Michael's Dispatches

"The United States of America Does Not Torture"

132 Comments

24 February 2009

President Barack Obama has spoken.  His words beamed around the world.  I am in Asia preparing for a long year in Afghanistan and other contended places, but stopped to listen closely to President Obama's words.  Most of the things that President Obama talked about will take years, or many years, to implement.  But one thing can happen NOW.  No more torture.

I believe we can beat the terrorists we face without torture.  In fact, we can fight them better and more effectively from high ground than from low ground.

Thank you President Obama for moving to the high ground.

 
Michael Yon

 


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Josh · 9 years ago
    As a HUMINT'r who was deployed to AF, I couldn't agree with you more on this. Torture comes from the frustration of immaturity or the sense of power it gives someone. It has no place in our society, one which should be a beacon for the rest of the world. Thanks so much for the work you're doing.

    I hope to bump into while you are here this year. I'd love to buy you a beer or coffee in Kabul. Take care and be safe.
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    D K Davis · 9 years ago
    From what little I have seen so far I can only say: They should be glad they didn't have to go thru boot camp in the 1940's.
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    DC · 9 years ago
    If we stop torture, what does that mean? Only on American soil? The renditions will continue. Are Egypt and Turkey going to use a new rule book for their questioning of American prisoners? Will we insist other countries follow our lead?
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    Hap Cluff · 9 years ago
    Abortion of 40 million humans is torture. Obama and his supporters are hypocrites of the highest order. Who is to define what is and is not torture? I agree we should not torture. However, the president should never openly limit his options to our enemies.
    Hap
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    William M Treadway · 9 years ago
    I am mixed about such statements. I am sure that there are times when what many would call intense questioning would be determined by others to be "torture". Having said that, I have an ethical issue with real "bamboo under the finger nails" style torture. I also believe that prisoners do not talk to you because they like your jokes. There needs to be an edge to the questions... maybe tell them we'll hand them off to their countrymen??? just a thought.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Keith Bagley · 9 years ago
    Torture has no place in our national defense. If we wish to influence the world with our leadership, we must stand on moral highground. It makes no sense to get down in the mud with dishonorable enemies...there is no telling how deep they'll take us into the muck.
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    An American for Tort · 9 years ago
    Here are two examples, God forbid there was a child killer on the loose and he has snatched a sleeping child from the window and he proceeded with his evil act then he commits murder. Now there might be a chance that the child is alive, basically left for dead. A policeman despite the miranda rights and not being allowed to torture this child molester ? How insane is that ? The policeman could have obtained vital information on where the child might be found then the ambulance personnel can immediately attend to the child whose pulse is almost gone and the child today is living because the policeman did torture the child killer for information.

    Now, with terrorists A U.S. soldier would want to know where increasingly sophisticated suicide vests are being manufactured in a terrorist's home, place of business or a very hard to find tunnel. With no waterboarding and another scary strongarming methods to obtain vital information. What is a cup of tea and smoking some tobbacco hookah or cigarettes going to do ?

    I place the terrorists next to child molestors, expect their method is to bomb women and chidren. They are the worst of the worst. They murder with no respect for innocent civilians or military men who are doing their jobs.

    Please change Obama's mind on this because we are going to lose the war on terror to the terrorists. Appeasement Chamberlin style never works. In certain situations or torture during wartime does save lives. President Bush was right. He kept us safe for 8 years and many terrorists squealed under waterboarding and another torture methods.
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    Malinda · 9 years ago
    These terrorists commit unfathomable acts of horror on others. I would LIKE to believe that gaining information from them without any misery is possible, but hey...these guys are willing and happy to DIE to inflict horror on others. I don't see why ANYONE captured would EVER tell the ENEMY ANYTHING if there were no repercussions for not doing so! I think I believe in "gentlemanly torture" if that makes sense to anybody??? I would never condone torture that would leave permanent marks or life long sustaining or debilitating injury to another...but some unbearable temporary pain in my opinion is the only thing that might make these extremists talk. Getting your ass kicked won't kill you, but it will make you think twice about the same behavior again :-) Ask my Daddy and the belt he had for us when we were little :-)
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    Lloyd · 9 years ago
    I'm getting tired of the debasement of language. Because someone on the left calls an action torture doesn't make it so. America doesn't torture its prisoners and never has. But we allow the Left to torture us often enough, and even someone with his eyes as open as you will fall for it.

