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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why the US embraced torture

After reading the various defenses of the CIA's torture program by various commenters yesterday, I can only conclude that Noah Millman has correctly diagnosed not only why the U.S. government embraced the use of torture, but also its endorsement by many of the very proponents of limited government who should have known better than to do so:
Willingness to torture became, first within elite government and opinion-making circles, then in the culture generally, and finally as a partisan GOP talking point, a litmus test of seriousness with respect to the fight against terrorism. That – proving one’s seriousness in the fight – was its primary purpose from the beginning, in my view. It was only secondarily about extracting intelligence. It certainly wasn’t about instilling fear or extracting false confessions – these would not have served American purposes. It was never about “them” at all. It was about us. It was our psychological security blanket, our best evidence that we were “all-in” in this war, the thing that proved to us that we were fierce enough to win.
I am astonished by the fact that those who are capable of grasping that government control of guns in the name of crime will inevitably be used against the people do not recognize that the government use of torture in the name of fighting terrorism will also be used against the people. And Millman's observation that support for torture is more a public statement about one's self-perceived toughness than anything else is particularly astute, and is supported by the language observed to be used by many of those who endorse torture.

At this point, I suspect the average American who does not travel to the Middle East runs a greater lifetime risk of tortured by his fellow Americans, or killed by them in a targeted drone strike, than he is to be killed by a jihadist.

It's remarkable that anyone is still willing to defend the use of government torture, especially at a time when opposition to government gun control is at a two-decade high, having recovered 7 percentage points from the post-Sandy Hook dip. The libertarian rule is pretty simple. Don't permit the government anything you don't permit the citizenry. And don't permit the government to do anything you don't want it doing to any of its citizens.

There may be times when torture is deemed absolutely necessary by an individual. And in such cases, if it is so vital, then the torturer should be proud to accept the punishment for his civil disobedience without protest or complaint, and do so with a clear conscience. Many of us would torture a kidnapper who was concealing the location of a kidnapped child who was at risk of starving without a single moment's hesitation. And I suspect most of us would do so without the slightest concern for whatever the legislated punishment subsequently awaiting us would be.

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440 Comments:

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Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 9:30 AM  

The libertarian rule is pretty simple. Don't permit the government anything you don't permit the citizenry. And don't permit the government to do anything you don't want it doing to any of its citizens.

Most excellent.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 9:36 AM  

Which is, in part, why I cannot be a libertarian.

Blogger szook December 11, 2014 9:39 AM  

I blame Jack Bauer

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 9:40 AM  

I blame Jack Bauer

I would not be surprised at all if 24 was a contributing factor in pubic approval for torture.

Anonymous Jack Hanson December 11, 2014 9:43 AM  

As much as I agree with your comment, the mainstream libertarian movement is composed of edgy teens upset about drug laws and immigration enforcement while thinking the Civil Rights Act is good governance.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 9:44 AM  

As much as I agree with your comment, the mainstream libertarian movement is composed of edgy teens upset about drug laws and immigration enforcement while thinking the Civil Rights Act is good governance.

A textbook example of DISQUALIFY!

Anonymous ZhukovG December 11, 2014 9:44 AM  

My version is:

"Never allow to The State, any power you are not willing to have used against yourself or your loved ones."

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 9:47 AM  

24 and torture:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-military-tells-jack-bauer-cut-out-the-torture-scenes--or-else-436143.html

The United States Military Academy at West Point yesterday confirmed that Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently travelled to California to meet producers of the show, broadcast on the Fox channel. He told them that promoting illegal behaviour in the series - apparently hugely popular among the US military - was having a damaging effect on young troops.

According to the New Yorker magazine, Gen Finnegan, who teaches a course on the laws of war, said of the producers: "I'd like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires... The kids see it and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about 24'?
"The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do."

http://www.newsmax.com/US/normalized-torture-Jack-Bauer-24/2014/12/10/id/612274/

"The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum raised the question in a twitter post, in which she stated, "Still p….d at the creators of 24, who normalized torture every single week," the Daily Caller reported.

She may be onto something. In the three years after the tragedy of 9/11, "24" was responsible for 70 out of 624 incidents of television fictional torture, the Parents Television Council told The Washington Post. Across the board, the torturers were more likely to be all-American good guys than Nazis, terrorists or drug cartel enforcers"

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 9:55 AM  

"Never allow to The State, any power you are not willing to have used against yourself or your loved ones."

That strikes me as one of those things that would be really just evah so good...in a universe where there was no outside power or threat. Since we don't, in fact, live in that universe...

Anonymous dh December 11, 2014 9:56 AM  

24 is probably the worse media-output in the world in terms of promoting America traditional values. Worse yet, if you closely watch it, it goes to show you we should be doing exactly the opposite of what 24 seemingly promotes. A huge chunk of the "bad guys" actually originate from abusers of power, secrecy, or the exploitation of traitors.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 9:56 AM  

"A textbook example of DISQUALIFY!"

I imagine that a textbook on the subject would, in fact, give examples of legitimate disqualification, yes.

Anonymous Stephen J. December 11, 2014 9:57 AM  

"I would not be surprised at all if 24 was a contributing factor in pubic approval for torture."

I blame 24 for Obama. How many people voted in 2008 thinking they were going to get David Palmer?

Anonymous dh December 11, 2014 9:58 AM  

That strikes me as one of those things that would be really just evah so good...in a universe where there was no outside power or threat. Since we don't, in fact, live in that universe...

TK-- can you elobrate on this? What do you think the government needs to protect us form an outside power that would not be turned against citizens? Is it only the power to torture?

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 11, 2014 9:59 AM  

Abortion is the Left's litmus test.
Torture is the Right's.
Both are damning, yet some will willingly sell their souls.
The justifications are similarly empty.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:03 AM  

dh, I was specifically thinking of nukes. Using them, the sentiment reads something like, "Never allow the state Nukes, even if the state's not having them means the Soviets nuke you out of existence or enslave you to Marxist-Leninism sometime in the 1950s or 60s."

Anonymous old coyote December 11, 2014 10:04 AM  

"selling your soul"- yes. what it all comes down to, in the end: fear, and the belief that selling your soul will "save" you from death.

Blogger Raggededge December 11, 2014 10:07 AM  

Excellent, I was trying to formulate exactly why so many traditionally conservative people I know are so all in on the torturing of our enemies. This sums it up, they think if you are against torture, you're a sissy.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:08 AM  

Note to self: this Sunday, at Church, ask God to - at least once, just ONCE - let there be an argument on torture that doesn't involve even one platitude.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 10:08 AM  

dh, I was specifically thinking of nukes. Using them, the sentiment reads something like, "Never allow the state Nukes, even if the state's not having them means the Soviets nuke you out of existence or enslave you to Marxist-Leninism sometime in the 1950s or 60s."

Never allow the state to have nukes unless the citizenry can also have nukes.

Which is also what the second amendment says.

Blogger Hd Hammer December 11, 2014 10:14 AM  

VD - "There may be times when torture is deemed absolutely necessary by an individual..."
The movie Prisoners being a good fictional example.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:14 AM  

That's not quite relevant to what Z said, Josh. Try to keep on point, would you.

As for the second amendment, I think we've had this discussion before. I am supremely unimpressed by arguments in favor of private citizens owning nukes. I am so unimpressed by them, in fact, that I would prefer to spare myself having to deal with them again.

Blogger Chris Mallory December 11, 2014 10:15 AM  

"Note to self: this Sunday, at Church, ask God to - at least once, just ONCE - let there be an argument on torture that doesn't involve even one platitude."

That would be nice, especially since they are always used by those defending that evil practice. Some arguments that included the Beatitudes would be more helpful.

Blogger Zimri December 11, 2014 10:15 AM  

Here's some other things the government is allowed to do: break into your house, seize stuff for evidence, and (if they're sure you did the crime) haul you off to jail. They might even kill you depending on which state you live in.

They need court orders for all that but still.

The country needs the concept of torture-warrant.

Anonymous Daniel December 11, 2014 10:15 AM  

It is a decent trade-off: inspire your enemies but galvanize your allies while excluding allied opposition.

It "worked" for Al Qaeda, until they inspired their enemies to adopt the same tactics. Of course, "decent" trade-off is not "optimal" trade off. Better to not torture, not inspire and not start anything you don't want to finish.

But as club initiation goes, torture is not unknown to the process. It is like a frat but with waterboarding. Torture doesn't work because its not supposed to work. It is just supposed to test your willingness to torture.

Blogger Raggededge December 11, 2014 10:15 AM  

Note to self: this Sunday, at Church, ask God to - at least once, just ONCE - let there be an argument on torture that doesn't involve even one platitude.

Good luck with that. The most disappointing thing to me is how Christians are all in on the brutalization of our enemies. Bomb them all and let God sort them out...

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 10:18 AM  

Good luck with that. The most disappointing thing to me is how Christians are all in on the brutalization of our enemies. Bomb them all and let God sort them out...

To quote Falwell, "blow them away in the Name of the Lord."

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:18 AM  

"The country needs the concept of torture-warrant."

I'm inclined to disagree. On the other hand, quick war crimes trials, with sentences of death, after which point the condemned in civilly dead already, would work well enough for our purposes. The trials needn't be much. Is the defendent support AQ or ISIS? Yes. Are AQ and ISIS large scale conspiracies to wage war in an illegal manner? Ses. Guilty, the sentence is death.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 10:20 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Giraffe December 11, 2014 10:20 AM  

24 is probably the worse media-output in the world in terms of promoting America traditional values. Worse yet, if you closely watch it, it goes to show you we should be doing exactly the opposite of what 24 seemingly promotes. A huge chunk of the "bad guys" actually originate from abusers of power, secrecy, or the exploitation of traitors.

Almost every show is like that to a degree. Most cop shows show the cops bending the rules just a little to catch the "scumbags".

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:22 AM  

"especially since they are always used by those defending that evil practice."

