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Passions in Poetry

Is Waterboarding Torture? or onward Christian Soldiers

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Local Rebel
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0 posted 03-23-2006 01:00 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

From andrewsullivan.com:

Andrew notes a transcript http://www.lawofwar.org/what's_new.htm  from a trial of Japanese interrogators after WWII who waterboarded Americans in captivity -- being prosecuted for war crimes -- the testimony of an American soldier waterboarded:

quote:

"Q: What other physical treatment was administered to you at that time?

A: Well, I was given what they call the water cure.

Q: Explain to the Commission what that was.

A: Well, I was put on my back on the floor with my arms and legs stretched out, one guard holding each limb. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water was poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let me up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again.

Q: When you regained consciousness would they keep asking you questions?

A: Yes sir they did.

Q: How long did this treatment continue?

A: About twenty minutes.

Q: What was your sensation when they were pouring water on the towel, what did you physically feel?

A: Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death."




And the CIA's description of the waterboarding technique approved by Bush admin at Gitmo;

quote:

"The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt."



Sullivan ends;

quote:

Sound familiar? It's worth placing in the public record that the Bush administration's torture policies are, in this specific respect, the same as the Japanese dictatorship's in World War II. The American prosecutor at the time dismissed charges against the American serviceman whose testimony appears above on the following grounds: "The untrustworthiness of any admissions or confessions made under torture would clearly vitiate a conviction based thereon." How far we've sunk. And it took a Christian president, supported by Christian voters, to take us there.


http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/03/is_waterboardin.html

And scroll down;

quote:

According to this Pew poll, Americans favor torturing detainees in some circumstances by a wide margin. There's a reason John Kerry didn't bring it up in the debates. And there's a reason Cheney and Rumsfeld know they can continue the practice: they have widespread public support. Most disturbing to me are the high numbers of self-decribed Christians favoring torture: only 26 percent of Catholics oppose it in all circumstances, while only 31 percent of white Protestants rule it out entirely. If you combine those Christians who think torture is either never or only rarely acceptable, you have 42 percent of Catholics and 49 percent of white Protestants. The comparable statistic of those who are decribed as "secular," which I presume means agnostic or atheist, is 57 percent opposition. In other words, if you are an American Christian, you are more likely to support torture than if you are an atheist or agnostic. Christians for torture: it's a new constituency. Another part of the Bush legacy.

Pew Poll http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006a/032406/032406h.htm


http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/03/americans_and_t.html
iliana
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1 posted 03-23-2006 01:39 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

So, it sounds like a real double standard to me.  I mean...aren't we the ones trying to bring "civilization" to the "barbarians."  I doubt seriously that any torture method is going to pull out anything of real importance beside the knowledge that you cannot fight ideology with torture and radical moslems are taught that the best thing that can happen to them is to become a matyr -- they welcome it.  My thoughts are that one would catch more flies with honey.  The best way to find out anything from them, I believe, would be to simply bunk a few of them together and listen to their conversations and watch their nonverbal communications.  Radicals of any religion, from my experience, love to glorify their egos with each other.  

Is it torture....yes.  Similar techniques (creating the fear of drowning) have been used for hundreds of years (probably thousands).  
Balladeer
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2 posted 03-23-2006 01:39 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

And the CIA's description of the waterboarding technique approved by Bush admin at Gitmo;

Interesting how the word Bush always seems to get in there. Admin is not enough, I suppose. Bush gives it a lot more punch.

I read one post where it is said Bush was too dumb to know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites and then this one where Bush must have orchestrated the torture techniques used by commanders and soldiers.

The Bush Legacy....it's all him. Katrina, Gitmo, and the list goes on. Foreign port sales, spying techniques, the economy (oh, that's good  - scratch that one), it's interresting how it's becoming a daily event here for someone to dig into some topic and pull out a Bush legacy plum.

