Today’s Sickening Calculation

Emptywheel » Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Waterboarded 183 Times in One Month.

I cannot get my mind around how anyone can seriously argue that this isn't certain to happen again unless some people are tried and convicted for these acts of torture.

And, may I add, I'm pretty sick of the NYT's pussyfooting around the word “torture” when it rights writes about this. [Spell check issue, or subconscious editorializing about NYT's politics?]

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10 Responses to Today’s Sickening Calculation

  1. Scott says:

    Perhaps the United States House of Representatives should pass a resolution expressing their sense that Judge Bybee ought to consider himself disabled and voluntarily cease hearing cases.

  2. told_you_so says:

    Nope, Obama’s philosophy is forgive and forget. That applies to Americans who torture and abuse human rights, and it also applies to foreign leaders like Castro, Chavez, Ahmidinijihad.

    Let bygones be bygones and moveon(.org) to change(.gov)

    He’ll just give a great teleprompter speech next week and it will all be good.

  3. Scott says:

    H. Res. ____




    Expressing the sense of the United States House of Representatives regarding The Honorable Jay Scott Bybee.

    Whereas, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has been ordained and established by the Congress under the power granted by Article III of the Constitution, and the judges of that court hold offices of exceptional trust and honor;

    Whereas, in the regular course of affairs, The Honorable Jay Scott Bybee was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to a seat on that court;

    Resolved, it is the sense of the House of Representatives that, forthwith,

    The Honorable Jay Scott Bybee,

               (1) ought to declare himself disabled; and

               (2) ought to voluntarily cease and desist from

                         A) hearing any case, or

                         B) deciding any controversy.

  4. lindata says:

    I was once treated, unsuccessfully for warts on my hands. Once a week I would go to have them treated with liquid nitrogen. It really didn’t hurt very much, but after 4 or 5 treatments the sweating started before I even got to the clinic.

    Anyone that says being repeatedly waterboarded is not torture is wrong.

  5. Blissex says:

    «Anyone that says being repeatedly waterboarded is not torture is wrong.»

    But the underlying argument is that torturing subhuman enemies is not really torture, and anyhow is not wrong. The same people who applaud the torture of Khalid would be horrified if someone like an insurance broker were manhandled by the police during an arrest for fraud (one can always hope): they see the former as a subhuman raghead, a nobody with no rights (one of them), the latter as a pillar of society, someone who needs understanding (one of us).

    It is the same “untermensch” argument that claimed that dark smooth skinned apes purchased in Africa were not human beings, but cattle, and that red skinned long haired apes found in the plans and forests of North America were not human being either, but vermin. The regular torture of both categories was considered a salutary way of keeping them docile.

  6. Scott says:

    (Via dday) yesterday The New York Times editorialized:

    These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him.

    As a political matter, if the memos had been public during Mr. Bybee’s confirmation hearing in the Senate, it seems impossible to imagine that Mr. Bybee’s nomination would have survived that hearing.

    But The Honorable Mr. Bybee was confirmed, and as a Constitutional matter, Article III judges hold their offices during good behavior. It seems unwise to impeach —let alone convict!— a judge merely over an opinion he authored before his confirmation.

    Perjury, though, in a judge’s confirmation hearing before the Senate, does seem adequate grounds for impeachment—and conviction—yet I have not yet closely examined the Senate record. It is premature to speculate that Mr. Bybee might have perjured himself during his confirmation hearing.

    The Honorable Mr. Bybee should not be blind, though, to the appearance that the nation has lost its trust in him. The honorable courts demand the trust of the people.

  7. Well, something to keep in mind is that torture has existed since the very beginning of human culture. Don’t kid yourself that that American wars would not have been won without it, and you and I may not be sitting here today reading this post if not for the information it has revealed about our enemies in the past….I’m not saying it’s necessarily right, but it’s a two edged sword in some cases.

    Think of it like this, someone breaks into your house and kidnaps your wife and children. The cops catch the perpetrator a week later, but they do not know where your wife and children are. Of course the perpetrator knows their location. The cops then say they can’t pin anything on him and let him go. The next day, by completely by coincidence you and him get in a car accident on a rural road. You are fine, but he got hurt, but is not on the brink of death, but certainly at your mercy. You know he knows where your wife and kids are… what? Makes you re-evaluate your opinions…

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  8. Scott says:

    Think of it like this…

    You’re a well-trained little lawyer. Of course, it’s natural that you’d write to pursuade someone who watches Hollywood fantasies. But if those situations occurred all that often, we’d hear about juries acquitting people.

    Instead, all too often, we find:

    Between the years of 1972 and 1991, approximately 135 African-American men and women were arrested and tortured at the hands of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command at Area 2 police headquarters. Some of these victims were as young as thirteen years old. Various court cases have established that the methods of torture used in the interrogation of suspects included electric shock to the ears and genitalia, mock executions, suffocation, and burning. While Jon Burge was ultimately fired by the Chicago Police Department, not a single perpetrator of the tortures has ever been criminally prosecuted.


    Don’t ever again try that line of reasoning on someone who has experienced hypothermia at the hands of their jailers.

    I’m irrationally pissed off at you. The rage will pass.

  9. Adam says:

    This is really souring me on Obama, who I campaigned for hard.

    The only thing I can hope is that he is making a political maneuver whereby he expresses the desire to put this all behind us and Holder takes one for the team and moves forward with prosecutions.

  10. Chris says:

    “Don’t kid yourself that that American wars would not have been won without it, and you and I may not be sitting here today reading this post if not for the information it has revealed about our enemies in the past…”

    Yep, the guy cracking legbones at Baghram Air Base is just a 21st century George Washington or Ben Franklin. I shoulda known that.

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