Torture May Not Be So Bad When You're Using the Bamboo Splinters, Obama Administration Decides


Marathon Man

Like so many other things Barack Obama thought were so terrible about his predecessor in office—war in Iraq, executive orders, lack of transparency—he may have decided that torture isn't so bad when you're on the delivering end. Having inherited the collector's edition bamboo splinter set (with user's manual!), the administration, reports the New York Times, sees no reason to let it gather dust. So it's considering airing out the old regime's legal justifications for extracting information under duress.

Writes Charlie Savage for the Times:

WASHINGTON — When the Bush administration revealed in 2005 that it was secretly interpreting a treaty ban on "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" as not applying to C.I.A. and military prisons overseas, Barack Obama, then a newly elected Democratic senator from Illinois, joined in a bipartisan protest.

Mr. Obama supported legislation to make it clear that American officials were legally barred from using cruelty anywhere in the world. And in a Senate speech, he said enacting such a statute "acknowledges and confirms existing obligations" under the treaty, the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

But the Obama administration has never officially declared its position on the treaty, and now, President Obama's legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration's position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity.

Well, at least they'll have the good grace to fly you across the border to the cooperative folks of Shitholeistan before breaking out the electrodes and water buckets. Now that's legal niceties!

Note that the president issued an executive order in 2009 formally banning the use of torture. Then, in August, he shrugged his shoulders and admitted, "we tortured some folks" in what was taken as a suggestion that this nasty stuff was no more on his watch.

But after the State Department proposed at this half-way point through the second term of an administration nominally opposed to torture to formally repudiate the Bush administration's legal rationale for the practice, it apparently occurred to administration officials that doing so would mean they'd really have to stop.

Which is awfully commitment-y for a White House that has settled so comfortably into many policies it once opposed.

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  1. Just call it a tax. Then it should be legal.

    1. If you don’t want to pay your taxes, you’re free to spend a weekend with the pain monster.

      1. See you April 15th!

        (Nixon’s Head ’16. Because it couldn’t be any worse, could it?)

      2. Unthinkable!

        /Jack Johnson

  2. What someone does matters less than who does it.

  3. I will make Obama a deal. They can back away from this treaty on the condition that the tactics are used first on Lois Lerner. They get their tactics and the country gets to find out the truth about the IRS scandal. Deal?

    And while we are at it, I want them used on Whitey Bulger. I want to know if he knows where those paintings taken in the Gardner heist are. The world shouldn’t be deprived of Vermeer and Rembrandt.

    1. Make them listen to Obama’s collected speeches. They’ll crack soon enough. Or go insane, like Obama’s supporters.

      1. Alright. Even in an environment that seems to condone torture, that’s going too far. You’re a monster.

      2. And to think the Obama people tried to do that to the Queen. I am not a monarchist but good God what did that poor woman ever do to deserve that?

        1. The other, horrifying, possibility is that Obama is such an insane narcissist he really thought the Queen would actually enjoy listening to him ramble on.

          1. I am pretty sure that is not a possibility but the truth. At the very least his staff is made up of such pathetic ass licking lackeys that they thought that.

            1. I’d put it on the staff. I’m not convinced that Obama actually has thoughts or opinions himself.

              1. Oh, Obama has thoughts and opinions; they are played out in his actions, which are usually the opposite of his words.

  4. Wow TooChilly. Could you pack a little more snark into this post? I really enjoy your articles.

    Obama is a hypocrite.

  5. Wow, some staffers are debating whether overseas torture is a violation of US law.

    That settles it then!

    1. team BLUE! team BLUE!
      Whatever, hypocrite.

    2. Hey, as long as the dow’s up, who gives a fuck?

      Right Dave?

    3. It certainly settles the issue of whether torture really is a pressing moral issue for this administration, or just a political football to be used based on circumstances and advantage.

    4. And shreek shows up to defend his hero. Let me put on my surprised face.

      1. I’ll give Shreek one thing. He posts his idiocy while the thread is still going, unlike certain of our other Obama-worshippers.

