Foreign Policy

"Interrogation Has Been Replaced by Assassination"

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On Wednesday, Andrew Sullivan reacted to a critique of Obama's drone war with an argument that the difference between Bush and Obama is "stark," since "there is an end to the torture program." Tom Junod, the author of the original article, replies:

Does this mean Obama is Fantômas? Better not overthink this.

I did not—and do not—condone the use of torture any more than Sullivan does. But the moral risk of torture is not so different from the moral risk of targeted killing. Indeed, the moral risk of torture provides a template for the moral risk of targeted killing. What was introduced as an option of last resort becomes the option of first resort, then the only option. Sullivan always understood that torture was a temptation, and that the day would come when it was applied not in emergency, "ticking-clock" situations, but as a matter of routine. Well, that day has come, only now with targeted killing, where the option of first resort meets the court of no appeal.

Yes, killing is a part of war, and torture isn't. But what if the the kind of militant who was captured and tortured under Bush is the kind of militant who is simply being killed under President Obama? The Obama Administration vigorously denies this, just as it vigorously denies that it is combating terrorism by practicing a policy of extermination against terrorists. But the numbers—the thousands killed by drone and raid against the single high-value asset captured and interrogated outside the theater of war in Afghanistan—tell a story that can't simply be shrugged off. Interrogation has been replaced by assassination.

Moreover, I talked to a source familiar with the targeting process who told me that the people involved in the life-or-death decisions of the Obama administration often do not know the credibility of intelligence sources. This was a highly informed and involved source who, when asked the most essential question—"how good is the intelligence?"—paused and finally couldn't answer. In fact, when I raised the question of whether those who were once captured are now being killed, the source suggested that it was the wrong question:

"It's not at all clear that we'd be sending our people into Yemen to capture the people we're targeting. But it's not at all clear that we'd be targeting them if the technology wasn't so advanced. What's happening is that we're using the technology to target people we never would have bothered to capture."

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209 responses to “"Interrogation Has Been Replaced by Assassination"

  1. Yes it has. And I said that on these very boards during the Bush years. The fact is no President of either party is going to allow these people to go free. So that mans having a full civilian trial with the risk of an acquittal is not an option. Take away the ability to interrogate them or try them in a military tribunal and that leaves one option, just killing them. And that is exactly what Obama has done.

    1. “So that mans having a full civilian trial with the risk of an acquittal is not an option.”
      _
      except that over 300 terrorists have been tried and convicted in federal court vs like 3 or 4 at GITMO. even the military prosecutors have doupts about military trials since it opens the appeals process…to federal court

      1. Sorry but ones captured by the FBI within the US don’t count.

        1. Yet.

      2. over 300 terrorists have been tried and convicted in federal court

        Err, citation? Would that be 300 Islamist terrorists? Or 300 overweight Michiganders playing soldiers in the woods?

    2. Begging the question: We have no idea whether the people being interrogated/targeted actually are terrorists.

      + False dichotomy: There is the option of leaving people in other countries alone until there is an imminent danger from them.

      1. They want to do us harm. I’m not sure how they plan on doing that, but they do. Hence imminent danger.

        /sarc

      2. If we interrogate them, I would say there is at least some chance we can find out if they actually are a terrorist. If we just kill them, then our chance to find out if we got it right or wrong probably dies with them.

        1. If they die, we were definitely right.

          1. If they survive the drone attack, it proves that they’re witches.

            1. I think it still has to be proven that they float too.

              1. But did any of them turn you into a newt?

              2. So very small stones and ducks are terrorist witches too?

                1. and lead, and churches and apples and cider and gravy!

        2. We have to torture it to find out what’s in it.

          1. You can also find out by blowing it up!

      3. Begging the question: We have no idea whether the people being interrogated/targeted actually are terrorists.

        If they were targeted then they were terrorists, that’s the way it works now.

        False dichotomy: There is the option of leaving people in other countries alone until there is an imminent danger from them.

        Only if you’re some kind of nut who wants them to blow up NYC again.

      4. There is the option of leaving people in other countries alone until there is an imminent danger from them.

        So like every dog gets a free bite, every terrorist gets a free bombing before we do anything about it. That sounds like a winning platform.

        This is why Gary Johnson isn’t going to crack 5%.

        1. It’s the same reason Lady Gaga sold a billion albums.

        2. I’m the one who’s OK with not giving a dog a free bite, remember.

          You prevent bombings by border security, citizen vigilance, and making it hard for terrorists to recruit by having a good economy and equality of opportunity.

          The only bombings that have been attempted without FBI assistance in the US have been thwarted by civilian vigilance and terrorist incompetence. Not a single one by govt action.

