As always, every attempt to justify torture inevitably returns to the mythical ticking time-bomb scenario, and we are now to the point that we need a sort of Godwin’s Law for this, as it is inevitable that any discussion of torture will lead to ticking time bomb scenarios. In the most recent version, Reuel Marc Gerecht takes us back to September 7th, 2001, and says, basically- “What about then? Then would you torture?”
It just never stops.
Even the Israeli Supreme Court thinks that the Ticking time-bomb scenario is a load.
joe from Lowell
We have enough information to be certain that the attack is coming, and enough information to know who the right uy is, and information to find him, and enough information to be certain that he knows where the bomb is hidden, but we have no other way of finding the bomb?
One word. Two syllables. First word. Horns? Cow? Angry? Oh, BULL!
Realistically, even assuming the torturers have the right guy, he’ll just misdirect them until the Bomb goes off. Why should he tell them the truth when a misdirective lie will end the torture for long enough to accomplish his goal — and quite possibly vaporize both him and his torturers?
And speaking of torture, why do GOPers like it so much? Could it be that Viagra doesn’t help their E.D.?
The cited baloney doesn’t even deal with the liklihood that a hypothetical like that is just headsmack ridiculous. We’d have one of those guys and "know" that an attack was coming, and we’d waste our time torturing the guy?
Instead of taking prudent precautions that would probably forestall or blunt the attack?
LIKE BUSH COULD HAVE DONE IN AUGUST 2001 FOR EXAMPLE?
Give us a fucking break.
jake 4 that 1
Can we torture now? What about now? Can we, can we please huh??
Thanks to Bushbot’s decideration to ignore the warnings from the Clinton admin., we’ll never know. Christ. If someone had shot Mrs. Schicklgruber on April 17th 1889 Hitler would’ve never murdered millions of people, so we should shoot pregnant women at random. JUST IN CASE.
If, I had a man in custody and had sufficient evidence to know that he had foreknowledge of an impending attack, and there was insufficient time to use standard interrogation techniques, I would weigh the facts I had, decide whether or not the evidence was sufficient for me to risk the consequences of my actions, and then act accordingly. Whether or not I would cross that line, I don’t know. I’d like to think I wouldn’t.
However, if I did, and if I had violated the law and crossed a moral line, I would submit myself to immediate arrest and detention and ask for a jury trial where I would present evidence to attempt to justify my actions and trust in the wisdom of my peers to acquit or punish me as I would deserve.
I would not attempt to whitewash my actions with Orwellian language, blame and sacrifice a bunch of NCO’s to keep me out of jail, and normalize torture as a matter of national policy.
If they can sell the ticking time bomb meme, then they can hand themselves an excuse to torture anybody at any time. It doesn’t have to make sense; it just has to distract us long enough to get them within shouting distance of the statute of limitations.
Somewhat OT, but over at Mudflats, we are invited to guess who Blagalphabet’s law school roommate was.
It’s just a matter of time before everybody who went to law school with either Michelle or Barack Obama is linked to Blagalphabet, dontchaknow.
I wouldn’t need to torture anyone on Sept. 7th, 2001. BECAUSE IN AUGUST 2001 BUSH HAD A MEMO WARNING HIM THAT THERE WAS A CREDIBLE THREAT TO OUR AIRLINES.
If you know about a ticking time bomb and still don’t know where it is, no amount of torture is going to cover up your intelligence failure.
Something descriptive and suitably denigrating…
Hell, it doesn’t even pass the goddam "24" test.
We have the guy, and torture him …. so that he gives up a decoy scenario and we end up CHASING THE WRONG THREAT AND BLAMMO!
Most eleven year olds wouldnt even fall for this crap on a bad tv show any more.
Where in HELL does all this stupid come from?
Why is the fuckhead Sullivan even giving this the time of day?
Realistically, even assuming the torturers have the right guy, he’ll just misdirect them until the Bomb goes off. Why should he tell them the truth when a misdirective lie will end the torture for long enough to accomplish his goal—and quite possibly vaporize both him and his torturers?
And speaking of torture, why do GOPers like it so much? Could it be that [a well-known drug that caused my comment to get put in the moderation queue the first time I wrote it] doesn’t help their E.D.?
Jim Henley has pretty much addressed this in an article he wrote almost 2 years ago.
It’s considerably more inflammatory than that too, and goes to show just how disingenuous most advocates really are.
Don’t get trapped into arguing with the "ticking time-bomb" scenario. It’s a frame on their part that makes torture a valid policy stance.
The Grand Panjandrum
Sullivan is one of the few writers on the Right who have taken the Bush people to task over the issue of torture. He simply posted a response from an author he had previously criticized.
