The Choice This November Is Clear: Targeted Killing v. Reviving Torture

Charlie Savage of The New York Times measures the civil liberties gap separating President Obama and Mitt Romney: 

In one of his first acts, President Obama issued an executive orderrestricting interrogators to a list of nonabusive tactics approved in theArmy Field Manual. Even as he embraced a hawkish approach to other counterterrorism issues — like drone strikes, military commissions, indefinite detention and the Patriot Act — Mr. Obama has stuck to that strict no-torture policy.

By contrast, Mr. Romney’s advisers have privately urged him to “rescind and replace President Obama’s executive order” and permit secret “enhanced interrogation techniques against high-value detainees that are safe, legal and effective in generating intelligence to save American lives,” according to an internal Romney campaign memorandum.

The choice is clear! 

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  • sarcasmic||

    Giant Douche or Turd Sandwich!

  • Tim||

    Is the lettuce fresh?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Vote Early and Vote Often!

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    If Romney is elected, the press will be covering any change in executive orders and looking at any detainees 24/7. If Obama is reelected, crickets will once again be heard chirping throughout the press.

  • Question of Auban||

    That is actually a pretty good argument for voting Romney. I could see the bumper stickers: "Put the press back to work! Vote Romney"

    That said I will be voting for Gary Johnson because I cannot bring myself to vote for Obama or his clone.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    The Patriot Act: Now with free condoms! Vote Obama!!!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Condoms are so 2009. It's all about the free colonoscopies now.

    It's colonoscopies all the way down.

  • edcoast||

    Up, dude, up.

  • Question of Auban||

    That is why local police departments are getting new drones - they will use them to perform free colonoscopies as a pubic service.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    free colonoscopies as a pubic service

    Freud would be proud.

  • Question of Auban||

    Thanks :)

  • Lord Humungus||

    semi-related:

    The Libertarian Case for Mitt Romney
    http://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit.....tt-romney/

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    If that's the best "case" they've got they should give it up.

  • Hyperion||

    He failed to make the case. That was just another rehash about how Obamney is worse than Obamney, so vote for Obamney.

    The author is also very mistaken in thinking that GJ only gets .05% of the popular vote.

    There is no Libertarian case for Obamney.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    We don’t get to choose this year between “good” and “better’” — have we ever enjoyed that choice? But we do get a sharp distinction this year between “bad” and “worse.”

    I’m going with “bad” because I’m not sure we’ll survive another term of the worst.

    Vote for the lesser of two evils. That is it, same as always. But please, keep the duopoly going.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Vote for the worse of two evils, crash the system.

  • sarcasmic||

    Here's a new one. The Greater Evil is blocked by my work's spam filter.

    URL: http://cthulhu2012.com/campaign
    URL Categories: Malicious Sites
    Reputation: High Risk

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I went to the site, but I kept NoScript engaged, just in case.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    From the article:

    But [Johnson]’s a good man and a solid libertarian, so if I fail to make the case for Romney — then absolutely please do vote for Johnson. Afterwords, you won’t have to do the Walk of Shame back to your car, like I will.

    Or, you could vote for Johnson and avoid the walk of shame, too!

    That you feel ashamed after voting for Romney should tell you something.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It should tell him that he has no moral spine.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I've been having this debate with myself:

    should I vote for Romney, just to help (a glimmer of a chance of this) push Michigan away from Obama.

    Or vote my conscience and vote Johnson.

    For a long time I was in the former camp, but as the election draws near, I'm listening to my sense of honor.

  • sarcasmic||

    Maine splits it's two EC votes based upon Congressional districts.

    I happen to be in the second district, which actually has a small chance of going Romney.

    So do I vote Johnson and blame myself when Obama gets the EC vote, or do I vote Romney and then scrub myself in the shower until the hot water runs out?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You vote Johnson, because Romney is going to fuck it all up just as bad and you don't want to be telling your grandkids that you voted for him.

  • sarcasmic||

    2008 was the first time I voted for one of the majors for president, and I felt dirty for weeks. I don't think I can do it again.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It's really not necessary to dirty yourself again. Why vote Giant Douche or Turd Sandwich when you can vote Pipe Dream?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Vote Johnson and then Obama gets the EC vote, enjoy the next for years of getting to tell all your Republican acquaintances, "Because fuck you, that's why!" when they ask why you didn't vote for Romney.

  • Calidissident||

    I highly doubt Obama wins your district by one vote

  • sarcasmic||

    Maine splits it's two four

    du-oh!

  • benji||

    You can't vote for Johnson in Michigan thanks to the GOP. He's not on the ballot.

  • Tim||

    Terrorists should be treated at least as harshly as Newt Gingrich.

  • Hyperion||

    Nukular titties would be one of the terrorists if he still had a job in government.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    By contrast, Mr. Romney’s advisers have privately urged him to “rescind and replace President Obama’s executive order” and permit secret “enhanced interrogation techniques against high-value detainees that are safe, legal and effective in generating intelligence to save American lives,” according to an internal Romney campaign memorandum.

    Gamechanger!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    enhanced interrogation techniques

    Orwell would be proud.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Look, if drone strikes save American lives. And enhanced interrogation techniques save American lives. Then drone strikes + enhanced interrogation obviously save the most American lives.

    Romney is the clear winner in this one. Voting for anyone else is identical to killing Americans.

  • o3||

    i hate gitmo terrorists "takers"

  • Question of Auban||

    Who are you calling terrorists? The torturers or the torture victims? How dare they get free torture on the public dime!!!!! Damned freeloaders!

  • Tim||

    47% of them pay no taxes at all.

  • Question of Auban||

    The Gitmo prisoners are dependent upon government for their torture, they believe that they are victims, they believe that government has a responsibility to incarcerate them, they believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to torture, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.

  • Tim||

    Is a ten dollar co-pay for waterboarding too much to ask? Fresh water has to be flown in from Florida to Gitmo.

