Bush is Exonerated!

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Grizlaw
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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by Grizlaw » Thu May 14, 2009 9:12 am

TeacherCat wrote:Of course I would be angrier if they killed an innocent person. Any sort of ill treatment of an innocent person is unacceptable.
I agree. It just goes back to my point about it being a continuum, though. Not all "ill treatment" is the same, which is why comparing our troops (or CIA operatives) to the terrorists based on waterboarding is kind of silly, imo. It's kind of like pointing out that someone who gets drunk and kills someone in a bar fight is more "mass serial killer-like" than someone who hasn't killed anyone.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by KittieKop » Thu May 14, 2009 9:18 am

TeacherCat wrote:
Grizlaw wrote:
TeacherCat wrote:How would Americans react if they found out that American journalist Roxana Seberi was being waterboarded to retrieve information in regards to her 'spying mission' in Tehran?
We'd be angry, no doubt. Would you agree that we'd be angrier, though, if we found out that the Iranians simply beheaded her?
Of course I would be angrier if they killed an innocent person. Any sort of ill treatment of an innocent person is unacceptable.
Innoncence is often in the eye of the beholder. In the view of the radical factions of Islam we are fighting, there are no innocents. Anyone who does not follow Allah is an infidel and should be killed. Kind of tough to compete with that.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by AlphaGriz1 » Thu May 14, 2009 9:45 am

Good point, but its not to hard to deal with that if you do what needs to be done.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by DriftCat » Thu May 14, 2009 9:47 am

Bay Area Cat wrote:
Grizlaw wrote:FWIW, I read MM7's post as an objection to the reference to waterboarding as "terrorist-like abuse tactics," rather than taking a position on whether it is or isn't torture. And for what it's worth, I actually agree with him. Waterboarding may be torture, and maybe should be banned, but to equate it to what al Qaeda has done to Americans it has captured (i.e., cutting off their heads and mailing us the videotapes) is a bit dramatic.
If we just look at the first paragraph, I would agree with your analysis of MM7's statements. His second paragraph, however, explicitly mocks the idea that waterboarding is torture (which I interpreted as him suggesting that it wasn't torture) while comparing it to decapitation, which is what prompted my questions.

I agree that GIW's statement about terrorist-like activities is a bit on the hyperbole side. I wouldn't equate waterboarding to acts of terrorism (at least, not in the way we generally refer to and think of "terrorists.") On the scale of the world's villians, those acts are merely associated with such groups as the Japanese in WWII, the North Vietnamese, the Soviets, the Khmer Rouge, and the Spanish Inquisition.

I was trying to determine if (as it sounds to me) MM7 thinks waterboading and other forms of torture are justified because the terrorists do things that are even worse. If so, I think he illustrates the exact point that GIW was making (by way of utilizing some hyperbole). If not, and he merely meant what you interpreted, then I would tend to fall more in line with agreeing with both of you.
Actually, the second paragraph of my post in no way disputes that waterboarding is torture. Hell, being tickled until you pee your pants could be considered torture by some. My point is that its a lot less brutal than killing someone......which is what who we are fighting wants to do to every single one of us if they could. That's why I don't see waterboarding as a bad thing if it helps protect Americans in any way.

There was a post somewhere on this thread asking whether or not I would be mad if we found out other countries were waterboarding our soldiers and the question really doesn't make sense as the group we are fighting against are doing worse to CIVILIANS. In my opinion, many people in this country just don't get it. The terrorists do not care if they hurt your feelings (actually they want to behead you and your children while shouting praise to Allah) why should we care if we hurt theirs??


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by TeacherCat » Thu May 14, 2009 9:54 am

KittieKop wrote:
TeacherCat wrote:
Grizlaw wrote:
TeacherCat wrote:How would Americans react if they found out that American journalist Roxana Seberi was being waterboarded to retrieve information in regards to her 'spying mission' in Tehran?
We'd be angry, no doubt. Would you agree that we'd be angrier, though, if we found out that the Iranians simply beheaded her?
Of course I would be angrier if they killed an innocent person. Any sort of ill treatment of an innocent person is unacceptable.
Innoncence is often in the eye of the beholder. In the view of the radical factions of Islam we are fighting, there are no innocents. Anyone who does not follow Allah is an infidel and should be killed. Kind of tough to compete with that.
I was speaking to our values as Americans and our system of law and justice.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by SonomaCat » Thu May 14, 2009 9:58 am

MM7: Well, you wrote:
People have gone absolutely mad......gasping for air is torture? Really?
So I think a reasonable person could glean that you thought that it was silly to suggest that waterboarding was torture. But if you want to explicitly agree that waterboarding IS torture, then we are all on the same page.

