Michael's Dispatches

"The United States of America Does Not Torture"


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


Say something here...
You are a guest ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marshall Gill · 12 years ago
    For those who believe that they are morally superior: I hope that the nuke that is eventually detonated in the US irradiates your children and they die a slow and painful death. Because there is really only one way to avoid this happening, and it isn't moral posturing, either.

    Torturing evil scumbags to prevent the murder of tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians is morally correct. It is NOT "being like them" They torture to cause pain and to terrorize innocents. We should torture to protect human life. Let me repeat: It is morally appropriate to torture admitted terrorists in the defense of tens of thousands of innocents.

    All these comments about how "we should never torture" come from the unthinking. Every person should ask themselves: "If my children will suffer and die because information about a terrorist attack was not found out because "we don't torture" who will be to blame?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rick · 12 years ago
    As a Vietnam veteran, I can attest to the absolute NEED for immediate tactical intelligence gathering to save lives. I've seen waterboarding and weapons fired close to the heads of 'prisoners' (combatants captured on the field during contact) to gain information that saved our platoon. In all cases, the prisoners were alive, in one piece, and later moved to a POW compound.

    As a morally pursuasive argument held in the safety of one's livingroom, or classroom, yes, torture, unevenly understood, is a grand thing indeed. The reality, once on the ground, is another matter. No amount of moralizing can convince an understrength platoon, under fire, close to being overrun, and desperatly looking for an escape route, that non lethal adversive interroation methods are wrong.

    Gotta respect Yon, but I wonder why he's so lost in philosophic asthetics and not grounded in the reality of violent, battlefield survival which we all know he's been so intimate with. Why, Michael, why?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vanessa · 12 years ago
    You are wrong on this Michael and Obama is a fool.
    You of all people should know what torture is.
    We do not do that.
    America's worst enemies are within.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Army Girl · 12 years ago
    So I guess that by announcing "no torture" we can assume that the terrorist are jubilant this morning. So Mr Yon, what is your alternative. Should we invite them over for tea and have a civil conversation?

    As far as the Freedom of Choice Act. I do find it ironic that if a baby is in a womb, it can be murdered. Maybe we should then sedate our terrorist friends first, so they don't feel the pain. Then yank them out of there temporary sleep and into reality. Isn't that what Obama is suggesting if an infant survives the abortion. Murder the innocent and protect the terrorists.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carolyn Kasarda · 12 years ago
    I have never believed that we have tortured any prisoners, but if they captured my son, who is serving in Iraq, I would want them tortured or whatever it took to get my son back. Our military knows Obama looks stupid and uninformed when statements like this are made.

    I hold my head up high whenever I travel to foreign countries and proudly announce that I'm American!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Angry Eagle · 12 years ago
    While torture can conceivably be useful as a tactical weapon, it is a huge strategic mistake and in the long run weakens our ability to garner and maintain support for our cause. Without domestic and international support, we end up encouraging support of our enemies and aid them in their recruiting efforts.

    Why has Jane Fonda been vilified and shunned by most of America for decades? Because of her support for a regime that provided encouragement and support from the highest levels for the torture and mistreatment of our soldiers during the vietnam war. While the world will not always agree with our stand on issues around the globe, they can at least understand why we fight against evil - at least until we begin to look and act no differently than the "bad guys".

    There will always be incidents of abuse of prisoners of war. But overt condoning of mistreatment of prisoners under our control is something that should bring shame and embarrassment each and every time it happens. And it certainly should never be authorized as a standard operating procedure from the highest office in the country.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charlie Elk · 12 years ago
    You are wrong on this one Michael and I respectfully disagree with you. From all the reading and watching I have done- the U.S. does not torture. We might scare the enemy from time to time. Guess it will depend on how torture is defined. The way some define it my basic training 5 years ago was torture.

    For the first time in my life I feel real fear for my country.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    M.J. · 12 years ago
    Hi Michael,

    I have been a fan and supporter of your work for a long time, but this comment left me confused. How can we win unless we're prepared to do whatever it takes? Our enemies are NOT playing by our rules, and our refusal to be tough with them is seen as weakness and will be taken advantage of. And let's be honest... It IS a weakness. Say there's a thug out there who knows for sure when and where the next major terrorist attack is going to take place, but is refusing to talk. You know this attack with claim thousands of lives unless stopped. You do not have time to sit there and hope to reason with the thug. WHAT DO YOU DO? What would you do if it's your own family that's being threatened? Of course you would do whatever it takes. Why, then, should we not behave the same way when it comes to the country as a whole?

