• And another other thing. Mike, you said precision weapons are expensive. So we should risk soldiers lives instead of using these weapons when we can to save some money?

    And you said India is Pakistan's natural enemy? Are you implying they are going to neutralize the Taliban and the other terrorists in the tribal lands of Pakistan? I seriously doubt it.

    April 25, 2009 at 10:13 p.m.

  • And another thing. Mike you say we executed some Japanese for water boarding. From what I read if they just water boarded they got to bust rock for 15 years. But the ones who stretched a rope did other things in addition to water boarding - it's a small point.

    April 25, 2009 at 7:58 p.m.

  • Just a little side note, my brother who was a military advisor in Vietnam 69-70, and also a intellegence officer, yeah I know a oxymoron, he told me they would capture a VC or NVA, the south Vietnamese would question them, yeah with some harsh methods, and they still would not talk, then the south Vietnamese officer would say " Go get the Korean", there where Korean soldier in Vietnam by the way, my brother said the VC or NVA would start spilling every thing then knew, they did not want any part of the Koreans interegation.

    April 25, 2009 at 6:05 p.m.

  • Answer this; is it legal or not to interogate prisoners under the Geneva Convention?

    April 25, 2009 at 3:11 p.m.

  • From St. Ronnie:

    "The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the [UN Convention on Torture]. It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

    The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."

    signed: Ronald Reagan,
    1984 UN Convention on Torture

    From Dubya:
    "I call on all governments to join with the United States... in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture."
    -George W. Bush, 6/26/03

    April 25, 2009 at 2:31 p.m.

  • Rollingstone
    We need to start letting the Iraqis handle the battles and continue to train their forces; so we can make an orderly exit in 2011, as the president said….Precision bombs are expensive and are not needed, except to protect the central government. We need to get political reconciliation…Bingo, that’s exactly what General’s Patraeus counterinsurgency is all about: Winning the hearts and minds, then they will co-operate and provide intelligence…He used to tell his troops that one abused detainee would produce about 5 future insurgents. (Tom Rick’s book Fiasco).

    I think if George W. Bush would come forward and say” we were wrong to use these policies”, that would lead Obama to say “enough” and we could go on but I don’t think that is going to happen….Truth is, it is going to be extremely difficult to find evidence to convict anyone without compromising classified intelligence.

    Abusing of prisoners has nothing to do with congress but if they knew water boarding was being used (torture) and they signed off on it, they are not on the same level with those that are directing it but they should also be punished.

    It is not the general population of Iraq or Pakistan we should be worried about.
    (1)We created the fiasco in Iraq so we should at least stabilize it before we leave.
    (2)India is Pakistan’s naturally enemy; both have nukes, so that is our concern.
    (3)I agree the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan do not care about us anymore than the general population of America cares about them...We are over there for our own self interest.
    Instability in the Middle East means high oil prices.

    April 25, 2009 at 12:43 p.m.

  • You misunderstood what I was saying. We do not need to carpet bomb anything anymore because of the precision of our weapons. They can deliver heavy ordnance precisely on target. That is how we got the lead terrorist in Iraq what ever his name was - two 500 pounders, end of story. His where abouts were determine by intelligence that people offered voluntarily, because they hated el quaeda. The key in this war and any war is intelligence.

    As far as the torture thing it is pretty confusing to the me and the public. How did we get here? If it was a misguided attempt to gain intelligence then I can forgive that. But if its purpose was just to mistreat prisoners, that you are alleging then that needs to be corrected and the violators need to be punished, whoever they are, including members of Congress.

    And just a minor note as to what to expect in the future - Iraq has a population of about 30 million. Pakistan's is 167 million. Probably at least half these people hate our guts and the rest could care less. That should give us a little pause before we rush in there.

    April 25, 2009 at 12:09 p.m.

  • BigJ
    A couple of points

    1.Tora Bora is really just a bunch of caves in Eastern Afghanistan…Al Qaeda is suspected to be in Pakistan bordering Northern Afghanistan…Wasting a lot of money killing goats.
    2. What has the UN or NATO have to do with our military strategy in Iraq or Afghanistan? General David McKiernan, is the U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan.

    I thought you were against that cowboy diplomacy of George W. Bush.

    Whatever the methods the Soviets used, they still lost in Afghanistan and it pretty much brought down the old Soviet Union, so I don’t think we want to copy them.

    April 25, 2009 at 11:57 a.m.