    No one in their right mind would volunteer to be tortured to make a political point. But plenty of people have volunteered to be waterboarded for the political cause of weakening America. They came through the experience just fine. They gave their interviews to the gullible press and then went to dinner.

    Real torture causes horrifying pain. It permanently disfigures the victim or destroys the psyche. It can take years to recover from it, if it can ever be recovered from.

    Waterboarding does none of these things. None of the other things done to our EPWs has ever caused such damage.

    America has always taken the high ground in the war on terror. Only people who listen to the Left without thinking believe otherwise.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ilike2dv8 · 9 years ago
    Definition is the key here. One person and/or country's idea of torture can vary greatly. I would agree that real, serious, medieval torture has no benefit or place in our world although where does that leave the people intent on killing us??? Since we no longer torture our abused prisoners (I have never believed that torture took place in Guantanamo) I have to ask what possible good are they? After a nice cup of tea and a chat, if the enemy who is intent on killing every american soldier, civilian and child has nothing to offer, we should simply remove them from the equation. I can't imagine than anyone would disagree that after the ravaging the US and our armed forces took over the Abu Ghraib scandal, we should never again hold prisoners... period. If they are indeed the enemy they must not be allowed to return to fight a different day. We cannot afford to have a military second guessing that if they catch a serious bad guy Obama is going to turn him loose... my bet is it will be taken care of in the field.
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    Angelo · 9 years ago
    Hmmmm, I would imagine if the unfortunate American souls that were beheaded, but sadly lived long enough to feel the bite of cold steel slicing thru their skin, feel the muscles in there neck cut loose and separate and lungs fill with blood and involuntarily convulse in an effort to expel this liquid during the few final death spasms could speak; what do you think they ask you? "Why wouldn't you consider a death by beheading torture" Ask the family members of these people that have to endure the memory of knowing that their loved one was "killed / tortured in this manor and then the incident broadcast across the mid east air waves, not to mention the idiots that posted this atrocity on You Tube etc. what they think about what they consider torture. Stern interrogation or death by a butcher knife." I think you can imagine their answer. If not I suggest you sign up and serve on the front line for a tour in one of the many hot spots. Your pacifist mentality / morality may be swayed. The sad reality of armed conflict is that there are two sides, "Winners, and losers." Which one do you want to be when the smoke clears.

    INTENSE PHYSICAL INTEROGATION: IF IT SAVES EVEN ONE SOLDIERS LIFE, IF IT SAVES INNOCENT NONCOMBATANT LIVES OF ANY DENOMINATION, I only have words to say to these enemy combatants., " Cancel Ramadan pal!"

    These people are wartime detainee's and enemy combatants , not your local thug accused of stealing a TV from his neighbor! American constitutional rights guaranteed to American citizens do not apply to these people! Wake up! They most certainly would not grant you the same privileges!
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    Sludge Diva · 9 years ago
    WHAT TORTURE? Please, B-HO is not taking the "high ground." These guys deserve far worse than volleyball courts, specially prepared meals, and far better living conditions than they received in preparation for killing Americans. I have absolutely no sympathy for detainees at GITMO. I had a tougher time in basic training when I joined the USAF in 1976. I would bet that the detainees don't have to scrub the latrine with their toothbrushes, as I had to! Actually, I doubt they even had toothbrushes prior to their stay at GITMO.