    Another point is, how do you define torture? I would agree that medieval Inquisition-style torture should have no place in modern society. But placing a suspect into a bright room and subjecting him to constant questioning while withholding food and sleep? That's not torture, that's common sense.

    These people commit unthinkable acts of cruelty and injustice towards other human beings. We're not talking about torturing someone for fun a-la Abu Ghraib, or torturing someone in order to learn where they stashed the robbery money. We're talking about stopping despicable and unrepentant criminals from committing more horrific crimes against humanity. You can't cure these people with puppies and sunshine. And they aren't going to suddenly change their ways just because we decided to treat them nice.

    Get tough, and stay tough, or loose the fight. Simple as that.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    patrick · 12 years ago
    I get the impression that a lot of the yahoos commenting on this site think Jack Bauer is a real guy.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leoanrd Henry · 12 years ago
    I think there is an impass of definitions regarding "torture." Torture I think is the inflicting of pain and injury for pure sport or vindictiveness - what the terrorists obviously engage in. But interrogation is a different matter and depends on the exigencies of the situation as a fellow commentator has said. When the israelis suffer an abduction of one of their soldiers, they find out fast who has him and where he is. Who can blame them as response time is critical to retrieving him. What passes for torture, waterboarding or stress positions is on about the same level as college fraternity hazing and I doubt more severe than the escape and evasion exercises practiced by the Seals and Rangers some of whom have died during these exercises. The British have used psychological stress by distorting an IRA prisoner's sense of time. He doesn't know if he's been in isolation weeks, months or years. In one instance an IRA who was difficult to break was allowed to read minutely fabircated newspapers one of which contained a fradulent obiturary for his family who were supposedly all killed in a car crash. He broke. Bottom line as far as I'm concerned is actionable intelligence that saves lives. If President Obame's daughters were going to be kidnapped and executed and torture was the only way to gain the intelligence to preempt the kidnapping, would he be willing to sacrifice his own children on the alter of his convictions?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kudzu · 12 years ago
    From my recollection as a ten year veteran and still serving Army intel NCO I've never witnessed, nor took part in, nor had any comrades who were aware of any US or non-host nation intel specialists who have tortured. The problem with saying "we don't torture" is that no one has defined it but bureaucrats in DC have said that we(the IC) still need to utilize enhanced interrogation methods for special cases. FM -22. should not be the end all for interrogation methods and we (the people doing them) should not have to request through 20 layers of red tape in order to apply things that are considered "harsh". If we break the law, then hammer us to the wall and leave us to bleed out, that's what our justice system is supposed to do.

    The government has decided to train us, they should trust us, they should trust the leadership to do the right thing and not sit in the booth with us.

    Waterboarding? False flag interrogations? Stress positions? Dogs? Sensory deprivation? Forced dietary ingestion (for when detainees protest)? Women with Arab men? Is that torture? No. Interrogations (and some interviews) are supposed to break the subject and it should be the interrogators and his/her chain of command for these practices, not the White House or Pentagon or Langley.

    We should first define torture then strictly prohibit and educate all intelligence professionals about what is considered torture. Prior to the Twin Wars the IC considered torture to be physical in nature for the most part and included the vague term "sever mental coercion" which was equated to mock executions.

    Have there been mistakes made by people involved in the detainee system? Yes. But should it condemn the entire intelligence community from a Soldier or Marine gathering HUMINT from a tactical situation to the CIA conducting rendition and snatching Bad Guy A and doing what they can to pry the information out. The members of the IC involved in interrogations know that you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar but there are special cases and they call for special tactics.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Terie · 12 years ago
    I pray there are some Jack Bauers and some Mitch Rapps out there. I don't agree with the type of torture the terrorists use, but I believe intense interrogation is sometimes totally necessary in order to prevent the type of massive terrorist attacks such as we saw on 9/11 and such as the Israelis live with every day.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    djs · 12 years ago
    How dare you suggest Jack Bauer isn't real! Next you're going to tell me there's no Santa or Easter Bunny - just stop it!

