McCain: Your Cynicism Is Impeding Our Progress, Bro

Sometimes it gets tiring -- for me as well as you! -- to keep pointing out that John McCain has an essentially militaristic conception of citizenship, a palpable disdain for the private pursuit of happiness (and profit), and a hostility to public cynicism that requires an urgent and heavy-handed government interventionism.

So instead of me harping further, let's take it straight from horse's mouth, in a speech from this morning:

But even as we stand today, at the threshold of an age in which the genius of America will, I am confident, again be proven [...] many Americans are indifferent to or cynical about the virtues that our country claims. In part, it is attributable to the dislocations economic change causes; to the experience of Americans who have, through no fault of their own, been left behind as others profit as they never have before. In part, it is in reaction to government's mistakes and incompetence, and to the selfishness of some public figures who seek to shine the luster of their public reputations at the expense of the public good. But for others, cynicism about our country, government, social and religious institutions seems not a reaction to occasions when they have been let down by these institutions, but because the ease which wealth and opportunity have given their lives led them to the mistaken conclusion that America, and the liberties its system of government is intended to protect, just aren't important to the quality of their lives. [...]

[W]hen healthy skepticism sours into corrosive cynicism our expectations of our government become reduced to the delivery of services. And to some people the expectations of liberty are reduced to the right to choose among competing brands of designer coffee. [...]

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you are disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. I hope more Americans would consider enlisting in our Armed Forces. I hope more would consider running for public office or working in federal, state and local governments. [...]

The good citizen and wise person pursues happiness that is greater than comfort, more sublime than pleasure. The cynical and indifferent know not what they miss. For their mistake is an impediment not only to our progress as a civilization but to their happiness as individuals.

As blessed as we are, no nation complacent in its greatness can long sustain it. We, too, must prove, as those who came before us proved, that a people free to act in their own interests, will perceive those interests in an enlightened way, will live as one nation, in a kinship of ideals, and make of our power and wealth a civilization for the ages, a civilization in which all people share in the promise and responsibilities of freedom.

Should we claim our rights and leave to others the duty to the ideals that protect them, whatever we gain for ourselves will be of little lasting value. It will build no monuments to virtue, claim no honored place in the memory of posterity, offer no worthy summons to the world. Success, wealth and celebrity gained and kept for private interest is a small thing. It makes us comfortable, eases the material hardships our children will bear, purchases a fleeting regard for our lives, yet not the self-respect that, in the end, matters most. But sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and you invest your life with the eminence of that cause, your self-respect assured.

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  • Ted||

    It is tiring. Please stop.

  • ||


    My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country.
    --John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961



    National Greatness Liberal?

  • Fluffy||

    If you find faults with our country, make it a better one.

    I doubt McCain realizes that currently the best way one could do that - the best "higher calling" than mere pleasure one could pursue - would be to chase him everywhere he goes, hounding him like a harpy, hoping to drive him into [further] insanity and an ignominious retirement.

    I'm too busy with pleasure right now to sign up for the job, but I hope someone else does. McCain is a piece of shit who really deserves to be subjected to the Furies as much as any American alive.

  • ed||

    Here's how it's going down:
    McCain is sworn in on a cold, blustery day, insists on walking the route in just a sweater and no top hat, catches a cold, dies three days later, and Vice President Flake assumes power.

  • B||

    Jebus, I couldn't even get through that excerpt...

  • Bryan||

    I don't see what you are talking about Matt. It doesn't seem to be distain for private pursuit as much as distain for pursuit of personal gain through the medium of public policy.

    "In part, it is in reaction to government's mistakes and incompetence, and to the selfishness of some public figures who seek to shine the luster of their public reputations at the expense of the public good."

    He seems to be encouraging people who feel the same way to do something about it -- i.e. run for office or organize a movement or simply vote.

    For people that are in the private sector, he seems to be saying that he hopes that just because they can't see how rights and government affect them, doesn't mean that both don't and doesn't mean that they should not get involved in protecting both. To me, its a direct message to all those that say, "What do I care about Federal Wire tapping laws? I haven't done anything wrong." Its an encouragement that those laws -- even the ones that may not directly affect you now -- do matter and should not be taken for granted. And for those that are inclined, they should get involved at a variety of levels to protect those rights and this way of life.

    I think your hatred for McCain is clouding your reading ability.

  • ||

    You're right. You are getting tiresome.

    Yes, McCain has a lot of disturbing big-government tendencies. But the Libertarian isn't going to win, and I see no sign that HRC or BHO are any better in this respect -- in fact, they will likely be worse, given the fact that their party is likely to retain control of Congress.

    At least McCain brings with him a somewhat greater likelihood of partisan gridlock -- something that all libertarians should be grateful for!

  • ||

    This speech will certainly make it into the history books, especially as a precursor to President McCain's "An Empire needs an Emperor" speech of May 12th, 2011.

  • ||

    At least McCain brings with him a somewhat greater likelihood of partisan gridlock -- something that all libertarians should be grateful for!

    jkp - You haven't made the sale yet, but that is probably the best argument for voting for McCain. If the GOP controlled congress would you cast your ballot for Obama?

  • KipEsquire||

    While I appreciate the significance of this speech's newness, by strictly substantive standards his 2006 Liberty University commencement address was worse by at least an order of magnitude. (E.g., "There is no honor or happiness in just being strong enough to be left alone.")

  • UM||

    Hugh: at which point he will be old enough to look something like Palpatine...

  • Darth McCain||

    I don't think the people of the Empire are concerned if the rebellion lasts 100 years, 1,000 years, or 10,000 years.

  • LarryA||

    At least McCain brings with him a somewhat greater likelihood of partisan gridlock -- something that all libertarians should be grateful for!

    This is the same guy who wrote McCain-Feingold. I don't think blocking legislation is his goal, I think he'll be more than happy to give the Democrats whatever they want in exchange for passing his own agenda.

    To me, its a direct message to all those that say, "What do I care about Federal Wire tapping laws? I haven't done anything wrong." Its an encouragement that those laws -- even the ones that may not directly affect you now -- do matter and should not be taken for granted. And for those that are inclined, they should get involved at a variety of levels to protect those rights and this way of life.

    Except that, for McCain, laws that sacrifice individual rights "for the good of the country" are a good thing, and anyone seeking to limit the government's "right" to regulate individuality is a traitor.

    McCain is another Patton, not another Eisenhauer.

  • ||

    But sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and you invest your life with the eminence of that cause, your self-respect assured.

    And I will make sure that every American sacrifices for this purported honor I keep talking about. You see my friends, moral acts are still moral, even if they're coerced...

  • ||

    I'd be money we will see a military draft if John McCain is made President.

  • ||

    I'm not sure he could get that through, Cesar, but I have no doubt that he'd like to. He's definitely of the "Society flows from the military" mindset.

  • ||

    At least McCain brings with him a somewhat greater likelihood of partisan gridlock -- something that all libertarians should be grateful for!

    Dude, this is why I support Hillary. If she gets in the White House, the Republicans go apeshit. Apeshit apeshit.

    She won't be able to ask for a steak for dinner on Friday night without Republicans asking if pork loin wouldn't be a better use of taxpayer dollars.

    If she sneezes on camera, Fox news analysts will discuss whether she was sending a secret message to Brazil.

    While it won't be Libertarian, it will at least be a Chinese Fire Drill and that, at least, will result in little being done.

  • ||

    David, Congressional Democrats back down on just about anything. Something tells me they'd back down on that too particularly if hes successful in whipping up a 2002/3-like war hysteria over Iran.

  • ||

    Not at all tiresome, says I.

    We need regular reminders just what kind of soulless, power-hungry, deeply twisted individuals our presidential candidates are. That description certainly fits McCain and Hillary. Even if you were to assume that Obama were simply a misguided individual (and therefore somehow morally superior to the other two), his policy space is still... significantly lacking.

    Without these regular reminders, I fear HnR will fall into the 2000/2004 trap of "Well, Kerry/Gore would have been worse" or "At least it's not Gore." Nay, they are ALL worse. There is no lesser evil amongst these three. If we choose to forget this, who, then, will remember it? Soccer Mom? Nascar Dad? Dondero? The constant misery of disappointment and bewilderment is our cross to bear, lest we forget our principles.

    Bravo, Welch.

  • Rimfax||

    It looks like he's try to take a long-winded swipe at celebrity socialists, but he uses a pizza peel instead of a bat.