          And don’t give me the canard that “they stopped bombings but can’t tell us about it”… this administration would be screaming from the rooftops about it if they actually stopped a terrorist attack.

          1. The only bombings that have been attempted without FBI assistance in the US have been thwarted by civilian vigilance and terrorist incompetence. Not a single one by govt action.

            And Obama’s response would be that this is because he is killing these people before they have a chance to get in the country. It seems to me that the situation you describe is exactly consistent with a successful drone strike program. Wouldn’t it?

            1. It’s also consistent with an irrelevant drone strike program.

              1. Sure it is. But how do you know which is right? Obama can point to the fact that the people he is killing have killed Americans in the past and at least publicly claim they would like to do so again. That seems to be pretty good evidence for his conclusion. What evidence supports yours?

                1. Obama can point to the fact that the people he is killing have killed Americans in the past and at least publicly claim they would like to do so again.

                  There is no evidence that the particular people being droned have killed any Americans.

                  His hypothetical claim is unfalsifiable, so complaining about lack of evidence to disprove it is off base.

                  1. His hypothetical claim is unfalsifiable, so complaining about lack of evidence to disprove it is off base.

                    No it is not. He can point to evidence that the people he is killing intended to and were plotting to do harm. We may not know that this particular person would have succeeded. But we sure as hell can know to a pretty high degree of certainty that someone will if we don’t do anything.

                    And there is lots of evidence. These people make no secret of their desire to kill Americans.

                    1. He can point to evidence that the people he is killing intended to and were plotting to do harm.

                      Where?

                      But we sure as hell can know to a pretty high degree of certainty that someone will if we don’t do anything.

                      Again, no evidence for this. You would have to point to instances (many of them in fact) where people were prevented from successful attacks by droning.

                    2. Again, no evidence for this. You would have to point to instances (many of them in fact) where people were prevented from successful attacks by droning.
                      reply to this

                      Sure there is no eividence other than a mountain of dead bodies in Spain, the UK, Bali, Bombay, New York and the people who we are killing’s vow to do the same and worse.

                    3. But we sure as hell can know to a pretty high degree of certainty that someone will if we don’t do anything.

                      I don’t share your faith in government “intelligence”.

          2. I’m the one who’s OK with not giving a dog a free bite, remember.

            We haven’t forgotten that you favor gunning down, on sight, any dog that isn’t on a leash or in a fenced yard. No, we have not. Nor will we.

            1. He is in the Elgin, IL PD?

            2. You mean you’ve made that up?

              Particularly the “on sight” part. We were talking about a dog aggressively approaching you. You’re getting just as bad as Randian and SF with the making up facts to suit your argument.

        3. So drones are really just kind of a terrorist-repelling rock, whose efficacy is proved by the lack of terror attacks?

          1. No RC. How else could their efficiency be shown? The point of the drone strikes is to kill the terrorists before they can do anything. So what does a successful drone policy would result in no bombings.

            And it is not a terrorist repelling rock. There is nothing illogical or even counter intuitive about the idea that killing people who intend to do us harm before they can harm us will prevent said people from doing us harm. So your comparison of that to a superstition is total sophistry.

            Why do libertarians have such a hard time believing the idea that killing our enemies might be a good idea?

            1. Why do libertarians have such a hard time believing the idea that killing our enemies might be a good idea?

              I’m not going to claim to be a libertarian, but I think you’re completely missing the point. There is no problem with killing enemies in self defense. If they’re not attacking then they’re not performing any act of aggression therefore they should be left alone.

              1. If they’re not attacking then they’re not performing any act of aggression therefore they should be left alone.

                So once again, every terrorist gets a free bombing or mass killing. When they actually attack us, we will do something about it. Until then they are free to operate plan and do whatever they like in preparation for their free attack.

                As I said above, that is a dead loser and something that the 95% of Americans who are not libertarians are not going to support.

                1. Right, before the WoT we had bombings and mass killings by terrorists every day in the US.

                2. So once again, every terrorist gets a free bombing or mass killing.

                  Every terrorist gets a free attempt to bomb or kill. If our military was effectively defending our country such an attempt would fail miserably.

                  1. Sort of like Richard Reid and the underwear bomber.

                  2. “If our military was effectively defending our country such an attempt would fail miserably.”

                    Um, DoD doesn’t do much once you are in flight school in Minnesota. Perhaps you mean the FBI or such?

            2. There is nothing illogical or even counter intuitive about the idea that killing people who intend to do us harm before they can harm us will prevent said people from doing us harm.

              So when the starting linebacker for the football team hears that some 90 pound computer geek who can bench press 10 lbs said he was going to kick his ass… he has to go and beat him up to prevent the geek from harming him?