    Obama has obviously seen Austin Powers recently. Don't you know that if you just ask Achmed times, he has to tell you where the suitcase nukes are hidden in your city. He is bound by his honor to do so.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Bloom · 12 years ago
    My concern with President Obama is his speeches seem to be written to sound profound while leaving out substance.

    His plans to manage the deficit do not reflect anything like reality. He announces a plan to halve the deficit in the same year he increased it by $1 trillion dollars. His foreign policy so far is more notable in it's absence than in it's accomplishments. Given posturing and threats from North Korea, Sec State Clinton announced that she personally did not believe North Korea could enrich urianium (in apparent disagreement with virtually everyone else).

    Russia is signing weapons supply agreements with Iran and expanding security arrangements and we say nary a word about it.
    They also announced that they will build a naval base in Abkhazia, an province in another country which is in rebellion, and who's government is recognized by nobody.

    Russia "in self defense" moves mobile missiles to the border of Poland after we deployed an ABM battery there. People do not understand the technology involved. An ABM has no offensive power. If you set off an ABM next to a T72 tank, it wold likely not disable the tank. If you set off a nuke on an Iskander missile, you would destroy an entire city. Our response? "well really we made no response. however we have announced that defence spending will be reduced...
    To me, this feels like ... 19 5... pacifist posturing, defense cuts, inward looking policies bordering on socialism, while potential opponents gain in strength and confidence.

    Russians turn off the gas in Ukraine, Obama's response, silence. Russias message? to Ukraine, "none of your friends in the west will help you" to the West "we can turn off your heat whenever we want, remember this when you set your foreign policy".

    In Iraq, Obama set a timetable to leave. I hope he is right. Bush handed him a victory in Iraq. It isn't too late for him to turn it into a defeat.

    Pakistan's new government is showing itself to be weak and indecisive. I hope a stronger role in Afghanistan helps resolve this situation... I hope Obama can stay the course and that the military has decisive leadership on the battlefield.

    And on Torture Michael, I have followed your articles for years. I think we need to define what torture is and work within that framework.

    Michael thankyou for being a voice of reason that helps filter out the shrill political rhetoric.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Holly · 12 years ago
    Obama can say "we" don't torture anymore, but what tends to happen is either we do not torture, except this one time, except when it effects someone in the administration directly, like to cover someones rear. Most often though, it just means we have someone else, say Palestinians, do the torturing for us.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lori · 12 years ago

    I have followed you for as long as I can remember. I have read your book, I have passed your web site along to those who I thought would find it interesting. I find this post disturbing. I agree with all of those who have stated that there needs to be a definition of torture but I ask you this, would BHO support his no torture policy if someone he loved was being held by a terrorist and their life was threatened? I think not! Just like everyone of us, if one of our loved ones were being threatened and the authorities had someone in their control who could provide the information to find them, we all would want any means necessary used to get said information. This is a hypothetical situation but there are soldiers out there whose lives are threatened every day by the thugs and terrorists. Any non Muslim is in the crosshairs of the terrorists!!! This is like his brilliant statement that he would sit down and talk with Iran in the hopes of reaching an agreement. You know, the idiot who claims the Holocaust never occured?? The mad man who would wipe Israel off the face of the map and who would have no qualms about obliterating America. I do not agree with bamboo under the nails and extreme pain but I can assure you that if someone I loved was in danger I would use whatever means possible to bring them back safely. Don't take torture off the table. Define it and then use it with discretion. BHO taking the high ground? No. BHO is a puppet to the special interests.

    God Speed Michael...we will agree to disagree on this issue!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    whitzoo · 12 years ago
    As a career military officer, I have been appalled by our torturing of the prisoners. Of course, I also feel that they should be treated solely as POW's which they are. That means full compliance with the Geneva Conventions, but it also means, no constitutional rights, no lawyers, no trials (expect for those for war crimes before an international tribunal, not a US military commission). They stay behind barbed wire until hostilities are over, and one side surrenders. If that means a life sentance, so be it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CJ · 12 years ago
    What do I think, you ask? Well, Michael,...

