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Author Topic: Senate probe finds little evidence of effective "torture"
philnotfil
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yahoo.com

quote:
A nearly three-year-long investigation by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats is expected to find there is little evidence the harsh "enhanced interrogation techniques" the CIA used on high-value prisoners produced counter-terrorism breakthroughs.

People familiar with the inquiry said committee investigators, who have been poring over records from the administration of President George W. Bush, believe they do not substantiate claims by some Bush supporters that the harsh interrogations led to counter-terrorism coups.

The backers of such techniques, which include "water-boarding," sleep deprivation and other practices critics call torture, maintain they have led to the disruption of major terror plots and the capture of al Qaeda leaders.

One official said investigators found "no evidence" such enhanced interrogations played "any significant role" in the years-long intelligence operations which led to the discovery and killing of Osama bin Laden last May by U.S. Navy SEALs.


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Mynnion
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This will garner two sets of responses. Those who supported enhanced interrogation techniques will claim that the study was partisan and flawed. Those that opposed it will feel vindicated. This country has become so entrenched in justifying the actions/in-actions of their political party that no amount of evidence will convince them that they are wrong.

A particular parties stand on an issue has become almost sacred. If I heard it on Fox news it has to be right. MSNBC said it so why question.

Tell me what does global climate change have to do with abortion? Many Evangelicals deny global climate change because their Pro-Life candidate denies.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If I heard it on Fox news it has to be right. MSNBC said it so why question.
To be fair to the rest of humanity, I have never heard anyone say either version of that sentence.
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AI Wessex
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Tom, there are legitimate analyses out there that show that a significant number of people get their news *only* from FOX, but there is no comparable exclusive source on the left. I think some of the little foxes would indeed say it, though I haven't heard it in the rarified liberality of my home town.
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Mynnion
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Tom,

I have not heard it here but I have certainly heard renditions of it or worse I heard it on Rush.

Al,

Although not as prevalent there are certainly those on the left who filter believe every word the liberal press spouts.

Any candidate with value sets that may branch the parties are muzzled. Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat, was denied the opportunity to express his views at the Democratic convention about 10 years ago.

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AI Wessex
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Conventions showcase single-minded unity on TV but are hard fought contentious struggles in the smoke filled back rooms. If you go back over the past couple of decades, the party platforms produced by the conventions are often in direct conflict with the candidate the attendees whoop and holler for, but they're voted on and accepted without debate anyway. I would say that it's common for the candidate to run against major planks his party's platform.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If I heard it on Fox news it has to be right. MSNBC said it so why question.
To be fair to the rest of humanity, I have never heard anyone say either version of that sentence.
Unfortunately I have.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Mynnion:
[QB] This will garner two sets of responses. Those who supported enhanced interrogation techniques will claim that the study was partisan and flawed. Those that opposed it will feel vindicated. This country has become so entrenched in justifying the actions/in-actions of their political party that no amount of evidence will convince them that they are wrong.

Exactly, but I still tell people about it, just in case.
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Mynnion
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Phil-
quote:
Exactly, but I still tell people about it, just in case.
I wasn't being critical of the thought. Just expressing my disgust that the current political polarity tends to keep real change from occurring. Each side questions the legitimacy of any study that might call into question their sacred cows.
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Wayward Son
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Part of that is because both sides have held up bogus studies that support their respective sacred cows, too.

How do you distinguish bogus from well-done studies from the "other side?" [Eek!]

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Mynnion
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Wayward-

Exactly.

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Greg Davidson
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Given 300+ million people in America, we can find a few examples of almost anything on any side of any issue. But to go from that truism to an assertion that both sides are equally guilty is a profoundly defeatist and anti-intellectual position. Not only is it inaccurate to accept that false equivalence principle as a truism, the act of buying in to that meme is that there becomes no consequences to any amount of lying (because by definition the other side has to be doing it as much as yours).

I make a contrary assertion: there is a recognizable difference. Usually, to cut down on all of the arguments through around as flak I try to limit the field of inquiry to the behavior of the federally elected members of Congress and the Presidency (and VP).

Can you find any cases with a similarly high potential impact in the last 20 years where Democrats acted equivalently to Republicans?


