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Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:07 PM

Pres. Obama says torture happened because we were 'afraid,' ignoring those who stood up against it

from the ACLU, April 27, 2011:

President Obama has disavowed torture, but he has been reluctant to examine the Bush administration’s abusive interrogation practices. By refusing to examine the past, we betray the public servants who risked so much to reverse what they knew was a disastrous and shameful course.

As Jameel Jaffer and Larry Siems wrote in a recent op-ed, "Those who stayed true to our values and stood up against cruelty are worthy of a wide range of civilian and military commendations, up to and including the Presidential Medal of Freedom."

The New York Times agreed: "This modest awards proposal has lately assumed a degree of urgency. After the killing of Osama bin Laden, some - like John Yoo, the Bush Justice Department lawyer who twisted the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions to excuse the inexcusable - argued that waterboarding and other abuses were both proper and necessary."

Top officials of the Bush Administration approved the torture and abuse of prisoners, but brave men and women throughout the military and the government challenged the policies, called out abuses, and worked to end the use of coerced evidence. These courageous individuals should be honored for their integrity and their commitment to real American values. So far, though, our official history has honored only those who approved torture, not those who rejected it.

By refusing to acknowledge the courage of those who said 'no' to torture, we betray the public servants who risked so much to reverse what they knew was a disastrous and shameful course. Honoring these people would encourage the best in our public servants, now and in the future.


Unsung Heroes

Sgt. Joe Darby is former Army Reservist best known as the Abu Ghraib whistleblower. Then 24-year-old Darby was serving in Iraq when he discovered a set of photographs showing other members of his company torturing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. The discovery anguished him, but ultimately he burned the photos onto a CD and delivered it with an anonymous letter to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. Celebrated by some, and threatened with death by others, Darby has said that he “never regretted for one second” turning in the photographs.

Former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora led an effort inside the Department of Defense to oppose legal theories put forward by Justice Department lawyers that justified the use of coercive interrogation techniques. Mora argued that the techniques were ineffective and unlawful.

Col. Morris Davis, an Air Force officer and lawyer, was appointed to serve as the third Chief Prosecutor in the Guantánamo military commissions system. Col. Davis made clear that he would never permit the introduction of evidence extracted through waterboarding and insisted that the proceedings be transparent. Col. Davis resigned from his post in 2008.

Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, a veteran Marine pilot and prosecutor, volunteered to return to active duty to help achieve justice for a fellow Marine who had been co-pilot on the second plane that struck the World Trade Center. A self-identified evangelical Christian, Couch ultimately decided he could not seek a conviction based on statements obtained through torture, stating that the abuse violated basic religious precepts of the dignity of every human being.

Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld was the lead prosecutor in the military commissions case against detainee Mohammed Jawad, who was a teenager when he was captured in Afghanistan. After learning about the abuse and torture that Jawad was subject to in custody, Vandeveld decided he could no longer continue with the case. He later filed an affidavit in support of the child prisoner’s case, referring to himself as Jawad's “former prosecutor and now-repentant persecutor.”

Former CIA Inspector General John Helgersen wrote a meticulously researched report documenting some of the abuses that had taken place in CIA prisons, questioning the legality of the policies that had led to the abuse, and characterizing some of the agency’s activities as inhumane.


So far, our official history has honored only those who approved torture, not the courageous men and women who rejected it.

Top officials of the Bush Administration approved the torture of prisoners, but brave men and women throughout the military and the government challenged the policies, called out abuses, and worked to end the use of coerced evidence. These courageous individuals should be honored for their integrity and their commitment to real American values.



Copyright 2011 American Civil Liberties Union.
Originally posted by the ACLU at https://www.aclu.org/national-security/acts-courage-against-torture