So you’re running an incompetent government bureaucracy that thinks it knows about a ticking time bomb attack and has at least one of the conspirators in custody who probably knows more than he’s already given up to authorities.
Now let’s assume the guy we’ve got in custody is a total douchebag. Can we torture him now?
Ok, so replace the time bomb with a rampaging baby rapist. How about now?
Ok, so there’s a guy with a gun to your head and the only way to keep him from pulling the trigger is to waterboard him. What about now?
What happens if the guy you’re interrogating specifically says, "You’ll have to shove my left hand in a wood chipper before I tell you anything." Surely, at this time torture might not be necessary but it is at least sufficient.
they like it because liberals don’t like it.
Props for the Color Me Bad reference. I totally had a 1990 flash back.
The Moar You Know
@Comrade Dread: You’re torturing me with that comma right after "if".
Now to my point: if you have "insufficient time to use standard interrogation techniques", then you have insufficient time for torture. Torture doesn’t yield truthful or accurate information.
What it is good for is to get people to confess to crimes they haven’t committed, or to make up crimes they haven’t committed, in order to stop the torture. Ask John McCain about it sometime. He’ll gladly tell you that torture works – for extracting false confessions.
Well, let’s see…it’s pretty simple.
If, on 9/7/01, you know that a terror plot is about to unfold, you know that its going to kill thousands, and start the US on an ugly downward spiral, but you also know that you have a conspirator in custody or can get him/her into custody, and the only way to get him/her to talk is torture…well…
You torture the mofo, deciding that inflicting grievous harm upon one person to save thousands is probably worth it on the moral compass, then hope and that a jury of your peers will find you not guilty. If you’re of a religious bent, you’ll probably want to work on getting right with whatever god you worship.
@Genine: Kids. I was quoting the Sugar Hill Gang, young’n.
"Then would you torture?"
Yes, and I would expect to be prosecuted to the full exstent of the law. It is a crime after all.
The Other Steve
I love the smell of verschärfte Vernehmung in the morning.
I know, but I don’t think the long drawn out moral navel gazing approach is any more useful on our side than it is on the other side.
I think that torture fails the mission test. Does torture produce success for the mission, or does it just fuck up the mission? To my lights, it just fucks up the mission. It doesn’t even make for good hokey tv drama any more.
The "What would you do on Sept 7" faux conundrum is just that … faux, because the question really hangs on what is the right thing to do from a homeland security point of view, not a moral-angels-on-heads-of-pins point of view. Jack Bauer is not going to save the world with torture, we are going to save our butts with smart preparation and response to threats that leaves torture in the trashcan where it belongs. The idea that torture can save the mission just trivializes the real problem set.
If we think that torture is going to save us from, say, a nuclear suitcase bomb, then we are fucked. John McPhee published a description of how to bring down WTC with a suitcase bomb thirty five years ago:
The frightening prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists has been in the public mind ever since the publication of The Curve of Binding Energy by John McPhee in 1973 (and its predecessor articles in the New Yorker the year before). Before that time it was widely perceived that the construction of an atomic bomb – developed by the Manhattan Project in World War II – required a Manhattan Project scale effort to create.
McPhee’s book recounted the experiences and views of Ted Taylor, an early nuclear weapon designer, who disputed this idea. Taylor pointed out that although the production of the essential materials of atomic weapons – fissile highly enriched uranium and plutonium – does require huge investments of money and technology, once these investments have been made and the fissile materials are available in quantity then the barriers to manufacturing highly destructive bombs is dramatically lower. Beginning in the late 60s Taylor made it his crusade to raise awareness of this fact so that steps could and would be taken to prevent a future catastrophe.
Near the end of the The Curve of Binding Energy Taylor and McPhee visit the World Trade Center, and Taylor provides an extended reflection on what effect a crude nuclear bomb would have on the towers.
We looked up at the west wall of the nearer tower. From so close, so narrow an angle, there was nothing at the top to arrest the eye, and the building seemed to be some sort of probe touching the earth from the darkness of space. "What an artifact that is!" Taylor said, and he walked to the base and paced it off. We went inside, into a wide, uncolumned lobby. The building was standing on its glass-and-steel walls and on its elevator core. Neither of us had been there before. We got in an elevator. He pressed, at random, 40.
Walking to a window of the eastern wall, he looked across a space of about six hundred feet, past the Trade Center tower, to a neighboring building, at 1 Liberty plaza. "Through free air, a kiloton bomb will send a lethal dose of immediate radiation up to half a mile," he went on . "or, up to a thousand feet, you’d be killed by projectiles. Anyone in an office facing the Trade Center would die."
