocrisy in introducing projection identification into the current debate. I didn't introduce that in one of my posts; You did in one of yours. Why are you posting about projection identification when it has nothing to do with torture?
11- Making a point specifically about barbarism as a trend among those that argue for torture. No mention of 'I, I, I'; Complete discussion of torture and the torture debate.
10- A post responding to your challenge for me to embrace one of the false dichotomies you put forth, i.e. babying terrorists. I also make a point about demonizing our enemies as being jingoistic rather than realistic, which pertains to the torture debate.
9- An anti-torture rebuttal to your pro-torture stance.
8- This was not about torture, but was instead about a baseless accusation made against me, and a rebuttal I made that was not responded to in kind from somebody who made that accusation. Sure, there was plenty of 'I, I, I', but it's fair of me to break from torture debating to respond to a baseless attack made against me. By the way, if you re-read this post, you will notice that the 'one small paragraph' I refer to is that initial post I made to you, which is indeed 'one small paragraph'. For you to take that line out of context and apply it to my other posts that I have never claimed to be small paragraphs is an unfair misrepresentation on your part. Respond to this, please.
7- This post begins with me discussing johnnyg's 'horrifying force' argument and how it pertains to the torture argument. The rest of it is indeed side comments to both debaters named Chris (Ford and the other fellow). While it isn't a post 100% about torture, I do indeed expouse an anti-torture, anti-'horrifying force' argument.
6- Not about torture at all. Score one for you.
5- Comments on johnnyg's 'horrifying force' theory. All on topic and within the realm of the torture debate.
4- More discussion on johnnyg's 'horrifying force' theory. Mainly questions from me trying to get a better understanding of just what he was stating and what his theory was.
3- Another attempt at me to get Chris Ford to give a response to my rebuttal of some of his accusations against me. I feel this post is valid as it is merely self defense against a baseless accusation. However, technically it is not about torture. Still, I can't make a post requesting a straightforward response to an argument I made?
2- Yet another debate with johnnyg over his proposal of 'horrifying force'. It related to torture and was totally on topic.
1- And another request for Chris Ford to respond to my rebuttal that he was so selectively avoiding.

So, there you go, Sandy. Make of it what you will, but there's plenty of examples of me sticking to the torture topic, one example of me not, and three examples of me requesting Chris Ford to respond to a debate we were having that he suddenly and conveniently abandoned. All you have proven is that I had to waste a lot of time on one person who would not confront and debate me. And he STILL has yet to respond.
Anyway, I just spent an entire post OFF TOPIC per the request of your OFF TOPIC post. May I get back to debating torture now? : )

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 10:24 AM

Sandy, I do NOT post anonymously. I stand strongly behind my views and do not make posts that are anonymous. You have no proof whatsoever that I typed that. Maybe johnnyg will be kind enough to interject that I have discussed with him before that posters shouldn't post anonymously.
I have made one post after another specifically responding to you per your requests, and have signed each and every one. For you to suddenly disrespect me like this and accuse me of making an anonymous post that anybody could have made is unfair. You should take me at my word that I have debated you 100% upfront and have never interjected an anonymous post into our debate.
Really, Sandy. Innocent until proven guilty. Give me proof if you are going to make such a charge. And if you can't do that, apologize for and take back the unfair and unproven charge that I, a poster who has NEVER posted anonymously here on 'The Debate', suddenly decided to post anonymously to attack you. I don't need such cheap tactics to handle the likes of you; And you don't need to make baseless accusations like the one you just made.
And, while we're at it, why don't you respond to my real, eponymous posts rather than responding to imagined, anonymous posts from me.
Lastly, can the person who made the 'vegan-Texas BBQ' post reveal themselves and disprove the reckless charge Sandy just made against me?

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 10:34 AM

Looking for 'meat' to go with your potatoes, Sandy? It's all around you. Where is your rebuttal to my points about barbarism being at the center of the the pro-torture argument? Where is your response to me pointing out your hypocrisy in the whole 'projection identification' discussion? Where is your response to the post before that one which I challenge your demonization of our enemies as unrealistic? Or your response to the one before that where I specifically address and oppose many of your pro-torture arguments? You haven't responded to any of them, and they've been there unanswered for over an hour now.
Starving, Sandy? Try looking at the plates set right in front of you. What the hell??? I thought I was dealing with somebody who would take me straight on. Instead, you make nonsensical posts ignoring the fact that I have put out a bunch of posts for you to respond to. Anyone can check the time of said posts to see that you were sitting around ACTING as though no arguments had been made against you, when in fact there were plenty of arguments I made in posts that you could easily have addressed and taken on. What was your point again about sticking strictly to the torture topic? For somebody who claims to be against 'I, I, I' posts, you sure seem to be putting out a lot of 'I, I, I' posts yourself.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 10:50 AM

Reading the heated exchanges here and all over the US media shows this: America as a nation simply is not mature enough to wield its disproportionate power in the world. Political discourse is ugly, vitriolic, closed-minded, dishonest and actually rooted in deep deep fear. Wisdom is quiet, considered, driven by love, and UNAFRAID TO DIE in the course of being itself.
I for one would prefer to die being myself, than become the ogre i profess to be fighting. Torture proponants take note.

Posted by: Harkadahl | November 21, 2005 11:12 AM

Errin,

Heard of carriage returns yet? Or do you have to use MS Word and copy and paste replies (it strips them). ;)

And what was that again...."I,I,I"????

BTW, ever heard of a summary (better yet, Occam's Razor)? We're not here to read treatises of "I,I,I" but content. Provide a short summary so folks don't have to go through a 100 posts to "get your idea" of 10,000 words per post!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 11:31 AM

Sandy? Hello? Sandy? I thought you were chomping at the bit to have 'napalm for breakfast' supposedly. Where'd you run off to? I'm here to debate torture, you know, and your last several posts have avoided torture and instead focused on me. Meanwhile, four posts concerning arguments that challenge your pro-torture stance have been made by me, all in the time you were right here, and you haven't addressed any of them.
Now you're nowhere to be found.
Oh well. I'm sure in due time you will return and appropriately respond to each and every post I have made challenging your many assertions. Next time, though, spare me the 'chomping at the bit to battle' bluster. It doesn't work when you actually avoid posts I've made and instead disappear into thin air. I took all your posts straight on and I'm still here. Where are you?
Actually, I'm done for now. I stuck around to debate you as you seemed so eager to do, but now you've cut and run amid our exchange. I guess I'll just have to catch you later.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 11:47 AM

Chris -

I've skimmed the Koran and read some of the Hadiths, but mostly I've read histories as part of an intermittant education process since 9/11 and learned more about culture, degree of prosperity, and geography of contemparary Islamic nations since 9/11. What I find in history is a mix of dhimmitude and massacre, of grudging toleration of "inferior" cultures by Muslims that weren't wiped out as long as they were found or rendered into managable minorities.

Islam is a ruling religion. It never has gone into a nation and failed to seek temporal dominance. My read on the peaceful passages of Islamic holy text is they exist, but that Jihad is central and no way is Islam the "Religion of Peace" with Jihad just "an inner struggle". I note the silence of the masses and lack of mass protest against radical Islamic atrocities like 9/11 or Beslan in Muslim countries. The mass protests in Jordan actually conirm this. Many in the crowd say why they were on the streets condemning Zarqawi like he was Bush - "It's one thing to kill Jews or occupying infidels or Westerners exploiting our lands - it's another thing to kill fellow Muslims. That is totally unacceptable".

As for history, Christians in the Muslim invasion paths acted like Casper Milquetoasts for 300 years then began fighting back using Muslim conquering tactics and joined in the Muslim concept of advancing religion by use of the sword, rather than by persuasion and invididual conversion. And unlike Islam, there is no death penalty law that calls for Christians to kill anyone leaving Christianity for another religion. The Spanish Reconquista and their forced conversions in the New World were simply Spaniards acting like Arabs on Jihad. The Jews in Spain were victims of their own successful collaboration with the Moors in industry, governing, serving as agents, tax collectors, and middlemen to the Moors. Regretfully, good collaboation only makes for people being seen as collaborators of the enemy if a new ruler comes in. The expulsion of Jews and Muslim conquerers by the Spaniards was part and parcel of the Reconquista. Both groups were seen as the foe. The history of the extermination of the Zoroastran and Buddist Faith from India to Bengal is noteworthy. The Hindis successfully resisted because they were less pacifist and had a warrior caste.

"As for the 'wiping out' of Christianity, what are you smoking?"

You can look back at a "golden era" of semi-tolerant Islam, but that is not what we see today, not even in recent centuries. Islam in the last 200 years is murderously and stucturally intolerant to others. Paki(pure)stan(nation) in Urdu was set up as a Muslim only nation. Others, mostly Hindus, have been expelled. Or killed outright. East Pakistan was the scene of Muslims butchering 1.5 million Hindu civilians in 1971. Turkish Anatolia was 12-15% Christian in the early 1800s, Egypt about 8%. Now by Armenian style massacres and discrimination, both are 99% Muslim. The Arab nations did a Judenrein after Israel was created. In "moderate Muslim" Indonesia, we have the highest death toll. 500,000 apostate ethnic Chinese killed in 1965 alone. Over a million Christians, including 300,000 in East Timor in the 90s, murdered in Jihad. And within Islam, murderously intolerant to those Muslims with differing views on faith. Say Shiite to a Sunni, and word association brings you to "massacre". The Chaldeans, Maronites, East Orthodox Christian Arabs have been leaving the ME for lands they are not attacked, discriminated against, despised in ever since the Ottomans fell on hard times in the Napoleonic era.

When we talk about how well many Arabs have done in America, we sort of overlook most until recently have been Christian or Chaldean refugees.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 21, 2005 11:54 AM

Oh good. Sandy only disappeared for an hour or so, and is now back. But why are you continuing to NOT discuss torture anymore? All your posts of late are focused on me. How else can I respond except 'I, I, I' when you've stopped discussing torture?
Instead of obsessing about cut & paste and MS Word (I'm on a Mac, no MS here), why don't you address the fact that you accused me of making an anonymous post without any proof whatsoever? Why don't you explain how, according to you, I engage in projection identification when I call Chris Ford an idiot, but you DON'T when you call him an idiot. We both did the same thing in completely different posts (i.e. calling him an idiot), yet you claim only I am guilty of projection identification. Explain how that isn't hypocrisy.
Actually, what I'd really like you to do is address the four anti-torture posts I made that rebuff your pro-torture stance. What is the purpose of these delay tactics of yours? Come on. You said you were here to debate torture, so start with it already. Sheesh.
I still have to go (because I thought you were gone when you disappeared for a while), so I will have to revisit this conversation later. Should give you plenty of time to directly answer all of my recent posts just as I directly answered yours.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 12:01 PM

I do have to eat; and I do post at other boards; and I'm busy trying to configure a server (noticed I haven't posted for awhile here?). lololol

If you want an answer, a 10,000 word post is going to be overlooked out of sheer necessity. Thus, summaries are essential.

Can you post just a few sentences, not a treatise????

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 12:44 PM

Chris Ford: I have been reading your posts and a couple of things have jumped out at me.