    LET THEM ROT, and bring on the water boarding. They should be thankful they are permitted to sling excrement at the guards, in lieu of the public beheading that is dealt to journalists! Water boarding is too mild for them, in my opinion.
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    Army GI · 9 years ago
    @ An American for Torture Policy

    Sure, torture MIGHT get you the information that you want, but think about it. If I am being tortured, my mind and body being racked with pain, don't you think that I will say ANYTHING to make the pain stop? It doesn't
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    Scott Evans · 9 years ago
    Public floggings and, when necessary, swift, painful public executions would dramatically decrease the need for future floggings and executions. This applies to prisoners of war and domestic criminals.
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    materialist · 9 years ago
    As a long-time supporter of your work, I must say that I am befuddled by this bizarre comment of yours.

    What are you saying? That we used to torture? If so, where is the discussion of that in your previous posts? I don't know of any.

    Have you suddenly discovered that we used to torture, but didn't know of it before? If so, what is your new evidence, and why didn't you discover it earlier?

    Or are you just trying to make nice with the new dog on the block?

    I must confess that it sounds like the latter. I am deeply disappointed. I thought better of you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Smith · 9 years ago
    Just remember, the Al Qaeda Training Manual (yes, google it) states for an Al Qaeda detainee to "claim" he was tortured at every opportunity and they obviously are following their manual. The Russians don't have the problems we have with terrorists, because when confronted with an animal they get on all fours. They've said time and time again that we Americans don't have the stomach for what needs to be done... and they are right. Many people here in America eat meat but few have been inside a slaughter house. Why? Because it's hard to stomach and we just don't want to think about it. Water-boarding, sleep D, etc., gets results... results that save American lives. Heck, every other second and third world county uses pliers and a blow torch... now that's torture! Wake up America!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    STDog · 9 years ago
    I agree with Llyod.

    Saying "No more torture" implies that we were torturing prisoners.
    I don't think we have, and have seen no evidence to the contrary, barring the lefts redefinition of the word.

    Anything are fighting men go through in training is not torture. As the SF about their training.
    For that matter look at survival school. How about the article Michael linked a few days ago which discussed some of the training our forces go through.


    Hey Obama, have you stopped beating your wife?
    Similar implications.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    C in U.S. · 9 years ago
    My response when he said that, and I said out loud to the t.v., was, "Good, we never did torture, so glad to hear we won't be in the future!!!!"
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    mike johnson · 9 years ago
    Michael, you've been in the desert way too long. Why are you trying to suck up to the new president. Oh, I forgot that you went to the Inaugural in D.C. to witness history. Please get back to reality!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Desert Stormer · 9 years ago
    Pouring a little water on KSM's face for thirty seconds apparently resulted in a wealth of information that most definitely saved innocent lives. Same with his two AQ buddies. That isn't torture, that's getting the job done. This enemy saws off heads of tied victims and chants about how great God is. They must be dancing in the streets at how naive and foolish are we Westerners. And our appearance of weakness will only further fuel their rabid jihadism.
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    Gilbert · 9 years ago
    If you speak to anyone in the intelligence community they will tell you that torture is not an effective method for extracting information from someone. When a human being is exposed to intense levels of punishment and physical pain they will do or say anything to get it to stop. This inherently makes the information suspect.

    Some people argue the ol "end justifies the means" this is ludicrous. With this same argument then police should be able to physically extract information and confessions from suspects if it has the "chance" to save someone. Or if we could avert a criminal act that would kill many people we should as a matter of policy "make them tell us what we want to know".

    I think it was implied somewhere that history has proven that torture works. To that I say nuts. All history has proven is when anyone or any nation tortures for any reason they only strengthen the resolve of the people, villianize themselves, and under minds their efforts.

    Some would say look at all the valuable information we obtained by putting a drill through someone's knee caps. To that I say your missing the tractor and trailer loads of bad information that someone gave just to stop the pain.

    You want to get information, it takes long term investments in time, money, and man hours. You have to take the moral high ground and do the right thing. Torture doesn't do anything but make you feel like you are doing everything to get the answers when in reality you get more with the right investigative tools than you do with a hammer.
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    Gilbert · 9 years ago
    I forgot to mention. Where does Michael, a former Special Forces Soldier, taking a stance against torture make him any different than he has been all along. I have read Michael writing about our soldiers and other countries' soldiers killing the bad guys by the *$#^ bushel. I don't see him writing about taking a more fuzzy stance on this.