He pressed up against the glass and looked far down the plaza between the towers… "There’s no question at all that if someone were to place a half-kiloton bomb on the front steps where we came in, the building would fall in the river."
The Other Steve
It’s funny. I work about two blocks away from where they picked up Moussaoui at the Pan Am Flight school in Eagan.
I was thinking about starting the Pan Am Waterboarding school to teach verschärfte Vernehmung. There is space available for lease.
I always like to turn the "ticking time bomb" scenario back around on the guys posing it and ask "Suppose there was a ticking time bomb out there, like you’re describing, and you had a terrorist on the phone who was willing to tell you where it was. All he asks for in return is a deposit of $50 million dollars to an untraceable Cayman Islands account. Would you do it?"
The answer is almost always an unequivocal "No, you never negotiate with terrorists." Which means that there, in fact, are limits to what they would do to stop that ticking time bomb from going off. So then I ask why they draw the line at giving over money, but not at torture.
I have yet to hear a response that wasn’t some variation on "SHUT UP THAT’S WHY!" Which has pretty much led me to conclude that these guys aren’t really interested in stopping terrorists, but rather have seen Reservoir Dogs (or some similar piece of cinema fare) one too many times and have lost that oh-so-tenuous boundary between "fiction" and "reality."
Everyone *knows* pain and the threat of more pain is a 100 percent reliable truth serum, guaranteed to get the truth out of people who know things, and even more awesomely, truth out of people who don’t know anything at all.
Feel free to claim it as Cole’s Law; I’m sure everyone here will back you.
Yes, and we also know that torturing people who would gladly fly themselves into buildings at 500 miles an hour for some nutty religious belief will crumble under threat of pain or torture and immediately give up their cohorts.
I mean, we have all watched enough cartoons to know this is true, right?
Oh nonsense. If you’ve got a terrorist in custody and you torture him to death, then he can’t hurt anybody. If you’ve got a terrorist on the phone extorting you for a cool couple million, he’ll just live to terrorize again. That’s an easy one.
The real question you have to ask is why the US Government is happy to pony up the dough on ransoms as a matter of public policy and how this makes the Bush Regime "strong on terror".
The ticking time bomb presumes omniscience on the part of the torturer. If I were omniscient I would feel free to violate all sorts of laws and moral standards, because I would be God.
Why stop at torture? Wouldn’t murder be fair game, too?
Yes, I can see it now. Gore takes the same low road as GWB regarding torture and Daily Kos and Move On would have brought out the same POM Pom’s as NRO and Weekly Standard. Libruls really love torture like wingnuts do, and and only are against it cause of BDS.
Everything with these shitasses, is about ideology and party. So Clinton Obscurely renders a few prisoners to Jordan and that means America must approve of institutionalized torture by the Bush/Cheney regime. Not to mention John Mccain said it was OK if the CIA does it. He just lost an election BTW Reuel
The World begs to disagree. But one thing is for certain now. In future wars where America is involved, any troops that are captured, will here a common recitation from their captures about torture. AMERICA DOES IT, SO CAN WE.
From Gerecht’s comments:
As (allegedly) intelligent as Gerecht is, people like him never quite seem to grasp that there’s a difference between a bold hero sticking a knife in a guy’s knee a la Jack Bauer to find that ticking bomb, and an institutionalized system of interrogation and torture that produces little actionable intelligence, inevitably results in people of marginal intelligence value being tortured, and inevitably results in abuse committed by sadists and other assholes beyond even what is sanctioned. So running around going "Ah, but if you knew for sure that the guy knew something that could save lives!" isn’t exactly a defense to what the Bush administration has been doing for the last seven years.
Why would anyone engage in an ineffective, immoral, and illegal activity when there are more useful things you could be doing? Why?
Christ almighty, I’m tired to death of this bullshit moral martyrdom that some people feel the need to indulge in. "Oh, I’ll take that terrible conscience-mauling burden on myself. FOR YOUUUUUUUU!"
The ticking-time bomb scenario is nothing more than a rhetorical trick to make you think that there are only two options. The Right love that shit, because they’re incapable of nuance or of comprehending complex situations. And this is a no-win scenario for anyone responding to it, because either you disagree, which means you hate Amurrica and want brown people to blow it up, or you agree and say torture is justified. And if you try any lateral thinking, well, then they just add more conditions to their bullshit hypothetical.
Not that I’m bitter, or have tried to argue this before…sigh.
Because they don’t believe in good and evil acts; they believe in Good People and Evil People, and anything a Good Person does is good. Torture reinforces this because it’s unthinkable that the Good Person might be doing evil or that the Evil Person does not deserve it. Ironically, it is a sort of celebration of imagined moral superiority.