  • ||

    That's true, but unless something truly horrible happened, there's no way to get that kind of support.

  • ||

    McCain is another Patton

    His whole presidency would almost be worth it to imagine McCain having this sort of exchange in the White House, turning red and spittle everywhere:


    How could you compare Republicans and Democrats to the Nazi Party? And the statement that you refuse to denazify has the Russians, the British, everybody, screaming.

    Well, the hell with the Mongoloid Russians. We've given them Berlin, Prague, God knows what else. They gonna dictate policy too?

    George, don't be a fool. The war in Europe is over. Washington dictates policy.

    The war shouldn't be over. We should stop pussyfooting about the Russians! We'll have to fight them anyway. Why not do it now, when the army's here? lnstead of disarming Germans let's get them to help fight the Bolsheviks.

    You better shut up. This line may be tapped.

    I don't care. I'll tell you. . .we've been fighting the wrong people. You and I don't have to get involved, you're so soft about it. Leave it to me. In days I'll have us at war with them. and make it look like their fault!

    George, you're mad. You're absolutely out of your mind!

    Well, I'm no diplomat. I'm a combat soldier. That's all they understand. Get Ike to give me the word, and I'll kick them back to Russia!

    Shall I call the artist back, sir?

    Oh, the hell with it. Nobody wants to see a picture of me. I'm mad!

  • Bryan||

    Except that, for McCain, laws that sacrifice individual rights "for the good of the country" are a good thing, and anyone seeking to limit the government's "right" to regulate individuality is a traitor.

    I have never heard McCain call someone that disagrees with him a "traitor." And he has certainly not used that brandishing in public.

    So tiresome.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't see what you are talking about Matt. It doesn't seem to be distain for private pursuit as much as distain for pursuit of personal gain through the medium of public policy.

    Nope, sorry, uh-uh.

    Based on other statements McCain has made, this speech is of a piece with his "the honor of the United States requires that we stay at war in Iraq" statements.

    McCain sincerely believes that persons who engage in private pursuits have no honor, and persons who torture helpless captives, wage aggressive war, manipulate puppet governments in foreign lands, disappear people into secret prisons, bomb civilian populations, and lie about all these things when it's in their interest to do so do have honor, as long as they're drawing a government check when they do them.

  • ||

    Also, remember his "I did it for patriotism, not profits" remark.

  • ||

    If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you are disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. I hope more Americans would consider enlisting in our Armed Forces. I hope more would consider running for public office or working in federal, state and local governments. [...]

    Yes, John, of course! If I don't like the government I should try to become a part of it. Somehow, I'm guessing that McCain hasn't joined KKK and Aryan Nation out of his dislike for them and his desire for them to change...

  • drawnasunder||

    Sounds like a prelude to "austerity" programs.

  • ||

    J sub D:

    I would seriously consider voting for BHO if Congress was likely to go to the GOP.

  • Ian||

    He sounds like a nationalist windbag or maybe a preacher. And Matt, it is definately getting tiresome, we understand that McCain is a nationalistic, big government, scumbag hippocrit.

  • ||

    My mortal strike routinely crits hippos for upwards of 2320. On PLATE, baby.

  • ||

    I think Matt needs to get back on his meds. He takes these long winded quotes from McCain saluting the flag and such. The kind that every national politician of both parties gives about the importance of God Country and national service and the like and sees some fiendish plot behind it. It is not tiresome Matt. It is pathetic.

  • ||

    Not tiresome at all. I consider the continued criticism of McCain to be the best thing Reason has going for it next to Balko.

    I'm really hoping tomatoes are thrown at McCain at the convention. The small government part of the GOP has grown substantially and we'll brutally sabotage the party from within as long as big government policies are the guiding light of the party.

  • ||

    "MT. VERNON, Iowa - Democrat Barack Obama on Wednesday advocated a major expansion of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and other national service programs, saying "This will be a cause of my presidency."

    The Illinois senator said that the government is not keeping pace with those who want to serve. "We will create new opportunities for all of us to serve," he said at a rally at Cornell College."

    Despite growing anti-Americanism around the world, "the American people are not the problem, they are the answer," Obama said.

    Obama said he would also expand the all-volunteer military, but "we will never send them to fight in a misguided war."

    "The burden of service has fallen more and more on the brave men and women of our military," he said, citing "tour upon tour of duty in a war with no end."

    "We will enlist veterans to help other veterans to find jobs, and to pitch in at VA hospitals and nursing homes," Obama said.

    Other Democratic candidates have also proposed expanding national service. Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a former Peace Corps volunteer, has proposed making community service mandatory for all high school students, doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 and expanding the AmeriCorps national service program to 1 million participants. He also proposed encouraging service by adults by offering tax credits to employers who give workers paid time off to volunteer and $1,000 grants for seniors who help out in schools. The money could be used for their own continuing education or that of a child or grandchild."

    This is one of those rare windows that don't come around very often, maybe once in a generation," Mr. Obama said. "As you get older, you get more set in your ways, you come to just assume that the world as it is, is the world as it must be. At your age, you're still in the position to imagine what it might be. You are in the position to be the lever by which we move in a different direction."

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/obama-issues-call-for-public-service/

    Does Obama have a "militaristic view of patriotism" Matt? Grow up Matt really. Just grow up and get over it already.

  • ||

    McCain will bring in mandatory 2 years of "national service" it can be satisfied by draft or gaia worship or any number of one world government programs.

    it will be "bipartisian" and it will be evil...it was in time magazine last year.

  • Justin Raimondo||

    Perhaps Matt's critique of McCain's militarism would have more credibility if it wasn't comig from someone who describes himself as a "liberal," and I don't mean of the "classical" sort:

    Who is Matt Welch?

    http://www.takimag.com/site/article/who_is_matt_welch/

    An excerpt:

    "Is Welch a libertarian? Certainly not-by his own admission:

    "'I'm a liberal. I take liberalism to mean a belief in policy geared toward easing poverty, extending rights to every walking human who hasn't utterly forfeited them, getting the government out of the morality business, regulating markets judiciously, ensuring the pervasive yet hopefully efficient delivery of non-market goods such as education, health care and national defense, and otherwise having the sense to let the private sector handle private concerns. What makes me not "liberal" in the way that people who call themselves 'progressives' are seen as "liberal," is that I don't think the U.S. is the primary fount of global wickedness, I am heartily in favor of the war against Al-Qaeda.'"

  • ||

    Gabe-

    So if someone engaged in a little InterstateCommerce and failed a drug test, could they get out of the program?

  • The Democratic Republican||

    The idea that rights come with duties shouldn't really be offensive to libertarians. At a very basic level, your right to be left alone comes with the duty to leave others alone. Alas, many libertarians area as hypocritical as McCain when it comes to this basic responsibility.

  • The Democratic Republican||

    Justin -- That quote from Welch is clearly liberal of the classical sort. The fact that he doesn't share your blind pacifism doesn't change that fact. None of the great classical liberals could be described as pacifist. Jefferson? Ha! He fought our first war against Muslim terrorists (pirates).

  • Justin Raimondo||

    Healthcare is a "non-market good"? Education, too? I think those pirates stole your brain.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's "classical" alright: classic statism.

  • ||

    Health care is a non-market good?

  • ||

    I'd really like to see Eric Dondero and Justin Raimondo have a debate. That'd be some classic entertainment right there.

  • ||

    I'd like to see a debate between Matt Welch and Bob Poole. Subject: "Healthcare and Education: 'Non-Market Goods'?"

    My money's on Bob ...

  • The Democratic Republican||

    I didn't say I agreed with everything he said. Education and healthcare are non-market goods that can be delivered through market mechanisms; this seems to be what Welch is implying.

    There is a need for a state, and one that can defend itself when needed.

  • TallDave||

    Success, wealth and celebrity gained and kept for private interest is a small thing. It makes us comfortable, eases the material hardships our children will bear, purchases a fleeting regard for our lives, yet not the self-respect that, in the end, matters most.

    Argh. I can hear Lenin applauding somewhere.

    Of course, McCain's saving grace is that Obama will be much, much worse.

  • ||

    I guess the question I would ask Matt is this one: couldn't some of those goals conflict? For example, a lot of people have thought over the centuries that ending poverty required all manner of involvement in the private decisions of the poor. Anyway, sorry for the threadjack.

