I Miss Port Huron

In the annals of "people taking themselves too seriously," between Tom Hayden's autobiography and George Clooney's Oscar speech, room must be made for "The Euston Manifesto." The British lefty magazine The New Statesman is hosting the wan testament, composed over the last year by "20 or so similarly minded people" who had met in a pub near London's Euston station. It's apparently crafted to "invite debate" and "call for a progressive realignment." Unfortunately, it reads like a mish-mash of blog posts and Joe Lieberman applause lines.

The EM takes some welcome shots at the left, at its apologies for international communism and dictatorship (read: Che T-shirts). But it doesn't skimp on the goo-goo international statism, either. We're told that "labour rights are human rights" and that we need robust "fair trade" policies pushed through "in a manner consistent with environmentally sustainable growth." If this stuff is flatlining when the guy from Coldplay says it, I doubt 20 guys in a pub are going to shock it to life.

But that's not important - most of the EM is an apologia for military intervention. If a state tortures, murders or slaughters (yes, both) its citizens, or if it fails to meet "their most basic needs of life," then "its claim to sovereignty is forfeited and there is a duty upon the international community of intervention and rescue." Many paragraphs are devoted to an idea that can be summed up: "We're liberals, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't nuke Iran."

In 2003, Jonathan Rauch took stock of the sorry state of left-wing ideology at the start of the Iraq occupation.

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  • ||

    If these stuff is flatlining the guy from Coldplay says it,

    huh?

  • David Weigel||

    Flatlining when. I briefly left out the second word.

  • ||

    "These stuff"?

  • ||

    You can't solve a problem until you understand that you have a problem and know what the problem is. Conservatives lived under the dellusion that they were really the majority until the Goldwater debacle. At that point, conservatives realized they were a minority and started working on changing that. There isn't much danger of liberals getting any lasting power in this country because they refuse to accept that they are the minority. They really believe that if they just get more vocal and harder left, they will get more votes. As if winning elections doesn't require convincing anyone of anything and people voted Republican in the last three elections because there just wasn't a liberal enough choice for them.

  • ||

    Speaking of Che t-shirts, check out Che-Mart.

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    mediageek

    The Che-Mart rules. I'll be ordering for myself and a few friends.

  • Timothy||

    Che Shirts always put a smile on my face: you lost, Che, your image is now being used to make profit. Dirty, capitalist profit. Delicious.

  • ||

    A lot of people get pissed off by the Che shirts. Not without reason considering that he was a murduring piece of shit who helped turn Cuba into the marxist hell hole that it is. I always took a different view. His face on such kitschy commerce is metaphorically like capitalism taking his head and putting it on a stick all other would be marxists.

  • R C Dean||

    If a state tortures, murders or slaughters (yes, both) its citizens, or if it fails to meet "their most basic needs of life," then "its claim to sovereignty is forfeited . . .

    I'm with 'em so far. I doubt any libertarian would disagree to this point, in fact.

    . . .and there is a duty upon the international community of intervention and rescue.

    Not so sure about the duty part. I would say its more of a license.

    States that are threatened by the rogue regime may have a duty to their own citizens to intervene, of course, but that is not at all what they are talking about here.

    We're liberals, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't nuke Iran.

    If they nuke us (or an ally) first, well, why shouldn't we nuke 'em back?

  • ||

    Think of a right-wing hero you'd put on a T-shirt. Reagan is practically the only one anybody would recognize, and even intelligent right-wingers consider him a vapid,irrelevant clown. Margaret Thatcher? Pinochet? Franco?

  • R C Dean||

    Clarification - I suspect that the term "most basic needs of life" will be the cause of much controversy that could take that first clause right off the libertarian reservation. Define it so that it means the essential freedoms (speech, conscience, property, self-defense) and I think we're still OK.

    Again, I suspect that's not what they are talking about.

  • ||

    "If they nuke us (or an ally) first, well, why shouldn't we nuke 'em back?"