The Moar You Know
@Zifnab: Let’s say you’re in custody and the authorities know that you’re a terrorist. They start torturing you.
Problem: you’re not a terrorist.
What do you do?
They want answers and they kick it up a notch. You’re probably going to die at their hands soon unless you can satisfy them.
Now what do you do?
@The Moar You Know
Not disputing any of that. My larger point is that if you accept all of these standard ‘ticking time-bomb’ tenets without questioning them, it still does not automatically absolve you of the consequences.
If, somehow, it all went down perfectly according to the ticking time bomb scenario and torture somehow got the guy to talk and tell the truth (dubious assumptions), one would still have to answer for breaking the law.
But, if there really are all of these great moments in the last seven years where making a guy walk around naked with a leash on somehow saved tens of thousand American lives, you’d think those responsible would be more than happy to go before a judge and jury of their peers, lay out the evidence supporting their actions, and face exoneration for saving us all.
The reason I suspect they lie, obfuscate, and willingly sacrifice underlings is because, I suspect, they are full of shit and this argument is a lazy man’s way of attempting to justify why something so abominable and abhorrent is common policy in ‘the Land of the Free’.
Can somebody please fucking explain to me how beatings => truth? I seem to recall the CIA spending an inordinate amount of time dosing people with every drug in the PDR, and I don’t think it was because nobody had come up with the bold, new idea of kicking somebody’s ass until they talk. I suspect it had something to do with the fact that there’s nothing to stop your interrogatee from sending you on one wild goose chase after another, especially when you’ve made it pretty clear that they’re never going to see daylight again.
At this point, everyone knows that once the Americans start kicking you and drowning you, you are going to gitmo until you die, even if you tell the truth. And they’re right. I really don’t think I would talk under those circumstances. And if dumbshits like Gerecht don’t understand why, it’s because they have yet to acknowledge that our enemies are in fact reasoning human beings. Instead, they prattle on about the "Arab shame calculus".
Its one line and I thought of the most recent song. So :P
I am old enough to remember the Sugar Hill Gang. I know I was 4 when Rapper’s Delight came out.
Shouldn’t it be called "Bauer’s Law"?
Inevitably the ticking time-bomb justifications for torture inevitably turn to "24" as providing insight into these far-fetched scenarios.
Ah, the heady days of 2004 when wingnuts turned to a TV show for major policy prescriptions.
jake 4 that 1
Cole’s Law already exists: Unless you’re willing to have sex with the suspected terrorist to get information and save countless lives, StFu.
Torture almost never produces the kind of actionable and useful intelligence sought however and it just lowers the torturers to be as evil as the bad guys they are pursuing. I am against the death penalty too. Sure there are evil, vile people out there who need to be locked up, but I am not going to risk killing an innocent to satisfy the blood lust of the state. The risk-reward spread is too wide and it will drag us all down… but like you all said, the Right refuses to deal with nuance and the reality of bureaucratic fuck ups, just fanciful hero worship ala 24. I believe in American values and I am against torture. Sorry Mr. Woo, Gonzales, Bush and Cheney. You are simply on the wrong side of this argument.
And it never will.
This is something that is central to their image. They are Jack Bauer Guy. The Party of individual freedoms, limited government, honor and integrity, fiscal responsibility, etc. Image is all to them. Build and repeat that illusion enough, they just know reality will follow being created. That it hasn’t, just use different metrics to measure the success. Mission Accomplished.
So on this one they fixate on the ticking they hear in their heads. The poor sufferers knowing relief could be had by someone else (not them as their higher priority defending the country would be something like promoting Palin from mom’s basement) torturing someone somewhere. That torture doesn’t work and proven counter productive doesn’t matter. If you build the image, the reality will come. They see the big picture. They’re really smart like that.
Or maybe the "Popeil Argument":
"But wait, there’s more! Now how much would you
And when they’re done with that, they will proceed to the all important hear it part.
In related news: I would think that Bush or one of his handlers, seeing the Shoe Flinger being taken into custody, would say "I don’t want a single hair on this guy’s head to be mussed".
Via our friend Sully, rumors are flying that the Flinger has undergone a serious whupping, as in broken bones and internal injuries. If true (and I really hope it’s not), then I have to assume that the members of Team Bush are simply wandering around with hammers, looking for anything left that they can smash. The list of Unsmashed Things is getting mighty short.
joe from Lowell
If they can sell the ticking time bomb meme, then they can hand themselves an excuse to torture anybody at any time.