  • ||

    of course those details haven't been revealed yet. Here is the link to the national service issue of Time....newsweek and US news ha dsimilar issues during a quick three week period.

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/0,28757,1657256,00.html

    Cesar-If you have drug trafficking experience you might be offered a position in the CIA...they can always use some good help.

  • ||

    Without a fair number of "greedy people" driven towards economic success and private gain in a country it seems to me that country would be a flop.

  • TallDave||

    For example, a lot of people have thought over the centuries that ending poverty required all manner of involvement in the private decisions of the poor.

    Generally, the popular solution to ending poverty has been all manner of involvement in the private decisions of the upper class (i.e. taking their money and giving it to the poor).

  • TallDave||

    At least McCain brings with him a somewhat greater likelihood of partisan gridlock -- something that all libertarians should be grateful for!

    Heh, I'm going print up bumper stickers for that.

    Vote McCain, Vote Gridlock!

    Because let's face it, anything politicians do will only make things worse.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    Whether that is indeed the case or not, government efforts over the last few centuries to stamp out poverty have generally involved measures that range from dictacting the sorts of meals that the poor should eat to sterilization.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    For example, didn't the likely well-intentioned "City Beautiful" movement have deep impacts on the lives of the poor and the sorts of private decisions they might make?

  • Elemenope||

    Of course, McCain's saving grace is that Obama will be much, much worse.

    On what scale of 'worse' are you measuring? Because it ain't no scale of 'worse' I've ever heard of.

  • Fluffy||

    I can't believe that the real Justin Raimondo would show up here to throw stones at Welch to protect an ignominious slobbering torturer piece of shit like McCain.

    By the way, fake-Raimondo, no statement of Welch about health care can have any impact whatsoever on the credibility of any criticism he makes about McCain. The McCain quotes are either genuine, or they are false. It doesn't matter a tinker's fucking damn who posts them or what they think about non-market goods, whatever the fuck those are.

    McCain either has routinely expressed contempt for the private sector, or he has not. He either was the author of a compromise torture bill that allowed the President to torture at will and immunized his henchmen for their torture through that date, or he was not. He either advocated for restrictions on free speech, or not. He either acquiesced in the current President's gigantic expansion of government in all areas, or he did not. He either sang a song about bombing Iran, or he did not. And nothing about Welch or his character or any libertarian in-squabble has anything to do with which alternatives among these are true.

  • ||

    TallDave if you think McCain won't give us a Democratic domestic policy in exchange for getting a blank check for his military adventures, I'd like to know what you're smoking.

    Why do you think Lieberman backs him, after all?

  • ||

    I second Cesar's comment

  • Fluffy||

    Does Obama have a "militaristic view of patriotism" Matt?

    No, John. Your quotes make it obvious that Obama has a Peace Corps view of patriotism. Not a military view of patriotism.

    A Peace Corps view of patriotism may end up giving you the cloying sentimentality of a campfire sing-along of Kumbaya, but it's not likely to give you endless war and torture.

    If I have to choose between Florence Nightengale and Diocletian, I know which one to choose.

    Especially because McCain will give us all the social engineering crap, too. Just like W. Voting for McCain will almost certainly give me all of the entitlement-style thinking Obama is likely to produce, PLUS endless war and torture. Wow, tough choice.

  • Elemenope||

    Why do you think Lieberman backs him, after all?

    Because he's off his nut, that's why.

    Nevertheless, I don't disagree that a McCain presidency will bring with it a grab-bag of righty and lefty statist policies, and probably wouldn't lead to the coveted 'gridlock' that so many people desire.

  • Bryan||

    What about the McCain comment that the Government should not be in the business of bailing out anyone in association with the mortgage crisis -- either home owners or banks? That seems to have its roots in an appreciation for the free market and capitalism. I haven't heard anyone at reason comment on that though. Oh right, it doesn't fit in with their caricature of McCain.

  • ||

    In order to have gridlock doesn't one have to have both a party division between the Congress and the Presidency and a roughly equal split in popularity between the two branches?

  • ||

    Bryan IIRC McCain is in favor of bailing out the banks, but not the homeowners.

  • Nathan||

    Good comments, I'm enjoying the sidebar about Matt Welch's lack of credibility as the editor of Treason.

    Hey Matt, when you blog McCain, make sure you sing us a sweet song about Wilsonian diplomacy.

  • TallDave||

    On what scale of 'worse' are you measuring? Because it ain't no scale of 'worse' I've ever heard of

    Higher taxes, more welfare, less free trade, more gov't intervention.

    TallDave if you think McCain won't give us a Democratic domestic policy in exchange for getting a blank check for his military adventures, I'd like to know what you're smoking.

    Clearly it's not as good as whatever you're smoking.

  • ||

    ORLY Dave? Sounds quite plausible to me given his history of Lieberman-like bipartisanship left-right socialist/interventionist grab-bag.

  • Fluffy||

    Nathan, please explain the process by which Welch's views on health care and education would impact the accuracy of easily-verifiable quotes from McCain or public record facts about McCain.

    Douchebag.

  • ||

    Justin, if that is your real name and even if if it is it isn't is it, what's your point? Anyone who's read Welch over the last several years knows that.

  • ||

    In order to have gridlock doesn't one have to have both a party division between the Congress and the Presidency and a roughly equal split in popularity between the two branches?

    Gridlock died when we got this ridiculous concept that we vote people into office to "solve problems" instead of to represent us. This nancy "stop our partisan bickering and reach across the isle to work together to solve America's problems" bullshit killed any chance of gridlock.

  • TallDave||

    It doesn't surprise me you find it plausible.

  • ||

    Gridlock only works with a Republican Congress (because, you know, Republicans actually have back bone) and a (centrist) Democratic President.

  • ||

    Well, about three other people on this thread seem to find it plausible as well.

  • Elemenope||

    Higher taxes, more welfare, less free trade, more gov't intervention.

    Dude, apparently you're stuck in some kind of time-warp. The GOP hasn't been appreciably different from the Democrats on these issues in a shockingly long time. Only, their brand of statism is corporate-welfare aligned, rather than personal welfare aligned.

    McCain even more so.

  • TallDave||

    Gridlock died when we got this ridiculous concept that we vote people into office to "solve problems" instead of to represent us.

    Exactly. I can solve my own freaking problems. Government intervention generally makes things worse, with rare exceptions.

  • TallDave||

    Not surprised by that either.

  • TallDave||

    The GOP hasn't been appreciably different from the Democrats on these issues in a shockingly long time.

    Again, lower taxes, free trade, less welfare, less government intervention. Read Obama's policy statements, then read McCain's.

  • Fluffy||

    Higher taxes, more welfare, less free trade, more gov't intervention.

    Which is worse, from a libertarian perspective, TallDave -

    1. Raising the top marginal tax rate to 35%

    or

    2. Grabbing people off the street, secretly transporting them to secret prisons, and torturing them - for years?

    Unless I missed it, McCain has never endorsed the economic platform of the LPA. So it's not a matter of having one candidate who favors, say, having no minimum wage, and another candidate who favors having one. What we've got here is a contest between one candidate who wants the minimum wage to be $5.15 and another candidate who wants it to be $7.00. And I really don't see that saving that two bucks an hour is some sort of libertarian Everest summitting that justifies the hundreds of dead and mutilated children in Tehran we're likely to get with McCain.

    If McCain specifically comes out against the post 1932 tax and welfare regime in its entirety, we can talk. But this quibbling over the margins really doesn't impress me, given the rest of the McCain package.

  • ||

    "fluffy" -- don't get huffy. McCain's anti-business views are shared by his critic, and, if you look at Welch's writings from his "war-blogger" days, you'll see he is -- was? -- more militaristic than McCain. Check it out:

    http://www.takimag.com/site/article/who_is_matt_welch/

  • ||

    Does anyone have something to blackmail Lieberman with so that he'll come out and admit that he and McCain give each other blowjobs while watching footage of the War in Iraq? Because we all know they do. We just need proof

  • TallDave||

    2. Grabbing people off the street, secretly transporting them to secret prisons, and torturing them - for years?

    That would be bad, if it ever happened, as opposed to grabbing three senior AQ and waterboarding them for a few minutes.

    It's sad how deranged people have become over that. It's like righties claiming the Clintons killed everyone that was going to reveal their secret plot to take everyone's guns then turn over our national sovereignty to the UN.

