1) Torture does work, and it works very well;
2) Torture works faster than standard interrogation methods;
3) Moral and legal strictures against torture are absolutely necessary for our society, which is well pointed out in the post;
4) These strictures do not, and can not, eliminate acts of torture in our society completely, because there are amoral and immoral men here, even if only temporally blinded from the strictures, and they know that torture works.
5) Obviously, when these amoral/immoral men are caught after committing torture they should face justice.
6) Government and military men giving orders or acting under orders to commit torture are guilty of violating the law. But, so long as the rules and definitions of torture have been till now somewhat vague and highly debatable, it is not appropriate to convict these men of the specific act of waterboarding or enhanced methods in the past.
7) Let us hope that no TTB situation ever does arrive to plague those in charge with a moral dilemma. But, if one does arrive, I hope someone has the guts to do what is necessary.Comment Posted By mannning On 28.04.2009 @ 15:46
Why is bsjones so modest in his pro proposal? He wants nuclear war lite, just as I suspect he wants liberal liteness for the GOP. There would, in the end, be nuclear war heavy with his approach.
All in all a silly attempt at being clever.
We still need some truly positive pro ideas, not disasters from the peanut gallery.Comment Posted By mannning On 23.04.2009 @ 11:10
It is getting harder and harder to keep score of who is on the conservative side, and who supports the GOP, or some amalgam of "moderates" or "liberal lites".
Opinions, at least here, seem to lean towards shucking any and all of the social issues (and in some real measure they are all social issues!), such as: anti-abortion; anti-gay marriage; anti-jihadism, and anti-Muslims; overspending and over committing by the Obama administration; taking another "peace dividend" out of the DOD that will bite us later; and anti-universal health for all(illegals included); anti-big education and their unions; and anti-Illegals (qua illegals).
What seems to be happening is that we are not preserving much of anything of value, on the one hand, and we are not coming up with grand new ideas to conserve, promote and protect the USA on the other hand.
We are being asked to mute our objection to abortion. In other words, to mute our allegience to "thou shalt not murder"--- to stifle our objections and keep in the tent.
We are being asked to accept the inevitability of gay marriage and to mute our objections, when the faithful are sorely tasked to ignore the clear prohibitions of the Bible for expediency.
We are asked to believe that Islam is a peaceful religion, and it is a small fringe group that is causing all of the terror, not the bulk of Muslims. We are told that we misread the Koran, when that is simply not true. There is no mistaking the intent of jihad, and no mistaking the fact that all Muslims are required to perform jihad when called upon to do so, and they respond to that demand.
It is not a sane, prudent, or conservative thing to do to ignore such a threat that Islam presents to us. Yet, we allow some 3 to 6 million of them freedom in our nation to do as they will, while ignoring what they are preached to about every week by their imams---jihad---and the time will come!
We are presented with a huge target--the spending spree of Obama, et al. Yet we haven't mounted a coherent alternative that even we can support with enthusiasm.
We have not really learned the lessons of history concerning war either: our public is so willing to believe that we can reduce our forces and weapons because they see no war-nation on the horizon, and had much rather go passive. Our politicians are so very willing to shave money from DOD, but only so that they can spend it on their pet programs. Peace through strength is being shredded.
We do not mount a sufficient attack against those who block us from exploiting our own resources of oil, and nuclear energy, and we fight a defensive battle about "going green", instead of taking common-sense, practical stands for what is right.
We want to fix health care, yet we have not won any friends by our actions so far of doing a rear guard action on the status quo.
Education of our children is being left in the hands of the professional Burocratic Educators, not the teachers. Where is the hue and cry to fix this obvious problem? Every year we spend more and more per pupil, yet we do not see the expected improvement in the students. The budget is increasingly absorbed by the overhead structures. When do we get rational?
The end result of what I see as a failure to compete directly in the world of ideas and proposals to better the nation is studied attempts to force conservatives into a moderate mold--liberal lite--to win elections.
We are asked to either compromise our principles or to shut up about them. I suggest that true conservatives will do neither!
Note the use of "anti" in virtually every issue. Where are our "pro" ideas and directions?Comment Posted By mannning On 22.04.2009 @ 20:18
Yes, you are basically speaking for the 20% non-Christians in the nation.
The other 80% is a significant majority that is capable of very strong influence on any legislation that affects their moral stands.
I cannot recall offhand how many states have passed social legislation against abortion and same-sex marriage with majorities of 70-80%, but it is at least 11. That is strong enough to make my point.
As to why they vote for such legislation I would speculate that it is almost completely a heartfelt religious and moral objection to those acts. Whether that is a satisfactory reason for voting that way, as you suggest it is not, is quite another matter. It is their reason, their faith, their votes count, and there are lots of them.