    I think some of the readers are confusing torturing with war fighting. War fighting is about killing the enemy. Torturing is about trying to make someone tell you something you assume they don't want to. Torturing is not something America should be doing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Howard E. Morseburg · 9 years ago
    There is no way that anyone can conclusively state that torture has not yielded positive results in the extraction of valuable information that has resulted in the saving of an individual life, or in wartime, many lives. Plans of attack, or weaknesses in methods of defense have given victory to one side or the other, and the degree of torture has been determined by the degree of ability of the captive to withstand the torture, and the result can (but not surely) be false information.
    Some methods have been brutal, some more subtle, but to deny that many times they have been effective in reducing casualties on one side, or assuring victory to the other, is ridiculous.
    I'm sure the Nazis, for example, captured many saboteurs through their methods of torture, and the patriots who gave up their comrades did so only because they could go no further.
    On the other hand, to people with high moral convictions, being the torturer is repulsive, or knowing that your comrade-in-arms is one who administers torture, one would wonder if he/she were not a sadist, etc..
    To those, such as Sen. McCain, who suffered so many torturous years, it would be repulsive, as it is to me. To those who are professionals involved in obtaining information from prisoners and who claim it is not effective, I have only one question, "Are you saying, never? Never?"
    No, I'm sure that if we captured a group which had a cache of vials of a deadly virus hidden in New York or Los Angeles, we'd question our own sanity in following such a policy, because then we'd be living in a Cool-aide society. Like Socrates, we're willing to drink the Hemlock, but then, we're making that fatal decision for all the others too.
    Meanwhile, the "other side" has not renounced torture and we don't know how costly our decision might be for us.
    I'm not advocating the use of torture, I'm not taking the high moral ground either.
    Only time will give us the answer, but it could well be the wrong one.
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    Pat Carfagno · 9 years ago
    Listening to BO use the same words as George Bush and have folks cheer as if they've just heard the words for the first time makes me want to hurl.

    This man wouldn't know the truth if it bit him on the rear end. Our men and women in uniform have been accused of all kinds of terrible things and BO has been the cheer leader for this kind of despicable behavior.
    Suddenly Michael you believe HIM?
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    mcarroll · 9 years ago
    well, i for one don't know what to think about torture, but i do know michael that american lives and our best interests should come before our feelings for terrorists. i'm sure you might even agree with that being a prior special forces soldier. torture doesn't seem to win the hearts and minds of the terrorists we may torture, but arent' they hell-bent on destroying us anyway? can we really win their hearts and minds? is withholding torture the start of negotiating with terrorists? i say if torture is not an option, then if they are found guilty of terrorism against the US, then we should euthanize them.

    i think listening to obama and other's in our nation's capital is worse torture than having your finger nails removed from your hands.

    anyway, keep safe michael.
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    Tim Sumner · 9 years ago
    The Michael Ratner led Center for Constitutional Rights has already declared that if we move the Gitmo detainees to maximum-security prisons or provide them anything less than full due process that would amount to torture. I'd go further in my predictions: adjudicated or not, our stateside detention centers, prosecutions, and indefinite detentions will soon be decried as Obama's gulags; from al Qaeda's mouths', to sheepƒ??s' ears, via the lawyer Rat-line, and the media echo chamber.

    Virtually every past and present Guantanamo detainee claims to have been tortured. Yet from all the reports I have read, I estimate the previous administration authorized coercive interrogation techniques beyond the Army Field Manual on at most 30 jihadists. With due respect, Michael, that propaganda should have been countered all along with a steady stream of war porn, graphic evidence of al Qaeda's butchery.
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    Mike Walsh · 9 years ago
    A friend of mine was in Army Intelligence (I know...an oxymoron) as a carreer and said torture is for when you know 90% of the answers as only then can you rely on the information you don't have, but have extracted with the rest. I say torture this lot under procedures that the man in the field will tell you works.