    R.C., I have seen liberals on the Sunday talk shows say that they would never use nukes under any cicrumstances, even if they were used on us. Certainly, I think a lot of liberals could care less if they nuked Israel. Nukeing Europe might be more of a problem for them. While I agree with you, agreement with this idea is certainly not universal.

  • ||

    David Duke? Father coughlin?

  • ||

    Did I once see an Eric Cartman as Che image, or did I just imagine it?

  • ||

    Right-wing heros for T-shirts

    IAN SMITH, Prime Minister of Rhodesia?
    ANASTASIO SOMOZA, SR. AND JR., Presidents of Nicaragua?
    ALFREDO STROESSNER, President-for-Life of Paraguay?
    GENERAL SUHARTO, President of Indonesia?
    RAFAEL LEONIDAS TRUJILLO, President of the Dominican Republic?
    GENERAL JORGE RAFAEL VIDELA, President of Argentina?
    MOHAMMED ZIA UL-HAQ, President of Pakistan?

  • ||

    Che T-shirts: I'd be extremely surprised if 1/10 of the people wearing those things could identify the guy in the picture. It's an attractive image and no more. As for righties on T-shirts, the problem is that none that I can think of were all that good looking. Maybe Charlton Heston from the late 40's? Clare Booth Luce? Queen Victoria from her coronation?

  • ||

    I think Margerat Thatcher or Ronald Reagan would be the most appropriate right wing t-shirt, but I can't say that either one of them would make a particularly attractive t-shirt. If you are going back to the cold war, how about Vlacav Havel?

  • ||

    I guess Leon (leon?) is just trolling, but in the past I have responded to Jersey McJones, so I may as well respond to him, as well.

    As for a right-winger whom people would recognize, how about Winston Churchill?

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    http://www.thoseshirts.com/reaganplain.html

    Now if only I could get a poster with Thatcher and Reagan as Marx and Lenin, stomping on union workers and vegetarian picketers...

  • ||

    Okay, Mitch, I'll give you Winston Churchill for Harold Wilson. Jesus Christ, you morons actually do think that all the crimes were committed by the left, don't you? The crimes were committed by people who buy into absolutist ideologies, asshole.

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    A right-wing T-shirt icon whom few would recognize, but who has an interesting face, would be Disraeli. (Karen's suggestion of Queen Victoria made me think of him.) Pushing it back to the 18th century, maybe Burke, whose face is not all that interesting, or Johnson, whose face I think is pretty interesting.

    (I've given up on finding an attractive right-wing face.)

  • ||

    How about Binjamin Netenyahu?

  • ||

    It is so very nice and thoughful of leon to weigh in with the voice of dispassionate reason; he was so persuasive I'm now prepared to renounce conservatism because of leon's witty yet insightful "face on a t-shirt" contest.

    I can hardly wait for the bumper sticker.

    Really.

  • ||

    The stylized Ayn Rand picture from the commemorative stamp would make a good shirt.

  • ||

    You think Che makes an attractive T-shirt? He looks like something from Planet of the Apes.

  • Jim Henley||

    As if winning elections doesn't require convincing anyone of anything and people voted Republican in the last three elections because there just wasn't a liberal enough choice for them.



    Three elections is four years worth of voting. It's not like we're talking decades of triumph here.

    That said, America as a whole is a center-right nation because it's typical of a center-right planet. Mild conservatism (locally inflected) is the base condition of human society. And there's little in the nature of that basal conservatism to cheer libertarians, as opposed to Republicans who can't get over their pride at being Joe Average, and think it's something they somehow accomplished.

  • ||

    The problem with the right wing T-shirts is that the right is mainly about ideas, while the left is mainly about the 'cult of personality', the sound bite and the pretty face.

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    Er, leon, the point was kinda that people actually do celebrate Che. Chunks of the left are still Che apologists.

    There isn't really a movement in conservatism that runs around with something like Pinochet, Hurray! on a tee shirt.

  • Jim Henley||

    The problem with the right wing T-shirts is that the right is mainly about ideas, while the left is mainly about the 'cult of personality', the sound bite and the pretty face.