  • ||

    Yeah, using medieval inquisition techniques on people is no big deal. /sarcasm

  • ||

    I would seriously consider voting for BHO if Congress was likely to go to the GOP.

    I'd automatically do it. I have serious reservations about John McCain though. Ancient Sparta is not a society I want to to emulate.

  • TallDave||

    the hundreds of dead and mutilated children in Tehran

    We're not going to invade Iran. There's not a single poll that finds popular support for it. At worst, Israel will strike their nuke facilities.

  • ||

    Hah, like McCain would bother to inform Congress, let alone the public, about bombing Tehran.

    "My friends, I'm the Commander-in-Chief".

    If you loved 2003, you're going to love 2011...

  • TallDave||

    Yeah, using medieval inquisition techniques on people is no big deal. /sarcasm

    Yeah, I'm sure the CIA will be breaking out the Iron Maiden and thumbscrews any day now.

  • ||

    TallDave waterboarding was used by the Spanish Inquisition.

    For that matter, it was used by the Japanese in World War II. We actually called that a "war crime" and tried them for it.

  • TallDave||

    Also, didn't Obama promise to invade Pakistan? What about the piles of dead Pakistani children?

  • Fluffy||

    Justin -

    It may in fact be true that Welch is anti-business and pro-military.

    But both of those facts are not relevant to any discussion of McCain.

    No matter how many times people at Reason pissed in your cheerios over the Ron Paul thing, McCain has a documented public career spanning many decades. Even if Welch commutes daily between Reason and the Daily Worker like some kind of libertarian Whitaker Chambers, his material is either accurate or it is not.

    If there is something you want to dispute, dispute it. But please spare me the concern trolling about Welch's credibility. If you have a list of incredible statements Welch has made about McCain, just post it.

  • TallDave||

    TallDave waterboarding was used by the Spanish Inquisition

    So was yelling and asking questions.

    So, apparently my high school gym teacher was actually Torquemada.

  • ||

    Tell you what, Dave. Lets waterboard you, and then lets have you tell us its not torture.

  • TallDave||

    Happy to.

    Several people have already volunteered, including a Fox News journalist.

    It's rather amazing that some people claim a few minutes of discomfort for three senior AQ in an unacceptable price to disrupt plots to kill hundreds of Americans.

  • Fluffy||

    That would be bad, if it ever happened

    The Bush administration openly acknowledges that the first two happened.

    They dispute that there has been widespread torture, but:

    1. They have demonstrated via Justice Department memoranda that they can't be trusted to define torture, and they could electroshock people every day and not "torture" them according to the Yoo Memo definition;

    2. They took the time and trouble to specifically immunize their personnel for torture offenses committed as of the passage of the Military Commissions Act;

    On the basis of these two actions I have every right to infer that torture [as I would have defined it] took place. If there was no torture, why did anyone need immunity? If there was no torture, why did the Justice Department have to issue memoranda to provide guidelines for the use of torture, and to permit the use of torture?

  • TallDave||

    And, Cesar, let's have your family be killed by terrorists and then tell us waterboarding three senior AQ was too high a price to save them.

  • Elemenope||

    That would be bad, if it ever happened, as opposed to grabbing three senior AQ and waterboarding them for a few minutes.

    It's sad how deranged people have become over that.


    Yeah, those lefty fools, thinking that those AQ were people, too. How foolish of them, thinking that human rights were inalienable and deserving of respect even in hated enemies.

    Wusses.

    Go kiss McCain for me, Dave.

  • ||

    And, Cesar, let's have your family be killed by terrorists and then tell us waterboarding three senior AQ was too high a price to save them.



    Ticking time bomb bullshit fantasies. You watch too much 24.

    For someone who professes to love the second amendment, you sure don't believe in the eighth.

  • Fluffy||

    It's rather amazing that some people claim a few minutes of discomfort for three senior AQ in an unacceptable price to disrupt plots to kill hundreds of Americans.

    No, what's amazing is the way a party whose candidate claims to be campaigning for the sake of the nation's "honor" shifts back and forth between arguing that helpless captives aren't mistreated, to claiming that mistreating them isn't a big deal because it's necessary.

    Torture and obfuscation. Such honor.

    They should put that in the Boy Scout oath.

    They should put that in the Presidential Oath of Office.

    If that's our honor, let's embrace it.

  • TallDave||

    Fluffy,

    So, your argument sums up to: you don't like/trust Bush. Oh well. Good luck with that.

  • ||

    So, Dave, were we wrong to try the Japanese that committed waterboarding on our POWs as war criminals?

  • ||

    "And, Cesar, let's have your family be killed by terrorists and then tell us waterboarding three senior AQ was too high a price to save them."

    Well TallDave, why stop there? If we were to torture the suspects family members in front of them until they divulge secrets we could save even more people. Are you game? Where do you draw the line? Folks like Cesar have just decided to go ahead and draw that line at the beginning of inhumane treatment. Do you have no line of your own? What is it? It would be healthy to make conservatives state that line because then an administration or two down the line they will be defending a government crossing that very line. That's what conservatives without consciences do...

  • Fluffy||

    And, Cesar, let's have your family be killed by terrorists and then tell us waterboarding three senior AQ was too high a price to save them.

    Well, let's have your family killed by a terrorist who was inspired to act by the torture and mayhem unleashed by the Bush administration. Then you can tell us how clever Bush's terror policies have been.

  • TallDave||

    Cesar, we have had thousands of Americans killed by AQ. The CIA says they disrupted several plots based on info from waterboarding, most notably from Khalid Sheik Muhammed.

    It's not a fantasy.

  • Charles||

    Doesn't Justin RayMondo have a website of his own? I am struck by his having nothing better to do with his time.

  • ||

    fluffy's right. Bush says "we don't torture" and "we have to do this torture stuff" back and forth so much its almost funny (almost because it discredits America so much).

    Which leads me to this point for folks like TallDave, they act like opponents of torture are starry-eyed deontological fools and proponents are the only ones with the moral courage to examine the costs/benefits of torture. One of the costs is the loss of world support and cooperation that comes from us doing this sort of thing. That could put Cesar (and everyone's) family members at risk as surely as not getting information from suspected (they are suspected remember) terrorists...

  • TallDave||

    So, Dave, were we wrong to try the Japanese that committed waterboarding on our POWs as war criminals?

    No, soldiers are protected by the Geneva Convention. And we also firebombed Tokyo, which we certainly would have called a war crime has they done it to San Francisco or Los Angeles. The WW II trials were not exactly free of hypocrisy.

    who was inspired to act by the torture and mayhem unleashed by the Bush administration.

    If it happens, it will be because of idiots who keep incorrectly claiming we torture.

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm sure the CIA will be breaking out the Iron Maiden and thumbscrews any day now.

    The CIA could easily backup the assertion that waterboarding is not really torture by releasing the videotapes of their interrogations of Abu Zubaida and others.

    Oh wait, for some reason they destroyed the evidence that could demostrate how innocuous the technique, as applied, really is. Why would they do that?

  • Fluffy||

    So, your argument sums up to: you don't like/trust Bush. Oh well. Good luck with that.

    And your argument boils down to the fact that you're a bedwetting cowardly piece of shit who is so terrified in the first crisis that all standards of human decency should be thrown out the window.

    The simple fact of the matter is that if torture is justified by the presence of an external threat, then it's always justified, because no nation or person is ever free of external threats. The same is true of hypersurveillance, state deception, routine abridgement of citizen rights, the demonization of political resisters, and the rest of it. If you accept what the Bush administration has done because of "a crisis", then you accept it forever, always, and everywhere. Or you're a liar.

  • TallDave||

    they act like opponents of torture are starry-eyed deontological fools

    They are. We don't torture, we never have, waterboarding was only ever done to 3 people, and it likely saved American lives.

    Sorry, I value American lives more than a few minutes of discomfort for senior AQ. I'm just funny that way, I guess.

  • TallDave||

    all standards of human decency should be thrown out the window.

    Sorry, I value American lives more than a few minutes of discomfort for senior AQ. I'm just an amoral bedwetting monster, I guess.

  • Fluffy||

    If it happens, it will be because of idiots who keep incorrectly claiming we torture.

    And here TallDave dots the i on his authoritarianism.

    The problem is not our policies; the problem is that traitors criticize our policies!

    If we all would just sacrifice our independent moral judgement and discard our cynicism, our glorious nation would march on unopposed!

