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Author Topic: Senate Torture Report
Fenring
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Here is a NYT article on the subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/world/senate-intelligence-committee-cia-torture-report.html?_r=0

As expected the CIA is trying to downplay the findings, while others may be outraged but lack any kind of 'button' to press to do something about it.

Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the CIA interrogation program "“a stain on our values and our history.”

Regarding the claim that the CIA's techniques were all sanctioned by the justice department:

quote:
Many of the most extreme interrogation methods — including waterboarding — were authorized by Justice Department lawyers during the Bush administration. But the report also found evidence that a number of detainees had been subjected to other, unapproved methods while in C.I.A. custody.

The torture of prisoners at times was so extreme that some C.I.A. personnel tried to put a halt to the techniques, but were told by senior agency officials to continue the interrogation sessions.

During that time, the questionable legality of those techniques was addressed in this way:

quote:
“Strongly urge that any speculative language as to the legality of given activities or, more precisely, judgment calls as to their legality vis-à-vis operational guidelines for this activity agreed upon and vetted at the most senior levels of the agency, be refrained from in written traffic (email or cable traffic),” wrote Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the C.I.A.'s Counterterrorism Center.

“Such language is not helpful.”

In other words, don't talk about CIA Club.

If the results of the report sound like they might be partisan, some in the GOP think so too:

quote:
Many Republicans have said that the report is an attempt to smear both the C.I.A. and the Bush White House, and that the report cherry-picked information to support a claim that the C.I.A.'s detention program yielded no valuable information. Former C.I.A. officials have already begun a vigorous public campaign to dispute the report’s findings.
So the claim being made is that the report cherry picked information making it sound like torture didn't yield important information, which it really did. Even if that's true, who cares? No one contests that the Nazis learned important things from their contemptible experiments; it was a major scandal (even if understandable) that the data from those experiments was retained for use by the West. But that's quite a bit different from defending the experiments on those grounds!

The CIA's position on what it deemed acceptable is all too clear:

quote:
“A policy decision must be made with regard to U.S. use of torture,” C.I.A. lawyers wrote in November 2001, in a previously undisclosed memo titled “Hostile Interrogations: Legal Considerations for C.I.A. Officers.”

The lawyers argued that “states may be very unwilling to call the U.S. to task for torture when it resulted in saving thousands of lives.”

I wonder what the American people would have to say about this. Even in 2001 I suspect there would have been a major outcry against the use of torture if the question was put to the public. The 'Jack Bower scenario' does present a compelling case in a real ticking time bomb scenario, and maybe people would be split on what to do in that case. Was there any reason to believe that there was a ticking time bomb in the months following 9/11?

President Obama wants all Game of Thrones fans to know, however, that we should feel some sympathy for Ramsay Snow's position:

quote:
At the same time, Mr. Obama said that he understood the pressure that the C.I.A. was under after the Sept. 11 attacks, and that “it is important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had.”
Indeed, who among us can say that we haven't done a little torture to get the job done? Am I right?
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NobleHunter
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It's disgusting that Obama isn't going to prosecute anyone. He should, at the barest minimum, go after the people who broke the CIA's own rules about "enhanced interrogation".

He should go after the whole bunch but unless he goes after Bush et al. it raises a serious issue of fairness. At least, assuming the torturers were operating under the assumption the President had legalized their activities. I'm not sure prosecuting a former President other than treason or corruption is a good idea. Especially by an administration run by the other party.

On the other hand, limited prosecutions imply that some of the methods were acceptable. At least no prosecutions allow for all methods to be equally bad, just not bad enough to outweigh the complications caused by prosecuting them.

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D.W.
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quote:
I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested.
I'd like to think that if I was I would pass.
Look at the tested, and think there but for the grace go I.
Might be a coward, I'm afraid of what I might find out.


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AI Wessex
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This is the most difficult of issues to resolve using reason and morality. Which is the "greater good", the means or the end? Those who believe in an absolute morality (vs relative morality) will have to struggle with this one even more than the rest of us.
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scifibum
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quote:
Was there any reason to believe that there was a ticking time bomb in the months following 9/11?
This is probably where people are going to disagree the most, and some may even hint that there were time bombs, but they/their sources can't talk about it.

I think not, but it's a bit hard to argue with the CLASSIFIED stamp.