    I have been a fan of your writing, and appreciate the service you have done our servicemembers by your fair and balanced reporting, and sharing their stories and experiences with the rest of America. But I have to say how extremely disappointed I am by this pacifist stance you've suddenly aquired. I have never seen you express concern before in your writings regarding "torture", and I wonder why you are suddenly choosing to do so now.

    Surely, you must recognize by now, that our world is one governed by those nations that are willing and capable of using force. In a world that must be shared with evil-doers, a nation cannot secure peace for itself without being willing to exert force to protect its citizens. When we are faced with an enemy willing send out individuals hopped up on drug-induced frenzies into gatherings of innocent bystanders, and who are hell-bent on the mission of massacring hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people in a 9/11-like attack, or single blast, you cannot afford to give these terrorists their creature comforts and Miranda rights. We are dealing a different beast here. These terrorists play on a whole different playing field than the nations who agreed to sign the Geneva Conventions. Did Al-Quaida give PFC Menchaca or PFC Tucker (God Bless their souls) their creature comforts, or read them their Miranda rights, before they "barbarically" tortured them to death??? NO!!! What we are dealing with evilness, terrorists are an organization of individuals just as sadistic as Hitler and the Nazi's, and all they understand is violence. You don't "talk" to these people. The liberal media hates to report it, but most of these terrorists who were released from prison we are now finding have all returned back to their terrorist organizations, they're not "reformed."

    Mr. Yon, you do such a wonderful job of reporting the stories and experiences of the millitary in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please, stop sipping the Obama kool-aid, and just stick to reporting the facts.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Waterman · 12 years ago
    Hi Group,

    Waterboarding is considered torture? All the students who attend SERE Training on the Left Coast at Whidbey Island, WA get waterboarded as part of their training, or at least they used to. They say it is very effective.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jim delaney · 12 years ago
    Terrorists deserve the rights of ununiformed combatants, and nothing more nor less. In the politicians' feverish attempt to prove how morally superior they are, they have shortsightedly and irresponsibly granted habeas corpus rights to these vermin. Incredible! Utterly devoid of commonsense! Do terrorists deserve being "tortured?" No one does. But, I do wish someone in authoriity --and morally superior to me--would clearly define what exactly torture is to them. Defining torture has been as tortured as the classic meaning of torture itself has been. Sleep deprivation and "tortures" of that ilk are NOT torture. AND, finally, this: if my famlily members' lives hung in the balance, I would personally have no compunctions about the use of ANY kind of torture to protect them. Any kind of torture. Anyone who espouses a different view in such an instance is either lying or is mentally deficiient. We all need to get a grip on reality. And that inane mantra that if we torture terrorists our troops who fall in terrorists' hand are at greater risk of being tortured. Give me a break. They'll be brutally tortured anyway, and then summarily beheaded. Delusional people in charge of my security is terrifying. What happened to commonsense in this Socialist Republic of America? Well, I guess I just answered my own question.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 12 years ago
    I am glad to see that many of the comments here have taken a strong position in favor of getting critical information "by any means necessary". All I have to do is look at my children and grand-children and I'll tell you right now, I'll get out the probes and the hand crank generator when comes to their safety and security against a bunch of Islamic fascist murdering thugs!!

    Compare that to water boarding which so begin as to be laughable. No amount of restraint on our part is going to change the way the Islamo-fascists think about us. There is no HIGH GROUND when dealing with these brainwashed morons. They will torture and behead till they get tired and then rest and start again. They do not believe in the niceties of combat as the Geneva Conventions call out and they do not apply to international criminals, only uniformed soldiers of the signatory nations, period.

    So stop it with the be nice to criminals attitude, there is no high ground here Michael!
    This type of attitude shows the enemy weakness and it will get you killed in the Middle East!!

    Sorry to be so obtuse Michael but I believe you are wrong on this point.
    Keep up the good work, I still care about you even if we disagree;-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charlie · 12 years ago
    Michael, You're an ex-SF soldier, weren't you ever waterboarded in your training? I was and it may have been unpleasant but it certainly didn't cause me any lasting harm. Get off the Obama bandwagon and get back to your truth in reporting, this doesn't become you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    civilian · 12 years ago
    I think most people don't want torture to be a given practice. However, they are willing to go along with it if the situation is desperate.