  • Rollingstone
    I knew you were not advocating using nukes..I was merely saying that we thread lightly when we are dealing with a country that has nukes, for obvious reasons.

    You do seem to want to carpet bomb our way to victory but who do we target the Shia or Sunni in Iraq? We have been on sides in this conflict. BTW Iraq is not over by any means .88 people were killed by a firebomb just yesterday.Our allies continue to be against the Iraq occupation as most Americans are.

    Away from Vietnam and Iraq and back on topic:

    Yes, some CIA agents believe torture produces results ,in fact George Tenet said it does but they cannot back up their statements with concrete evidence because it would be self-incriminating…We executed Japanese soldiers for water boarding our soldiers ,so the United States takes the position that water boarding is torture. We signed an agreement not to torture.

    1.Former chief of the European Division, Tyler Drumheller told Chris Matthews the CIA was the default interrogator because the military and FBI refused to torture. He said it does not produce results.
    2.Last night ex-CIA agent Robert Baer (he was tortured in Iran)told Bill Maher, that he has been to all the torture sites and he knows it does not produce results. If you get information, there is always doubt. He stated that Israel gave up that practice several years ago for that very reason.
    3.Major General Antonio Taguba (led the investigation @Abu Ghraib, Gitmo etc) accused the Bush Administration of war crimes.
    4.Last night retired General John Batiste told Keith Olbermann that he and many of his commanders refused to go along with the abuse and torture policies, but he know some did not. The general said torture does not work.
    5.We now know that the pentagon (2002) told the administration lawyers that the methods they intended on using was indeed torture.

    Now perhaps you can make the case for an “ends justifies the means” or the one time Jack Bauer moment but it just an opinion to be weighed against others, but in order for us to justify or incorporate torture methods ,we would have to revise the Army Field manual and congress would have to approve legislation. Sugar coating its use like re-labeling prisoners or trying to make exceptions has already been legislated against….Remember when the administration tried to revise the Geneva Convention and John McCain, Colin Powell and the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out against it.

    Remember when a federal judge told the administration not to destroy the tapes form Gitmo,and they did anyway?It has been reveled that they actually destroyed 92 tapes that detailed the gruesome methods that were used illegally.

    April 25, 2009 at 11:39 a.m.

  • And one more thing I keep seeing on the news ex-CIA officials who say those "techniques" did work. In fact they wrote a letter all claiming that.

    And the side step that I thought allowed these procedures is the captives were "enemy combatants" not subject to the Geneva Convention. In fact I thought actual prisoners of war could only be asked name, rank and serial number. So any interrogations "enhanced" or otherwise are illegal.

    April 24, 2009 at 6:03 p.m.

  • I am not advocating using nuclear weapons. What I was pointing out was the level of destruction it takes to get fanatics to quit. And I would argue that firepower is and has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan. What's different is we can bring down a rain of ruin precisely on a target now and we couldn't before.

    But even before the B-52's brought North Vietnam to the peace table in 1973. They were very afraid of this weapon so I would not discount firepower.

    I don't want the country get involved in a land war in Pakistan - that is where we seem to be headed. I don't think based on past experience that this country is ready to accept the cost - because once it starts it will be very difficult to stop.

    And is it really over in Iraq? And where the **** are our "allies"? Why does the United States always have to do the heavy lifting. I would tell those slackers we are going to pull out if we don't get any real help from NATO and (cough) the UN. And then watch them squirm about who is going to confront and contain the terrorist.

    And finally another concern is the instability in the world brought on by the economic downturn we caused. That is the stuff that causes global conflicts.

    April 24, 2009 at 5:45 p.m.

  • VietnamVet, I have dealt with POWs. My unit Charley Co, 1/7 would take our captured Cong and NVA down to Saigon and turn them over to SVA. I spent 18 months and 20 days in country.
    I believe that torture is defined differently by many people. Some people consider boot camp torture, grounding of misbehaving pre-teens and teenagers, playing loud rap music, denigned sleep, being an inmate in jail/prison, treat of jail/prison, taking blood samples from newborns and children, and etc.
    I believe there is a difference in uniformed military personnel that fight in combat and none uniformed groups that target citizens.
    While I would not want a loved one waterboard numerous times, I would rather that they are waterboarded than be beaten, nails pulled, joints dislocated, bones broke, healthy teeth removed, eye/s poked out, ear drums bust, denied medical care, denied clean water/clean edible food/shelter, raped, castrated, and killed/beheaded/drawn and quartered/disemboweled.