    Yeah, I remember believing that shit too.

  • ||

    I'd be extremely surprised if 1/10 of the people wearing those things could identify the guy in the picture.

    Que? Che? Oh yeah, the guy from the movie with Madonna. No, not Dick Tracy, the other one.

  • ||

    Jim Henley,

    Good point. I will say that it is not just 4 years of voting. Even during the Clinton years, a majority of the voters voted for either the Republican nominee or Ross Perot (a populist running on the budget deficit) and Bill Clinton was probably the most conservative Democratic president of the 20th Century. Since 1932 and formation of the Roosevelt majority and corrisponding huge lurch leftward, American electoral politics have been pretty much a long slow slide back to the right, with a short jerk back to the left under Johnson, even Kennedy ran on the missle gap and lowering top bracket taxes.

    You are right that most people are pretty centrist and don't want a revolution right or left. It still goes back to my point that Kos and his followers are truely dellusional if they think they can win more voters by being more leftist and abadoning any pretense of moderation.

  • lunchstealer||

    Ah, thanks to leon we've learned an important lesson. It's wrong to point out that there are murderous dictators on the left because there are murderous dictators on the right! Gosh, I'd forgotten that if we showed the slightest doubt in the most extreme elements of the left that our only choice would be to support the worst of the right! If only there were some way to not think Che was a hero without explicitly supporting Franco! Oh woe! Damn this black-and-white us-vs-them world! If only there were some way to reject assholes on BOTH sides. But alas, if we express doubt in one, we clearly must love the other. Thank god he pointed out how we're all assholes.

  • ||

    Leon,

    Tell me how is Ian Smiths replacement (Robert Mugabe) working out?

    Same thing always happens. The right wing is bad and they get replaced by the left wing. Then, no matter how bad things were under the right wing, the left wing authorities always manages to make things worse when they take over.

    Cheers,

    TJIT

  • ||

    There isn't really a movement in conservatism that runs around with something like Pinochet, Hurray! on a tee shirt.

    True, but Pinochet never had such a striking photo taken of him.

  • ||

    Why not have the t-shirts go military?

    Gen. Tommy Franks
    Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf
    Gen. Douglas MacAurthur
    Gen. George Patton
    Gen. Omar Bradley
    Adm. Chester Nimitz
    Gen. George Washington

    That's sure to be an irritant to the Che crowd.

  • ||

    Right-Wing t-shirt icons, huh?

    I got a few.
    How about Juan N. Seguin - Hero of the Texas Revolution?
    Sam Houston - Victorius General of San Jacinto?
    Lorenzo De Zavala - Author of the Constitutions of Mexico (1824) and Texas (1836)?
    George Washington - Father of our country?
    General George S. Patton - World War II hero?
    Alvaro Uribe - President of Colombia?
    Thomas Jefferson - Great president?
    Shah Massoud - Afghani freedom fighter, against the Taliban?
    Gene Autry - War hero?

  • ||

    Right-Wing t-shirt icons, huh?

    I got a few.
    How about Juan N. Seguin - Hero of the Texas Revolution?
    Sam Houston - Victorious General of San Jacinto?
    Lorenzo De Zavala - Author of the Constitutions of Mexico (1824) and Texas (1836)?
    George Washington - Father of our country?
    General George S. Patton - World War II hero?
    Alvaro Uribe - President of Colombia?
    Thomas Jefferson - Great president?
    Shah Massoud - Afghani freedom fighter, against the Taliban?
    Gene Autry - War hero?

  • ||

    TJTIT,

    There are two pat responses that a leftist will give when you point out the butcher's bill from communism in the 20th Century. First, the perpetrators meant well and were trying to make a better world and a few people did get out of control but that was always in response to right wing provocation and outrages by rightwing extremists who through their actions created equal extremists on the left. This is the whole, the U.S. created the insanity of the Khmer Rouge by dropping thousands of tons of bombs on the Cambodian jungle argument.