    But when does "the situation is desperate" become routine?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James Tuttle · 12 years ago
    We are so screwed.................
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Yohiker · 12 years ago
    Wow, Michael,
    You stirred up the troops this time! lol
    I agree with them.
    Having said that, I've read your book Moment of Truth in Iraq at least times. Your telling of the warrior heart of our troops makes me awfully proud.

    War is wisely waged based on realities. We (should) deal with the enemy as he is. Not as we wish he were.
    There is a difference between actions taken for individual revenge, and actions taken by a nation's fighting force to protect it's citizens from aggressors who would do them unprovoked deadly harm.

    Otherwise, keep up the great work you do. Be safe, friend.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jack Sides, LCol USA · 12 years ago
    Michael, as a WWII fighter pilot I have been very appreciative of your reporting. However, on this one I am in disagreement with you and your president (he is not mine). Nevertheless, please continue what you have been doing so well.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robert Comstock · 12 years ago
    I made the mistake once of viewing a video of the first westerner to be beheaded a few years ago. There have been many since, but I have NOT watched. It was the most horrible and cruel act I have ever witnessed. I see no point in interrogation of these slugs,,well maybe for a day. In the cruelist way possible, and with the dullest kniife, we should behead them and put their heads on spikes in front of the prison for their families and friends to see.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Russ Antonille · 12 years ago
    What is 'support for torture'? I wouldn't endorse pulling out fingernails if a prisoner wouldn't give you his unit ID; but I would if extensive interrogation povided no help in deterring an impending massive terrorist undertaking. Common sense? Survival instinct? The high ground doesn't do you much good after you're dead...and saying you're against ALL torture is ridiculous. It just gives your enemy another weapon.F9g
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ronster · 12 years ago
    The conditions in Gitmo have gotten worse under Obama:


    So is it torture to beat someone to get them to open their mouth and shove a feeding tube down it? Heck, where I come from it's call "the dinner table". Here is how it went down in my family.
    Me:"I'm not eating those peas."
    Dad: WHACK.
    Me: "Ahhh!!!...gulp.".

    These guys are all on the hunger strike bandwagon because they know a few deaths in Gitmo will get it closed quicker...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Silva · 12 years ago
    Sorry Michael, wrong on this one. Torture is in the eye of the behoder and the left (including your President) used it as a hammer to undermine our actions in Iraq & Afganistan. I went through torutre in boot camp (I was yelled at and verbably berated). Where do we draw the line between intense questioning (which I believe we used and are still using) and "torture"? Please define torture befor charging anyone with it! Waterboarding isn't torture, simulated and actual beheadings are!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    derek · 12 years ago
    Hmmmm i really don't know what the truth is when is comes from our goverment ( so who the **** knows) and i really didn't have a problem with torturing sleezebags to stop other sleezebags from killing the innocent for this pathetic holywar by a few sleezebags that twist the words around in the koran to suite their needs, so it's my guess torturing will go on behind closed doors to gain valuable information.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim K · 12 years ago
    Above are soldiers who where tortured and killed by AQ and It's surrogates. They died horrific deaths at the hands of these monsters. SPC Keith M. Maupin was captured and killed and his remains were not Identified for over 4 years for the sole purpose of tormenting his family and Using the Liberal media to show that we were weak.
    This is what happened to the two other soldiers. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the American military spokesman, said "the remains" of what are believed to be the two Americans were found near a power plant in the vicinity of Yusefiya, about three miles from the site were they had been captured by insurgents. General Caldwell declined to speak in detail about the physical condition of those who had been found, but said that the cause of death could not be determined. He said the remains of the men would be sent to the United States for DNA testing to determine definitively their identities. That seemed to suggest that the two Americans had been wounded or mutilated beyond recognition.
    What we are dealing with is a global struggle In which there Is no bargaining or dealing with these people.Unlike the American and Eurotrash media, These Zealots do not have a timetable and they play the long game. They slowly but surely multiply their numbers like rats and poison from within. Europe is rapidly losing the fight from within. Britain Is letting Muslims use Sharia law In certain areas and actually paying terrorists under watch unemployment benefits. France has opened It's eyes to a nightmare and is realizing that is too late.
    I am not a person who endorses torture, But waterboarding and other non permanent coercive measures to deal with these animals is a must. Khalid Sheik Mohammed the alleged mastermind behind 9-11, After waterboarding he gave up many sources that proved to save many many American lives. As an ex SFO pointed out that he was waterboarded during training and suffered no Ill affects. Wake up America and stop drinking happy thoughts Cool Aid!
    And why the hell are we giving Hamas 900 million to rebuild a terrorist infrastructure that the Our Israeli allies just destroyed? The Israeli's should not have stopped until every last Hamas member was dead. Then turn To Hezbollah and then the real enemies Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    GJT · 12 years ago
    All I have to say is even if we take the "high" road and treat those bastards with kindness it most definitely will not matter to the terrorist that capture our brave men and women. Who in their right mind would want us to care about their civil rights when the terrorist's cut peopleƒ??s heads off and sing and dance about it. Personally, I find it humorous and we should move out the civilians that want our help and then drop a huge nuke on that whole part of the world.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    derek · 12 years ago
    Intestinal fortitude is not in most people vocabulary or limited patriotism everything should be candy and skipping through fields holding hands ( well it isn't people!) people have always fought for one reason or another.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    alexa kim · 12 years ago
    There, he said it out loud. Some of us feel better now, right?

