Darn right I’m blaming those idiots for this: “The [HuffPo/YouGov] poll showed that 68 percent think there are some circumstances when the government is justified in using torture, including 16 percent who think it’s always justified, 33 percent who think it’s sometimes justified, and 19 percent who think it’s rarely justified. Only 22 percent of Americans think torture is never justified.” Poll here: and via Hot Air. Allahpundit at that last link is glumly surprised that a consensus persists that there’s a time and a place for torture.
There is a remarkable disconnect here. Which is a shame, because otherwise it was a pretty good essay on the way that the moralistic (mostly) Left keeps cheapening the language (not that Michael Moynihan would put it that way).
“It’s a movie! It’s a movie! It’s a movie!” an exasperated Mark Boal told The Times of London last week. Boal is the journalist turned screenwriter behind Zero Dark Thirty , a gripping dramatization of America’s decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden. And unless you have retreated to a cave in Tora Bora, you’ve likely heard that the film’s depiction of torture [he means 'waterboarding' -ML] has engendered so much controversy that it has been denounced by politicians, pundits, and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
[snip of various stuff, eventually ending up on the TV show Girls, and Lena Dunham's circle of friends.]
What is alarming, though, is that the most toxic charge in public life—the accusation of racism—demands a rather low burden of proof, and there are no sanctions to be levied against those who deploy the charge carelessly.
Because if Lena Dunham is racist, then what does one call David Duke?
I dunno, Michael Moynihan – hey! If waterboarding is torture, then what does one call cutting off fingers with a custom-built machine?
I was going to get awesomely cranky about how suddenly Barack Obama is nostalgic about campaigning against that nice John McCain, but then I realized: feeding a man’s narcissism by writing, long involved posts about him helps neither you, nor the narcissist. So in the interests of Obama’s own mental hygiene, let me be brief:
In 2008 the Obama campaign released an ad that mocked John McCain for his inability to send an email – which infuriated people, because the reason why he can’t send an email is because his arms have never really worked properly after the North Vietnamese got done torturing him. When Obama’s Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden dared mildly apologize for it, the Obama campaign humiliated Biden by having their lackey Bill Burton come out and retract Biden’s apology.
This is what passed for ‘civility’ in the 2008 election cycle – but I can understand why Obama would get all misty-eyed about those days. It’s natural for a coward to remember fondly the times when his fights were all with people who wouldn’t – or couldn’t – fight back…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
Daniel Stone of The Daily Beast is being sloppy here…
A new study by the American Red Cross obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast found that a surprising majority—almost 60 percent—of American teenagers thought things like water-boarding or sleep deprivation are sometimes acceptable. More than half also approved of killing captured enemies in cases where the enemy had killed Americans. When asked about the reverse, 41 percent thought it was permissible for American troops to be tortured overseas. In all cases, young people showed themselves to be significantly more in favor of torture than older adults.
…and you can tell by the fact that he didn’t actually directly link to the survey in question. At first glance it’s not exactly obvious why: after all, the question that was asked is potentially even more depressing. The statement that got the 59% approval was: “Torturing captured enemy soldiers or fighters in order to get important military information.” But it’s not entirely… useful to Stone, because the big question in the US government was never “Is it OK to wire up terrorists to car batteries on a regular basis?” That was easily answered with a “No.” The big question was, “Are interrogation techniques like waterboarding and sleep deprivation actually torture?” – an argument that Stone and his ilk clearly think is “Yes.”
Because you never know.
Authors of waterboarding memos won’t be disciplined
Bush administration lawyers who wrote memos that paved the way for waterboarding of terrorism suspects and other harsh interrogation tactics “exercised poor judgment” but will not face discipline for their actions, according to long-awaited Justice Department documents released Friday.
I would have asked Abdul Ghani Baradar whether he thought that this exoneration – which is what this is – had anything to do with the administration’s decision to re-implement Clinton-era tactics of extraordinary rendition, but he could not be reached for comment.
PS: What’s that? You’re from the Left, and you gave money to Democrats because you thought that they would prosecute Yoo and Bybee for doing their jobs? And now you want that money back? Why, how profoundly silly of you. Next, you’ll be telling farmers to give milk back to the cows.
Hey, be personally grateful it’s not ‘give bacon back to the pigs.’
Crossposted to RedState.
This pretty much encapsulates the intellectual, and I use the term extremely loosely, rigor of the antiwar movement when it comes to the GWOT:
How did he do it? It’s a question John Yoo has been getting a lot lately. How did he manage to outwit Jon Stewart? (“He slipped through my fingers,” Stewart recalled after Yoo’s recent appearance on The Daily Show. “It was like interview sand.”) Easy, says Yoo. “I’ve spent my whole career learning to settle down unruly college students who have not done the reading.”
…yes, pretty much. From what I watched of the interview I’d say that Stewart’s mistake was classic: his assumption that of course everyone agreed with his faction that torture was ordered; torture was committed; and that everything that his faction calls ‘torture’ was in fact torture caused him to walk into punch after punch. What made it exceptionally painful (for given values of ‘painful’) was seeing Yoo take pity on Stewart a couple of minutes in and gently start presenting both sides of the core argument of What does the government need to do when faced with deliberate, unconventional attacks on its citizens? That lapse on Stewart’s part is actually a lot more damning than his inability to lay a few zingers on Yoo, but try telling that to his disappointed fanboys.
Mind you, I like Jon Stewart: he was making fun of the President back when it was still secular blasphemy. But a man’s got to know his limitations.