_Really_? _"Always"_? Please point out the platitudes I've used, so I can avoid them in the future.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 10:24 AM  

its just simple human nature I suppose. Americans don't really have moral standards. We rationalize everything. Killing all those kids at Waco was fine... because David Koresh was bad.

Consistency is not a weight they bother to carry around.

Blogger Raggededge December 11, 2014 10:24 AM  

Are AQ and ISIS large scale conspiracies to wage war in an illegal manner?

Interesting, so we get to determine whether the enemy is waging war in a legal or illegal manner? Does AQ or ISIS then get to put our soldiers on trial as well?

Blogger Chris Mallory December 11, 2014 10:25 AM  

Look at every thing you wrote yesterday. Nothing but platitudes about why we needed to torture people.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 10:25 AM  

Killing all those kids at Waco was fine... because David Koresh was bad.

No see we didn't kill them...they died of asphyxiation because those evil child molester cultists didn't let them escape from the fire...

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:26 AM  

No, no, dummie. Show me one. Quote it right the fuck here.

Blogger Chris Mallory December 11, 2014 10:27 AM  

Kratman is a perfect example of why the Founders were against standing armies. We need to seriously gut the US Army and replace it with citizen's militias.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:27 AM  

Yes, we do get to determine it, in accordance with the laws of war.

Blogger Hd Hammer December 11, 2014 10:27 AM  

Tom - "Never allow the state Nukes, even if the state's not having them means the Soviets nuke you out of existence or enslave you to Marxist-Leninism sometime in the 1950s or 60s."

I'm with Josh on this one. In the early Roman Republic the legions consisted of citizens who were disbanded after a war. The citizens therefore protected the Republic, not the government. Technology has of course advanced and changed, but that shouldn't be an obstacle to a similar system to protect against outside force.
Pls don't take this as a military history lesson...I don't want to get eh...Hammered.., I understand you know a lot about military history.

Blogger Al Cibiades December 11, 2014 10:27 AM  

Ideas can't be fought effectively, long term, with behavior manipulation. Yet it wasn't reallly about combatting ideas it was more about self-perceived toughness and the government responding and showing that they were answering the call to kick ass on dem sneaky moslems.

It was as programmed and machine-like a response as the choke hold on Eric Garner (because New York demands on pain of death, our six bucks of tax on cigarettes). American values indeed.

Some straight up cult de-programming would have been far more effective on the detainees.

No one likes to feel duped and if any one of these enemy combatants had a Saul to Paul moment due to this kind of intervention, you'd have a powerful evangelist to the other terrorists and wannabes. Steve Hassan would have been a far better resource than the program creator interviewed on Vice news.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:28 AM  

Ah, well, as I am sure Jesus thought, even if He never said so, "The idiots shall be with you always." Yes, Chris, I mean you.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:28 AM  

Your with Josh in wanting to make some other and largely unrelated point, Hd? Whatever turns you on, I guess.

Blogger Chris Mallory December 11, 2014 10:32 AM  

Here we go, the old "nukes in your cities" platitude.

"7) Just because you are not using it now because you find it morally revolting doesn't mean that after New York disappears to a city buster you will not use it in the future. "

I may be a "dummie" and an "idiot", but you are a moral sewer a sane society would put you down like a rabid dog.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:33 AM  

Why, Al, I am shocked, shocked I say, at that lib-prog sentiment. Liberal? Oh, yeah; you're talking about the mutability of man through training, education, propagandization, and relentless nagging. That's the penultimate articulable value of progressivism.

Blogger Chris Mallory December 11, 2014 10:34 AM  

And little Tommy, I may be an "idiot", but I haven't spent my life as a glorified welfare recipient like you.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:34 AM  

That's not a platitude, you dolt; it's a warning that we live in a changeable political world.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:34 AM  

Course you didn't, pussy.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:35 AM  

Instead you were on morale welfare, while better men - and more manly women - defended you from what you lacked the gnads to defend yourself from.

Blogger David December 11, 2014 10:36 AM  

People see their government (the political state) as a transcendent entity, unencumbered by the sins of those all-too-fallible humans that populate its organizational chart.

"We" could thus be the Good Guys by doing Bad Guy Things because, as a system that transcends the limits of human knowledge and the dichotomy of good and evil, "Our" torturers would not be tormenting innocent people or turning themselves into monsters.

Back when people took Christianity quite literally, and this life was deemed less important that the life to come, there may have been less deification of politically organized society.

Today, Western Civ's dominant religion is statism. Politics is the central organizing principle of Western society, and the nation-state's monopoly on the power of life and death is worshiped with human sacrifice (abortion & military enlistment) and servitude (via crushing taxation.)

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 10:37 AM  

Oh, yeah; you're talking about the mutability of man through training, education, propagandization, and relentless nagging.

Isn't that the purpose of basic training for every military, though? So I suppose it has to work to an extent. Although it's not like it would work for everyone.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 10:39 AM  

Did you order the code red, kratman?

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 10:39 AM  

hrm... I find the accusations on Krat's performance yesterday to be without merit. Krat aquitted himself far better than Mr Wright did.

Krat definded torture well, and explained reasons for defining it the way he did... he then provided an excellent cautionary reason for its necessity in limited circumstances and provided an outline of rules for its use.

None of these were platitudes.

Thus... Chris Mallory... we must now be forced to mock you for your false claims.

***insert brutal mockery here ***

Anonymous Stg58 / Animal Mother December 11, 2014 10:40 AM  

KEIFER SUTHERLAND IS CIA

Blogger David December 11, 2014 10:40 AM  

Never forget that "public opinion" on torture was molded by Pop Culture (Fox's 24 and our current endless crop of pro-state propaganda, from NCIS to all the "vote for Hillary" shows about the importance of a female secretary of state.)

America is a nation steeping in death-worship, from worship of soldiers and worldwide militarism to abortion-as-family-planning. We're "the most powerful" because "we" can murder the Wogs with impunity anywhere on the planet, and we're the "freest" because women can elect a "do-over" on last month's sexual encounter by visiting the clinic and then charging the man with rape.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:40 AM  

No, actually. I tangentially addressed this a couple of columns ago on Lines of Departure. The military can't really make any important changes. You're not going to overcome 18 years of upbringing in 8 weeks. All the really important qualities the new soldier needs he either has when he comes to the colors or he never will.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 10:40 AM  

"Did you order the code red, kratman?"

God that movie was stupid.

Anonymous Will Best December 11, 2014 10:41 AM  

I look at torture more of a service we provide our enemies.

After all, if we stopped pretending to extract useful information from prisoners then people might get the idea that it is better to just summarily execute them rather than the alternative which apparently includes white glove service because having an infidel touch their books would offend the prisoners.

Anonymous VD December 11, 2014 10:42 AM  

Look at every thing you wrote yesterday. Nothing but platitudes about why we needed to torture people.

Cite or retract, Chris.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:43 AM  

I'm not sure, Nate, that I'd even claim necessity in limited circumstances if I wasn't also sure it's pervasively somewhat effective without our doing a damned thing.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 10:43 AM  

The military can't really make any important changes. You're not going to overcome 18 years of upbringing in 8 weeks. All the really important qualities the new soldier needs he either has when he comes to the colors or he never will.

Got it. That's why I said I suppose it won't work for everyone.

Blogger Hd Hammer December 11, 2014 10:45 AM  

Tom - "Your with Josh in wanting to make some other and largely unrelated point, Hd? Whatever turns you on, I guess"

OK that was funny.

The point is: "Don't permit the government anything you don't permit the citizenry. And don't permit the government to do anything you don't want it doing to any of its citizens"...in support of which I referred to the early Roman Legions.

Yeah, should've made it clearer.

Blogger David December 11, 2014 10:45 AM  

@ Tom Kratman,
I'm curious if career military people are aware of the subtle influence of ego and self-worth that contribute a sense of "absolute necessity" most people perceive about their chosen occupation.

From the outside looking in, I would imagine military officers are likely to have the One Tool Carpenter problem, especially officers whose careers are spent in the service of the only worldwide military empire in existence today. To the best of my knowledge, every rationalization for "occupy the world" thinking dominant in the USA is tautological.

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 11, 2014 10:47 AM  

The EU won't extradite some people here. One reason is Capital Punishment, the other is that we already torture. The same justification, if it is "touchless torture", if it doesn't leave a physical mark or maim, it isn't really torture. Remember Jose Padilla who wasn't even charged yet subjected to the same kinds of things for two years. And the right worried about Terri Schiavo's slow death due to dehydration - maybe only because they think she didn't deserve it?

@TK: Platitudes are the answer to attitudes. Torture is so obviously and clearly evil, there can be no justification. Yet those who wish to justify have to say something.

Or "The Passion of the Christ" was merely Rome doing "enhanced interrogation" on a terrorist suspect, and having found him guilty of inciting, executed in a method that was a deterrent - it worked on Spartacus.

The price paid for my soul is not something I personally would try to think about lessening. The self-righteous do that. And they are the ones who demanded blood.

Today the litmus test is a Milgram experiment. It is not whether the strip comes out blue or red, it is whether or not you are willing to dip it in the blood of innocents.

Anonymous DT December 11, 2014 10:49 AM  

Willingness to torture became, first within elite government and opinion-making circles, then in the culture generally, and finally as a partisan GOP talking point, a litmus test of seriousness with respect to the fight against terrorism.

Torture...not opposition to open borders...is the 'true litmus test of seriousness with respect to the fight against terrorism.'

Even though a sane immigration policy would have completely averted 9/11 and left us safer today then we have ever been since. With fewer bodies, less debt, and no TSA cavity searches to boot.

Nah...torture is the litmus test.

America is insane. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Anonymous Doug Wardell December 11, 2014 10:51 AM  

I agree with Vox. Even if you believe that torture is allowable or even appropriate in some circumstances, prosecuting the people responsible afterward sure beats the long-term alternative of allowing the government to use this tool with official sanction.