    Well, there's torture and there's torture. And I hope to heaven that whatever it is we're doing, that we do it more and just don't call it the T word. The looney left have been demonstrating the Manual of Newspeak so well, we can play along too.

    BO might be your president, but he isn't mine. After what move on dot org did to GEN Petraeus and the obvious lack of condemnation of it by The One, I was soured on him early on.

    I have far too many concerns about his judgment for me to agree with him on this subject in particular.

    I still feel as I always have: under no circumstances should we give up any option available to us as humans entitled to self-defense first and foremost. If we think torture will save lives, we MUST use it.

    If a bunch of people are simply craving the words be said so they can have a higher opinion of themselves, well that's the definition of politics, isn't it.

    As the saying goes, under the right circumstances, no matter who you are, no matter what you believe, you can and will kill.

    If not, fine, then don't stand next to me.

    I continue to value and admire your work Michael, as always.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Howard E. Morseburg · 12 years ago
    One more comment about Pres. Obama and the "high ground".
    From many indications, neither he nor his supporters took the high ground during the election; it was Illinois/Chicago political tactics all over again, but this time spread around the nation.
    Now, that's a form of torture to those of us who believe in the "high ground" too. However, it is just as wrong to stand and proclaim to the world, and especially the enemy, what to expect, such as the royal treatment when captured, because once again it gives them an advantage with little or no upside to it.
    I'm all for winning friends in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this morning's paper announced that a roadside bomb killed four of my brave and dedicated countrymen in Iraq, and had I captured the s.o.b.s who had planted that bomb and could have saved those soldier's lives by learning where it was buried, I might just figure out where the most sensitive part of their body was and apply a little pressure, and risk Obama's wrath and ten years in prison. I'm sure that their families would thank me. I know that I would have not suffered remorse over my act had it saved their lives.
    Now, that goes against my beliefs, true, but not only do I believe in self-preservation, but national preservation.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Val Kerry · 12 years ago
    I agree with you on this one Michael. I am so excited by the change of leadership in your country. His promise of 'Hope' has already sent out practical messages to the rest of us who inhabit the world that he is a man of peace. Not a soft touch but one who would rather encourage uncruel tactics. We can not be seen to torture people wherever and whoever we are in whatever name as we are no better than the people who we believe to be inhumane. Well done for standing up and making positive changes Mr President.. I respect you and believe we will all benefit from such changes as they ripple out across the global community.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RAB · 12 years ago
    Something is wrong with this picture. Only in America do we condone the torture and murder of innocent babies but oppose the torture of terrorists, whose sole purpose on earth is to conquer and destroy the world.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David Mullins · 12 years ago
    NO Politician has the BALLS. No Leaders has the BALLS to go with and work along side the soldiers. Soldiers sacrifice their lives and do not get the respect from their own leadership and certainly not from any candy ass POLITICIAN.
    Leaders lset the example from the front and along side the soldiers. I challenge anyone to do this or prove where a politician or general officer leads by example.
    ABSOLUTELY NONE will do this./

    DAvid Mullins
    Msgt US Army retired
    Spec ops/
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ArtD · 12 years ago
    I'm a little disappointed in some of these comments above. It sounds like some our Military have forgotton what American is about. We are suppose to have higher values and we live by laws. I served in Vietnam and anyone that waterboarded was prosecuted. At that time waterboarding was not allowed. My father was a wounded vet. And in his time anyone who waterboarded was also prosecuted. In fact up until Bush time in office waterboarding was against the Law. After WW 11 there were large trials for torturing lead my America.