First: in your latest post you cite a bunch of numbers about massacres by Muslims. Frankly, those numbers seem quite high to me, especially the ones you gave regarding Indonesia: "500,000 apostate ethnic Chinese killed in 1965 alone. Over a million Christians, including 300,000 in East Timor in the 90s, murdered in Jihad." I was wondering where you got those statistics (and the others you cited). I did a quick search online and found a site (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat2.htm) that lists numbers of casualties for major and minor wars and atrocities and checked it against your list. Here is what this site says (and his numbers are medians of numbers gathered from other sources): Indonesia (1965-66): 450 000 - Army massacre of Communists, sympathizers and anyone else they didn't like; East Timor, Conquest by Indonesia (1975-99): 200 000 , most of that in the early years (before 1990s), and in the latter part of the 90s, estimates range from 600+ to 20,000. Now, I'm not vouching for the accuracy of this site, but just suggesting that perhaps things are not as certain as you assert. (Some of the other numbers were different than yours also.)

Second: you stated, "No ideology is ready to fall before it's time, that is true, but rogue ideologies can be contained and then deliberately weakened - and certain death cults like the Aztecs, Thuggees, and Islamic assassins can indeed be exterminated. Rapidly.

With Islam, much has focused on how we can't fight effectively if the other side violates the rules of the Geneva Convention. But this is not true if the situation excalates, most likely in Europe as Islam begins it's attack on European civilization. It is simple enough to round up and expel a relatively powerless minority. It took a year to cleanse the German ethnics out of the East back to Germany. It would take about as long if things got serious to boot the Islamics back to the Ummah. " Just what are you suggesting? It sounds as if you believe in ethnic cleansing, as if, should there be further terrorist attacks in Europe, we should round up all Muslims and ship them off somewhere. And, I don't see any distinction in your statement between radical terrorists and other Muslims. Or between those who are in a country as non-citizens and those who are citizens. I was, frankly, a little shocked when I read that post, but it was late at night and I was tired, so maybe I misunderstood. Could you explain what you meant by that statement?

Posted by: kso | November 21, 2005 01:04 PM

The problem is the Muslim community isn't doing enough, and I mean ENOUGH, to tell everyone else that the majority of them don't condone terrorists.

In WWII, Japanese-Americans were rounded up solely due to their ancestry and put into concentration camps -- but despite the injustice, they knew the only way a country can tell they were indeed loyal to their home country is to show it with blood, sweat and tears -- they volunteered to serve the same country that told them they were traitors.

Do we get the same dedication from the Muslim community to show their allegience?

Until Americans know for a fact the Muslim community in the US are loyal to the USA, there will be doubts, and yes calls, for deportation. In trying, and yes unfair times, the best antidote to show your loyality is to SHOW it. Not play the race card.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 01:21 PM

SandyK, I'm not sure if your last post was addressed to me, but I'll respond.

First, yes, many Japanese-Americans stood up for the country that called them traitors. (Including my father-in-law, by the way, who as a child narrowly missed being killed by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and who later served the US as a soldier in Korea. Also BTW, my husband just retired after 20 years of military service). But not all internees joined up, and I would suggest that that doesn't mean they were disloyal or deserved what happened to them. How does a woman, child, elderly man, or man not capable of military service show his loyalty while interned in a camp? How do they provide their blood, sweat, and tears to their country? But the whole idea of having to prove your loyalty like this is chilling.

Second, many Muslims do show their loyalty to the US - they have joined the US military as well. I don't know the numbers, but I do know they exist and it isn't reasonable of you to ignore that population.

Third, what do you mean by "play the race card"? I don't think I was doing that. I was just asking Chris Ford what he meant by -his- statement.

Posted by: kso | November 21, 2005 01:44 PM

Sorry Errin, I won't be interjecting here anymore. I have to work now.

Yeah, I said you were sleeping just to piss you off. I may grow old, but never tire of messing with people like you. Goes back to high school I guess. We used to beat the debating team. No, I really mean beat. LOL

Posted by: johnnyg in NE | November 21, 2005 02:09 PM

I see the twit Errin has added 10 more posts, adding to his/her total of 23 of 84 "scored" earlier. I also note that Errin appears to have little interest in debating the issue of torture, but in going after other posters and their "Republican, talk radio" mentalities who do not agree with Errin's fine-tempered(ha!) logic. She/he started her attacks on the 3rd or so post with "Recovered Democrat" and kept it up with each new poster she took offense to, basically derailing the whole torture debate with her venomous attacks that used the old "New Left" technique of going to MOTIVE to impugne others thoughts, not going to FACTS.

Basically, we are seeing a Lefty Troll with way too much free time on his/her hands. (33 posts on this thread attacking others??) Must be on disability or a college student (Ah, she even has me projecting and going to Motive. Marcuse would have been proud)

Calm down, Errin! You have convinced us you are a twit with diarrhea of the mouth. Take your lithium pill....

Sandy K writes -

My beef with Chris Ford is using the term "Japs" which is a racial slur (and mixing it with Nazi nostalgia, was enough to get my temper up), and called him front and center on it.

Ah, so that is your beef! Many people use "enemy" nicknames from past wars describing the enemy in those wars in contemporary discussions. Which pisses off some people that say certain enemy should only be described in PC terms, even referring to the past. So terms like "redcoats" for Crown soldiers and "rebels" for Confederate Army are slurs. Same with calling Germans "Huns" and Vietnamese People's Liberation Army irregulars "VC". In WWII, the slang was "Nazis" and "Japs" vs. the more politically correct "German soldier" or "Nipponese soldier". Only 2% of German soldiers were Nazi Party members, so calling the Nazis as Nazis is inaccurate and an ethnic slur to some, I guess. But nothing gets PC people more upset than calling Japs of WWII as "Japs" because it is supposed to be racist and all.

But while people visiting Japan today, as I have done several times, call them Nipponese ("Japanese" is considered ignorant) the people that faced the Japs in Asia, yellow-skinned all, have no problem referring to the wartime, super-racist Yamotos as Japs (in the Philippines) or worse (the Chinese word for the Nipponese invaders that butchered 9-13 million Chinese translates into something like "degenerate inferior race own-mother raping dogs") Indonesians called them "demon infidel monkeys from hell", Korean's phrase is "shit people".

So, Sandy K, no offense meant. I no more call the Nipponese of today "Japs" as I call Germans "Nazis". And America's "pet names" for the enemy were far more "tolerant" than the words their immediate neighbors had for them.

And the Brits are still "redcoats" if I talk of them in a Revolutionary or War of 1812 context, and the Confederate Army and Union Army still gets shortened to "Yanks and Rebs" when informally discussing the Civil War.

Beren - It takes a while to scroll through Erin's polemics, so best I come back to your post, as I promised to do, but only take on one more point of yours and maybe we will have a back and forth in some future discussion.

"That is always a challenge in counter-terrorism (and counter-insurgency). The terrorists are delighted when you go after them but get innocent people instead, and kill them or torture them. You're making yourself look exactly like the kind of enemy that they're trying to convince their own people you are. Now Al-Qaeda is trying to spread its ideology throughout the Muslim world (and American use of force aids this)."

Beren -

I agree that this is a war of ideas, but military force and economic blackmail have roles to play. It is just too simple to say that war must be fought perfectly, without any screwups or it must not be fought at all because "it might piss off Muslims" that hate us, but not enough so far to want to kill us...War is ugly.

If it is purely a war of ideas, getting Muslims to love us after 1300 years of contrary behavior is asking a bit much. What we do need is to indicate that radical Islam has bad consequences for the perps. Not only has radical Islam really fouled up certain countries when it is in power, like Afghanistan and Algeria, how it is dragging the Palestinians and Saudis down, wrecking the Egyptian tourist industry and complicit in killing innocent civilians - but so far - Muslims are beginning to understand that if they support radical Islam and attack infidels in faraway places, they have to live with the knowledge that they may soon see infidel armies in their homelands or JDAMs ruining their nice little bridges and power plants. Infidel military is just one of many downsides embrace of radical Islam should signify as a consequence. Carrot and stick.

As for communications, Bush has failed terribly there. And the American military has to face that a laissez faire attitude towards soldier's free access to media and the media's own free access has been horrible for America's image as our enemies in Al Jazeera, the NYTimes, the ACLU and hate-America NGOs has led to them selecting the stuff damaging to America, and ignoring the stuff that casts America in a good light.

Abu Ghraib was a matter of rogue soldiers that was caught internally and being handled internally until one rogue soldier got to the Internet and the Times/CBS fed what it got to Al Jazeera within 24 hours to help blacken America's image in the Arab world while ignoring the carnage and REAL TORTURE Saddam and then the radical Islamoids inflicted.

So it sucks, but we cannot let soldiers have the freedom they once had to freely mail or beam damaging images to our enemies, and the anti-American press must be on a shorter leash. The soldiers must again fall under wartime censorship law. It wasn't just our troops endangering others by releasing Abu Ghraib photos, we have found soldiers trying to trade pictures of multilated bodies in return for free porn access, and offering videos of wounded Americans to Arab TV reporters.

Frankly, I am far angrier at the soldiers that took photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear and in humiliating positions than I am about the "atrocity" of interrogating KSM, the 9/11 Mastermind. Saddam was formally declared a POW, protected under Geneva from humiliation and supposed to be treated with full dignity. Unlawful combatants like KSM are NOT entitled to Geneva, despite how friends of terrorists wish to give them full rights under Geneva AND due process in American courts so their criminal innocence or guilt can be explored in multi-million dollar taxpayer furnished trials.

And while the Arab street squeals, they know full well that their own governments would treat a radical Muslim who has been caught in unlawful combat far worse than the Americans. So I am not worried past the Leftist mainstream media (The WP, BTW, is not in the true hate-America camp of the NYTimes and Al Jazeera) and the domestic partisan Bush opposition and the EuroLefties bash- America efforts.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 21, 2005 02:11 PM

You have got to be kidding me, Sandy. Since when can you just pick a qualifier like that out of NOWHERE and say that posts must be such and such a length for you to address them. Puh-lease! lolololololol. Oh, and GMAFB!
Because you cannot attack the arguments within those posts, you are suddenly qualifying that certain posts are automatically invalid. Those certain posts happen to be ALL my posts coincidentally. You are totally, utterly, and completely shirking any direct debate with me. You've left a trail of posts showing one evasion and avoidance after another, and are fooling nobody else except yourself with your cheap tactics.
What's worse is the exagerration you hide behind. My longest post is nowhere near 10000 words, and any participant here can see I have left plenty of posts within the last few hours that are addressed to you or your pro-torture arguments, and they are medium length AT MOST. There is no logic in saying any argument is to be judged by the amount of words it takes to make it. Also, in the past on 'The Debate' you have responded to other people's posts that are much longer than mine. Explain the sudden change in heart.
Do you find me throwing in any qualifiers like post length when I debate you? No. I have no qualifiers. I take on every point you make, long post or short, and I do it upfront. Every post you make against me, I have directly responded to and argued against. I have not been selective in what I choose to argue against one bit. You have.
Your refusal to actively engage me in the torture debate and the silence that is the response to my posts speak wonders about you and your position, SandyK. Both cannot stand the light of day. Face me out in the open without bogus qualifiers and other conditions that are merely evasion tactics from real engagement on the torture topic. Learn to speedread if you suddenly can't handle posts with too many words in them. Don't go from chest thumping mode (napalm in the morning, blah, blah, blah) to excuse making mode (gotta eat, blog elsewhere, deal with a server) within a matter of only a few posts. Way to cut & run and crash & burn at the same time. To ignore this post as well as all my other ones is for you to admit that you don't have what it takes to debate me one on one, Sandy. Or are you going to now pull a NEW qualifier out of thin air and assert it as a necessary rule for debate with you? LAME!