I'd probably rather live with some additional risk to American lives than with the knowledge that my country tortures people.

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Seneca
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There is no point in defending America if we lose the values that make us worth defending.

If Obama had been truthful and ethical he would have come into office rolling back and ending all of the Bush admin's unconstitutional practices relating to the war on terror. Instead Obama continued and expanded many of them.

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TomDavidson
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Based on what I've heard from a number of people closer to the Administration than I am, Obama did in fact intend to cut the CIA off at the knees but was repeatedly and aggressively threatened and undermined by that agency. I'm still not thrilled at his willingness to cave in that scenario, but I'm able to understand it. The couple of individuals I know who're still in a position to look into this have been rather angrily blacklisted by the DoD, so I don't know any details and don't know anyone who could share some. But it seems to me that someone running on a platform of disbanding/reforming the American intelligence apparatus would need to be the cleanest and most transparent person to ever hold political office.
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KidTokyo
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The country is not being run by the people we elect -- most certainly not the president.
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Seneca
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If Obama is scared of the CIA because they have dirt on him so he refuses to rein in their alleged illegal activities then Obama should resign. We don't need a president who let's other people tell him what to do and order him to violate the Constitution.

That said, I find that explanation absurd without proof. More likely without evidence to that assertion is the more simple answer: Obama is running the government the way he wants it to be.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If Obama is scared of the CIA because they have dirt on him so he refuses to rein in their alleged illegal activities then Obama should resign.
I'm not sure that making Biden the president would actually solve the problem. It should also be noted that the CIA does not actually need to have dirt on you to threaten you; as the Wikileaks releases showed, we have no trouble (or compunction) making up scandals to threaten people with.
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Seneca
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That's even more ridiculous. If that were to really happen Obama should just order federal Marshals to clean out Langley and throw them all into jail.

Still, not one shred of evidence for this extreme assertion.

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Fenring
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If Obama had felt really strongly about it he could have simply taken on the CIA outright, in public. They could challenge him all they like and make up whatever they want, but if Obama declared in an address to the nation that he was personally going to end torture and bring the CIA in line by whatever means were necessary the people would rally to him in a heartbeat. Nothing the CIA could possibly say (other than if Obama really were guilty of crimes somehow and they threatened to expose that) of a made-up nature could dissuade the populace supporting the President in such an initiative.

Think Andrew Jackson versus the Biddle and the 2nd Bank of the U.S. was a big media storm at the time? A president has taken on a major institution before, and in that case won even though it was the banking system he was up against.

I think the likeliest tactic the CIA would use would be to threaten the President's family. I also have a conspiracy theory, though, which I call the principle of mutual blackmail, that in order to vet people for certain high positions those people are obliged to deliberately commit an illegal act that would ruin them if revealed so as to ensure blackmail power over them. If groupings of highly ranked persons were all subject to these procedures it would give each of them mutual blackmail power and thus ensure that none of them 'goes renegade' to try to take down the system. I'd be quite surprised if I ever learned conclusively that this isn't standard practice. This type of scenario would effectively make all members into puppets of a sort, and would also prevent someone like Obama from taking on other members of the club.

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NobleHunter
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The biggest threat the CIA could make is not action but inaction. It's one thing to brave out personal threats but another to risk national ones. What if the CIA said, "if you disrupt our operations, there will be a nuclear attack on American soil next year?" Mass arrests at Langley wouldn't fix it. Going public with the extent of CIA intransigence wouldn't help.

Who's gonna take the chance on radical reform if it could cost the lives of millions? It doesn't rule out more gradual reforms but those are more easily managed by the establishment.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
The biggest threat the CIA could make is not action but inaction. It's one thing to brave out personal threats but another to risk national ones. What if the CIA said, "if you disrupt our operations, there will be a nuclear attack on American soil next year?" Mass arrests at Langley wouldn't fix it. Going public with the extent of CIA intransigence wouldn't help.

Who's gonna take the chance on radical reform if it could cost the lives of millions? It doesn't rule out more gradual reforms but those are more easily managed by the establishment.

So hypothetically you would let the CIA do anything at all it wanted to or is there a limit on the amount and type of illegal actions it would perform before you'd eventually purge and rebuild it?
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NobleHunter
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Did you miss the part about gradual reforms? There are other forms of corrective action than dissolving them and starting over.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If Obama had felt really strongly about it he could have simply taken on the CIA outright, in public.
I think it's possible that a stronger man, sure of backing by not only his own party but principled people in the opposing party, might have considered this.
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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Did you miss the part about gradual reforms? There are other forms of corrective action than dissolving them and starting over.