Perhaps that is one reason we see more and more thrusts by minority groups to marginalize Christianity in the US, and to further secularize the government.
This is no small conflict within the nation, and it is my belief that these two issues will not be solved satisfactorially in my lifetime. Laws and court decisions may be handed down from on high to ensure those acts can take place, but laws and decisions will not change the inner hearts and beliefs of the majority very easily, if at all.Comment Posted By mannning On 20.04.2009 @ 23:54
Well, there is a problem in the Bible about homosexuality. At least four passages condemn it, one in Romans, and three in Liviticus. This puts the test to Christians as to what they believe about the Bible. Taken literally, there is no doubt that the Bible condemns it.
No one said that faith was easy...Comment Posted By mannning On 20.04.2009 @ 21:02
Well, the God-fearing and God-worshiping are declining, but it is still about 80% Christian in the US. That speaks of a Christian morality for by far the majority of US citizens.
The Christian morality evolved from over 4,000 years of trial and acceptance by many people, and by the efforts of many in the clergy that were charged with interpreting the Bible--even structuring the Bible itself.
If you have a different faith, or no faith at all, you are obliged to invent one or adopt one in order to live in harmony in this or any society. Even the atheist must invent a morality to live by, or find one that is satisfactory. (That is not an easy task.)
I would take the Ten Commandments as the beginning strictures, and they are absolute, and the Golden Rule as a well-proven guide to rewarding relations with other human beings.Comment Posted By mannning On 20.04.2009 @ 20:09
It is, as Kant stated, a Categorical Imperative, and hence quite authoritarian.
More on normalization:
This idea that a majority "normalizes" a given behavior seems to me to be pure moral relativity, where the crowd's behavior defines the good and the bad. This is as opposed to moral absolutes, where either a religion or a government, or even an atheist group, defines for all a moral code to be followed, and sets forth clear rules for social behaviors. Many aspects of the moral code are thus found to be incorporated into the laws of the land.
If moral degeneration takes place in a society and the established moral code or the laws are flouted by the majority of citizens, what is the proper response? Should the code or laws be changed to reflect the changing behavior of the crowd, or should they be more strongly enforced for the greater good?
Not reinforcing the existing codes and laws opens the door for flouting other rules of behavior as well in order to let the code or law follow the preferences of the citizens.
The fear this creates is one of supporting nihilism and hedonism, eventually evolving a society with few rules and few unacceptable behaviors.
The syndrome of: "well, just one more little change" to the code and all will be well, is an exceedingly slippery slope. To me a moral code that has been fashioned by both wise souls and by experience over centuries is an organic whole, such that little modifications here and there may well unravel that wholeness, and hence unravel significant behaviors of the society.
For those that believe in God-given moral strictures, tinkering with the moral code to please the crowd is a flat out sin.Comment Posted By mannning On 20.04.2009 @ 11:34
...not when half the country ends up in non-traditional relationships which, by definition, normalizes those practices.
This strikes me as wrong. If half the nation was addicted to cocaine, would that normalize it? Breaking the law, or breaking a taboo by the majority doesn't make it right.Comment Posted By mannning On 19.04.2009 @ 21:17
Time was that Administrations did not leave a paper trail for what they intended to do that was illegal. It was done by nods and winks down the right chain of command, together with ambiguous statements that could be read any way at all.
Deniability was a paramount objective.
Time was when witnesses after the fact were hard to come by, they having been spirited away to somewhere else.
Time was when front-line individuals made their own decisions about application of force to gain intelligence, and how to survive the aftermath, and, above all, ensuring the deniability meme for their superiors. They took a risk, knowing the penalties if they were caught.
No longer. Accountability for a life has become dominant from the field on up, no matter the depraved nature of the life being preserved intact.
It is not in the cards anymore for two or three hardened and cynical sergeants to take a captured hostile behind the tent line to get something out of him, and for the officers involved to be conveniently absent. Nor is it possible for that hostile's body to be found later with other bodies common on the battlefield.
The very least that will happen in this era is for such hardened and ruthless men, wherever they serve, to ensure that whatever they do will not be discovered, the hostiles will be killed after their interrogations are over, and their bodies will not be recoverable.
This is real progress.Comment Posted By mannning On 17.04.2009 @ 10:09
So the kid gets treated.Comment Posted By mannning On 25.04.2009 @ 01:24
His parents are both boozers and cannot hold jobs.
The rent is months past due, and the landlord finally has the papers to evict.
Father has been through rehab five or six times, and heads out the door each time for the local liquor store.
You find this family a fully-subsidized apartment, get them food stamps, and send them over to a charity for clothes. Still, every bit of cash they can obtain goes to booze.
This is the all too prevalent hard core of poverty, and the government, charities, and we too, cannot solve this problem.
But the kid got treated.