The Disgrace Ends

In prior threads I have praised Obama for putting on his big boy pants, trashing all those silly promises he made on the campaign trail, and growing a pair wrt protecting the nation. Say what you will about his lack of economic chops (we certainly have on this blog) but turning into a true blue John Wayne terror warrior, who saw that coming?

We have already chronicled most of his about faces:

1) increased funding for Special Forces
2) Re instituting military tribunals
3) Not abandoning Iraq
4) Gitmo still open for business
5) Continuing with the policies of rendition
6) Surging in Afghanistan
7) indefinite detention
8) Patriot Act and continued surveillance practices
9) the use of drones in killing terrorists

And now, finally, that shameful investigation to prosecute CIA operatives has been brought to an end:

The education of the Obama Administration on antiterror policy has been remarkable to behold, and the latest installment is Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to pull the plug on the investigation into most CIA interrogations. The disgrace is that this probe was ever undertaken.

In 2009, Mr. Holder appointed prosecutor John Durham to look into the possible mistreatment of some 100 detainees by the CIA, with an eye toward possible prosecution. On Thursday, Justice said it would proceed with investigations in two cases where prisoners died in CIA custody, but that any more investigation of the others “is not warranted.”

The Administration might have concluded that from the start if it had listened when seven former CIA directors urged President Obama to stop the probe. Reopening investigations into cases that had already been reviewed by career prosecutors at Justice “creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy” for agents who were operating under the legal guidance of the Bush Administration, the former directors wrote. Then-CIA director Leon Panetta objected on similar grounds.

Not doubt it was the advice of Panetta that finally killed this thing, and none to soon. This was a travesty from the get go, a blatant pandering to the anti war anti Bush crowd of his base. And even though they finally came to their senses, who knows what damage has occurred, operatives in the field saying ,”Screw this, you think I’m going to put my neck on the chopping block? I hear and see nothing”.

The last several CIA director’s have already made clear that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about AQ. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the directors, played a role in nearly every capture of AQ members and associates since 2002. The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by AQ to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States. The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, were all ill conceived political moves that were not well thought out. These folks were acting within the law, they deserve better then what they got.

The probe has still done considerable harm by creating a culture of second-guessing and political retribution that CIA operatives must now consider as they try to protect against terror threats. We’ll never know what actions in the future won’t be taken, because of this culture, that might have saved lives.

You can bet that when Patreaus takes the helm, instilling some confidence and a blanket of security will be first on the agenda. We need these folks to stay vigilant and alert.

Comments are closed.

  1. West Virginia Rebel

    The problem I have with his “Gutsy” moves is that in other ways he’s made Bush look like a piker by comparison. The Left (well, at least the Michael Moore/Bill Maher wing) has been wailing about how he’s turned into Bush on some more realistic matters, when on other things-like overreaching government intrusion, ignoring Congress and the Constitution, corporate cronyism, using federal law enforcement agencies to push political agendas-they’re giving him a pass for things that they would have wanted Bush’s head on a pike if he’d done them.

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  2. CM

    The last several CIA director’s have already made clear that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about AQ. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the directors, played a role in nearly every capture of AQ members and associates since 2002.

    At the risk of a significant amount of abuse from certain quarters, could you please provide a link (or two) to some evidence of this?

    These folks were acting within the law

    I assume you’re meaning just US law?

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  3. Hal_10000

    I second this. The claims made — not by CIA directors, but by former Bush Admin officials covering heir asses — have frequently run aground on facts. The supposed prevention of the LA attack, for example. And the Bush people have admitted that a lot of bogus terror alerts came from torture. In the mean time, we’ve found out that the catching of OBL had almost nothing to do with torture despite perverse claims that KSM denying he knew these guys under torture somehow contributed.

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  4. Section8

    I assume you’re meaning just US law?

    Yes, our barbaric laws, and not those of the beautiful international community laws.

    Steven Chowder has it right.

    Nice.

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  5. Hal_10000

    This is Mark Thiessen, Dick Cheney’s right-hand man and a pathological liar who been caught numerous times spewing falsehoods on this issue. This is like citing Joe Biden to defend Obama’s economic record.

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  6. Hal_10000

    And again, defense by people implicit in torture, making claims that have been completely rejected. OBL was gotten by tradittional intelligence. Do we need to have this debate again?

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/05/john-mccain-waterboarding-torture-did-not-help-hunt-for-osama-bin-laden-.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/exclusive-private-letter-from-cia-chief-undercuts-claim-torture-was-key-to-killing-bin-laden/2011/03/03/AFLFF04G_blog.html

    Rich, I respect the hell out of you, but you’re going to have to do better than former Bush officials defending the policies they crafted.

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  7. Hal_10000

    As for that chowder-head, would he consider it torture to be deprived of sleep, forced to stand, slapped, beaten, slammed into walls, put in stress positions over and over again for weeks? Such that dozens of people died under this treatment?

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  8. hist_ed

    Shit, I hate to wade into this does-torture-work-is-water-boarding-torture-will-john-yoo-burn-in-hell thingy, but can I maybe suggest some middle ground? Maybe, just maybe, we combined a whole pile o’ info from traditional intelligence (by the way, y’all need to come up with another term for it because people have been torturing people to get information for all of human history-it’s a hell of a lot more traditional that phone taps or satellite images) plus a few helpful hints from stuffing a wet rag into a rag head’s head?

    we’ve found out that the catching of OBL had almost nothing to do with torture

    So you admit then that torture had something to do with it?

    despite perverse claims that KSM denying he knew these guys under torture somehow contributed.

    Uhhhh come on HAL, that last bit is a bit beneath your brain power. Let’s say you are a cop in the movie Scarface and you bust low level Cuban criminal. If you ask him about Tony Montana and he starts saying “Oh fuck no, I barely fucking know that fucking Tony Montana. He ain’t fucking involved in fucking drug dealing. No fucking way. Nope not fucking Tony, fuck no.” (Note the authentic Scarface style adjectives). The fact that KSM started denying he knew about this courier guy when we already knew that the courier was part of Al Qaeda was what made us think he was significant. If KSM had said “yeah he with us, he runs guns sometimes” then it wouldn’t have been that big a deal.

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  9. richtaylor365 *

    Aside from the fact that you do not like the author very much, can you point to anything he said that is not factual?

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  10. richtaylor365 *

    As I said before, you are free to believe what you want. I happen to believe George Tenet, Michael Mukasey, Micheal Hayden, Porter Goss, and Leon Panetta .

    As far as debating torture and what acts define torture, we have been down that road before.

    I don’t believe in a zero tolerance world, whether its drugs, kids feeling each other up at a dance, removing the death penalty because we can not administer it perfectly with zero mistakes, or passing up the chance to kill OBL because it is after all, murder, and in this country we don’t condone murder, do we?. Things that many consider absolutes, I don’t, and am willing to have a discussion on why we can’t do this or why we are not doing that. Am I happy that Obama has handcuffed our interrogators by removing all tools at their disposal except for the Army Field Manual? no, I want everything left on the table and for the president to able able to use EIT’s, if he thinks they are warranted. Interestingly, for all the prattle and faux outrage of this administration in condemning the use of EIT’s, Panetta had admitted that even Obama has reserved the right to order water boarding under the ticking time bomb scenario, good for him.

