Posts Tagged ‘War’


Torture Advocate Wants Terrorists Brought Back Alive for More Torture


The CIA just reported that they have successfully killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban in a drone attack in the area volatile region of Waziristan.  It’s another in a long line of most-wanted terrorists being killed in drone attacks that President Obama has escalated to continue the war on terrorism, which has gained approval from even the most vocal of his political opponents.

But not all.  Apparently the killing of top terrorist operatives is actually a bad thing, according to torture advocator Marc Theissen:

Today, the Obama administration is no longer attempting to capture men like these alive; it is simply killing them. This may be satisfying, but it comes at a price. With every drone strike that vaporizes a senior al Qaeda leader, actionable intelligence is vaporized along with him. Dead terrorists can’t tell you their plans to strike America.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Dead terrorists can’t tell you their plans to strike America, this is true.  But they also can’t carry out those plans either.  And if the goal in the end is to make America safer, then it is working.  But, of course, Theissen doesn’t want these terrorists killed in sterile drone attacks.  In his sadistic world, he wants these terrorists brought in alive so that they can be sent down to Gitmo and tortured within inches of their lives, or worse.  In his world, that is the only way to make America safe.  Any other way is soft on terror.

The recent strike on Qasim al-Raymi, a senior military leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is a case in point. After having been caught blind by this terrorist network’s near success in blowing up an airplane over Detroit, why not try to capture and interrogate its senior leaders alive instead of killing them? Wouldn’t it make sense to get these men to reveal whom they have trained, where they have been deployed, and what their plans are for the next attack? But the Obama administration is not even trying to do this.

Not even trying?  That’s unfair.  How about the FBI has Abdulmutallab in custody and even has the assistance and cooperation of his own family to gain intelligence about his terrorist network?  Granted, we only have Abdulmuttab in custody because of his failed terrorist attack, but regardless, we have a live terrorist here for interrogation.  And the information authorities have obtained hasn’t been completely tainted and tarnished by war crimes that would render them inadmissible and most likely completely unhelpful.

The problem is that Theissen doesn’t see any difference between torturing terror suspects in a covert base in Cuba and the collateral damage of bombing a country during war:

Obama’s drone campaign is costing the United States vital intelligence, and it has also exposed him to the charge of hypocrisy. The president has claimed the moral high ground in eliminating the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program, saying that he rejects the [sic] “the false choice between our security and our ideals.” Yet when Obama orders a Predator or Reaper strike, he is often signing the death warrant for the women and children who will be killed alongside the target — individuals whose only sin is that they are married to, or the children of, a terrorist. Is this not a choice between security and ideals? And why is it a morally superior choice? Is it really more in keeping with American ideals to kill a terrorist and the innocent people around him, when the United States might instead spare the innocent, capture the same terrorist alive, and get intelligence from him that could potentially save many other innocent lives as well?

(My emphasis.)

He compares the age-old debate of innocent casualties accidentally caught in the middle of a war to the institutionalized torture program that breaks all moral and ethical codes across the board.  He assumes that if we were to bring in these terrorists alive that not only would innocents not be killed, but even more would be saved.  I’d like to know where the figures are on how many innocents have been saved from the torture program down at Gitmo.  From things I’ve read, it’s put countless more innocent lives in danger by spreading anti-American sensibilities across the Islamic world.

Of course collateral damage must be minimized and the drone program has many concerned that too many innocents are be killed along with the terrorists.  It’s valid to question just how precise these drone attacks really are and if there is room for improvement.   But Theissen isn’t doing that.  It’s one thing to drop a bomb on a spot that you know for sure houses terrorists but may also have innocents in there as well.  It’s quite another to use barbaric techniques out of the Khmer Rouge torture handbook to simulate drowning 183 times on the same individual:

When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was located in 2003, the United States did not send a Predator to kill him. It captured him alive and got him to give up the details of the plots he had set in motion. That decision saved thousands of lives.

Did it really save thousands of lives?  Whose lives?  And where are the statistics to prove that?  Theissen has nothing.  He also doesn’t bother to get into just how difficult the terrain is there on the ground in the region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.  What about all of the American deaths that would certainly increase if we were to send more troops on the ground in efforts to maybe capture some terrorists alive?  Haven’t we lost enough soldiers in the past nine years of this conflict that sending unmanned drones to strike known terrorist hideouts is worth the risk of collateral damage?  And haven’t we already sunk to unspeakably new lows with Theissen’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” that, sadly, innocent deaths in an act of war is actually an improvement on the morality scale?

I’d say so.


