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Obama administration launches criminal probe into CIA interrogation tactics

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[newly declassified revelations of CIA tactics including threats to kill one suspect’s children and to force another to watch his mother sexually assaulted.] --- I blame the writers of 24.

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It's a shame our intelligence agencies are going to have to pay for the public pushing back on health care and humiliating Obama,and it's very risky over the long run,but I can see why the president's advisers instruct Attorney General Holder to revive controversy they can tie to bush.

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Obama's strategy: Change the subject. Have the attorney general launch an investigation of American CIA agents who extracted vital information from murderous, villainous, despicable terrorists just to get his failures in handling the U.S. economy and the U.S. healthcare reform bills off the front page.

Change we can believe in.

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I've heard for years how John McCain was abused and tortured while in a North Viet Cong POW camp. But we talk as if it's okay to torture others.

It's not just the ones that tell their stories of torture, it's the ones that were killed during interregations that can't tell their stories. < :-)

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Sure, harrass those who have prevented the terrorists from launching any more devastating attacks on us. Sheesh.

The Obama administration doesn't understand this one basic fact - these terrorists don't play by our rules - if they're not stopped, they'll torture and kill us all.

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Sarge, the interrogations never gave the interrogators squat. < :-)

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adaydream, are you sure?

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Says this in the article adaydream:

One CIA operative interviewed for the report said the program thwarted al-Qaida plots to attack the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, derail trains, blow up gas stations and cut the suspension line of a bridge.

Believe it or not. I am actually leaning towards believing it.

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What will change? Probably nothing.

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I've heard for years how John McCain was abused and tortured while in a North Viet Cong POW camp. But we talk as if it's okay to torture others." Well, let's compare, I believe McCain was hurt pretty bad that to this day he still has problems and he was hurt in a dirty jail cell with no doctor in sight and was left. Now, I am not sure if he was just a wimp or if they really did damage him, but I do know others who were mere enlisted, privates at that, who were tortured and again with no doctor in sight, bones were broken, they were cut open. Now, let's talk about how bad Gitmo really is.

It's not just the ones that tell their stories of torture, it's the ones that were killed during interregations that can't tell their stories." Yeah, like Daniel Perle.

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Though the info acquired via torture is questionable, the torture path is BAD. Other countries in the past used it, and it is detrimental in the mid and long term, but accepted in the short term. Torture endangers its citizens and official personnel, stiffens resistance to the point of "do or die". Minor conflicts become more intense, emotional. Tit for tat leads to higher levels of intensity. It was wise that the Founding Fathers of the US Constitution specifically wrote against "gruel and inhumane punishments". It is a road leading to nowhere.

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Correction:

"cruel and inhumane punishments".

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As long as Nancy Pe-nocchio gets frog-marched out of the Senate in handcuffs for her involvement in OK'ing what the CIA did, then investigate away.

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Apec, I'd agree with you if we were dealing with another government or central body. Not so much with Al Queda and terrorists who already have decided that it's "do or die." Dealing with terrorists and dealing with another nation are completely different. That's what everyone is struggling with right now. We set a list of rules based on a different type of enemy.

skipthesong: Well, let's compare, I believe McCain was hurt pretty bad that to this day he still has problems and he was hurt in a dirty jail cell with no doctor in sight and was left.

I'm sure if McCain were offered what he went through vs. the torture described in this article, he'd choose the latter any day of the week.

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And what is Obama going to do if they don't cooperate in this investigation...torture them???

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Well, let's compare, I believe McCain was hurt pretty bad that to this day he still has problems

Let's compare that to the dead POWs that were interrogated by the CIA. They are dead.

There's your comparison. < :-)

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There is really going to be a lot of investigations when the liberal NY Times begins outing more CIA undercover officers. Somehow I don't think the Left will care so much about who outed them as Armitages' outing of Valerie Plame. I agree that we should investigate Pelosi's involvement in sanctioning "torture" and that she should be frogged marched out of Congress straight to a prison cell on Alcatraz island.