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Arrow 60 replies Author Time Post
Reply Pres. Obama says torture happened because we were 'afraid,' ignoring those who stood up against it (Original post)
bigtree Aug 2014 OP
whatchamacallit Aug 2014 #1
pscot Aug 2014 #2
Thinkingabout Aug 2014 #3
malthaussen Aug 2014 #4
leftyohiolib Aug 2014 #5
SunSeeker Aug 2014 #6
mrdmk Aug 2014 #7
rickyhall Aug 2014 #8
warrant46 Aug 2014 #37
DirkGently Aug 2014 #9
MannyGoldstein Aug 2014 #10
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #44
kentuck Aug 2014 #11
DrBulldog Aug 2014 #17
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #38
BrotherIvan Aug 2014 #42
rhett o rick Aug 2014 #58
tularetom Aug 2014 #43
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #45
BlueMTexpat Aug 2014 #12
PoliticAverse Aug 2014 #22
bigtree Aug 2014 #53
Cyrano Aug 2014 #13
BrotherIvan Aug 2014 #14
SammyWinstonJack Aug 2014 #33
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #35
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #36
BrotherIvan Aug 2014 #40
Scuba Aug 2014 #56
DrBulldog Aug 2014 #15
TBF Aug 2014 #16
Iggo Aug 2014 #18
Laughing Mirror Aug 2014 #25
Iggo Aug 2014 #26
SammyWinstonJack Aug 2014 #34
Solly Mack Aug 2014 #19
whereisjustice Aug 2014 #20
NRaleighLiberal Aug 2014 #21
MisterP Aug 2014 #23
G_j Aug 2014 #39
MisterP Aug 2014 #46
Bluenorthwest Aug 2014 #24
whereisjustice Aug 2014 #28
Dark n Stormy Knight Aug 2014 #50
whereisjustice Aug 2014 #27
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #32
Enthusiast Aug 2014 #29
leftstreet Aug 2014 #30
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Aug 2014 #31
BrotherIvan Aug 2014 #41
bigtree Aug 2014 #54
sendero Aug 2014 #47
Tierra_y_Libertad Aug 2014 #48
winter is coming Aug 2014 #49
rhett o rick Aug 2014 #57
mike_c Aug 2014 #51
Vattel Aug 2014 #52
bigtree Aug 2014 #55
nilesobek Aug 2014 #59
Orsino Aug 2014 #60

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:09 PM

1. Neocons circling wagons, covering asses... n/t

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:11 PM

2. Thank you for posting this

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:19 PM

3. The Bush Administration had the ability to know what was torture and what was not, they choose

to torture, there have been many who proclaimed the interrogation techniques was improper, Sen John McCain said it was torture and against the Geneva Convention as well as many many citizens of the US and the world. I know anything George Bush did during his administration is praised by his followers, I can say I never honored the decision for this torture. We have also determined the torture techniques did not reveal the needed information they was seeking though Cheney will still say it did. Let's separate the fact those in the Bush Administration has not been prosecuted for their decisions from being honored, it is not recognizing this as honor to those who made this decision.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:10 PM

4. Salutes to those individuals.

Very difficult to take that sort of stand.

-- Mal

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:14 PM

5. it happened b/c the people doing it knew there would be zero consequences

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:17 PM

6. Excellent idea. We should honor those unsung heroes, especially Joe Darby. nt

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:32 PM

7. Top officials of the Bush Administration approved the torture of prisoners

It is the philosophy of non-thinking brutes to believe torture will lead to the betterment of the USA.

Why is this group of people not in jail, were they so traumatized by 9/11 they could not think?

Or, are they not in jail because their inter-demons told now was the time to beat people up and they could not help that?

Yeah, the torture people are walking free with a few minions in jail as their proxy...

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:32 PM

8. No excuse for torture, Mr. President

Just like there's no excuse for genocide!

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Response to rickyhall (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:21 PM

37. Its Shameful

Like passes given to the Mysoginist Thugs in the NFL, Obama only seems to smooth the surface so Thugs and War Criminals like Cheney can " Get their Lives Back Together"

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:51 PM

9. Not "we." THEY. Why would Obama conflate us with Neocon idiots?


The idea that once some horrible deception and crime has been accomplished, it forever gets a pass, lest 'Murica admit fault, is exactly the kind of rationale that led to these despicable horrors in the first place. It's the logic by which the Cheneys and Rumsfelds of the world justify themselves.

If "We" are just like that, then we stand for nothing at all.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:57 PM

10. Oh, those scolds?

 

Admit it: those "civil rights" and "rule of law" types suck the fun out of everything. Like zombie Libertarian Glenn Greenwald.

They should develop better social skills so they know how to go along to get along.

Regards,

TWM

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:34 PM

44. Those bastards!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 01:59 PM

11. It seems that as soon as Democrats take power...

...they all get in the "forgiveness" mode and want to "put all the crimes behind us" and to "look forward"? Why is that?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:18 PM

17. It's called cowardice.

 

Strange isn't it? Republicans are many proven horrible anti-American things, and yet unlike the Democrats, they rarely are cowards.