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  11. richtaylor365 *

    For the purposes of being better understood, I don’t think we need to water board every captured terrorist. If we never water board another high level AW player again, that would be fine with me, but I want the president to have the authority to use whatever interrogation techniques he deems necessary, for any possible scenario.

    And it would seem that Congress feels the same way.

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  12. Kimpost

    At least I find your rationale to be honest. Most EIT proponents I have seen on this are not.

    Honesty is saying that : “I want everything to be on the table for the president (for those extreme smoking gun circumstances)”

    An example of the opposite is: “Water boarding is not torture.”

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  13. CM

    Jesus that video was terrible, I’m surprised that you thought it was a good idea posting it. I wonder if he’s made one showing how rape isn’t all that bad either?

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  14. CM

    Problem is, those ‘smoking gun’ circumstances only really happen in ’24’.
    Even then, this argument assumes that you have the right person in custody, it assumes that this person actually has the information you need, it assumes that there isn’t a better way of getting hold of the evidence, and above all it assumes that torture is an effective way of getting that information.

    One of the interesting features of the torture debate is that many in the military and intelligence communities seem decidedly unconvinced about the effectiveness of torture.
    Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent with considerable experience interrogating al-Qaeda operatives, pointed out in Time that:

    When they are in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. That means the information you’re getting is useless.

    A number of former intelligence people have expressed similar views. Even the US Army Training Manual’s section on interrogation, suggests that:

    …the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.

    The fact that members of the GWB administration made claims for the effectiveness of torture that were later proven to be untrue is pretty telling. If it was clearly successful they’d have examples, they wouldn’t have to make shit up.

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  15. Kimpost

    Oh, absolutely. I don’t think that information gathered from torture is reliable, and as far as I have been able to see, most experts agree. But even if it was, it’s still wrong. Its effectiveness really doesn’t matter to me.

    I recall Shepard Smith putting it into plain language on Fox News. “We are Americans, and we don’t fucking torture”.

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  16. AlexInCT

    The problem I have with his “Gutsy” moves is that in other ways he’s made Bush look like a piker by comparison.

    Sorry WVR, but are you really surprised? Demcorats ONLY have problems with presidents of the other party doing things like this for political reasons. It was almost immediatewly obvious to me that the left’s problem with Bush’s wasn’t really anything more that that hehad an (R) next to is name. Obama does it far bigger? well a few token grumblings to pretend they have moral character, but in general they don’t care much that he is doing anything. He could order conservatives rounded up and locked up in work camps and they would cheer him. They are all full of it.

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  17. AlexInCT

    I see the idiotic is in full force yet again on the torture issue. Heh not surprised and my advice to you Rich is to ignore them. The fact that Obama didn’t seem to feel much different and is now killing people with drone stikes so he doesn’t have to deal with prisoners more than makes the point they have no clue what tey are talking about.

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  18. richtaylor365 *

    And yet not only has he admitting that past water boarding has produced actionable intelligence but has reserved the right in the present administration for using it if circumstances warrant.

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  19. richtaylor365 *

    Both of you are forgetting the real purposed of EIT and specifically water boarding.Sure, people will say anything under torture, who wouldn’t? Water boarding was never used to illicit information, it is used to break that person down, to remove his resistance (bring him to that point where his religion says it is OK to sing like a canary). When the process starts they only ask questions they know the answers to, once his will is broken, at that point, actionable intel can be obtained.

    There has been half a dozen sources produced articulating how KSM was not copperative, asked for lawyers, and when interrogated about future attacks only answered, “You will find out”. But after being broken (he reached that point where his religion gave him permission ) he gave everything up.

    I have another officiating gig today (that is why I was gone yesterday) and will be away most of today, but just from the links I already provided, the connected dots are pretty clear, both with offing OBL and preventing the “Second Wave” attacks, they got some good stuff from WB’ing KSM.

    And I think it is significant that this extreme practice was only done of 3 terrorists, not your run of the mill jihadist but only the clear heavy hitters.

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  20. richtaylor365 *

    That is an interesting point, Alex. I don’t have time today but it is true that Obama would rather send them to hell without grabbing them and interrogating them, ignoring past precedent. Considering that rendition is alive and well, if he is so squeamish about letting our guys role up their sleeves, why not send any captured terrorist to SA or Pakistan. I would think it obvious that instead of killing them it is much more humane and more in keeping with European niceties and all that to, after gaining whatever intel you can get, to ship them off to Gitmo where they all get fat on American chow, and have time to play soccer all day, even getting their 5 prayers to Allah, tough life, that Gitmo place.

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  21. AlexInCT

    That is an interesting point, Alex. I don’t have time today but it is true that Obama would rather send them to hell without grabbing them and interrogating them, ignoring past precedent. Considering that rendition is alive and well

    This drone strike policy is a direct consequence of the left painting themselves into a corner over this issue. They carried it to far in their pursuit to demonize, hamstring – so our military would lose the fight and they can play the Vietnam card all over, of all horrible reasons – and “get” Bush. Don’t let them tell you other wise. It’s all moral grandstanding. And now, unable to even hide behind a variant of this that’s far worse – rendition basically is sending people to countries that do real torture so we can pretend we don’t use anything that breaks their resistance down over time – while the media covers for them and the Europeans pretend that since the wet work is done by others your hands are now clean, Team Obama has, counting on nobody pointing out they escalated it to a far higher level, which the LSM will gratefully oblige them on, gone straight to killing the “bad guys”.

    if he is so squeamish about letting our guys role up their sleeves, why not send any captured terrorist to SA or Pakistan. I would think it obvious that instead of killing them it is much more humane and more in keeping with European niceties and all that to

    Keep the distinction Rich. When our guys roll up their sleeves, what they do is engage in things that breaks the enemy’s will to resist, primarily by using soft deprivation tactics, that really do not harm of consequence. The countries we have sent people to in the past, and are send prisoners to these days, all think those tactics these people so malign here are for the cub scouts, and laugh at those that call them torture. They use real torture, and while many do so for the sheer fear factor, they have to be using it because it works too. So, with the myth destroyed and contrary to the campaign of bullshit that these measures don’t ever yield intelligence of value, long disproved by how we got bin Laden to begin with, you would think they would at least shut up by now.

    after gaining whatever intel you can get, to ship them off to Gitmo where they all get fat on American chow, and have time to play soccer all day, even getting their 5 prayers to Allah, tough life, that Gitmo place.

    You have just doubled their anger at you by pointing out not only that Gitmo is still around and that they were played for fools by those claiming that it was so evil they would shut it down immediately upon taking control of power, but that contrary to the bullshit propaganda the thing is a fucking country club. Of course, the reality of how our guys are treated by an enemy without any morals isn’t ever allowed to factor in.

