READER COMMENTS ON
"Lithwick: 'There is No Getting Past Torture. There is Only Getting Comfortable With It'"
(10 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 11/11/2010 @ 6:51 pm PT...
Thank you Brad Blog.
These last two administrations have put themselves far above the law and even further beyond any common standards of decency.
George W. Bush was a bad guy, but that's pretty much what I expected. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has caught me off guard. Not that I was ever fond of Obama, but Democrats, some of whom actually self-identify as liberals, actually defend this guy's arrogant disregard for the Constitution.
That's what really gets me --- that Barack Obama has turned so many good people against the very foundations that made us what we once were. He turned good Democrats into good Germans. And why? Does anybody know?
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 11/11/2010 @ 9:33 pm PT...
I think it's complicated with multiple contributing factors. And I'm not sure what specifically you have in mind with your question.
But I can relate to it, I think, cuz I have so many friends who defend Obama. They still seem in love with him.
I never thought Barack was gonna be our saviour. But I did think he was gonna at least TRY to do some of the many great things he campaigned so strongly and inspirationally on.
Not the case, in the slightest. In fact he seems tempermentally, constitutionally, intellectually, and fortitudinally not up to forthrightly addressing a single one of the many pressing problems at hand. And that's putting it kindly.
Obama seems delusional to me. The Washington media and most of the rest are in a bubble with him. This bubble coexists and is in part the product of the right wing bubble that's been inflating and spreading for the last 40 years. All this delusional magic thinking based in ignorance, fear, and denial has permeated and/or affected a lot of our thinking.
Maybe it's a bit like looking at the reality of our dysfunctional voting system. To see our current voting system for the colossal and democracy killing mess that it is, is profoundly disturbing. And once you admit that reality it's hard to be comfortable and not DO something to try and fix it.
Maybe what you're wondering about is a related phenomenon. To see how dysfunctional Obama is and how unlikely that he's going to do anything of substance while the sand is running out of our hourglass may be too much for people who had such high hopes for him to accept.
Maybe it's too hard trying to make ends meet without having to worry about the end of human existence and/or the great experiment that was the United States of America.
Anyhoo, gotta go to sleep, but that's my very partial answer to your question.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 11/11/2010 @ 9:54 pm PT...
Also, it has been occurring to me that as weird and troubled as things are in this country there are still many, many of us who are still pretty creature comfortable. When it comes to looking deeply inside and doing the self-examination concomitant with examining societal first principles about how we conduct our affairs and the resulting interconnected effects we have on the rest of the planet, we are a fat, comfortable, self-indulgent people. Change is hard. And the Empire is over. So there is change either happening or imminent on many fronts. To see the situation clearly and to respond sanely in ways that promote change that's sustainable while at the same time running as fast as possible off the cliff because we're so locked in is a tall order.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 11/12/2010 @ 3:52 am PT...
As best as I can determine, there seems to be at least six main possibilities as to why Obama has declined to publicly condemn and prosecute those who ordered, condoned or participate in torture, and the persons who obstructed justice by deliberately destroying evidence of torture:
1) Agreement With the Policy: Obama actually agrees that the policies of the former administration either did not violate any legal requirements of American law (including our signed international treaties like the UN Convention Against Torture), or were otherwise legally justifiable.
2) Political Deal: The Obama Administration has made some kind of political deal, either as a matter of convenience or under duress, with some unknown political faction that has resulted in him trading away potential future prosecution of the torturers and the persons who destroyed the evidence in return for some other unknown thing.
3) Lack of Sufficient Power: Due to some inherent or recent institutional limitations imposed on Obama's presidential powers, Obama has found he simply lacks having the political power to force Congress or the judiciary to prosecute the torturers and/or evidence destroyers, and so he has decided to adopt a willingly compliant face on his actions merely to disguise the fact of his own lack of power.
4) Strategic Advantage: Obama has decided to strategically sacrifice his legal duty to prosecute the torturers and/or the evidence destroyers in order to avoid risking potential undesired consequences. (E.g., sustaining a judicial outcome from our current right wing dominated Supreme Court that might support giving a future president a constitutional license to commit torture, or creating fodder for opposition propagandists in the event of another large terrorist attack, or disproportionally increasing national political divisiveness, or otherwise causing unwanted negative political consequences to himself or his Democratic Party, etc.)
5) Feared Harm to U.S. Interests: Obama is sacrificing his legal duty to prosecute because he has calculated that might significantly increase the risks of harm to certain substantial U.S. national interests. (E.g., The safety of U.S. and allied Armed Forces while they are still engaged in combat, or the ability to pursue U.S. foreign policy objectives in general, etc.)
