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Waterboarding is torture…

January 15, 2009

…says Barack Obama’s Attorney General designate, Eric Holder, echoing what John McCain said in the GOP debates among an incredulous group of candidates and pundits.

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29 Comments
  1. January 15, 2009 4:21 pm

    In a perfect world, everyone in the Bush administration who authorized torture would be sent to the Hague to stand trial for war crimes.

  2. January 15, 2009 4:47 pm

    I always thought it was a form of summertime boating recreation…

  3. c matt permalink
    January 15, 2009 5:41 pm

    “Incredulous group of candindates” – except for Ron Paul, who agreed.

  4. January 15, 2009 6:01 pm

    Matt,

    In a perfect world, I would assume, the controversy would not exist because there would have been no 9/11, no torture, etc.

  5. January 15, 2009 6:03 pm

    What “controversy,” DC? Torture is a war crime, and ought to be prosecuted and punished. You disagree??

  6. January 15, 2009 6:15 pm

    None of them was genuinely “incredulous.” They were just playing the part they decided they would to try and get elected.

  7. January 15, 2009 6:41 pm

    In a perfect world, I would assume, the controversy would not exist because there would have been no 9/11, no torture, etc.

    The order in which you list these — and really, the invoking of 9/11 itself — is telling, as if torture exists because of 9/11. That’s a load.

  8. Mark DeFrancisis permalink
    January 15, 2009 7:09 pm

    In a non-ideal world, that is, the one in which we live, there is no justification for torture.

    The arguments against are so well-known and incontrovertible that I won’t repeat them here.

    But it is unbelievable that there is said to be”controversy” in the so-called Catholic blogosphere.

    Then again, I’ve seen some of the sophistry in service of Americanist ideology that permeates certain quarters.

  9. January 15, 2009 7:12 pm

    “Waterboarding is torture….”

    Yes.

  10. January 15, 2009 7:20 pm

    But it is unbelievable that there is said to be”controversy” in the so-called Catholic blogosphere.

    Yes.

  11. January 15, 2009 8:06 pm

    Torture and in particular humiliating treatment – smearing with “menstrual blood”, the whole Abu Ghraib sickness, and the like – would seem to only strengthen the resolve of prisoners, apart from it being rather sick. I wonder who came up with that. Meeting of generals…”So, any ideas what to do with prisoners ?” *raised hand* “Yes?” “Sir, I suggest smearing them with menstrual blood.” “Splendid idea. Start production”. *another raised hand” “Yes ?” “Sir, let’s have them form naked human pyramids while wearing underwear on their heads”. “Fantastic! You really earned your stripes.”

    But all of the sickness that does make the news is nothing compared to the actual situation. (The Bush gang took great care of censoring unpleasantries) And I don’t mean just torture of select suspects, but the general treatment. I know soldiers who were in Iraq (now back home with PTSD) who told me that anything we hear in the news is ridiculously little, that reality was far worse, for them and prisoners. Beating the crap out of anyone arrested is standard procedure, no matter how little evidence there is, as a friend who worked in transporting prisoners told me. Quote “I’ve seen things you don’t want to know”. Of course, the official rule is that women can’t be in combat zones. However, Iraq is one big combat zone.

    She was hit by an IED, scars from ankle to knee on both legs, is now back home, now getting quite a bit of money from VA – from what she hinted at because she endured some additional godawful things after the IED hit.

    Ah yes, this is the greatest country in the world. Nipples shock, war doesn’t. Can’t say “Fucking war” on tv, but waging it is just fine. Height of absurdity. I remember from blogging that a curse word would upset people way more than the atrocities it was referring to.

    I am glad that Bush was a pro-life president. He’s safe from The Hague though, because before he became president he never left the country except for Mexico. So he’s definitely not going to Europe now.

  12. January 15, 2009 8:07 pm

    The Catholic blogosphere is torture as well. :-) This is the only place I still hang out.

  13. January 15, 2009 8:13 pm

    Gerald, trying to wade through some of your comments deserves mention in the same vein. ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’! ;-)

  14. Mark DeFrancisis permalink
    January 15, 2009 8:14 pm

    Gerald,

    I agree.

    BTW, I got the DG Beethoven Complete Edition, V. 17, The Folk-Songs today. 7 discs of beautiful stuff that surprises over and over. I did not know there was this “musical side” of Beethoven. Irish folk songs, God Save the Queen…

  15. January 15, 2009 8:16 pm

    “But it is unbelievable that there is said to be”controversy” in the so-called Catholic blogosphere.”