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 02:16 PM

The race card is often played in these situations. Be it from profiling or even suggesting that a community isn't doing enough to show they're not a part of terrorism (a good example: is what someone at this blog a couple months ago called me, "a Jew hater", for not kowtowing to Israel ultra-nationalist BS ***in the USA*** [I strongly dislike dual-citizenships, because you can't be loyal to two masters, especially when they work as operatives in the USA to recruit or defame Americans for not touting their idealogy]).

In a state of an emergency certain liberties are always given up so the masses can live, this is how it's always been, and will always be (just wait until the Bird Flu hits the US and the outbreak brings chaos -- you'll see how fast even so-called "sane, rational, fair" folks will change when their life is on the line. They'll be screaming for the infected to be isolated and confined).

With this whole terrorism ordeal, what strikes me as being horrid IS that the Islamic world basically does nothing to condemn the actions of the radicals that do taint their religion and culture (and I mean a ground swell of condemnation, not just some Western friendly immans). This blackeye hurts them much more than the scare of death by some thug.

Until they rise up and say, "This is not my belief; this is not the world I know, or want to live in", the world (and I mean the entire world, not just the "crusading nations") will regard Islam and their allies as enemies. For those countries have to protect their own, be it an Inuit village in Canada, to a jungle village along the Amazon.

People will do what they must to live. That's the entire point I'm making. Be it torture; dropping 100 nuclear bombs (or worse neutron bombs that wipe out all life, but leave structures intact); or worse methods of rapid destruction/elimination of populations. A country has got to do what a country has got to do to survive.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 02:28 PM

Well, how nice of johnnyg to reveal that to all of us. Beating up debaters is funny to him, apparantly. It is not shocking at all to see violence and hatred being spewed forth by somebody who's solution to the War On Terror is for the US to cause as much devastation as possible to the Middle East so that they are all cowered into submission. He literally expouses killing as many Muslims as possible so as to get rid of the terrorist threat. I see now that his theory of 'horrifying force' is little more than genocide spewed forth by a racist. Barbaric.
You're not messing with me one bit, johnny; I simply don't give a damn what a violent racist that can't debate thinks. Have a nice day at work. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 02:34 PM

Now I'm rolling on the floor!

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 21, 2005 02:37 PM

Chris Ford, you do yourself a disservice by going on another Lefty rant. You were sticking to actual facts (at least as you see them) and avoiding Marxist tactics for a post or two, but now you've degenerated into partisan fanaticism once again. Seriously, you'll promote your pro-torture views much better if you lay off the reactionary diatribe that a VAST majority of Americans just don't relate to. All it does is a mark you as an extremist who is delusional and not to be listened to.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 02:43 PM

Chris,

It's not "Nipponese" anyhow, no Japanese I know refer to themselves as that. It's like calling a German, German when it's Deutsche.

And calling Black Americans a "wanker" doesn't have the same effect as calling them a "ni--er".

So yes, some words are just not said in POLITE company. Barnyard talk is reserved for sewer holes and other vile places, where other vile people can wallow in.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 02:47 PM

Johnnyg laughed:
===========================================
"Now I'm rolling on the floor!"
===========================================

Can I bring some popcorn to keep the laugh-a-thon going? :D

Yo, Errin, you need to stay away from that office coffee. You're getting v-e-r-y jittery!! lololol

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 02:52 PM

SandyK, You are the only one responding to my posts, and I must say it is a pleasure to debate with someone who isn't ranting and name-calling.

Sure, people do what they must to live. Absolutely. But I submit that torturing prisoners, holding them indefinately without proof of wrongdoing, etc. isn't "necessary" in that way. There is the argument about whether or not this actually produces useful information (already debated extensively elsewhere). If it doesn't, then how can it possibly be "necessary"? Even if it does produce useful information, then you have to ask whether that is the only, or even best, way. Because if it isn't, then it can't be "what a country has got to do to survive". Frankly, it just doesn't seem that the extreme type of behavior we are talking about qualifies as "what we've got to do to survive".

There is the question of whether the people being subjected to this are actually terrorists. It seems that many, if not most, are not. They were simply drawn into the net.

You seem to say that is ok; because they (the Islamic community as a whole) aren't speaking out enough, we can go ahead and treat whoever we find as if they are all equally horrible. I say, as others have, that this violates the ideals we have as Americans. We stand for individual justice, not group retribution. [And I say this while agreeing with you that the Islamic community hasn't done enough to publicly and loudly disavow these fundamentalist terrorists.]

Posted by: | November 21, 2005 02:57 PM

Errin, this is definitely my last post here.

When you were not "engaged" in the dabate last night, the discussion was much more informative and civil. You seem to be the problem here. Not people expressing viewpoints looking for real analysis rather than someone shouting back "Racitst!" "Barbaric!." I was given a scenario of what may happen, or why it would not be good to pursue my proposition of expanding a horrifying, but decisive military stragety. Those responses seemed pretty convincing to me that "my" approach may have bad consequences. In fact, it appears now to me that the current strategy over there (except underwear on the heads of prisoners) is probably the best path from a lot of less than desireable choices.

Posted by: | November 21, 2005 02:58 PM

Sorry, that last post was from me - I hit the post button before I put my name in.

Posted by: kso | November 21, 2005 02:59 PM

Again, GMAFB. Since when does the amount of posts a person makes or the length of those posts have any bearing on the validity of their arguments? I have a laptop with wifi, so it's pretty easy for me to engage in debate here and still go about my daily business. Truth is, I wouldn't have to write so many posts if people like SandyK and Chris Ford didn't recklessly jump all over the place selectively avoiding arguments and posts they can't handle. They'll deny this, of course, but anybody can look at their conduct in this current debate and see a pattern of weak logic and evasiveness. I look forward to the next excuse they put out there to avoid the real debate.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 02:59 PM

ok, now there were two anonymous posts. To avoid confusion, mine was the one addressed to SandyK. I DID NOT write the one addressed to Errin.

Posted by: kso | November 21, 2005 03:01 PM

My fault first. Definitely, definitely the last! Bye Bye

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | November 21, 2005 03:08 PM

For immediate intel from high level subjects, torture can be quite effective in spilling the beans <-- remember time is of an essence. Intelligence that's but 3 to 6 months old is usually outdated (as the enemy knows one of their own is missing, and they have to change their plans/routines).

Low level intel subjects torture isn't as effective, as the intelligence gathered isn't as crucial (sometimes even they have to be tortured, especially those who are couriers and drivers, as they know locations of safe-houses and other important areas).

Torture in itself isn't the goal, it's but one tool of many in an interrogator's took kit. It's there as an option when time is critical (i.e., a vial of Smallpox had been stolen and there's a rush to find it); to trying to capture a terrorist group leader (i.e., capturing the X.O. to capture the C.O.).

To claim it's never necessary, or never right is to claim it's never right to kill -- but it still occurs. Torture will ALWAYS be an option in intelligence gathering, be it clinical or physical in nature.

When many lives are at stake, there's little choice -- all options are on the table. Otherwise, it's insane to kill 1,000,000 to be "moral" to save but 1.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 03:36 PM

You're entitled to your opinion, kso. I am so glad for you that SandyK responds to your posts. She completely avoids mine. Has yet to engage me directly at all and still doesn't. She and johnnyg can laugh all they want. It is the nervous laughter of two people who can't debate on merit. It isn't fair that you are focusing on me completely and not other people here who are way more belligerent than me. If I haven't responded to you, it's because I agree with your views and am also anti-torture.
You are also turning a blind eye to the fact that quite a few posts ago I made my arguments against American torture, arguments my opponents that are pro-torture still refuse to acknowledge. If you can take the time to make that judgement call you just made on me, then you can take the time to scroll up on this page to posts starting about Nov 21, 2005 8:23:56. It is the beginning of four seperate posts of mine that are all pro-torture arguments. None have been addressed or responded to by the pro-torture crowd, especially SandyK, the person that started to debate with me (asked me even to take my anti-torture stance) than suddenly decided an unreal qualifier meant she couldn't read my posts and didn't have to debate with me anymore. And now I face sheer ad hominum attacks from her instead of honest debate. How is that in any way fair, kso? Can you really jump into the situation and claim to know fully what that situation is?
I am sorry if you take umbrage with the fact that I think racism and barbarism are very wrong and should be called on for what they are. johnnyg has made the following statements about Middle Eastern societies in recent debate:

We must divorce ourselves from all contact with these cultures. They produce things like heroin, persian rugs, and terrorists. I can live without all of them. As we wean ourselves from their grasp, they become less and less significant.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | Nov 15, 2005 4:56:18 PM

Besides me calling him on those racist remarks, an Arab-American poster also called johnny on his racism, whereby johnny took back his statement. So there is basis for racism when discussing johnnyg.
In our current debate, johnny said the following as his proposal to win the War On Terror:

I agree SandK! Bullets to the head, missiles destroying a compound or cell are all justifiable, even if collateral damages are high. We were not able to prosecute the war this way because the American people as a whole cannot stomach it, along the belief that the gory business of war must be somehow become surgical in nature (in my observations, the media time and time again placed collateral damages in the main byline).
If you go back to my original post, that was my major point about all this. We should have responded with horrifying force, never relenting until the dirty job is done.
Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | Nov 20, 2005 12:48:17 PM

Horrifying force means "kill 'em all" basically. That is barbaric. So there is a basis for discussing barbarism when it comes to johnnyg. When he then starts joking about the joys of physically beating people, it is not unfair to question whether hatred factors into his mentality. Horrifying force aimed solely at an entire culture IS little more than attempted genocide.
That's about all I can say, kso, and I truly apologize if I have disrupted your comfort level here. I hope you will take the time to answer me back since you took the time to go after me.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 03:54 PM

Thank you very much for adding that, kso. It seemed strange that you were suddenly going after me out of the blue. My apologies, which I'm sure you. I should have known it was one of the fanatical, illogical three people that are pro-torture around here trying to get one last potshot in. Now that I know it's from johnnyg, I'll give it a proper response: Whateva!
At least I did get to show the reality of the fact that johnnyg has made racist and barbaric statements while engaging in 'The Debate'. The barbarism critique is apt for describing the views of Chris Ford, SandyK, johnnyg, and the rest of the pro-torture crowd. Now that johnnyg's gone, that just leaves Chris Ford who rants nonsensically about the Phantom Left Menace, and SandyK, who talks tough but avoids confrontation and upfront debate like the plague. As soon as she starts losing the argument by her delusional facts and sheer hypocrisy being exposed, she suddenly throws in abstract qualifiers like she can't respond to posts that aren't in the proper font, or the sky isn't blue enough, or we didn't make the argument to her while standing on our head and playing a ukelele. She'll grasp onto any weak excuse to avoid debating point for point with her opponents, then hide behind that excuse like a coward. Again, her continued silence and avoidance of me, my posts, and my anti-torture arguments speak wonders about her de facto forfeiting of any relevance in our current debate. Watch how she still won't stand up to me NO MATTER WHAT. I knew she was a person in the grip of fear and hysteria; I just didn't know that fear was of debating me.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 04:15 PM

Errin,

I avoid your posts because it's very difficult to read them. Also, if it's but "straw man" or partisan rhetoric, it's a major turn off, and I don't have the time or need to argue points with a extremist more in love with their own words, than sense.