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Response to DrBulldog (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:23 PM

38. I think it would more accurately called an "arrangement".

Not cowardice.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #38)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:29 PM

42. That and "complicit"

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #38)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 09:49 AM

58. I think it is part of both. It is certainly easier to rationalize "going along" if you are a coward.

 

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Response to DrBulldog (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:29 PM

43. Well, when it comes to defending their country in a situation where they might get their ass shot

they pretty much are always cowards.

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Response to tularetom (Reply #43)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:37 PM

45. Precisely.

They are great at posing as heroes but they would never subject themselves to live fire. They are Chickenhawks.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:01 PM

12. Another name that should be featured in the OP

is that of the VERY brave Major General Antonio Taguba.

In 2004, Taguba was assigned to report on abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In May of that year, he published an extremely critical report that was leaked to the public.[10] Later that month, Major General Taguba was reassigned to the Pentagon to serve as deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness, training and mobilization in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.[9] Describing his thoughts upon being informed by John Abizaid a few weeks after the leak that he and his report would be investigated, Taguba said "I’d been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia."[10]

In January 2006, General Richard A. Cody, the Army's Vice-Chief of Staff, instructed Taguba to retire by the following January. No official explanation was given; Taguba himself believes his forced retirement was ordered by civilian Pentagon officials in retaliation for his report on abuse of prisoners.[10] Taguba's retirement, effective January 1, 2007, ended a 34-year career of military service.[7]


More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Taguba

I am very disappointed in the President's remarks, which do a great disservice to all those who risked their careers - or had them prematurely ended - simply for reporting this.

So far as I am concerned, the chapter can never be closed until all Bush Administration war criminals have answered for their crimes.

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:33 PM

22. Beware when an organization picks you as the person to 'find out what really happened'. n/t

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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 08:16 PM

53. thanks for the addition

. . . so relevant because of the visible and escalating blowback from those abuses. Case in point about the counterproductive effect - and we're not just talking about the media exposure; there are hundreds of those prisoners who went back into their communities with a vengeance against the US and our interests; many having been held without any charges at all.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:02 PM

13. The International Criminal Court at the Hague can

declare Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, war criminals. And since Obama isn't going to do anything, the ICC should act.

If nothing else, it would make our war criminals avoid many countries where they would be immediately arrested and sent to the Hague. It would also make it glaringly apparent that the U.S. doesn't really give a rat's ass about torture, as long as we're the ones doing it.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:13 PM

14. If the leader of the Democratic Party apologizes for torturers, then the Party has lost its soul

I often wondered why the right put up such weak candidates. I assumed it was letting a D sell bailouts, non-prosecution of bankers, and dismantling the social safety net. But they must have gotten a thrill up their legs when they got to watch a Democratic President trying to explain away torture.

And then cheerleaders have jumped on the idea that, "well at least he said the word". As if that is enough. As if that makes it better.

One has to have principles. And if torture is not a line in the sand, then I don't know what is.

Good on the ACLU for supporting those who had the principles to stand up against evil.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:07 PM

33. +1!

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:09 PM

35. PLUS ONE, a whole bunch!

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:19 PM

36. "if torture is not a line in the sand, then I don't know what is."

This is the line that made us better than the Nazis and Imperial Japanese. We had the moral high ground. Woo would have us believe that the moral high ground has no merit.

Either we are the good guys or we will certainly be the bad guys.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #36)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:27 PM

40. We cannot be Hypocrites

And by us, I mean Democrats. The world has already seen that Republicans are hypocrites. But just as Israel is losing the moral ground, we have and continue to do so. We cannot allow our tribal feelings to get in the way of our moral judgement. That only leads to the situations you named above.

I am appalled to see Democrats, many of whom I'm sure marched in the streets to protest Bush's War, now try to defend President Obama on this. It is INDEFENSIBLE. Instead, there should be one orchestrated scream and letters flooding the WH the DNC that this is not acceptable. I'm drafting mine right now.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #14)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 07:07 AM

56. + another

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:15 PM

15. And thus the biggest fraidy-cat of them all is ...

 

Obama.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:16 PM

16. Glad to see people talking about this - even if the dems

at the time did nothing to stop it ("impeachment off the table" is a phrase that comes to mind).