Setting aside the moral implications, who gets to decide who gets tortured and who doesn't? Even if you trust Obama, or Bush, or some individual CIA director, etc., what about the guy after him? As the recent IRS and Justice Department scandals demonstrate, politicians and bureaucrats simply cannot be trusted not to use all available options to persecute their opposition, let alone actual criminals.

Blogger Al Cibiades December 11, 2014 10:51 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 10:52 AM  

'I'm not sure, Nate, that I'd even claim necessity in limited circumstances if I wasn't also sure it's pervasively somewhat effective without our doing a damned thing."

agreed.

I cannot disagree with your definition of torture... nor can I argue... having accepted that definition... that torture isn't pervasive and effective.

Blogger Al Cibiades December 11, 2014 10:53 AM  

No Tom I'm about fucking victory, as in "there is no substitute."

Deprogramming is about the dismantling of the rebirth of 7th century Islam.

Consider the efforts of Coptic priest Zakaria Boutros to the millions of curious Muslims who tuned into his program weekly until he was forced to go into hiding.

His was not a course of training, education, propagandization, and relentless nagging otherwise AQ would not have had a 60 million dollar bounty on his head.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 10:57 AM  

"Instead you were on morale welfare, while better men - and more manly women - defended you from what you lacked the gnads to defend yourself from. "

I do wish you military boys wouldn't go down this road so readily. Though I know there are real frustrations with politicians that lead to this sentiment... and those frustrations are totally understandable.

Never the less many of us would be perfectly happy defending our own freedom. We neither need, nor particularly want, you up on that wall watching out for us. We would rather the population itself... the able bodied males anyway... be the wall.

I would prefer a militia system to the standing army situation we have today.

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 11, 2014 10:58 AM  

There may be times when torture is deemed absolutely necessary by an individual. And in such cases, if it is so vital, then the torturer should be proud to accept the punishment for his civil disobedience without protest or complaint, and do so with a clear conscience. Many of us would torture a kidnapper who was concealing the location of a kidnapped child who was at risk of starving without a single moment's hesitation. And I suspect most of us would do so without the slightest concern for whatever the legislated punishment subsequently awaiting us would be.

I'm in full agreement, with one proviso.
When you are "torturing" some person you are CERTAIN is the kidnapper, it is both punishment for the act of attempted murder (the imminent starvation or other death) and defensive in nature - if the "kidnapper" was holding a button that would kill the victim, you can shoot him to prevent that too.
Then rely on jury nullification.

Two things are different in the general justification.
First, 100 are tortured including 99 innocents to find the one - and often there are 100 innocents, though they may all confess.
Second, it is not a case of immediate, ongoing, in extremis danger.

Was Scott Roeder's only error was to kill George Tiller in church instead of when he was in the process of performing an Abortion?
And if we are unwilling to act to stop these million murders every year, does not the same reasoning (or emotion) apply to the hypothetical kidnapping case? The veneer of the illegitimate government and its laws makes kidnapping illegal, but if you recognize the authority for kidnapping, why not for what you do to the kidnapper?

Anonymous Salt December 11, 2014 10:59 AM  

There may be times when torture is deemed absolutely necessary by an individual. ...

When it is personal, yes. Not political. Gov't acts as if government sponsored torture is in the personal interests of the people, but it's surely not. It's in government's interests, and that is political. The accountability issue is a red herring, a law for thee another for me.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 10:59 AM  

"Torture is so obviously and clearly evil"

That, itself, strikes me as yet another platitude.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:01 AM  

"I do wish you military boys wouldn't go down this road so readily. Though I know there are real frustrations with politicians that lead to this sentiment... and those frustrations are totally understandable."

When attacked, Nate, I attack back, and place no particular value on showing more restraint that the original pussy showed.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:02 AM  

" The accountability issue is a red herring, a law for thee another for me."

I look at it more like the "He Needed Killin' Defese"... "He Needed Torture" if you will.

Anonymous OddRob December 11, 2014 11:02 AM  

Is it morally justified to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many others? That's debatable. But is it justified to subject a terrorist to temporary discomfort to save the lives of many citizens? It's not only justified, it is morally required.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 11:02 AM  

I would prefer a militia system to the standing army situation we have today.

So did the founders. Of course we're much smarter than they were because this time it's different.

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 11, 2014 11:03 AM  

@Nate Never the less many of us would be perfectly happy defending our own freedom. We neither need, nor particularly want, you up on that wall watching out for us. We would rather the population itself... the able bodied males anyway... be the wall.

Well Said. Those on the wall who start watching out for us end up watching us, then trying to control us and our property. To use the iOS analogy, it isn't a "walled garden", it is a prison. When the same people inside and outside control the walls and gates, is freedom and we are citizens. Otherwise it is guards and prisoners.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:04 AM  

'When attacked, Nate, I attack back, and place no particular value on showing more restraint that the original pussy showed."

falsely attacked as well I would ad. nah I get it... no problem with the aggression. He had it comin'. I just don't think its the best position to launch the counter from.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:04 AM  

"From the outside looking in, I would imagine military officers are likely to have the One Tool Carpenter problem, especially officers whose careers are spent in the service of the only worldwide military empire in existence today. To the best of my knowledge, every rationalization for "occupy the world" thinking dominant in the USA is tautological."

And being, say, unconventional or, say, having a different profession, too, or two of them, still means I can have only one tool?

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:05 AM  

"But is it justified to subject a terrorist to temporary discomfort to save the lives of many citizens? It's not only justified, it is morally required."

you should know this is exactly the same rationale the terrorist use to justify their acts.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:06 AM  

Hd, I was referring specifically to Zhukov's point about what the state oughtn't be allowed, when that point didn't account for the outside, hostile, and dangerous world. Civilian ownership of nukes is a different matter, really. We've discussed it at length, here, and quite fruitlessly.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 11:06 AM  

Is it morally justified to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many others? That's debatable. But is it justified to subject a terrorist to temporary discomfort to save the lives of many citizens? It's not only justified, it is morally required.

If it's morally required then one should break the law and bear the consequences of his action.

But it shouldn't be something institutionalized as government policy.

Unless you're going to argue that the government who has botched obamacare, fast and furious, and lost untold billions in Afghanistan and Iraq will just this one time implement torture perfectly. H/T to dh.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:08 AM  

Al:

Well, you're first comment seemed to be about conversion of the captured, not a mass movement. I am, frankly, highly skeptical of both in this case.

Blogger Rabbi B December 11, 2014 11:13 AM  

"It was our psychological security blanket, our best evidence that we were “all-in” in this war, the thing that proved to us that we were fierce enough to win.'

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. - Nietzsche

Anonymous The other skeptic December 11, 2014 11:14 AM  

<a href="http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2014/12/11/another-brutal-charlottesville-virginia-murder-mother-and-daughter-beaten-to-death/#more-93684>Houston, we have a problem</a> with vibrants killing women.

Time to let loose the dogs of war.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:15 AM  

"Never the less many of us would be perfectly happy defending our own freedom. We neither need, nor particularly want, you up on that wall watching out for us. We would rather the population itself... the able bodied males anyway... be the wall.

I would prefer a militia system to the standing army situation we have today."

Can you answer the question of "would it work" positively? And work to do what? With our populace, most of the males of which are weak? Isn't it really true that you would prefer a different male populace than the one we have, which is to say the males of a fantasy, not of reality?

And whatever you may want, why would it matter, when the bulk of the populace, like that pussy, Chris, apparently prefer for someone else to do the training, the bleeding, and the dying?

Blogger Bob Wallace December 11, 2014 11:16 AM  

If there is going to be torture...don't let women do it. They enjoy it way too much, which is why, historically, women have not be allowed to do it.

Anonymous OddRob December 11, 2014 11:16 AM  

Unless you're going to argue that the government who has botched obamacare, fast and furious, and lost untold billions in Afghanistan and Iraq will just this one time implement torture perfectly. H/T to dh.

Harsh interrogation techniques have a 99.8% certainty that the information will be successfully obtained through harsh interrogation once conventional interrogation fails. In one case, a single face slap worked. For Abu Zubadaya, it took 25-30 seconds of water boarding to get the information they wanted. Obviously you can't expect it to be implemented perfectly, but I think 99.8% effectiveness is more than sufficient to warrant it's continued use.

Anonymous Salt December 11, 2014 11:19 AM  

The act of torture as Good v Evil is indeterminate. It's situational and 'of the moment', both debatable. It's the ability to have the discussion that keeps it in check as best can be. Hopefully the day won't come where think as to torture as the Eloi do to one of their own drowning or being taken as food; ho hum.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:19 AM  

"So did the founders. Of course we're much smarter than they were because this time it's different."

So might I, if we had the men for it. We don't.

OTOH, there are no operational or tactical rules to war. Principles? Yes. Rules? No. A professional army can beat a citizen soldier militia. A citizen soldier militia can beat a professional army. Both have happened. Both will happen again, I am sure. I am equally sure that a citizen soldier militia that doesn't train because "rights" and "libertarianism" and "no coercion" can't beat anybody. I am also sure that a citizen soldier army of pussies wiill fail, too.

Anonymous OddRob December 11, 2014 11:21 AM  

you should know this is exactly the same rationale the terrorist use to justify their acts.

Not even close. Terrorists believe they are carrying out the will of Allah, and that the killing of infidels is demanded. That is a little bit more than "temporary discomfort".

Blogger Salt December 11, 2014 11:21 AM  

With our populace, most of the males of which are weak?

Are you also speaking of, say, the USMC?