With American troops in combat zones, there is ALWAYS a bomb ticking. You don’t even have to go with "a truck bomber is about to drive into a barracks" or even "six guys have set an ambush." There is always some intelligence that could make the success of a military mission a little easier. Or even if there isn’t even a mission, there could be a mission, or maybe the intel will prevent the need for that mission. All of which could be translated into some number of American causualties avoided.
As you say, it’s a blank check, once you state that saving lives justifies torture.
Of course it is. Let’s recap: According to people who actually do deal with terrorists, torture yields faulty information. As in, inaccurate, incorrect, non-useful, non-useable. Never mind the fact that torture is immoral, is illegal, and destroys our country’s standing in the eyes of the rest of the world, IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK.
This has been a message from Reality. Feel free to help yourself to a big, frosty mug of Wake The Hell Up on your way out.
Juvenile fantasies on par with bad 24 fan fic:
Because the keyboard kommandos sit around fantasizing about being a tough manly man who will buck the system, to the annoyance and horror of all the wimpy liberal men, and torture the bad guy and save the day. And then that’ll show them.
And the President will give them a medal of freedom and all the hot chicks in the office will fall at their feet and ask them to make love to them.
@The Moar You Know:
That’s not even it, of course. The purpose of torture isn’t to extract information – that is the excuse that is fed to a public that, thank god, doesn’t know any better than to buy into the excuse. The purpose of torture is to shock and terrorize a population, or more specifically, to destroy the people in a population who might give you the most trouble.
Anybody else seen The Lives of Others and just gotten chills when the Stazi director starts talking about this (very real) wonderful new psychological study that categorizes artists’ personality types and analyzes the best way of dealing with subversive artists? He starts talking about the writer who is under surveillance, who is of a type that depends on collaboration and is stimulated by contact with friends and colleagues. The recommendation is to simply put him in total solitary isolation for nine months or so, no trial, no interrogations, no mistreatment of any kind except that the subject has no human contact whatsoever, and then to release him without any comment. Do that and that subversive artist is completely neutralized – they never write again.
That’s what torture is all about. It isn’t about getting information. It’s about neutralizing voices that might challenge authority. If you believe in democracy, you absolutely can not acquiesce to torture because it is nothing more, less or other than a tool for enforcing authoritarianism.
The problem is that "Ticking Time Bomb That Would Kill An Untold Number of Americans" weighs more than anything. The Ticking Time Bomb justifies waterboarding the terrorist – and killing the terrorist’s 2-year-old girl by shoving burning pokers up her ass while said terrorist watches. After all – it’s a Ticking Time Bomb we’re talking about. We would be justified in mutilating 437 schoolchildren to death – to stop a Ticking Time Bomb.
When you think about it, a Ticking Time Bomb actually justifies an Actual Time Bomb. We would be justified, if we follow this logic down its road, in dropping nuclear bombs on cities all over the planet – because we have one terrorist who knows about a Ticking Time Bomb That Would Kill An Untold Number of Americans. The Ticking Time Bomb, in being something only of imagination – weighs more than anything.
These guys need to stop watching TV where torture always works because that is the way the writers write it. Mistaking TV/imagination with reality is a symptom of a much deeper psychosis that need serous treatment.
Tonal Crow – as for why GOPers like torture, I often wonder if it one of those power/control things. Or they could just mistake it as macho which is just warped, down is up and up is down mentality. Seems to be part an parcel of the authoritarian mindset for many. Of course I may be over-thinking this and they are just psycho.
I remember the phrase as the opening to Cash Money & Marvelous’ 1988 song "Find an Ugly Woman." — Tic-toc/toc-tic/tic-toc/you don’t stop…
I submit that we refer to this as "Hawkeye’s Law". In honor of the M*A*S*H* episode where Hawkeye and Trapper fail to defuse an unexploded bomb that had landed in the compound.
If you’ll remember, when it exploded it was merely a propaganda-confetti device deployed by the C.I.A.
Just plantin’ seeds………
OT: Just driving by to catch up but I’d like to state for the record that if I had arrived sooner I could have saved John a lot of searching. As soon as he said he couldn’t find his tennis shoes, I KNEW they were behind the door.
I’m clairvoyant that way. That is all.
@The Moar You Know:
I’d just confess. Everyone is guilty of something. Except Jesus. And look what happened after they were done torturing him?
If you were a real Christian, you’d embrace being ruthlessly tortured by government officials. And if you’re not a real Christian, maybe the experience will make you convert. What’s the old saying? There are no atheists on waterboards? See, its a win-win.
jake 4 that 1
And then mom bursts into to the room to ask if he wants tuna casserole for dinner, which he’s totally told her not to like a million times and it totally ruins the mood especially when she goes on forever about how hard it is to get the stains out of the sheets. If he were Jack Bauer, she’d be sorry.