    MW
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    Tim Sumner · 9 years ago
    Hey, I just remembered that 35 years ago today I arrived at Ft Dix for BT. We should have brought Drill Sergeants Preston, Hardy, and Mendosa (God bless them all) out of retirement to interrogate the detainees. LOL!
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    Dave · 9 years ago
    Michael,
    You wrote an article awhile back about an Iraqi police man that was tortured and killed. The terrorists drilled each of his ribs with a drill, then each of his joints for three days. Then they shot him dead and dropped off his body in the dirt. That is torture. They did not do it to get info, they did it to torture him and kill him. Now if you want to equate that with making someone feel uncomfortable with rock music or sleep depravation, there is no comparison. It all depends on what you define as torture. Sure we should never do what was done to that Iraqi policeman, we should not cut things off etc. We should on the other hand be able to make them uncomfortable to wear down their resolve and discourage them. We should never give aid or comfort to the enemy. Any comfort at all, that would be disrespect to our troops toughing in out. Unless you are foolish enough that we can sweet talk these b@st@rds. We should have methods to motivate them to talk, but that is not torture. I have to wonder if the terrorist form of torture is to get info or just fun and games for them. We are quite different from them. In light of the statement above I am sure we do not torture or plan torture anyone. It all depends how you define it.

    Dave
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    Bill Brent · 9 years ago
    The United States currently has enemies willing to murder Americans by the tens of thousands without remorse. And when these enemies capture Americans they are willing to subject us to the most vile tortures imaginable - not for any information they may get from us, but simply from the fact that they see us as "the infidel." To them, we are unclean and can be butchered in any manner whatsoever.

    The United States government's official position with respect such enemies should be that it will do whatever it takes to protect its citizens. Whatever it takes. That, and nothing else. Anything less is capitulation to the enemy and gives the enemy an advantage he should never have.

    Imagine a scenario where a group of terrorists are releasing biological agents in our cities. 25,000 die in New York. Then 15,000 in Los Angeles. Then 30,000 in Chicago. No one knows where they're going to strike next. The FBI suddenly gets a break and in a shootout with the group manage to capture one, but the others get away. It is imperative that the FBI find out where the next attack will be as quickly as possible. That means they must use whatever means necessary to get that information from the captive. In such a situation, it is not moral strength to say, "We will not resort to torture to protect our citizens." It is the height of immorality. It is the willing sacrifice of the good and the innocent for the evil - and for some misguided notion of the "sanctity of every human life," or some other such nonsense. It is moral cowardice.
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    Mujhunter · 9 years ago
    Michael,

    In general I can agree with you about torture. Because I define the term as sado-masochistic behavior aimed at punishing the recipient of the abuse. Torture is also very much like pornography.. Hard to define but you know it when you see it.

    Is it torture to use corporal punishment (slapping, hitting) on another human being?? Because if it is, almost every parent is guilty of torture when they discipline their children..

    Is it creating mental discomfort via sleep deprivation, rock music, and temperature variation. Because if it is, then we "tortured" Noriega when we played loud rock music outside of that Nunciature where he was holed up. We knew he hated rock music and we used it to create discomfort in order to persuade him to surrender (which was our mission). And we torture our own SpecOps people when we spray them down with ice-cold water for "conditioning".

    The real question about the use of "harsh interrogation" is what do you do when you're faced with a detainee who you know has vital information about a suicide car bomb factory that you're certain is about to launch an operation to kill innocent civilians, or even your fellow soldiers? Where is your greater obligation; the protection of the perpetrator, or the innocent victims? I would have a hard time living with myself if innocent life was sacrificed in order to preserve the comfort of the culprit who orchestrated their deaths.

    Finally, what would you do if you managed to capture a member of a kidnapping gang that just spirited off your wife and children before your very eyes? Would you call and wait for the police and the reading of Miranda Rights, or procede to immediately use "harsh interrogation" to extract the necessary information you require in order to find out where they are being taken?