    The second response is to point to some amateur right wing tyrant like Pinochet and say that the Right is just as bad, as if the few thousand who disappeared in Chile is the moral equivalent of Cambodia or that the leftists in Chile whom Pinochet kicked out of power wouldn't have murdered even more.

  • ||

    An interesting article on the past and future of warfare, with trends and predictions (on Iran in particular).


    Why is there talk of 'nuking', though? We could decapitate them with conventional weapons anyway (like in Gulf War I).

  • ||

    How about that Marine who was photographed during the battle of Faluja in November of 04? He is military and he is smoking a cigarette!! I think liberals heads would explode at the mere sight of that.

  • ||

    Che Mart is hilarious. I love those guys. That site is from Communists for Kerry which is also very well done and funny. The front page is now "Museum of the Failed Revolution". After he lost, they purged him. The leftist Mt. Rushmore image is just priceless! Check out the People's Progressive Truth Generator. Great Stuff.

    http://communis.server296.com/index.php
    Communists for KERRY

  • ||

    MacArthur, with the pipe and glasses, may be the best visual to have been suggested yet.

    The problem with Washington and Jefferson, I think, is that they are uncontroversial, and both right and left wingers identify with them. Wearing the Che shirt is "sticking it to the man," so a right-wing shirt icon should be someone who would piss off hippies or college professors or some other stereotypically left-wing constituency. Reagan, Thatcher, and Douglas MacArthur fulfill this requirement, though you'd have to be old or a history buff or something for MacArthur to piss you off, I guess.

  • ||

    Mitch, you are absolutely correct, and I forgot one that would be perfect! Air Force General Curtis LeMay! Cigar chomping tough guy who wanted to have to out with the Commies. We can thank him for the B-52, the Strategic Air Command, and the Air Force we have today.

  • ||

    Another thing, if you want to piss off the Che crowd, wear a t-shirt with Donald H. Rumsfeld scowling on the front. That'll do it.

  • ||

    Maybe a shirt with pictures of Friedrich and Salma, with the caption "Hayeks rock!"

  • ||

    I don't think Salma and Friedrich would agree on very much, except maybe how hot Salma is.

  • ||

    They'd still both rock.

  • lunchstealer||

    The violation of basic human rights standards at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and by the practice of �rendition�, must be roundly condemned for what it is: a departure from universal principles, for the establishment of which the democratic countries themselves, and in particular the United States of America, bear the greater part of the historical credit. But we reject the double standards by which too many on the Left today treat as the worst violations of human rights those perpetrated by the democracies, while being either silent or more muted about infractions that outstrip these by far. This tendency has reached the point that officials speaking for Amnesty International, an organization which commands enormous, worldwide respect because of its invaluable work over several decades, can now make grotesque public comparison of Guantanamo with the Gulag, can assert that the legislative measures taken by the US and other liberal democracies in the War on Terror constitute a greater attack on human rights principles and values than anything we have seen in the last 50 years, and be defended for doing so by certain left and liberal voices.

    This bit, from the 'Elaborations' section of the manifesto, is worth exploring. There's a little bit of a tendency on the right and among some on the moderate left who hold the above view to take that a step too far, and lose their outrage over the notion of a liberal democracy stooping to these decidedly illiberal tactics.

    It is not enough to say "our enemies are worse." We should not be measuring our own performance by simply being better than China, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, or any other country. Our goal shouldn't even to be better than France. We should measure ourselves and our behavior not by being 'less flawed' than other countries, but by our own values. America has always seen our democratic experiment as a beacon for the rest of the world, and our goal should not be 'less bad', but good. We should never torture to acheive our goals. I realize I'm venturing in some sense into idealism, but I'd rather die in a terrorist attack than be saved by an American government that gave in to its darker nature and brutalized a detainee for the information to stop it.

    There are any number of ideological reasons to reject this kind of torture even in the 'ticking timebomb' case, but I've also got practical reasons for rejecting torture. The greatest reason is that for every real terrorist with real information to stop an attack, there will be 50 terrorists tortured for information they never had, and 150 innocent people whose sole crime was to be in the wrong place, or have the wrong acquaintances, or just the wrong skin color.