Henry Blake, to Hawkeye: "And carefully cut the wires leading to the clockwork base at the head."
Blake: "But first, remove the fuse!"
There already is a Cole’s Law — finely sliced cabbage in a light mayo dressing.
Hey – let’s reverse it: to the terrorist the interrogators are the Ticking Time Bomb who could go off at any second. What is the terrorist then justified in doing?
@Montysano: I would not trade places with any contract employee in Iraq right now for all the whiskey in Ireland.
Internal bleeding? If that guy dies in US custody, in comes the revolution…
And it’s worth pointing out that on Thursday the Senate accused the White House of war-crimes, and today we can read an interview in which Dick Cheney tells the Senate to go fuck itself.
But the only thing the Media is interested in talking about is how interesting and potentially important they find their own perception of Blagogate might be if it were actually a scandal that implicated Obama.
Epic Fail, etc.
It’s a repeating theme. Here, I’ll quote Slavoj Zizek.
Since we’re talking hypotheticals, the answer is "No, I would have used my incredible powers of persuasion along with a Vulcan mind meld." Hell, given that Bush has such amazing powers that he convinced a country into a war we didn’t need, I *know* he coulda done the same (minus the mind meld; he probably assumed it has something to do with rubber tires)
Montysano (All Hail Marx &amp; Lennon)
@jenniebee: In reading more, the Flinger spent time in Iraqi custody, then was transferred to American custody. If I were the US Army, I would have either:
– insisted on custody from the beginning, or;
– declined taking possession of an obviously abused Flinger.
But much like the execution of Saddam, we will likely mishandle this in order to achieve maximum bad PR for the USA.
I am a Vietnam era graduate of the Navy’s SERE school at Coronado, Ca. Believe me; if he was subjected to expert waterboarding, Bush would give up Cheney as the architect of 9/11.
See? It works just great!! Propaganda. Secrecy. Incompetence.
It’s got it all.
Larison: Bribery is serious. Torture, Not So Much
The Other Steve
If I have a guy in custody whose planted a bomb.
Is it ok if I just shoot him in the head?
It’d make me feel better.
I don’t think you need to go all Truther on us ;^)
The Moar You Know
@jake 4 that 1: I promptly introduced him to my Glock 27’s gaping bore.
From last night. I am now convinced that wingnuts are nothing more than the inevitable result of bad television.
@dadanachist: Shouldn’t it be called "Bauer’s Law"?
Yes, it should.
and Montysano, Sully may want to do a little more checking:from AP:
Al-Zeidi has been handed over to the Iraqi judiciary, an Iraqi official said Tuesday, a move that ordinarily signals the start of criminal proceedings.
otherwise Jennie would be right about the hell to pay for abusing their new national hero.
HuffPo called his act "The Shoe Heard Round the World".
How about this scenario: You’re confronted with a Presidential Daily Brief warning that bin Laden is determined to strike in the U.S., a CIA Director who’s hair is on fire, and your chief counter-terrorism officer begging for you to pay attention. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?
simply put, there are some folks out there who need to be tortured…or killed…or both
@joe from Lowell:
Exactly. Except you don’t have to go that far. All you have to say is that torture might save lives to justify it. Even if it yields nothing useful.
@steve: Yeah. The subject of the next thread, for one.
Oops! Hadn’t considered that one. Make it; he’d give up Laura, Barney and both of his daughters.
Spendy liberal. No need to pay for Air Force One to carry his ass across the country. Just threaten Commander Guy with a dry pretzel he could choke on and he’d give up mom.
B-J went through this Cole Slaw bit a couple of years ago.
but i can’t remember WHAT that law was about…
Especially those gay, terrorist-loving, liberals that threaten Traditional Marriage and eat babies while drinking lattes in their Volvos and listening to NPR, right Steve?
Comrade Ed Drone
"I never thought I’d be writing a letter like this, but one night two friends of mine met these three Iranian chicks, and in talking, we found that they knew where a ticking bomb was. One of them talked about Americans ‘always getting bombed,’ and another, with really big tits, said something about ‘being ticked off.’ Well, we put two and two together, and decided that we needed to prevent a terrorist attack. So we
talked them into going to our apartment (my folks were out)took them into custody, and …"
@jake 4 that 1:
Cole’s Law is also good with barbecue.
A terrorist announces that he will detonate a nuclear bomb in a major American city in 1 hour unless Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are gang-raped on national television. What would you do?