    I understand that sometimes frustration get's to you. My platoon seargent who was in another unit at the time cut off a vietcong head. He went from 1st sergent to an E-6 for that. He was a great man but you have to live by laws and have higher morals than your enemy.

    Don't forget that in my time in Vietnam they had terrorist who used kids and women to kill. They used cars, shoe boxes, taxies cabs to destroy hotels and people but we still went by the military manual and the rule of law.

    From what I have read above some of our Military have lost there moral high ground. American Soldiers have lost there lives in lot's of wars but they have always had higher morals then the people they fought against.

    This war is nothing new it has been going on since we have been a nation, they just change the name of it. But it looks like political leaning has blured the line of morals and the rule of law.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    linda persinger · 12 years ago
    So now what war is about americans get captured and get tortured, beheaded, beaten, scorned, we capture pows and give them hotel rooms with room service now? war is hell!! this is not something we want to be in, but we are showing how weak america has become and how we just let the enemy walk all over us. Its not about torture or doing things for the sake of fun..war is hell and sometimes criminals have to be treated in a way according to teh way they have treated our soldiers

    God bless our soldiers and our allies!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    davod · 12 years ago
    The real criminality here is that people in the USA from Defense lawyers for the Abbu Ghrab (SP) troops and Guantanamo and politicians of all persuasions have blown this out of all proportion. In doing so they lent credance to all the ratbag international organizations and countries who take every opportunity to bellittle the USA.

    What is wrong with people who do not want to see the truth. Obama has left the door open to everything that went on before based upon circumstances. Just another slimy politician.

    If we obligated ourselves to all international agreements regarding abuse while in custody every police force in the country would be in breach. Basically, you cannot even talk to people if they do not want to talk to you.

    You really need to know what the US agreed to when it signed on to these international agreements:

    "The United Nations General Assembly enacted a Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1984;

    The US accepted with a number of caveats, including the following:

    ƒ??That with reference to article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; ( ) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.'

    The caveat does seem to leave the US `with a lot of lattitude.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Linda Bergin · 12 years ago
    Hope, Change Thank You Mr.Obama? Mr. Anti Military who won't salute the flag? Wasn't his party the one who called our troops terrorists? I didn't hear Obama object to these words. Isn't he and his party ,the party of defeat ,the party of surrender,who refused to fund the mission and our troops?. On his campaign trail ,Obama said " Our military are bombing innocent women and children in their villages ....." yet Obama will be taking all the credit and will be given all the credit for the successes in Iraq. Mr. Obama is to be thanked and praised?
    I sure hope our enemies show the same 'respect' to American military as they behead us,blow up civilians on non- military aircraft, when they are praised as heroes for throwing shoes at our President and burning our flag. I don't believe torture was mandated by any President or military leader ever. You can thank this President , but I don't trust his motives or his words one bit. This is his way and his political cronies way of turning Americans and our military into cooperative and passive submitting to the will of these poor bombing wearing Islamic 'freedom fighters'.
    Mr.Yon I love your reporting ,your blog and your book. I'm a big fan but I don't agree here. President Obama just poured a big glass of kool-aid and you drank it.
    America the home of weak because of the opportunists! Thank you Mr. Obama and those who can't see beyond your words.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim K · 12 years ago
    What most people fail to realize Is that Al Qaeda Is a terrorist organization that has no borders, Nationality or morals. They are scum of the earth and not entitled to any protection under International law. The US has wrongfully decided that they are entitled these protections. They have have the right to be captured Interrogated and then shot. In any previous war someone caught as a saboteur or behind enemy lines would fully expect to be shot.
    What happened at Abu Ghraib was a shame and those Involved should have been punished. This was a limited problem and occurred because poorly trained people were not supervised. Most of those photos came from one night and the same group of Idiots that brought disgrace to the uniform that they wear. The Liberal media seized upon this as the perfect opportunity to portray all Americans as Immoral and caused the Arab world and So called European Allies to have a non stop hissy fit. This caused the death of hundreds if not thousands Of US soldiers. Thank You Ted Kennedy. When the US turned over the prison to the Iraqi's, The prisoners begged for the Americans to come back, Because they knew they would have to face the fathers and brothers of the men and women they had murdered.
    Our so called Apostate President says the US does not torture. But has made one of his top priorities Abortion on demand.
    US troops are the most professional disciplined fighting force In the world. But for years they have been attacked by extremists encouraged openly by the Democrats and Liberal wackjobs like George Soros for the sole purpose of political gain.
    Stop drinking the juice and wake up! Pelosi and the cult of personality that follow the Messiah are Intent on socialism. Idolatry is what It is. This is not North Korea, look what Idolatry has gotten them.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    NamVet · 12 years ago
    I think we should release all the detainees at Gitmo, and drop them off in front of the White House.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David Marks · 12 years ago
    By "torture" I presume you mean waterboarding. Sorry, but I have to agree with Dennis Miller here: Waterboarding is a gift from God. Think about it. A technique that will make a suicidal terrorist, who is willing to give his life for his cause, confess his secrets in a timely manner without doing any permanent physical damage. It's a miracle that we have such a technique and that it works so effectively. But now we are going to throw it away.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    bdhale · 12 years ago
    It is alot like drilling for natural gas and oil in Alaska. Nobody wants to destroy the pristine beauty of the wilderness. Let our country have its energy sources cut off, though, and the people crying the loudest for not drilling will be crying that we should have been doing it all along. We cry out that we are above being 'barbaric', but let a nuke go off in the United States and we will criticize our country for not doing everything that we could to prevent it.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan85 · 12 years ago
    1 Tuesday, 24 February 2009 2 : 4 Josh