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 11, 2014 11:21 AM  

Is it morally justified to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many others?
A. Never when the killing is intended.
There is "double effect", for example if the one innocent will be killed among "the lives of many others". The classic example is an ectopic pregnancy. If the baby is not killed, both the baby and mother will die. The intended effect is to save as many lives as possible. The killing is unintended, the baby will die in either case, and the mother will only live if the baby is killed.
The case of "temporary discomfort" is different, but what if that isn't effective? What if the time is too short that a hardened terrorist can resist? Do you rape and mutilate his 7 year old innocent daughter if you think that would be more effective? Or put differently, if you are willing to damn your soul, it matters not the end nor the means. If you aren't willing, such things are a dinner with the devil, and you must insure your spoon is long enough, or leave it in the hands of Divine Providence and suffer the evil rather than becoming part of it.

In effect the discussions, both on "why do we allow the abortion holocaust", and "how much torture can we do", and other things are completely wrong and evil in and of themselves.

What they are asking is how many sins - how grave, how intentional the evil (any good side-effect doesn't matter), can I will and not end up in hell, or spend in purgatory.

The suffering in purgatory will be worse than any experience of torture by anyone on earth. Hell will be worse in that it is eternal. Knowing that would you suffer an extra day in purgatory to engage in an hour of torture to accomplish a goal which you personally consider "good" would you choose this?

If you do not believe in Purgatory, then Hell is the only thing left, and if your soul is so corrupt to intentionally and willfully commit grave acts of evil, you aren't saved. Knowing that the choice is between suffering the immediate evil, and the Passion suffered by our Lord was worse than anything we can individually or collectively experience, or damning your soul and doing one evil to stop a different one, you can make that choice. The early Christians did so - and the choice was being tortured to death or renounce Christ and lose their soul.

The Devil is not someone you should bargain, negotiate, or play games with. Yet it is he who is tempting you to become like the abortionist, terrorist, kidnapper, or whatever other evil you are seeking to defend against.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 11, 2014 11:22 AM  

"Willingness to torture became, first within elite government and opinion-making circles, then in the culture generally, and finally as a partisan GOP talking point, a litmus test of seriousness with respect to the fight against terrorism."

George W. Bush's call for those who wanted to do their part for America in the new global was to "go shopping" wasn't giving people a sense of national effort, sacrifice and togetherness.

The neocon right, committed as it was to the continued mass importation of non-whites including Muslims, and committed as it was to the reduction of Christianity to one cafeteria-style choice among many (with approved alternatives including even Islam), needed some sort of test of "seriousness" for its new long war. It needed some sort of sacrifice.

The litmus test of moral earnestness wasn't going to be any of the familiar ones from the Cold War, when immigration from Communist countries was right out.

It couldn't be anything that really would make white America more cohesive and dangerous, such as, say, universal militia training. That was unthinkable for the neocons, who would have experienced that national mobilization as a threat to their plans and themselves.

Something that stressed people moderately, like overcoming mental resistance to torture, but that didn't build people up individually and collectively, and only left them more debased and less capable of making a moral stand, was better.

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 11:22 AM  

Can you answer the question of "would it work" positively? And work to do what? - Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:15 AM

That is the question isn't it? To do what?

Would it work to protect a global empire built on a world reserve fiat currency system? Probably not.

Would it work to defend the nation from hostile invasion and occupation. Probably so. It has worked pretty wiel for the Swiss in that regards.

Anonymous hygate December 11, 2014 11:23 AM  

I have a question.

In a prior thread Vox commented that torture was not something that civilized people do. However, in the past societies that we consider civilized have used torture, routinely.

For example, the Roman Empire used Crucifixion to execute some criminals. Pliny the Younger writes of torturing a couple of Christian slaves as a means of investigating Christianity. Were the Romans not civilized?

I am not trying to be snarky on this, I am just interested in the Ilks take on it.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:24 AM  

"That's why I said I suppose it won't work for everyone."

I doubt it works on anyone, Josh. Anyone so deficient in character that you can seemingly effect profound changes to it is also too deficient in charcater or in honesty to count on. You are, in fact, not making changes, but getting the appearance of change under coercion. Let the 4th Mongolian Heavy Shock Horde show up and the appearance you're going to get is of the "soldier's" back, as he runs away.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:25 AM  

"Can you answer the question of "would it work" positively? And work to do what? With our populace, most of the males of which are weak? Isn't it really true that you would prefer a different male populace than the one we have, which is to say the males of a fantasy, not of reality?"

I do believe I can demonstrate that it works. It works fine in Switzerland. Costa Rica has no military at all and I would argue both have some nasty neighbors. In today's america we've demonstrated there are enough volunteers to form a formidable force. At least for defense. It would be useless for foreign adventurism... and thus the politicians aren't going to like it.

"
And whatever you may want, why would it matter, when the bulk of the populace, like that pussy, Chris, apparently prefer for someone else to do the training, the bleeding, and the dying?"

I don't think it matters much... we don't need a majority... we don't even need a large percentage. We could get a few million... which would be a real problem for any force to try to deal with.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 11:26 AM  

Harsh interrogation techniques have a 99.8% certainty that the information will be successfully obtained through harsh interrogation once conventional interrogation fails.

Source?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:27 AM  

hygate, there is a difference between a painful execution and pain inflicted to gain information. The Romans, of course, did both, notably in requiring that slaves, say, only have their testimony counted if given under torture. The Romans, of course, were one of the most - perhaps the most - realistic people to walk the planet. This has caused me to wonder, from time to time, if that requirement wasn't to give the slave an excuse to testify, which would protect him from his master's vengeance.

Blogger MC Slammer December 11, 2014 11:27 AM  

So it's ok to turn the terrorist into a red misty cloud along with many innocents around him but don't pour water up his nose, that's for barbarians.

Interesting reasoning, to say the least.

If it was your child that was going to be one of those killed in an imminent terrorist attack, tell me you wouldn't go to work in a heartbeat with a pair of pliers on a terrorist with information that could save your son. However, when it's somebody else's kid, then torture is uncivilized. Got it.

I'm surprised to see this kind of logic here. I thought it was exclusive to the Daily Kos. Guess not.





Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:29 AM  

We're not the Swiss, though, Allyn. Our people are different in ethos and outlook. Our history is different. Our terrain is different.

Blogger Hd Hammer December 11, 2014 11:30 AM  

Tom - "Hd, I was referring specifically to Zhukov's point about what the state oughtn't be allowed, when that point didn't account for the outside, hostile, and dangerous world"

But couldn't your objection be overcome by applying the same model I assume would have applied in the American war for independence against the British? I assume that the American militias would have had cannons, yet no-one would have argued that individual citizens should posses cannons.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:31 AM  

See comment to Allyn, Nate, and then add to it that Costa Rica, like that pussy Chris, is on a kind of moral welfare, depending on US, ultimately, for their defense. Bad example, in other words.

Anonymous johnc December 11, 2014 11:32 AM  

I don't find particularly effective the argument that governments shouldn't have access to torture simply because it could be abused, etc.; i.e., the typical limited-government libertarian approach. Far more effective (IMO) is an argument that torture is an intrinsic evil (i.e., everywhere and always wrong). I say this in the context that we know that killing* is not everywhere and always wrong (and thus not an intrinsic evil), and so in some ways this parallels the similarly weak argument that the government should not have access to capital punishment because it, too, could be abused against the citizenry.

I think the whole debate (re: torture) is a bit more nuanced where good people could come to different conclusions about whether or not it is an intrinsic evil. I am not completely convinced that it is an intrinsic evil, but I also recognize that if it isn't, its application would have to meet certain criteria in order for the particular act to not be judged a moral evil (just as capital punishment has to meet certain criteria to be legitimate).

(* murder, i.e., the intentional killing of an innocent person, is an intrinsic evil -- always and everywhere a moral wrong)

Blogger Raggededge December 11, 2014 11:32 AM  

For Abu Zubadaya, it took 25-30 seconds of water boarding to get the information they wanted.

Total bullshit...

In 2007, John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer who was part of the team that captured Abu Zubaydah, said in an interview with ABC News that Zubaybah broke after 35 seconds of his first waterboarding session. However, in his book published in 2010, Kiriakou acknowledged he was not present and had no direct knowledge of Abu Zubaydah's CIA interrogations at the Thailand black site.

Blogger Salt December 11, 2014 11:32 AM  

Our people are different in ethos and outlook. Our history is different. Our terrain is different.

As large as the faux-United States is, yes. But for argument, tell that to Texas.

Blogger JartStar December 11, 2014 11:34 AM  

If it was your child that was going to be one of those killed in an imminent terrorist attack, tell me you wouldn't go to work in a heartbeat with a pair of pliers on a terrorist with information that could save your son.

No, I would not torture or condone the use of torture. The ends do not justify the means and I put my faith in the Lord of creation that my child is in His hands and I do not have to commit evil to protect my children.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 11:34 AM  

I assume that the American militias would have had cannons, yet no-one would have argued that individual citizens should posses cannons.

Actually...in the revolution...some citizens did own cannons...some even owned ships that had several cannons...

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 11:34 AM  

In a prior thread Vox commented that torture was not something that civilized people do. However, in the past societies that we consider civilized have used torture, routinely. - hygate December 11, 2014 11:23 AM


civ·i·lized (sv-lzd)
adj.
1. Having a highly developed society and culture.

2. Showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement; humane, ethical, and reasonable



Definition of civilization (n)
civ·i·li·za·tion
1.highly developed society: a society that has a high level of culture and social organization

2.advanced development of society: an advanced level of development in society that is marked by complex social and political organization, and material, scientific, and artistic progress


I would say the Roman Empire was a civilization but they were uncivilized before Christianity in their barbarous and tortuous acts.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 11, 2014 11:37 AM  

@Tom Kratman

Having looked over the report. One thing that struck me was the utter lack of creativity. Stress positions and sleep deprivation looked to be the strongest tools they had in a very weak tool box.

No use of hallucinogens. No real use of sensory deprivation. No effective use of female interrogators. This is WWII level stuff. The psychological aspects were little short of utterly primitive.

It looked to me like they rounded up a bunch of old SERE school instructors and said, "wing it guys!"

How may millions did some political donor get for this? Because that is exactly what this smells like.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:38 AM  

If that were the point he was making, HD.. It wasn't obviosuly so.