              Cause that’s roughly where we’re at vis a vis al Qaeda.

              1. Tulpa, 19 losers from Saudi Arabia can kill 2800 Americans and shut down New York. You people are living in the past. We live in an age where any loser can cause tremendous harm.

                1. We live in an age where any loser can cause tremendous harm.

                  How come the government isn’t drone striking police officers. It can be proven that every day a police officer actually does ruin a family.

                  1. “How come the government isn’t drone striking police officers.”

                    Dunphy has ECM?

                2. Tulpa, 19 losers from Saudi Arabia can kill 2800 Americans and shut down New York.

                  They were the flower of al-Qaeda, actually. The guys they’re sending at us these days couldn’t learn to fly a plane into a bldg.

                  And of course, they had huge amounts of money and logistics backing them up, and still would have had no chance had it not been for ridiculously lax security and passenger habits aboard airplanes.

                3. Nope. They could at that time, because no one thought they would crash a plane into a building. But you only get an opportunity like that once.

                4. Yep, any old loser. It’s just that easy, they assemble the nukes right in their kitchen.

                5. John, that was 11 years ago. There hasn’t been a successful terror attack on US soil since then. You are demagoguing in the past.

            3. The point of the drone strikes is to kill the terrorists before they can do anything.

              Why not just kill everyone over there. Then they can’t do anything.

        4. If the dog is in Yemen, and I’m in my home here in CA, the dog can’t bite me. The vast majority of the people that want to hurt us are:

          1, very far away
          2, poor and poorly educated
          3, have no practical means to get here.
          4, would probably still fail even if they managed to get past items 1 through 3.

        5. If you don’t like it, then apparently you are fine with us killing you now since you might bomb someone in the future.

      5. We have no idea whether a dog running at us actually is going to attack, but that doesn’t stop you from saying it is OK to shoot them.

        Funny how you can see begging the question when you don’t accept the response but you can’t see it when you do accept the response.

        1. We have no idea whether a dog running at us actually is going to attack, but that doesn’t stop you from saying it is OK to shoot them.

          If Obama were randomly killing people, your analogy would work. But that is not what they are doing. They are not carpet bombing Pakistan. They are not just choosing places at random to bomb on the theory that any one could be a threat. They are getting intelligence and figuring out as best they can who is an actual terrorist and going and killing them. And judging from the constant whining from our enemies about this, I would say they are generally getting the right people. If the bombing wasn’t effective and just created more support like you guys always claim, the Taliban wouldn’t be saying a word and hoping for more bombing. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

          Come on guys. Stop it with the logical fallacies already.

          1. It doesn’t matter how much vetting is done. Pre-emptive strikes are wrong on a moral basis.

            That’s what I believe, and yes, I do realize that that almost begs other countries to attack us. It also doesn’t matter, when you sacrifice your moral foundation, you begin your decline.

            And yes, the cat’s out of the bag on that, but now I get to watch as my point gets proven.

            1. Then you are left with saying that every terrorist gets a free bombing and mass killing. And you can think that. And hell maybe you are right. But no one is ever going to agree with you. And you are going to doom libertarianism to be an irrelevant fringe movement. Sorry, but people are not willing to die so that you can feel good and moral about yourself. Most people are going to say “fuck yeah kill them before they kill us.”

              1. Most people are going to say “fuck yeah kill them before they kill us.”

                It’s truly unfortunate that most people don’t see this as a bad thing.

              2. Oh I know that. And you’re absolutely right. But people are wrong about a lot of stuff.

                There’s a lot older countries than the US that never pre-emptively struck anyone and haven’t been bombed out of existence.

                And I am a pessimistic catastrophist, so I mean, if I’m wrong I still win 🙂

                1. There’s a lot older countries than the US that never pre-emptively struck anyone and haven’t been bombed out of existence.

                  I can give you a long list of countries throughout history who tried to be peaceful and work with their enemies and got killed for their trouble. That is the nature of the world.

                  1. I don’t want to work with our enemies, I want to give them the attention they deserve (ie, none).

                    al Qaeda can’t do shit to us if we don’t allow them to through our own incompetence or overreaction. You might be right in saying that 95% of the American people don’t want to hear that, but guess what… fuck them.

              3. “…every terrorist gets a free bombing and mass killing.”

                This is a false appeal to a nonexistent threat. Terrorists are not the Borg; they are individuals, and if an individual sets off an explosive or something, they are arrested if not killed outright. What we do not do is try to preemptively guess who will be the next “terrorist” and then prevent them from acting in a criminal fashion by killing them via remote control.

                The administration has every confidence in it’s ability to predict the next crime, just as you seem to John.