        1. Tony never turns down an opportunity to “get the last word” by showing up a day late.

          1. Weaselly, dishonest, authoritarian assholes like Tony can never be seen to give in, back down, apologize, concede, or lose and argument. To do so would call into question the dogma of their worldview, and if it is proven wanting or wrong then they would have an even less legitimate claim to power than they already have.

  6. Totally different, because Obama is the most intelligent and caring person in the History of the United States; so of course he will only torture the right people.

    1. It’s the “Change”(tm) low-info voters chose!
      And some, like turd above, still keep licking that ass.

  7. Like so many other things coming out of this lying son of a bitch’s mouth.

    Worse than Bush, primarily because he “mainstreamed” the abuses pioneered by his predecessor, making them that much harder to dislodge, in the unlikely event a future President will seek to do so.

    1. YES! Torture is mainstream now. Except for that total ban on it!

      1. So did Obama coverup what got Stevens killed in Benghazi because it was a secret CIA detention facility? or because he was shipping weapons to proto-ISIS?

        1. When did you stop fingering your dog?

          1. Sure you wanna keep playing, shreek? The game’s always between you and getting called a cunt. That dropped eye of yours looks like the hood on a cunt to me, shreek. When you talk, your mouth looks like a cunt moving.

            1. Give Weigal a break. He is having a hard month. His hero is now more unpopular and considered less competent than Bush.

          2. Please stop talking about your fantasies in irrelevant threads, Shreek.

            There could be a high-definition video of Obama personally torturing somebody on live TV and you’d still find a way to blame it on Bush. Face facts. Obama is all talk, no action, and whatever the fuck he’s said about “banning” torture means jack and shit.

            1. And it is really hard for someone with his disabilities to respond on issues where he can’t cut and paste talking points the hive leaders sent him. He doesn’t have any talking points and doesn’t understand the post making giving a coherent response impossible. All he can say is “torture is banned” as if the entire post is not about Obama deciding that ban doesn’t apply outside the US.

              1. No one has decided that, you imbecile.

                Some staffers are having a pedantic debate on it.

                1. Yeah because they just thought it would be fun to talk about not because their boss told them to figure out if it could be done and how.

                  You really will believe anything. As much as your superiors must hate you, even they have to admit you are easily lead if stupid.

                2. Sometimes that Derptard, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a Derptard, he’s got… lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’.

                3. “No one has decided that”

                  And how could you possibly know that.

            2. And jack just left town!

            3. Here’s the thing:

              You don’t ask your legal team to look into doing something that you have absolutely no intention of ever doing, period.

              The fact that the legal team has been tasked with this, means the administration wants to do it.

          3. Palin’s Buttplug|10.23.14 @ 11:30AM|#
            “When did you stop fingering your dog?”

            When he found your tongue in there, turd.

      2. That doesn’t according to both Bush and Obama’s legal team apply overseas. I understand you are illiterate and profoundly retarded and thus didn’t comprehend the post. What always amazes me is how you assume everyone else is the same.

        1. Well, there’s an executive order against it. But there was one as well under Bush.

          Bush’s position was always that we didn’t torture, just that the things we were doing weren’t torture.

          Hell, I think that SuperMax prisons are torture, worse than the regular stuff alleged under Bush, and especially so when done to people only accused. But most people don’t think so.

          1. I agree with you. But super maxes are nothing but the predictable result of getting rid of the death penalty. Without the death penalty there is no way to control people doing life sentences other than by putting them under the threat of harsher conditions, the end result of which is the Super max.

          2. I agree with you. But super maxes are nothing but the predictable result of getting rid of the death penalty. Without the death penalty there is no way to control people doing life sentences other than by putting them under the threat of harsher conditions, the end result of which is the Super max.

      3. Were you born a fat, slimy, scumbag puke piece o’ shit, or did you have to work on it?

      4. There was a ban on torture during Bush’s Presidency. He simply said that the allowable interrogation techniques weren’t torture.

        Same as currently.

    2. I really didn’t think it would happen so quickly after Bush II, but Obama really is the worst president of my lifetime. He immediately reneged on all of the good things he promised to do and, as you say, has done all of the bad things that Bush did, but without significant mainstream criticism which has made all of those things part of the new normal.