    April 24, 2009 at 4:21 p.m.

  • I know a couple of Vietnam Veterans who would be glad to take Sannity away for about 2 weeks with no cameras or any kind of communication with the outside world. Wonder how long he would last?
    I got a kick out of the draft dodger, Flush Limbaugh slapping himself saying he was "torturing" himself. With those humongous cheeks, nothing could hurt him.

    April 24, 2009 at 3:44 p.m.

  • Good points Vet
    I am not that naïve to think we have never tortured but as I have been saying the past few years, this incompetent administration left behind, memos, pictures, videos and Cheney is making all the circuits bragging about it….Is the Attorney General just supposed to look the other way?

    Lawrence O’Donnell told Keith Obermann he admits he was a coward but the advocates of torture like Cheney, Hannity, and OReilly never served; nor will their children or grandchildren ever serve….But Hannity said he will submit to water boarding for charity…It’s a game to him.

    Keith will donate $1000 to charity for every second Hannity can stand…I bet Keith won’t have to write a check.

    April 24, 2009 at 3:35 p.m.

  • What really burns my $#@ is how some people really think torture works. The great majority of them never wore the uniform for this country and have never seen a live POW. Just curious, has anyone on this thread ever dealt with a POW?
    The majority of our "leaders" who thought up this &$@@ have never served in the military, especially Mr. 5 Deferment Cheney and now people are coming out of the woodwork to defend torture or so not to offend anyone, "enhanced interrogation."
    I know that some outfits in 'Nam probably tortured and as far as I know, mine did not. We had to abide by the Geneva Accords. What happened before I got there or after I left, I don't know.
    To put it in another way of thinking, how many of the less than 1 percent of the population who have a loved one serving our country would put up with their loved one being waterboarded 183 times?

    April 24, 2009 at 3:20 p.m.

  • A couple points on topic.
    1) The United States deemed water boarding “torture”…
    2) A little history …..Republican presidential candidate John McCain reminded people Thursday that some Japanese were tried and hanged for torturing American prisoners during World War II with techniques that included water boarding.

    The interrogator working for the FBI said it is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, he questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided them with important actionable intelligence.

    Abu Zubaydah told them that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. told them about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics because they were water boarded after the FBI got the information….The source I provided this morning quotes the FBI director doubting the administration’s claim that they stopped any attacks.
    After you water board someone 183 times in one month,when do decide it is not working?

    Some of the detainees that were sent to Gitmo were part of snitching program we set up in Afghanistan that was abused by the locals..People would turn in their rivals for the reward. We detained a 93 year old man and a 14 year old boy by mistake but we held them there anyway.Not all have intel.

    Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller was a central figure in the U.S. detainee-abuse at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib so these actions were planned from the top...... Colin Powell told Rachel Maddow that he, Condi Rice, President Bush, VP Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld discussed the procedures. This did not happen in a vacuum.

    Counterintelligence methods quelled the violence in Iraq; not superior firepower, and this is strategy General Petraeus will use in the Afghanistan/Pakistan battles….Pakistan has nukes.

    April 24, 2009 at 3:17 p.m.

  • The question is does the Geneva Convention apply to these murders. They represent no country and wear no identification as to whether they belong to any country's defense force even those terrorist captured in Iraq who were clearly Iragis. Without this these people are outside the protection of the law.

    These captives were a source of intelligence. Normal interrogations got us nothing so we did the next best thing - strap them on a board and poured water over their heads.

    I think what happened is the oversight got lack and these procedures filtered way down the chain of command and they were applied to people who had no intelligence and some people apparently got carried away. As they say "sh*t happens" in war.

    But why does the United States have to fight wars with one hand tied behind us? This is the exact way we fought the Vietnam War. Did this reduce the loss of life or make it more humane, I doubt it. It prolonged the conflict and made it more vicious.

    We can thank LBJ for putting us there to begin with, he was afraid of being called soft on communism - he was pretty stupid. Now we are getting involved in another quagmire / tar baby - Pakistan.
    The people there are fanatics, almost all of them. We had better get the gloves off because this will be very bloody work. There will be a lot of suicide bombings and IED's, probably much more than Iraq.

    So I wonder why don't we use our best weapon, our air power to reduce, er eliminate the threat. As Harry put it 64 years ago, "If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth." That ended the nightmare.

    April 24, 2009 at 2:30 p.m.