    Is there controversy in the Catholic blogosphere over whether waterboarding is torture? I hadn’t come across it, if so, but I have eclectic (or eccentric, if you prefer) reading habits, so I don’t read many Catholic blogs.

  16. January 15, 2009 8:40 pm

    Jimmy Akin is the only Catholic blogger to my recollection who suggested waterboarding might not be torture, with the following qualitification:

    Take waterboarding as an example. I would say that waterboarding is torture if it is being used to get a person to confess to a crime (it is not proportionate to that end since it will promote false confessions). I would also say that it is torture if it is being used to get information out of a terrorist that could be gotten through traditional, less painful interrogation means (it is not proportionate to the end since there are better means available). I would not say that it is torture if it is being used in a ticking time bomb scenario and there is no other, less painful way to save lives (it is proportionate since there is not a better solution). And I would not say that it is torture if it is being used to train our own people how to resist waterboarding if it is used on them (this is apparently something we do, and it is proportionate on the understanding that there is no better way to help people learn to resist waterboarding).

  17. January 15, 2009 8:40 pm

    Amend the above, “qualification”.

  18. January 15, 2009 9:04 pm

    “Gerald, trying to wade through some of your comments deserves mention in the same vein. ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’! ;-)”

    Consider it mortification/penance :-)

  19. January 15, 2009 9:42 pm

    Waterboarding is torture.

  20. January 16, 2009 10:12 am

    The order in which you list these — and really, the invoking of 9/11 itself — is telling, as if torture exists because of 9/11. That’s a load.

    Well, torture did take place in this case because of 9/11 and the various conflicts that stemmed from it. That doesn’t mean it was a necessary result, 9/11 and the following wars certainly did not necessitate torture because torture is not necessary. However, it would not have occurred in this case if 9/11 had not happened.

    Or is your theory that the outgoing administration would have tortured someone regardless of circumstances?

  21. January 16, 2009 10:13 am

    Consider it mortification/penance :-)

    Actually, Gerald, there’s a much easier solution. I just don’t read your comments that go over four or five lines. It’s never worth it.

  22. croque-monsieur at Tartine's permalink
    January 16, 2009 10:36 am

    Christopher has spoken well as did Jimmy Akin….which is a view that new people to Vox Nova can find here at this link explicated by a Catholic cleric who actually worked on this problem in the sense of scholarship. Rare use of pain in the ticking time bomb scenario is far less violent than much of what God commanded in the OT.
    Link http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt119.html

  23. January 16, 2009 11:03 am

    DC – What I’m not hearing from you is anything like, “Of course, torture is a war crime and ought to be condemned and prosecuted. That said…”

  24. January 16, 2009 1:49 pm

    The situation on the ground – and not by “rogue” soldiers, but as a matter of policy – is a war crime. The odd thing of course is that one has to distinguish between war and war crime. Regular killing is ok, it needs to be qualified in certain ways to be a crime. Not to mention Geneva conventions – up until someone is taken prisoner, it’s ok to kill them. Afterward, you have to keep them around.

    This is why it is impossible to join the military and be ethical, you have to do as told (well, or go to military prison, which is not quite the same as regular). In particular with lunatics in office, this tends to mean murder. Curiously, your “separated brethren” of the Evangelical variety are the bedrock of the military, complete with WWJD stickers, completely oblivious to the irony.

  25. January 16, 2009 5:16 pm

    Matt,

    I attempt to answer your question in the post whose trackback appears above.

  26. January 16, 2009 5:16 pm

    It was Akin’s appalling consequentialist logic in the above link that made me completely dismiss Akin as a credible Catholic commentator. At the same time he was trying desperately to prize open the door to torture, his outfit was spinning the idea that there were 5 Catholic non-negotiables, and torture certainly never made that list. As we all know, the list was a blatent attempt to say thay Catholic should vote Republican.

  27. January 16, 2009 11:31 pm

    Or is your theory that the outgoing administration would have tortured someone regardless of circumstances?

    It is a FACT, not a “theory,” that the united states government (and not only the Bush administration, though they have been the most open about it and willing to justify it) has been engaging in torture for decades. So, yes, the outgoing administration would have been torturing people and teaching other countries how to torture due to whatever circumstances they felt called for it.

    DC – What I’m not hearing from you is anything like, “Of course, torture is a war crime and ought to be condemned and prosecuted. That said…”

    Matt, you will never hear any such thing from DC. Don’t expect much from his post.

  28. January 17, 2009 2:25 am

    They used to outsource torture more. Along came Cheney, saying “I’ll do it myself !”

    As a special bonus: self-destructed economy.

Trackbacks

  1. No War Crimes Trials « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective

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