And since torture is illegal under many international treaties and under U.S. law, you will surely agree that we shouldn't use waterboarding ... especially since experts have testified that it doesn't work nearly as well as other techniques and we all know that it does make us look bad in the eyes of the rest of the world (which is obviously very, very important as our entire purpose is to postively influence the rest of the world, something that is made much more difficult when the rest of the world doesn't respect us or is even given rational reasons to dislike us).



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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by GrizinWashington » Thu May 14, 2009 10:06 am

I think it's a bit sensationalist to then start comparing us to the terrorists.
GL,

With all due respect, I don't believe you do understand my point perfectly.

I am not saying that waterboarding makes us terrorists, or that it rises to the level of despicable acts they perpetrate. My argument is that by engaging in and condoning any acts that most people in the world consider torture, our society takes one step closer to the terrorists, precisely the goal of the terrorists.

You stretch my argument considerably by suggesting that I am comparing us to terrorists.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by tampa_griz » Thu May 14, 2009 10:11 am

GrizinWashington wrote:
I think it's a bit sensationalist to then start comparing us to the terrorists.
GL,

With all due respect, I don't believe you do understand my point perfectly.

I am not saying that waterboarding makes us terrorists, or that it rises to the level of despicable acts they perpetrate. My argument is that by engaging in and condoning any acts that most people in the world consider torture, our society takes one step closer to the terrorists, precisely the goal of the terrorists.

You stretch my argument considerably by suggesting that I am comparing us to terrorists.
But you could make that argument from a lot of unfortunate events. For instance, if an air raid against Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan also kills innocent civilians (happens frequently), are we taking steps toward becoming just like those that perpetrated the attacks on 9/11? Or are those actions a bit different on a moral compass?



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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by GrizinWashington » Thu May 14, 2009 10:15 am

That's a fair question, TG and the truth is I think you'd get many different (but reasonable) responses depending on whom you asked.

My position on that is that while terrible, most people in the world understand that there will be accidental and unavoidable civilian casualties in wartime. But I think many would argue that purposely torturing someone is different. That's why torture is prohibited under the GC but accidental civilian casualties are not.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by tampa_griz » Thu May 14, 2009 10:29 am

GrizinWashington wrote:That's a fair question, TG and the truth is I think you'd get many different (but reasonable) responses depending on whom you asked.

My position on that is that while terrible, most people in the world understand that there will be accidental and unavoidable civilian casualties in wartime. But I think many would argue that purposely torturing someone is different. That's why torture is prohibited under the GC but accidental civilian casualties are not.
And I personally would argue that waterboarding is torture too and that there are a lot of reasons not to do it. I just don't agree that if we do so that "we're becoming like them" is one such reason. But the legality of it is most certainly a gray area. Geneva does not protect terrorists. They're defined as "unlawful combatants". A lawful combatant captured on the battlefield can only be asked his name, rank, and serial number......merely asking other questions is a violation of Geneva.



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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by Grizlaw » Thu May 14, 2009 10:31 am

GrizinWashington wrote:I am not saying that waterboarding makes us terrorists, or that it rises to the level of despicable acts they perpetrate. My argument is that by engaging in and condoning any acts that most people in the world consider torture, our society takes one step closer to the terrorists, precisely the goal of the terrorists.
If I kill someone in a bar fight, then I have taken one step closer to becoming a mass murderer (as compared to someone who has not killed anyone). This is a true statement, at least in a strictly logical sense (a mass murderer, by definition, is somone who has murdered many people, so by murdering one, I would have taken one step in that direction) -- and yet, pointing out that someone who has killed one person is a little bit closer to becoming a mass murderer is not a particularly useful piece of information. Why? Because, while killing is always bad, killing one person in a bar fight differs in many ways from killing many people just for fun -- the level of moral culpability is obviously less, as are the causes for the killing. Because of these differences, while it may logically make some sense to say that someone who has killed one person has taken a step toward "serial killer" territory, I think most would agree that it would not be intellectually honest (or particularly persuasive) to try to argue that point.