  • Question of Auban||

    These freeloaders think so. They come here, they demand that WE learn Pashtun after THEY come here, then they want US to pay for THEIR incarceration and they have the nerve to demand a SINGLE PAYER incarceration system.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    That enhanced interrogation facility, you didn't build that.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I was trying to come up with a snarky remark along these lines, but your skills have bested me.

  • o3||

    im shocked, shocked to discover that #FreeObamaCellphones are given to the terrorist *TAKERS* at gitmo

  • ||

    On torture there is a clear difference. On drone strikes, I don't have any reason to believe Mittens would be better. So I have to say Obama wins this round.

  • ||

    No, they both fail to leave the starting gate, but at least Obama's nose is sticking out of his.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The only "libertarian" case I can think of is "Obama deserves to be fired, even if it means putting that worthless douche Romney in the White House. We'll fire him next time."

  • R C Dean||

    Drone kills? "Enhanced interrogation"? Do we have to choose? Why can't we have both?

  • The Derider||

    You can. Vote Romney.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I say the libertarian case is for Obama. Re-electing Barry pretty much guarantees financial meltdown sooner rather than later. The sooner it comes, the better. The longer it takes to get here, the more time the Demonicans have to implement stalling measures that take freedom away and grow the state.

  • wef||

    Mr. Obama has stuck to that strict no-torture policy

    I'm sorry to be so skeptical of cynical politicians, but how in the hell do we know this assertion is close to being true?

    The lies, deceits, falsehoods and fabrications are so thick on the ground, why should not the default be to distrust these sociopaths?

  • Hyperion||

    Nothing to worry about. Killing people does not incite blow back. It just makes people love us more. We need to keep killing people, all over the world, because we need everyone to love us more. See how much they love us in the middle east? If we just keep killing people and ban free speech in our own country so that no one can offend Muslims by making bad films, that is the solution. Because it's only bad films that make them hate us. They love it when we kill their families and blow up their houses.

    That sounded really stupid didn't it? But it seems to be our current foreign policy as embraced by our proglodyte leader.

  • ||

    Proglodyte. I like that.

  • Mike M.||

    Make them all members of the Army officer corps, then say that we can't put them on trial because they have a beard.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    You know who else had facial hair...

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Roseanne Barr?

  • sloopyinca||

    Every Italian woman over the age of 60 in the entire history of the world?

  • Fluffy||

    Here's one problem with the whole article:

    I quite simply don't believe Obama's Executive Order is actually being followed.

    Or that it was intended to be followed.

    I am pretty damn sure he wrote and publicized that Executive Order as a smokescreen, and we're still employing enhanced interrogation. We just do it at times and in places where we can claim that it's the responsibility of the Afghan government (or some other puppet).

  • Mike M.||

    We're probably not doing waterboarding any more because it's just too controversial (and I think Bush only approved waterboarding for three guys), but yeah, I don't believe that interrogations are now being limited to just polite questions either.

  • Lord Humungus||

    all that intelligence for the drone war has to come from somewhere.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    LOL

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I don't know if we need much intelligence for "blow up the brown guys and anyone near them".

  • Hyperion||

    The only way to make this right is to give drones to the DEA and DHS so we can also blow up white folks and anyone near them.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    That idea? You didn't come up with that.

    - BHO

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I am pretty damn sure he wrote and publicized that Executive Order as a smokescreen, and we're still employing enhanced interrogation.

    Next you'll be trying to tell me he didn't really mean it when he said the federal government will not expend precious resources on medical marijuana.

  • Brandybuck||

    To be fair, Romney has not come out in favor of "enhanced interrogation", it's just some of his advisors recommending it. Of course, it's a huge black mark that he picked such advisors in the first place...

  • T o n y||

    Your math seems a little off. It's not drone strikes vs. torture. It's no torture and drone strikes vs. torture, drone strikes, and probably another war. So the choice seems pretty easy, actually.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The choice IS easy, Johnson.

  • John||

    What would Johnson do? If you think Johnson as President wouldn't do what is necessary to defend the country, you are kidding yourself. Johnson would go up there and find out just like Obama found out that there are no good options and he would be drone striking or capturing and holding indefinitely and interrogating just like Bush did.

    I really wish Johnson would win if for no other reason that the education in reality it would provide to Libertarians who think there are all these easy options just waiting to be done.

  • Question of Auban||

    "Johnson would go up there and find out just like Obama found out that there are no good options "

    Actually, there are VERY good options like getting the FRAK out of the Middle East and using letters of marquee and reprisal when necesarry to get rid of ACTUAL terrorists.

  • John||

    Go ahead, leave the middle east. That isn't going to stop these people from hating us or wanting to attack us. I am sure all Gary Johnson would have to do is say we are sorry and go home and they Al Quada would say apology accepted and move on.

    I wish I could live in Libertarian land. I really wish I could. Sadly reality is a bit different.

  • Question of Auban||

    How many times has Switzerland been attacked by Al Quida?

  • John||

    Maybe none. Who knows. But so what? Even if you buy the Johnson Paul theory that the US had it coming on 9-11, it is too late now. They hate us and no amount of apologizing is going to fix that. Even if we left the middle east, nothing short of outright support of and tribute to Al Quada is going to get them to stop hating us. Conflicts take on a life of their own beyond their original causes.

  • Question of Auban||

    "Even if we left the middle east, nothing short of outright support of and tribute to Al Quada is going to get them to stop hating us."

    [Citation needed]

    Really, you are just pulling this out of your latest colonoscopy. Show us some actual evidence to back this statement up. Once its reason for existence is no longer Al Quida will no longer be a threat to us. It will no longer have a reason for existence.

  • John||

    And Auban, you have any evidence they would stop hating us other than wishful thinking? Go look at what they say. They want a world wide adoption of Islam. Do you ever read what they actually say?

    They rioted in Egypt over the movie didn't they? What would President Gary Johnson do about that? Throw the guy in jail and repeal the first amendment? I doubt it. And when he didn't, they would still be our enemies.

  • Question of Auban||

    "And Auban, you have any evidence they would stop hating us other than wishful thinking? Go look at what they say. They want a world wide adoption of Islam. Do you ever read what they actually say?"