            2. Although they are less likely to want to attack us if we aren’t picking off their citizens with drones.

              John wants us to have a permanent warfare state like Israel and Pakistan where the stalemate is “We’ll stop killing you when you stop killing us!!” and no one ever stops the killing.

              1. Although they are less likely to want to attack us if we aren’t picking off their citizens with drones.

                No they are not. That is just your fantasy. That is what you would like to think is the truth. The reality is that they attacked us clear through the 1990s and we were not droning them then. In fact, when we left Somalia they got more bold and said we were the weak horse and all they had to do was kill a few Americans and they would win.

                And Dave you need to stop living in a fantasy world and face reality. The reality is Israel lives in a state of war because their enemies make it that way. And we will live in a state of war until our enemies lose the will to fight. And there is not a damn thing we can do about it.

          2. In this case John, the only logical fallacy is yours. Randomly killing people != carpet bombing Pakistan. Your assumption is that their intelligence is reliable which it’s possible it isn’t.

            1. How do you know it probably isn’t? Neither one of us know if it is. But again, judging from the effect it is having on our enemies, it seems that it is quite good.

              1. I didn’t say ‘probably’ isn’t, I said ‘possibly’ isn’t. The possibility of a counterexample is all it takes to invalidate an argument.

              2. What effect is it having on our enemies?

          3. They aren’t randomly killing innocent people because they are claiming any male of fighting age standing near a suspected terrorist is also a terrorist.

          4. It doesn’t have anything to do with analogies, it has to do with the arguments he makes. Try to keep up.

            Tulpa the White said, “Begging the question: We have no idea whether the people being interrogated/targeted actually are terrorists.”

            Yes, he’s right. That is begging the question of whether these people are actually terrorists.

            Tulpa the White said, “Anyone who is approached by a strange, fast dog in a place where they have a right to be should be allowed to defend themselves, badge or not.”

            No, he’s not right. He is begging the question of whether the cops were actually defending themselves.

            He sees the begging the question when he doesn’t like the argument being made but he does the same thing in making his argument.

            1. The analogue of the dog thing is some Yemeni guy riding a motorboat up the Potomac with what looks like C4 explosive in the back of his boat and ignoring all commands to stop. Not a Yemeni guy standing on a corner in Yemen.

              1. It’s not about analogues, it is about the form of your argument. You assume facts not in evidence to make your dog argument “work,” which is illegitimate, just as it is illegitimate to take as fact that the people being interrogated/targeted actually are terrorists.

                You gloss right over having to prove the cops were acting in defense just like they gloss right over having to prove the people are terrorists. Whether one or the other is easier/harder/whatever to prove doesn’t change the form of the arguments and they fact that they both rely on unproven premises.

                1. If you’re referring to the fact that dogs can and do attack people and severely injure them, that is a fact. If you want to dispute that, good luck to you.

                  I don’t know what other facts you could be referring to.

                  I’m not saying that every cop shooting a dog is justified, but probably some of them are and evidence is going to be hard to come by. If I’m supposed to choose between an innocent human getting severely injured and an uncontrolled dog getting shot, I’ll pick the dog shot every time. Sorry.

                  That calculation doesn’t apply to “random foreigner” vs. “vapid threat of terrorist attack”.

              2. No, the analogue to the dog thing is somebody who looks Middle Eastern who isn’t in custody.

                1. Right RC, why don’t you make up some more shit about me. No one will call you on it because I’m an outsider, always have been around here.

          5. They are getting intelligence and figuring out as best they can who is an actual terrorist and going and killing them.

            Sure they are. Do you know how government works, John?

            And judging from the constant whining from our enemies about this, I would say they are generally getting the right people.

            Who? Pakistan isn’t our enemy (though we’re trying our damnedest to make it one). Amnesty International isn’t our enemy. Last I knew, al Qaeda didn’t have a public spokesperson.

            1. al Qaeda didn’t have a public spokesperson.

              Yes they do.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Yahiye_Gadahn

              They also have any number of websites and are constantly releasing videos.

              You don’t even pay attention to this stuff. Hit and Run really is Libertarian fantasy land where all Muslims are wonderful peace loving people and Obama drinks the blood of the innocents every night.

              I don’t like Obama any better than anyone one else on here. But it is complete bullshit to think that all the intelligence is bad and every one or even a majority of the people killed in the drone strikes are just innocent people targeted by the evil Obama. That is just horseshit.

              1. I don’t give a shit if they have websites and videos. So does Carrot Top but you don’t see me asking for him to be executed.

                They have shown no capability of carrying out attacks in the US, save 9/11 when they got extremely lucky.

                1. That or maybe we were stupid and week and after 9-11 got smart and started defending ourselves.

                  1. That might have been a lot easier to do if our military wasn’t scattered across the globe. Who knows, they might have been able to prevent it if they had actually been defending this country.