    My advice to these holy rollers is to pick up a fucking rifle and man a damned post in the firing line, then see how long they keep that stick up their ass when they are the ones told to take all the fucking risk while being lectured by a-holes whose biggest risk of the day is something like having the server at the Dunking Donuts put milk instead of soy milk in their fucking lattes.

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  22. AlexInCT

    Oh, absolutely. I don’t think that information gathered from torture is reliable, and as far as I have been able to see, most experts agree.

    Says an amateur that has no clue. If you understand how information gathering works, you would know that intel never comes from one source. You get it from multiple sources then find out if it is valuable or not when more than one confirms it.

    BTW Kimpost you at a minimum might want to stop pointing to those “experts” of yours, considering they where not just obviously but blatantly wrong, because they found bin Laden hidey hole after giving KSM some much needed showers and then confirming the information with a second source.

    If this stuff never worked at all you would figure everyone, even the evil people that like to just torture and murder as a hobby, like this enemy we are fighting does, would eventually just give it up. Yet they don’t. It’s like the argument that the death penalty doesn’t act as a deterent, but I for the life of me can’t find anyone that was put to death that then killed anyone else.

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  23. CM

    Your assumption that international law is ‘beautiful’?
    I have no idea, it’s not something I’d ever considered.

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  24. CM

    Oh, absolutely. I don’t think that information gathered from torture is reliable, and as far as I have been able to see, most experts agree. But even if it was, it’s still wrong. Its effectiveness really doesn’t matter to me.

    I like to come at it from the opposite direction Kimpost. Prove to me that it’s effective, and then we can talk about the significant moral/ethical hurdles.

    The case that it ‘works’ is extremely weak. There are many reasons why it’s not effective.

    Let’s assume that we have the right guy, and that he does in fact know the information that we need. All we need to do is beat it out of him, right?

    Well, no. Suppose I start beating you around the head, demanding that you tell me that Justin Bieber is in fact a supremely talented artist. Eventually, although it may take several days of torture to get there, you’ll tell me what I want to hear, but that doesn’t make it true.

    The second major problem is that human memory just isn’t reliable. Take a bunch of witnesses from any major news event: a bombing, 9/11, a car crash, wherever. The more people you interview, the more different stories you’ll get, because our recall of past events isn’t always very accurate. On top of that, there is a vast body of scientific literature telling us that one way to make a person’s memory even less reliable is to deprive them of sleep, or put them under great stress, or otherwise confuse them. You know, like you do with torture.

    The Intelligence Science Board are entrusted with the task of providing scientific advice to the United States intelligence community. In 2006 they produced their study on ‘Educing Information’, a collection of 11 papers studying various aspects of the science and art of interrogation.

    Listening to the post-9/11 debate over guidelines for the interrogation of terrorist suspects, one could easily conclude that coercive methods are not only effective, but also substantially more effective than non-coercive methods in obtaining actionable intelligence from resistant sources. Even those opposed to the use of coercive methods fail to challenge this premise, exclusively focusing their arguments instead on the legal and moral issues at stake. (p130)

    Those in favour of torture need to show and discuss some evidence that favours the use of torture. In reality:

    The scientific community has never established that coercive interrogation methods are an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence information.(p130)

    In spite of decades of use, and ample opportunity to gather statistics, there just isn’t any scientific evidence beyond a few dubious anecdotes to show that torture works. Torture is an extreme method, and before we even reach the ethical and moral debate over its use, the effectiveness of it must be demonstrated to some reasonable degree. The burden of proof lies with the people who seek to torture.

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  25. CM

    But after being broken (he reached that point where his religion gave him permission ) he gave everything up.

    What did they get?
    There is no indication that these plots were ever more than talk. The one exception is the plan by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker who worked for KSM, who researched the feasibility of bringing down the Brooklyn Bridge with a pair of gas cutters in 2002, an enterprise akin to demolishing the Empire State Building with a firecracker.

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  26. AlexInCT

    The resident ignoramus strikes again.

    You bore me, Alex.

    That’s the best you got? Heh. Pathetic. Like I said: you have no clue about intelligence gathering . Of course, I am not suprised that doesn’t disuade you from acting as if you have clue. As for the boring part, I think what I do is make you mad that you get shown up, but you seem not to even be bright enough to catch on Kimpost

    I like to come at it from the opposite direction Kimpost. Prove to me that it’s effective, and then we can talk about the significant moral/ethical hurdles.

    I thought the fact that bin Laden was bagged based on information gathered by water boarding KSM and then confirming it with a second souce, pretty much proved enhanced interogations worked, but then again, I am not suprised that escaped you CM. What’s your next question to pretend you have anything of value to add going to be?

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  27. CM

    Sorry Alex but that’s just another one of your narratives, put together by cherry-picking what suits and disregarding what doesn’t. As Hal said: we’ve found out that the catching of OBL had almost nothing to do with torture despite perverse claims that KSM denying he knew these guys under torture somehow contributed.

    Proponents of torture need to prove it’s effective. So far they’ve failed miserably. And, as I say, that’s ignoring the ethical/moral issues.

    Alex, can I ask what qualifications or experience give you “a clue” in this area? Just in the interests of full disclosure.

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  28. Seattle Outcast

    I assume you’re meaning just US law?

    What other law would the US give a shit about? The UN does not apply, if that is what you are implying….

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  29. Mississippi Yankee

    In prior threads I have praised Obama for putting on his big boy pants, trashing all those silly promises he made on the campaign trail, and growing a pair wrt protecting the nation. Say what you will about his lack of economic chops (we certainly have on this blog) but turning into a true blue John Wayne terror warrior, who saw that coming?

    Everything you list AND every broken campaign promise was due to political pressure. Period.

    More than a few even occurred during the first two years when his party owned both houses of congress.
    Because of his dithering even Bin Laden’s demise doesn’t bring him out of the (-) minus column. He’s nothing more than a political coward and, as thing go bad for him, a poorly manipulated puppet.

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  30. Kimpost

    International law is just as valid as US law. If you don’t think so, tell your politicians not to sign international agreements.

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  31. CM

    That’s right. International law applies in the US as it does everywhere else. The fact that you don’t like like international law (or like the fact that it applies) is irrelevant. Very clearly international laws were broken with the Iraq invasion, and with torture.

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  32. CM

    a poorly manipulated puppet.

    Who is the puppet-master?
    Let me guess…..
    Jimmy Carter??? Reverend Wright??? Al Gore??? George Clooney???? Bill Ayers???

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  33. Section8

    Very clearly international laws were broken with the Iraq invasion, and with torture.

    Yet you seem to support the Libyan invasion why? Because they’ve now said goody head right in? Bullshit. There is far less reason to be over there, and any excuse to be over there could be matched with the same actions that Saddam had done to justify such an invasion, including slaughtering his own people, or genocide with the Kurds, so if you’re going to say it’s OK now, then you need to grandfather that in, and maybe even apologize to the US for bashing an invasion which would magically be OK by today’s standards. Otherwise, it’s nothing but pure politics, and this ethical and moral bullshit is just a matter of what’s on paper at any given moment rather than right or wrong.