    I actually do read what they say, do you? There are three main motivations and none of these three involve badly made youtube videos. One motivation involves the Federal Government's support for the State of Israel at the expense of Palestinian interests. The other involves the continuing presence of military bases in Middle Eastern countries (especially Saudi Arabia) and the third involves our meddling in the internal political affairs of Muslim countries.
    "They rioted in Egypt over the movie didn't they?"

    No, they did not, that storyline has been debunked. Do you really buy the story that it JUST HAPPENED TO BE 9/11?

  • Calidissident||

    Obama didn't find out anything. To whatever extent he pretended to be different on foreign policy was just a ploy to win the liberal base.

    Your problem is you have a very simplistic binary mindset: Either we continue doing what we are doing or we surrender to the Muslim hordes. No one's arguing that adopting a more non-interventionist foreign policy would end all hatred of American in the Middle East. It doesn't need to. And that's the fallacy you keep spouting. We can go after people who attack us or plot to attack us without starting decade long wars and occupations, drone striking weddings, and having bases in over 100 countries

  • T o n y||

    Who isn't a real choice. Not that I want to dissuade anyone from voting for him.

  • Question of Auban||

    What do you mean by "real choice"? I realize that Gary Johnson will probably not win but when you have Obama and Obama-clone as candidates for the two major parties I don't see any reason to NOT vote for a 3rd party candidate.

  • T o n y||

    I reject the premise that Obama and Romney are the same. Even if they aligned on all policies, they still bring their parties and constituencies with them. Republicans are dangerous, because they are stupid. And there is a big difference when it comes to things like judge and justice appointments, among many other things. Romney is just too devoid of principle not to do whatever the neocons around him want on foreign policy and whatever the evangelical tea party crazies down ballot want domestically.

    If a candidate can't possibly win, then he's not a real choice. In our system a vote for a 3rd party candidate is consequentially tantamount to a vote against the candidate you prefer among the 2 real choices.

  • Question of Auban||

    "Romney is just too devoid of principle not to do whatever the neocons around him want on foreign policy."

    Tell me how you define neocon and if you don't think Obama is one tell me why.

    "In our system a vote for a 3rd party candidate is consequentially tantamount to a vote against the candidate you prefer among the 2 real choices."

    I have heard variations of this argument my entire adult life. It is pure bovine excrement. If every registered voter “wasted” his or her vote on Gary Johnson guess who the next President would be? It would be Gary Johnson.

  • T o n y||

    Neocons = draft dodging war fetishists. The type of people who would lie about the reasons for starting war in Iraq because they wanted a war in Iraq. This is a substantial difference between the parties. Yes I know some Democrats went along with them in the Bush years, but it was a unique circumstance that they fully exploited.

    True about your hypothetical, but there are just so many institutional barriers to third parties in this country. I wish we could have viable minor parties, but we'd need an overhaul of our election and legislative processes. As for most liberals the 2000 election was quite scarring.

  • Calidissident||

    It was not a unique circumstance. Democrats love them some war, just not quite as much as Republicans

  • Question of Auban||

    "Yes I know some Democrats went along with them in the Bush years, but it was a unique circumstance that they fully exploited."

    Oh, and if people claimed Iran had finally developed a nuclear bomb, would they not be a unique circumstance that could be fully exploited?

  • Andrew S.||

    Because Obama won't get us into another war?

  • Question of Auban||

    There are some dead Libyans who will testify to that.

  • T o n y||

    Can't say for sure, but I know that he will be much more hesitant about it than Romney and his foreign policy team of Bushie neocons.

  • Question of Auban||

    "Can't say for sure, but I know that he will be much more hesitant about it than Romney and his foreign policy team of Bushie neocons."

    Are you basing this on the fact that he went to war without even bothering with a congressional fig leaf?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    See, that's technically not a war since he isn't getting Congressional approval. So Obama won't get us into a war. He'll get use into illegal fighting with another country.

  • Mike M.||

    It's no torture and drone strikes vs. torture, drone strikes, and probably another war.

    Because Obama would never dream of starting any new wars on his own. God, you are such a fucking horse's ass.

  • The Derider||

    If you're referring to Libya, remember how all the Republicans were calling him a pussy for "leading from behind" because he let the rest of NATO take the lead?

    What a terrible decision that turned out to be.

  • Question of Auban||

    Derider,

    I do not know if you are new here. But most of the regular commenters here are not partisan Republicans or partisan Democrats.

    1.) Libya, was not our fight. We had no reason to nor any right to get involved in another country's civil war.

    2.) He never even got a fig leaf of authorization from Congress - it was blatantly unconstitutional.

  • T o n y||

    Perhaps both Iraq and Libya were wrong in their own ways, but outcome-wise Libya was obviously better, if not an argument for the method taken.

  • Question of Auban||

    Tell that to the darker skinned Libyans who are getting murdered left and right because so many of them were allies of the previous government.

  • John||

    Well there is a third option, doing nothing and letting these guys run around with impunity. Life sucks. And it sucks worse when your enemies are fanatical, willing to die for their cause and hide in civilian populations. I would say that torture even at its worst is a better option than just killing anyone we think might be a terrorist.

    Yeah, sometimes there are not any good options available. Funny how Libertarians forget that just as easily as liberals and conservatives do.

  • Hyperion||

    John, did you ever consider that they might see us as the terrorists? I mean, we have been bombing the shit out of them for more than a decade and there has been lots of collateral damage. Just sayin...

    We need to get the fuck out of their countries and let them decide their own course. All we are doing is making them more radicalized, and getting our young men killed for no reason.

  • John||

    Ever occur to you that the people who will burn shit down and attack an embassy in Cairo over a Youtunbe clip are not exactly rational and perhaps can't be appeased?

    Unless you want to repeal the first amendment and make all insults of Islam illegal, how exactly do you plan to get these people to stop hating us. You people live in a fucking fantasy world if you think our bombing is what makes them hate us. The US has never bombed Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Yet the people there hate our guts.