                    1. That sounds alot like Pat Buchannan’s 1980s platform – bring the boys home and have them stand shoulder to shoulder at the borders! FORTRESS AMERICA!

                      US military is not for use inside the borders, Allah willing and the wadi don’t rise.

                    2. US military is not for use inside the borders, Allah willing and the wadi don’t rise.

                      By golly you’re right! I guess “provide for the common defence(sic)” really means the US military should be traveling the world killing strange people in foreign lands.

                      If you guys are so hot to save us from the terrorists, why not just send the full might of the US military to the area and destroy everything. If there’s nobody left then there’s nobody to plot our downfall.

                  2. We were a lot better off when we were “stupid and weak” then.

                    Things haven’t gone particularly well for al-Qaeda’s enemy since 9/11, either, so I’m sure there’s some Ali bin-John on an AQ website trumpeting how great their strategy is too.

                  3. “got smart and started defending ourselves.”

                    Yea, we installed barricades to prevent another plane hijacking, which was a perfectly rational thing for airlines to do. What was unnecessary was the systematic stripping of our civil liberties in the name of “security”. By justifying the administration’s actions by appealing to their wisdom, you are giving them carte blanche to continue shitting on our civil liberties. Because they know something, and we don’t, and we should shut up and take our medicine.

                2. “So does Carrot Top but you don’t see me asking for him to be executed.”

                  You really are in the minority then! 🙂

              2. —“But it is complete bullshit to think that all the intelligence is bad”—

                I agree. I saw all of that good intelligence when Powell made his WMD presentation to the UN. And all of it turned out to be true too. So there is no way the intelligence could possibly be wrong this time.

  2. (I always hate replying in threads about Sullivan due to my unfortunate first name/last initial)

    Is there anything that Obama (typed Bush here at first. Freudian slip or good memory?) could do that Sullivan wouldn’t justify?

    1. He’s definitely engaging in some creative rationalization. Obama is kinda nice to gay people, after all.

      1. So is Dick Cheney.

        1. wait, didnt cheney shoot the face off some gay guy?

    2. Sullivan has come down hard against both torture and the continuing claim that the government can torture.

      1. But it’s okay to summarily kill them.

        1. Yes, they died untortured!

  3. Killing without consequence, without responsibility, is the dream of power hungry scum throughout all time. Is it any surprise that the government, filled with power hungry scum, is engaging in this? It will continue to get worse, no matter which TEAM is in charge, because that is the nature of power.

    1. Don’t worry, the media will always expose them when this happens.

      Thank the gods for journalists.

      1. I’m sure they’ll scream bloody murder the first time they drone strike inside the US.

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        It’s not actually funny. That laugh is one of resignation.

        1. Oh they will if Romniac is president. You can take that to the bank.

          1. They’ll scream bloody murder if Romney drones someone in Yemen, forget the US.

            1. I’m still voting Gary Johnson, but that is one of the few reasons I would tell anybody to vote for Romney.

              1. For the amusement?

                1. Yes. You see I live only on lulz now. I’ve evovled past even Warty or SugarFree.

                  1. Evolved right into John if spelling is any indicator.

                    1. Preview nate, preview.

                      (And it was a joke, I would never actually tell someone to vote for Romney)

    2. I’m trying to think how much more impersonal killing another person can become and the best I can come up with is programmed drones running a terrorist prediction algorithm. A kind of launch and forget feature that dutifully takes out any target it deems to meet a set of criteria.

      That, and Skynet.

      1. I think an American Idol style text-your-vote to pick which “terrorist” to drone would work.

        1. Interesting, maybe the first step to our very own Running Man competition.

      2. Sort of a ‘Culture’ style knife-missile. Saturate the Middle East [America] with them.

        1. Culture knife missiles have a conscience. Remote targeted drones don’t.

          1. Neither do the people using them, unfortunately.

            1. That was implied in my statement.

      3. We obviously need a long range Tantalus Field. No bodies, no worries.

    3. Having worked in detainee ops, I can tell you that dead people are easy. People forget the dead. But the living are never forgotten. It is real easy to declare someone a lawful target and drone strike them. It is pretty damned hard to figure out to do with someone you captured.

      1. I understand it’s also pretty easy to drone strike someone then declare they were a lawful target.

        1. We would never have targetted them if they weren’t, duh.

      2. This is actually what I think is causing BO to stop worrying and love the drones. I don’t think he’s a malevolent guy, just a lazy, cowardly, and incompetent one.

        1. You probably have a point there.

        2. You missed the part of Obama being a narcissistic attention-whore who wants to claim success in the war on terroism while being a lazy, cowardly, and incompetent asshole — so lets send out some more drones.