I'm not a party member, let a partisan, so all those trappings are like water off a duck's back to me -- and totally useless. Have a topic to DISCUSS, logically and with details (not histrionics and sheer emotionalism), then do so. Otherwise, you'll be ignored.

SandyK

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 04:23 PM

Actually, Errin, I agree with you that torture is wrong and we shouldn't do it. My post was directed at Chris Ford (and he has yet to respond to me also). What I was trying to do was call Chris out on his facts. He was putting out numbers that I thought were unreasonable, I found something that supported my views and asked him to respond. He also had a statement that seemed way out there to me and I asked him about it.

Sandy was the only one who replied and we have debated. I have read all the posts and I have seen the name-calling, etc. (from both sides). I thanked her for not reacting in that way to me. If she has responded differently to you, that is your business.

I really don't see how I went after you at all. And where did you get the idea that I "take umbrage with the fact that I (you) think racism and barbarism are very wrong and should be called on for what they are."? The only post in which you had any mention was the one in which I disclaimed writing an post that was critical of you. And that was purely to avoid confusing the situation.

Errin - I agree with your position on torture, and on the fact that Chris Ford hasn't answered all the questions directed at him. I haven't gone after you. But I will say this now - you seem to be taking things very personally and fighting back in a crude, belligerent way. That doesn't do any good, except to drag this important debate into the mud.

Posted by: kso | November 21, 2005 04:25 PM

kso -

The numbers of the Muslim massacre of ethnic Chinese in 1965 Indonesia range from 450,000 to 550,000. And the massacre was conducted as a holy Jihad against the unbelieving Chinese.

You are correct that 200,000 East Timorean Christians were butchered by Jihad by 1989. After then, estimates are 100,000 killed by the Australians who finally intervened and saved the balance of the Christians. Your 20,000 from that site before East Timor's 1999 Independence sounds low. I should have said BY the late 1990s, 300,000 East Timoreans were victims of Muslim Jihad.

I included some links you may find interesting. Going past Indonesia to other Islamic democides. Muslim slavers, for example, are thought to have killed 17 million black Africans just supplying the slave trade to the ME, not the New World, which is another megamillion death hit on Arab slavers.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=4766

http://www.mantra.com/holocaust/

http://muse.jhu.edu/demo/sais_review/v023/23.1kates.html

kso asks on the possibility of removing & isolating the Muslims if hostilities escalate: "Just what are you suggesting? It sounds as if you believe in ethnic cleansing, as if, should there be further terrorist attacks in Europe, we should round up all Muslims and ship them off somewhere. And, I don't see any distinction in your statement between radical terrorists and other Muslims. Or between those who are in a country as non-citizens and those who are citizens. I was, frankly, a little shocked when I read that post,"

If things really go to hell in Europe between the natives and recent Muslim immigrants, and prove that Western and Islamic civilization are fundamentally incompatible and connot exist side by side - a conclusion Islamics in Islamically "pure" nations like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Afghanistan, and growingly, Egypt have made - then it very well could come down to a "them or us" situation. With the option of massacre or expulsion. If two civilizations come to open warfare between stakeholders of each respective civilization living in the same city and they can't coexist, one must go. Thinking the criminal justice system can solve that by arresting a stray unlawful combatant or two (terrorists) is not credible. One side must prevail, the other move on "citizen" or not.

Expulsion is not beyond all credible thought. The most recent case was the mass expulsion (and massacre) of ethnic Germans from the East - some 7 million - at the end of WWII. That only took about a year. The Turks expelled almost 1 million Greeks from Turkish teritory in the last hundred years. The Czar expelled the Jews to the Pale of Settlement. Spain expelled the Moors and the Jews, who they believed were collaborators of the Moors. In Africa, black leaders expelled several million East Asians from 1970-1995.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 21, 2005 04:27 PM

kso, again I apologize and hope you understand the confusion. I fully accept that you never critiqued me at all. Two anonymous posts were made back to back and it seemed both were aimed at me. I defended myself, and was genuine in my apology of making you uncomfortable. Now you seem to be taking personally a post that you know wasn't directed at you, but rather at the anonymous post that was johnnyg's. I assure you that I do not take this debate personally, no matter how strongly my views may be put forth. I did not get your post saying that anonymous post was yours until AFTER my response to it was printed here. I then immediately apologized when I realized it wasn't you but johnnyg that made those remarks about me. Since we both our on the same side, we shouldn't let that confusion lead to conflict. It wasn't my mistake that two anonymous posts were made back to back, one aimed at me, and then followed by a post from you claiming one of them as yours. I defend myself when attacked. I have no qualms with you and in fac
SandyK, you make weak excuses and evasions. Anybody can read my posts, and many of them are the same length as yours. You have not established at all that they are difficult to read, and if they are so partisan and full of straw men as you claim, then actually attack specific partisanship within them or straw men within them. Instead you offer forth blanket statements without any corroborating fact. The shameful part is that earlier today when you challenged me to debate you (remember your 'napalm in the morning' comment), I responded to each and every one of your posts against me in full. I put forth posts attacking your pro-torture arguments as well as posts that supported my anti-torture arguments. I never shirked responding to you by suddenly qualifying that length or anything else to do with a post besides it's content are the merits on what we debate. You totally cut me off before our debate even really began, and have yet to put forth a real reason why. Instead you create qualifiers which you constantly shift, first that the posts were too long, and now that they are too partisan, and too full of straw men. We're supposed to just take your word for it without you putting forth any proof? What kind of a debate is that?
But, I will meet you half way if that is what it takes to engage you in actual, factual debate, Sandy. And I'll tone it down in respect of kso's point he made to me about belligerence. As you have suggested, I will put forth a post or two, and they will be short summaries of those earlier posts you claim are so difficult for you to read. I will make my arguments along the qualifiers you have set out. It will then be up to you to respond to them if I take the time to specifically summarize them for you. That seems pretty damn fair to me, SandyK. Care to take me up on my challenge? : )

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 04:58 PM

Wow this discussion has gotten complicated.

Chris Ford, I think you're misstating my position when you describe my goal in this ideological conflict as:

"we convince Muslims to love us and have a Mini-Reformation where they reject some tactics of war and intolerance of the views, even the existence of others not of the Islamic Faith."

No we don't have to convince Muslims to have a mini-Reformation, or to adore us. What we do have to do, is convince them that we aren't the murderous, immoral, torturing threat to all Muslims everywhere that Al-Qaeda claims we are. We have to convince them that the war that Bin-Laden wants them to join is foolish and wunnecessary. We have to stop discrediting America-friendly people in the middle east by engaging in policies that would infuriate any reasonable Muslim.

Now, a common reply to the above is to say that we weren't torturing Muslims or ocupying Iraq before 9-11, and look what happened to us. Therefore, some would argue, we might just as well forget about Muslim 'hearts and minds'. But no - that argument is flawed. I'll leave out (in order to avoid a flamewar about Israeli-Palestinian relations) any mention of US policies prior to 9-11 that created anger in the Muslim world (and when I say this, I mean it made normal people there like you and me angry, not that it angered some lunatic ideologues).

But even if we ignore those policies, the argument is still flawed. A 'necessary condition' for security is not the same thing as a 'sufficient condition' for security. America can be accepted by the Muslim world and still get hit by Muslim terrorists. But America can never, ever, be free from the danger of Islamist terrorism, if America is _not_ accepted by the Muslim world. Muslim acceptance isn't the only thing we need, but it's one of the things that we need, and it's absolutely necessary, and there are no substitutes for it.

So I'm not talking about some idealistic vision of American flags being waved by Muslims everywhere around the world. But I am talking about getting things to a point where barely any Muslims think that America is so awful that it's worth blowing themselves or others up over. Until we reach that point, no military measures, no law enforcement measure, not even the imposition of martial law, could make this country very secure. If enough people care enough about blowing up your civilians, some of them will manage to do it.

This isn't idealism - this is realism. This is just facing the facts. The brute fact of the matter is that in our insecure world, the main (not the only) thing that prevents terrorism is that people don't want to engage in it. No one is blowing up the little bridge near my house right now, and no one has for years and years. And yet it's been unguarded for all that time. The main thing that keeps terrorism from happening to it is that no one wants to blow it up. That's the first line of defense. Of course, there has to be a second line of defense as well, and I don't by any means minimize the work done by police and others in preventing actual plots. But they can't prevent everything. Not even Shin-Bet and Mossad and the IDF can do that. If I cared more about blowing up that bridge than about anything else on earth, and was willing to devote years of my life to that goal, I could probably do it, especially if I didn't care whether I was caught afterwards. But neither I, nor anyone else does, so the bridge stands.

I freely admit that even with the level of approval that we had in the Muslim world before 9-11 (we've backslid since then), we still got 9-11. To counter such things we need to improve our security, cooperation from other intelligence services, our human intelligence in the middle east (woefully inadequate, according to most publicly disclosed information). If any government actually harbors terrorists (I mean like the Taliban and Afghanistan; not trumped up accusations pointing out that some governmental officials somewhere were friendly with terrorists), we might have to invade. Also we need to improve our preparation for terrorist attacks that do happen, and we need to try to track down whatever terorists we can.

But the thing to realize, and this is _key_ , is this: All the things that I just mentioned are ways of treating symptoms, not of treating the disease. Of course, treating symptoms is a worthy thing to do. But it's not enough. Until we cure the disease, the situation in a man like Bin-Laden can actually win applause and approval by playing off of his opposition to us, until we fix that, the disease wil remain, and we'll have to go on treating the symptoms, which will keep recurring, and will sometimes defeat our preventive methods. In this scheme of things, torture might possibly help a little bit in palliating the symptoms, but it definitely makes the underlying disease much worse, and so in the long run makes even the symptoms worse. Thinking strategically, torture makes terrorism more likely, not less.

I'd recommend caution in reading a lot of contemporary American books about Islamic history. Most of the ones I've seen are distorted. The authors are too often writing through the lense of 9-11 or of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the period that I do know something about (medieval), they're often subject to distortions, hysteria, Huntington-ism and gaps. The problem is partly that writing a sensationalist book about "Why Islam Has Always Been an X Religion" is such a good way of making money right now that all sorts of people (who often can barely speak Arabic, or haven't lived in the Middle East) are cashing in on it.

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 05:03 PM

Argh. Dropped keyboard and posted before finished writing ...