Your argument, imo, suffers from the same defect. Yes, torture is bad -- I agree with you 100% there. And I might also agree that waterboarding should be considered torture, although I would defer to the experts on that point, and I understand that there is a fair amount of disagreement. But assuming for the moment that waterboarding is torture, I would agree that we shouldn't be doing it. But why not simply argue that point on its own merits? Pointing out that it makes us more "terrorist-like" (while conceding that what the terrorists do is actually much, much worse than waterboarding) only weakens your argument, imo.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by GrizinWashington » Thu May 14, 2009 11:18 am

I think we are largely arguing semantics, and I agree with you on 99% of your points. However, I continue to stand by my original hypothesis, and I think you'd find that many others share it, including Richard Shapcott in his book "Justice, Community and Dialogue in International Relations" and Stanely Hoffman in , "Duties beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics". (two great reads, incidentally, particularly Hoffman's)

You, of course, are welcome to disagree, at which point we will simply agree to do so.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by grizgirl » Thu May 14, 2009 12:28 pm

Grizlaw wrote:
GrizinWashington wrote:I am not saying that waterboarding makes us terrorists, or that it rises to the level of despicable acts they perpetrate. My argument is that by engaging in and condoning any acts that most people in the world consider torture, our society takes one step closer to the terrorists, precisely the goal of the terrorists.
If I kill someone in a bar fight, then I have taken one step closer to becoming a mass murderer (as compared to someone who has not killed anyone). This is a true statement, at least in a strictly logical sense (a mass murderer, by definition, is somone who has murdered many people, so by murdering one, I would have taken one step in that direction) -- and yet, pointing out that someone who has killed one person is a little bit closer to becoming a mass murderer is not a particularly useful piece of information. Why? Because, while killing is always bad, killing one person in a bar fight differs in many ways from killing many people just for fun -- the level of moral culpability is obviously less, as are the causes for the killing. Because of these differences, while it may logically make some sense to say that someone who has killed one person has taken a step toward "serial killer" territory, I think most would agree that it would not be intellectually honest (or particularly persuasive) to try to argue that point.

Your argument, imo, suffers from the same defect. Yes, torture is bad -- I agree with you 100% there. And I might also agree that waterboarding should be considered torture, although I would defer to the experts on that point, and I understand that there is a fair amount of disagreement. But assuming for the moment that waterboarding is torture, I would agree that we shouldn't be doing it. But why not simply argue that point on its own merits? Pointing out that it makes us more "terrorist-like" (while conceding that what the terrorists do is actually much, much worse than waterboarding) only weakens your argument, imo.
If torture and terrorism are both being discussed as inhumane acts and both involve an aggressor and an unwilling participant, which I believe GrizWa is saying, then I don't have a problem with his comments since torture would be a step up the inhumane ladder. Bar fights, that include a death, and mass murder are an accident and intentional murders, thus kind of hard to use as an analogy to say that GrizWa's statement is flawed. I guess you could say that bar fights and mass murder are both violence, but bar fights as Grizlaw poses it involve two parties that agree to duke it out, while mass murders typically fit the aggressor/unwilling participant scenario. I think Grizlaw's argument would work better if he framed it by using an angered person killing someone (jealous husband) and mass murderer. Both involve the intent to kill. Then you are comparing the relative aspects of inhumane acts against unwilling/unsuspecting participates vs. the relative aspects of intent to kill those not agreeing to fight you. Then you have, torture is to terrorism what the runofthemill murder is to the Manson Family style of mass murder.



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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by Grizlaw » Thu May 14, 2009 12:38 pm

grizgirl wrote: If torture and terrorism are both being discussed as inhumane acts and both involve an aggressor and an unwilling participant, which I believe GrizWa is saying, then I don't have a problem with his comments since torture would be a step up the inhumane ladder. Bar fights, that include a death, and mass murder are an accident and intentional murders, thus kind of hard to use as an analogy to say that GrizWa's statement is flawed. I guess you could say that bar fights and mass murder are both violence, but bar fights as Grizlaw poses it involve two parties that agree to duke it out, while mass murders typically fit the aggressor/unwilling participant scenario. I think Grizlaw's argument would work better if he framed it by using an angered person killing someone (jealous husband) and mass murderer. Both involve the intent to kill. Then you are comparing the relative aspects of inhumane acts against unwilling/unsuspecting participates vs. the relative aspects of intent to kill those not agreeing to fight you. Then you have, torture is to terrorism what the runofthemill murder is to the Manson Family style of mass murder.
Um...ok. So if we change my hypothetical from a bar fight to, say, a jealous husband who kills the guy his wife is cheating with (and point out that it would be flawed to say that the jealous husband has taken a step toward being a serial killer), then you would agree that my (revised) hypo illustrates a flaw in GiW's argument?