    Don't get me wrong. I applaud these guys for their rejection of appology for suicide bombers or islamist fascism as 'another cultural lifestyle.' I just want to reiterate that rejecting anti-Americanism should not extend to supporting our actions at Abu Graib or Gitmo.

  • MP||

    leon has Godwinized the thread. It is now closed.

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    Hitler also befriended Palestinians by murdering 6 million jews. You, leon, are exposing your silliness now. Enjoy getting ripped and/or banned.

  • David Weigel||

    MP - Au contraire.

  • lunchstealer||

    MP- Meh, the leon portion has jumped the shark, but let's face it, the whole thing was an exercise in shark-jumping.

  • ||

    (Just in case the thread is not really really closed)

    Lunchstealer- most highly bitchin, dude. Muchos Gracias!

    On the t-shirt front:

    I want a Calvin Coolidge shirt, but I don't have the patience to answer the "whoozats" all day.

  • ||

    Lunchstealer, go ahead and martyr yourself for human rights, if you want. It's a free country.

    Just don't expect the majority of Americans to follow. When you have killers hell bent on killing anyone they see fit, their human rights are voided to some degree by their own actions, which must be responded to.

    Do you recall that the Abu Grabass offenders were tried and convicted? We as a country have moved on from this and learned from the mistakes made to improve in the future handling of detainees. Nobody supports Abu Grabass, so do not imply that the military or civilian leadership ordered or directed that incident in any way. They did not, and publicly condemn those actions every time it's brought up.

    Guantanamo Bay is nothing like Abu Grabass in any sense, so equating the two is deceptive and misleading. Club Gitmo isn't going to close anytime soon. There are legal issues that have to be worked out, but that's taking place slowly but surely. The war goes on. We must win this war, in spite of it's unpleasant realities.

    You go to war in the war you've got, not the war you might wish to have.

  • ||

    Brian:

    Was Hitler on the right or the left (in case you missed the point)?

  • ||

    Here's a good Right
    T-shirt

  • lunchstealer||

    Do you recall that the Abu Grabass offenders were tried and convicted? We as a country have moved on from this and learned from the mistakes made to improve in the future handling of detainees. Nobody supports Abu Grabass, so do not imply that the military or civilian leadership ordered or directed that incident in any way.

    I'm hardly one to just assume the worst about the USA, but I think that the problems at Abu Graib were a little more deep-seated than just the Lyndie squad. There's ample testimony by people that there was implicit encouragement for 'hard measures' from the general in command at Abu Graib. I forget his name right now, but he was transfered there from his original post running the Gitmo detention intelligence-gathering job. While I don't think Lyndie and co were explicitly ordered to do what they did, they were never discouraged, and given ample reason to take things too far. There are folks further up the chain who should be on trial there too, at least for dereliction of duty in preventing it. And Bush sure as hell should have accepted Rumsfeld's resignation letter.

    Guantanamo Bay is nothing like Abu Grabass in any sense, so equating the two is deceptive and misleading.

    As for the idea that Abu Graib and Gitmo are unrelated, in both cases you have MPs (trained at prisoner detention) involved in interrogation for which they have NO training. Prior to Gitmo, the US military kept a bright line between the intelligence/interrogation people and the security/MP functions. This was specifically to protect the human rights of detainees. Also, as I mentioned above, the commanding officers have been exchanged between them.

    The big problem here, however, is that in both cases, we're aware of people who have been accidentally swept up, who are absolutely not terrorists, insurgents, or anything other than poor SOBs who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can't make the claim that these people gave up their human rights by their own actions. They didn't do anything wrong. The possibility of making a mistake is the reason we have human rights in the first place. And, of course, as the Russians, Israelis, and various other people with more experience in the dark-side of security work will tell you, torture doesn't work. It never gets you reliable intelligence. We don't have to use these tactics to win this war. It's hurting our cause rather than helping it. Our best weapon is our liberalism (not in the modern left-political sense, but the older 'liberal democracy' sense). Getting tough may make us feel better, but it does fsck-all to actually stop terrorism.