  8. “Note that the president issued an executive order in 2009 formally banning the use of torture.”

    Because the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution weren’t enough?

    1. Those things are like a hundred years old and written by white slave owners. They couldn’t possibly be as important as a memo sent out by the light worker.

  9. “Shitholeistan”

    Not nice

    1. Yeah, that’s no way to refer to Canada!

  10. I propose that every single major U.S. leader who supports torture is required to go through the same process John McCain did at the Hanoi Hilton. Despite his many flaws that’s one of his few decent positions and it probably has something to do with the fact that he can’t raise his arms above his head.

  11. “t American officials were legally barred from using cruelty anywhere in the world”

    This was known as Operation: No More Big Meanies

    meanwhile, drone-strikes were re-characterized as “explosive behavior adjustment”

    1. It is just one big kinetic action. Only racists Tea Baggers call it a war.

  12. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

  13. Just as there is nothing inherently wrong with bombing or shooting in war, there is nothing inherently wrong with torture as long as it is applied humanely and professionally. Grow up people it’s just a tool.

    1. Aren’t you the infanticide guy?

      1. Yes he is. Infanticide and humane torture are great but denying gays a marriage certificate is a crime against humanity. No shit. He actually thinks that way.

        1. I love it when you guys get butthurt. You are obvious and pathetic.

          1. Its true. You think torture and infanticide are fine but gay marriage a giant issue. Given the choice of a country that didn’t torture or have infanticide but also didn’t have gay marriage versus another country that did torture and did practice infanticide but also had gay marriage, you would say the latter was based on those factors the more just country.

            Those are your views. If having them laid out in front of you makes you butt hurt, maybe you should rethink some of them.

            1. Gay marriage isn’t that high up on my priorities list, but sure imagine what you want.

              I’m not butthurt John. It’s you. It’s always you. I’m just so amused how you and Eddie think that repeating ‘infanticide’ ad infinitum is going to sway or impress anyone. It’s so laughable. Only conservatives could be this lame.

              1. Gay marriage isn’t that high up on my priorities list, but sure imagine what you want.

                Who cares? You still think infanticide and torture are good things and denying gay marriage a bad thing. So, you would still choose a country that gave gay marriage over one that doesn’t even if it meant more torture and infanticide.

                So the point still stands. Again, if you don’t like having your views pointed out, think about changing them.

    2. “there is nothing inherently wrong with torture as long as it is applied humanely”

      Even professional torturers (that’s a thing, right?) don’t think this is possible.

  14. Palin’s Buttplug|10.23.14 @ 11:37AM|#

    No one has decided that, you imbecile.

    Some staffers are having a pedantic debate on it.

    Is “they’re just talking about how to get away with torturing people” really the hill you want to die on?

  15. Seriously, no one? Very well: “Is it safe?”

    1. Obama wants to make torture safe, legal and rare. He promises.

      1. Obama’s problem is that he doesn’t employ enough Nazis in his administration. Sure, he has a record number of fascists, but no German, WWII-era Nazis.

        1. He only has Illinois Nazis in his administration and everyone hates Illinois Nazis, even other Nazis.

          1. That’s where he went wrong. Really, how can a long-time resident of Chicago not be familiar with the deep philosophical truths imparted in The Blues Brothers?

    2. da Weisse Angle!

  16. Of course, the missing context here is the fact that this is a Clinton-Gore policy merely embraced by the next two Presidents. For two decades we’ve been grabbing people, handing them over to governments that torture, collecting a token promise that there won’t be any torture, and then sitting back waiting for the foreign government to tell us what information they extracted by torture.

  17. Release the Kraken!

  18. If you want to clean your house fast and easy, it is a good idea to keep your cleaning tools and supplies within easy reach too. This makes sense because it can dampen your motivation if the desire to clean comes and you have to practically tear up the house for the needed supplies. The thought of cleaning the house is intimidating by itself.

    Make Your Tools Accessible
    ???? ????? ????? ???????

    So the first tip for you is to create a small space in each part of the house for the cleaning supplies. The tools and supplies that you need for the living room, for example, should be kept right there. So are the things that you need for the other parts of the house. This way you’ll always have your supplies right where you need them.

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