  • Hyperion||

    Only it wasn't over the youtube clip. It's because we are bombing the shit out of them and killing their families.

    So what is your solution? Perpetual war? Kill them all?

    Egyptians and Saudi Arabians don't like us because they see the west as a threat to their culture. But yet they are not trying to attack other western countries. Why? Because other countries are not bombing them and killing their families.

  • Mike M.||

    We're bombing the shit out of Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

  • Hyperion||

    No, but they have large Muslim populations and we are bombing the shit out of their neighbors. So in their minds, we are killing their brothers. Also, why would they not think that they could be next? Maybe we decide that Egypt is the next target instead of Iran? Tell me, you put yourself in their shoes, that you would not be thinking the same. I would.

  • Mike M.||

    I'm not a Christian, but let's say if I were one, and I decided that I was so upset that the Muslims in Egypt are killing and persecuting my Coptic Christian "brothers" that I formed up a squad to attack the Egyptian embassy in Washington D.C. and murder everyone inside. You would say that I was a total fucking lunatic, and you would be absolutely 100% correct to say that.

    The thought of attempting to rationalize my insanity in such a case would never even cross your mind, and yet for some reason you seem rather willing to rationalize extreme Muslim insanity. Why?

  • Hyperion||

    Why would you and your Christian brothers attack the Egyptian embassy? Is Egypt blowing up the houses of you and your neighbors with drones? If so, then I would understand. As it stands, it wouldn't make any sense.

  • Mike M.||

    Why would you and your Christian brothers attack the Egyptian embassy?

    Because the Egyptian government for decades has stood by and sanctioned the slow-motion persection, murder, and expulsion of the Christian population of Egypt?

    Look, I agree that the notion is totally insane, but it's no more insane than an Arab Muslim who has somehow convinced himself that every other Arab Muslim on earth is his "brother".

  • John||

    It's because we are bombing the shit out of them and killing their families.

    In Egypt? Again you guys are fucking Tony level retard on this issue. You think all of the middle east is one thing. You think a war in one country is just like a war in another. And worst of all you think every Muslim is some aggrieved holy warrior whose family was killed by the CIA.

    It is not so much that your views are wrong, it is that they are so uninformed that they don't even make it to wrong.

  • Hyperion||

    I just explained that above, John. Think outside of the box. You are spouting the Neocon mentality today, but yet are calling others retards. Nice.

    And worst of all you think every Muslim is some aggrieved holy warrior whose family was killed by the CIA

    Not yet, but we are working on it. If you and the neocons have your way, they will be.

  • John||

    Again Hyperion,

    You guys don't know shit. You never been the middle east. My guess is that you have never met someoen from there. But you all live in this fantasy world where every problem is the result of US actions and every hatred can be solved by an appropriate US apology.

    I don't know why I waste my time. You not only don't know anything, you refuse to learn or listen to anything that doesn't fit your fantasy world.

    Stay in your fantasy life. Just call everyone a NEOCON. Living a fantasy is probably a happier way to be.

  • sloopyinca||

    You act like bombing the fuck out of crazy people is the best course of action, John. I never understood why.

    Look, they lack the ability to be a viable threat to America. We have no business bombing some guy ion a hut in Yemen, Pakistan or Libya because he says we are infidels that deserve to die. If we do, then we do not value freedom of expression, national sovereignty or the Constitution.

    Even if blowback doesn't occur, it's still morally reprehensible to "defend" our nation by killing people who are 20,000 miles away and have no means to hurt us in any substantial way.

  • Question of Auban||

    "Ever occur to you that the people who will burn shit down and attack an embassy in Cairo over a Youtunbe clip are not exactly rational and perhaps can't be appeased?"

    It just happened to be 9/11 and that had nothing to do with it. The YouTube video story has been debunked.

  • John||

    The mobs in Egypt were angry about the video. Libya was a terrorist attack. And beyond that Muslim leaders all over the world are calling for laws to ban the insult of Islam. Do you guys plan to agree to that? If not, how do you plan to get them to stop hating us?

  • Hyperion||

    If not, how do you plan to get them to stop hating us?

    Um, this is getting redundant, but, we get the fuck out of there. It may take a generation, but they will eventually forget about us if we stay out of their business.

  • Question of Auban||

    "The mobs in Egypt were angry about the video."

    So political leaders claim.

    "Muslim leaders all over the world are calling for laws to ban the insult of Islam. Do you guys plan to agree to that? If not, how do you plan to get them to stop hating us?"

    How about by closing down military bases across the globe and using the savings to pay off the federal government’s international debtors (some of whom are in the Middle East)? How about stopping drone strikes in their countries? Maybe I am weird, but I am less likely to hate someone if they are not dropping bombs in my neighborhood.

  • Hyperion||

    but I am less likely to hate someone if they are not dropping bombs in my neighborhood

    That makes perfect sense to me, but apparently the neocons do not get it at all. It's like they can't even form a thought about anything outside of their own little box.

  • John||

    For the 500th time Auban, we have never bombed Egypt. In fact, we have given Egpyt billions in aid. Yet they still hate us and want us to hang that film maker. Since we don't have any military there and haven't ever bombed them, what do you plan to do about that?

    The only way to appease them is to do what they ask. And that means ending the first Amendment and making insulting Islam a crime.

    Do you support that? If not, why not? If you don't, then you must be willing to fight them over it. But you are clearly unwilling to fight them over anything. So I guess we better stop insulting Islam.

  • Question of Auban||

    For the 500th time John, Afghanistan never bombed the United States. In fact, Afghan fighters helped us fight the Soviet Union. Yet they still The Federal Government that claims to represent us decided to attack Afghanistan and not Saudi Arabia where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

  • sloopyinca||

    If not, how do you plan to get them to stop hating us?

    Here's where all of your arguments die, John. They have a fucking right to hate us!!!!! They're a sovereign nation and it's none of our business if they all fucking hate us, as long as they don't move to harm us. And lat I checked, there aren't too many victims from our murderdrone program that had the means to actually harm us.