          1. I was trying to be brief for once….

        3. Which is to say, he’s a politician.

          I predicted this back when we were talking about Gitmo and watwrboarding. I said that the alternative to detention would end up being just killing, especially since no one doubted the legality of killing, nor did Senator Obama offer an actual alternative plan.

          I don’t see how anyone is shocked by this turn

    4. “Look around you. You’ll see two councilmen, a union official, a couple of off-duty cops and a judge. Now, I wouldn’t have a second’s hesitation blowing your head off right here and right now in front of them. That’s power you can’t buy. That’s the power of fear.”

  4. The good news is, every terrorist killed by drone attack is just one step away from smuggling a nuke into the US and blowing up NYC. So let me just say, thanks for keeping me safe Mr President.

    1. OTOH it does seem that SOMETHING has to happen to bring rents down in Manhattan.

      1. get rid of rent controls but frankly a terrorist nuke going off in central park is more likely

  5. So if they re-remade The Prisoner, rather than a series of increasingly elaborate ruses to get information out of Number 6, they’d just have applied drone process to him in his sports car in the title sequence, ending the series as we cut to the end credits.

    By the way, anyone think that the Village wasn’t run by “the other side”?

    1. You’re old.

      The only reason I even know what you’re referencing is because Iron Maiden made a song about it. And even that I found on a live bootleg, not the original release!

      FINE I’LL GET OFF YOUR LAWN, GRAMPS.

      1. I didn’t watch it first run, and you can turn in your libertarian card if you haven’t watched that series. It’s like a Firefly number of episodes, so it’s not a Herculean task.

        1. It’s black and white isn’t it? I can’t do it man. My brain shuts down. Can’t I just read the episode summaries on wiki and be done with it?

          1. No, it’s in color. You may be thinking of Secret Agent, also with McGoohan.

            1. Oh wierd, it’s the one where the white ball thing is chasing him right?

              1. The Prisoner was awesome.
                I watched it in the late 80s or early 90s when they ran the whole thing on PBS. Formulaic and predictable after a while, but still very entertaining.

              2. That’s it. And it is odd. But it’s also great.

              3. The white bubble thing was “Rover”.

                Be Seeing You.

          2. If you do watch it be sure to watch it in order. There are a couple of throwaway episodes but most of them are fairly important to understand the whole point of it.

            McGoohan originally wanted to tell the story in about six episodes or so and end it but in order to get any American network to consider it it had to be a potential continuing series. This was before the miniseries came into being.

            In order to fill it out to the seventeen episodes (the minimun necessary for
            CBS – IIRC – to consider it).

          3. Nooooo definately not black and white, in fact it is very much a product of the psychadelic era with lots of REALLY bright colors.

            Also while the show came out before I was born it has been on in reruns here in the states numerous times on varying cable outlets and with Netflix/the internet there really is no reason why any good libertarian shouldn’t have seen it.

        2. You got in while I was signing in, PL.

          I was going to respond to WG that you don’t have to be all that old to remember The Prisoner. It was rerun several times in the eighties, by PBS IIRC.

          Somewhere that I saw it some blowhard would come on at the end and analyze it for us. I can’t remember if that was on PBS or Ontario educational television.

          It was out on VHS and now it’s on DVD so it’s not like it’s not available for just about everyone.

          I actually do remember it in the first run, also Secret Agent or Danger Man but then, I am old. I didn’t really get it then, I’m afraid.

          1. I saw it in the early 80s or maybe late 70s on PBS.

      2. I saw an 18-ish year old in a “Bark At The Moon” Ozzy t-shirt a few weeks ago. I teared up with pride.

        1. probably got it at Urban Outfitters…

    2. If they remade The Prisoner“?

      1. The cable mini-series version didn’t stand up to the original.

      2. Note that I said re-remade, not remade. I’m aware of Jesus and Gandalf’s work, though I never watched it.

        1. I agree, I got the first disc from netflix and gave up.

      3. I’m with ProL on this one. The Prisoner never got remade, there are only 3 Indiana Jones movies, 3 Star Wars movies, and one Matrix movie.

        1. Try not to get too much sand in your mouth Brett.

    3. You know what needs a remake? The Beastmaster. That would be great with CGI. Michael Bay, if you’re reading this, think hard on it.

      1. This may very well be the one time I agree with you. That movie would be kick-ass with today’s effects.

        1. I dunno, I think the Deathguards would lose some of their scariness (and charm) if they were slicked out CGI style.

          And they would make Tanya Roberts have a cameo, and that would make me teh sad 🙁

          1. Maybe they could use the CGI to make her look like she did in View to a Kill.

            1. Or they could make her look like Christopher Walken.

              A young Christopher Walken.