Except we're told we can't have gradual reforms or ANY reforms because the CIA is full of people making poor little Obama feel bullied...

As to the idea that Obama needed any GOP help when his party controlled both houses of Congress that's absurd. The wave of popularity he was riding in 2009 as well as the country's hatred of Bush's policies was the perfect time but someone remind me why he didn't act then?

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NobleHunter
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Who said we can't have any reforms?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Except we're told we can't have gradual reforms or ANY reforms because the CIA is full of people making poor little Obama feel bullied...
Who has told you that?

quote:
As to the idea that Obama needed any GOP help when his party controlled both houses of Congress that's absurd.
You perhaps do not understand the type of help that would have been needed if he had decided to dismantle an organization that his opponents (and the previous administration) would insist was essential to our national security.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:

quote:
As to the idea that Obama needed any GOP help when his party controlled both houses of Congress that's absurd.
You perhaps do not understand the type of help that would have been needed if he had decided to dismantle an organization that his opponents (and the previous administration) would insist was essential to our national security.
You've seen the media storm that can happen when people don't like a thing; I mentioned recently the ousting of Brendan Eich from Mozilla. Most likely the people on social media posting complaints were not actually that numerous compared to Mozilla's user base, but it was enough to make Mozilla blink.

Now imagine the people of the U.S. galvanized by the horror of hearing that torture was being conducted covertly and that Obama wants to put an end to it. Now think about what would happen to a party or even to a given Congressman who vocally opposed a move to end that practice and to punish those responsible. The Mozilla affair would look like Mickey Mouse in comparison. Unless I'm mistaken, I think both parties would rush to support such a move in bipartisan fashion if for no other reason than out of fear of being hated by the public for obstructing such a clearly desirable and popular cause.

Obama didn't have to take apart the entire CIA, after all, but at least had to have a bit of a BBQ with the old troops there to prove that things had changed. Normally, Tom, I'd agree with you that conducting any significant affair needs to carefully be navigated to bring both parties on board. But in the case of such an obviously popular cause I suspect that the normal rules would be irrelevant and that both parties would be obliged to give it unqualified support. I think you might underestimate just how much people really did want to believe in Obama as a bringer of change, and how much they'd have rallied to him had he taken up a cause like this. If the GOP had been foolish enough to try to block him on that they'd have destroyed themselves.

"He wanted to but couldn't really get it done" doesn't seem like the best explanation of why Obama would let the torturers get away with it and also let it go on. If it had meant that much to him he'd have taken a stand even if it meant failing. Since I expect groups like the CIA to use any and all tactics to achieve their ends I'm sure they had more up their sleeves than just hoping for the Congress to be split on the issue.

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Greg Davidson
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This is the one area in which I believe that Obama is wrong. If the US could oppose torture through a long history starting with George Washington when we faced many greater threats, there was no basis for compromising our values to torture after 9/11.

Everyone who vociferously supported torture is wrong. That indicts the entire conservative punditocracy and much of the so-called liberal media (such as the New York Times).

Will anyone here at Ornery acknowledge that they were wrong in the past on this subject?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Now think about what would happen to a party or even to a given Congressman who vocally opposed a move to end that practice and to punish those responsible.
Republicans will control both houses of Congress. I don't think the American public is as incapable of supporting torture as you think.

------

quote:
I think you might underestimate just how much people really did want to believe in Obama as a bringer of change, and how much they'd have rallied to him had he taken up a cause like this.
I'm on record as saying Obama hugely underestimated his popular support and made too much of a big deal about reaching "across the aisle" and avoiding major, potentially alarmingly reactionary moves. This neutered him for absolutely no political gain. So, yeah, it would have been great if he'd felt more strongly about this, too. But, heck, I'd've preferred to see him feel strongly about anything his first term.

quote:
If it had meant that much to him he'd have taken a stand even if it meant failing.
I think Obama has repeatedly demonstrated that he is not an idealist, but instead a pragmatist. He does not take stands.