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Let's compare that to the dead POWs that were interrogated by the CIA. They are dead." What Gitmo POW was killed by the CIA and just how do you know that?

does anyone know of a true, unbiased list that tells us what detainees went through? Some of the allegations I would hardly call torture

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"Justice for all."

A concept totally lost on the fringe elements of the right. My boy has already started the conspiracy theories that its a smoke screen.

The STILL just cannot get over the election. We've hit whine. The next question is when those stomping feet and sour grapes turn to wine.

Taka

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Wolfpack,

I'll see your pelosi and raise you a bush, cheney, rumsfeld, yoo and wolfowitz.

I'm pretty confident in my cards. Do you still want to play?

Taka

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Obama is such a complete failure at this point he's gotta do something to direct attention away from himself.

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Heh, agree with Romeo, seems more like an attempt at a disatraction then a real attempt to punish the criminals. The obama administrations handling of the health care issue is so inept, and generating so much heat, they felt they needed to distract people somehow. They can't start a war, as they're already fighting one, they can't bomb someplace, they already are. They don't want to push to hard against either Iran, Obamas new best friends, or NK, too dangerous. So they come up with this crap. If this doesn't work, they'll probably start trying to blame Bush for something else. Hes so unpopular that might actually work, even if it does open the door for the same thing to happen to the Obama 3 years from now when he is properly tossed out of office.

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there is absolutely no reason for this to be so public and at this time. This is not progress.

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Skip,

Justice is always progress. Denying justice or pooh-poohing it away is, in my opinion, the TRUE opposite of progress.

Taka

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Justice is always progress" right, so spend time on getting the terrorist and the people hired to do so shouldn't be worrying about what is going to happen to them when doing a job.

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Skip,

Noted. Justice doesn't mean as much to you as it does me.

What kind of car do you have? I'm just curious because, you know, I know you wouldn't call the cops and all. ;-)

Seriously, I way disagree. I want justice for all. But we (as a nation) must ensure our own moral and legal ducks are in a row before punishing others for not having theirs, imo. That means we stay clean and on the side of good.

That also makes it FAR easier to enlist the aid of other countries, don't you think? Wouldn't you say that Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib haven't harmed our relationships with our allies? I'm not talking about their opinion, I'm talking real relationships.

If I'm the Benevolent Dictator for Life of Outer Takaolia, I'm wondering about diplomatic ties with a country that tortures. I'm REALLY wondering about doing trade with a country that scoops ups hand fulls of people, holds them in a prison, pretends they only flirted with torture and still wants the high ground.

The problem with the no-holds-barred method is that when the dust settles, we'll find out who are real friends are.

Treaties are broken and alliances crumble and when we shoot ourselves in the foot by not doing things the right way, we make breaking those promises a little easier.

Taka

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Taka, what matters in the end is results. Thats all. Not the means nor the methods, but the end results. Not saying its right or proper, but thats just the way it is. You're saying you want justice, and that if someone is tortured to provide information when that information could save lives, then there should be an apology and repercussions for those who did the torturing, and those who gave the order to allow it. I'm saying, that when the end results are that lives are saved, then to me that is justified. Its not good, its not ideal, but its far better then that people were killed, when you have a person in custody you know could have prevented it, simply by telling you what he knew. If you know this, and you know that the application of threats, pain etc could cause him to spill, and save lives, and you choose not to act? What does that say about you? That you're more concerned with following procedure, and having other people think you're a good guy, then in saving peoples lives? What if it was your family under threat? Still feel the same way?

When doing things the "right way", is more important then the lives of innocents, something is seriously messed up.

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This is all fine to argue on a forum such as this, but these political arguments based on liberal or conservative leanings and the ‘oh yeah? Well before you said…’ never really confronts the realities of an issue.