    No wonder you are here defending McCain. Hell, you may actually BE McCain.

  • TallDave||

    The problem is not our policies; the problem is that traitors criticize our policies!

    Idiots, not traitors.

    Again, you're just the same as the crazy righties who throw that CLinton Death List, One World Gov't conspiracy crap around.

  • Fluffy||

    Waterboarding was not the only torture deployed, TallDave.

    Sleep deprivation is torture.

    Exposure to extremes of hot and cold is torture.

    Physically striking the subject of an interrogation is torture.

    Setting attack dogs on shackled prisoners is torture.

    Sensory deprivation and long-term solitary confinement is torture.

    Fake executions are torture.

    False claims to be torturing family members nearby are torture.

  • TallDave||

    Yes, yes, everything is torture now.

  • Peter||

    I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  • TallDave||

    In fact, reading this thread is torture.

  • ||

    No, soldiers are protected by the Geneva Convention.



    Well, see, they got around that by saying they weren't really soldiers but "bandits" and "imperialists".

  • Charles||

    TallDave, question.

    Let's say that someone has planted a bomb in NYC, set to go off in ten hours. You've been torturing him for days, no luck. You know he has a sixteen year old son he is devoted to. Do you harm the son to get the terrorist to talk? If not, why?

    Scenario two: Someone unrelated to the first terrorists knows where said bomb is planted, but refuses to talk due to religious conviction. Do you torture him? Why or why not?

  • ||

    Also, while both sides engaged in strategic bombing, only one side tortured POWs.

  • Fluffy||

    Idiots, not traitors.

    Right, like the FBI officers who refused to continue working at Guantanamo.

    Like the cavalcade of military attorneys [for both the prosecution and the defense] who routinely bail out of Guantanamo's operations because of their outrage about what goes on there.

    Even you acknowledge that an interrogation technique our ourselves branded a war crime was deployed. You blithely assert that it was only used 3 times, but the only evidence we have of that is statements made by people who lied about those 3 times for 5 years.

    The administration's routine statements that there were no rendition flights were lies. Since by their own admission they lied about this program for years, why should I believe their ex post facto rationalizations of it, or their claims about its limited scope?

  • Fluffy||

    TallDave, if those techniques aren't torture, there was no reason to use them.

    If you have a terrorist who is committed to not telling you anything, and you subject him to sleep deprivation for a week and he talks, what was it that made him talk? The fact that it was pleasant? The fact that it was just so overwhelmingly fun to not sleep for a week that he decided he loved the USA and wanted to cooperate?

  • ||

    Countries that have used waterboarding before are Inquisition-era Spain, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.

    I guess I'm just a limp-wristed pacifist for not wanting to be in that company.

  • TallDave||

    You've been torturing him for days, no luck.

    Wouldn't.

    Even you acknowledge that an interrogation technique our ourselves branded a war crime was deployed.

    It was a war crime because it was used on a POW. Terrorists are not POWS.

    What do you think happened to German saboteurs caught in American WW II?

  • ||

    What do you think happened to German saboteurs caught in American WW II?



    They weren't tortured. Because back then, that was something only our enemies did.

  • TallDave||

    Countries that have used waterboarding before are Inquisition-era Spain, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.

    They also all used paper and wore clothes.

  • Charles||

    TallDave, I am confused. You would object to using torture in a ticking bomb situation, but you don't object to its use at Guantanamo?

  • ||

    Cesar -
    You don't understand. We're torturing them for GOOD!

  • ||

    How witty TallDave. Now can you list a western democracy thats used waterboarding please?

  • ||

    Again Dave, the Japanese didn't consider the people they tortured POWs. They said they were "bandits".

  • TallDave||

    What do you think happened to German saboteurs caught in American WW II? They weren't tortured. Because back then, that was something only our enemies did.

    Oh the naivete.

    They were not only tortured, they were summarily executed after.

    Of course, back then the definition of "torture" exceeded even a severe beating mean a severe beating, as that was common even for petty criminals.

  • Elemenope||

    Again, you're just the same as the crazy righties who throw that CLinton Death List, One World Gov't conspiracy crap around.

    Today is the day for moral equivocations! Up top, Legate Damar was trying to argue that all three candidates for president were equally bad (cause, don'tcha know, ALL politicians are the same; makes you wonder why we even bother to vote), and then you top him with this unbelievable piece of tripe, equating conspiracy nuts with people who do not like how the US treats its war prisoners.

    If you really want to know whether some pain-causing technique is torture, ask only if you would allow yourself to be subjected to it knowing that you could not stop it at will. If the answer is 'no', it's torture.

    And since waterboarding is an activity that has already been prosecuted as a war crime by the USA in the past, not calling it torture is pretty asinine.

  • ||

    Still waiting for all those western democracies that have waterboarded people.

  • TallDave||

    Again Dave, the Japanese didn't consider the people they tortured POWs. They said they were "bandits".

    They also considered sex slavery acceptable. Do we really need to go into their moral and factual shortcomings?

  • TallDave||

    How witty TallDave. Now can you list a western democracy thats used waterboarding please?

  • TallDave||

    How witty TallDave. Now can you list a western democracy thats used waterboarding please?

    I would be amazed if any haven't.

  • ||

    Really? Then it shouldn't be too hard to find one that has. Should be able to find a link even!

  • TallDave||

    TallDave, I am confused. You would object to using torture in a ticking bomb situation, but you don't object to its use at Guantanamo?

    I object to torture period.

    No one has been tortured at Guantanamo, unless we've all been tortured by anyone that yelled at us or put us in a cold room, in which case its meaningless.

  • TallDave||

    Really? Then it shouldn't be too hard to find one that has.

    Find me one that hasn't. Should be pretty easy, right?

    Remember, we're applying the Fluffy standard of proof, which assumes all gov't officials are lying.

  • Bryan||

    Cesar
    From McCain's speech:
    "it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers."

  • ||

    "it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers."



    Then why the hell did he say he was for the Bear-Sterns bail out?

  • ||

    Clinton's war, in Welch's view, was glorious: Mad Madeleine Albright is valorized as "the child of the Munich sellout." U.S. sock puppet Vaclav Havel-how could this saint and his "powerful arguments" ever be wrong? And how about that "Wilsonian diplomacy"-you know, the sort with bombs attached? Of course, you can't argue with that …

    Is this guy for real?

    Raimondo pwned Welch real good here!....Welch why didn't you tell us you were a Madelaine Albright and Woodrow Wilson worshipper. I couldn't think of two worse foreign policy libertarians. You guys are sick.

  • ||

    McCain talked about the Bear Stearns collapse saying the government's involvement "probably was necessary because of the ripple effect it might have had on other institutions.



    From here.

    Way to stick to your free-market principles, my friend.

  • Bryan||

    I don't know that he has come out in favor of the Bear Sterns bail-out specifically. To the extent that he favors some government intervention:

    "Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy."

    There is some logic to that. While I would love to stand on principle and say that there should be absolutely no bailout of the banking industry, unfortunately the capital markets is now what the American economy is based on. I don't know that I would be willing to sacrific the entire American economy for a principled point that the company has to suffer the loss -- especially when the people who made the decision at the company have likely already been well compensated.

    Like I said, I don't know that McCain has supported this particular bailout, but to the extent that he has, I think it fair that it come with trade offs of great transparancy for the companies that want to rely on government intervention.

  • Elemenope||

    Find me one that hasn't. Should be pretty easy, right?

    In modern times? Switzerland. Yep, I'll go with that.

    Also on the list of likelies:

    Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Canada.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    I suspect Mr. Raimondo et al. are still licking their wounds from the Ron Paul Survival Report business. That would seem to explain their compulsive need to attack those like Matt Welch who they've labeled as "traitors to libertarianism" for daring to pursue that story. Despite being a Paul voter, contributor, and phonebanker myself, I have as much use for pro-Ron Paul hacks as I have for other varieties of hack.

  • Elemenope||

    I object to torture period.

    Funnily enough, this is an anagram for "Period to object, I torture."

    TallDave is a very...hopeful nickname, isn't it?

  • TallDave||

    In modern times? Switzerland. Yep, I'll go with that.

    Oh, they did much worse in Switzerland as late as the nineteenth century.

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=2&res=9A06EEDA1730EE3ABC4C52DFBE66838A699FDE&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

  • ||

    Yeah the 19th Century is really "late".