              1. “Good. Right on schedule.”

            2. Why not? Olivier was in Sky Captain, and he’s dead.

          2. They could cast Samuel L Jackson as Seth and Kevin Spacey as Maax. That would just be awesome.

      2. DON’T TALK SHIT ABOUT MARC SINGER

        Did you know that was directed by Don Coscarelli? And that the entire thing was founded around some amazing animal trainer that the producers decided to replace at the last minute, thereby fucking up the entire premise?

        1. No, I was like 4 when it came out.

          1. You have failed to make a Lori Singer reference, thereby disappointing me as usual.

            1. I only know Marc Singer from V and some Skinemax flick where he was hunting down a murderous pleasurebot.

              1. and beastmaster, of course.

        2. That animal trainer part is hilarious. It’s like if they decided to make American Anthem, but then at the last minute Mitch Gaylord broke his knees so they decided to make it about competetive eating.

        3. I love that movie. Who the hell doesn’t want to see an 80s Tanya Roberts get her kit off?

          1. No one in their right mind.

      3. After that could we get a remake of Masters of the Universe?

        Ducks for cover.

        1. BY THE POWER OF… ah, forget it.

        2. And they could do a Manimal reboot on siffy (SyFy)

          1. Holy crap, Manimal and Automan… *sigh* the good old days.

    4. The whoseawhatnow?

  6. That final quote is quite chilling.

    I also think Sullivan is wrong on this, if we are using drones as tool of execution, would should only be using limited drone strikes under very tight and clear rules of engagement that are vetted by a non-CIA/NSA source and that is certainly not what the Obama administration is doing.

    1. Well, CapitalistRunningDog, if that is your real name, maybe we should look into YOUR activities if you think we’re being a little too loose with the drones…

    2. You’re obviously fine with the terrorists taking over something larger than a passenger jet and destroying something important.

  7. Your post (#3135641) has been marked as spam by a third-party spam filter. If this is a mistake, please email webmaster@reason.com.

    FUCK YOU!!

  8. Sullivan is clinically insane and probably should have been involuntarily committed sometime in the fall of 2008. So it does seem a bit unfair to pick on him.

    Fair or unfair, you have to be a complete fucking nut to think that just killing people is preferable to capturing and even water boarding them.

    1. In my experience, people being tortured often beg to be killed.

      1. I defer to your experience in torturing people. I have never done that. That said, I am quite sure after the torture is over they are glad they are alive and didn’t just get blown up.

        1. Tulpy-poo tortures us with his presence every day, John. He’s a regular Doctor Jest.

          1. A Godeskite attacked my blog this morning, so I’m switching to moderation.

            1. Don’t let the white indians ruin it for the rest of us!

            2. A Godeskite attacked my blog this morning

              Fucking weirdoes. If you reject the “one troll to rule them all” hypothesis, then there must be at least a half-dozen hardcore nutbags with a hard-on for anything even remotely related to HyR.

          2. Thanks for the reference Epi, I think I’ll break out that set and read through it again.

        2. Jumping to conclusions again?

          I was actually describing my own actions halfway through Baby Geniuses 2.

          1. Here’s the sad part. I’ve seen that movie. My baby girl somehow got her hands on it and watched it over and over again. What’s really odd is that it includes Jon Voight–Oscar-winning actor–Vanessa Angel, Scott Baio, and an immortal from the old Highlander TV series. Truly weird and awful.

            1. It is odd that Scott Baio would be in something that sucked.

              1. Bob Loblaw lobs law bomb.

              2. That wasn’t the odd part. Like with Vanessa Angel, it was just odd seeing him at all.

    2. They’re not people, they’re terrorists.

    3. Sullivan is clinically insane…

      OK, John, since you like to lecture others here about insults, how is this not a cheap shot on your part against Sullivan?

      Also, you don’t always seem to live in the same reality that the majority of us do, so it’s a pretty dodgy strategem to charge Sullivan with being crazy. This isn’t an insult, although I’m sure you’ll take it as such and try to play the aggrieved victim card. It’s an observation without judgement attached. I’m never sure whether I’m dealing with the John who sees the sky as blue or the John who thinks that lesbian street gangs are an existential threat.

  9. “Sullivan always understood that torture was a temptation, and that the day would come when it was applied not in emergency, “ticking-clock” situations, but as a matter of routine.

    I can think of only one occasion in which the “ticking clock” scenario was used successfully:

    During WWII, one of the members of the Danish Resistance was being tortured by the Gestapo for the location of a meeting, which would take place at 3 in the afternoon. The resistance member knew he was weakening, but vowed to hold out until after the meeting time. He knew that, if he didn’t show up, his fellow resistance fighters would realize he had been captured and disperse before the Gestapo could capture them.