1. The $100M investigation starting with 20 year old real estate dealings resulting in impeachment of Bill Clinton
2. Bringing Congress into emergency session for Terri Schiavo
3. Over 100 Republican Congressman asserting for the record that economic stimulus does not create any jobs and then going back to their district and taking credit for the jobs created by the economic stimulus
4. Going to pre-emptive war with Iraq because of a strong belief that (a) Iraq was an imminent threat due to weapons of mass destruction, and/or (b) Saddam Hussein was closely associated with the 9/11 attacks
5. And let's not forget that voicing opposition to the Republican Iraq policy was described as disloyal, inappropriate, and supporting terrorist
6. The assertion that Sarah Palin is more qualified than Barak Obama
7. Asserting the primacy of judicial principles such as State's Rights or animosity towards activist judges, but then entirely supporting opposite positions when politically expedient (as with Bush v Gore, or Citizen's United) - and remember, it's not my criteria that this kind of hypocrisy never happens on the Democratic side - but show me two examples with similar impact
8. The highest level of filibuster activity in at least the last 100 years


There's even some comparatives:

How did the Democrats act after the Bush v. Gore election as compared to how the Republicans acted after the the election of Sen. Franken in Minnesota (the latter had a larger % gap and was smaller stakes)

How about Democratic support for President Bush when the US was in crisis after 9/11? Very high support among Democrats, including for the invasion of Afghanistan.


Can anyone find me the same number of examples of equivalent impact (or potential impact) taken by Democrats over a similar period?

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Mynnion
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Greg-

I was commenting on specific right or wrong behavior of either party although if you posted this as a Demo vs Repub thread there would be those that would support your list 100% and those that would counter every line and present a list of their own of the evil things the Democrats have done.

My point was that any study, position, idea no matter how conclusive, brilliant, etc. will be challenged or denied as political propaganda if it challenges either parties special interests. These are highlighted by the fact that the general media does lean a little to the Left while the giant Fox News makes up that leaning with it's strongly Right agenda.

Most people in this country will believe what they hear (or want to hear) if it supports their belief system. Find a Yahoo news feed on an issue that supports the Left or the Right and look at the comments.

All of the points you raise are valid and my personal views have trended Left for that reason. I believe that water boarding is torture and that as a nation we should condemn it. I actually think the "study" while interesting is irrelevant since I never bought the ends justify the means argument anyway. I was merely pointing out that it was unlikely to change any minds. The fact that the committee was made of Democrats rather than bi-partisan won't help it's cause either.

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AI Wessex
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"These are highlighted by the fact that the general media does lean a little to the Left while the giant Fox News makes up that leaning with it's strongly Right agenda."

Only if reality is nothing but oppositional in nature. Being critical is not a partisan attitude just because it is critical of something Republicans or Democrats do. It's more important, if not the only important thing, to measure how close they are to the facts. Using that compass FOX is far, far away from reality in their criticism and all of the rest of the media are much closer.

One recent brief example of FOX's complacency with their distance from those facts was when Steve Doocy asked Romney to respond to Obama's statement, "Unlike some people, I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth." Romney naturally used that as an opportunity to bash Obama's class warfare. Only Obama didn't say "Like some people." Steve Doocy added that himself. After the Daily Show pointed that out Doocy apologized on the air for "paraphrasing" what Obama had said, though in the apology he didn't say what part of it he had lied about and smilingly added the he was "glad to settle that!"

Contrast that with NBC's botching of the 911 Zimmerman call, which FOX used to beat them over the head with gleefully. How did NBC respond? The network president apologized for the mistake and at least two people got fired.

Greg's greatest hits parade only scratches the surface of the Republican Party's uber-partisanship, but I agree somewhat with Mynnion in that for every 10 such Republican mendacious and self-serving twists of reality you can likely find 1 comparable act by Democrats. If you want to look at it as both parties being guilty, that's fine, but outside of FOX's critical view, the parties are not the same. In fact, FOX would say that the Democrats are far, far worse.

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Greg Davidson
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As for the alleged "leftward" bias of the mainstream media, in over a year of intense discussion on health care reform, how much media attention was even placed on single payer health care systems? If the media had a left-wing bias, not only would they have included single payer in the public debate as a valid option, they would have spent time advocating for it. Valid and even-handed coverage proportional to the number of Americans actually participating in public demonstrates in 2009-2010 would have had more media coverage for immigration reform than for the Tea Party.

The media today is often lazy and shallow, and so they take intellectually weak positions on many issues, but they do not have a consistent left-wing bias in how they present issues.

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AI Wessex
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I read recently about a study that concluded that the Sunday morning talk shows with panelists is biased toward having about 2/3 of their guests with Conservative or Republican credentials, and the remainder roughly divided between "centrists" and those with Liberal/Democrat credentials. I don't remember where I saw that, but if anyone wants to insist it's not true I'm sure you can find it yourself.
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velcro
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"there are those that would counter every line and present a list of their own of the evil things the Democrats have done."