    As a note, I don’t think we should have been in Iraq (you can verify that with past postings here and at MW), and I sure as shit don’t think we should be in Libya..

    As far as international law, come arrest us. The international community will bitch right and left about us being world cop, until it fucking needs something, see Libya for latest example.

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  34. Kimpost

    The Libya action so far has been legal, while Iraq wasn’t. Right or wrong has nothing to do with the question of legality.

    I was for the initial Libya intervention, which also happened to be in compliance with international law. I’m more sceptical to the whole regime change thing, even if I wouldn’t cry if Khadaffi were to end up in The Hague. Actually that would be ideal…

    As far as international law, come arrest us. The international community will bitch right and left about us being world cop, until it fucking needs something, see Libya for latest example.

    Boohoo, cry me a river. If you want out – get out. Stop signing international treaties if you don’t want to accept international law. As for now, international law is US law.

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  35. AlexInCT

    Sorry Alex but that’s just another one of your narratives, put together by cherry-picking what suits and disregarding what doesn’t.

    Narrative? Really? Let me school you cause and have you just ignore it yet again CM. The US LSM might have ingored the story or made excuses for idiots that believe like you, but as the Guardian reported, WikiLeaks showed the intel came from waterboarding KSM. That’s undisputable and only a narrative for tools like you that refuse to deal with facts you don’t like.

    As Hal said: we’ve found out that the catching of OBL had almost nothing to do with torture despite perverse claims that KSM denying he knew these guys under torture somehow contributed.

    You and Hal can keep saying this all you want, but the fact is that “The facts” contradict you both. The LSM ignoring the facts and not reporting it so they don’t have to admit that waterboarding worked, doesn’t change the fact that KSM gave us the intel when he was waterboarded.

    Try your lazy bullshit again. I am sure you will keep pretending you have a valid argument despite the truth or facts, as you do constantly.

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  36. Seattle Outcast

    That’s right. International law applies in the US as it does everywhere else.

    Bullshit, and you know it.

    As for treaties, they have to be signed and then ratified. Treaties also get to be ignored, broken, revised, and generally used to wipe the asses of armies….

    As for now, international law is US law.

    Provide examples of international laws that are binding on the US.

    Nothing the UN puts out qualifies, and the Geneva Conventions have been pretty much shredded in the last decade.

    The world court pretty much only has any authority when someone manages to lose a war and the winners decide to make a spectacle out of them.

    No, “international law” is pretty much a fantasy of the left, otherwise governments would actually behave differently.

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  37. hist_ed

    CM and KIMPOST can you each please answer the following:
    1) Do you think international law is
    A. Whatever you or some other authority says
    B. Obligations that states get from signing treaties and such

    If answer to 1 is A please stop reading-you are a loon and shouldn’t comment any more.

    If answer is B then please cite the treaties that the US violated when they
    A. Invaded Iraq
    B. Tortured insurgent/terrorist/asswipe prisoners.

    Thanks

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  38. Section8

    Boohoo, cry me a river. If you want out – get out. Stop signing international treaties if you don’t want to accept international law. As for now, international law is US law.

    Then stop fucking asking us to get involved in shit if you don’t like cowboy around. Period.

    As far a legality, because the UN says so? What a crock.

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  39. Kimpost

    Of the two I’m obviously going with B.

    The UN Charter (ratified by the United States) clearly stipulates that it is illegal to attack another nation except when authorized by the Security Council or when necessary for self-defense and then only for as long as necessary to get the matter to the Security Council.

    Those conditions were not met. US (and UK) claim that Resolution 1441 gave them that right, but most legal experts would disagree. In fact I think it was blatantly obvious that US and UK knew that 1441 wasn’t enough. They practically admitted to it by pushing hard for a new resolution authorizing military action. Unfortunately those attempts failed and US decided to go to war anyway. Unlawfully.

    Torture is not allowed under US law,nor is it allowed under international law. The Geneva convention forbids it, and so does UNCAT. Both ratified by the US.

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  40. InsipiD

    Exactly. In point of fact, the statement that “The Libya action so far has been legal, while Iraq wasn’t,” is completely wrong by US law. For the Iraq war, Bush and his people made every case to every body, US and international, for what was about to happen. They might not have gotten blessing from every nation, but everybody was informed. Libya was a very quiet US involvement, rapidly escalating into A Big Deal, for which no permission from US Congress or any international body was sought. When the time legally ran out, Obama was perfectly willing to ignore it and, through myriad methods or statements, simply call it good.

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  41. Kimpost

    Then stop fucking asking us to get involved in shit if you don’t like cowboy around. Period.

    I’m not asking for isolationism. On the contrary, I want US to participate, but not necessarily as world police or cowboys.

    As far a legality, because the UN says so? What a crock.

    Not because UN says so, but because international law says so. Law derived from treaties signed by the US.

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  42. Section8

    Ok, because international law says so. On what premise?

    Qaddafi attacked his own? And this is different from Saddam how?

    Because UN involvement began after he invaded another country? Oh wait, only Saddam did that.

    Genocide? No difference between the two.

    Because he violated years of prior resolutions? Oh wait he didn’t get 12 years of resolutions.

    My only question is why is this ok now? What’s changed from 10 years ago that this course of action is now excusable. If the law regarding attacking a sovereign nation has changed then great, but if that’s the case and invasion is now justified for the same damn violations that Saddam was doing then that means the rules during the period of Saddam were the problem, and not the remedy. So why keep harping on it?

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  43. hist_ed

    When the United States Senate ratified UNCAP, it did so with some reservations. It
    accepted the ban on torture, but then hedged considerably on provisions barring “cruel,
    inhuman and degrading” treatment. The treaty itself obviously stipulated that there was
    “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment that did not rise to the level of torture
    otherwise it would not have had separate categories of behavior. In ratifying the “cruel,
    inhuman and degrading” portion of the treaty, the Senate said the following:
    [T]he United States considers itself bound by the obligation … to prevent “cruel, inhuman
    or degrading treatment or punishment,” only insofar as the term “cruel, inhuman or
    degrading treatment or punishment” means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or
    punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the
    Constitution of the United States.

    As a matter of US law, those amendments do not apply to foreigners outside the jurisdiction of US courts.

    One can debate whether or not water boarding amounts to torture or is merely “cruel,
    inhuman and degrading”-the official policy of the United States government was that it
    was not torture. If you argue that water boarding, stress position, sleep deprivation and
    loud Barry Manilow music are all torture, can you provide with a couple of examples of
    “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment that is not torture?

    The Geneva protocols protect the militaries of states. They also offer protection to
    “Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of
    organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict” provided that they
    “fulfill the following conditions:
    (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
    (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
    (c) that of carrying arms openly;
    (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”

    Do you maintain the Al-Qaeda, The Taliban and Mahdi Army and the various other asswipes we have been fighting adhere to all these conditions?
    If not then they are not covered by the Geneva Conventions.

    Can you please cite what provision of the UN Charter can be interpreted to make the US invasion of Iraq illegal?

    The formatting of all this is really screwed up. Not sure why. Anyone have any ideas?