Crossposted to RedState.
I think that Allahpundit is over-analyzing the reasons why support for ‘torture’ is currently polling at 54/41 in favor (God help us all). It looks fairly simple to me: the antiwar movement has spent the last five or six years attempting to equate waterboarding to torture. They even more or less succeeded – but then they made a classic mistake: they assumed that stigmatization would inevitably follow. Their thinking presumably was that if you can define X as Y, and Y is bad, then it becomes inconceivable that people could possibly support X.
Apparently, what happened instead was that they got the American people to define X as Y… and then the American people decided that perhaps this meant that Y wasn’t so bad after all. This answer allows them to keep doing X, which was after all keeping us from losing any more national landmarks and innocent civilians to terrorist attacks. Men not being angels, that’s enough for a justification right then and there.
Mind you, it’s not the waterboarding that’s the problem here: it’s that this strategy also makes it slightly easier for the CIA to feel better about handing over suspected terrorists caught abroad to say, France; who will hand them over to, say, Egypt; who will hand them over to people with car batteries. Which is bad, by the way; but it’s now also easier.
PS: Yes, all of this was incredibly stupid of the antiwar movement – not to mention morally shortsighted of them. Antiwar progressives, remember?
Crossposted to RedState.
Democrats hit back just minutes after Cheney’s interview aired. The Democratic National Committee fired off an e-mail to reporters disputing Cheney’s argument that the CIA records released last week showed the enhanced interrogation techniques under the Bush administration were effective in gathering intelligence about Al Qaeda. The e-mail, which cited various news reports, also accused the former vice president of being a “strong and vocal proponent of torture,” and pointed to polls that show “American’s don’t agree with Cheney on national security.”
Leaving aside for the moment the wanton cruelty done to the English language with that rogue apostrophe – grammar-boarding, perhaps? – I have to ask: will this official accusation by the Democratic National Committee be acted upon, or even officially noticed, by the President of the United States? And if not: well, why not? After all, I assume that he agrees with the accusation – no competent party leader would let his organization go so off-message like this – so you’d think that he’d want to do something about it.
Crossposted to RedState.
Administration officials have stated that they do not plan to suspend the policy of extraordinary rendition but that they will instead introduce stricter measures to prevent torture and will no longer send prisoners to countries with histories of abuse.
Bolding mine, and let me translate: the Obama administration has decided to institute a policy of extraordinary rendition, and it will be more than happy to take advantage of the current fever swamp of speculation, innuendo, and conspiracy theorizing on the topic (ironically, and epically, demonstrated here) to set up via (probably) the Clinton-era rules once more and call it an ‘improvement.’ We – and by ‘we’ I mean ‘career bureaucrats’ – will thus hand off suspects to countries that will be happy to deniably hand them off to countries without our sensibilities, human ‘rights’ groups will pretend that they don’t know this is happening, and the system will quietly reset to the 1990s. Which is not good.
And, of course, the usual suspects on the pro-torture Left will blame everybody for this state of affairs except themselves. They do that.
Crossposted to RedState.
Oh, stop squirming. Having the chip put in doesn’t hurt *that* much.
I’m sorry to have to tell you folks at The Gawker this, but it’s over. You’ve been tagged by the guy from the cow college as Outside the Pale, and you’re not coming back from that.
It’s like this: you were fine with this post, for a given value of fine: you took precisely the line that was expected of you with the Mancow narrative. Right-wing shock-jock gets waterboarded, now thinks it’s torture, yadda yadda and the Online Left cheers while it reaches for the tis… well, I’ll be polite. If you had left it there, nothing further would have gone on. But then you made the mistake of actually deciding that the evidence that this was a publicity stunt was actually worth publicizing. So you got yelled at for it, a little; but you just kept pushing. So now you got yelled at, for real – and it doesn’t matter in the slightest that it’s by a rampaging buffoon who believes that Cheney had secret death squads. Or that you actually agree with him that waterboarding really is torture. Or anything else, at this point. (more…)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) turned down invitations to be on several Sunday morning talk shows and is instead spending the weekend with her family.
The Speaker was invited to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” “Fox News Sunday” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” according to sources at the networks.
Crossposted to RedState.
[Note: Salon defines 'waterboarding' as 'torture' throughout this article. Please calibrate your semantic filters accordingly. - ML]
You might have thought getting torture back in the news would be a bad move for any Republican; after all, it was the Bush administration that authorized the torturing. But the last few days have shown Dick Cheney knew exactly what he was doing when he went on TV last week and started talking about “enhanced interrogation”: It was a masterstroke of bureaucratic warfare.
[snip multiple paragraphs that dance around the fact that Pelosi Knew All Along.]
Cheney, safely ensconced in his McLean, Va., mansion, must be chortling all the way to his cave every night. After three decades in the top levels of U.S. government, he knows better than most how to set his opponents against themselves.
You have to understand that this sort of thing is the product of a certain kind of mindset. Let’s say that you’re a person who has adopted a particular set of beliefs – for whatever reason – that you have come to depend on as being an integral part of why you consider yourself to be a good person. And let’s say that these beliefs have been reinforced and validated by certain outside individuals, through a series of deliberately provocative statements and actions. And let’s finally say that it becomes clear that those people have been lying to you with those statements and actions – and without them, the set of beliefs that you’re relying on now come into serious question. You have two options at this point. The first is to critically examine your beliefs, and be prepared to change them; the second is to find something else that would validate them.