Get Out Of The Desert! Cont’d


I know this is playing to emotions and there are difficult, real-world issues at stake here, but for the same party that touts family values and the traditional nuclear family to also want to just keep sending moms and dad overseas to fight for a pointless war for nearly a decade just seems so very contradictory and blind.

Let’s get out of both Afghanistan and Iraq for all of the little girls in the country who want their daddy back home.

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We Are Still In The Desert


Everyone remembers where they were on this tragic day eight years ago.  Everyone remembers those images of devastation and horror.  And everyone remembers the feeling of comradery and patriotism that ensued.  It was amazing to feel everyone pulling together for a common goal.

Yet looking back on it, I find it sad and depressing that the only way we could all be on the same page was with a sense of anger and revenge.  We were all only in arms together in the primal sense of survival, a basic human reaction.

And that didn’t last long.

In the past eight years, we’ve avenged the deaths of our loved ones in the World Trade Center attacks by losing over 5100 more men and women overseas fighting two wars, one of which was completely unprovoked and criminally unnecessary.  We’ve gotten more polarized as a country, to a point where a large section of society gets enraged when the president wants to speak to the students.  Have people really lost sight of real issues that should get us enraged that we waste our energy on something as benign as that?

How about the fact that we are still in Iraq?  And that President Obama is talking about a troop surge (sound familiar?) in Afghanistan while its government proves to be dangerously unreliable.  If you want to get outraged at him, that would be a really good reason.

My brother Dave lost his best friend, Pfc Levi Hoover, in Iraq on the day before my birthday two years ago.  Growing up together since they were kids, so many of Dave’s memories include Levi.  They went fishing together.  They went hunting together.  They fixed their trucks together (after they wrecked them together).  You’d be hard pressed to find any pictures of Dave without Levi right next to him, holding up a prize trout or next to a seven-point buck.  They were brothers.  And, now that he’s gone, my brother hasn’t been the same.

None of us have.

I wish I could at least take comfort in knowing that Levi had to be there, that he had to be fighting for our freedom, that he sacrificed his life for a cause that we had no choice in being a part of.  September 11th, 2001 changed our world.  So many people lost their Levis that awful day.  Tragically, thousands and thousands more have been lost since.

Never forget 9/11.  But, more importantly, never forget what happened after.  And that it’s still happening.


George W. Bush: War Criminal


It’s amazing how quickly we forget what a totally corrupt and illegal presidency we just endured for the past eight years now that we have a president who actually understands that he is not above the law.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and the whole lot should be tried for war crimes. I bet they’d be found guilty.  You can’t just throw the rules out the window because we had an attack on our soil.  Remember when we threw Japanese-Americans into internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor?  And now we consider that to have been a horribly inappropriate, unjust, and illegal act that no one condones.  This is one of those same things.  And we should take those responsible to court.  Even if it’s the former president.

Andrew Sullivan states it rather simply:

The question you have to ask yourself is a relatively simple one. Does this treatment amount to “severe mental or physical pain or suffering” in the pursuit of intelligence? If it does, then Bush and Cheney have to go to jail for the commission of war crimes.
Why is this a difficult question to answer?

It’s not difficult.  And maybe if Bush hadn’t completely decimated the world’s economy, our current government could put more effort into making him pay for his actions.

I’d be very curious to hear how anyone could defend Bush right now.  Please, feel free to explain it in the comments.  And do so without making some ridiculous correlation to Obama.  Obama wasn’t president then so leave him out of it.  One person’s mistakes don’t make another’s okay.


Obama’s “Struggle” More Than Just Semantics


You can say the same thing in dozens of ways.  That’s one of the perks of language.  The English language particularly.  How you say something, though, can drastically change the meaning, even if on the surface, it’s saying the same thing.

However, Obama isn’t just saying the same thing in a different way by dropping the Bushism “War on Terror.”  He’s completely changing the message:

President Barack Obama has talked broadly of the “enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism.” Another time it was an “ongoing struggle.”

He has pledged to “go after” extremists and “win this fight.” There even was an oblique reference to a “twilight struggle” as the U.S. relentlessly pursues those who threaten the country.

Does it really make a difference other than just trying to separate and distance himself from his unpopular predecessor?  Absolutely.

Because it shows a change in philosophy, a different approach to the same conflict, one that doesn’t live in ultimatums and absolutes but allows for a spectrum of responses and possibilities.  A struggle doesn’t implicitly pronounce one side to be good and the other evil.  It allows for the option that it’s not nearly as cut and dried as that.  A struggle can be resolved, where as a war can only be won or lost.  It takes the importance off of America’s ego and need to be the victors and instead lets us be the one who helps solve the global plague of terrorism and extremism.