The U.S. carrying out and condoning torture of its enemies for information is the fundamental issue. Taken on its own, you can hardly argue that it is not morally horrendous to condone such a thing. In the past, the one thing that I think has always held Americans on a higher plateau was their refusal to lower themselves to the level of an enemy on such matters. We’re the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ – we don’t torture people. Piercing screams in a dank prison cell are scenes from the middle ages. We signed the Geneva Convention and always tried to uphold our moral standards (though only a fool would think we’ve always been honest to this).

But the problem is that our current enemy is fundamentally on the same level as the middle ages, where torture is an acceptable form of gaining information. In the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) the Iraqis unashamedly tortured those they captured. Those that we are fighting now wouldn’t think twice about torturing their American captors or beheading them on video. You have to get that Western, ‘civilized’ mind-set out of your heads. That is – if you want to have any sort of chance of ever ‘winning’ this war on terror – whatever that means. While it is morally superior to take the higher ground, it is impractical and dangerous on the level of survivability. Reject the stupid argument of ‘if we torture them, they will torture our soldiers – you’re only making things worse for them’. News flash – they already do torture anyone they might capture. Wrap your mind around the fact that they have absolutely no issue about detonating a bomb in a car in a crowded market that will assuredly kill scores of innocent civilians – not even the ‘enemy’ they’re fighting. Putting them on a board that simulates drowning, or threatening to shoot their family is child’s play.

It comes down to choices. The Bush administration made the difficult choice to obtain information in a manner that we all find horrendous. It should be pointed out that as far as we know they didn’t actually physically harm anyone – which is far more than our enemy can say. But it still goes against our beliefs of right and wrong, and our core values. But – and here’s the big thing – it might have saved some lives by stopping a terrorist plot. If not directly it might have ruined some plan or made them re-think something else. Or you can choose the moral high ground and just hope that normal intelligence channels can glean the information you need. Some it can, much it will not; the enemy is sophisticated and intelligent – not a bunch of 'guys on camels'.

Would you rather live with the moral implications that some guy was water-boarded in a basement at Gitmo but it prevented some event from happening? Or would you rather see another list of dozens, hundreds or thousands of names of dead men, women and children being shown on the news?

I work in NY and just went to the State Museum at lunch-time. They have a 9-11 display and on a video screen you can see the faces and names of all who died on that day. Without sounding corny, it is sobering. They aren’t obscure references or names from a newspaper article, but the smiling faces of the more than 2,900 people that had lives just like you and I. If psychologically torturing a few men can even potentially prevent that from happening again, then I have to say I’m for it. While it pulls at the fabric of our fundamental beliefs, I’m not prepared to potentially sacrifice so many innocent lives. A soldier trained, armed and put in harm’s way is vastly different than someone sitting at their desk in an office.

However, I do find it interesting – and a bit sickening as well – that so many of you are so very concerned about the civil rights of a few men who are likely terrorists (or supporters of their actions) in the first place, yet I never heard many of you rise in protest when they were doing the torturing and beheading.

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President Obama's goal of "looking foward, not backward" is no impediment to investigating whether terrorism suspects were subject to illegal treatment. Determining whether crimes were committed is the only way to maintain the integrity of the nation's laws and deter abuses in the future. Republicans, never hesitant to launch their own investigations when it suits them, are howling that Holder is on a witch hunt. They will say it will damage the CIA's morale. The bigger question now involves the new interogation team. How far will Obama allow them to go to obtain information from suspected terrorists?

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Molenir,

Then you will just have to disagree with me and the founding fathers of our country.

Taka

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Tigermoth - Good post.

Taka, thought you were Japanese, not American. Whatever. The constitution says no cruel and unusual punishment, not no torture. It doesn't say you can't psychologically twist someone to reveal information. Particularly when you realize that torture does not necessarily equal punishment. The one is not the same as the other. It may be a fine distinction but it is there nevertheless.

The bigger question now involves the new interogation team. How far will Obama allow them to go to obtain information from suspected terrorists?

And does this make America safer?

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