I have no problem with cannon, F-16s, DDs, FFs, CVNs. I REALLY didn't want to get into this, it's so goddamned fruitless. But since it can't be avoided, I have a fourfold problem with private nukes. One is that they're too great a violation of the one man-one vote principle, in a way that, say, macine guns and mortars are not. Secondly, we live in a world of lunatics, so one or more will be used friviously or criminally in a way our own government is unlikely to, because the government using it would adversely affect taxc revenues. Thirdly, when that happens, the dictatorship we will see, to disarm everyone, because the people will demand it, would make Stalin blush, Fourthly, they're not especially useful for the things small arms are useful for, which is resisting lesser tyrannies before they grow into greater.

Nonetheless, the point I was trying to make still stands. To rephrase: In a hostile world you cannot limit what the state can have without reference to the more dangerous and hostile world outside that we set up the state to deal with in the first place.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:39 AM  

I am pretty sure I could direct a better program CS, now that you mention it.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 11, 2014 11:39 AM  

""Did you order the code red, kratman?"

God that movie was stupid."

One day at a service rifle match, while sitting in pits, pulling targets, some subject in the conversation with the Marine gunny sitting next to me prompted him to start reciting the "you can't handle the truth" speech from that movie. Every Marine within earshot joined in before he finished. I'm guessing it wasn't because they thought it was stupid.

Also, fwiw, a couple of girls on the Jr. AFROTC team out scored most of the Marines that day.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:40 AM  

"We're not the Swiss, though, Allyn. Our people are different in ethos and outlook. Our history is different. Our terrain is different. "

Agreed. But we share many traits. The swiss for example have a bit of a gun culture the way the US does. Marksmanship is a big deal there.. much the way it is here. And they have protection in terms of mountains and such... we have protection in the form of giant oceans.

Culture wise... we absolutely have ability to produce disciplined hard men that will do what needs done. How many more volunteers would the army have if foreign deployment wasn't on the table?

I would put it to the states to organize and run their militias... with federal guidelines for things like minimum number training days and muster days. Men 18 and over would volunteer to serve. I would tax those who don't volunteer and use the revenue to pay those who did, and to provide some facilities and cover some expenses. I would also allow the militias to turn folks away and kick folks out... and those people would then be back in the taxable pool so people couldn't half ass it for the cash. The officer class would be made up of real pros... employed by the states.

I think it would be necessary perhaps to enhance this system with a foreign legion of conscripts. Illegal migrants... criminals of a certain class... what-have-you... to add another tool in the tool box. The Legion would be stationed elsewhere and would be brutal in discipline to the point that folks would probably prefer a death sentence.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 11:40 AM  

It looked to me like they rounded up a bunch of old SERE school instructors and said, "wing it guys!"

How may millions did some political donor get for this? Because that is exactly what this smells like.


That's exactly what they did, to the tune of eighty million dollars.

Anonymous OddRob December 11, 2014 11:41 AM  

The case of "temporary discomfort" is different, but what if that isn't effective? What if the time is too short that a hardened terrorist can resist?

Of more than 500 GITMO detainees subject to enhanced interrogation, only 3 didn't reveal what they knew using techniques short of waterboarding. So we know it is effective. Standard CIA interrogation procedure always begins with conventional “friendly” (non-harsh) methods. For hardened terrorists at GITMO the friendly methods worked about half the time. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was insulted that interrogators thought he took his ideology so lightly that he might be charmed out of it. Eventually Khalid revealed a plot to blow up the Brooklyn bridge was revealed when harsher methods were used. There is little reason to believe any methods more harsh than waterboarding would ever be necessary.

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 11:43 AM  

"Our people are different in ethos and outlook. Our history is different. Our terrain is different. " - Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:29 AM

Who are our people?

As Nate pointed out there are more than enough people with the proper ethos and outlook to sufficiently defend the nation, they are just not interested in defending the empire.

Blogger Salt December 11, 2014 11:45 AM  

One is that they're too great a violation of the one man-one vote principle

You won't win that one here, Tom. I tried once. Won't fly, regardless of your correctness ;-)

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:45 AM  

"I don't think it matters much... we don't need a majority... we don't even need a large percentage. We could get a few million... which would be a real problem for any force to try to deal with."

Because Lidice never happened, right?

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:45 AM  

"I'm guessing it wasn't because they thought it was stupid."

The speech was the only good thing in that movie. Remember.. the colonel that made it goes to prison and everyone thinks Tom Cruise (who is actually a SJW in that film) is the hero.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:46 AM  

I don't expect to "win," Salt. I expect merely to say, "I think the position is ludicrous," thus preserving my self respect in the face of wankery in the first degree.

Anonymous Perpetual War December 11, 2014 11:47 AM  

a litmus test of seriousness with respect to the fight against terrorism.

The very roots of the war on terror are a Lie.
The war is on you.

Blogger Bogey December 11, 2014 11:48 AM  

Nonetheless, the point I was trying to make still stands. To rephrase: In a hostile world you cannot limit what the state can have without reference to the more dangerous and hostile world outside that we set up the state to deal with in the first place.

Yes, I wouldn't take anything off the table. Keep the enemy guessing, don't send them a fucking gift saying we won't under any circumstances torture or use nuclear weapons.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:48 AM  

"Because Lidice never happened, right?"

Sure as hell never happened here. I recall the britts tried it twice... the french tried it... the mexicans also kinda tried it and made a dent...

and they all got their asses kicked by militias.

Blogger Max Johnson December 11, 2014 11:50 AM  

Reading Tom slicing and dicing Josh's sarcastic retorts with ease is a thing of pure splendor.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:51 AM  

Okay, we share many traits, nate. You were aware, were you not, that the Swiss, in the face of aggressive antimilitarism, are demilitarizing? That they've chopped their citizen soldier militia quite abit? That they can no longer mobilize 700k or so (they always understated what they could do) on 48 hours notice? That their combat forces are a mere fraction of what they one had? That they've sold off most of their fortifications? So...we share traits...

Blogger Salt December 11, 2014 11:51 AM  

I recall the britts tried it twice... the french tried it... the mexicans also kinda tried it and made a dent...

Yeah, and who is fighting and for what? Makes me think of the Zulu at Isandlwana.

Anonymous Daniel December 11, 2014 11:52 AM  

I assume that the American militias would have had cannons, yet no-one would have argued that individual citizens should posses cannons.

Actually...in the revolution...some citizens did own cannons...some even owned ships that had several cannons...


Many of the cannons used were privately-owned cannons. The Army was broke. Hell, Lexington and Concord was all about the British going after private cannons.

I assume nearly all of the Federal Empire's canons were state owned in the Civil War. I'd be surprised if all Confederate cannons were state-owned, but I don't know for certain.

A Letter of Marque wouldn't make much sense in the Constitution if heavy guns were not often held by private folk...or privateers, if you will.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 11:52 AM  

Not the point, Nate. You either have the force to keep the enemy completely OUT, and to threaten him with extinction if he tries to harm you from outside, or you open yourself up to occupation and Lidice.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:56 AM  

'Okay, we share many traits, nate. You were aware, were you not, that the Swiss, in the face of aggressive antimilitarism, are demilitarizing?"

Yep. Math is on our side though Tom. Logistics are also on our side. For example can you imagine the nightmare of trying to invade the US? Just getting a big enough army to matter over here is a huge problem.

Now look at our population. well over 300 million. So if just 1% of the able bodied males is ready to go... you have about 1 million ready to rock.

Given the system I described... it would be a lot more than that.

Not to mention dealing with the ever so nasty foreign legion.

I think you're not giving the matter serious enough consideration.

Blogger Josh December 11, 2014 11:56 AM  

Reading Tom slicing and dicing Josh's sarcastic retorts with ease is a thing of pure splendor.

Hater

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 11:57 AM  

"Not the point, Nate. You either have the force to keep the enemy completely OUT, and to threaten him with extinction if he tries to harm you from outside, or you open yourself up to occupation and Lidice."

I'm believe a standing Navy is a necessary thing. That's a big help. And I don't agree that you have to keep the enemy completely out. You invest in real civil defense and provide rescources for towns and even homes to defend their populations or at least shelter for a time until the cavalry arrives.

Anonymous dh December 11, 2014 12:00 PM  

TK-- the definition of torture that you posted yesterday, do you think that is the most widely used one? You mentioned it was basically a paraphrase of the Geneva Convention definition?

Blogger jmyron December 11, 2014 12:00 PM  

It seems reasonable to me that torture should be absolutely illegal.

It should be illegal in the same way and for the same reason that any other form or assault is and aught to be illegal. Anyone who tortures anyone else for any reason should be prosecuted. If it is shown that the torturer was justified he should be acquitted.

I cannot say that torture is Always wrong and is Never justified. Just as I can't say the same thing about killing.

To my mind, the trouble is not the torture which in the case of our intelligence services may or may not be justified, it is the secrecy and the lack of accountability of the torturers. The law must apply to government agents and to citizens equally.

Blogger Salt December 11, 2014 12:00 PM  

Just getting a big enough army to matter over here is a huge problem.

Ask the Japanese.

[ducks]

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:01 PM  

If you want to accept all that on faith, Nate, be my guest so long as there's essentially no prospect of it coming to pass. My personal reading of the world - informed by a not inconsiderable background in the subject matter - tells me it's really not such a good idea for us.

Anonymous OddRob December 11, 2014 12:03 PM  

Source?

http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Measures-Aggressive-Actions-American/dp/145166348X

It is authored by Jose A. Rodriguez, an Ex-CIA chief and his collaborator. Generally, he says that befriending techniques work well if there are no time constraints. Even Saddam yielded to befriending over a period of a couple of years. But actionable intelligence has a short life time, and in those cases it is necessary and extremely effective to use harsher methods.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:04 PM  

Not the GCs; dh, the Convention Against Torture.

"Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."