    The resistance fighter held out until the clock on the wall read ten minutes after three, at which time he gave the information.

    The interogator passed the information to his operatives then, before leaving the room, moved the clock back one hour.

    (Source: The Savage Canary)

    1. Sullivan always understood that torture was a temptation, and that the day would come when it was applied not in emergency, “ticking-clock” situations, but as a matter of routine

      And just killing anyone you think might be a terrorist won’t be a temptation? All and all I would rather risk the government torturing people than killing people.

    2. Why didn’t he give them the wrong location, which they wouldn’t realize was wrong until after they already missed the time?

      1. Good question.

        However, my point was that the “ticking clock” is more or less a fallacy: It almost never occurs.

        If it had happened in the last 11 years and 10 months, don’t you think that the torture apologists would have been trumpeting it from the rooftops?

    3. Well, at least the story has a happy ending. The state got the terrorist to talk.

    4. That’s a wierd time of the day to adjust for DST.

  10. Any political advisor worth his weight in BS will tell Obama (or Romney) that if just one of these guys is released and then ends up killing American troops, or even worse, civilians, in some well-publicized attack, then it’s game over for you and your party.

    1. We wouldn’t have to worry about having them kill American troops if we didn’t have troops there…

      1. Definitely, but then their fears turn to a OKC or ’93 WTC bombing type attack. Every politician knows to start planning their retirement if one of those should reoccur.

    2. It’s political suicide to leave anyone in the Middle East alive, Mr. President.

      1. As funny as it sounds, political advisors think in those exact terms (I have friends in the business).

      2. No President ever lost an election because he killed too many Muslims. Just saying.

          1. American President. And you could argue that if Musharaf had been willing and able to kill a few more Muslims, he might still be in power.

  11. What’s happening is that we’re using the technology to target people we never would have bothered to capture.

    Long-tail economics applied to warfare.

  12. We’re working to make it more accurate…

    http://gizmodo.com/5923980/the…..-about-you

  13. Sometimes you jsut gotta jump an!

    http://www.Need-Anon.tk

  14. Afraid of terrorists?

    It is clear that the easiest way to bring down airliners is to ship bags with bombs in them. Even if security finds nine out of ten, bombs are cheap and terrorists could bring down lots of planes just by shipping lots and lots of bombs. That’s not rocket science. They must have figured that out by now. So the question is, ‘where are they?’ If there really are terrorists out there, and if they are even halfway smart, the security forces should have a warehouse full of captured bombs. I repeat, ‘where are they?’ One can concoct a conspiracy theory that the security forces are keeping that a secret and they really do have a warehouse full of them, but frankly, I doubt it. My own conclusion is simply that they don’t exist. For the most part, we are chasing bogeymen…

    “If I were an actuary selling insurance for death by asteroid or death by terrorism, I’d charge about the same premium for either one. The only difference is, with terrorism I’d probably have to pay up a small amount every year. With the asteroid, we’ll all go together and I won’t be around to pay up.”

    1. “If I were an actuary selling insurance for death by asteroid or death by terrorism…”

      You sell primary level TRIA?!

  15. Do you want to go home? Do you want to go home now?

    He said, you know, to be really safe you should always carry a bomb on an airplane. Because the chances of there being one bomb on a plane are pretty small. But the chances of two bombs are almost minuscule. So by carrying a bomb on a plane, the odds of your becoming a hostage or of getting blown up are astronomically reduced.

  16. You guys don’t understand Sullivan at all. The old Sullivan was killed sometime in 08, and replaced with a simulacron that only has 3 directives in forming opinions:

    If Bush/Cheney did it, it is wrong and illegal.

    If Obama does it, it is righteous and brilliant.

    If all of them did it, then Obama does it better/his hand was forced.

    I have a 100% accuracy rating in predicting his opinion.

    1. and of course, the classified 4th directive, “any attempt to arrest a senior OCP employee results in shutdown”

  17. Am I the only one who believes that the only change re torture that has occured under BHO is that it is now denied and if any instances ever surface some fall gauy will be sacrificed to demonstrate the administrations opposition?

    In other words the only difference between Bush and any other president is that he admitted that torture was happening and that he had OK’d it.

    Actually, come to think of it, he did a little more than admit it. He kind of bragged about it.

    Torture’s one of those things you can’t be a party to without some means of deniability.

    1. I’m sure rendition is being used liberally (HA!!) too.

  18. No Fant?mas / Phantom Limb commentary play on the alt text? Reason Commentariat,

    I AM DISAPPOINT.

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