    You are such a thin-skinned pussy that you think a just penalty for speaking against America is a death-worthy crime if is occurs in Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan or many other countries that happen to be occupied by Arabs and Persians.

    You either value free speech as a human right or you do not. It's apparent that you do not.

  • Fluffy||

    My option would be fighting them in accordance with the limits set by the Constitution and by the various treaties to which the US is a party. (If I didn't like a particular treaty, I'd withdraw from it, not violate it.)

    That means I'd use the military where the Congress would give me a specific declaration of war.

    I'd consider using letters of marque. What the hell, it's in the Constitution, right?

    And anyone I didn't apprehend in arms in a war zone would be put through the criminal justice system. Sometimes they'd get convicted, and sometimes they wouldn't.

    Would this prevent any and all terrorist attacks? Maybe not. But I'm also not promising to prevent muggings or rapes before they happen, either. Sometimes the best you can do is punish criminals after they act - because before they act, they're not criminals.

    What I wouldn't do is torture. I might drone, in war zones and with a live and specific DoW.

    And if I signed an E.O. banning torture, you could be damn sure it wasn't a trick. My underlings might conspire to ignore my order, but you could be damn sure the order wasn't being ignored with my active contrivance.

    And no, there's no intelligence briefing they could give me that would change my mind one iota. So it's not like I would "find out there were no good options". I like my options just fine.

  • Fluffy||

    Sorry, active connivance.

  • John||

    And fluffy if your solution is so easy and effective, why hasn't Obama done it?

    I am sorry but I don't buy the idea that Obama is evil and dying to drone strike people. I have no doubt he had every intention of following your plan and closing GUITMO and so forth when he came into office. Don't you think he wanted to tell his most ardent supporters to fuck off? No.

    The answer is that it is not that easy. No President of any party is going to fail to defend the country or take actions they think will result in terrorist attacks on American soil. For that reason, a President Gary Johnson would do exactly what Bush and Obama have done. And Libertarians would be bitterly complaining about how they were stabbed in the back never bothering to think that their platitudes and fantasy solutions might not be as easy as they think.

  • Fluffy||

    And fluffy if your solution is so easy and effective, why hasn't Obama done it?

    Because he's a coward and a fool?

    Since we believe that about him in every other instance, why not this one?

    It's not the easy option, when you wake up in the morning scared that somebody might say you're weak.

    I never wake up that way, so I'm immune.

  • John||

    Because he's a coward and a fool?

    Maybe. Or maybe he found out a few things in office you don't know.

    I never wake up that way, so I'm immune.

    Maybe or more likely you are just too stupid and uniformed to know any better. Actually being President tends to cure that. And proof that it does lies in the fact that Presidents of both parties have rejected your way of doing things. Maybe they are all just evil and fools. But that is pretty unlikely.

  • Fluffy||

    It's just a matter of what you value.

    I value the Constitution more than I value protecting myself from being accused of "not doing enough".

    Obama does not. He doesn't value the Constitution at all, so I imagine it's an easy choice for him. If there's any potential downside for him at all to not "projecting strength", why wouldn't he do it.

    It's not a matter of being uninformed. I just told you I don't care what information they give me.

    If I was inaugurated and that afternoon the intelligence guys took me aside and said, "Look, there's something you need to know. Alien invaders have been secretly in control of Earth for a long time now. They like torture, so we torture people for their entertainment. If you don't order torture immediately, they're coming in their space ships to conquer us and it's likely everybody in America will die," my response would be, "Call the Joint Chiefs, then, because we're fighting. Even if we lose and we all die, we're fighting."

    It's not an information problem, John. At all.

  • John||

    And you are talking out of your ass as someone who has never once had the responsibility that the President has. And it is awfully rich of you to expect other Americans to die for your love of the Constitution.

    Sorry but most people would rather live and torture our enemies if that is what it takes to win. And so would you if you were ever faced with the choice. You just pretend otherwise because like every other Libertarian, you live in a fantasy world on this issue.

  • Fluffy||

    And it is awfully rich of you to expect other Americans to die for your love of the Constitution.

    So what you're saying is that you wouldn't have ordered the D-Day invasion?

    Or that on 12/08/41, you would have gone before the Congress and asked for a vote for surrender to the Japanese?

    Ordering the D-Day invasion sent men to their deaths for the Constitution, dude.

    And so would you if you were ever faced with the choice.

    No, I wouldn't. When I asked you above if you would have voted to surrender to the Japanese, I'm sure you thought, "Of course not, that's preposterous." It's just as preposterous to me to torture because I think maybe that will give me some undefined intelligence advantage.

    And that's what we're talking about.

    Sorry but most people would rather live and torture our enemies if that is what it takes to win.

    I wouldn't order it even if I thought it was necessary to win. But in this case (as opposed to an alien invasion hypothetical), that quandary doesn't even arise. It's not necessary to "win" our current conflict. There is no chain of possible circumstances that leads to Al Qaeda conquering and defeating the United States. None. Basically you're saying that I'd be presented with evidence that if I didn't order torture, there might be more successful nuisance attacks like car bombings, or even another 9/11. And I wouldn't order torture to prevent another 9/11, even if I could be sure, which I couldn't be anyway.

  • John||

    I wouldn't order it even if I thought it was necessary to win.

    I can't read your mind. Maybe you would, but I doubt it. But if you wouldn't, you stand in a very small minority and will never be trusted with any responsibility to defend this country. Basically you are mad at Obama because he is not a fanatic who is willing to sacrifice the safety of the country for your ideals. Good for you.

  • Fluffy||

    Basically you are mad at Obama because he is not a fanatic who is willing to sacrifice the safety of the country for your ideals.

    It's just as easy for me to turn that around on you.

    Let's say Nazi Germany had been 5 or 6 times as efficient as it was, and a moment was reached when the Russians were out, the British were out, and the US was about to be invaded.

    And Hitler says, "Well, we're about to invade and destroy you. But that will lead to a lot of German casualties, too, so I'm willing to negotiate. How about this? If you just give me every American Jew, we'll call it square and we can have a peace conference."