    "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. "

    Josh, I'm sorry but, I have to disagree with you. I take it you are a military HUMINT guy, probably Army. I have never tortured anyone, as I am not allowed to, and not "qualified" to do it.

    I think that under certain circumstances, for certain ends, and only on certain types of people, torture IS effective. It is not the preferred method. However, there are people out there, "true believers," that just won't break. Some people won't break through any non violent approach, some won't break even with torture. Rocky Versace didn't, and he was one of us. Torture works fast, or not at all. I for one think it is IMMORAL to not torture someone if time is of the essence and lives are at stake.

    KSM broke through waterboarding, period. You cannot say that "torture" isn't effective. It often is. Saying that people will feed you bad information is a cop out.

    We can take the moral high ground. Fine, but when you commit to the act of WAR, you are KILLING people. When you've reached that point, it is stupid to think that anything else you do to someone before they surrender as a whole can be worse than the fact that you are killing them and sometimes innocent people. We, as Americans, think we can stand above everyone else in the world and follow a convention signed in a foreign nation when the only country that fully adheres to it is the USA. We have, and will continue to do that, but it will get more people killed.

    I don't think the strategic implications of America being viewed as a nation that totures are as important as the perception of America being a nation that you don't start **** with.

    "It is well that war is so horrible, lest we become too fond of it."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barry Thomason · 12 years ago
    Remember his comment in Denver? A civilian police force to rival the US Military! That smacks of the SA and SS to me. Do you think they will torture people? Oh, has anyone seen an official birth certificate on the guy who is very pro Muslim?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    WRJ · 12 years ago
    David, by saying ...

    "NO Politician has the BALLS. No Leaders has the BALLS to go with and work along side the soldiers"

    ... I guess you're including not only Obama, but the likes of Bush, Reagan and even Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt. Is that right?

    And it looks to me like a lot of right wingers are doing plenty of brainwashing on themselves, just like they accuse those on the left. I see a LOT of parroting going on here. How about thinking for yourself for a change, like Michael does?

Reader support is crucial to this mission. Weekly or monthly recurring ‘subscription’ based support is the best, though all are greatly appreciated.  Many methods are available to keep the work rolling. Click the image for a more info.



Quick Link to Paypal

Recurring Donation

QR Code

QR Code


To support using Venmo, send to:


My BitCoin QR Code

Use the QR code for BitCoin apps:


Or click the link below to help support the next dispatch with bitcoins: