April 25, 2009

Who Defends ‘Torture’?

That is an amazingly easy (and sad) question to answer. And I apologize, by the way for the fact that this blog has become a constant flood of stories on torture. I am just amazed that torture has been turned into a "policy debate" about which reasonable people can disagree. You know, like the difference between a 36% tax rate for the highest earners and a 39% rate. Oh right, even that is considered "tyranny" by the right.

But not torture. Not torture. Watching and reading the blogs it is amazing how many people out there are defending these actions. Here is a partial list. And here, Chris Matthews interviews a Republican congressman who defends torture and further denies that anyone higher up ordered the same kind of atrocities at Abu Ghraib. (Even though retired Maj. General Antonio Taguba says otherwise. But as Yglesias notes, he is clearly some kind of hippy leftist.)

Liz Cheney told Norah O'Donnell that since we developed this program from SERE, and SERE was used on our own people, it cannot be torture. Watch Lawrence O'Donnell's head nearly asplode trying to make sense of such stupidity. (And here is O'Donnel on why Hannity thinks that torture works. Oh, I do love a righteous and well deserved rant!)

As I have said repeatedly, I grew up Republican and evangelical. I cannot tell you how disturbing it is to see those two groups endorsing the techniques of the former Soviet Union as compatible with American (or Christian) values. That is a disconnect that I am not sure I will ever reconcile. Truly astounding. And yet, each day, people from the right go on the media to assure us that, while they might not like those individual techniques, they were employed to make us safe by people acting in good faith. And further, those people should not be prosecuted by any court. They deserve a medal instead.

Sully quotes from AL
...the Republican party has allowed itself to become a party of torture apologists. This is the kind of "analysis" that used to spill forth from the politburos of our communist enemies. It's really rather shocking to me that there aren't more conservatives out there who are embarrassed by this, that movement conservatives are so invested in protecting the reputation of the Bush administration that they're willing sign their names to this kind of morally bankrupt rationalization. It's beyond sad.
It is beyond sad.

OU's own David Boren attended a briefing on our techniques and came away shaken.
Boren, who chaired the Senate intelligence committee from 1987 to 1993 and is now president of the University of Oklahoma, said that attending the briefings was "one of the most deeply disturbing experiences I have had" and that "I wanted to take a bath when I heard it. I was ashamed of it." He said he concluded that "fear was used to justify the use of techniques that violate our values and weaken our intelligence" and that the agency did not prove those methods "are particularly effective at getting the truth."

Sully reminds us that when Bush introduced McCain at the RNC convention, he studiously avoided calling the VN treatment of McCain "torture." After all, if what the Vietnamese did to McCain was torture, then so was what Bush ordered, and Republicans now defend.

And here, a musical version of the torture memos. Chilling.

It is hard to not believe that the Republican party has become completely morally bankrupt. My own party has not shown itself particularly well either, but at least most of my party are not out there defending torture as moral and American. Until the Republican party repudiates torture, they will be the party OF torture.

I am a little sick.


Adrian said...

The Democrats knew full well that the things they now call "torture" were being done, with their approval. Now, in order to divert attention from their own failed policies, they want to make a big deal out of trying to prosecute Republicans for what they were in agreement with. Hypocrites.

Streak said...

Yo Adrian. You can put quotes around it all you want, but it is still torture. Only some Republicans and third world dictators claim otherwise.

And most Democrats didn't approve of this, and Obama was certainly one of those. I have been against torture from day one. And finally, you want to rail against anyone, look at the Republicans lined up to justify and defend techniques honed in Soviet gulags and secret prisons of the Chinese Communists. Your use of "quotes" puts you in some pretty sorry company.

Adrian said...


Your political heroes(Democrats)gave their stamp of approval to the torture that YOU and they now condemn. And I can guarantee that had the Democrats had the White House the last eight years, and the EXACT same things were done, neither the Dems in Congress nor you would have anything to say now. Your complaints, and theirs, are entirely politically motivated. You have no moral objection to torture. You would be delighted if Bush and Cheyney were being tortured RIGHT NOW! So, you can wring your hands in that false "moral outrage" that you're pretending to have, but you aren't fooling anyone.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Adrian, Adrian. Just because you say it's true don't make it so. You're completely inaccurate and now you're claiming to read minds! If it walks like a troll.....

Streak said...

Adrian, you are a tool. If you think there are no moral objections to torture, then you have not been paying attention. What is more, you are, as I noted before, in the company of sadists and tyrants.

I objected to torture from the beginning. As, might I add, most moral people. You obviously missed those particular teachings and probably think you are a moral Christian person.

But rather than spar with someone who defends torture, let me invite you to go join some Republican blog where they laugh at Soviet style torture. BB is right. Trolls need not stick around.

Bye bye.

Streak said...

BTw, troll. You have no idea who my political heroes are, but I know yours. They are despots and tyrants and torturers.

Be gone.

Monk-in-Training said...

This truly is sad. Yes, some Democrats knew and were too cowardly to stand up against the right wing attack machine of Fox News, Rush, Hannity, O'Rielly, et al. They would have been most certainly excoriated had they done so, but I do believe they should have.

I also grew up a conservative and still am a Republican. But I have eyes, and a brain, and torture is something I was proud that MY America did not do. WE did not have gulags, WE did not waterboard, WE were fighting those who did those inhuman things.

Now the Republican party has lost it's way, seduced by the siren song of power that right wing politcos always sing.

Have they not noticed that Ronald Reagan signed the major international treaty AGAINST torture, and said it should be prosecuted whenever it raises it's ugly head?

The Bush Admin was appallingly arrogant and ignorant of what they were doing, and like bullies every where are trying to hide what they did.

The most horrific part of this ghastly affair for me, is that so many Christians (I suppose of the right wing variety but Christians nonetheless) were happy to proceed with this crime, with no apparent reservation.

Lord, have mercy.