Great, that is how rational, mature discussion works. Provide your facts, sources, and arguments, and let people decide. Because sometimes the guy countering every line and listing evil things Democrats did is full of bs.

As it stands, Greg made a statement, with data to back it up, and is asking for someone to knock it down. Some will flail and insist that Democrats are just as bad, but until evidence is provided, Greg's statement is valid.

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cherrypoptart
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So if torture isn't effective, and being nice isn't very effective either, maybe there isn't much point in taking prisoners at all?

http://news.yahoo.com/ex-cia-interrogator-obamas-war-terror-less-ethical-134551480.html

> The former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service Jose Rodriguez says President Obama is waging the nation's war against radical Islam in a far more brutal manner than his predecessor President George W. Bush.

> "We don't capture anybody any more," Rodriguez told 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl on Sunday. "Their default option of this Administration has been to ... take no prisoners ... How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them? I never understood that one."

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TomDavidson
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quote:
How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them? I never understood that one.
I would argue that it is indeed more ethical to kill every single person met in opposition on a field of battle than to kidnap people from their homes and hold them indefinitely in pursuit of the same goal.
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Mynnion
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Greg & Al- Take a look at the media bias page on Wiki.

Wiki

There are claims of bias on both sides although from a news perspective there certainly seems to be strong evidence suggesting a left of center bias. I have seen it a number of times when issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Although those opposed to abortion term themselves as pro-life the media will consistently use the term anti-abortion. While both may be accurate the term anti-abortion illicits a more negative response then pro-life. That may be a minor example but it is common.

My personal leanings have moved from right of center to left of center over the years and denying that the media is biased on both sides is allowing your personal belief systems to blind you to reality. Look at the Martin/Zimmerman media circus. Both sides were guilty of gross manipulation.

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Greg Davidson
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I looked at wikipedia on media bias, and the first study I examined in depth was complete garbage (why am I not surprised?). Look at the UCLA study - it makes a judgement about media bias by counting "the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation" and then "they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers". They found that Members of Congress citing right-leaning groups more than the media did. They assume that Congress must represent "the political position of the average U.S. voter" and that number of references to organizations equals bias. That's how they get to the conclusion that the media has a left-wing bias. Note that by this bogus methodology "the Drudge Report was slightly left of center"

Did they give any thought to other explanations, such as the possibility that right-leaning organizations may have more money and thus a superior ability to lobby Members of Congress?

I agree that there is media bias. The biggest bias is in favor of something that media people believe is likely to attract viewers (thus increasing revenues). TV tends to be more liberal on social issues such as abortion than economic ones (for example, the relative importance of minimum wage as opposed to top marginal tax rates).

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AI Wessex
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We shouldn't confuse bias with opinion, sensationalism with news-of-the-day or rabble-rousing with advocacy. Everyone here will read those alternative terms and think people that don't share their views tend to be the former and themselves to be the latter. The problem is not that there is no objective standard, but that people don't seem to want one today nearly as much as they did in the past. Instead of wanting to know the truth and be right, we tend to want things to be a certain way and want to belong to a community that agrees with us.
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Pete at Home
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Perhaps Congress should fund a study to discover more effective means of torture. We have ways of finding ways of making you talk.
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Mynnion
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Al-
quote:
We shouldn't confuse bias with opinion, sensationalism with news-of-the-day or rabble-rousing with advocacy. Everyone here will read those alternative terms and think people that don't share their views tend to be the former and themselves to be the latter. The problem is not that there is no objective standard, but that people don't seem to want one today nearly as much as they did in the past. Instead of wanting to know the truth and be right, we tend to want things to be a certain way and want to belong to a community that agrees with us.
I think that was actually the point I was originally trying to make. Thank you for clarifying. Tom made the comment that voters are stupid. I don't really think most of them are stupid just lazy. They want to be spoon fed by those that they share a common ideology with. I doesn't really matter what the facts are. After all there is always some "expert" that will backup any claim or theory no matter how stupid or willing to disavow even the best data if it does not support his or her beliefs.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom made the comment that voters are stupid. I don't really think most of them are stupid just lazy.
I think most of them are both.
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Mynnion
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Tom-
quote:
quote:Tom made the comment that voters are stupid. I don't really think most of them are stupid just lazy.

I think most of them are both.

I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt but some people do make it difficult.
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LetterRip
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I think most voters are ignorant - which is quite a bit different from stupid or lazy.

Unfortunately due to the extremely limited impact the average voter has on the outcome of policy and the high cost of being informed - being ignorant (or using broad strokes generalizations) and not participating in politics is often the most rationale strategy.

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