SandyK,

You write: "To claim it's never necessary, or never right is to claim it's never right to kill."

This seems to me like a non sequitur. Why would a person who thinks it's never right to torture also have to think that it was never right to kill? I hold the first view, but not the second. So does the US Army Field Manual. So do a lot of Senators, apparently. So do a lot of retired military commanders. Why are the two equivalent?

You also write: "it's insane to kill 1,000,000 to be "moral" to save but 1."

But who's suggesting killing 1,000,000?? Or are you saying that the person who refuses to engage in torture thereby becomes guilty of all of those deaths? Do you really think it's the same thing?

Please forgive me if I've misunderstood your position. I've been reading your posts and trying to figure it out, but I may have made mistakes. But it seems to me like your position is really strictly utilitarian, i.e sacrifice 10 lives for 100, 100 for a thousand, esda.

In that case, though, I don't see why you don't support the use of torture (since you think it can be effective) in domestic cases of non-terrorist crime. From a very strictly utilitarian point of view, how do you justify the use of torture in order to save one number of lives, but not in order to save a smaller number of lives? Wouldn't it be more logical to say that the risk of torturing an innocent man was better than the risk of letting an innocent man die? And therefore, wouldn't the logical thing to do, on those principles, be to allow torture as an option in any criminal case dealing with murder? Would you support the use of torture domestically by the police?

Do you think that this utilitarian position (again, please forgive me, if I've misunderstood what you've said) is consistent with the principles of US law and the US constitution?

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 05:36 PM

Some have claimed that there hasn't been much denunciation of terrorism in the middle east.

_Maybe_, _maybe_ that's true. But a note of caution. How many of us read the Arabic or Farsi or Urdu press? (I admit that I don't - can't read Arabic or Farsi or Urdu. I do sometimes read those that publish in English, but the ones that publish in English might well have a different perspective.) And yet, those are the papers in which those denunciations would occur. If we don't read those papers, we don't see them, but that's our fault - not theirs. I have indeed seen denunciations of terrorism in English-language middle-eastern papers, or in articles translated into English from the originals.

We should ask ourselves what kind of evidence we're looking for. It's not reasonable to expect middle eastern denunciations of terrorism to wind up automatically in the front section of American newspapers, or US television. So if those are our main news sources, we should really admit quite frankly that we don't know how much denunciation of terrorism there has been from the middle east.

During the Abu Ghraib scandal, I remember reading a discussion thread posted by someone from overseas. He was infuriated by "how little denunciation of these acts" there had been from the US. But really the issue was one of his sources, and his expectations. Actually, as you remember, there was a lot of outrage over Abu Ghraib over here. But this poster wasn't living here, was only skimming our press (though he did read it), wasn't watching our TV, and so he missed it. I wonder whether a similar dynamic isn't operating here.

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 05:53 PM

Chris Ford,

A few other points.

1. In addition to needing to win over general public opinion in the Muslim world, there are also third parties to this in the rest of the world. We need their help. And engaging in torture makes it much harder for their governments to offer us the assistance that we need.

2. I don't think your 'clash of civilizations' idea is really accurate. Those that have claimed to see a vast civilizational war have usually ignored the historical data that questions their conclusions. But _if_ you're right that civilizations fight, and that the West is threatened, I would make a further point:

From a global point of view, much of the Muslim world _is_ part of the West, and I don't just mean geographically, but also culturally and even civilizationally. Muslim scholars, intent upon seeing a pure Arab Islam from the beginning have generally ignored how very much a part of the late Roman/Byzantine world Mohammed and his followers were, or how much succeeding Islamic states borrowed from the cultural and economic conditions they found in the parts of the former Roman Empire that they occupied.

In turn, some (though probably not you, given your reading) ignore how profound the impact of Islamic scholarship was upon European culture. Much of the later medieval flowering of philosophical inquiry was a result of the translation, via Arabic, of Greek philosophical texts into Latin, and when they were translated, commentaries and works by Muslim scholars were also translated and had a profound effect upon European thought. In several disciplines, the Islamic world helped to mold European culture.

Religiously, of course, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are closely tied, and what they share brings them must closer to each other conceptually than any of the three is to Buddhism, or Daoism, or Shintoism.

The most basic philosophical concepts, like 'being', the soul, the mind, the heart, guilt and innocence, and so on, concepts that we use, implicitly, every day, are quite similar across all three religions, but differ greatly from conceptual categories in the East.

So _if_ there really is a global clash of civilizations, it's one in wich the West is destroying itself in a civil war while the East watches and waits. Not such a good move, strategically.

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 06:19 PM

Beran, you're trying to dodge the truth: they have not denounced it in a way even the West can understand it. If they're just saying it meekly among themselves, it doesn't help their religion or culture to keep it "inhouse".

Until they do, the West will continue to view their religion and culture as accepting terrorism under ANY excuse.

Some things just need to be denounced. Even the Irish finally had enough of the bombings (especially when innocents were massacred), and the public -- protestant and catholic said, "Enough is enough." It was made clear to the world.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 06:25 PM

Beren wrote:
===========================================
But who's suggesting killing 1,000,000?? Or are you saying that the person who refuses to engage in torture thereby becomes guilty of all of those deaths? Do you really think it's the same thing?"
===========================================

Let's put it this way: If you knew of a person planning to blow up a school, and purposely did nothing to stop it, you committed a crime.

Giving aid and comfort to a terrorist who is planning and trying to carry out a mass murder, and you do nothing to prevent it, you're guilty of helping a terrorist by doing nothing (where something can save lives).

So yes, if you don't prevent/stop the potential murder or murder of folks, yes, you're responsible for their deaths/injuries.

Citizens have responsibilities, and one of them is to maintain their society -- not help destroy it.

SandyK

Posted by: Sandy | November 21, 2005 06:31 PM

Errin,

You really have a reading comprehension problem. Is it on purpose, or do you have to report to some block leader for input??

The napalm sig was referring to "Come in to debate, but watch your fingers, as they'll get burned for typing just partisan BS!

Ever heard of a "figure of speech"????

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 21, 2005 06:35 PM

Actually, forget my challenge to SandyK. She's not worth it. I don't need to make posts specifically tailored to the conditions she set forth, when the true reality of the matter is that I'm dealing with a bruised ego that had to back down from a debate with me and is now claiming sour grapes. She was sure full of fire and brimstone earlier today when she wanted me to argue with her before, but then she just up and quit in the middle of the argument when the going got rough. That is the simple truth of the matter regardless of what excuse or qualifier she is hiding behind, and it can be proven by the posts she and I have written today. Actions speak louder than words, and never have I encountered a debater here who added so many qualifiers to what s/he will and will not ignore. If you really are here to debate, you don't selectively ignore things wily nily. My 'sheer emotionalism' is simply disgust at her inability to take an opponent on fully and fairly. Nothing more.
I'll repeat the arguments she's avoided so far, and then that's that. I'll make my points, and I hope somebody responds to them. I know that somebody probably won't be SandyK, but it would be nice if somebody else responds if she doesn't.

Point #1: Sandy infered in a post that I have 'projection identification' because I call other people names. I then pointed out to Sandy that there are two seperate posts from each of us that both do the same thing: They both call Chris Ford an idiot, and are independent of each other. If I called him an idiot and am therefore guilty of 'projection identification', then she is guilty of the same thing as me, as she called him an idiot as well. In other words, she was being a hypocrite and should rescind her inference. Sandy NEVER replied, and has yet to offer proof or even an argument to back up her 'p.i.' inferences.

Point #2: An anonymous post was made when she and I first started debating today that mentioned vegans at a Texas BBQ, or something like that. Sandy immediately said I had made the anonymous post, and that I shouldn't use such cheap tactics when debating her. This was an empty, baseless attack. I did not make the anonymous post AT ALL( never have been anonymous here, in case people haven't noticed I'm outspoken and upfront when I debate), and it was reckless of Sandy to jump to that conclusion and make that accusation. We're innocent until proven guilty, and since she had no proof whatsoever of her charge being true, she owed it to me to take back her remark and admit her mistake. Sandy NEVER replied. Using her logic of guilt by assumption, she could have been the one interjecting the anonymous post as a cheap tactic in the debate as much as I could have been.

Point#3: And now, the actual torture debate. Sorry the first two had to be personal points, but people like Sandy need to followthrough when they make charges so recklessly and hypocritically as the ones she has made.
Anyway, my first anti-torture point I made was that Sandy expouses too nihilistic of a view when she makes her argument for why we must torture. This nihilistic point of view puts her and the pro-torture crowd in the minority of Americans, that the majority of us simply don't share such a negative view of the world. Instead, we believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not fear, hysteria, and the pursuit of bloodthirstiness. I then said that torture is wrong morally, is un-American thoroughly, and will only serve to be counterproductive to our entire nation if we embrace it. Sandy NEVER replied.

Point #4: My second anti-torture point was that arguments being made by pro-torturers like Sandy demonize our terrorist opponent when we need to actually recognize them as real human beings. And NOT because we want to baby the terrorists, but because we want to deal with our terrorist foe REALISTICALLY rather than JINGOISTICALLY if we are to wage an intelligent, winning war against them. Sandy NEVER replied. btw, the initial point I made this post in was very short and easy for anybody to read. SandyK isn't being straightforward in her sour grapes defense of why she backed down from debating me.

Point #5: My third anti-torture point was that this torture debate comes down to barbarism vs. civility. People arguing for torture and violence as our solutions to problems are arguing for the use of barbarism in the War On Terror. People arguing against torture put forth civility as our answer to how we win the War On Terror. I again assert that civility, cool heads, and a higher moral ground are what we Americans need to win the War On Terror, not barbarism, hot heads, and an 'anything goes' amorality. Sandy NEVER replied.

There you go. Those five points are what Sandy has been avoiding all day, and they are in no way partisan, straw men, or hard to understand. I suppose she will continue to avoid them in this ostrich act of hers. I've made my arguments; Sandy's silence will most likely be her rebuttal.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 06:49 PM

SandyK,

You write: "Beren, you're trying to dodge the truth."

SandyK, I want the truth and am trying to get at it, not hide it. Perhaps you think my comment is mistaken about the truth, or obscures it, but in that case, say that instead, please, if you wouldn't mind. I certainly don't have any wish to hide the truth.

Then you write: "they have not denounced it in a way even the West can understand it."

Which gets to my point. Imagine and describe for me (because I am interested to know what you think) a situation in which you would say that they )_had_ adequately denounced terrorism. Who has to issue this denunciation, and where and when do they have to do this, and how?

The governments of just about every country in the middle east regularly condemn terrorism (though that seldom shows up in our news). But since that happens, and you feel the denunciation isn't clear enough, it follows that you must think that denunciations of terrorism by governments aren't enough. Terrorism is also denounced in the English language press in the Middle East quite frequently. But since that happens, and you feel the denunciation isn't clear enough, I guess that you think articles in (for them) major newspapers aren't enough. Middle-eastern governments' ambassadors have also denounced terrorism in letters to the editor in our own press. This too, I guess, isn't the sort of denunciation that you want, or not enough of it. What sort of denunciation would you like to see?

