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February 08, 2009

War criminals must be prosecuted

A recent letter writer (1/28) criticized columnist Eugene Robinson’s opinion that a light must be shined upon the truth about torture (1/25, Opinion), saying that it was just the Democrats’ desire to jail predecessors and thus stay in power.

Eric Holder, President Obama’s choice for attorney general, testified recently that waterboarding was indeed torture, a war crime. So far, only a few underlings who performed waterboarding have been prosecuted. The Nuremberg War Trials determined that “the officer ordered me to do it” excuse is not a valid defense.

How many more carried out orders to commit war crimes, and who gave the orders? Donald Rumsfeld? Dick Cheney? Others?

Will our country “stand up” on this point, “dust itself off,” and prosecute all who are guilty, thereby removing the torture tarnish from Lady Justice and making her blind, just and shiny again? Americans ought to demand it.

Byron A. Stewart Jr.
Independence

Comments

Engineer

Site is playing tricks again, too much multi-tasking and getting sleepy.

Engineer

Jim
You have not answered the question, just avoided it. No one was convicted, or even charged, based solely on waterboarding. For having pilots heads cut off, yes, for waterboarding , no.

Engineer

Jim
You have not answered the question, just avoided it. No one was convicted, or even charged, based solely on waterboarding. For having pilots heads cut off, yes, for waterboarding , yes.

Jim

Eng,

They were convicted and punished for those war crimes. Among them was waterboarding. Nice try, though.

Engineer

Jim
In bringing charges prosecutors always include everything of which they can think. This does not establish that every item included in the charges could be the basis of a conviction. Your statement is inoperative unless you can present instances in which waterboarding was the only, or even the main, charge.

Jim

"So you were wrong when you suggested that they were prosecuted solely for waterboarding."

Once again your intellectual dishonesty is telling us all we need to know about your faith in your own argument. I never said they were prosecuted "solely" for waterboarding. That red herring came from you as a desperate attempt to mold my argument into something you could attack. Waterboarding was among the list of war crimes we prosecuted Japanese soldiers for. We called it torture then and it's still torture now.

And I see you're still ducking the question about experts who are much more familiar with waterboarding than you will ever be and have said there's no question that it's torture. I can see why you're hiding from those facts, they prove that your original statement about "the descriptions" of waterboarding was breathtaking in its ignorance.

Arminius

"But we do have expert witness' that agree that water boarding is torture therefore the US is no better than some of the people we have held for war crimes on torture (i.e. Japanese, Germans, Russians, Iranians, hell just fill in the blank)."

T. Hanson = Moral equivancy idiot.

Arminius

Jim:

"That's a phony premise. Those Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for a number of war crimes."

So you were wrong when you suggested that they were prosecuted solely for waterboarding.

Arminius

Jim:

"That's a phony premise. Those Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for a number of war crimes."

So you were wrong when you suggested that they were prosecuted solely for waterboarding.

Engineer

T. Hanson
I don't think I misinterpreted what you said. You said because 'a politician tells us it is good". But no one has done that, only that it was necessary to fulfill their obligation to the American people. In my opinion we have done only what needed to be done and I have no misgivings.

T. Hanson

Eng,
I am sorry you mis-interrupted what I said:
"...I just hope to God that we will never have a majority of people that find pleasure in torturing another person because a politician tells us it is good...
"
I know we have got to that point yet, I just hope to God we don't.

Now you honestly believe that water boarding has only been used a few times? Out of the numbers of prisoners we have in Gitmo, and other countries we have only done this a few times? Now I would believe that maybe it has succeed a few times, and maybe out of those few times we did save tens, maybe hundreds of lives. Was it worth it? Your call.

I know this is far off example, but I don't like to know if a fast food employee washes his hands after going to the bathroom before he fixes my dinner. I just want to believe that he did wash. The same thing for the government, I don't want to think they are torturing people but I know it is done. But as I said at a post ago, I am just going to be fearful when the populist thinks this is the answer all our fears because someone that is a liar by nature tells us it is good.