    If you refuse the offer, the US gets invaded and destroyed. All surviving Americans end up enslaved. But if you accept the offer, things are OK for at least a while.

    What do you do?

  • Question of Auban||

    "Actually being President tends to cure that."

    Has it ever occurred to you that Presidents are these creatures known as politicians and that politicians have a history of saying one thing and doing another? Politicians crave power and one thing that war does is it gives great power to the warmonger.

  • John||

    Auban,

    Has it ever occurred to you that maybe reasonable people can disagree on these issues? You people are left arguing that anyone who doesn't follow your policy does so because they are craven and evil and love to kill people. You say that because you are terrified of facing the world as it is.

    No one dislikes Obama more than I do. But sorry, I don't buy it that he is a craven sociopath who loves to drone strike everyone. I believe that he understands as well as Bush did that terrorism is war not crime.

    The Democrats claimed it was crime for years. They claimed that right up until it was time for them to be responsible for stopping it.

  • Question of Auban||

    John,

    Could you please name 10 things that you would define as truly evil?

  • Fluffy||

    I didn't claim that Obama was evil.

    I said he was cowardly and I stand by that 100%.

    If at any time during his day Obama thinks, "Man, I really don't want to do X, but if I don't do it, the Republicans or the media will say I'm weak," he's a coward.

  • John||

    Or maybe he is a realist who understands that it is his job to defend the country fluffy.

    You assume he is a coward because you assume you are right and there is just this easy solution that he is ignoring. And that is just begging the question. You have no idea if your solution is workable. You just think it is because that is what you want to believe not because you have any knowledge that it is.

  • Fluffy||

    You assume he is a coward because you assume you are right and there is just this easy solution that he is ignoring. And that is just begging the question. You have no idea if your solution is workable.

    It's the reverse of begging the question, because I have defined "workable" to include the consequences Obama is trying to avoid.

    Obama looks at his options and sees that not torturing and the rest of it increases the chance that somebody will, say, set off a car bomb in the US and kill 20 people. So he sticks with the policy, because he's scared to death that if that car bomb goes off, he'll get blamed. He's scared that the press and his opponents will say, "This is your fault, because you were weak."

    I'm not begging the question with my policy because if we adopt it and a car bomb goes off, I'll just say, "Well, sometimes the bear gets you," and call it a day. I'm not promising you safety if the only way to get it is to torture, John. That's my whole point.

    "You'd end up ordering the torture because you'd get intelligence reports!" is just as outlandish to me as it would be if you were a liberal and you said, "If you'd just get better informed about the statistics on gun violence, you'd be pro gun control!" I'm already informed about the statistics. I know that people die in mass shootings. It's not like I don't watch the news. It's just that those shootings don't make me change my mind about the Constitution.

  • Calidissident||

    John your "WE MUST DO SOMETHING!" attitude on foreign policy is just as stupid as the liberal attitude on economic policy. We believe US presidents have been evil and/or fools on every other issue, why not foreign policy? Why would they suddenly be any more moral or wise on foreign affairs? I think Obama is either evil or really misguided. Or both. Same thing with Bush and Romney. I have a lot more evidence to back that up than you do to support the notion that Obama was a sincere quasi-pacifist of sorts that was hit hard by reality when he got in the White House

  • Andrew S.||

    In what way were we possibly defending the country in Iraq? Libya? Afghanistan, once we routed the Taliban? What, if any, threat did those countries pose to us?

  • Hyperion||

    Seeing as Obamney is a crony on steroids, I am sure that he sees it as saving our economy. Since to Obamney, big government + cronyism IS the economy, he can hardly let go of all the crony dollars and jobs generated by the military industrial complex.

    Killing is the governments business and business is good.

  • sloopyinca||

    And fluffy if your solution is so easy and effective, why hasn't Obama done it?

    Um, probably because he doesn't want to do it. He likes having the greatest military in the world blowing up people and places on a whim so he can look strong to the war hawks (like you) that just love to think we are stopping terrorism by blowing up wedding parties in the middle of a desert 20k miles away.

  • John||

    Sloopy.,

    That is just saying he is evil. And while that is an easy answer, it is probably not a correct one. I don't think Obama is evil and I don't think he is completely unreasonable.

    You guys just assume he is because you are terrified to face the harsh reality that maybe life isn't as simple as you think it is.

  • Question of Auban||

    John,

    Could you please name 10 things that you would define as truly evil?

  • John||

    Sure,

    The people in Iran who stone women to death for adultery are evil. The people in Afghanistan who shoot little girls for going to school are evil. The people who hide in civilian populations hoping to blow themselves up and kill innocent people are evil. The list of evil in this world is endless.

    But sorry, even Obama, as bad as he is, is not evil when he acts to stop raving lunatics from doing harm to this country.

  • Question of Auban||

    "The people in Iran who stone women to death for adultery are evil. "

    I agree that this is evil. What about Presidents who fly drones that drop bombs killing those very same women?

  • John||

    I agree that this is evil. What about Presidents who fly drones that drop bombs killing those very same women?M

    The fault of that innocent woman dying is the fault of the person who chose to wage war on the US by hiding within her population. If he hadn't done that, the bomb would have never been dropped.

    You guys blame the US for the collateral damage. And that is complete moral nonsense. The people who are to blame are the people who use civilians as human shields by hiding within the population.

    But Reasonites have a real hard time understanding that or even understanding that anyone besides the US could be at fault for anything.

  • Fluffy||

    Nobody in Yemen or rural Pakistan is waging war on the US.

  • sloopyinca||

    The fault of that innocent woman dying is the fault of the person who chose to wage war on the US by hiding within her population. If he hadn't done that, the bomb would have never been dropped.

    Waging war on the US? When did they do that again? Please show your work.

  • Question of Auban||

    "The fault of that innocent woman dying is the fault of the person who chose to wage war on the US by hiding within her population. If he hadn't done that, the bomb would have never been dropped."