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  44. CM

    Ok, because international law says so. On what premise?

    UN Resolution 1973. The resolution formed the legal basis for military intervention in the Libyan civil war, demanding “an immediate ceasefire” and authorizing the international community to establish a no-fly zone and to use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians.

    If we back up a bit……following the genocide in Rwanda and the international community’s failure to intervene, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the question: when does the international community intervene for the sake of protecting populations? As a result, and since the Iraq invasion, we’ve seen the implementation of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ norm.

    Qaddafi attacked his own? And this is different from Saddam how?

    Intervention is an extraordinary measure and usually can only be justified as a defensive move. Self-defence from a country, or protecting civilians from immediate harm. Although Saddam was a insane murderous dicatator there was no evidence he was in the middle of committing atrocities when the US wanted to invade. And anyway the US wasn’t trying to sell that as the basis for the invasion.

    Because UN involvement began after he invaded another country? Oh wait, only Saddam did that.

    Imminent threat.

    Genocide? No difference between the two.

    Big difference in terms of being able to stop it.

    Because he violated years of prior resolutions? Oh wait he didn’t get 12 years of resolutions.

    Not relevant.

    My only question is why is this ok now? What’s changed from 10 years ago that this course of action is now excusable. If the law regarding attacking a sovereign nation has changed then great, but if that’s the case and invasion is now justified for the same damn violations that Saddam was doing then that means the rules during the period of Saddam were the problem, and not the remedy. So why keep harping on it?

    As above:
    (1) The situations are not the same.
    (2) A UN resolution authorising action was passed.
    (3) The legal framework/norm is now different.

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  45. CM

    In point of fact, the statement that “The Libya action so far has been legal, while Iraq wasn’t,” is completely wrong by US law. For the Iraq war, Bush and his people made every case to every body, US and international, for what was about to happen. They might not have gotten blessing from every nation, but everybody was informed.

    Telling everyone that you’re going to rob a bank doesn’t legitimise the robbing of the bank. Bush etc failed to make the case, and then gave up trying and did what they wanted to do anyway.
    Why is it “completely wrong by US law”? Which law?

    Libya was a very quiet US involvement, rapidly escalating into A Big Deal, for which no permission from US Congress or any international body was sought. When the time legally ran out, Obama was perfectly willing to ignore it and, through myriad methods or statements, simply call it good.

    Permission was sought at the Security Council at the UN (the relevant international body) and granted. Sure, he may have domestic legal issues but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

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  46. Kimpost

    As a matter of US law, those amendments do not apply to foreigners outside the jurisdiction of US courts.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the reason for the US mentioning the 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments, was to exempt non-US citizens from protections against ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’? That would be absurd.

    It was no such thing. It was a clarification to keep the convention (as far as definitions go) in sync with the US constitution (and your judiciary definitions).

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  47. InsipiD

    Are you unfamiliar with the UN security council resolutions re: Iraq that led to the war? We aren’t talking about robbing banks, what we’re talking about is more like “he’s going to rob a bank, and if none of you is going to stop him, I will.” Then we get grief for enforcing that? Bitch, please.

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  48. CM

    Yes I’m very familiar with the resolutions. The ONLY reason 1441 was agreed to was because it DIDN’T authorise an invasion. There was no invasion resolution to ‘enforce’.

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  49. Kimpost

    Can you please cite what provision of the UN Charter can be interpreted to make the US invasion of Iraq illegal?

    Chapter VII – Article 39-42

    The articles clearly state how the Security Council alone determines how to enforce its resolutions. It’s not for individual nations to decide. Especially since Russia, China and France openly expressed that 1441 did not authorize the use of force.

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  50. Kimpost

    The formatting of all this is really screwed up. Not sure why. Anyone have any ideas?

    Did you cut and past much? That can screw with paragraphs and line breaks.

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  51. CM

    The Guardian? You mean the Daily Telegraph?
    Where in your link does it say that the intel required to kill OBL came from waterboarding KSM? It says no such thing.

    In fact elsewhere it says:

    Mohammed did not reveal the names while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He identified them many months later under standard interrogation, they said

    Water-boarding may even have slowed the release of useful information.

    Reports are all over the place on this.
    He was waterboarded 183 times in a single month, despite comments that he cracked after the first one and a half minutes (Mohammed, he claimed, “didn’t resist. He sang right away. He cracked real quick.”) So why was he waterboarded every 4 hours for a whole month if he’d already cracked the first time they did it?
    KSM admitted to everything under the sun, including beheading Daniel Pearl (which then gave Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh instant grounds for appeal). He produced lots of useless, counter-productive intelligence. He basically admitted to all other al Qaeda terror strikes (crimes he almost certainly did not commit). I’ve also seen accounts that all the useful information was produced before they started to torture him.

    Yours is a narrative because, in support of personal policy preferences, facts appear to be wholly optional. Lack of facts can also be highly probative. For example: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was water-boarded 183 times in 2003, lied about knowing Bin Laden’s courier, as did Abu Faraj al-Libi, who was interrogated in 2005. They offered no useful information. Yet torture advocates now say that because both men denied knowing the courier—thus tipping off the CIA that he must be someone important—torture must work. Got it? Torture works when the prisoners disclose information, but it also works when they don’t. It’s win-win!

    The best we can say is that torture may have played some very small part in a vast tangle of intelligence and surveillance and patient detective work, all of which is unproven and – more important – impossible to disprove.

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  52. Section8

    I’ll ask one last time, and then I’m done with this. I’m not going to waste time with the UN said it was ok because it’s cool to do so this time around.
    I’m talking the reasoning to back it up, and the new morality.

    For these two items

    (2) A UN resolution authorising action was passed.
    (3) The legal framework/norm is now different.

    I don’t give a shit the UN passed a resolution which by the way there is never any consistency in enforcement. I want to know why it’s ok now and was not ok 8years ago.
    If 8 years ago, such action was a racist quest for oil, then it’s no different now from a moral standpoint.

    For item 1, they aren’t exactly alike. In fact if anything, there would have been a better reason to go into Iraq.

    1) Libya did not invade anyone unlike Iraq, which left a hanging cease fire that was repeatedly broken by Iraq, and that alone is justification. If you have a cease fire agreement and then break the rules the cease fire is over. At least that’s how we look at it here in the US. If you don’t like it write your politicians and request New Zealand bankroll this shit from here on out
    2) Qaddafi was trying to stop himself from being overthrown
    3) Saddam was a murderous asshole, yet did not get any arrest warrant like Qaddafi has
    4) Other recent atrocities have taken place in nations such as Syria, and jack shit hasn’t been done

    You’ve posted this link before regarding responsiblity to protect, and I asked some questions back then and never got the answer

    For this rule to work, these must apply:

    Just Cause
    Right Intention
    Final Resort
    Legitimate Authority
    Proportional Means
    Reasonable Prospect

    How do we know this is the right intention? What do you know about the rebels to say it won’t be worse under their rule?
    How could this possibly be the final resort in a civil conflict? No sanctions, multiple warnings, etc?
    How is bombing the shit out of them proprotional means when similar attrocites have taken place in Syria recently and no action taken?
    Far more have died in the Mexican drug wars, which the country cannot seem to be able to stop, which under this rule (see principle 3 in your link) should have the UN going in, so why the cherry picking of who gets help? If you want to call it help.