Note that I simplified and limited it to what I thought would be useful to this discussion.

Anonymous stratocaster7 December 11, 2014 12:05 PM  

@Nate "I would prefer a militia system to the standing army situation we have today."

Absolutely. The chief benefit being that we wouldn't be pissing off half of the rest of world like we are at present.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:06 PM  

The problem with Rodroguez's and sundry other interrogators' opinions on the subject is that they fail to recognize or refuse to admit that torture is still on the table, in the mind of the prisoner, hence of effect, even if they personally have no intention of using it.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 12:07 PM  

" My personal reading of the world - informed by a not inconsiderable background in the subject matter - tells me it's really not such a good idea for us."

Sure.

But mate if a powerful competent standing military is required... how do you explain Canada?

I know I know... we defend Canada.

So who defends Costa Rica?

we do?

Sorry I don't buy it. We only need this epic military because we go around starting shit with everyone on the planet. Maybe we should consider not starting shit?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:09 PM  

"Just getting a big enough army to matter over here is a huge problem."

Not a huge problem, a time-space-assets problem. Given a base - Mexico or Canada would do, I suppose Guatamala might, too - and if we don't have the more or less regular force to eliminate that base, it's not that hard.

That's an illustration of one of the things that just makes the pro-militia etc. arguments a little hard to take seriously, the ill-thought out analogizing. Yes, hard for the Japs...because we only had a militia to deal with them? Wel..no.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 12:10 PM  

"The problem with Rodroguez's and sundry other interrogators' opinions on the subject is that they fail to recognize or refuse to admit that torture is still on the table, in the mind of the prisoner, hence of effect, even if they personally have no intention of using it. "

Yep.

And that's the real key to the whole ugly mess.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:11 PM  

You did know canada conscripts for major wars, no? You didn't miss that large global power just south of the border to help them, did you? You didn;t skip the chapter in history where they were defended by and dependent on the great genuine empire in world history for their defense, did you? Tsk.

Blogger njartist December 11, 2014 12:13 PM  

I can only assume that those here who are so against torture for any reason what so ever are also against bondage and sado-maschistic sex...

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 11, 2014 12:13 PM  

Today is the vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, whose appearance (as a pregnant princess) ended the Aztecs sacrificing one out of four of the youth of Mexico, and is a patron of pro-lifers.

Can you answer the question of "would it work" positively? And work to do what? With our populace, most of the males of which are weak? Isn't it really true that you would prefer a different male populace than the one we have, which is to say the males of a fantasy, not of reality?

Against which threat? A nuclear bomb in a suitcase or missile isn't going to be stopped by a standing army. Whatever is going on "over there" that stays "over there" is not a threat.

I don't think - given Game, MGTOW, etc. that the males are weak. There are and always have been "white knights", but even they are taking a stand if wrong. Misguided masculinity, but still masculinity.

If an actual military style threat on US Soil (not to be confused with the remote Korea, Vietnam, - and Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama - really? - Iraq and Afghanistan), the males doing virtual killing in their basements are likely to find it more entertaining to use real guns. I don't think this is necessarily good, only that people rise to the occasion when directly threatened, not cowed by the imagination of military bureaucrats and think-tanks sponsored by defense contractors.

The question is if the male population in the US can and will rise up to a clear, specific, and immediate threat. That is open to debate. And whether the fantasy v.s. reality is merely the big city v.s. the country. Metrosexuality is part of the liberal propaganda. Men are still men, at least cis-males.

And are there ANY strong males? Or just those who pose and posture against convenient and ugly evils?

Continued...

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:13 PM  

greatest, rather

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 12:15 PM  

"My personal reading of the world - informed by a not inconsiderable background in the subject matter - tells me it's really not such a good idea for us." - Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:01 PM

That is what it really boils down to, a personal reading of the world.

The personal reading of the founding fathers and many others throughout time up until the present day is that a standing army and the militarism it fosters is a bigger threat to the nation and liberty than any outside entity.

Others, seemingly yourself included, see those outside entities as a greater threat.

As a final argument of the point, I would offer that throughout human history governments have killed and terrorized far more of their own people than outside invaders ever have.

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 11, 2014 12:16 PM  

Today is the vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, whose appearance (as a pregnant princess) ended the Aztecs sacrificing one out of four of the youth of Mexico, and is a patron of pro-lifers.

I frequently point out we have an Abortion Holocaust in our midst. What are the strong real men doing about it, as they probably outnumber the abortionists who are women or the weak men you speak of by at least 3 orders of magnitude. If even the wisest, strongest, and bravest men won't fight a local evil of this size and gravity, what basis is there to condemn the other men as weak? Or in this, you too are a profound pacifist. We can talk of hypothetical situations and remote threats, but here in the US 4000 innocents will be horribly murdered today. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. More than in the 9/11 attacks. OK, lets start with this huge glowing neon sign evil located conveniently down the street with no complicated intelligence necessary, and other than continuing the 40+ years of "negotiation", what should be done? It might be nicer and easier to pick comparatively trivial evils, and then have victory and triumph, but isn't that really weakness? Oh yes, I'm a pacifist. An ultra-pacifist. Because my "neighbor" with an MD and medical license in a nice home, driving a nice car, wearing a nice suit, protected by Hussein, I am told I can never do anything violent against. OK. (Note : Tiller's assassination was almost universally condemned, but took place 2 weeks after Dick Cheney was on TV saying "we had to break the law to save innocents"). But if no one can do anything about a murderer that literally (yes, "literally") has the blood of tens of thousands on his hands, why should I care about the comparatively trivial people who either issue empty fatwas or kill a few here or there? Try graphing abortions per day/week/month/year v.s. terrorist victims. If there is ever a reason for any of the evils justified by "the war on terror" including torture, here is the greater, perhaps the greatest evil, which would justify taking those actions.

Maybe the leaders of ISIS need merely to learn to perform abortions and use their headquarters as clinics, then they would never be targeted for assassination or bombing, because doing such against abortion are so evil no one in America would ever do it, and the few who did anyway would suffer condemnation from all sides. And sanctions would violate the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act!

Whatever you WON'T approve of or do or justify to fight abortion can't be justified to be used to fight terrorism. At least until the terrorists have killed a few million people so it might start becoming a proportional evil. Feel free to endorse any method, but you must start with the cardinal evil, not the lesser one.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:16 PM  

Panama wasn't about Panama, Sarco. it was about the greatest strategic asset in the world, both for military and commerce, the Canal.

And, sorry, but I look at the boys today, the one's never in uniform, and I see lard, weakness, meekness, pussiness, and a whole shitload of ritalin.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:17 PM  

Some governments have, Allyn, not all. Indeed, some types have, but not yet our type.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 12:18 PM  

"too - and if we don't have the more or less regular force to eliminate that base, it's not that hard."

That's what the foreign legion is for mate. If you're gonna address the plan you have to address the whole plan.

And even if you do get a base established... and you do invade and you do take a town or two... so what? Your army is still irradicated in days. And there is no other outcome.

All this over lidice? Hell man we lost way more than that on 911.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 12:19 PM  

"And, sorry, but I look at the boys today, the one's never in uniform, and I see lard, weakness, meekness, pussiness, and a whole shitload of ritalin. "

Maybe you should get out of the city.

Blogger Hd Hammer December 11, 2014 12:20 PM  

@Tom Kratman - " I REALLY didn't want to get into this, it's so goddamned fruitless."

Firstly, thanks for your replies and apologies for putting you through torture and making you express your views on this subject when you have done so before (I missed it previously).
Secondly, I agree with your point insofar as it is practical expedient, although I don't agree it is ideal. The same with your argument against a militia, a militia is preferable, but maybe not practical, not at this point in time. Maybe it can be fixed but not overnight.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 12:21 PM  

"
And, sorry, but I look at the boys today, the one's never in uniform, and I see lard, weakness, meekness, pussiness, and a whole shitload of ritalin. "

also... I think you're assuming militia means "untrained". it doesn't have too. In todays world the system would require a large time committment. Hense the pay requirement.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 11, 2014 12:23 PM  

njartist: "I can only assume that those here who are so against torture for any reason what so ever are also against bondage and sado-maschistic sex..."

That's like assuming that everyone who thinks George Plantagenet (1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick) was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine but should not have been must necessarily be a teetotaler.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:25 PM  

The system you describe, Nate? Right. A system is more than an idle pining for x or y or z. Show me tables of organization. Show me disciplinary regulations. Show me budgets. Show me a recruiting command. Show me where and how and under whom the training takes place. Show me how leadership is identified and selected. Show me the counterintel that protects the fortifications from being compromised. Those things indicate a system.

This whole thing reminds me of the fucking Tranzis I used to have to deal with at the War College, pining away for that coveted force "as large and well funded as defense" for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. And I told them the same thing: "Don't postulate or fantacize; show me the system." Which is, by the way, one of the major reasons I was essentially forbidden from talking to foreigners from about mid-2004 on.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:28 PM  

It's not about the level of loss overall, Nate, it's about the effectiveness on those who have lost. Read this: http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/10/06/politics/defining-terrorism-random-acts-terror/ and the follow ons. Don't stop until you get at least to Lidice.

Anonymous Lysander Spooner December 11, 2014 12:29 PM  

"Abortion is the Left's litmus test.
Torture is the Right's."

This is exactly why a Christian can be neither a RePuke or DemoCrap.

Regarding torture and the criminal Cheney and his ilk; Vlad "The Impaler" where art thou when you are so needed. IMHO the entire gang, including the Bush, Clinton and Obama crime families should receive the Vlad treatment.

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 12:30 PM  

"Some governments have, Allyn, not all. Indeed, some types have, but not yet our type." - Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:17 PM

Is there something special about our government today that differs from those governments that have murdered their citizens by the millions?

The lack of a standing army was put in as a safe guard to prevent that army from being used against the people by the type of corrupted and distorted government we have today.