  • Rollingstone
    You responded in a civil manner and I will try to do the same.
    First, whatever I think does not matter on the larger scale, my opinion does not make me a crusader…From my computer to the the Victoria Advocate forum is as far as it got.


    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said it was right to release the memos because it was inevitable they were going to be released to the public anyway…Point 2. The Attorney General cannot overlook possible crimes.

    We have know the facts for a long time, a high ranking JAG lawyer quit and resigned his commission because of what was happening at Gitmo and FBI Director Robert Mueller recalled warning the Justice Department and the Pentagon that some U.S. interrogation methods used against terrorists might be inappropriate, if not illegal.

    I don’t think this country is a shrinking violet because we went through the depression, 9/11, several wars, Watergate and Clinton impeachment….IMO

    I heard David Gregory come up with a sensible solution this morning.
    1) Get an outside independent commission to look at the material that is still classified and report any serious violations that must be prosecuted.
    2) Report the lawyers who ruled that water boarding could be administered legally, to their respective bars for possible disbarment.

    I don’t know for sure but I think Obama was trying to save his predecessor but former VP started giving in-your –face interviews challenging the new administration about keeping those illegal procedures in place.

    After January 20, 2009 several NSA whistleblowers have come forward reporting serious violation that will have to be investigated, so these issues will come up.

    April 24, 2009 at 10:09 a.m.

  • OK, if water boarding is torture and illegal, how many Generals, troop handlers, field officers do we need to prosecute for authorizing torture of our troops by water boarding in training exercises. I bet this training has disappered overnight after this Top Secret document was released by the President before it was declassified.

    April 23, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.

  • And one more thing these examples of soldiers killing prisoners, were those executions ordered by Bush or his administration? I thought the soldiers did this on their own and were punished for it.

    And when I brought up WWII war crimes I was just trying to be consistent, that's all. I have not read where in any war prisoners were not killed and openly by all participants. War is completely brutal, it's not a parlor game.

    So I just think dragging all this cr*p up at this time is a bad thing to do. I really don't give a damn about who gets prosecuted I just think it's bad for the country and totally demoralizing - of course that means nothing to a real Crusader like you.

    April 23, 2009 at 5:25 p.m.

  • Ah, Mike some Democrats made a mistake also. And don't think for a moment I'm against dragging our country through the mud - you are doing God's work Mike.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:53 p.m.

  • Rollingstone
    According to General Petraeus (Tom Ricks book “Fiasco”) about 78% of those we rounded up in the initial months of the Iraq fiasco, were innocent and many were tortured, some died….Many at Gitmo were never charged. Why? Because their testimony was tainted by torture and many were innocent…Abiding by our laws and treaties are not a sign of weakness…Wild exaggerations and unconvincing examples either means (1)You did not read the memos and Armed Forces Intelligence Report(2) You are being an apologist for the past administration(3)You are just trying to deflect blame.

    You know Republicans can make an occasional mistake…
    If you don’t want anyone to be blamed and for us to sweep it under the rug, just say so.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:38 p.m.

  • You know while we are at it we might as well dig up Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Winston Churchill and charge them with war crimes. They fire bombed many major cities in Japan and Germany, killing hundreds of thousand civilians. Why?

    Because as someone commented on here the purpose of war is to break the enemies will to resist. You don't do that by playing patty cake with them. War is an ugly business.

    What we did to some of those prisoners seems pretty mild compared to the option of jumping from a 110 story building or burning to death. Those prisoners were a source of intelligence and basically our only source - so go figure.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:15 p.m.

  • Roberttx
    I may have misunderstood your statement but our enemies do not really belong to a nation state so a tit for tat does not apply.

    We are one of 200 countries that signed four treaties that we call the Geneva Convention and it sets the standards for international law for humanitarian concerns…Remember when the president wanted to amend those treaties under the objection of Colin Powell, John McCain and the military?…Now we may know why.

    April 23, 2009 at 4:01 p.m.

  • "We may not like the things they do, or every find out to what extent they have gone in our defense; but we are more secure for it."

    Says who? Cheney? He's in deep doo-doo along with some other past administration officials. Pelosi, McCain, and others in Congress may be in a legal mess also. I'm not giving them a pass, either. They saw information, video, documents, etc on the torture that McCain said was worse than what the media was allowed to disclosed. Children were also locked up in Abu Ghraib. Perhaps they were used against their parents.

