Friday, April 24, 2009

The world is full of Irony

"Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere... I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture."-- George W. Bush, June 2003


Matty said...

I'm not sure how you're missing the logic on this one...

GWB is opposed to torture. The CIA asked if certain techniques were allowed under law. Lawyers determined that the harsh techniques do not constitute torture.

I know you don't agree with the lawyers opinion but there's no cognitive dissidence there.

Uncle Walt said...

Which I guess encapsulates the entire Bush Admininstration.
They wanted to believe that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program so they accepted the intelligence that said it was there and ignored the evidence that it wasn't.
They wanted to believe that Saddam had a relationship with Al Queda so they listened to Chalabi and believed the confessions achieved through torture and ignored everything else.
They wanted to believe that tax cuts stimulate the economy AND pay for themselves and ingored the lessons of the past 2 decades.
They wanted to believe that waterboarding was not torture so they hired a lawyer who would tell them so and then said "SEE, THE LAWYER SAID IT WAS OK". They ignored the number of times we had denounced waterboarding when done by other countries, they ignored the fact that we tried, convicted, imprisoned, and in some cases executed Japanese soldiers because they waterboarded allied troops during WWI.
I just find it sad, fundamentally sad, that a deeply Christian man such as yourself would find this treatment of a prisoner of this government to be moral, let alone legal.
Do you really think that Jesus would believe the lawyer who said that waterboarding was OK?

Matty said...

I know you'd like to just throw this stuff out there but I think it's important to be accurate.

Every administration gets conflicting opinions, it's the way intelligence gathering works... not everyone will agree on the data. That is not the same as politicizing the data.

Also, I'm not convinced that Saddam DIDN'T have the WMDs - we gave him plenty of time to get them out of the country.

You aren't going to get me to argue that the tax cuts along with the entitlement spending that went on for the past 8 years was a good plan. I think the data does show that tax cuts stimulate growth and help the economy but it can't coincide with seriously increased spending.

Further, I'd like for you to show me evidence that the Bush team specifically hired lawyers to come to the conclusions that they did.

And more... I thought we'd already agreed that the Japanese soldiers were imprisoned not executed... and I assume you mean WWII.

I've also seen some interesting arguments that the soldier mentioned in the Post article was actually imprisoned for a large number of crimes. It looked like it involved a variety of methods which included some type of simulated drowning.

As to my faith...
To be completely honest, I am torn on this one. I have to explain that I have 2 conflicting things battling within me.

As a human, I like to see people get what they deserve. Justice done.

From a spiritual (ie Christian) perspective, I am told that we are all sinners and to wish judgement on people is to forget that I too deserve judgment.

Part of being a believer is to understand my sinful human nature and to strive to be more like Christ.

From a human perspective, I actually could give a rat's butt about those 3 guys that got waterboarded. They were twisted murders and (again, from a human perspective) they reaped what they sowed.

So now, the spiritual...

Does scaring someone (even repeatedly) without significantly harming them violate that? I don't know. Does a soldier who kills someone in battle violate a Christian ethic? How about a cop who shoots a criminal to save a hostage? What about a CIA officer who scares KSM in order to stop an imminent terrorist attack? Where is that line?

I honestly don't know but my human failings say that when it comes to those 3, I have a hard time getting upset.

Hey, that's just me being honest.

Matty said...

Oh, I also just noticed that the Japanese guy in question was charged with water torture, which likely is not the same as the modern method of waterboarding which is controlled and monitored.

Just trying to be clear and I prefer clarity over agreement.

Matty said...

One last thing... I was just chatting with my dad and he said that found waterboarding to be "unpleasant but not torture." I trust him more than DOJ lawyers in making that judgement.

Uncle Walt said...

And so I guess this is where this discussion ends.
And I find it depressing.
Depressing that a debate over torture that seems to say torturing these particular people would be OK even if it was.
Depressing that a form of interrogation that this nation has uniformly condemned, and even prosecuted, every since WWII, is all of a sudden OK if we have a doctor present when we do it.
Just depressing
I am briefly heartened that our President has clearly, publically and unequivocally said we will never ever do this again, but depressed that we, as a nation, did it in the first place.
We are supposed to be better than this.
We are supposed to be the Bright Shining City in the Hill.
I understand the people of good conscience find waterboarding acceptable.
I just don't understand how.
But we did it.
And thats depressing