    If letters of Marque and Reprisal instead of all out war had been used this would not even be an issue. Think of how much money could be put in bounties for terrorists if we didn't have to use our own military and we didn't have to use drones and we didn't have to pay Blackwater - oh, sorry it is called Academi now isn't it?

  • Fluffy||

    The people in Iran who stone women to death for adultery are evil. The people in Afghanistan who shoot little girls for going to school are evil.

    I'll bet you anything the people who do those things admit that they're bad, but tell themselves that they "have to" do it, or there will be even worse consequences.

    Just like somebody else I know.

  • John||

    Yeah fluffy,

    The people who stone little girls to death are just like the US. If you really believe that fluffy, why haven't you renounced your citizenship and declared war on the US? You clearly think the US is the focus of evil in the world and its worst actors.

  • Fluffy||

    The people who stone little girls to death are just like the US.

    As soon as you say, "I'm willing to do one immoral thing to avoid a different one. 'Cause I'm a realist," you have to take into account the fact that others might say the same thing.

    The people who burned heretics thought they were doing the same. "We have to kill one to save the souls of many." Those fuckers thought they were Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan.

    You aren't as bad as "the people who stone girls to death". Not yet. But once you start employing that kind of moral calculus, you very well might turn out to be just as bad in the end.

  • John||

    I'm willing to do one immoral thing to avoid a different one. 'Cause I'm a realist," you have to take into account the fact that others might say the same thing.

    Then you are saying that anyone who is not an strict pacifist is not just immoral but as immoral as the worst person on earth. Anytime you wage war to defend yourself, you are going to commit evil. War is evil and killing.

    What we are left with Fluffy, is that under your view, we either embrace strict pacifism or accept being as evil as our worst enemies. Got it.

  • Fluffy||

    What we are left with Fluffy, is that under your view, we either embrace strict pacifism or accept being as evil as our worst enemies. Got it.

    Nope. I'm perfectly happy to kill men in the field. I don't consider that immoral, so I don't consider it to be part of the set of "doing immoral things to avoid other immoral things".

    But for a large number of reasons that I'm sure you already know, I don't consider torturing people you've already captured to be the moral equivalent of waging war in the field.

  • John||

    But for a large number of reasons that I'm sure you already know, I don't consider torturing people you've already captured to be the moral equivalent of waging war in the field.

    Okay. Then you shouldn't have a problem with Obama using drones. The alternative is to capture them and keep them forever.

  • Fluffy||

    Okay. Then you shouldn't have a problem with Obama using drones.

    Way back in the beginning of this I said that there were circumstances where I would drone.

    The alternative is to capture them and keep them forever.

    The alternative is to catch them and try them and live with the outcome of the trial, even if the prosecution loses. Just like we'd do with a serial killer.

  • sloopyinca||

    rave/rāv/
    Verb:
    Talk wildly or incoherently, as if one were delirious or insane.

    Sounds oddly like unpopular speech to me. So we're murderdroning people because we hate free speech. And that's not evil?

  • sloopyinca||

    You guys just assume he is because you are terrified to face the harsh reality that maybe life isn't as simple as you think it is.

    No, we (I, actually) assume he's evil because he bombs people to death that are no threat to us because he claims without evidence that they said bad things about us. He also remorselessly bombs their neighbors and their children and accepts no responsibility for the deaths of innocents when he ordered the trigger to be pulled knowing 90% of the deaths caused would be collateral damage.

  • John||

    That whole paragraph just proves you are an idiot sloopy. Those people he is bombing hate your guts and mean you harm. They are people you don't want to meet. And they are people who are not going to give up and are not going to stay where they are even if we go home.

    If you think someone who is in the Taliban or a member of Al Quada is just some innocent person and bombing him is just like bombing child in the US, then you have completely lost touch with reality. And that is good. I am glad you can live in an alternative reality if that makes you happy.

    But no President, not even Gary Johnson or Ron Paul, can live there with you.

  • sloopyinca||

    That whole paragraph just proves you are an idiot sloopy. Those people he is bombing hate your guts and mean you harm. They are people you don't want to meet. And they are people who are not going to give up and are not going to stay where they are even if we go home.

    They are free to hate my guts from 20k miles away. I will never meet them because they lack the ability to get here and harm me. Why will they not stay home? Wishing death on America doesn't exactly make it happen. They lack any means to harm us in any substantial way.

    I'm sorry, but we're murderdroning them because they are saying things that we don't like. We're no better than the people who used a Youtube video as a pretext for trashing our embassies.

    Actually, scratch that. We're worse because we're killing people who say bad things about us. They're just burning flags.

  • John||

    No Sloopy. We are bombing them because they are terrorists who hide among civilians and kill innocent people.

  • Andrew S.||

    Once again, citation needed. "They're terrorists." Says who? You? Obama?

    Backwards thinking: "We killed them, so they must've been terrorists and deserved to die"

  • sloopyinca||

    No Sloopy. We are bombing them because they are terrorists who hide among civilians and kill innocent people.

    [citation required] by an outside agency that isn't involved in the murderdroning. And if they're killing innocent people, where are these bodies? Why aren't their people fighting back for themselves?

    I think I've figured you out finally. I used to think you were a war hawk that thought we were fighting for righteousness. I just realized you're actually just a chump that will eat the spoonfed bullshit you're served by our political masters because it's easier than thinking for yourself.

  • Hyperion||

    I don't buy the idea that Obama is evil

    I totally buy into that idea

  • Question of Auban||

    I also agree that Obama is evil.

  • John||

    I am sure you do. Believing he is just evil relieves you of the problem of thinking that maybe these problems are not as easy to solve as you think they are.

  • sloopyinca||

    The problem may not be as easy to solve as we think it is (even though a simple solution has never been attempted). That doesn't mean his plan of bombing mostly innocent people to death isn't evil.

  • John||

    That doesn't mean his plan of bombing mostly innocent people to death isn't evil.

    But we are not bombing mostly innocent people. That is just a lie you tell yourself. The reality is that we are getting people who are anything but innocent.