It's also interesting to learn that, as a Christian, I am more presupposed to sanction torture than an atheist. Thanks for the info, reb.
iliana
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3 posted 03-23-2006 01:43 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Balladeer --   The last time I heard, Bush was the "Commander" in Chief.
iliana
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4 posted 03-23-2006 01:50 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Yano....that is interesting about the percentages of Christians that support torture.  Interesting because Christ himself would not have supported it, I think.  If I'm wrong in that supposition, someone please tell me...but from everything I've studied all my life, I can't buy into an educated and dedicated Christ-ian buying into that -- what ever happened to the Sermon on the Mount, the 10 Commandments, the Golden Rule -- the premises of true Christianity?
jbouder
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5 posted 03-23-2006 03:00 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Hawke:

I wonder what the statistics would be if those taking the survey understood the limitations and short- and long-term consequences of using torture to extract information.  If the underlying assumption is that torture might extract information that could save lives, I expect more people would favor it.  And I think if you framed the question to anyone like this: "If you knew torturing a prisoner would save your mother's life, would you support it," I think just about everyone would say, albeit grudgingly, "yes."

If, on the other hand, those people learned that terrorist cell networks are organized in such a way to be able to reorganize quickly when a cell member is captured, and that the window of opportunity to gain useful information is quite small, I expect that the numbers would be smaller.

Having done a little study on the subject, I find the accounts you cited to be disturbing, but far from being as brutal as the atrocities that have been committed in the past by other regimes.  In the case of prisoners at Gitmo, do I support torture?  No.  News of torture only fuels the fires of Islama-fascism (i.e., the consequences far outweigh the benefits).  In other cases, I think it could be justified or excused.

So, should the State be permitted to utilize coercive means up to and including the infliction of extreme discomfort or pain to extract information from detainees in a time of war?  To me, it is more about questions of context, benefits, and consequences than "across the board moralism."

Jim
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6 posted 03-23-2006 06:18 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

As much as I don't believe that torture is ever justified and am opposed to all forms of it, and am concerned about some of the results in that poll, I also believe that we have matured a long way from the era of the Dark Age where you used to have ordeals where two people would battle underwater and the winner would simply be the one who put the rival to death, and executions like the tearing of an individual apart by four horse pulling and such. I also believe an incredibly unanimous percentage of Americans are dignified on torture in the most extreme of cases and would condemn those same atrocious acts history carried out previously.

I do believe waterboarding is torture, in my opinion, and I am scared that some in this administration like Alberto Gonzalez and Dick Cheney have ardently defended the use of torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib in some circumstances, as I find that sends a very bad message to the world in making them feel while we're truly trying to spread the ideals of democracy and peace, our government is not condemning these acts of torture, which I believe hurts our image in the eyes of the international community.

Although it may be true that a majority of Americans would support rare types of torture on terrorists, I believe the unanimous majority also condemns the types of practices other regimes of the past committed. John McCain (who I find incredibly hawkish and certainly wouldn't vote for as I believe he's not going to reduce our war economy or stop the "long war") lead an effort to banning all U.S. personnel from engaging in "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" of detainees recently, which won strong bi-partisan support and while I certainly don't think McCain's bill will in any way prevent torture altogether, it sent a positive message out to the world that we are opposite of the terrorists, and I highly respect McCain's efforts there.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Local Rebel
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7 posted 03-23-2006 09:26 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

From the National Catholic Reporter article cited by Sullivan; http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006a/032406/032406h.htm

quote:

Is the American public apathetic about charges its government uses and sponsors torture in its fight against terrorism?

Not apathetic, according to surveys. Fact is, a majority of Americans actually approve of the use of torture under some circumstances. What’s more, according to one survey, Catholics approve of its use by a wider margin than the general public.

“This may be a reaction to 9/11, the horrible loss of life and the atrocities of those acting in the name of Islam,” says Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., member of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy. “Some people feel the situation is out of control. They feel a vulnerability and a temptation to respond in kind. We have to resist that.”