  • ||

    Dr. Zaius would look good on a shirt. He's a conservative, I believe.

  • ||

    The problem Lunchstealer is what constitutes torture? The people we capture in Afghanistan and Iraq are some pretty hard fellows. They are not going to give up information just because we ask them nicely to do so. Some people argue that turning down the air conditioner and making their cells cold or disrupting their sleep patterns amounts to torture. Where is the line? Do you really want to have a miranda rule for terrorists whereby they don't have to answer any quesitons they don't want to? That is the hard part.

  • ||

    left = bad
    right = good

    Now I get it. You are all mind-bogglingly stupid.

  • ||

    Leon,

    Why don't you take it up with Hannah Arrent. Read the Orgins of totalitarianism sometime and perhaps then you will understand that fascism and communism extreme left and extreme right are just two sides of the same coin. Its not that left is good or right is bad or whatever, its more that utopianism, class guilt, and the like are the same regardless of what you call them.

  • lunchstealer||

    Dude, if you think that saying that Che was bad is the same as saying that Pinochet was good, you've got bigger problems than tshirts.

    You can go back to playing with your Shining Path action figures now.

  • Sandy||

    brian:

    We managed to defeat Hitler without quite stooping to this level. I think we can manage a few guys with car bombs and keep our liberties intact. The only reason we even talk about them is they got lucky one time with some planes, and by the fourth time that morning, that trick no longer worked.

    So if you want to run and hide and suck your thumb, by all means do so. But don't expect too many of us to join you. I'm not a pussy, I'm an American.

  • ||

    Left & right are BS titles, which only remain in use because of their convenience as shorthand for political views.

    If left = communist, and right = fascist, then they are absolutely worthless. Mussolini, the inventor of ideological fascism, was originally a communist, as was J Goebbels, and a substantial portion of the SA, the original "storm troopers" of Hitler. Many of these goons would go back and forth, fighting for the Nazis or the Communists in the street battles that were taking place at the end of the Weimar Republic. They would then change sides, wanting to be on the winning side when complete power was taken.

    There is no real difference in practice when either of these ideologies takes power - freedom ends & people die. The difference in America is, that NO ONE disputes that fascism is evil. Communism, OTOH, is given a free ride. Movies like Reds, Motorcycle Diaries, etc. glorify these "misguided idealists". These is a buzz saw whine about McCartyism as a 'witch hunt' (which does contain some truth) while it is forgotten that the people who lived under Communism were undergoing a real witch hunt, including grisly deaths in concentration camps, a fate much worse than being blacklisted.

    You either believe in freedom or you don't. And the extent to which you don't defines you as being closer to one of the above. If that's the case, pick your poison - "left" or "right". In the end, it won't matter.

  • ||

    mk,

    Thanks for the Everett True link; very funny. Not funny because the strips are inherently funny, but because someone must have thought that the strips, which are not funny, were funny, so... well, I am laughing, whatever the reason, so thanks.

  • ||

    "We managed to defeat Hitler without quite stooping to this level"

    Sandy, we may not have gone to his level, but we leveled all of Germany and nuked two cities in Japan, so we had to get pretty nasty to win and rightfully so. These guys with car bombs are about to have more than that after Iran gets the bomb sooner or later. Not that we won't win, but I think we will have to be a lot meaner and send a whole lot more people to see Allah before we are done.

  • Sandy||

    John:

    It's a little tough to sell non-Jihadist Muslims on "freedom" while you flush the Constitution down the toilet (because the Koran won't fit). So unless you want to have a final solution of sending them all to see Allah, I don't see what the point of it is.

    And I live in DC, so I'm acutely aware of the risks--moreso than many of the chickenhawks who suddenly think Lincoln had a point in suspending Habeus Corpus.

    leon:

    leon here point here

    Looks like you missed it.

  • Sandy||

    Damn HTML filter.