Drive to Mexico. I love my country, but I’m not sure I love it that much.
"A terrorist announces that he will detonate a dirty bomb in a major American city unless all Americans X.
If it’s a liberal who supports torture, X is "give up free speech". If it’s a conservative who supports torture, X is "give up all firearms."
I think the point is this.
There are circumstances where free speech can cost lives.
There are circumstances where gun ownership can cost lives.
There are circumstances where property rights can cost lives.
There are circumstances where a right to an attorney can cost lives.
For all our rights, there are circumstances where adhering to those rights can mean the deaths of innocent people, where if we were to abridge those rights, we could save those innocent people.
But in the long term it is the judgement of our society that we should have those rights, even recognizing the cost, because the cost of not having them is higher.
What, you thought freedom was free?
(notez bien: of course there is vibrant debate, as there should be, on exactly how much we balance this equation, and the libertarians/minarchists who think the question is simple are full of it. You and I might quibble, for example, on which firearms are worth restricting by law. But the principle is still there.)
Ask the terrorist if he’ll include Reuel Marc Gerecht in the action, who seems to need some delusions of grandiosity fulfilled.
I think torture (of Bush) is justified if it would compel Bush to protect and defend the Constitution as his sworn oath charges him to do.
The clock on that fiasco, however, is running out.
Head for Best Buy. I want to see this on fifty HD screens.
Ah, fine post title JC.
Umm, yes. That’s kind of the whole point isn’t it?
The ticking time bomb being one of Patterico’s favorite hypos. It seemed to be the only way he could discuss the question of torture.
Maybe he’s still doing it, for all I know. It’s been a long time since I’ve wasted my time over there.
But it sure did give rise to some excellent parody:
Re that "Calvinists 4 Conservatism" bit up there: If you really, really suck at reading comprehension, you just might be a neo-conservative.
The ticking time bomb scenario as offered by two dudes in a YouTube sketch:
If you push the argument far enough… Well, it’s all in the dialectic.
I can’t tell if that site is parody or just a really, really sad man.
I would be curious to find out though, exactly which tenet of Calvinism justifies torturing, lying, and murdering people.
Might as well go all Reductio ad absurdum on that argument. Given that almost any provision of the constitution can be construed as costing lives, and that the constitution is not a death sentence (or however it was phrased), why not simply abrogate the constitution so that the great protector can keep us safe? Let’s stop swearing fealty to this notion of laws and ideas and instead go full-on dictator, because that’s what america is all about.
I guess we need to abort all babies in case they might be Hitler.
Wait, which Law did just invoke?
"I think torture (of Bush) is justified if it would compel Bush to protect and defend the Constitution as his sworn oath charges him to do."
Why do you hate freedom?
"Re that "Calvinists 4 Conservatism" bit up there: If you really, really suck at reading comprehension, you just might be a neo-conservative."
When will liberals ever learn to actually make an argument?
"I can’t tell if that site is parody or just a really, really sad man."
"I would be curious to find out though, exactly which tenet of Calvinism justifies torturing, lying, and murdering people."
The common sense one.
We must be as aggressive as hawks, and as silent as leopards in dealing with our enemies. Too much information has been disclosed to the American public as it is. We should not spare a single Islamofascist in the name of such primitive concepts as "human rights". True human rights involves protecting the body politic at any cost. If that cost has to be Islamist lives, then Islamist lives the cost shall be.
jake 4 that 1
Corner the popcorn market.
Ah. I must have missed that section of the Bible. My fault for not reading the addendums at the end which said feel free to ignore any commandments (or at least the inconvenient ones) if you’re:
– A government functionary, or:
– Fighting in a war of choice.
ROTFL! That’s a good one! Observe human rights by violating human rights. Whew man, and I thought you were being all serious for a moment there, ya really had me going.
Let’s agree to the stupid ticking bomb premise for a moment. Torture is immoral sure, and everyone agrees to that. What the questioner wants is for this immoral act to be without any punishment from society.
If a pro-torture person had access to his hypothetical prisoner, the fact that torture is against the law could not stop him beforehand from committing torture. The only thing it could do it punish him after the fact.
The question should be: If a US city were threatened by destruction, would you be willing to go to prison to stop it? Nevermind the fact that getting a conviction in light of *actually* saving a US city would be difficult. What does it say about this person’s moral compass that they would not sacrifice a few years in prison to save millions of lives?
jake 4 that 1
Here’s something that has me confused:
According to GOP Directive #5,029(B), major cities are dens of sin, filth and pointy-headed inelectyoualls (See for example "Real Virginia" vs. Northern Virginia). Why do they care if some place like that takes a direct hit? They could just put it down to God’s wrath.