[ December 09, 2014, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Seneca
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And of course this logistical nonsense assumes there's some truth to this notion that the CIA holds some sway or power or coercion over Obama, of which there isn't the slightest shred of proof.

The idea should be ridiculed as an absurd and wild conspiracy in the absence of evidence needed to prove such an outlandish claim.

If anything all the REAL evidence shows Obama has been using the CIA to spy on and perhaps coerce the Congress as reports have shown they were caught doing.

[ December 09, 2014, 10:24 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The idea should be ridiculed as an absurd and wild conspiracy...
Let me know when we're compiling our official list of absurd, wild conspiracies. I have a few from you that I'd love to put on there, once we start collecting 'em.
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Seneca
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Name one that hasn't been supported by at least SOME credible evidence. All the real evidence suggests otherwise, that the CIA is really going good after Congress and Obama was either complicit or directed it.

So far we've seen nothing if this supposed CIA "conspiracy" against Obama. This ranks up there with UFOs and little green men.

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Seneca
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*good and well after Congress
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AI Wessex
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It's interesting that the Senate publishes a 528 page report about torture authorized by Bush and conducted by his Administration, and all anybody can talk about is Obama's relationship to it. For once I'm seeing that everyone seems to be doing it, not just some among us who are habitually obsessed with pointing a finger of blame at Obama.

I'm of the opinion that KidTokyo is right that government runs itself like a perpetual motion machine, and that Congress and the President give it a kick from time to time to push it into a higher gear or make it go further, faster. After that happens it's always hard to slow it down or bring it back from where it's been. More likely, it's impossible.

If you imagine that the massive mobilization of infrastructure during WWII was scaled back as the country returned to peacetime you're woefully naive. WWII gave us the seeds of every kind of federal overreach that we are living in today. We hardly saw it for so long because it became so pervasive so quickly. Eisenhower was the President, with all his supposed power, yet he rued what he himself had help create. Johnson apologized to the nation because the war in Vietnam had grown beyond his control. There's blame enough to go around, and around, and around.

If you think that Obama can reel in the military-intelligence complex because the "War on Terror" is over and return us to peacetime, ironically there was no such war and there is no alternative peacetime to return to.

The Intelligence community now blankets and envelops the entire world. There is nowhere else to go any longer.

If you want to blame Obama, you certainly should raise a fist against Bush, but you can't stop there. You have to go all the way back to Truman and Eisenhower, who may (or may not) have been reluctant warriors in their own fragile peacetime. Or, if you can't help yourself, you can just blame Obama for every evil and feel like you've given the subject all the thought it deserves.

[ December 10, 2014, 05:02 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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AI Wessex
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[too late to edit]...Apologies to Scifibum, who did aim his comments at the content of the report.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Name one that hasn't been supported by at least SOME credible evidence.
Are we using your standards for credibility?
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jasonr
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quote:
It's disgusting that Obama isn't going to prosecute anyone. He should, at the barest minimum, go after the people who broke the CIA's own rules about "enhanced interrogation".
I think there's more than a little self-interest at stake here. I think it's naive to believe that high ranking Democrats weren't in on what was happening - maybe not right from the outset, but at least at some point along the way.

Indeed, last night, in one of the stranger interviews I have seen of late, Wolf Blitzer had the chief lawyer for the CIA during the Bush years right there answering questions. One wonders if the guy has all his marbles, because quite frankly it was excruciating to watch. I was watching it and was just kind of wondering "is this guy all there? Does he know what he's saying??" He was admitting that he knew what was going on, he signed off on it, and he still didn't think it was "torture", legally speaking.

The really interesting thing about the interview was when Wolf started questioning the guy about all the people who were "briefed" on the enhanced interrogation tactics. Some names like Dick Cheney were no surprise, but other names like Nancy Pelosi (and a few others on the Demoocrat side) did come up during the discussion, hence my point about the danger of a thorough investigation (call it a variation on the MAD principle - you expose what we know, we expose what you knew)

One wonders if this interview is going to be an exhibit in some kind of legal proceeding down the road?

The other big question raised, that I have been wondering about for a long time, is when the shoe is going to drop and some high ranking Bush official gets arrested while flying through France or some other European destination. They asked the lawyer if that was a concern for him and he said absolutely he would be extremely careful about travel plans in the future. No ****.