(I think bar fights often involve an aggressor and an unwilling participant too, incidentally, but that's beside the point.)


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by GrizinWashington » Thu May 14, 2009 12:58 pm

Again, I don't see a flaw in my argument, GL. And yes, I believe that someone who kills someone takes a step closer to that of a mass-murderer. But I found your comparisons to my argument weak to begin with. We'll agree to disagree, but I strongly urge you to read the books I've highlighted above. They share my hypothesis, and can obviously explain it much better than I can.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by grizgirl » Thu May 14, 2009 12:59 pm

Grizlaw wrote: Um...ok.
Um...ok? Does that mean I made perfect sense to you and you're embarrassed or do you just not want me to butt in cuz I'm a woman? :wink: I'm sure it's neither btw.

To answer your question, I think so, but I'd have to see your re-worked argument. But you could go with an unprovoked assault if that's what you meant by bar fight and stick with your original. That would be more explicit and keep anyone from not understanding what you mean when you say bar fight.

Maybe I'm sheltered, but most bar fights I've seen (limited to Montana) involve one guy calling another guy out and the guy who gets called out doesn't back down. Not someone attacking someone for no reason. Is that how they usually go down in NY?



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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by Grizlaw » Thu May 14, 2009 1:29 pm

grizgirl wrote:Um...ok? Does that mean I made perfect sense to you and you're embarrassed or do you just not want me to butt in cuz I'm a woman? :wink: I'm sure it's neither btw.
It meant that I was shocked that your post made any sense, because you're a woman. ;)

(Actually, it meant that when I finished reading your post, I honestly couldn't tell whether you agreed or disagreed with me -- the purpose of your post appeared to be to point out a minor flaw in my reasoning, but you also seemed to be acknowledging that the flaw wasn't really crucial to my argument. So I was a little confused as to what point it was that you were making.)
grizgirl wrote: To answer your question, I think so, but I'd have to see your re-worked argument. But you could go with an unprovoked assault if that's what you meant by bar fight and stick with your original. That would be more explicit and keep anyone from not understanding what you mean when you say bar fight.
That is more what I meant. The facts could be anything, though -- bar fight, jealous husband, bank robber who shoots someone in the course of a robbery...any scenario where someone is morally responsible for killing someone (but in a situation where the moral culpability is less than that of a serial killer) will work to illustrate my point. Take your pick...
grizgirl wrote:Maybe I'm sheltered, but most bar fights I've seen (limited to Montana) involve one guy calling another guy out and the guy who gets called out doesn't back down. Not someone attacking someone for no reason. Is that how they usually go down in NY?
Actually, most of the bar fights I've seen were in Montana, too. In the eight years I've lived in NYC and DC, I actually don't recall ever seeing a real bar fight (probably due to the fact that all the bars here have about a dozen NFL lineman-sized bouncers that come out of the woodwork and throw everyone out at the slightest hint of any potential fighting). In Montana, though, I've seen all kinds of bar fights (i.e., I've seen fights where everyone was a willing participant, and I've seen plenty where someone who would've been happy to walk away ended up getting a beating, too).


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by grizgirl » Thu May 14, 2009 2:09 pm

Grizlaw wrote:It meant that I was shocked that your post made any sense, because you're a woman. ;)
Now that's funny. Well played.
(Actually, it meant that when I finished reading your post, I honestly couldn't tell whether you agreed or disagreed with me -- the purpose of your post appeared to be to point out a minor flaw in my reasoning, but you also seemed to be acknowledging that the flaw wasn't really crucial to my argument. So I was a little confused as to what point it was that you were making.)
You shouldn't have been able to tell, because I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing. If you were using my definition of bar fight, I think it would've been a major flaw. You would've been exaggerating even more than someone who's exaggerating you were being critical of. Kind of like Grandma just farted in church, but who cares now cuz Grandpa just crapped his pants from laughing so hard.



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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by ChiOCat » Thu May 14, 2009 2:41 pm

Where is the line? Do any of you have a clear idea of where it should stop?

I don't. I frequently am rooting Jack Bauer on when he's going outside protocol to do what's necessary but I also agree with GrizinWa that if we compromise our principles than we are losing.


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Re: Bush is Exonerated!

Post by AlphaGriz1 » Thu May 14, 2009 4:03 pm

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