As I stated in my post, I am uncomfortable with water boarding. This one goes beyond extreme cold, loud noises, shaking, or belly slaps. I have not made up my mind on the interrogation bill yet.
With regards to water boarding, my understanding is our own fighter pilots have to endure it as part of survival training. Also during my college days, I remember something about a fraternity ritual where the pledge was subject to repeated dunking for long periods of time. This was probably not as bad as water boarding.
We have to find the right balance between trying to prevent "American Hirsohima" and respecting the rigts of POWs. Its not easy to find the right balance. I think the military does not allow its soldiers to use water boarding.
In any event, I suspect this bill go before the Supreme Court will eventually rule on the Constitionality of this. The balance between trying to prevent the next 911 and respecting the rights of POWs is a tough call.
In any event, what ever techniques we ultimately decide we can use the interogators need to be subjected to all of them as part of their training, in the same manner that military people are.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 21:14
I don't think any decent person would defend Foley. Also, if House Republican leaders engaged in a cover up, I don't think any one would defend them either.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 20:57
I don't see how this can be a fake scandal. Tom Foley has already resigned. He was clearly doing things he should not have been doing. If guilty, and it appears he is, he should get jail time. Maybe there is nothing he can be prosecuted for, but there should be.
The investigation needs to address Rep Foley, the House leadership, as well as the IM issue you raise. The bottom line is ANY ONE who is guilty of wrong doing in this case should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 20:52
It seems that Speaker Hastert may have already been caught lying about what he knew and when he knew it. If this turns out to be true, there will likely be multiple resignations of Republican congressmen. In any event, this will give them a chance to clean up their party. Will they take it? Probably not. They will probably do what most powerful do. Rather than take responsibility they will try to blame others.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 20:33
If the Republicans leadership knew what was going on they should be prosecuted and they will be. I don't the investigation has been completed yet.
I'm largely with you on this. Any proper investigation into this will focus on the issues you mention. It is important that Tom Foley pays the price for this, as he looks to be guilty, and it is important that anyone who covered for him or anyone who knew about this and failed to report it should pay the price, as well.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 20:27
I think what I said is he should spend time in jail, not necessarily that he would. Seducing a 16 year should result in jail time. In any event, I think the question will not be whether Foley is a pervert. I think the question is going to be if Republican leadership knew about it and covered it up.
This will be thouroghly investigated. Even if the Republicans don't want to investigate it, the Democrats and media will make sure it is investigated. No stone will be left unturned. If it is determined that anyone did act to cover this up, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
If a number of Republicans are forced to resign, this will give them a chance to nominate new candidates. If this happens, hopefully we can get some true conservatives to run. This may give us an opportunity to roll back some of GW Bush's big government programs.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 20:17
Torture is where someone's head is sawed off for a tv propaganda film. Torture is where teenage girls are stoned for indecent acts. Torture is where a boy's arm is run over because he was accused of stealing something. This kind of stuff happens regularly in the middle east.
The interrogation bill we have now does not allow for anything this extreme. It is little more than what a fraternity might subject its pledges to. At worst, it is as painful as what a football player might experience. Our own military personnel are suffered to harsher treatment than our interrogators are entitled to subject these people to. That said it is clearly much rougher than a pin prick at the doctors office.
You did correctly point out that there are aspects that make me uneasy. I'm trying to balance the need for tough interrogation that will work that might be overly aggressive with the need to prevent "American Hiroshima." By declaring it all "torutre" it makes it seem morally equivelent to what the Iranians or the North Koreans do. Very respectfully, with such over the top rhetoric it becomes very difficult to have a reasonable debate. This is a bill that is supposed to define how we can interrogate prisoners. It is not morally equivelent to what Iran or Russia does.
Abu Ghraib was VERY bad. The media would never let us forget this, even if we wanted to. We should not forget it. We should learn. With that said, this incident was probably the most investigated incident in American history. The people who carried it out have been prosecuted and are serving their time. While it needed to be reported, it was blown out of proportion. It did not warrant aboout 50 front page NYT stories. A better use of trees would have been to spend this time reporting on Al Qaeda's plans for American Hirsohima. Abu Ghraib is over. The culprits are in jail. It is time to move on.