Middle-easterners, even middle-eastern governments, don't control what appears in our media. Yet what other way is there of communicating with the US public besides the media? Even if they issued the sort of denunciation that you want, most of us wouldn't see it, unless our media reported it, would we? (And that wouldn't be so surprising: little of what happens anywhere else in the world shows up very prominently in our media.) Would that also be their fault? Would we still be justified in complaining that they hadn't denounced terrorism forcefully enough?

Much of the rest of the world claims that we didn't adequately denounce Abu Ghraib in a way that they could understand. Do you think they're right about that? If our denunciations didn't show up on RaiUno, do the Italians have a right to blame us for that, and say that we didn't even bat an eye at Abu Ghraib?

Then you write, "If they're just saying it meekly among themselves, it doesn't help their religion or culture to keep it 'inhouse'."

They do say so publicly, to us and to our government. So I guess it must be a problem of how or when or where they do it, since you don't think they have done it in the right way.

I agree very much with you when you write, "Some things just need to be denounced. Even the Irish finally had enough of the bombings (especially when innocents were massacred), and the public -- protestant and catholic said, 'Enough is enough.' It was made clear to the world."

But I think this illustrates the problem that I'm inviting us to think about. When you say, "It was made clear to the world," how did that happen? Who had to speak out and where and when and how? Because usually when a story apears in our media saying something like, "Irish Denounce Sectarian Violence," what it describes is actually something that had been going on for a long time. It's not that the Irish had only denounced it a day previous. It's a combination of two facts: a) some prominent Irishman or group of Irishmen has spoken out (perhaps for the tenth or hundredth time) and b) the paper has decided to publish a story about this. The stories themselves often make clear that what they're talking about is a denunciation that has been going on for a long time. And yet, the day before the article was published a person here in the US who never read the Irish press might claim, "Well, the Irish haven't denounced terrorism." The next day, that person might admit, "Well, finally they have denounced it." And yet, in the interval nothing in Ireland need necessarily have changed - just the paper's overage of ongoing events in Ireland.

Many significant things that happen around the world don't show up in our media. Given that, is it fair to claim we don't hear anything, when we aren't listening for it?

I mean these just as questions for discussion, not as anything antagonistic. I'm just often struck by the fact that people who complain about the absence of some sort of statement coming from overseas often haven't even decided for themselves what sort of statement would be sufficient.

Thank you for your post, and for giving me ways of clarifying what I was trying to say.

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 07:05 PM

Here's Sandy's latest post directed at me in regards to a 'napalm in the morning' comment she made to me today:

The napalm sig was referring to "Come in to debate, but watch your fingers, as they'll get burned for typing just partisan BS!
SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | Nov 21, 2005 6:35:44 PM

Exactly, Sandy! I construed your napalm ref as 'Come in to debate!' I then responded with 'Bring it!' which also means 'Come in to debate!'. I made my posts and responded to each of yours. You ignored mine, failing to respond to any of them. You backed down VERY swiftly and started avoiding me altogether. Way to issue a challenge then wimp out when the going got tough. Oh, wait, I mean 'the posts were too long'. GMAFB!
I don't have a reading comprehension problem; I have a problem comprehending you when you speak out of your ass and issue 'Come in to debate!' challenges that you backpedal from swiftly. Sour grapes, SandyK. Sour grapes.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 21, 2005 07:05 PM

SandyK,

Thanks for your post. I think it helps to make the issue clearer.

You write, "Let's put it this way: If you knew of a person planning to blow up a school, and purposely did nothing to stop it, you committed a crime."

I agree with this. But the question is not whether I did _nothing_ to stop it - the question is _what_ I did to stop it and what I didn't do. What if it was a high-school, and the person planning to blow it up was, himself, a student at that school. And let's say I knew it was one of, oh, twenty particular students in a particular classroom. Would you say that it was not only permissible, but even obligatory to torture all twenty of them, in order to find out which of them had planted the bomb, and where it was, never forgetting that by so doing, I'd be torturing nineteen innocent minors? (I ask this because I really don't know whether you think it would be obligatory/permissible or not.)

Actually, following your arguments, I wonder whether you _would_ support the use of torture in a domestic criminal case like the bombing of a school? Would you? If you would, well, I disagree with you, but more to the point, apparently the vast majority of people in this country do, because even those who support the use of torture on un-lawful combatants overseas say that they only support torture against such people, but not against US citizens here.

I think, if I've understood your arguments correctly, this would put you in conflict with Chris Ford, who seemed to say, with reference to the Saddam-underwear photo, that he supported Geneva protections for legitimate enemy POWs. Your position, I take it, would be that we could torture them and any other people that would save lives, right? Or have I misunderstood.

You later write, "Giving aid and comfort to a terrorist who is planning and trying to carry out a mass murder, and you do nothing to prevent it, you're guilty of helping a terrorist by doing nothing (where something can save lives)."

Here again, the only two possibilities you seem to leave open are 'doing nothing' and 'doing everything'. But you know, domestically it's been the case for centuries that our police neither 'did nothing' nor 'did everything' in preventing crimes. Generally, they did what they could legally do. And that's the system that our Founders, our ancestors, and the majority of our citizens even now, thought was best; not a system in which the police did absolutely everything including acts of gross immorality and illegality, to prevent crimes.

Finally, and poignantly, you write, "Citizens have responsibilities, and one of them is to maintain their society -- not help destroy it,"

I _very_ much agree with you, but here's the problem: To you, those who take my position seem to be helping to destroy our society. To us (those who take my position), though, your position seems to be 'helping to destroy our society'. We each, apparently, think the other is helping to destroy our society.

I guess that to you, our unwillingness to use all possible means to prevent crimes seems bad for our society. To us, a willingness to tear up any and every rule by which we live, to abolish and any every right that we might have (including rights for which we have asked people to give their lives), is to ruin our society so utterly that it would be hard to say, at that point, whether it even should exist or not. To us, the example of the Founders, who didn't put safety and survival before all other goods, and the example of those who have served and continue to, in our armed forces, diplomatic services, intelligence services, etc. where they put other things before their own safety and even survival, those examples show us that we should never treat mere survival as the highest good.

If our society judges 'safety' to be a higher good than any other, how can it ask any member of that society to judge any differently? And thus how can it ask those hundred people (whom you say should be sacrificed for those thousand) to give their lives for a principle? What if they also, like their society, decided on a personal policy of 'safety first'?

I want to make it completely clear that I mean none of this as any sort of attack on you. I think you're probably a really great person. You certainly write well, which is all I have to go on. And I wish you very well. I just find this principle that you have espoused utterly appalling.

It may be (I hope it's not) that this is a disagreement about such basic principles that it's irreconcilable. But the problem is that those who hold your position, and those who hold mine, we can't just go our separate ways, because we're all citizens of this country. We're going to have to come up with a common policy. I hope we can.

Thank you again for your posting. It helps to make things clearer.

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 07:45 PM

Beren, some points:

1. I agree that one must be cautious with literature, especially the pack of Zionists that became "instant counter-terrorism" experts and advised us to do as Israel does and listen to the Israelis or their overseas "ME experts" as the final authority on all things Islamic. The Israeli approach is hardly one I wish the US to emulate. And anyone reading closely can find much of the Israel mythology is lies and half-truths. I prefer reading Lebanese like Philip Hariri, the Brits at Oxford, and yes, I confess, Samuel Huntington to the likes of Zionist think tankers like Pipe, Ledeen, Woolsley, and Emerson. Which brings up Point#2.

2. The problem I see with some of your logic is that you think Islamic killing is predicated on US behavior. What the US does has nothing to do with 1/2 of the rapes in Sweden being by Muslim gangs, 2 million Christians killed in the Sudan, 90,000 in Nigeria, French neighborhoods burning, Pakistani and Indonesian churches firebombed, or the children of Beslan. Which indicates all the attacks and general ill-will directed at other nation's infidels has nothing to do with Israeli tilting, "toooooortuuuure!!", US arrogance. It has to do with them being infidels. We weren't torturing the Muslims before 9/11 - they were torturing infidels from Maronite Lebanese to American CIA Station heads to whole villages of Hindu Kashmiris to Nigerian priests to apostate Shia to Godless Indonesian Chinese ethnics.

3. But I do agree the ME needs final borders ASAP. It stirs up the hornets nest. Though the hornets are vicious anyways, and that is not just the extremists, but the Muslim people that have refused to condemn them for past butcheries of infidels over the last 100 years.

4. And we have to get to seriously looking at hate-America mainstream media groups like the NYTimes, the hate-America NGOs, and the hate-America lawyers groups. There is something seriously amiss when the NYTimes runs 250-280 articles on Abu Ghraib, 1/3rd on the Front Page, and less than 20 on Saddam or the Insurgents's REAL TORTURE dens found. By seriously looking, I mean if the media is out to get us and give a pas to the enemy, the very image-making you support means we have to begin, once again, contemplating wartime censorship.

5. The house raid in Mosul Saturday rumored to be a Zarqawi safehouse is a great example of a change in decision-making if we are banned from getting information about illegal combatants. We sent special forces in hoping we would capture some high value Al Qaeda members. We lost 2 killed and 11 wounded, inc 2 with brain damage. If we get to the point that the ACLU is demanding all "suspects" be sent to NYC lawyers ideologically committed to defending unlawful combatant "freedoms" on the taxpayer tab, and absolutely no value in saving soldiers lives comes from the risk of going in and trying to take prisoners, our troops will get out of the prisoner-taking biz and just waste them. 1 500 lb bomb, 5 less unlawful combatants, 6 less Iraqi civilians in the same house with them, and 13 less American troop casualties.

6. Lefties do have some curious notions. More of them say it is OK to force a child kidnapper to reveal where he buried a child alive than force a terrorist to reveal where his IED bombs are planted.

"In one case you are talking about an innocent child whose life can be saved, in the other you are just talking about a dozen or so soldiers who knew the dangers when they volunteered."

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 21, 2005 08:04 PM

Ford,

As I understand it, your main thrust is that Islam has been a conquering religion bent on temporal domination wherever it spread. YOu have noted a number of cases.

Fine, no real disagreement. But isn't it odd that the only civilization that actively clashes with Islam, is the "West" which has consistently used Christianity in much the same manner ala the Crusades. Or the Spanish Inquisition?

It takes two to tango. And just now, only a radical fringe of the Islamic world is on the dance floor. As for the states and scattered nation-states, they are unable to expand their temporal power and are thus watching with dismay as another civilization expands their temporal power within the Muslim world.

If you want, we can expand beyond Islam's golden age. We could look at the solidification of the Ottoman Empire at the ashes of the Caliphate, after the twin threats of invading Mongol hordes and Crusaders had all but vanquished the Sultans of old. We could look at how the Ottomans returned the favor by laying siege to Vienna and establishing a power to be reckoned with until the end of the 19th century. Sure, there are lots of instances of discrimination, but no more so than Western and Christian counterparts.

My basic, though wandering, point is that Christian and Islamic history and power are not all that different and not necessarily oppossed. Look, for example at the rhetoric. Islamists want to convert the 'Infidel' West of non-believers. Non-believers are denoted by their practices (drinking, sex, etc.). No mention is made of Christians or religions specifically (though Islamist ideology is rife with anti-semitism).