    It’s political nonsense, and it’s funny the fucking French who were so opposed to Iraq after their numerous violations of a cease fire agreement were the ones spearheading this Libyan invasion over a civil conflict. One can only wonder why.

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  53. CM

    I’m not wasting my time on this if you’re already ‘done’ with it. If you actually want to discuss these issues, fine. If not, don’t pretend you do and waste people’s time.

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  54. Section8

    I had a condition of being ‘done’ with it, and it was clearly stated. Don’t play fucking stupid with me, it’s getting old.

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  55. Kimpost

    I’m not going to waste time with the UN said it was ok because it’s cool to do so this time around.
    I’m talking the reasoning to back it up, and the new morality.

    I don’t think that you’ve got a right to be upset because we have been discussing the legal aspects of Iraq, Libya and torture. It was brought up, so it was discussed. You’ve even addressed the issues yourself, and you continue to do so in this comment (further down).

    I’m fine with broadening the issue to include morality. I’ve already touched on it by suggesting how I feel about the Libyan intervention. Here’s what I said.

    I was for the initial Libya intervention, which also happened to be in compliance with international law. I’m more sceptical to the whole regime change thing[…]

    Back to you.

    If 8 years ago, such action was a racist quest for oil, then it’s no different now from a moral standpoint.

    The major difference is that Iraq never was a humanitarian effort. Libya was initially about stopping an immediate (not one that happened a decade before) slaughter. Which is part of the reason the Security Council actually signed off on it, and why the Arab League backed the action.

    It has now turned into regime change, which makes it morally much more problematic for me.

    If the world community indeed is going to start liberating people at random, then we’ll end up in discussions like the one you’re having. “Who are deserving, and why them and not others?” Difficult questions to answer, which strengthens my belief that military interventions should be kept to a minimum. And they should be reserved for actions that can succeed. Stopping Khadaffi was doable (important in the real world), was morally right and had the backing of the international community which made it lawful. What’s next, is something for the international community to decide on, preferably with the interest of the Libyan people in mind. If regime change is what’s going to happen (and it appears as if it is), then we have also taken it upon ourselves to see to it that the following regime is better than the previous one. We have essentially turned this into another nation building project, which means that we are morally obligated to see things through.

    1) Libya did not invade anyone unlike Iraq, which left a hanging cease fire that was repeatedly broken by Iraq, and that alone is justification. If you have a cease fire agreement and then break the rules the cease fire is over. At least that’s how we look at it here in the US.

    Back to legality again? It’s not for individual countries to decide whether a cease fire breach is sufficient grounds for a retaliatory invasion. A UN operation needs UN authorisation.

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  56. sahrab

    Not according to our Constitution.

    While Senators and Congressmen may sign onto International agreements BUT (this is important) that is not the same as saying Internation Law is recognized by US Law.

    One does not automatically beget the other.

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  57. richtaylor365 *

    Section8 was reasonable in his “condition”, essentially saying ,”Look, this topic has pretty much run it’s course, if you care to focus in this specific part, then I am willing to engage further, if not, with all the other stuff we are rehashing and I’m moving on”, seems fair to me, no need for snark.

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  58. Kimpost

    […]that is not the same as saying Internation Law is recognized by US Law

    I think it is, but I get what you are saying. International Law is a topic in itself, with all its nuances and variations depending on type and society.

    But in this discussion all that would be semantics. International Law, regardless of how a country has chosen to implement it, is still de facto recognized.

    That even includes laws that might be domestically unconstitutional. If a country, say US, has signed on to a treaty, which demands something that you can’t fulfil because of domestic law, then you’ll still be viable for breaches.

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  59. richtaylor365 *

    Kimpost, just so I understand your position, what makes an illegal action legal is the consensus behind it? As long as I can get some of my friends on my side and back me, I can call any action legal? If I got a beef with a neighbor and I can convince some of my other neighbors on the reasonableness of my position and they agree with me, then now I have legality on my side and I can take action against the offending neighbor, it that right?

    You sure are willing to put much faith and credence into an organization (the UN) that is not only corrupt and self serving, but it anti Semitic, and makes a mockery of anything resembling justice or authority by putting the worst of human rights abusers on the Human Rights Council.

    You brought up the Responsibility To Protect norm, that is quite a laundry list of conditions, enforcing that fairly and equitably would put us in about 15 different places around the world. Genocide Intervention lists at least a half dozens spots right now that meet your criteria, why are we not in any of those spots? Obama gave as the primary motivation for action that the indigenous peoples must be protected, why did he not use this yardstick for the same type of response in Iran, when then the ruling party was murdering it’s indigenous peoples? Of all the madmen in all the world, why Gaddafi and not Ahmadinejad? Gaddafi gave up his weapons of mass destruction program. Ahmadinejad has been pursuing catastrophic nuclear weapons for several years now. How about North Korea? can’t systematic starvation on a massive scale be considered genocide? Maybe another condition of “legality” in interfering in these matters should be a consideration of time and effort needed, if it’s a small job like Libya then we can congratulate ourselves on how noble and magnanimous we are, but anything large and difficult, we will just turn a blind eye. Yet, Libya which was suppose to be a limited (both in time and sorties) mission, is turning into anything but. We are still doing bombing missions in Tripoli (and still killing innocent civilians in the process), Gaddafi is still shelling rebel towns, and the regime change effort has turned into wishful thinking that it will just implode on it’s own. And the US military is still engaged in an action that wastes money and drains resources.

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  60. Kimpost

    The legality comes from the letter of the law (or spirit, they are interchangeable in this reply), not from consensus. Now, if the letter of the law demands consensus (for instance from within the Security Council), then consensus it is – but that’s still only a consequence from the letter of the law.

    Why help Libya but not others? How about convenience? As ugly as it is, it’s how reality works. I wish it was different, and hopefully things will get better in that regard – some day.

    As the law is written today the potency (or lack thereof) of the UN is decided by the Security Council. I don’t think a single permanent member there would be willing to sacrifice its veto power, even if that surely would lead to more action.

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  61. AlexInCT

    I see that when the usual people could not defend the idiotic argument that enhanced interrogations don’t work, that they dragged the whole thing into a debate about international law. International law is a joke. It is a false front set up by the people that want to be the new power brokers to basically undermine primarily the US and people tat actually want to be free of this sort of oppression. Just look at how it is enforced or grumbled about by people that always find fault with the US but then defend the greatest scumbags around, whom do far worse, and do so without an ounce of shame. CM for example equates our actions in Iraq with a bank robbery, while defending the actions in Libya, a war being fought so the Europeans can keep forcing Gaddafi to sell them oil cheap instead of doing what everyone else in Africa is doing, and selling it to China, as just fine.