It is only the fear of the armed militia in this country that keeps the last vestiges of the constitution alive and the ambitions of tyrants hidden from plan sight.

Blogger Salt December 11, 2014 12:30 PM  

Most all of your "show me ..." can be at the local level, Tom. What Nate is pondering is not without merit.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:37 PM  

Didn't say it's without merit, or not completely, in principle. (Indeed, I've written over a million words on an effective citizen-soldier militia.) I'm saying that a) it not that easy or obvious, b) it's not without risks, and c) spouting bad analogies - bad wrt us - and pious platitudes doesn't advance it any. IMNSHO, of course.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:39 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger njartist December 11, 2014 12:39 PM  

@ Titus Didius Tacitus December 11, 2014 12:23 PM
That's like assuming that everyone who thinks George Plantagenet (1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick) was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine but should not have been must necessarily be a teetotaler.
Clarence died from being the butt of brotherly love.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:40 PM  

You really don't see a difference between us and Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia? If so, I doubt I can show you any that you are capable of seeing. If not, what's your point?

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 11, 2014 12:42 PM  

And don't permit the government to do anything you don't want it doing to any of its citizens.

Especially something which, by necessity, has to be done behind closed doors. I don't trust the government to educate children, to manage the money supply, or to administer justice particularly well, and it does those things right out in the open. And I'm going to trust them to torture people -- including fellow citizens, inevitably -- and take their word for it that they're getting useful information and not going too far?

Anonymous Laz December 11, 2014 12:44 PM  

"Just getting a big enough army to matter over here is a huge problem."

There is some truth to Red Dawn. Ask any Chinese immigrant in this country and they probably have a gun. A few thousand sleepers rise up and take out key personnel while they airdrop and land (by sea) another 100M. BAM, your 1M militiamen are fighting 100 to 1 odds.

Anonymous BigGaySteve December 11, 2014 12:44 PM  

"Logistics are also on our side. For example can you imagine the nightmare of trying to invade the US? Just getting a big enough army to matter over here is a huge problem. "
Not when bath house Barry using US tax dollars to fly in 3rd world Muslims and dump them on welfare and dozens of other taxpayer paid benefits like the Boston Marathon brothers and Fort Dix attackers. They are using al-hijra to squat out fighters at our expense and considering welfare to be jizya. My gay tax dollars are paying them to breed, its bad enough I have to pay for Laqueefa's 20 illegitimate crack babies, despite never touching her. ISIS believes in throwing gays from the highest point in a city then stoning(not the Charlie Sheen way) them to death. The Refugee Resettlement Blog covers these issues.

What is surprising is everyone seems to act like torture is manly but are too poooosssy to do what worked for Thomas Jefferson & Gen Blackjack Pershing against Muslims which was burying already dead jihadists with bacon, which they believe sends them to hell. Israel has used jihadi sniffing pigs for years because muslims wont blow themselves up near them. Ann Coulter volunteered to go to the UK to execute any child rapists they give the death penalty to, since once great Britain doesn't seem to have any real men to do it. Big Gay Steve's Big Gay Spokesman's services is willing to execute muslims that behead soldiers on London's streets and grandmothers in their gardens. Its a sad day in once great Britain that a woman & a puff are better than what passes for real men.

ps. if you are going to send a care package to the troops please consider including canned bacon like Yoder's

Anonymous OddRob December 11, 2014 12:45 PM  

The problem with Rodroguez's and sundry other interrogators' opinions on the subject is that they fail to recognize or refuse to admit that torture is still on the table, in the mind of the prisoner, hence of effect, even if they personally have no intention of using it.

The interrogation methods aren't haphazard. They are designed by psychologists to instill the idea that the terrorist's situation is hopeless unless he tells the truth. However, no enduring psychological negative effects of water boarding have been found in any of its subjects.

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 1:01 PM  

"You really see a difference between us and Nazi Germany or Stalisnist Russia - Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 12:39 PM

I see fewer and fewer differences between this government and that of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia every day. One main difference I see is an armed militia that so far has been successful so far in keeping the last few vestiges of the constitution alive, for now.

The point is that a standing army exists to project power and build an empire, not protect the liberty of the people. The point is that historically when people object to the plans of tyrants the standing army is used against them to suppress that dissent. People have more to fear from their own governments than they do foreign invaders.

No standing army, no empire and no tyrants. That is the point.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 11, 2014 1:05 PM  

@OddRob: "But actionable intelligence has a short life time, and in those cases it is necessary and extremely effective to use harsher methods."

With all the evidence I am aware of I find the proposition that these harsher methods successfully retrieve actionable intelligence worth the effort to be rather dubious. The end rarely, if ever, justifies these means, especially away from an active battlefield.

Anonymous dh December 11, 2014 1:08 PM  

There is some truth to Red Dawn. Ask any Chinese immigrant in this country and they probably have a gun. A few thousand sleepers rise up and take out key personnel while they airdrop and land (by sea) another 100M. BAM, your 1M militiamen are fighting 100 to 1 odds.

This is stupid, and I don't know anything. There are only 20,000 operating airliners in the world. If the Chineese had them all, they could airdrop about 5M people, assuming you could airdrop from them (which you can't).

To launch and invasion force by sea of millions, they'd need dozens of thousands of troop transports, which they don't have.

You can't trick the logistics. Unless they invent a teleporter, you can't get to 10-to-1 or 100-to-1 odds without a huge invasion flotilla - the largest ever conceived in history.

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 1:09 PM  

"...personnel while they airdrop and land (by sea) another 100M" - Laz December 11, 2014 12:44 PM

Please tell us how the Chinese are going to airdrop and land an army of 100M to crush the militia.

The Soviets, the US and many others before them tried the equivalent of that in Afghanistan. The invaders are all gone and the uneducated, goat humping Pashtun militias are still there.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 11, 2014 1:13 PM  

@Laz: " A few thousand sleepers rise up and take out key personnel while they airdrop and land (by sea) another 100M. BAM, your 1M militiamen are fighting 100 to 1 odds."

That's some funny stuff there.......the logistics of 100M take a bit longer than "bam" and very unlikely to have any element of surprise to it. The few thousand sleepers are will learn quickly that their war plans work perfectly until the first shot is fired.............they can't take out enough "key personnel" to blind the US gov't, military, or populace to a 100M force preparing to invade....the idea of hiding that for long is ludicrous....

Makes for entertaining movies tho'........

Anonymous paradox December 11, 2014 1:24 PM  

Nate
I would prefer a militia system to the standing army situation we have today.


A citizens militia is need now more than ever, especially when you have generals like McChrystal, who are extreme anti-gun nuts.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 1:27 PM  

Make up your mind, Allyn. Either the government we have is getting closer, day by day, to the Stalinist USSR or it's already there. You can't have both at the same time.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 1:28 PM  

I don't actually live in the city, Nate.

Anonymous Discard December 11, 2014 1:30 PM  

If it can be moral to kill another human under certain circumstances, how can it not be moral to inflict non-leathal pain on another human under certain circumstances? Breaking an arm is worse than slitting a throat?

Anonymous Jack Hanson December 11, 2014 1:32 PM  

I can't tell if you're being ironic or just threadshitting.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 1:33 PM  

"One is that they're too great a violation of the one man-one vote principle

You won't win that one here, Tom. I tried once. Won't fly, regardless of your correctness ;-)"

This argument, PON (privately owned nukes), is one of the big reasons I suspect a number of the "pro-RKBA conservatives and libertarians" hereabouts to be nothing of the sort. Rather, Is suspect some of them, at least, oif being lefist totalitiarian agents provocateurs. Why? Because private nukes simply isn't a right wing or pro-RKBA argument; it is a left wing argument designed to discredit the second amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.

Anonymous Gecko December 11, 2014 1:36 PM  

I haven't been through the comments, but a line from Bonhoeffer seems apt per the OP:

When a man takes guilt upon himself in responsibility, he imputes his guilt to himself and no one else. He answers for it... Before other men he is justified by dire necessity; before himself he is acquitted by his conscience, but before God he hopes only for grace.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 1:43 PM  

" I'm saying that a) it not that easy or obvious, b) it's not without risks, and c) spouting bad analogies - bad wrt us - and pious platitudes doesn't advance it any. IMNSHO, of course."

Easy? Of course it isn't easy. Who said it would be easy? And what on this planet is without risk? Everything has costs Tom. I am just asking the costs and benefits to be weighed. I have weighed them and I believe it be done. I don't think it would be cheap. In fact I expect it would cost more than the system we currently have. Due to the training necessary civil defense requirements... evacuation routes... and border defense that it would require.

I've thought a lot about this Tom... I'm not just making it up off the top of my head... but its largely off topic. If you'd like to talk about specifics about how its possible (hell if nothing else it could be good novel fodder) I think we could do so at my blog. If you want I will put a post up over there and we'll discuss it there. I appreciate your knowledge on the matter regardless.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 1:43 PM  

.the logistics of 100M take a bit longer than "bam" and very unlikely to have any

Doesn't take a hundred million, anyway. The German Army of Occupation of the Czech portion of Czechoslovakia was how big? (Not many.) Of France, exclusive of the one on the Atlantic? (About 1 for 150, mostly because they may as well refit there as anywhere.) They were all rather small fractions of the population. "One man with a machine gun and the willingness to use it..." "One Lidice."

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 1:45 PM  

I've thought about it a lot, too, Nate. For a long time. Go read ADCP et seq. But I've also thought about it wrt here and I just don't see the moral wherewithal for it.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 1:49 PM  

" but before God he hopes only for grace."

Which one can fully expect to receive if he has done his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 11, 2014 1:50 PM  

If it was [sic] your child

If a loved one of mine were in imminent danger of death, and I had someone in my power who I was convinced could save that person, and no other form of persuasion were working, then yes, I think it's quite likely that I would torture him to get the information. Then I would go to Confession and beg forgiveness for that sin and for my lack of faith, and face whatever civil penalties might result.