  • ||

    Sandy,

    I am not a chickenhawk, first. Second, Bush has not suspended habious corpus or done anything aproaching what Lincoln or ever Roosevelt did during previous wars. Amazingly enough, we survived the civil war and still had a constitution. Moreover, if terrorists manage to set off a nuclear or biological weapon in this country killing a few hundred thousand people, do you really think you would have any civil rights left? People are not going to commit suicide in the name of rights. If something like that happened, our lives would change forever and for the worse. I would rather let the government have some powers now in hopes of stopping that from happening. In agrueing that terrorism shouldn't change the legal framework in this country, you are gambling that nothing bad will really happen, because if something really bad happens, you won't have any rights to gamble with anymore. That would most certainly not be a result anyone would want.

  • ||

    I would rather let the government have some powers now in hopes of stopping that from happening

    Highlighted for any libertarians who might be in the audience (what site is this anyway?)

  • ||

    I repeat, does anyone here honestly beleive that if there was a serious terrorist attack. I am not talking 9-11. I am talking nuclear or biological, that we would have any civil rights left? Once that happened, people would go crazy. They would shut down the borders, impliment God knows what kind of restrictions on people's freedom of movement, ect. and the whole would cheer for it because they would be so terrified of it happening again. From a civil rights perscpective it is the perfect storm. That is what scares me. I have no doubt we can blow every Jhiadist in the world to hell. What I do doubt is that whether we can stop fucking around and do so before they do real damage and make an open society untenable. If you are not at least considering that possibility, you are living in denial.

  • lunchstealer||

    John,

    I see where you're coming from, but the problem is that the things we're talking about are not going to stop a covert nuke. We're specifically discussing Abu Graib style torture, and 'hard interrogation' at Gitmo, and denial of habeus corpus or POW status for 'enemy combatants'. If you talk to Mossad or old ex-KGB agents, they typically tell you that while you can break somebody's resolve to resist, that's mostly to elicit a confession. That confession will be unreliable as a predictive tool. These tactics have been used in the past, but they've only really been effective as tools of intimidation and fear, not as intelligence gathering tools.

    The tactics employed at Gitmo and Abu Graib simply aren't going to protect anybody, because they'll produce next to no actionable intelligence.

    So while it may be true that a terrorist nuke would turn the US into a full-on police state, that still doesn't justify the current Bush administration foolishness. Tighten port security, sure, but don't think that torturing some poor SOB that got pulled off the street in Bagdad is going to stop a nuke.

  • ||

    Lunchstealer,

    I agree with you about torture, but see my post above. The problem is what is torture? What is the best method for getting information. Ultimately, I think listening to the right phone calls, picking up the right people, and getting the right information out of those people, will stop a covert nuke. The trick is how do you best get the information without torturing them?

  • ||

    Well lunchstealer, you claim "torture" doesn't work, and yet we have confirmed reports that Khalid Sheik Mohammed cracked within 120 seconds of his first waterboarding. We needed to know what he knew, and we soon did. Good news, eh?

    And by the way, since waterboarding is done on US Special Forces in preparation/training, I don't call this "torture", I'd rather call it "creating favorable conditions for interrogation".

    Nor do I call anything done at Abu Graib or Club Gitmo "torture". The 520 islamofascists at Gitmo can tell it to the military tribunal, when their day in tribunal comes around. And really, considering that at least 10% of those we've released from Club Gitmo have returned to the battlefield to be killed or recaptured, I'd say we've probably got the right guys locked up. Wouldn't you?

    Give it up with the Abu Braig/Gitmo rants, already.

  • ||

    mitch,
    I don't know. I find the idea that someone would resort to violence over Teddy Roosevelt's spelling reforms to be a bit funny. Probably not in the way that it was intended though.

    I actually have one of those t-shirts. I doubt anyone will ever know what it is about.

  • Che||

    Dear Toiling Scribes,

    I was busy cleaning the blood of peasants off of my Rolex so I could not respond sooner.
    However I see you guys have been talking about me.
    Don't tell anybody but I'm still alive and living with my buddy Hugo C. in a non disclosed virgining communist utopia.
    Must get back to mayhem, death and distruction, all for the "greater good" of course.
    Commandante Che.