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philnotfil
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The man who did the most to fight CIA torture is still in prison

quote:
Before this report, most of what we knew about the torture program came from a string of leaks in 2006 and 2007. One CIA employee took a particularly visible stand, an analyst named John Kiriakou who had run the agency's counterterrorism activities in Pakistan. Kiriakou left the agency after the water-boarding of Abu Zubadayah and became a public critic of the practice. He also became a valuable source for news outlets hungry for details, and appeared on ABC in 2007 to talk about the agency's troubling advanced interrogation techniques.

Today, John Kiriakou is in a federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, serving two and a half years for disclosing classified information — confirming the name of a CIA agent to a New York Times reporter. Facing 30 years, he took a plea deal for 30 months. He has five children, and it's been difficult to see them while he's been inside. He's scheduled to move to house arrest in February, before his sentence finishes up in May.

Already, it seems unlikely that anyone of the interrogators revealed today will have to face the same troubles. The same Attorney General that put Kiriakou in jail has already declined to prosecute any of his colleagues. The international courts have called for prosecutions, but it's unlikely they'll come to anything. It seems absurd to say that what Kiriakou did was more criminal than what the interrogators did, but politics has never shied away from the absurd. It's worth remembering Kiriakou not as a call for retribution or even justice, but just to make sense of what happened. Why were we so committed to useless atrocities? Why did it take six years to give up practices that had been outlawed for decades? Why was it so hard to stop doing the wrong thing? The sad answer is that when someone did the right thing, we gave them hell for it.


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NobleHunter
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jasonr, I think the possibility that Democrats might be caught in prosecutions would give the attempt real moral authority. It gets twisty because where's the line between being briefed and accountability but at least they'd be trying to hold people responsible.

AI, I'm talking about Obama because I'd like for something to be done about this. Bush can't do anything but coast along on the prestige of being an ex-President. Obama could actually arrest people. He won't, but he could.

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jasonr
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quote:
jasonr, I think the possibility that Democrats might be caught in prosecutions would give the attempt real moral authority. It gets twisty because where's the line between being briefed and accountability but at least they'd be trying to hold people responsible.
I agree, but my point is that the Democrats are unlikely to do anything that leads to a criminal prosecution of their high ranking members. This is just not going to end well for anyone.

It goes back to Fenring's point about insurance that individual parts of the system don't "go rogue" and expose the game. I don't necessarily believe that there is literally a vetting process in place whereby high ranking members have to engage in an illegal or criminal acts to ensure their faithfulness (sort of like a gang blooding ritual) but there's no question the Democrats are as much tied into this system as the Republicans. If they try to take the Republicans down, the Republicans can probably take them down too. Mutually assured destruction. Poof.

Speaking of going rogue, I sincerely wonder if this lawyer last night was even right in the head. Just little things about the interview stand out to me, like how his pant leg was rolled up so high that he was bare skinned halfway up his leg. One wonders if the guy isn't losing it a little. It's difficult otherwise to fathom how a senior CIA lawyer could think it was a wise idea to show up on CNN and discuss his activities during those years on national television.

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AI Wessex
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Noblehunter, perhaps I'm jaded at this late date, but I have been a close observer of public discussions and sometime participant in responses involving virtually every major political action taken by the federal government since around 1960. I even remember telling my mother and father that they *had* to vote for Kennedy (which they were going to do anyway), but I can't remember what the "or else" was. What Bush did betrayed the very heritage this country was supposedly founded on, but I hedge that by saying "supposedly" because I've seen this pattern of secret policies that were eventually exposed over and over again in a steady stream over those decades. Every President since at least FDR has done it, always under the aegis of protecting American citizens or the hazier securing of "American interests".

Kurt Vonnegut said we should be careful about what we pretend to be, because we become that thing. Well, we have become a nation dedicated to the freedoms on which the nation was founded, and we torture people in defense of those very freedoms. To complain and point fingers is to pretend we are something else, but it would be very difficult for us to become that thing, whatever that might turn out to be.

Obama's continuation of much of Bush's policies is odious, but as I mentioned above, not unexpected. It would take a far more imperial Presidency than Obama or any President can attain to push back many of the worst things that are now firmly entrenched in the government infrastructure. Even in those two years that Democrats held both branches of government he was stymied and stifled by Republicans, whose beliefs in the core freedoms of the nation aren't the same as what Democrats believe. In that sense, both Parties are pretending to be something different from each other and they have largely become those things.