I wonder if they could be turned over to the Hague now by a democratic president? I know he wants healing, but the republicans have not only rejected his advances, but treated him like absolute crap if we are honest.

Is there a legal way he could turn them over to the Hague? I'm not a lawyer but guessing this would be complicated??

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:18 PM

18. I wasn't afraid.

Were you, Mr President?

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Response to Iggo (Reply #18)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:48 PM

25. Me neither

Neither were a lot of people.

We knew it was all lies, lies invented to scam and scare people. Because that's what they do when they want more and more power over you. When you have people scared, they'll do what you say.



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Response to Laughing Mirror (Reply #25)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:49 PM

26. There's a word for that.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #18)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:08 PM

34. I wasn't either.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:22 PM

19. K&R

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:23 PM

20. if evidence of torture was released as it was happening, the Snowden haters would have been

incensed by such traitorous actions, causing their heads to explode, spewing fake patriotism across the internets like shit flavored jello hitting a fan.

The Democratic party should have no room for these posers. They should be caught right at the border of common sense and sent back to the Republicans.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:30 PM

21. kick and rec for incredible relevance...and sadness.

as in pathetic.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:33 PM

23. but recognizing the real heroes shows up the torturers were deem merely overzealous in their

own heroism, their own desire to Protect Murka

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Response to MisterP (Reply #23)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:24 PM

39. "the real heroes" ...correct!

and those who tried to prevent the occupation of Iraq before it took place.
There are many unrecognised heroes. At best we are dismissed and ridiculed.

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Response to G_j (Reply #39)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:57 PM

46. what Obama said is in fact more insidious than "they were skeert"--it's saying

that their crime was being OVERheroic--trying too hard to Perteck Us

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:39 PM

24. Rewards go to the mediocre and to the malicious, while the excellent and the courageous are

 

forgotten. This is the new American way.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #24)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:55 PM

28. anyone can strive for justice, it takes a special kind of person to justify torture

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #24)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:03 PM

50. Yep. Helluva job, Brownie, and suchlike.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:52 PM

27. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

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Response to whereisjustice (Reply #27)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:07 PM

32. We have seen it played out right before our eyes.

"Patriotic" scoundrels.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:58 PM

29. Kicked and recommended!

"These courageous individuals should be honored for their integrity and their commitment to real American values."

Real American values! Not fake Bush style American values.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:59 PM

30. DURec

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:00 PM

31. There are probably a couple of other names that could be added to the list of those

who have shown the spotlight on war crimes committed in our names, even if not specifically those related to torture.

Chelsea Manning comes to mind.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #31)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:28 PM

41. +1

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #31)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 08:17 PM

54. agreed

. . . Chelsea Manning

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:02 PM

47. It wasn't fear...

.... is was the desire for vengeance. Same thing that effectively led us into Iraq.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:07 PM

48. The fear was discovering how many Democratic pols backed it and holding them accountable.

 

But, I guess he could refer to them as "patriots" and "under pressure".

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 04:26 PM

49. Torture didn't happen because *we* were afraid.

Torture happened because the BFEE was desperate to justify the war they lied us into. They didn't care who they hurt/killed or how many lies they told, as long as they got what they wanted.

Obama will be remembered for his failure to do anything about the worst excesses of the Bush Administration, and not in a good way.

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Response to winter is coming (Reply #49)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 09:48 AM

57. I agree with you. Torture is a popular tool for tyrants. nm

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:14 PM

51. laws exist to govern behavior and set standards in precisely those circumstances....

Laws exist to set standards for acceptable behavior when we might otherwise question which is the best course to take. Being "afraid" is no excuse for ignoring the law or "our values." It is a statement about how fragile and tenuous those values really are.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 06:16 PM

52. Bush and Obama seem to think that cowardice is a good excuse.

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 01:10 AM

55. »

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 11:59 AM

59. The media is complicit in rendering aid to torture apologists.


Movies, like "Zero Dark Thirty," where we were to try and sympathize with the torturers and the stress and fatigue they were under. Also that TV series "24."

Maybe the President can't do anything about this. He might face a powerful mutiny in the intelligence and armed forces. His staff is probably well integrated with elements of some forces, or connected to some forces, who are complicit. At any rate, more details might remain secret. It might even be illegal to seek the information like in some of these rigged trials.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 12:10 PM

60. Prosecution isn't happening because he's still afraid. n/t

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