  • lunchstealer||

    Ass,

    A - we train our special forces guys in that so they can resist torture. We also train them to use chemical weapons gear to protect them from nerve agents. Does that mean it's ok to use nerve agents?

    B - Confirmed reports? Out of this administration? These guys don't publish that sort of thing. 'Far as I know, they haven't even really admitted to using waterboarding, just claimed they could if they wanted. My gut feeling is to call bullshit. If you've got a good link, I'll reconsider, but otherwise, I'm going to discount that out of hand. Sounds urban-legendy to me.

    Either way, no way I give up on the Graib/Gitmo rants. Torture is fscking evil, and it's un-American.

  • ||

    It's irony when Leon calls anybody a moron. What a stupid piece of leftist shit.

  • lunchstealer||

    Ok, I found the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed source. It's from an ABC news report where they describe two CIA agents recounting that KSM lasted 'two and a half minutes' before begging to confess. So he begged to confess, but does that imply that he gave good information? Those interrogated under such techniques have been reported to provide information that they believe their interrogators want to hear. In at least some instances, the information was completely false.

    In any case, there are certainly enough current and former CIA officers who do not think these techniques are reliable that I'm going to go ahead and say this. Morally reprehensible + unreliable = don't go there. America doesn't need this crap, and I don't want it.

    http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1322866&page=1

  • ||

    FYI, I'm pretty sure "bomb their ass" is a parody poster (the 10% stat is pretty good snark).

  • ||

    Lunchstealer,

    I find the whole debate about torture to be meaningless without really specific definitions. Making a guy put on womens underwear or having a dog bark at him does not bother me, except that it's kind of dopey. I have seen videos taken at Abu Ghraib where people's hands were cut off and arms were broken through with a pipe. That's torture and the US military did not do it, the Baathists that we are fighting did.

    While agressive inteerogation may produce bad information, some of the most valuable informationthat can be gained from interrogation is information that is qucikly verifiable - "tell us where your cell is caching the explosives you use to make IEDs" for example.

  • ||

    Apparently women's underwear killed some people in Abu Ghraib. Spooky stuff.

  • ||

    Torture works.

    Ask the Soviets. They start pulling your fingernails out one by one and you'll tell them anything they want.

    Ask John McCain. The N. Vietnamese broke him and he sang.

    The question is then, are the interrogation techniques the US and it's proxies use to gain info, torture?

  • lunchstealer||

    OK, waterboarding, (ie, mock execution) that's torture. Anything that leads to hypothermia, that's torture. If we caught a prison commandant who'd done any of those things to one of our boys, we'd bring 'em up on war crimes charges. I've always believed that goose sauce = gander sauce, so if its NOT OK to do it to Americans its NOT OK for us to do it. Double standards are for those who are afraid to take risks for their own beliefs. Maybe I watched too many John Wayne movies as a kid, but the guys who do that shit are the guys we kill, not the other way around.

  • lunchstealer||

    Pete, torture works to break somebody, I'm not denying that. And when they wanted American aviators like McCain to make sign propaganda confessions, or give names, that worked. But the Soviets didn't care about the veracity of those names. They just wanted to make examples of more people to keep fear of the state high, and to show that they were 'weeding out subversion'. If all we want to do is make Iraqis fear American soldiers, torture is perfectly effective. But if you're talking about reliable, actionable intelligence, its efficacy is certainly not proven enough to be worth compromising our principles.

  • ||

    Akira MacKenzie- (wherever you are)

    I don't know about Leon(!) but I picked up the Fallacy Files link and bookmarked it. Thanks.

    ----------

    As for the (expired) discussion of Guantanamo; I can't help but wonder how many of the detainees weren't terrorists or sympathizers when they got to Cuba, but are now. I certainly will never accept the reflexive apologists' response "all of them" as true.

    We'll never know, will we?

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