    Seriously, international law is about as useful as the constitution of the USSR or North Korea was to their people. Anyone arguing otherwise, is either a delusional nutcase, likely a collectivist one world government lover as well, or one of the profiteers that hopes to gain from this sham. When I see these internationalists start demanding the arrest and tail of the Syrian, Iranian, North Korean, and a slew of other butchers, instead of their usual anguish directed at solely at the US and Israel, I might reconsider that they aren’t as useless as the UN.

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  62. Kimpost

    …idiotic argument

    …dragged the debate into a debate about international law

    International Law is a joke

    It [international law] is a false front to undermine US

    …is either a delusional nutcase

    …likely a collectivist one world government lover

    …useless as the UN

    Colourful as ever, constructive as never.

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  63. hist_ed

    KIMPOST you said:

    It has now turned into regime change, which makes it morally much more problematic for me.

    I am curious about why you think it is moral to blast away and slaughter hundreds (thousands?) of consript soldiers who will likely be killed by their government if they don’t obey orders but immoral to remove the one man who is ordering all this when his removal would likely end the conflict and save loads of lives.

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  64. hist_ed

    While Senators and Congressmen may sign onto International agreements BUT (this is important) that is not the same as saying Internation Law is recognized by US Law.

    Sorry dude, but that is not quite true. International treaties that are ratified by the US are, after the Consitution, the highest law in the land.

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  65. hist_ed

    Are you seriously suggesting that the reason for the US mentioning the 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments, was to exempt non-US citizens from protections against ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’? That would be absurd.

    Their intention was to make sure that run of the mill police brutality cases didn’t get made into international problems. I am sure that you have heard on unintended consequences regarding laws, treaties and such. They may not have intended to cover the situation that we are discussing, but clearly they did.

    Since you did not mention the Geneva Conventions, may I take it that you have conceded my point regarding them?

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  66. sahrab

    No re-read what i wrote

    While Senators and Congressmen may sign onto International agreements BUT (this is important) that is not the same as saying Internation Law is recognized by US Law.

    International treaties that are ratified by the US are recognized.

    As you stated those that are ratified by the US.

    But, and this is the important part, just being International Law does not gain them acceptance in the United States.

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  67. hist_ed

    Regarding the legality of the Iraq invasion (I didn’t want to copy your entire pos KIMPOST-this thread is getting messy enough):

    First, the word “alone” does not appear in the text you referenced. Several other statments undermine that premise (that the security council’s authority does not

    impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs

    Second: Another poster mentioned that Iraq was already in violation of its agreements negotiated at the end of the first Gulf War. Just like contact law, one party to a treaty is not obligated to continue with its provisions if the other party doesn’t fullfill its obligations. This principle goes back millenia. For example, when Germany remilitarized the Rhineline, it would have been legal, under the treaty ending World War One, for France and Britain to immeidately invade Germany.

    Iraq agree to allow weapons inspections and a host of other stuff. We agreed to stop bombing the shit out of them. They didn’t hold up their end of the bargain so we were justified in dropping ours.

    The UN provisions are a little odd. As I read it, the right of self defense exists until the security council weighs in. So if Russia invaded Poland and then immediately referred it to the Security Council (where they could block any action) US support of Poland would be against international law.

    It also refers to member states. Let’s say Italy attacked Switzerland in 1990 (before the Swiss joined the UN). According to the UN and defense offerend by memeber states would be against internation law?

    Really, of course, states abide by international law when it is in their interests and ignore it when that is in their interests.

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  68. hist_ed

    Got it. I guess I was assuming that everyone understood that the US was not bound by treaties it had not ratified. “International law” meaning stuff we had signed.

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  69. Kimpost

    @hist_ed

    You’re right in that this thread has become messy. Too messy perhaps, and I don’t think we’ll get much further, but I’ll address your points in this post anyway.

    I am curious about why you think it is moral to blast away and slaughter hundreds (thousands?) of consript soldiers who will likely be killed by their government if they don’t obey orders but immoral to remove the one man who is ordering all this when his removal would likely end the conflict and save loads of lives.

    Put it like that and I would agree with you. However, things are rarely as black and white as you suggested, and I don’t think they are so here. We don’t know the outcome of our choices beforehand. What we do know is that there was an immediate threat of slaughter, one that the international community had the ability to stop.

    If that could have been achieved with a surgical strike on Khadaffi, then I probably would have been OK with that too. However, since they didn’t go that route, my guess is that it wasn’t a viable option. I mean, it’s not like they are trying to save the guy.

    Military intervention is a bitch. Avoid as far as possible, would be my advice. Try to keep them legal if avoiding them isn’t a viable option. Stopping the slaughter was right, in my opinion. Nation building might not be, I don’t know. History will probably tell us.

    Their intention was to make sure that run of the mill police brutality cases didn’t get made into international problems. I am sure that you have heard on unintended consequences regarding laws, treaties and such. They may not have intended to cover the situation that we are discussing, but clearly they did.

    It is clear only if you accept that interpretation. I don’t, and I to be honest I haven’t seen the argument before. Has the US really raised legal concerns based on it?

    Since you did not mention the Geneva Conventions, may I take it that you have conceded my point regarding them?

    Not quite. I mostly left it out because we are leaving walls of text behind us. I’ll concede that the Geneva Convention has holes in it. Terrorists are (sometimes) operating in a grey area, somewhere between civilians and soldiers, making it difficult to establish which protections they should have. Legal scholars are debating the issue, but few accept that they are without rights. For instance it needs to be established whether they are enemy combatants at all or if they were just in the wrong place at the wrong moment. The tribunals set up to do that doesn’t seem to have the best track record. I don’t think that “better safe than sorry” in favour of the accuser, is an acceptable judicial principle.

    Iraq

    The intervention was not self-defence. It was a grand scale pre-emptive war, aiming towards stopping Saddam (and his stock piles of WMD’s) as a future threat to US interests. The breaches you are talking about weren’t enough for an invasion. Most legal analysts agree on that. I’d say that the US administration also agreed, otherwise they wouldn’t have tried to pass another resolution. When they failed, they decided to do it anyway, knowing that their legal standing was weak.

    As for the rest of it, you’ re pointing at some problematic aspects of International Law. The Security Council has permanent members with veto powers, which ultimately leads to consensus-right. I don’t like that. I would like to see the veto removed. But would anyone of the permanent members accept that? Would you?

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  70. hist_ed

    You’re right in that this thread has become messy. Too messy perhaps, and I don’t think we’ll get much further, but I’ll address your points in this post anyway.

    I’m game as long as you are. I bet we could even do this without once calling each other names or questioning each others’ motives. brace yourself for a long post . . .

    Put it like that and I would agree with you. However, things are rarely as black and white as you suggested, and I don’t think they are so here. We don’t know the outcome of our choices beforehand. What we do know is that there was an immediate threat of slaughter, one that the international community had the ability to stop.

    If that could have been achieved with a surgical strike on Khadaffi, then I probably would have been OK with that too. However, since they didn’t go that route, my guess is that it wasn’t a viable option. I mean, it’s not like they are trying to save the guy.