    Agents within the CIA and FBI say that torture doesn't work. Getting actionable information takes time, usually by establishing a relationship with the suspect. Why do you think we had all of those red alerts back in 2002, 2003, etc? Because some poor schmuck in the wrong place at the wrong time was tortured and would say anything to make it stop.

    If torture works, why wasn't Saddam Hussein tortured for the supposed WMD? Oh yeah, because there wasn't any and they knew it.

    The CIA kept going back for more clarification of techniques. Sounds like they didn't want to do it. And Cheney and Rumsfeld, while they claim that the torture was necessary for US security, certainly didn't bother owning the orders back when Lynndie England and her boyfriend and many others in the Army were being prosecuted for it. Cheney and Rumsfeld and that bunch are cockroaches.

    Prosecution of the architects may be the only way the US can regain the moral high ground in the world. I'm glad Obama said that prosecution of CIA and military is off limits. If turning Americans into torturers, fearmongerers and "scaredy-cats" is what the 911 attacks did to us, then the terrorists have already won and the US doesn't stand for anything any more.

    April 23, 2009 at 3:59 p.m.

  • First and foremost, no one is above the law…The constitution; the Geneva Convention, the Army Field Manual, and the UCMJ are their guidelines…We do not operate as rogue agents.

    We have the ability to kill al Qaida leaders from 6,000 miles away and NSA (under the FISA Court) has the ability to sweep up emails and overseas communications so we already the tools necessary to fight 9th century enemies without stooping to their level.

    Like all countries ,we are not perfect so we should be able to rein in those that are violating our laws, morals and principals…No one is above the law.

    We locked up those soldiers that abused the prisoners at Abu Ghraib but new information shows that orders came from the highest levels at the white house…How can we lecture third world countries about human rights ,if we don’t practice it…Those soldiers should be released if we are not going to punish the ones giving the order.

    If our intelligence officers cannot obtain Intel under the present conditions, then perhaps they should find a new line of work…We don’t operate on “ends justifies the means “tactics.

    All those involved may have a reasonable explanation that is now classified….Let a special prosecutor look at all the evidence but we cannot continue to make excuses and say “boys will be boys.”

    April 23, 2009 at 3:40 p.m.

  • Roberttx..."the beheadings were simply killing a prisoner / hostage / kidnap victim

    nothing to do with interrogation"

    Oh, I guess that makes it okay.

    April 23, 2009 at 3:30 p.m.

  • And let's not forget to prosecute Nancy Pelosi who was on the intelligence committee and approved the interrogation methods and even encouraged them - what an outrage.

    April 23, 2009 at 3:16 p.m.

  • the beheadings were simply killing a prisoner / hostage / kidnap victim

    nothing to do with interrogation

    April 23, 2009 at 3:13 p.m.

  • Truman said it best “The buck stops here”.

    The men and women who we depend on to gather intelligence from suspected terrorist do so out of service to their country. We may not like the things they do, or every find out to what extent they have gone in our defense; but we are more secure for it.

    Extremists are calculating and manipulative in their arguments against America intelligence and the tactics they have pursued to protect our country. Buying into what they say and the reasons for their actions is like blaming the sheep for the wolf eating it.

    We should be careful how we judge arguments to prosecute those who simply were following orders, because sometimes those arguments come from wolves in sheep clothing.

    With a new president comes new policy, but intelligence operatives should not be prosecuted for the actions they followed under the former policy.

    To do so would be a travesty of enormous proportions; America needs intelligence gathers who are willing to do what is necessary within policies set by government without concern to future changes of government.

    Remember, change has happened once and it will happen again. Do we want to set a precedent of punishing American patriots working under the authority of previous leaderships for the decisions of that leadership?

    We need to move on and abandon self-righteous arguments for prosecution; because when it comes down to it we want America’s intelligence community to do what ever they need to protect us.

    Do we want them to allow an opportunity to acquire intelligence that may uncover WMD’s being shipped to the U.S. because they were worried about prosecution, do we?

    April 23, 2009 at 3:04 p.m.

  • Roberttx said
    “Whatever level torture the enemy finds acceceptable should be good enough for us.”

    Does that mean a 21st century civilized nations such as ours should stoop to beheading?

    When we give up our principals and morals because of the actions of terrorists, we have lost.

    The FBI does not torture because the evidence obtained is tainted and unreliable.

    April 23, 2009 at 2:56 p.m.

  • whatever level torture the enemy finds acceceptable should be good enough for us.

    April 23, 2009 at 2:38 p.m.