    For such reasons I just can't concur that we ban all harsh interrogation techniques. But then again, nothing we do should ever leave a permanent physical mark, nor should we engage in the Iraqi practice of drilling holes into kneecaps.

    In sum.. I think "mission dictates", especially when we're dealing with people who are perfectly willing to sever the heads off of combatants and non-combatants alike. They are playing a game of "no quarter given" and we're tying one of our hands behind our back if we fail to recognize those special conditions.

    One thing we CAN agree on is that you're doing fine work!! Keep yourself alive so you can collect that Pulitzer...
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    yukon · 9 years ago
    I take exception to your remark that we have now moved to the high ground.

    We have not tortured anyone and you make it sound like we have. When and Where?

    I hate to see you drinking the kool-aid with the rest of the Messiah worshipers.
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    JT · 9 years ago
    Abandoning torture will probably cost American lives. But we must do it, because the greater good is to be a humane nation. Would our enemies benefit in the short term from this? Quite possibly. Would we benefit, both materially and spiritually, in the long run? I do believe we would, in the eyes of our countrymen and women, in the eyes of our families, and in our own self evaluation.

    I sincerely believe that what lives me may lose today because we abandoned torture will be saved tomorrow for the same reason -- perhaps many times over. I also believe that our torturers, who may be very much in moral agreement with what they do today, will suffer from their acts tomorrow. All this is easy for me to say -- I sit, relatively speaking, in an ivory tower. It is not an easy matter. If I could torture to save my child or someone else's, or to save men in my unit, I quite possibly would.

    And I know that my past does not in any way make me especially qualified to express these beliefs, but I will add that I am a former combat infantryman with hard experience as an officer and a rifle platoon leader in Vietnam.
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    JT · 9 years ago
    But I would also add that the definition of torture must be well written and must include only that which reasonable people would consider torture. Mock executions, threats of death, and putting someone in certain degrees of discomfort do not, in my opinion, constitute torture.
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    Possum · 9 years ago
    I had what was then called counter-insurgency training many years ago and we were subjected to rigorous interrogation techniques. This was before water-boarding which I understand our SEALS have in their training.
    My take on this is simple. If an interrogation method is used on our own people in training, its acceptable for use on the enemy.
    I disagree with Gilbert that the intell community is in agreement that torture is ineffective. There are many of us ,active and retired ,who think it can be and those who have their doubts.
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    James Benamor · 9 years ago
    Never worked out how I got on your mailing list but I normally delete your emails in digust. Having said that I am writing this to say I havnt agreed more with anything I've read for a long time. The world needs to be able to believe in what the US is supposed to stand for.

    All you need to do now is stop calling real human beings 'Terrorists' as if that makes killing them OK, or start using the term to describe your guys as well.
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    Tim U · 9 years ago
    If torture is disallowed then I say we lose the ability to gain necessary intel to save lives. This is a mistake.
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    syn · 9 years ago
    There is one truth about President Obama, that whatever he says the opposite will happen.


    High ground?


    We are funding abortion worldwide; America is now worse than China when it comes to human rights.
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    Dave Koenig · 9 years ago
    I respect the great reporting you have done from battle zones. But I hesitate to say that the Pres. has taken the 'high ground'. When he makes the comment that we will not torture, I see it coming from a man who has seriously underestimated Muslim radicals. Witness his dalliance with the one side in the recent Kenya elections and his willingness to talk with the madman who leads in Iran. Prime Minister Chamberlain had a very high opinion of his ability to handle the dictators in Europe and had that great talk at Munich with one of them.
    While I don't agree with all our boys did in the Philippine Insurrection, when my grandpa was there and they used the 'water cure'(no different than water boarding today) it worked. There is torture and then there is torture. A definition of terms is in order, but from the Pres. and his fellow travellers we will be getting only a broad one that does not take reality into account.
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    Alec Rawls · 9 years ago
    Obama is accusing America up to this point of using torture. What a load of garbage. It is a harmful lie, spoken out of maliciousness towards his domestic political opposition. Michael, you are far to generous to see good in this, almost to the point of being duped.