  • Question of Auban||

    John,

    Please read this:

    http://livingunderdrones.org/

  • John||

    I agree with a lot of that. They need to be more open about how they are doing it and accountable for what is happening. It would prevent people form assuming the worst.

    But even that document admits that civilian casualties are the exception not the rule and the result of us going after legitimate targets. The people on here would have you believe we just randomly bomb people, which we don't.

  • Question of Auban||

    “TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children.[3] TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals.”

    Let us be kind and assume the low numbers. 474/2662 = 18% were civilians who were murdered by the Federal Government that claims to represent us and 1228/2562 = 47%. In other words almost half as many people were injured as were murdered by the Federal Government that claims to represent us.
    Yea!!! Let us do the happy dance!

  • Question of Auban||

    John,

    Could you please name 10 things that you would define as truly evil?

  • Hyperion||

    It's not that at all, it's just that most of us here do not agree with you, that perpetual war is the solution.

  • John||

    Why is it so hard for you people to understand that both sides have to choose peace? the rest of the world doesn't give a fuck if you want peace. We get peace when the world gives it to us and not a moment before. We may have a thousand years of war ahead of us. I don't know. And there isn't a damn thing anyone can do about it except our enemies. You people refuse to accept that sometimes you don't get a choice of whether you go to war or not.

  • Fluffy||

    You people refuse to accept that sometimes you don't get a choice of whether you go to war or not.

    That's true, actually.

    But you always have a choice regarding how you fight your war once you're in it.

  • John||

    Yes fluffy,

    You can always surrender. And indeed, based on what you said above, that is the only thing that we could do in order to avoid being as evil as our enemies. Because war is killing and killing is immoral and anytime you say that doing something immoral is justified, you are just as bad as the people who stone little girls, right?

    You did say this right?

    As soon as you say, "I'm willing to do one immoral thing to avoid a different one. 'Cause I'm a realist," you have to take into account the fact that others might say the same thing.

    You basically have argued yourself into a position of strict pacifism. Good luck with that.

  • Fluffy||

    No, I didn't.

    Killing someone on a battlefield is a moral act (assuming your side is in the right in the overall conflict).

    Accepting someone's surrender and then torturing them is not a moral act.

    I'd support you if you shot someone who was doing a home invasion at your house. I wouldn't support you if you caught them, took them to your basement, and tortured them for weeks or months.

    The guy who home invaded you "gave you no choice about going to war". But you have a choice about how you fight him. See?

  • Calidissident||

    John you are freaking delusional if you seriously think we've had no choice in prosecuting wars in recent history. Why are conservatives so blindly accepting of government credibility, power, and authority as long as it comes from the military? Why would the government act more moral or wise abroad than it does at home?

  • Hyperion||

    Why is it so hard for you people to understand that both sides have to choose peace?

    It's really hard to choose peace when someone is dropping bombs in your front yard. It is up to them? How? What do the people in the middle east do to get peace? Do tell, how do they get us to stop bombing them?

  • John||

    They can have peace tomorrow Hyperion. Iraq got peace didn't they? Are we still at war with Japan? Are we still at war with Korea and China?

    All they have to do is stop attacking us. If the Taliban stopped attacking us in Afghanistan, you don't think we would stop attacking them? I do.

  • Hyperion||

    The Taliban will stop attacking us in Afghanistan when we are no longer there.

    And no, I do not think our current government will ever abandon these foreign occupations until we completely change our government. It is big cronyism and big money. There must be enemies, even if we have to create them.

    It is no different than the WOD, they will never stop it until the people force them to stop.

  • John||

    No they wouldn't. They would attack our allies and then set up shop, claim victory and let people set up shop to attack us like they did pre 9-11.

    Afghanistan is a giant shit sandwich. Our options are leave and let things go back to what they were before 9-11 and in doing so totally fuck everyone there who ever helped us. Or stay and fight an endless war that never changes anything in the country.

    There are no good options. Leaving might be the right thing to do. But leaving wont' give us peace.

  • Question of Auban||

    "Leaving might be the right thing to do. But leaving wont' give us peace."

    If we leave but insist on still meddling in their internal afairs, I agree, that will not give us peace. But if we leave and then leave them alone that would.

  • Andrew S.||

    John, lets say I keep shooting at your front door. You decide to shoot back, because, hey, you're defending yourself. Are you going to stop shooting before I do?

  • Loki||

    Even as he embraced a hawkish approach to other counterterrorism issues — like drone strikes, military commissions, indefinite detention and the Patriot Act — Mr. Obama has stuck to that strict no-torture policy.

    You can't torture someone who's already dead.

  • John||

    Exactly. That is why he did what he did.

  • Andrew S.||

    Is there anything the government could possibly do in the commission of the "War on Terror" that you would consider to be wrong? Or is everything we do right, because, hey, our government says they're really bad people, and everyone we target is totally a terrorist who's going to kill every last person in the US if we let them?

  • sarcasmic||

    John will support absolutely anything, no exceptions, that the military does.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I would go for leaving the Middle East if we combined that with increased domestic drilling, and profiling anyone from that region who tries to get into this country. I don't care anymore what percentage of Muslims are the "bad" ones. Fuk 'em all unless they're already US citizens.

  • Question of Auban||

    I support increased domestic drilling but the rest of your comment is absurd. All terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that aren’t.

    http://weeklytrust.com.ng/inde.....Itemid=146

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    What's 6% of 2 billion? Enough for me to say that we leave them alone until they stop stoning little girls, and they leave us alone.
    I'm not talking about Americans.

  • Calidissident||

    Collective guilt ftw! Individualism isn't for those dirty foreigners!

  • ||

    I'm not sure it's collective guilt to say that the absolute numbers are still against us. I don't agree with that logic, necessarily, but I do agree we take our military out of the region. Stop meddling. Fortunately, I know you agree with me on this one.

  • Question of Auban||

    Calidissident said it brilliantly.

    I thought Ayn Rand fans were individualists? Perhaps I was wrong.

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