Engineer

T. Hanson
I know of no one, politician or otherwise, who has said that torture, or even waterboarding, is good or who enjoys such things. Waterboarding has been used only a few times. It is asserted that those uses have saved American lives. You are free to believe this or not. I, for one, believe it. In a case where a prisoner is in possession of knowledge about an attack that is scheduled within a short period then it is the duty of those in charge to secure that information. If they do not make every effort to do so, and an attack occurs and lives are lost, then in that case they are guilty of criminal negligence in my opinion.

viet-vet1970

There's a big difference between torture and the injury and death suffered in battle.

Injury and death are part of battle, but if your enemy surrenders or falls wounded into your power you are then responsible for him. We don't continue tormenting and injuring prisoners. At least we didn't before the rise to power of a bunch of miserable cowards who seemed to delight in cruelty.

It's not true that "... the one waterboarded walks away with no permanent damages." Nobody who is bound helplessly and repeatedly drowned will ever fully recover. And I don't believe that torturers escape undamaged, either.

I don't need a law to tell me that waterboarding is torture. And those who hide behind such legalities are beneath contempt.

T. Hanson

Eng,
To define exact methods as a form of torture is very difficult. Humans have always found ways to think outside of the box when they want to find ways to inflict pain on those that disagree with them.

If you were in a cage and were watching your child being water boarded would that be torture for you even though nothing physical was being done towards you? By definition no, you were not physically harmed (and according to your definition neither was your child).

But we do have expert witness' that agree that water boarding is torture therefore the US is no better than some of the people we have held for war crimes on torture (i.e. Japanese, Germans, Russians, Iranians, hell just fill in the blank).

With that said I would say that there is no way in hell the US will ever end torture. We have done it since we were created and I am sure we will keep it up will after I am gone. I just hope to God that we will never have a majority of people that find pleasure in torturing another person because a politician tells us it is good.

Engineer

viet-vet1970
I've seen videos of waterboarding but never the real thing. But from any waterboarding the one waterboarded walks away with no perminate damages. How any combat veteran could equate waterboarding to battle casualties is completely beyond me. Would you or any other of those holding the opinion that waterboarding is torture please quote a law establishing that fact? To apply the law would have to be in existence at the time of the event.

Stifled Freedom

Lady justice is anything but blind nowadays. Starting watching the proceedings from the local US district court and you will see some very politically charged agendas carried out in court.

Jim

"I don't care if Christopher Hitchens says waterboarding is torture."

What about the other examples I cited? You originally stated that "given descriptions of waterboarding" it isn't torture. You're selected the descriptions that fit your definition and pretending the others don't exist. The examples I provided are by career men who are intimately familiar with waterboarding and train our armed services on what torture is. They have undergone waterboarding and have taught it in order to train our men and women how to resist it. They say it's torture. The fact that you ignored them merely shows that you know you're wrong.

"I have no doubt that he would say the gas chamber is also torture."

Those are certainly big words from a man who hasn't undergone the procedure he purports to know so much about, against a man who has put his money where his mouth is and undergone the procedure himself. Calling those who know more than you sissies is your only coping mechanism, isn't it?


"Name one Japanese soldier who was prosecuted SOLELY due to waterboarding."

That's a phony premise. Those Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for a number of war crimes. Waterboarding was listed among them. That list didn't come from the UN or some other agency you disagree with, it came from the US Military, something you prove daily you know little about.


solomon

...doesn't surprise me that Ham doesn't get it....it is torture but it is natural(he has trouble facing truths in life)....you just have to ball up and say the words....."we used physical methods that induce pain and discomfort in an attempt to gain information we sought".... that's all it is and it will never go away...

Arminius

Jim:

I don't care if Christopher Hitchens says waterboarding is torture. I have no doubt that he would say the gas chamber is also torture. Have you seen the man? He probably cries after getting paper cuts.

"And I suppose you conveniently forgot that we prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding after WWII, and that the tactic has long been considered torture."

Name one Japanese soldier who was prosecuted SOLELY due to waterboarding.

Pub 17

Nah, you want his SPN code, which I suspect is a 263.

 
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