    I guess slavery really isn't immoral then, since we had it most of the 19th Century.

  • TallDave||

    Well, again, a few minutes of discomfort for three senior AQ to save American lives seems an acceptable moral trade-off, particularly since we routinely hit them with Hellfire missiles, which are quite a bit more painful.

  • Dave-San||

    Giving some imperialist bandits a few moments of discomfort to save more Japanese lives is an acceptable moral trade-off, especially since we routinely hit them with flamethrowers which are quite a bit more painful.

  • TallDave||

    Cesar,

    The article involved thumbscrews and the rack -- REAL torture, which we all agree is unacceptable. It's from 1881.

  • Cesar-san||

    If I saw a child being molested, I wouldn't use force to stop his attacker because that might be torture.

  • ||

    Dave I'd want a child molestor thrown in prison.

    I'd also want him to have a fair, open, public and speedy trial.

    I also would be mad as hell if the police department was using waterboarding to get suspects to confess.

  • Fluffy||

    unless we've all been tortured by anyone that yelled at us or put us in a cold room

    Right, because there's no difference between not liking the fact that your cheap uncle only heats his house to 64 in the winter, and being stripped naked and thrown on the floor of a cell being kept at 33.

    And there's no difference between being yelled at and being chained naked in a corner while an attack dog is set upon you.

    And there's no difference between staying up late to work on a project and being suspended by your arms from the ceiling and denied sleep by a team of guards for days at a time.

    I guess it's not surprise that you would think this, since you strike me as the sort of person who thinks that hanging out at Little Green Footballs is the same as serving in Iraq, or that working for the Mitt Romney campaign is the same as volunteering for the Marines.

    And I have not claimed that all politicians are always lying, Dave. I have merely claimed that politicians who admit they have been lying about subject "X" when evidence of their lies makes it to the public don't get to say, "But seriously, I'm totally telling the truth about everything now. Everything's out. I haven't lied about anything else related to this subject." And that's only unreasonable if you are a credulous lackey to any corrupt authority.

  • TallDave||

    Giving some imperialist bandits a few moments of discomfort to save more Japanese lives is an acceptable moral trade-off,

    Of course, that was illegal under the Geneva convention. They can call POWs bandits and China their rightful possession but that doesn't make it so.

  • ||

    And our government can call the people being held at Guantanamo "non-enemy combatants" and torture "enhanced interrogation" but that doesn't make it so, either.

  • TallDave||

    and being stripped naked and thrown on the floor of a cell being kept at 33.

    How about being told to do farm chores in -40 weather?

    while an attack dog is set upon you.

  • ||

    Should read, "enemy non-combatants".

  • Elemenope||

    I'm just curious, Dave. Would it be acceptable for the enemies of the United States to subject American citizens to the conditions one finds in Guantanamo?

    The answer to this question shall reveal whether you are actually morally bankrupt or just simply full of jingoistic shit.

  • ||

    Yeah Dave, and if we were dipping them in hot lava that'd be just like a nice warm bath!

  • ||

    What is worse? Waterboarding AQ or killing AQ?

    Frankly, better to infiltrate AQ and just kill them IMHO than stoop to waterboarding or other tactics on captured AQ.

    And, if we waterboarded everybody we captured, it would no longer be unusual, now would it? IIRC the Constitution prohibits cruel _and_ unusual punishment...

  • TallDave||

    Barking dogs are scary. It's not torture.

    Soldiers are trained under sleep deprivation all the time.

    I'm not surprised you would think all the above is torture and shouldn't be done to save American lives. You strike me as the sort who would like to see terrorists laughing in comfort while Americans that could have been saved die.

  • ||

    If I were dictator I'd put convicted/suspected terrorists in a place reminiscent of Supermax, not exactly "laughing in comfort".

  • TallDave||

    And our government can call the people being held at Guantanamo "non-enemy combatants"

    Are you really arguing they are legitimate, uniformed soldiers?

  • TallDave||

    Supermax, not exactly "laughing in comfort".

    They would be laughing at you. Supermax is quite comfy compared to a cave in Afghanistan.

  • ||

    Dave I don't know WHAT they are, or WHO they are, or what they've been convicted of, because the government is keeping it all secret.

    Did you ever think maybe, just maybe, there are innocent people there? Just for a minute? For a conservative you sure trust government a lot.

  • ||

    The guy who bobmed the first world trade center doesn't think Supermax is comfy Dave.

    Neither does the Unabomber who lived in a shack in Montana for years.

    BTW, should we have tortured the Unabomber and Tim McVeigh? If the OKC Police department decided to waterboard McVeigh, what would you say?

  • ||

    Then theres Eric Rudolph, who lived in the fucking woods, who also thinks Supermax is a pretty bad place to live.

  • TallDave||

    I'm just curious, Dave. Would it be acceptable for the enemies of the United States to subject American citizens to the conditions one finds in Guantanamo?

    This is a joke, right? Our enemies treat U.S. citizens for worse than Gitmo. Real torture, e.g. severe beatings, stabbing, whipping, electrocution, and beheading, not dogs barking and cold rooms.

    But OK, if an enemy country found a member of the Radical Lutheran Front that was planning to blow up a mall in Iran, then yes, Gitmo condiitions would be acceptable. Of course, they would actually face far worse conditions.

  • Elemenope||

    For a conservative you sure trust government a lot.

    I guess he's one of them there newfangled "neo"-conservatives. I hear they love the government in a perverse, unnatural way.

  • Elemenope||

    But OK, if an enemy country found a member of the Radical Lutheran Front that was planning to blow up a mall in Iran, then yes, Gitmo condiitions would be acceptable. Of course, they would actually face far worse conditions.

    And when choosing between jingoistic bullshit artist and moral infant, you chose...moral infant!

    Somehow, I'm not surprised. I personally love the way you sell human rights down the river for nothing more than a warm feeling of national security; it makes you quite endearing. Like an actual infant.

  • TallDave||

    The guy who bobmed the first world trade center doesn't think Supermax is comfy Dave

    Oh, I bet he does.

    BTW, should we have tortured the Unabomber and Tim McVeigh?

    No, real torture is always wrong.

    If the OKC Police department decided to waterboard McVeigh, what would you say?

    There wouldn't have been much purpose, since it was a very small group unlikely to other active plots.

    But OK, if he had your family tied up somewhere with a ticking bomb, I would want him waterboarded. And if you told me afterward I was a monster for saving your family, I would forgive you.

  • TallDave||

    El,

    I personally love how you sell American lives down the river for some ridiculous notion that a few minutes of discomfort for a terrorist is worse. Like an infant, but without the moral reasoning ability.

  • ||

    So Dave actually thinks local police departments should be able to waterboard suspects.

    I guess he thinks Waco and Ruby Ridge was a-ok too.

    Thanks for blowing out the moral lights around us, Dave!

  • TallDave||

    And I think it's nice to know you'd rather see your family dead than have the local police waterboard someone.

  • ||

    Now you're sounding like the gun control people who say "you'd rather have your precious guns than prevent the Virginia Tech shooting".

  • ||

    So, TallDave, you think our methods of torture are alright just because they're not as bad as al Qaida's?

  • TallDave||

    Gun control doesn't prevent shootings. Waterboarding has saved lives.

  • Elemenope||

    TallDave clearly believes the only way to make the world a crime-free utopia (because, CLEARLY, security is more important than freedom) is to give LEOs and governments carte blanche to hurt people.

    The only way to achieve a dream is to live a nightmare, apparently.

  • TallDave||

    So, TallDave, you think our methods of torture are alright just because they're not as bad as al Qaida's?

    We don't torture. Yes, our methods are sufficiently humane to be acceptable.

  • ||

    "And I think it's nice to know you'd rather see your family dead than have the local police waterboard someone."

    We wouldn't have to worry about any of this if it weren't for our meddling foreign policy. We would not be targeted if it weren't for that policy.

  • Fluffy||

    They would be laughing at you. Supermax is quite comfy compared to a cave in Afghanistan.

    So what? Their laughter is not morally relevant.

    The only question that is morally relevant is this: having put them in a position where they are my helpless captives and are no longer able to carry arms in the field against me, is it morally permissible for me to abuse them because I don't want them to laugh? Or is rendering them unable to attack me [either by killing them in the field, or capturing them] the moral limit of what I am allowed to do under the provocation of their attack or threatened attack?