6) Some combination of all of the above.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 11/12/2010 @ 11:29 am PT...
All of the above is interesting discussion, but the missing word is:
"Outgoing" immediately before
"U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers"
While I do not generally support the weak-willed, non-progressive and shoot-themselves-in-the-foot Democrats, the Rethuglicans who are poised to take over leadership of the House of Representatives are a bunch of nut-jobs and criminals who shouldn't be empowered to run a McDonalds, much less the purse-strings and oversight of Congress.
Say goodbye to "accountability" for at least two years.
Say goodbye to "progress" for at least two years.
And if you think the Rethuglicans will act on Electoral Reform or investigations of any of the instances of voter suppression in 2010, you are sadly lacking in historical perspective.
So it goes.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 11/12/2010 @ 12:21 pm PT...
For me part of Charlie Levenson's comment demonstrates a weird phenomenon that seems to happen not infrequently in internet commentary. He says--
And if you think the Rethuglicans will act on Electoral Reform or investigations of any of the instances of voter suppression in 2010, you are sadly lacking in historical perspective.--
I missed the part where ANYONE in this thread suggested that Rethuglicans are going to act on electoral reform or investigate voter suppression.
So as far as I can tell attribution is made to a thought no one has expressed, the author seems to just make it up. Does he see this somewhere I don't? Maybe I just missed it. Or is he saying this cuz he thinks maybe somebody was secretly thinking it or was about to think it? No idea.
The creator of the made up thought then takes his own made up thought as an invitation to get in a little gratuitous dig at the fictional beings so "sadly lacking in historical perspective" to have had the silly thing. And that's "us".
Something's missing in this picture.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 11/13/2010 @ 2:15 pm PT...
It is perhaps appropriate to reiterate what I wrote in Plumbing the Depths of Lawless Executive Depravity:
A growing body of evidence, including confirmation contained in the recently exposed Afghan "Pentagon Papers," suggests the President did not look back at his predecessor's war crimes because he saw, in the failure to prosecute, the ground work for his own round of "Unitary Executive" lawlessness --- an expanded, illegal and increasingly covert "war on terror" in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of paramilitary assassins, operating in secret and beyond the rule of law, carry out targeted killings of "suspected" terrorists on a global scale --- a program that has already produced massive collateral casualties amongst innocent civilians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Worse, as revealed by a newly filed lawsuit, the Obama administration has moved beyond the Bush/Cheney cabal's assertion of unchecked Executive lawlessness in the form of extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention and torture. The Obama administration has now not only asserted a right to assassinate anyone that the Executive branch labels a terrorist, including U.S. citizens, but has gone so far as to place lawyers in legal jeopardy should they seek a court order to block an extrajudicial execution unless the executive branch grants the lawyer permission to do so.
Beyond, the torture, the illegal wars of aggression and assassinations, we are now faced with executive impunity, and that impunity will destroy the last remnants of the concept of a rule of law, upon which our constitutional government was founded.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 11/13/2010 @ 11:28 pm PT...
You folk should travel the world a little before you yell torture. And worry more about your children than your false UN sense of fairness.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 11/14/2010 @ 5:11 pm PT...
Exactly how many frequent flyer miles do your sensibilities require before someone is allowed to call torture torture no matter who's doing it or where it's being done?
How many other people's children have to be tortured before you realize they could be your children?
Do the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights only apply to you and yours?
If you could reference the documentation that suggests we do NOT hold those truths to be self-evident for ALL people but rather just those you deem worthy, that'd be helpful.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 11/15/2010 @ 7:53 am PT...
Curious @8 wrote:
You folk should travel the world a little before you yell torture.
While I'm baffled by what ones travels have to do with opposition to torture, which is not only made illegal by the Geneva Conventions and U.S. treaties but by U.S. statutes, for the record, I was born in Shanghai, China. By the time I was fourteen months old I'd traveled from China to the UK and then the US.
In addition to serving the better part of 1968 in Vietnam, I've since traveled to Mexico, Canada, the UK, Germany, Honk Kong, Japan and again to China.
My concern with torture predates the Bush/Cheney cabal. My father was waterboarded by the Japanese during WWII. He testified after the war at the US-backed war crimes trials in Hong Kong. The Japanese officers responsible for waterboarding my father were tried and convicted of war crimes; sent to prison.
Please explain to me, Curious, why waterboarding, when ordered by Japanese officers was a war crime then, but, when later ordered by Bush/Cheney, was simply an "enhanced interrogation technique"--or at least how additional travels will somehow reveal, as legal, that which is decidedly illegal.