At least Obama condemned and appears to have actually backed away from the most extreme policies Bush put in place. Operating within the room he has to maneuver, I think he has made a good faith effort to "do the right thing", succeeding sometimes and failing in many other attempts. Do I wish he were stronger - yes, but I also would be anxious about any President who had that much power.

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Fenring
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The reason to blame Obama for lack of initiative on this doesn't only have to do with the fact that he's the sitting President and can do something. It has to do with who he claimed he was when campaigning and whether or not he'll abide by his promises.

Bush, for instance, pretty much gave us exactly the President he promised; tax cuts; war mentality; corporate buddy. Like it or not, Bush followed up on his campaign. Obama campaigned on "Yes we can", and his campaign was founded on making big changes with him in the lead and the people behind him. For Obama then to turn around and become a "pragmatist", as Tom called him, actually means he has reneged on his campaign platform. He did arrange the ACA and bring back the troops from Iraq, but I think any Democrat president would have done both as well.

But if Obama isn't willing to "take stands" and to live up to "yes we can" then he is not only weak, but has also broken his promise to the people. Faith is a most tenuous thing, and when he was first elected people had faith in him. To let that faith down doesn't just disillusion people about one president, but it also weakens hope in the presidency and in the possibility of change from within. He was almost given a gift with this torture business, because to take up this issue would have been an easy win in terms of popular support. Had he done something about this right away in his first term it also could have been a great way to cross party lines for real and get both parties together on a serious topic. But he didn't, and now even if he does something we'll all wonder why he let it go on for several years.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Had he done something about this right away in his first term it also could have been a great way to cross party lines for real...
To be fair to Obama, I'm very skeptical that this is true. It's nice to think about, though: the idea that we live in a world where the Republicans aren't all bat****-crazy and/or cynical. I'm just not sure it's an accurate picture of reality.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
I also would be anxious about any President who had that much power.
Which is why I find it amusing that our most strident critic of Obama and imperial Presidency is the one advocating for the most radical action.

In the current environment, Obama going after the torturers would be a great way to get the GOP to brand itself as the party for torture.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Bush, for instance, pretty much gave us exactly the President he promised; tax cuts; war mentality; corporate buddy.
How about "no nation building"? I also don't recall him expounding on a "war mentality". Can you quote where he gave you that impression?

Claiming that Obama failed because he couldn't deliver on his campaign rhetoric is kind of absurd. If that was the standard, Bush should have been drummed out of office for starting major wars in two nations and nearly bankrupting the country, because he never promised to do those things.

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Seneca
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The idea that Obama doing exactly what Presidents are allowed to do: hire and fire people in the executive and prosecute law breakers would make him an "imperial president" is utterly laughable.

So we're back to excusing Obama because "Bush was bad." It always seems to come to this how sad. But given what a miserable failure this administration has been it's not unexpected to be blaming everything on Bush and trying to distract with "Bush did X!" even in year 6.

Also, the idea that the government has inertia that started years ago and "can't stop" is equally useless and wrong. It takes lots of effort to keep up a government of this size. The easiest thing would simply be to do nothing and let people retire and not replace them or just fire people and not replace them. There aren't machines running the government, there are people in control. Some of the statements here are far divorced from reality: this notion that bureaucracy is alive and cannot be stopped. Oh please! We've all seen massive government reductions on the local level due to budget cuts and sometimes rarely this has happened on a national level, so it's not impossible. Obama campaigned on very specific campaign promises and he is still in office. Trying to blame Bush for all these issues is absurd. Obama is in control, not some shadow cabal of the CIA...

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Fenring
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Al, for real? No one doubted the kind of guy Bush was, and his family affiliation marked him right away as a corporate oil man who wouldn't shy away from a war. I don't recall anyone saying that Bush surprised them and wasn't the guy they thought he was during elections.

Obama campaigned on "I will try to make changes." It's not rhetoric, it was his entire campaign, more or less. If you think that campaigning in general is just "campaign rhetoric", that's something else; why hold anyone to anything?

Your comment that Bush should have announced prior to his election that he'd start two wars, the reasons for which didn't exist yet, is ridiculous. You're obviously trying to insinuate that my comment is equally ridiculous, that Obama should have tried to be the President he claimed he would be during elections. Yeah, how silly of me.

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