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04/11/2008

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No doubt, Pursuit, there's a long list of Democrats that you've voted for.

I made a rather lengthy comment that was sent to spam earlier, so I'll repost it in smaller bits here.

The problem with your last comment, Tom, is that you are drawing parallels between different acts, attempting to lump together one act that is under dispute with other acts that are clearly torture.

Yes, we tried the Japanese for Water Curing, but that is a completely different act that Waterboarding.

From Wikipedia Water cure is a form of water torture in which the victim is forced to drink large quantities of water in a short time, resulting in gastric distension, water intoxication, and possibly death

This meets the definition of torture under U.S. law, in that:
“torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

Forcing a person to ingest large quantities of water is not just a momentary discomfort, but can also lead to gastric distension, water intoxication, and even death.

By contrast, waterboarding is severely uncomfortable, but doesn't lead to any of these same results. An excellent article of the how and why of whether waterboarding is torture is available here.

Or perhaps we should all take a minute and actually watch someone being waterboarded. You'll notice that even after undergoing the process, his comment is how effective it is, but also how quickly you recover.

When the North Vietnamese broke John McCain's arms and then suspended him by them, I don't think he was ready to hop up and walk away when they were done. But waterboard someone, and a minute later they walking back to their cell.

Or maybe we should all take a minute to read the December 30, 2004 DOJ memo LEGAL STANDARDS APPLICABLE UNDER 18 U.S.C. §§ 2340-2340A. This is not something that anyone has undertaken lightly, nor is it something, as has been stated here over and over again, that has been widely used. Out of the thousands of detainees, it has been used three times. But this seems to be the only thing that the left wants to debate.

Anyway, on to answering your final question. I thought I was clear about this above, but allow me to reiterate. The executive has been granted the power it needs to successfully wage war and to preserve the safety of the United States. That precedent was set in Ex Parte Milligan (.pdf).

However, I also believe in checks and balances, and have also pointed out several times that these have been employed, even by this administration that you say is trampling the constitution. Congressional leaders have been briefed from the beginning about what is going on, and to a man and woman, found nothing wrong with it until it was politically useful to pander to their anti-war base. Congress has been involved all along, the administration has been forced into altering some of its policies (military tribunals for detainees, anyone?) because of oversight. So really, our government is working exactly the way the constitution designed it to work.

And that really bites your ass, doesn't it?

First of all, my use of "water cure" was a flourish of rhetoric that injected ambiguity into this discussion I hadn't intended to inject. That's my bad.

The water cure was not the distinctly different action Frank says, however. It was merely an extreme variation on the water torture theme: Creating in people a sense that they are drowning in order to elicit information from them. "Waterboarding" as a term is fairly new, perhaps only a few years old, but the various techniques have been around for hundreds of years. The bloating-to-death you speak of is as often a side effect as it is a desired result. Less extreme variants date back to the Spanish Inquisition. During the Spanish American War in the Philippines American soldiers were accused of simulating drowning in their prisoners and were court martialed.

As for your description of "momentary discomfort," well, that is a function of how long waterboarding is applied. My guess is that it was anything but momentary.

As to what bites my ass: You seem to believe that I'm disappointed that the courts and Congress have, however tentatively, dialed-back the Bush Administration's claims of unlimited power. Apparently, you think I'd rather win the argument and lose my country than lose the argument and have my country survive. You will understand, I'm sure, why I find that incredibly insulting.

This administration has been dragged kicking and screaming into a world of checks and balances. That is, perhaps, how every Presidency is dragged into the real world. But if you look at the history of this Administration, its assumption of absolute power is really quite extraordinary.

From the first days after inauguration, when access to historical Presidential records were cut off and the number of classified documents skyrocketed, the application of Unitary Executive theory has put an end to open government as it had previously been understood. Since 9/11, it has only gotten worse.

Franklin Roosevelt empaneled an investigation into the bombing of Pearl harbor only days after the bombing itself; President Bush fought the 9/11 Commission for more than a year. When President Bush wanted to invade Iraq, he insisted he didn't need Congressional Authorization to do it. He only sought authorization when it became a political problem for him. As the John Yoo memos show, the President believes that his power acting as Commander-in-Chief is basically unlimited, including the ability to ignore laws and treaties.

You can argue that all of this is fine because the Courts have reigned him in. It is, as you said, in indication that our governmental system is working. I agree with that; I find it heartening. But it does nothing to absolve President Bush and the Republican Party -- which has fought tooth and nail by his side for virtually everything he has asked for -- of responsibility.

It also does nothing to refute my basic belief that Republicans think Presidential power -- when wielded by a Republican acting as Commander-in-Chief -- to be, basically, unlimited. You can say they didn't get away with it; you can't say they're not trying.

With regard to the Iraq boondoggle that Frank and Pursuit have defended:

The best of intentions are no excuse. You can reference crimes by Saddam 10-20 years ago but it doesn't change the fact that we contributed directly and indirectly to the deaths of 100,000 to 1million. I can't see anyone being very thankful for that.

So Tom, one must vote for Democrats to prove one is not a Republican? Pretty tough test considering the historically disasterous candidates for pres. that the Dems have nominated recently.

But, ya I have voted for Dems. Sad to say, but I am at least partially responsible for unleashing Obamania on this country. Although, in my defense, he was running against Alan Keyes. I also vote for our current Governor Blago, since his opponent Judy Barr Topinka had more make-up than qualifications. Tragically, he has more hair than ethics, but on the plus side, our most recent ex-Governor, George Ryan, a Republican, really could use some company in prison. Oh, I didn't vote for him either.

Too bad you don't share the same non-partisan views that I have.

Bezza,

You seem like an almost rational person, so I'll go with it.

Regardless of why we went in to Iraq, you cannot dispute the fact that we are there now. We can argue all day about how much progress is being made, but I have a simple question. What do you think would happen if we packed up and went home now? Do you honestly believe that Iraq would be better off without the coalition forces there, or that fewer people would die? Or, would Mooky take his little Iranian backed militia (which recently got the living shit kicked out of it by.. wait for it.. Al Maliki and and the Iraqi forces with a little air support from the good ol U.S. of A.) and try to take over at least a third of the country, if not all of it. Also, what do you think would happen to all those Iraqis that have been helping the coalition forces, training to be in the Iraqi army as well as in the police force? You think AQI is going to slap them on the back and say, "Hey, honest mistake. You were just trying to survive under the crusaders", or do you think we would see mass murders that would make what Saddam did after the '91 war seem like a walk in the park?

Personally, I would like to see this whole thing wrap up successfully, which means that we allow the Iraqis to continue to build on the progress they have made toward a stable country free of outside influence from either Iran or Al Qaeda.

But hey, I'm just the kind of guy who likes to avoid seeing those who yearn for the freedom for self determination getting their heads sawed off by radical scum.

Hate to join the party so late, but I was on vacation.

Ennyhoo, I couldn't let Bezza's misinformation go unchallenged. He claimed that "There are between 100,000 and 1million iraqi civvies dead" as a result of our intervention in Iraq.

Lessee here, during the US Civil War, about 620,000 died in about four years of fighting. Not one day of fighting in Iraq matches the intensity of fighting during the Civil War, so the figures Bezza cites are unrealistic, not to mention sensationalist.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you believe those numbers, you've been duped.

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