To the Islamists, the 'clash' is with our hedonistic lifestyle, our dodgy morality, and our imperialism. Most Westerners percieve the clash as incompatible religious beliefs. East and West don't really see eye-to-eye as to the roots of the dispute. Between the two, there is a sea of possiblity for peaceful coexistence.

P.S. Ford, nice work on keeping the dialog clean. Some may argue, vehemently, with your politics (myself included), but few appear willing to paint you as the key log in the nastiness that has come to pervade this string. As well, nice work Errin on insisting that it was your oponent who slung the mud while you kept the debate clean, then calling Ford an idiot. Touche.

Posted by: Chris | November 21, 2005 08:05 PM

Errin: ok, all square.

Chris Ford: Thanks for the reply. I will check out those web sites when I can, maybe later tonight.

SandyK: It seems your theory is that it is ok to use torture in the ticking time bomb scenario. I suppose in theory I can buy that if the potential loss is high enough, the information is reliable enough, and the time lag is short enough. But there are lots of ifs there and in any case, it would be a _very_ rare circumstance.

But what really concerns me is that it seems like some believe torture should be more readily available than that. Many of the examples given in your posts and Chris Ford's seem to be more about military operations than preventing mass civilian casualties. And the Army Field Manual has said no to that, as have the Geneva Conventions. Yes, I know that the terrorists didn't sign on, etc. But we are in Iraq, fighting a war against insurgents, using military forces and tactics. One could plausibly argue that those insurgents are fighting against an occupier and using tactics that we may not like, but they are doing what they can to fight back.

Of course, that argument doesn't apply when we talk about them blowing up fellow Iraqis. That is definitely terroristic. But nobody seems to talk about using torture to foil those plots. If anyone is trying it, they are failing miserably, since we hear about attacks against civilians repeatly. No, the talk is only about using torture to prevent casualties of American military. And I believe the US military should follow the law of war as they would in any other war.

Please don't accuse me of not caring about the military. My dad was a career fighter pilot (Wild Weasel in Vietnam, among other tours of duty) who died on a mission during the Cold War. My husband was also career military and he has served in numerous remote locations, including the desert (deployed there twice). We have friends and family members who have been there and are there now. I for sure care about our troops. I don't believe we should stoop to torture and I fervently believe we should set the right example should any of our troops be captured.

Posted by: kso | November 21, 2005 08:58 PM

Very well said, kso.

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 10:01 PM

Chris Ford,

Thanks for the very focused post. Gotta disagree pretty vehemently with you on a couple of points, but thank you for taking the time to express them. I'll go point by point, since you numbered.

1. Not much disagreement here. Though if I'd written it I might have avoided the 'Zionist' reference. There are also people whose bias came from 9-11 and not from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Also, since you echo my mention of Huntington, I've got to say that though I think the man is very smart, I also think he's seriously misguided. It's an attractive way of looking at the world, but what makes it so attractive is that a) it allows you to gloss over complexities and offers a simpler (and dramatic!) way of looking at world history, and b) it is almost universally applicable ex post facto. You get to pick your categories. Charge b) is the more serious one. Back during the troubles in the former Yugoslavia, a supposed divide between Catholic and Orthodox Christian Europes was all the rage (because such a line would go through Yugoslavia). This made the conflict seem inevitable, a product of age-old cultures, rather than a set of very contemporary political choices that, while of course influenced by history and culture, nonetheless were in the hands of real people, making real decisions. Even back then I wondered why, if this Eastern Christianity v. Western Christianity split was so important, how the theory explained the absence of such conflicts everywhere else along that cultural boundary. Or, for that matter, how it explained the peaceful co-existence of Catholics and Protestants in Switzerland, France, Germany and, well, just about everywhere but N. Ireland.

The problem is, once there's been a disturbance, or a conflict erupts, it's always easy enough to go back and find a cultural fault line that cuts through the conflict zone in the right direction. But that doesn't necessarily mean either a) that the conflict was a product of such a division or b) that the conflict was inevitable, because of that division, or c) that such a fault line is any useful predictor of a future conflict.

2. You write, "The problem I see with some of your logic is that you think Islamic killing is predicated on US behavior."

No, I don't think that _all_ Islamist killing is predicated on American behavior. That's why I specifically said in my earlier post that even if we ignored US policy prior to 9-11 it was still the case that 9-11 happened when the US was more popular in the Middle East than it is now.

But _some_ of Islamist behavior is predicated on US behavior. When we torture or kill a lot of innocent people, a few (it may be a very few, I don't know) of those people may turn to terrorism. I mean, gosh, I'd probably feel like I wanted to hit back at the people who killed or brutalized my family members. Here in the US, people who lost loved ones in 9-11 could join the military as a way to do that (and many said in interviews that that was why they were joining up). But there in Iraq, what do you do to hit back at the people who killed or abused the person or people that you loved? All too often, the answer is 'join a terrorist organization'. And that's a security problem for us.

Remember, I said that approval (of a fairly low degree, though) from the Muslim world was a _necessary_ condition, but not a _sufficient_ condition for security here in the US. That means that some of them might still attack no matter what we did, but lots more of them would attack us for sure (and some would succeed) if we made ourselves hated and despised over there. As you said, we have to defeat an ideology. As long as lots and lots of people believe in that ideology, we haven't won. There is no victory without winning that ideological conflict.

An analogy might help. (Just an analogy, so I'm not saying that the specifics would all be the same - just that the principle involved would be.)

Let's say that in our cities in all the neighbourhoods inhabited predominantly by the imaginary ethnic group, the Argleborks, there was sever rioting going on. Now it might well be true that some of this was just because of a tradition of violence in Arglebork culture, I don't know. And it would certainly be true that we needed to do everything we could do to stop current Arglebork rioting, and to prevent Arglebork rioting (or any other rioting) in the future. But what would be our longterm goal? Probably to make it so that the Argleborks wouldn't riot. And that would require persuasion. You wouldn't have to convince the Argleborks that this was the best place on earth and every time they saw a representative of our government they should embrace him. But you would have to convince the Argleborks that it was in their best interests not to riot, and part of what you'd have to do would be to convince the Argleborks that you weren't actively out to destroy them. As long as they thought you were trying to destroy them, no matter what else you did, they'd riot. So there too, persuasion of the Argleborks would be a necessary, though not sufficient condition, for peace in the cities. You might still have some violence even when Argleborks liked their government; but if they hated it, you'd be guaranteed violence, and a whole lot more of it. And the thing is, torturing an Arglebork would be a very bad idea, because it would set off more riots, in which you'd torture more Argleborks, in which...well, you've read enough history to know that this is how revolutions start.

And that brings me to my next point. Bin-Laden _wants_ this (just like the Arglebork revolutionary leader would also, though he'd never admit it, want you to torture Argleborks, because it brought more Argleborks into the street for him to command). Let's imagine (and hope it never happens) that Bin-Laden could cause ten 9-11s. Would he be able to win that way? No. Inflicting twenty 9-11s on the US wouldn't recreate a Muslim Caliphate, or make Andalusia a Muslim state. But the political turmoil generated throughout the Middle East by America's _reaction_ to twenty 9-11s....that might get him what he wants. Remember, always remember, Bin Laden's primary goals are over there, not here.

Okay, I'm going to drop the analogy now. Really sick of typing 'Arglebork'!

I have to partially agree with Chris in saying that your catalogue of Muslim violence doesn't make Islam exactly exceptional. And some of the instances of it that you quote aren't such good examples. So, when you say, "to whole villages of Hindu Kashmiris...", you should remember a) that violence has also been perpetrated against Muslims by Hindus in India, and b) that the border issue isn't just a religious one anyway, and dates back to Partition.

Christianity has certainly inflicted a _great_ deal of violence in the name of God upon others, both infidel and (perceivedly) heretic Christian (and I write this as a dedicated Christian myself, actually). Did that mean that its very existence was a threat to its neighbours, and Christians in non-Christian countries couldn't be trusted?

I rather think that by buying into this 'irreconcilable cultures' story, we aid Bin-Laden & Co., who have been trying to seel this story to Muslims around the world for some time. We don't need to help him with his propaganda.

3. Not sure quite what you mean by the ME needing 'final borders'. But I can't agree that all Muslims have failed to condemn past killing of 'infidels'. Some certainly have.

4. I don't agree here. We need the press, a free press, in order to act as free citizens, because without information, our votes are useless. You and I both agree (I think) that Bush has been doing a lousy job in Iraq. But that would never have come out without the media. Bush's White House has done its level best to keep any such information out of the press. And we need to know how things are going over there in the middle of this conflict so that we, who ultimately are the joint owners of our Republic, can decide whether we want to keep entrusting the management of its affairs to the same people.

As far as the NYTimes' bias. I think they have one, but I think it's smaller than the bias that grew in reaction to it in the form of FOX etc. (And just to get the issue out of the way, I'm really not a liberal or a conservative, but an independent, since I disagree with both sides of the spectrum on some issues. I've been of age for three presidential elections, and have voted Republican twice, Democratic once. If you add the election while I was a teenager, and paying attention, but couldn't vote, then the record is 2-2.)

But I think it's a strength for us to show the world that we critique ourselves.
Remember this key fact: Foreigners generally get their news from their media, we from ours. Abu Ghraib would have come out anyway, with or without the NYTimes. But the NYTimes' (and other papers') coverage of it at least gives us the ability to say to the rest of the world, "Look, our press is free. We're the first to criticize ourselves, the first to ask ourselves whether we're doing the right thing or not. That is our strength." If Abu Ghraib had come out in the overseas press, but we hadn't been covering it, they would have been able to say that we were covering it up, and the propaganda damage to us would have been even worse.

5. I don't think we have to send detainees to ideologically inspired NYC lawyers. I just don't think we should torture them, and we should figure out some legitimate system for their status, since we apply the designation even to people who just got arrested for carrying a cell-phone (not uncommon in Iraq - it doesn't make you a terrorist) and a spade (very common in Iraq). We've got to get a better system in place when our own soldiers are admitting that a lot of the people who get picked up have nothing to do with any crime at all, and are just sent to Abu Ghraib to swell the numbers for the sake of statistics for a domestic audience.

6. No comments on this. I don't know what 'lefty' you're quoting, or why you think he represents others from his side of the aisle.

Thanks for your comments and for posting.