    There is an obvious answer to this question.

    But OK, if he had your family tied up somewhere with a ticking bomb, I would want him waterboarded.

    The reason the ticking time bomb scenario is a moral absurdity is because it is an epistemological uncertainty.

    [Nods in direction of Ayn_Randian.]

    The only way to have enough information to know that there is a ticking bomb somewhere, that my family is tied up on top of it, and that my captive can point me to it, is to already know where the bomb is.

    If I don't already know where the bomb is, I can't actually know there's a bomb. I can't actually know it's ticking. I can't actually know my family is tied up on top of it. And I especially can't know if my captive has any genuine information about it.

    The reason we have due process in law isn't random bourgeois privilege. It's because individual magistrates and LEO's cannot themselves possess sufficient certainty of the facts to be allowed to independently act on those facts. So we attempt to have the best fact-finding process we can, with officers of the court and rules of evidence and a jury of disinterested observers, to attempt to come to an approximation of knowledge of the facts. The only appropriate exception to this should be the exigencies of tactical action in the field. We should not have an exception for captives who are no longer in the field.

  • TallDave||

    El,

    Not carte blanche. Very limited situations may require humane coercive techniques.

    But hey, nice strawman. I could give your argument similar hyperbole by claiming you want to let terrorists run around free, since being locked up could constitute "torture."

  • ||

    Dave, I'm sure that if we had Japanese-style gun control laws there wouldn't have been Columbine or Virginia Tech.

    But guess what? I'd rather have a chance of that happening than give up a human right.

  • ||

    "We don't torture. Yes, our methods are sufficiently humane to be acceptable."

    They're rejected by the Geneva Convention.

  • Elemenope||

    Waterboarding has saved lives.

    I'd *love* to see the evidence for this.

    BTW, around here, a person in authority baldly asserting something and then following up with "no, seriously, trust me!" is not considered "evidence".

  • Fluffy||

    Sorry, that should have read "...because it is an epistemological absurdity". Or alternately, "...because of epistemological uncertainty." I got caught between the two of those, I think.

  • Elemenope||

    Very limited situations may require humane coercive techniques.

    Did you, like, take fucking writing classes from John Yoo? Srsly.

    Let me tell you a little about a "peculiar institution" we once had...

  • TallDave||

    Their laughter is not morally relevant.

    Their comfort is. Laughter is a sign they are comfortable.

    Or is rendering them unable to attack me [either by killing them in the field, or capturing them] the moral limit of what I am allowed to do under the provocation of their attack or threatened attack?

    Again, I don't think a few minutes of discomfort for senior AQ is past the moral limit of what's acceptable to save American lives.

    The only way to have enough information to know that there is a ticking bomb somewhere, that my family is tied up on top of it, and that my captive can point me to it

    Who said anything about needing to know where it is? There's a combination on the bomb. He knows it. You can't disarm the bomb without it.

    And I especially can't know if my captive has any genuine information about it.

    Bosh. There are all sorts of ways you could know that. Perhaps you saw him set up the bomb.

    Anyways, you don't even need a ticking bomb scenario. KSM gave up plots we knew nothing about.

  • Fluffy||

    I personally love how you sell American lives down the river for some ridiculous notion that a few minutes of discomfort for a terrorist is worse.

    Well, we got on to this discussion because Welch was taking potshots at that rat bastard McCain, so to bring it full circle:

    John McCain pretends that he is an honorable man. An honorable man does, in fact, continue to subscribe to basic human morality and decency even when it doing so creates risk, and even when doing so is not in what appears to be the immediate interest of himself or his country.

    That's what honor in war IS.

    We can continue to argue about the relative merits of torture if you want, but there is simply no grounds for arguing that Senator McCain stands for honor, and every time he opens his filthy gibbering palsic mouth to claim that he does, he stains the memory of every American who ever wore the uniform of our armed forces honorably.

  • TallDave||

    Sorry, that should have read "...because it is an epistemological absurdity". Or alternately, "...because of epistemological uncertainty." I got caught between the two of those, I think.

    Equally stupid either way.

  • ||

    The only way to achieve a dream is to live a nightmare, apparently.

    Did you coin this phrase? Because it's awesome.
    Not to take away from the main thrust of your argument.

  • Elemenope||

    Sorry, that should have read "...because it is an epistemological absurdity". Or alternately, "...because of epistemological uncertainty." I got caught between the two of those, I think.

    Thinking about Ayn Rand does this to me too.

    The reason we have due process in law isn't random bourgeois privilege. It's because individual magistrates and LEO's cannot themselves possess sufficient certainty of the facts to be allowed to independently act on those facts.

    Holy Christ, someone should make fucking billboards of this and post it all over. It so succinctly sums up the necessity of due process. Fluffy, you can usually be depended upon to provide the most insightful nugget in any thread. :)

  • Elemenope||

    Did you coin this phrase?

    Yep, so far as I know. Occasionally in my rants, I hit gold. ;)

  • TallDave||

    We can continue to argue about the relative merits of torture if you want

    You're not arguing about the merits of torture, of which we both agree there are none, you're trying to redefine torture.

  • TallDave||

    John McCain pretends that he is an honorable man. An honorable man does, in fact, continue to subscribe to basic human morality and decency even when it doing so creates risk, and even when doing so is not in what appears to be the immediate interest of himself or his country.

    An honorable man qould gladly trade a few minutes of discomfort for a terrorist for hundreds of innocent lives.

    A dishonorable man would insist that those people must die to preserve his own precious notions of "decency."

  • ||

    One could argue that whether waterboarding is torture is beside the point. What is of far greater significance is whether one trusts any government to engage in such activity wisely, judiciously, etc. or at the very least in a wise "enough," etc. fashion?

  • Elemenope||

    TallDave, still waiting for those gobs of evidence that water-boarding has saved lives...

  • ||

    Not wishing to engage in logomachy I will note that one definition of torture can be found here; seems like a reasonable enough definition to me.

  • TallDave||

    TallDave, still waiting for those gobs of evidence that water-boarding has saved lives...

    Tenet was pretty explicit about it.

  • ||

    "The cynical and indifferent know not what they miss. For their mistake is an impediment not only to our progress as a civilization but to their happiness as individuals."

    What a patronizing fuck.
    God, maybe I will vote for BO. Anything to spare us from this tedious asshole.

  • Fluffy||

    Equally stupid either way.

    If you are torturing, it is because you need information.

    If you already possessed enough information to be certain about the facts, you wouldn't need any more information.

    Therefore, it is impossible to simultaneously need to torture, and possess enough certainty for your torture to make any moral sense.

    You can't claim both to be ignorant and need information, but also be certain, in the same moment and with regard to the same subject.

    You continue to produce ever more tortured examples of the ticking bomb scenario, but they don't actually get any better. "OK, say you saw the guy plant the bomb, but need the combination!" This is an easy one: then the terrorist can just give you the wrong combination and have you set off the bomb. You have to use his information before you can know that he lied. Or if he doesn't know the combination but his accomplice does, he will give you a false combination to stop the torture - and the bomb goes off then, too.

    You're not arguing about the merits of torture, of which we both agree there are none, you're trying to redefine torture.

    No, you're trying to redefine torture.

    10 years ago, this discussion would not have taken place. There would have been no question that the various activities that took place at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are torture. You are cooperating with your party's attempt to redefine torture, partially I think because you wet your pants daily, and partially because you are desperate to help push pro-Bush spin.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    Well, give us a linky then.

  • ||

    "Soldiers are trained under sleep deprivation all the time."

    TallDave has received the same talking points as Dondero.

  • TallDave||

    Well, give us a linky then.

    What am I, your personal Google service? He wrote a book, go read it.

  • ||

    bookworm,

    Well, one would ask in response to that statement whether a prisoner who experiences such is being voluntarily trained to undergo such? To me it would seem that one of the more significant aspects of torture is that it isn't voluntary.

  • TallDave||

    Fluffy,

    Are you really so unfamiliar with epistemology you are going to argue there is no situation in which useful information can be verified?

    This is an easy one: then the terrorist can just give you the wrong combination and have you set off the bomb.

    Even easier: the wrong combo does nothing. The right one disarms it. Only the right one gains the terrorist anything.

  • Fluffy||

    An honorable man qould gladly trade a few minutes of discomfort for a terrorist for hundreds of innocent lives.