A survey by the Pew Research Center in October showed that 15 percent of Americans believe torture is “often” justified, and another 31 percent believe it is “sometimes” justified. Add to that another 17 percent who said it is “rarely” justified, and you have two out of three Americans justifying torture under certain circumstances. Only 32 percent said it is “never” justified, while another 5 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

But the portion of Catholics who justify torture is even higher, according to the survey. Twenty-one percent of Catholics surveyed said it is “often” justified and 35 percent said it is “sometimes” justified. Another 16 percent said it is “rarely” justified, meaning that nearly three of four Catholics justify it under some circumstances. Four percent of Catholics “didn’t know” or refused to answer and only 26 percent said it is “never” justified, which is the official teaching of the church.

Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew center, said these results mirror those of similar surveys.



Regardless of what we each believe or don't believe -- polling data shows that we (Americans) and Christians in particular approve of this ...

more...

quote:

The Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi USA, is also making its voice heard on the subject. Its Web site, www.paxchristiusa.org, has many statements on the Christian teaching on torture. It includes a national sign-in statement, “A Christian Call to Stop Torture Now.”

After a quote from John Paul II, the statement says: “As followers of Jesus, we must state clearly and unequivocally that torture violates the basic human dignity afforded all of God’s children, and is never morally acceptable. On this two-year anniversary of the revelations of the cruel, inhumane and humiliating treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison -- the first of numerous revelations regarding institutionalized torture practices in the U.S. war on terrorism -- we reiterate our church’s profound respect for the dignity of all persons and reject as antithetical to Christianity any and all justifications for the use of torture.”

Most disturbing now, says Pax Christi’s executive director, David Robinson, is the “merging of the profit motive with the routine use of torture.” Robinson says the U.S. government is “outsourcing torture to private entities” in Iraq that use abusive interrogation methods. The introduction of profit into the mix, he says, assures that there will be more of it.

During Lent especially, he says, the image of Jesus, who was tortured to death, should be powerful for Catholics, reminding them that “Christ is being crucified today through the practice of torture.”




and down the page Sr. Diana Oritz, a victim of torture speaks to American apathy;

quote:

Ortiz, who travels the country talking about how torture affects the tortured and the torturer, speaks from horrific personal experience. During the mid-1880s as an American missionary to Guatemala, she was tortured by men thought to be connected to the American government.

But unlike some professional speakers who seem to lose sincerity the more they speak about their experiences, there’s no doubt that Ortiz sees torture as personal and compelling. When told about survey data showing that half of American Catholics justify torture under some circumstances, she became particularly demonstrative, seeing the survey numbers as reinforcing her torturers’ views.

“All these years, I have tried to disprove my torturers,” she said. But hearing the survey results, “I find myself traveling back to the prison cell, feeling the burning cigarette on my back and hearing my torturers tell me, ‘No one will care.’ ”

An Ursuline sister who grew up in Grants, N.M., Ortiz went to Guatemala in 1987 to work as a teacher in a Mayan village. She arrived in the middle of a long civil war that tolerated no neutrality. Although her only crime seems to have been teaching Mayan children to read and write, she was picked up in 1989 by members of the Guatemalan security forces, whose boss, she says, was an American.

By the time she was freed -- she believes because of pressure on American members of Congress to intervene -- she had 111 cigarette burns on her back alone. She was gang raped and thrown into a pit filled with human bodies, “children, women and men, some decapitated, some caked with blood, some dead, some alive.” And, she said, “worse than the physical torture was hearing the screams of the others being tortured.”

Having gone through that appalling experience, she has dedicated her life to fighting torture, helping to found an organization called Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International.

-------

“Where is the outrage?” she asked. “Where is the demand that this government obey its own law and the international agreements we have signed? Those who lead us must understand that to support torture -- either actively or passively -- repeats the brutality of the past. It puts us in the company of the Stalins, the Hitlers, the Pinochets, and the Argentine generals who also found ethically comfortable reasons for torturing.”

But the poll numbers on the number of Catholics who approve of torture really bother her.