I don’t see any of the KeyBored Kommandos throwing a ticker tape parade for the guy who saved San Francisco or Washington, D.C.
That’s all I’m saying.
I know, I know — "Don’t feed the trolls!"
However, all the over 100 comments here contain more in logical argument than any declaration by wingnuts about "ticking bombs" and such. The false analogy that there are ONLY two sides, and that the "ticking bomb" scenario is "the" argument that decides it, is the right-whingers’ sole attempt at argument.
So in the scoreboards of internet commentary, the troll gets a point (but his hat will hide it, I’m sure).
Nice use of the Dismemberment Plan in the title. That album is incredible.
Well, I went over to Crooked Timber where I found this:
Which is just silly, because everyone knows the ticking bomb is always aimed at L.A., not Manhattan. I mean, the film industry left the Right Coast a hundred years ago and there would be no one left to film it there. Jeez.
"In order to save the village it was necessary to destroy it."
So if someone, somewhere, in government decided that having you ass-raped by an 800 lb. Mountain Gorilla would protect the body politic then you’d be okay with that – right?
Nucular Bombs don’t tick, they hum the theme song fur the Flintstone’s.
"Ah. I must have missed that section of the Bible. My fault for not reading the addendums at the end which said feel free to ignore any commandments (or at least the inconvenient ones) if you’re:"
The Christian Church has been pro-torture throughout its history, as was John Calvin. We don’t violate any of our ethics by torturing.
"ROTFL! That’s a good one! Observe human rights by violating human rights. Whew man, and I thought you were being all serious for a moment there, ya really had me going."
The only human rights that matter are Christian rights and conservative rights. These rights may not be violated. As for liberals, atheists, and Islamists, they are a national security threat.
"However, all the over 100 comments here contain more in logical argument than any declaration by wingnuts about "ticking bombs" and such. The false analogy that there are ONLY two sides, and that the "ticking bomb" scenario is "the" argument that decides it, is the right-whingers’ sole attempt at argument."
No, all the arguments assume the ticking time bomb scenario. The ticking time bomb scenario, while valid, is not the only reason why we torture. I’m asking you to consider the preemptive warfare variation to torture _ the one where we lure Islamists to the Principality of Sealand, kidnap them, and torture them. What’s wrong with that? I think we should try doing that to Iranian government officials before we go to war with them.
"So if someone, somewhere, in government decided that having you ass-raped by an 800 lb. Mountain Gorilla would protect the body politic then you’d be okay with that – right?"
If such a need arose, then yes. However, the point is moot, since the body politic is not in any way threatened by Christian conservatives.
""In order to save the village it was necessary to destroy it.""
Sometimes, you do have to shoot the town criers ASAP before they alert the Taliban (for example) that you’re there. One can never tell when the enemy will suddenly discover you, and hence descend upon you rapidly, when in a foreign country. As such, the safety of the troops must be considered. Our troops should not have to be put at the risk of some no-name goat herder.
There was a RedState Post entitled, "A Mile In His Moccasins" about an incident like this. Unfortunately, the archives seem to be deleted.
Although it was decades ago, the nuclear weapons I spent time with sang:
For life is quite absurd
And death’s the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin – give the audience a grin
Enjoy it – it’s your last chance anyhow.
So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath…
Eric Idle – "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
I appreciate the sentiment on display here, but I’m gonna have to drop some science.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Anyway, since gorilla rape would be about on par with suppository insertion, let’s change things…
Interestingly enough, male giraffes overwhelmingly prefer gay sex over the hetero kind, so this might be more feasible to boot.
Next time you insert a suppository, you ought to make a video. Your description of gorilla rape and suppository insertion being ‘about on par’ sounds intriguing and just might make for good YouTube entertainment.
I don’t even want to know how this fact became lodged in your mind. ;)
The next Gorilla that crosses my path, I plan to act superior.
Bauer’s law is good… but if we want to highlight the imaginary nature of the whole setup, shouldn’t it really be Sutherland’s law ("I’m not a super cop, but I play one on TV")
A great thread so far, but the 4 posts of epic mega win (IMHO):
Can I get an A-men.
Less than epic:
And don’t forget the rights of the White being threatened by the Blacks, who are national security threats too. And the mens rights that are threatened by women who want jobs, and y’know, opinions, and votes, and stuff.
I thought he was an actual real conservative till he started spouting off the obvious troll stuff. Happy lulz you sad dick.
We should call it The Law of the Dick.
I feel terrible. Instead of portending doom, this blog title conjures up Color Me Badd’s "I Wanna Sex You Up."