    But we are now slaughtering merrily away-just different Libyans. And those Libyans are killing our Libyans who are killing other Libyians (apparently expecially non-Muslim non-Arabs). And this may well continue for a long time. Short of NATO deciding we’ve had enough and pulling out or invading that is.

    Killing Khadaffi might have set off a long civil war (just like we have now). Or another strongman or junta might have come together to take control (with a couple of important object lessons about behavior). If the former, we would be right where we are now, only without Khaddaffi and thus more likely to get some sort of settlement. The latter just might have meant the new bastard cuts a deal to consolidate his rule without slaughtering thousands.

    Military intervention is a bitch. Avoid as far as possible, would be my advice. Try to keep them legal if avoiding them isn’t a viable option.

    Yup, that’s why throwing bombs about willy nilly to try to protect poor benighted third worlders in country A whilst ingoring the plight of poor benighted third worlders in countries B through F and actually giving guns and money to governments slaughtering poor benighted third worlders in countries G H and I is absurd. Let the poor benighted third worlders work it out themselves-as long as they don’t attack me and mine (which, Khaddaffi has stopped doing a whiel ago).

    And again regarding legalities: Imagine Dirt-Pooristan decides to slaughter thousands of its own people. Imagine that intervention is militarily possible-even easy, but, for some reason, contravenes international law. Would you be in favor of such an intervention? Or would the the legalism be paramount?

    It is clear only if you accept that interpretation. I don’t, and I to be honest I haven’t seen the argument before.

    How else can you interpret that very plain statement? The Senate said, we accept this only if we define cruel and unusual as those behavior limited by those three amendments to the US Constitution (note that they didn’t even stretch it to the rest of the Consitution). Foreigners living abroad are not subject to those protections. It is very simple, isn’t it? Again, how can you interpret it any other way?

    Has the US really raised legal concerns based on it?

    As far as I know, we haven’t-in what forum would we?

    I’ll concede that the Geneva Convention has holes in it. Terrorists are (sometimes) operating in a grey area, somewhere between civilians and soldiers, making it difficult to establish which protections they should have.

    Those holes were by design. Years of war movies have conditioned many to think of the Geneva Conventions as some sort of secular Bible-divinely inspired pages of good that should cover everything. They weren’t. The Geneva Conventions were a creation of the Great Powers acting in their own interests. They weren’t trying to set the standard for holy writ of peace love and happiness, they were trying to protect their soldiers and the citizens in time of war. Note that signatories get those protections without having to follow any of the rules that insurgents must. Insurgents hide in the civilian population. This makes them harder to kill. If you can get them to not hide it is easier to kill them. It also make it less likely that you will kill civilians. Again, these provision do not exist to protect insurgents they exist to protect the soldiers hunting them and the civilians around them.

    The intervention was not self-defence.

    I wasn’t saying that it was. I was, alas, forgetting that you put the self defense qualifier in your original statement about the security council while trying to make the point that the UN Charter recognizes that not all legal military actions have to be authorized by the securituy council.

    But would anyone of the permanent members accept that? Would you?

    For them, no, For me, all but one.

    If it were up to me, I would scrap the whole place. It has done little good and much harm.

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  71. Kimpost

    I bet we could even do this without once calling each other names or questioning each others’ motives.

    Interesting concept, assho… ;)

    Yup, that’s why throwing bombs about willy nilly to try to protect poor benighted third worlders in country A whilst ingoring the plight of poor benighted third worlders in countries B through F and actually giving guns and money to governments slaughtering poor benighted third worlders in countries G H and I is absurd. Let the poor benighted third worlders work it out themselves-as long as they don’t attack me and mine (which, Khaddaffi has stopped doing a whiel ago).

    And again regarding legalities: Imagine Dirt-Pooristan decides to slaughter thousands of its own people. Imagine that intervention is militarily possible-even easy, but, for some reason, contravenes international law. Would you be in favor of such an intervention? Or would the the legalism be paramount?

    I would be in favour of an intervention, but I would prefer it to be legal. I’m not a legal absolutist, though. Hiding Jews from Nazi’s was morally right. Perhaps I would find a Dirt-Pooristan situation equally pressing, I don’t know.

    In any case I think that I prefer your foreign policy over the neo-conservative one that has dominated US politics the last couple of decades. War has been a bit too appealing for US administrations lately.

    How else can you interpret that very plain statement? The Senate said, we accept this only if we define cruel and unusual as those behavior limited by those three amendments to the US Constitution (note that they didn’t even stretch it to the rest of the Consitution). Foreigners living abroad are not subject to those protections. It is very simple, isn’t it? Again, how can you interpret it any other way?

    I interpret the statement as meaning that they want to use US definitions of cruel and unusual behaviour, not that they want to limit those to US nationals. That would, in my opinion, be absurd, seeing that they were drawing up an international treaty. And again, I haven’t seen this argument before. I’m thinking that I probably would, if it was commonplace, and certainly if it was official.

    As far as I know, we haven’t-in what forum would we?

    With the General Assembly perhaps.

    Those holes were by design. The Geneva Conventions were a creation of the Great Powers acting in their own interests. Again, these provision do not exist to protect insurgents they exist to protect the soldiers hunting them and the civilians around them.

    I’m not suggesting that the Geneva Conventions were manifests of love. I am however suggesting that one of the reason for the terrorist gap, was because they couldn’t fathom endless wars against stateless enemies. It just wasn’t an issue at the time.

    In recent times even US courts have awarded some Article III protections for enemy combatants.

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  72. CM

    I see that when the usual people could not defend the idiotic argument that enhanced interrogations don’t work

    It was more than defended. Open your eyes Alex.

    Just look at how it is enforced or grumbled about by people that always find fault with the US but then defend the greatest scumbags around, whom do far worse, and do so without an ounce of shame..

    Where did I defend “the greatest scumbags around”?
    Stop making shit up Alex, it’s getting really old. You are older than 10 right? Right?

    CM for example equates our actions in Iraq with a bank robbery, while defending the actions in Libya, a war being fought so the Europeans can keep forcing Gaddafi to sell them oil cheap instead of doing what everyone else in Africa is doing, and selling it to China, as just fine.

    I did no such thing. And you’ve yet to provide any evidence whatsoever for your oil conspiracy, let alone proven it.

    Your false front is that you pretend what you say has any meaning or makes any sense. You make things up and you pretend that facts are in evidence when they’re clearly not.

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  73. hist_ed

    Interesting concept, assho… ;)

    Awesome, thanks. That’s two amazing laughs from this site in a weeks (the other was when CM said that Obama wants to reduce spending).

    It just wasn’t an issue at the time.

    Uhhh the last update the US signed was in 1949-the non state movement stuff was added then. The world has jsut seen Yugoslavia explode with various pro and anti Nazi partisans. Then came the Greek Civil War. 1949 was the year the Chinese commies took over. A few Third World wars for liberation were just heating up too. It was an issue, in kind of a big way.

    With the General Assembly perhaps.

    Have there been any GA efforts regarding US Prisoner treatment? I haven’t really paid attention.

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