“Whatever those polled may believe,” she said, “I am convinced in my mind, heart and soul that it’s our moral, religious and Catholic responsibility to not only speak out against torture but to do all that we can to end it. That’s what it means to be a Gospel people. Torture can never be justified.”




I also believe that stories of torture in the media are not helping us in the war on terror.  But, there's only one way to get them out of the press and that's for it to stop.  It's not going to stop unless public opinion changes.  Of course the other way is we can start censoring the media -- torture and censorship -- they go together don't they?

Now, if I'm not supposed to say Bush Administration -- what is it supposed to be called?

iliana
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8 posted 07-27-2006 03:59 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Heard this yesterday http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,205205,00.html  -- and since at least one of those signing orders deals specifically with the torture issue and the Patriot Act, this seemed like the proper place to put this.  Yes, it definitely brings up Bush, since he is the signer.  Has the torture really quit?  What about those suicides that occurred -- no one revisited this thread.  Doesn't anyone wonder if the US is in violation of International law?  

Some of the the most learned legal minds in our country question some of the President's actions, as it should be; e.g., system of checks and balances and every President should be "watched."  Probably many of the ABA committee were his supporters.  Additionally, Pennsylvanian Republican Sen. Arlen Specter is pushing for a a lawsuit against the President challenging him on abuse of executive power and violation of the Constitution by doing these signing orders -- so far about 750 of them -- (which have the effect of delaying the bills passed being put into action -- do we really have a do-nothing Congress or does it just look that way because they can't get their bills into action because of the signing orders)?   http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-07-24-lawyers-bush_x.htm

Definitely, politics at its peak here I think.

So what do you think?

[This message has been edited by iliana (07-27-2006 06:59 PM).]

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9 posted 07-27-2006 08:50 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Iliana, You failed to mention anything of the accompanying story attached to your link.

WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday defended President Bush's prolific use of bill signing statements, saying they help him uphold the Constitution and defend the nation's security.

"There's this notion that the president is committing acts of civil disobedience, and he's not," said Bush's press secretary Tony Snow, speaking at the White House. "It's important for the president at least to express reservations about the constitutionality of certain provisions."

A Justice Department lawyer defended Bush's statements.

"Even if there is modest increase, let me just suggest that it be viewed in light of current events and Congress' response to those events," said Justice Department lawyer Michelle Boardman. "The significance of legislation affecting national security has increased markedly since Sept. 11."

"Congress has been more active, the president has been more active," she added. "The separation of powers is working when we have this kind of dispute."


So what do I think? I think it must be a slow news period when we have to bring up threads four months old to go after Georgie again.

If he vetoes, he's wrong. If he doesn't veto, he's wrong. The only conclusion must be that Bush is always wrong....a conclusion that I'm sure every Democrat endorses fully. So what's new?
iliana
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10 posted 07-27-2006 11:40 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Mike, thank you for reading the comment.  I intentionally pulled up the conservative side of this reporting.  You should read what the democratic-oriented side is reporting if you want the whole story, but I did not want to post that for fear of you accusing me of being a democrat....lol.  

The truth is that the most learned legal minds in the nation are questioning the constitutionality of his actions.  Do we want this precedent set for future presidents?  It gives more control to the executive branch than ever before....are we setting the stage for a dictator by letting this occur?  One should not dismiss the importance of this challenge based on personal loyalty to one man....this will affect all future holders of that seat.  It is a well known fact that the justice department is stacked with Bush appointees.
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11 posted 07-27-2006 02:13 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

The precedent was set a good 70 years ago.  Anyone remember President Franklin Delano Roosevelt?
iliana
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12 posted 07-27-2006 03:20 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Alicat, according to one of the articles I read, the first time the signing order was used was by Ronald Reagen.  That same article said that our current President has used it more times than all the other Presidents put together.  Maybe you could elaborate if you know something I don't, please.  *** addition*** I just went digging some more and apparantely the signing orders have been used before, just not in place of using a veto, which is the case here.  
 
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