Posted by: Beren | November 21, 2005 11:15 PM

kso, thank you for understanding. There was a total snafu of anonymous posts, and I truly felt bad I confused yours with johnnyg's. It was a weird timing thing that caused the confusion, and I'm glad it's all cleared up
As for the non-Ford Chris, you're welcome. I'm glad that Chris Ford is your new hero. While I may have made a post re-hashing the fact that SandyK and myself both called Chris Ford an idiot at seperate occasions in the past, I wasn't calling him an idiot once again, but merely taking Sandy to task for bringing the nonsensical 'projection identification' into the debate, not for mudslinging as you have claimed. I have even made a post saying the same thing you just did about Chris Ford, that he does amazingly better in making his arguments when he refrains from the Marxist tactics and the Lefty rants. Do I actually consider him an idiot now? No. Did I actually consider him an idiot before he adopted this more logical, factual way of putting forth his position? Yes, as he was being counterproductive to his own arguments. That he changed his stripes, adapted and improved was truly unexpected and commendable. I better go warn my Leftist overlords!
Seriously, we discussed this before, Chris (not Ford), and I fessed up to culpability of antagonizing Chris Ford quite a bit. I also agreed not to take that antagonization into the next debate. And I have engaged him very little since then in this debate. You and I both share the same view (last I checked, you were anti-torture), just I'm willing to play hardball with certain extreme types that try to run roughshod over their opponents. If you've taken it on yourself to call me to task when you feel I cross a line, so be it. I consider your criticism to be constructive at this point, and have enjoyed your posts against torture. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 12:18 AM

Errin,

Still wasting space belly aching?

Dang, talking about wasting 1,000 words to say something that can be done under 50!!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 09:52 AM

Chris Ford typed:
===========================================
1. I agree that one must be cautious with literature, especially the pack of Zionists that became "instant counter-terrorism" experts and advised us to do as Israel does and listen to the Israelis or their overseas "ME experts" as the final authority on all things Islamic. The Israeli approach is hardly one I wish the US to emulate. And anyone reading closely can find much of the Israel mythology is lies and half-truths. I prefer reading Lebanese like Philip Hariri, the Brits at Oxford, and yes, I confess, Samuel Huntington to the likes of Zionist think tankers like Pipe, Ledeen, Woolsley, and Emerson. Which brings up Point#2.
===========================================

It's that type of content that does make you appear a Neo-Nazi, CF. Although I despise Jews that hold dual citizenship and seeking Americans to fight their war, the last thing I'd do is use a label "Zionists" to define an entire country (even the ultra-conservative wing), as not all Israelis are what folks refer to as "Zionists", especially in the incantation you're referring to above.

It's interesting that when you do post stuff like that, Errin agrees with you, too. Could it be Errin is a closet racist as well (apparently enough to agree with labelling an entire group with such a label -- oops, maybe he's too busy going "I,I,I" to make sense instead)?

[Getting the ear plugs ready for Errin...]

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 10:05 AM

First I like to say that you wrote a very good article Ms. Messner and I agree with you on a great deal of it.

I want to point out couple of things I don't agree with. Whether you want to believe it or not there, are homegrown terrorist in the United States and should be classified different than other criminals since they want to do mass destruction and their collateral damage affects innocent people and don't care. Remember anthrax, Tim McVay, and the uni-bomber are all domestic terrorist.

The other point that I disagree with you on is the taking of a citizen by the police and held with no access to a lawyer. I know it is hard to believe but that has been going on in this country in the 50, 60, 70 and probably today in the minority neighborhoods.

As for torture I am against it for the common criminal but their is suppose to be a Top Secret court system where evidence is present in front of a cleared judge to classify a person as a terrorist and not a criminal.

If they classify a person as a terrorist, I think we should by any means possible in protecting this country. I know you think this sounds barbaric but tell that to the families of the over five thousand people that have been killed by terrorist in this country. They have to go on living with the hurt and lost cause by a fanatic.

Not having these kinds of events touch your family or neighborhood is hard to understand what these people are capable of. Having work with law enforcement and seeing this up close and personal let me tell you it is war not a gentleman's war but primitive war with no remorse coming from our opponents.

Picture taking a serial killer and times that by 100 and then you have a terrorist. I ask you would you treat a serial killer the same as a regular killer?

Thanks for letting me have my 2 cents worth.

Posted by: Tee | November 22, 2005 12:20 PM

First you have to understand, SandyK, then you can comment better and not so often go to taking great PC umbrage with terminology. We went through this with the "Nazis and Japs" which many people use as useful shorthand for the WWII foes. Technically, the Japs are Nipponese and the Germans we fought were mostly not Nazis, as only 2% of the Wehrmahct and the Luftwaffe held Nazi Party membership. Calling some one racist for using the term Jap suggests you haven't read many posts or essays on WWII. (Nor does it come even close to the less than endearing "pet" names Chinese, Koreans, Indonesians, and Filipinos of the same Mongoloid race called WWII Japs).

As for using the term "Zionism" it does not signify being Neonazi anymore than your saying you despise all Jews with dual citizenship implies you distrust and dislike Jews in general. The phrase Zionist implies partial or full support for the tenents of Zionism, which would take a while to explain here but are such that even a certain class of Christian Fundies are known as Christian Zionists who buy into all the Revelations and Rapture stuff.

Read two papers in Israel available online, the Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz, to get a flavor for what Zionism is all about. Many Israelis, leaning to the moderate readership of Ha'aretz, oppose Zionist excesses.

However, in America, the neocons support in general most Zionist positions, and many of the so-called "terrorism experts' and "ME Authorities" who emerged after 9/11 simply popped out of think tanks funded by the Zionists - like Woosley and Ledeen at JINSA. This was in comment to Beren's notation that one must be very cautious on which "authorities" one reads. The understanding the provence and independence of these "authorities" - who butters their bread if anyone - is important to understand, especially if they come out with the claim of objectivity.

Knowing someone is politically a Zionist or a Zionist sympathizer when checking out an essay is as important as knowing the writer was a hagiographer of Yassir Arafat and a frequent guest. And the same holds true in any subject where the taint of bias one way or the other could exist. I know that the essay promoting tax excusion for oil well drilling to benefit all Americans - is actally leaning towards simply making the Rich Richer if I see the author is a member of the Club for Growth.

Posted by: Chris Ford | November 22, 2005 04:30 PM

Sandy, you're great at making snipes from the sidelines, but you veer away from any direct discussion of my actual arguments with me, and continue to leave unanswered arguments I have made against you and your torture position. If you can't take me on face to face and mano y mano, then quit wasting my time with your silly posts that constantly have you asserting falsehoods without presenting any actual fact.
Your latest false pretense is that I somehow agreed with Chris Ford on something. I agree with him on nothing, but rather have commented on the way he has improved in how he makes his arguments. Why don't you reprint or cut&paste actual proof of me agreeing with Chris Ford's arguments rather than just asserting that I have made such? Once again, you expect everybody to just accept you at your word; You have the burden of proof, yet you haven't offered any.
Whatever your viewpoint may be, I have found you to be a disappointing debater to interact with here. Say what you will about me, I directly engage my opponents and their arguments, and do not selectively ignore their posts; The same cannot be said of you. Why you think I'm going to bother with you any more is beyond me, especially after the time I've had to waste watching you constantly cut & run instead of stand & debate. I am in no way getting anything close to worthy replies from you, and you continue to back down from my posts, throwing out automatic disqualifiers for doing so that have no basis in a real debate, but rather are excuses you make not to debate on merit of arguments presented.
I have already made my critique against your pro-torture view on the War On Terror. I'll re-iterate for everybody else, since I know you'll never reply. If you and your position are so right, then why don't you defend it?
My first critique is that your position on torture is based on an overly nihilistic view of the world that goes against the grain of what America is about. We're about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and none of those values exist in your bleak and Hobbesian view of a dog-eat-dog, people-torture-people world. Your negative outlook on humanity will always be in the minority in this country, and torture will always be considered thoroughly un-American. McCain's amendment banning any and all American torture WILL become law.
My second critique is that your postion on torture relies on demonizing the enemy, which is a foolish practice. We need to regard our terrorist foes as human so that we can be realistic and effective in the fight we wage against them. Though you are not nuanced enough to recognize this as anything more than 'babying terrorists', the majority of us understand that fear, hysteria, and exagerrated portrayals of the terrorists will be counterproductive to waging a smart, victorious War On Terror. You constantly overblow our enemy in your jingoistic, pro-torture histrionics. We need to be realistic and not jingoistic in our conduct in this important battle.
My third critique against torture is that the War On Terror is one of barbarism versus civility, and that there is a heavy strain of barbarism in your pro-torture viewpoint. We cannot resort to barbaric practices in the face of adversity when the much wiser course is to embrace civility as the key to victory. Cool heads, high morality, and the rule of law are what we need in these trying times, not the hotheaded amorality of the pro-torture crowd.
Those are my arguments against SandyK's torture stance. It would be nice for once if she would argue against them on their own merit rather than avoiding them entirely.

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 05:15 PM

Errin,

Still wasting space belly aching?

Dang, talking about wasting 1,000 words to say something that can be done under 50!!

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | Nov 22, 2005 9:52:19 AM

No. I'm wasting time on a hypocrite who wrote a space-wasting, bellyaching post griping about wasting space bellyaching. See any contradiction in your very own post, Sandy? At least my time with you isn't a total waste when you serve up heaping examples of your own hypocrisy like that. Thanks.
Now, I suppose you'll say it's okay to be hypocritical as long as one does it in as few words possible. Excuses are the lies we make to ourselves, Sandy. Way to cling to your 'sour grapes' attacks on me that always avoid my actual arguments. GMAFB

Posted by: ErrinF | November 22, 2005 08:21 PM

Awwwwwwwwwwwww...(2 posts of SandyK.......)

BTW, where's the beef, Errin?

CF:

When you can address people as people, maybe you'll get a civilized reply. Do you go around calling Blacks "ni--ers" because it was done in past, here? No. So don't try that BS excuse here now.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | November 22, 2005 10:31 PM

From reading some of the messages here, I'd say this SandyK person has no idea about anything that is going on right now. Chris Ford - you the man!

Posted by: PC Gorilla | November 23, 2005 07:21 AM

Just responding to your cheap attacks, Sandy. You obviously want to pointlessly bicker, as yet again I get nothing substantive from you in your reply (or lack thereof). Some debate you've made for your pro-torture views. What a joke. Behaving like a big baby because you can't debate on merit, and fooling nobody but yourself. lolololololol : )

Posted by: ErrinF | November 23, 2005 09:09 AM

I haven't read through all of the comments here. But I've read through enough and I haven't seen what is, I believe, the paramount unanswered BIG question about the war in Iraq. And that is... why? Why did the Bush Administration want this war? Why were they so tenaciously married to the idea and why do they remain so?

Seems to me that knowing the true answer to that question is a requisite key before we can ever honestly understand how to resolve the situation from here going forward in a way that is best for our country and the poor people of Iraq.

My opinion. It was, and remains, all about the military bases we are going to put there. The Bush administration wants a permanent and powerful fighting force on the ground sitting atop an ocean of oil. That's what they wanted. That's why we're there. That's why they won't leave. That's what we're really up against.

The current position of the Democrats, that we're there now and to leave now would be a disaster... is so stupid given what I believe are the real reasons behind the war. But it's even wrongheaded on it's face. If the reasons for going to war were wrong or a mistake than there is NO reason for staying that can then be right. To stay and do what we're trying to do there, that which we admit to as well as that which the Bush administration will never admit to, is throwing away lives and our national treasure for a salad of reasons we can't even accurately articulate.

Posted by: jammerbirdi | December 9, 2005 07:10 PM

This is war don't you get it. The U.S is bad very bad. I'm glad there are people like you who hate this country so much.

Posted by: Sam Spade | June 13, 2006 05:36 PM

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