    A dishonorable man would insist that those people must die to preserve his own precious notions of "decency."


    Thank you, Mr. Mengele.

    You cannot calculate honor on a utilitarian scale. That's what makes it honor and not prudence, you dope.

    There is no action you could not compare to the possibility of saving lives, and ask, "Shouldn't I do this rather than let these lives be lost?" Maybe, but after you do them, don't come around talking to me about your honor.

  • TallDave||

    "Soldiers are trained under sleep deprivation all the time." TallDave has received the same talking points as Dondero.

    Oh look, two people know the same well-known thing. Shocking.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    So be it.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    The problem with the soldiers comment is that it isn't a terribly great analogy.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    BTW, didn't McCain oppose the 2001 Bush tax cuts? Or am I wrong about that?

  • Elemenope||

    TallDave, I shall point you again above where I noted that:

    "...around here, a person in authority baldly asserting something and then following up with "no, seriously, trust me!" is not considered "evidence".

    That would include Mr. Tenet.

    What am I, your personal Google service? He wrote a book, go read it.

    You are your own personal Google service. Such a link would be in service to your argument, you airy goofball. Everyone else around here links to articles and excerpts when it serves their argumentative purposes. What, are you an argumentative exceptionalist, too?

    "My arguments are so self-evidently true (and American) that I need not back them up with links!"

  • TallDave||

    It's not better to ask "Shouldn't I let lives be lost rather than do this?"

    A few mintes discomfort for a terrorist is not too high a moral price to pay for saving hundreds of American lives.

    To argue otherwise is dishonorable and stupid.

  • Fluffy||

    Are you really so unfamiliar with epistemology you are going to argue there is no situation in which useful information can be verified?

    No, but that's not what I am arguing.

    I am arguing that only the information you claim you don't have can justify your moral claim to have a right to torture.

    For the ticking-bomb scenario thought experiment to be valid and for torture to be OK, you have to be absolutely sure of certain facts and assumptions in the thought experiment:

    1. There is a real bomb.

    2. The person you have in captivity can provide you with information about the bomb that will prevent it from going off.

    3. The person you have in captivity will provide you with information about the bomb that will prevent it from going off.

    If you don't already have sufficient information to know these are true, you can't possess enough information to be morally justified in torturing.

    Say you engage in torture because you mistakenly believe all or one of these is true, but it turns out there is no bomb, or it turns out that the guy who had in captivity had no useful or valid information about the bomb. You might claim in your defense, "Sorry, we made mistake in what we thought we knew." But that doesn't fly. The moral culpability actually arises from the fact that you would take it upon yourselves to torture even though you couldn't be sure about the facts, so the fact that you were honestly mistaken doesn't mitigate your offense, it confirms it.

  • ||

    BTW, when it comes to Presidential candidates I would say that it is difficult at best to discern what they will do once in office. Politics and political activities are largely contingent in nature.

  • TallDave||

    "...around here, a person in authority baldly asserting something and then following up with "no, seriously, trust me!" is not considered "evidence". That would include Mr. Tenet.

    LOL Ah yes, the moral paragons who cannot hurt a fly to save humanity also assume anyone who disagrees is lying.

    Since you won't accept any evidence you don't agree with, I leave the thread to your mindless moral posturing.

    Don't break your arms patting yourselves on the back.

  • ||

    "Very limited situations may require humane coercive techniques."

    Sounds like 1984 Newspeak.

    Humane coercive techniques = torture
    collateral damage = killing of innocent civilians.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    There is a pretty simple (and apparently easy) way to deal with that issue: provide a link regarding said claim.

  • Fluffy||

    It's not better to ask "Shouldn't I let lives be lost rather than do this?"

    A few mintes discomfort for a terrorist is not too high a moral price to pay for saving hundreds of American lives.

    To argue otherwise is dishonorable and stupid.


    No, the honorable man knows that he cannot foresee the outcome of all events, so he will remain honest, forthright, and decent and do the best he can with that.

    This is why I would submit that you are an authoritarian, regardless of what you may pretend to think about economic policy and what have you.

    Honesty and decency aren't luxuries indulged in by the comfortable, to be dispensed with when necessary to deal with a crisis. Honesty and decency are the way you solve crises. If you don't believe this, you are an authoritarian in all but fair weather, which means you are an authoritatian always.

    If you honestly believe that torture can be a successful policy that will enhance your security and help you win conflicts, and decency will undermine you and let your enemies win, it is simply ludicrous for you to claim to have honor, or to claim to believe in liberty, or human decency, or any of the rest of it. You actually believe in horror. In its power, its efficacy, its moral appropriateness and usefulness.

  • Fluffy||

    Ah yes, the moral paragons who cannot hurt a fly to save humanity also assume anyone who disagrees is lying.

    Nope. You can kill millions of your enemies if need by, while they remain in the field bearing arms against you.

    By any reasonable measure, such acts would be perfectly in self-defense. But when your enemy is captured and helpless and no longer in the field, it is ludicrous for you to claim self-defense as you torture him. Even if his companions remain in the field, and even if he might be able to give you information that would help you. There is no such thing as self-defense against a shackled man in a cell. Sorry.

  • ||

    "Well, one would ask in response to that statement whether a prisoner who experiences such is being voluntarily trained to undergo such? To me it would seem that one of the more significant aspects of torture is that it isn't voluntary."

    I know that, I was just quoting TallDave.

  • ||

    J sub D--

    [I]I'd automatically do it. I have serious reservations about John McCain though. Ancient Sparta is not a society I want to to emulate.[/I]

    My reservations about BHO are entirely because I am not ready to endorse a society envisioned by a man who views Jeremiah Wright as a moral exemplar.

    Someone earlier said that HRC might produce more gridlock. Perhaps. But (a) the Democrats are likely to control Congress, and (b) it doesn't like she's getting the nomination at this point.

  • ||

    Matt Welch 09/17/2001 08:12 PM


    "The biggest question facing Americans and other decent people is how the civilized world and its strongest country should respond to this mass murder. I, for one, advocate a Global War to abolish terrorism."

    It is good to see Welch crap on McCain, but the people I trust to interpret my news had a different reaction to 9/11.

    Welch is a phony.

  • ||

    Jkp-

    I totally wouldn't vote for Reverend Wright.

  • ||

    It's McCain's version of Jimmy Carter's 1979 malaise speech, which also decried public cynicism. Carter's speech was dubbed the "I'm unpopular, therefore America's sick" speech. McCain's amounts to, "My notion of how you should run your lives isn't shared by many Americans, therefore America's sick." It was a pathetic speech.

  • Nathan||

    fluffy,

    "douchebag"? What is this? 7th grade?

    Who said anything about Matt's questionable positions on health care and education?

    I'm talking about how Welch is a Wilsonian warmonger, who pretends to call out McPain as a warmonger and neocon.

    When the editor of a libertarian magazine is more neocon than non-interventionist, more neolib than free market, and Bill Richardson is the Treason presidential candidate, it's time to start a new magazine.

  • Fluffy||

    "Pretends"?

    You have got to be kidding me.

    "Pretends"?

    The guy wrote an entire book the thesis of which is that McCain sucks moose cock.

    Virtually every magazine piece he does and every Hit N' Run post he makes is on the same "Let's tar and feather McCain and take his balls like in Fight Club" theme.

    If Welch is "pretending" to oppose McCain's neoconnery, then we could use some more pretending all around.

    So please don't show up here out of the blue to coordinate with Raimondo's whining and ask me to take you seriously.

    You know, generally I like antiwar.com and LRC.com but the way you FUCKING LITTLE DWEEBS obsess over scoring points in a meaningless intramural libertarian pissing contest is a fucking disgrace.

    If it makes you happy, we can declare you the coolest guy in the Dungeons and Dragons club that is modern libertarianism. Would that make you happy?

    The thing to do when someone is abusing McCain, if you are actually a libertarian, is to cheer and say, "Woo hoo! Thanks for going after McCain! He really sucks, doesn't he?" Not, "Wah, you said you believed in public education once, so I'm going to attack and undermine your criticism of McCain! Wah!"

    Get a fucking noodie in your mug and stop your fucking whining, bitch.

  • Geotpf||

    Service guarantees citizenship!

  • Delling||

    His words are like stage magic. Anything that sounds good or looks neat, and keep folks in the theater, that's what it's all about.

  • the audience||

    Bravo, TallDave!

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