I'll check out the arar file you mentioned. As I reacll there have been a number of incidents where people were tortured and killed. These people were prosecuted. This is the difference between us and our enemies. They glorify this stuff and they do not do the soul searching we do. I trust the guys that carried out the arar incident you refer to will be prosecuted.
Very respectfully, I don't think your worst fears on massive amounts of bodies turning up will be realized. There is to much accountabilty. Groups like ICRC and Amnesty International are closely monitoring every thing we do. Congress will be watching. Also the Supreme Court can step in, as well.
The US turned over Abu Ghraib to the Iraqis. it seems they want the Americans back. It seems they were treated better under the Americans and they had Amnesty Interntaional to monitor every thing. Once the US left Abu Ghraib, the humans rights watch dogs seem to have lost interest.
I did not "vote" for this bill. Actually I'm not sure if I support it or not. John McCain who is probably the most honest politician we have apparently supports it. This goes a long way toward making me more comfortable with it but I'm undecided about it. More study, agonizing, and soul searching is in order.
The point was and still is that over the top rhetoric whether it comes from the "left" or the "right" is not helpful to the debate. I actually suspect the Supreme Court will want take a look at this, in the near future. The issue is likely not decided yet.
If we want a compromise that Lesley can live with, I would suggest the Democrats nominate Lindsay Graham to replace Donald Rumsfeld. I amy not agree with the Senator on all the issues but he is a former JAG officer who seems to be full of integrity, at least more so than the average politician. If he were confirmed, on a scale of 1 to 10, I suspect he would shift 8 degress toward President Bush and President Bush would shift 2 degress toward Senator Graham. The reason for the sudden willingness to compromise would be that Mr. Graham now would be sitting in the big chair as Sec of Defense and it will be his responsibilty to prevent another 911 style attack.
In the mean time, Congress continues to provide over sight. What we have now is probably not the final version of what we will end up with. I hope we can come up with something that is workable that we can all live with.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 20:05
I think the issue is not whether Tom Foley is a pervert. It seems pretty much a given that he is. He should spend a long time in jail. If anyone covered for him, they should go down to. The Repbulicans will get a chance to name a replacemnt for him. If any one covered for the former Rep, they will be forced to resign in disgrace and will probably go to jail for a long time, as well.
This will give the Republicans an opportunity to nominate true Conservatives. Foley voting record does not seem to fit the bill as a true Conservative. The Repbulcians will get to nominate one or more replacement candidates. I hope they choose wisely and nominate true limited government, pro-life Conservatives.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 19:09
I'm all for a draft. I think it should have been called for after the 911 attacks. Even if we decide to withdraw from Iraq, a draft is needed. We need to be able to project a crdible deterence against Russia, China, and Venezuela. Hugo Chavez is truly a grave and gathering threat who is far more dangerous to the US than Iraq or Iran could ever hope to be. To properly handle all of this, we need a larger and more powerful force structure. Due to what has been, to date, a poorly executed Iraq policy, Russia, China, and Venezuela probably see us as a big joke.
If "torture" means we can't make a suspected terrorist uncomfortable via the use of techniques like sleep deprivation, extreme cold, loud noises, standing for long periods of times or a belly slap then we may as well surrender and get this over with. Things like water boarding I'm uncomfortable with. How we decide to interrogate prisoners must be understood in light of the fact that we are trying to prevent "American Hiroshima." This is not an easy situation to resolve. By referring to these mild techniques as torture, the difficulty of what we face is obscured. We will have to navigate this very carefully.
I have little use for President Bush at this time. I'm assuming he is as dishonest as most politicians are. He will ultimately be held responsible for the defense of the country. The responsibilty of preventing another terrorist attack rests on his shoulders. As such, he and any other POTUS will want as wide of a lattitude as possible. It is up to Congress, the Courts, and the news media to provide checks on his power. So far, they have done a good job of this. The recent Hamdan decision by the Supreme Court is a good example of the Courts acting to limit the power of POTUS.
As I recall the interogation bill that recently passed was approved by Senator John McCain. I don't agree with his stance on many issues but this man seems to have more integrity than any other member of Congress. Apparently the compromise reached is good enough for him and for majority of the members of Congress. We shall see if it holds up in court. I'm sure someone wil challenge it.
There are allot of things that don't work in the US but our system of checks and balances works. With an open and transparent system like we have, if we work together, we should be able to achieve something we can all live with. Unfortunately over the top rhetoric that is used by bot the "left" and "right" is not helpful.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 18:56
The goal for Iraq is or, at least it should be, an Iraq that is allied with the US, is stable, and is a western style democracy. To achieve all of these goals, it seems to me that more troops will need to be commited. Also, we made a BIG mistake when we allowed Islamic extremists to enter the political process. We should begin working to try and isolate them and to remove them from power. Islamic extremists have no place in a democratic process of a free country. In order to achieve this will require significantly more troops. It will need the support of the American people, the American government, and the American news media. It will also require a very long time. With a massive troop commitment we should be able to get insurgency under control and the terrorist attacks should subside, however, American troops will be needed for a long time. If we could achieve all of these goals, this would have a HUGE benefit for us. This is probably why our major competitors of Russia, China, their friends in the Arab world, and their friends in South America don't want us to succeed.
Not every one in the American government shares this goal. In crafting a plan for Iraq, it seems all of these groups whose goals are vastly different had to be brought together. As a result of the compromise, we got the worst of all possible plans. We contributed to many troops to the Iraq to avoid the responsibility of running the country but not enough troops to actually run the country effectively!! Because of this we are left hoping that the Iraqi police and military we are training will be up to the job. So far that strategy is not going well. To be blunt, who ever planned the war did not share the more ambitious goals of bginging liberal democracy to Iraq or working to reform the middle east.
Due to differing goals within various groups within the government the US often times simultaneously pursues policies that are completely contradictory!! To achieve a stable, allied, and Democratic Iraq will require the Government to all be on the same page and it will take a multi year and perhaps multi decade commitment.
When the choice was made to invade Iraq we had basiclly two options. Either of them, if properly implemented, would have been workable. They are as follows: 1.) Use a small number of troops. These would probably be special ops forces. This group would probably number about 20,000 or so, perhaps less. This group would be backed up by air support. The things targeted would be the government and the suspected WMD sites would be searched. Also, the oil assets would need to be secured. This is not because we want their oil but we don't want them torching the oil wells like they did when they invaded Kuwait. This would likely be sufficient for regime change but it would not be sufficient to run the country. Most of the fighting on the ground and the governing would be left to the militias. In other words, with this method, we completely avoid the responsibility of nation building or of running the country. Our only roles would be to search the WMD sties and remove the regime. I think this has been refered to as the "Rumsfeld doctrine." 2.)Commit a massive number of troops. 500,000 or more would probably be needed. This gives us the ability to actually control the country, disarm the militias, secure the weapons caches, search the WMD sites, and secure the oil infrastructure. As you can probably tell from my posts here, I prefer option 2. I think this is has been referred to as the "Colin Powell doctrine."
My belief is that either method would have worked, however, due to the compromise the number of troops we commited made us unable to avoid the responsibility of running the country but it was to few troops to actually do it!! We can change this and add the necessary troops and finacial resources to achieve this. To do this will be VERY hard and it will require an ENORMOUS commitment. At this stage, such a commitment may not even be feasible. We have to remain flexible enough to project a credible deterrent to Russia, China, and Venezuela.
Even if it were feasible to make the commitment to Iraq to achieve an allied, stable, and democratic Iraq, at this time, the will is lacking. As such, the mission will be scaled back very soon. The Iraq Study Group will probably issue its report soon, which will recomend reducing forces in Iraq. By July 2007 there will be 10,000 troops or less stationed in Iraq. These will be in Kurdish areas and they will primarily consist of special ops who will be backed up by air support. They will intervene, in Iraq's civil war, as necessary, to prevent the formation of terrorist bases. If this strategy is correctly implemented we can probably achieve a stable and nominally allied Iraq, however, without a greater American commitment the attempt to bring liberal democracy to Iraq is largely over.
Iraq may one day achieve a liberal democracy but barring major changes in the domestic politcal situation the US will have had nothing to do with it. As I've stated before, if I'm wrong and we still have a massive troops commitment in Iraq by July 2007 I will come here and admit I was wrong. I hope this change in course will work because it is the one that will be selected.Comment Posted By B.Poster On 30.09.2006 @ 18:20