    Personally, I think we SHOULD be willing to use torture, in the rare case that it is called for, but the fact is we have not been using it.
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    Sam Needleman · 9 years ago
    I agree that it is a disgusting thing that degrades the society who permits it, as well as its victims. But I think we pay FAR TOO much attention to our minor moral failings and FAR TOO LITTLE attention to the enemy's insane, sadistic and perpetually atrocious behavior. When we start beheading moslems with dull knives, TARGETTING innocent civilians and disemboweling and displaying our captives, I shall worry about OUR moral compass.

    In the meantime, I am more worried about the survival of civilization as we know it: freedom of/from religion, speech, press, humor, art, rights and education for women, sexual expression, homosexuality, choice of garb, and cruel and unusual state-sponsored capital punisnment than I am some waterboarding incidents.

    I saw a video of a beheading performed while al-Zarqawi intoned his pious koran filth. I have never, in 30 years of practicing medicine, seen anything as remotely horrible. The poor fellow's name was Nick Berg, who died the most horrible death i have ever seen (and I've seen more than a few). Why do we rail at OURSELVES? Is this some sort of Freudian guilt-bathing that feels kinda righteous?
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    syn · 9 years ago
    Mr Yon, please don't announce your surprise when President Obama slashes the defense budget in order to pay for all the carrots he will be buying for America's enemy; $900 million to Hamas is only the beginning of this 'peace in our time'.


    This is America's standing in the world now; we appease. Have you noticed that the rest of the world is talking loudly about 'killing Jews'?

    America's military men and women are now just as alone in the world as is poor Israel because of this pronounce of 'moral standing'; America will betray everything she represents in order to placate an illusion, just as America betrayed the Pope when President Obama overturned the Mexico City law.

    I hope you pay close attention to what is said and done at the United Nations Mr. Yon, I want you to remember what became of our democratic ally Israel because of President Obama's 'high ground'.

    America has no more moral standing than does the UN, the EU, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Mexico, or Saudi Arabia.

    .

    .
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    Gene Taglia · 9 years ago
    I doubt that the U.S. ever did use torture, in the true sense of the word; but the use of varying degrees of duress, degradation and fear, which seem to be no longer acceptable, were a necessary method of extracting information. How else are we going to find out anything? The terrorists are certainly not going to voluntarily tell all they know.
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    DonC · 9 years ago
    These comments are almost always made by ignorant people just banging their own drum and closing their minds totally to anything they don't feel fits in with their chosen way of thinking. As always Mr Yon rises above this type of schoolboy political discussion and sticks to the simple realities. I love the fact that this is upsetting the right wingers and that his other posts upsets the left wingers. It's time to throw of the shackles of being left or right, Republican or Democrat, Labour or Conservative - look at each issue at face value, do your own research, f##k the politicians and make your own mind up!

    Whilst easy to dismiss as a bullsh#tter, for me Obama has done the right thing on this occasion - world politics, like many other aspects of life, is about perception. The US is perceived to have used torture whether true or not I don't know. By saying that you will no longer use it and then being squeaky clean from now on, Obama will make a huge step towards changing that perception. That will remove a large amount of ammo that the terrorists need to encourage others to support them. Unfortunately the terrorists are very good at propaganda and our poor quality press/media seem always happy to jump on a anti-US/anti-west story which only winds up the Muslims and causes us more problems in the long run.
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    maitreg · 9 years ago
    I realize that some of the commenters don't want to believe that the U.S. tortures prisoners, but the facts are that we've had a handful of accusations of torture that led to charges and convictions since the War on Terror began. These have been mostly Special Ops and civilian contractors in Afghanistan, which we wouldn't normally be hearing about in most circumstances. So the truth is that the Pentagon doesn't CONDONE torture, but it has, does, and will happen.

    Yes, true torture is wrong (I personally do not categorize waterboarding as torture), and like any other crime, the U.S. should take the lead on this by condemning it, stating policies that forbid it, implement an enforcement strategy across the board, then use our fantastic record on torture as a propaganda/PR tool.

    No, we should not do "whatever it takes" to win a war. We could nuke the Swat Valley and eliminate the Taliban problem for good today, but then, we wouldn't be "America" anymore. We would just be another once-great dynasty that took any measures available to guarantee its survival. Our history books are filled with dozens of these over the past 5000 years. We don't want to become one of them.

    The United States has always been better than that. Let's keep our good name and our country.
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    Dan Smith · 9 years ago
    A baby torn apart in the womb feels tremendous pain. President Obama fully supports abortion with no limitations per the FOCA (Freedom Of Choiice Act). How does this give him the moral high ground?
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    JD · 9 years ago
    Some commenters are worried about Los Angeles being attacked by terrorists. I say let the terrorists stick one up Hollywood's kazoo. Perhaps then Western Civilization will actually unite to destroy radical islam. Our countrymen on the left hate the same military that is trying to keep these islamists from cutting these same liberals throats. Perhaps we should do like the Mayans and sacrifice one now and again. Then maybe they won't be so concerned about barbarians who hide behind religion. These folks are just playing the odds that they won't be the victim.

    Liberals in this country are actually making a case that the bombing of Dresden was a war crime. So instead of FDR being an American hero for getting us through WW2 victorious, his "liberal" cohorts place him in the war criminal category.

    War is always horrible. The sooner you kill the enemy, the faster it ends. Sherman taught us that.

    Oh, and since FDR was a socialist war criminal, can we also say that his diplomacy during the 1930's sucked as well. And can I lament about the fact he got over 405,000 GI's killed?

    This rant has little to do with torture and more to do with how long are we gonna allow this war to continue. A thousand years, maybe?
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    section9 · 9 years ago
    People, especially those on the Left, need to get something. Obama is a politician. He did not get where he is by being stupid. If his people capture Ahmad the Beheader, and have reason to believe that Ahmad knows where and when the next Beslan-style attack on an Elementary School will take place in the CONUS (say, in a Swing State full of Registered Voters), then Ahmad the Beheader wil be waterboarded. Period.

    Democracy isn't a suicide pact. He'll simply contract the job out to the Jordanians in return for some shiny new F-35's.

    And the press will give him a pass. It's easy to get things done when your name isn't Bush.
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    Skye · 9 years ago
    No Torture? Great, now we can resume the fine American tradition of rendition where real torture takes place and very little, if any, useful information is garnered. Too bad our enemy doesn't see the value in taking the 'high road' we have embarked on, then again, they are in this to win and we are not.

    We just lost Afghanistan. Time to bring the troops home.
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    ACT For America · 9 years ago
    Why is there no public outcry from the Human Rights groups regarding the torture of the coalition forces by the Taliban, Hamas, Sunni's, Shia, and the Islamic courts.

    There are two reasons:

    1. Most if not all captured US and Coalition soldiers are tortured and murdered on the spot and not sent to prisons where the Human rights groups can monitor their condition.

    2. The Qur'an and Hadiths instruct the Islamist warriors to kill all who take up the sword against Islam. - without exception. For the non-combatants they have the choice to convert to Islam, pay the Jizya(protection money), or be killed. Very simple, direct, and easy to understand.

    The Qur'an and Hadith also allows our enemy to practice Taqiyya and Kitman (lieing and misdirection) on the enemy. Take the infidel as your friend if it will give you an advantage to destroy them later. All treaties with the Kaffur/Infidel/non-Muslim can be broken at anytime when it is to the Islamists advantage.

    KNOW YOUR ENEMY, KNOW YOURSELF

    Read the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sunnah. It probably will not make any sense so go to www.prophetofdoom.org and Craig Winn deconstructs the Qur'an.

    Join ACT! For America (a 501c4 corporation) and get involved at the local level to first understand who are enemy is and what they want of and from us in the West,North, East, and South

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