But should "What would I, a miserable sinner, do in a moment of weakness and desperation?" be the standard for government policy?

Anonymous OddRob December 11, 2014 1:50 PM  

With all the evidence I am aware of I find the proposition that these harsher methods successfully retrieve actionable intelligence worth the effort to be rather dubious. The end rarely, if ever, justifies these means, especially away from an active battlefield.

I do not understand the logic behind the argument that because it can sometimes fail to retrieve actionable intelligence, harsh interrogation should not be used. Let's suppose that harsh interrogation is in fact quite unreliable, working one time out of a hundred. I think that saving 10 million lives is a high enough moral value that it justifies its use. To assert the opposite, you have to say that saving lives is not a moral value but some sort of abstract utility. You assert the loss of lives is morally acceptable in view of the moral cost. I reject that.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 1:58 PM  

" Rather, Is suspect some of them, at least, oif being lefist totalitiarian agents provocateurs. Why? Because private nukes simply isn't a right wing or pro-RKBA argument; it is a left wing argument designed to discredit the second amendment and the right to keep and bear arms."

***chuckle***

mate... I think those double-agents may exist... but I can assure there are lots of RKBA extremists that really do believe in private nukes. Myself being one of them.

You're never going to convince me nukes in private hands is more dangerous than nukes in North Korean dictator's hands.

Nukes are expensive... and while the mega rich can be looney... those mega rich types already have access to the nukes if they want them. US law be damned.

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 2:03 PM  

Okay, I won't waste time trying to convince you. I will merely note that NK's government - though it tries very hard to give the impression of being lunatic - is actually quite sane and pragmatic, has something to lose, and knows it. The same is not true of, say, oh, some Islamofacist lunatic who expects paradise for nuking Birmingham, AL. I am by no means convinced that they are less sane than - or nearly as insane as- any number of extreme libertarians, either.

Blogger Thordaddy December 11, 2014 2:03 PM  

So let me get this straight... When the CIA "tortures," it's of absolutely no use intelligence-wise and merely represents a fundamental "American" sadism BUT when a jihadist saws the head off a live infidel many a "white" liberal of the West cower in fear and jihadist recruitment lines circle around the block?

Liberal = anti-white Supremacist

Libertarian = anti-white Supremacist's government

Vox... Are you a Supremacist or not?

Is TELLING a jihadist they will be tortured = REAL torture?

^^^ This is now the new libertarian stance?

Blogger Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 2:07 PM  

Okay, folks, my shipment of 24 landjaeger just arrived, so you're all going to have to do without me while I indulge mysef in an orgy of smoky, Baryische, dressed right and covered down goodness in the form of squared off, dried sausage, until I die of it or it runs out, whichever comes first.

Anonymous ZhukovG December 11, 2014 2:08 PM  

Well, this topic took off in some interesting directions.

My original statement:

"Never allow to The State, any power you are not willing to have used against yourself or your loved ones."

Has an obvious corollary:

“If you deny a power, to The State, you must accept the consequences to yourself and your loved ones.”

Neither of these statements takes a position on any particular issue. Each individual must answer for themselves.

My personal positions:

Torture: No, The State may not torture. But, not all interrogation techniques constitute torture.
Nuclear Weapons: Yes, The State, shall regulate and control them. They are too far removed from anything the founders could have imagined to apply to the 2nd Amendment.

Concerning militias, Tom is right to bring up the logistical issues that would exist, I believe it was Heinz Guderian who said, “Any competent officer can command a panzer division, it takes a genius to supply one”.

However I think we could still significantly reduce our military while still providing more than adequate defense for the 50 states. Say cut the Navy and Air Force in half and reduce the active Army to twenty percent of current strength. Reserves and National Guard can be called up if needed and we already have a National Militia as codified is US law.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 2:10 PM  

" But I've also thought about it wrt here and I just don't see the moral wherewithal for it."

Tom that's the easiest part of the whole deal. Its worth it because a standing military is, without question, a threat. "Military Coup" is a cliche' for a reason. Additionally... without a standing army politicians don't have a means to express their delusional foreign adverturist fantasies. Meddling in the affairs of other nations is more difficult when you don't have a large standing military ready to go at a moments notice... and the desire to meddle is reduced some what if one doesn't have a large well trained well funded military out there with nothing to do.

Additionally.. consider the cruise missile. The Navy doesn't pay for them until they are fired. Thus.. there are companies that have a vested interest in them being fired. Often. So anything we can do to mitigate these effects is desirable.

The question is... desirable at what cost? Will it cost us some security? if so how much?

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 2:13 PM  

"The same is not true of, say, oh, some Islamofacist lunatic who expects paradise for nuking Birmingham, AL."

That fellow can't afford a nuke mate. And those like minded types who can afford a nuke... have way to much to lose to give him one.

As I said.. there is precisely nothing stopping them from doing so today.

Anonymous allyn71 December 11, 2014 2:17 PM  

"Make up your mind, Allyn. Either the government we have is getting closer, day by day, to the Stalinist USSR or it's already there. You can't have both at the same time." - Tom Kratman December 11, 2014 1:27 PM

I don't recall ever saying this government was the same as that of Stalinist USSR. I clearly said I saw fewer differences between this government and that of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany every day. There is no inconsistency there.

While I don't want to put words into your mouth, so please correct me if I misunderstand, from your statement above I infer you mean that since I equate standing armies with empires and that since we have a standing army we are an empire and therefore our government is the same as Stalin's USSR.

If that is what you are saying then yes I would say this government is imperial and it is presiding over the American Empire, created in large part via the existence of a standing army, but I never said the American Empire = the Soviet Empire.

I would say that history teaches that empires are ran by tyrants and that tyrants have historically used standing armies against their own dissenting population and fore that reason the existence of a standing army is more of a threat than any external enemy. I would also say that a standing army and the empire building it allows and the resultant tyrants it creates is why the founding fathers prohibited the creation of one.

None of that means I said the American Empire = Stalinist USSR and that I am trying to have both at the same time.

Blogger Nate December 11, 2014 2:17 PM  

Thordaddy...

Have you noticed that everyone just kind of ignores your comments? You should notice that. And you should draw a very specific conclusion from that.

maybe even several conclusions...

Blogger JDC December 11, 2014 2:19 PM  

I am about to spend a blessed three hours in my blind...I have "Big Boys Don't Cry" on the kindle, and two days worth of torture discussion to mull over. This discussion has been outstanding...and as someone mentioned the use of platitudes,

"Nobody's perfect, and everything happens for a reason so just be yourself, do what you can do, and know that you could die at any minute so keep a stiff upper lip, follow your heart, and know that nothing is impossible...plus, it could be worse."

Anonymous dh December 11, 2014 2:25 PM  

"Nuclear Weapons: Yes, The State, shall regulate and control them. They are too far removed from anything the founders could have imagined to apply to the 2nd Amendment."

I should say I am not a document worshipper, like many in the US, but there is a simply remedy for this. And it involves the 2nd amendment getting a new number.

Blogger ScuzzaMan December 11, 2014 2:28 PM  

I've been reading Lind's On War very carefully the last few days. I remember many of the original pieces when they were first published. But I've been struck forcefully by how much stronger his will to believe seems to me now, even than it did then. I say this as someone who has been cynical about politics my entire life, and for whom becoming a Christian only exacerbated that inclination, given that we're informed plainly of spiritual wickedness in high places.

To illustrate that point, I spent a number of years following the early journalism career of Glenn Greenwald, and made a lot of friends in that community, even as my own political ideals are far removed from those of the majority there. Nonetheless, when we've had occasion to compare predictions in the geopolitical sphere, many of them have grudgingly admitted that I saw more clearly than they, and several have inquired as to how this happens.

My answer is that I imagine what I would do were I (A) utterly evil, and (B) possessed of great power, and then I dial up the evil a few more notches. It's a bit like Jack Nicholson's "I just think of a man, and take away reason and responsibility" in the film As Good As It Gets; I just think of a completely evil bastard and stir in total impunity and complete lack of self-restraint.

What does this have to do with William S Lind, and torture? In his articles Lind routinely laments that what the US 'coalition forces' were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan were "worse than crimes; they were blunders". He even quotes the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense forces as saying that these tactics are "ineffective and counterproductive".

But he thinks this because he thinks he knows what effect the regnant elite are trying to produce. He thinks they don't know, or don't care, that these tactics stimulate enduring opposition. He thinks they want to "win" the wars they are embroiled in like he thinks they won WW2; by defeating an opposing state and rebuilding it in their own image.

I find this both oddly arrogant, in that a man with no power presumes that those ruling over this planet are not as clever as he is, and oddly naive, in that he nonetheless believes thata man who comes to prominence via the Chicago Democrats political machinery (the most corrupt political environment outside of Washington DC itself), will share his objectives in securing the safety of his countrymen and fostering the common weal.

Actually, the reason these tactics - including torture - are deployed, is that they ARE effective, and they produce exactly the effect desired. This effect has nothing to do with gaining reliable actionable intelligence, true. Nor with keeping Americans safe, nor any other trite bromides the useful idiots and comment section warriors might promulgate.

The effect desired is to prolong the warfare as much as possible, and constantly expand it.

Lind comes closest to understanding this when he talks about the Pentagon's objectives at the highest levels of the political generals:

"But so long as the Pentagon thinks only about programs and money, ..."

and

"What John Boyd said of the Pentagon is now universal: “It is not true they have no strategy. They do have a strategy, and once you understand what it is, everything they do makes sense. The strategy is, `Don't interrupt the money flow; add to it.'” "

Which translates directly to:

"Don't win the war(s), do whatever you can to expand them."

Ineffective and counterproductive?

Count the wars, and you tell me.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 11, 2014 2:31 PM  

Mr. Kratman (correct honorific?) has been owning this discussion, but I disagree with him on the possibility of raising a formidable militia from the current crop of young men. Our mass degeneracy owes a great deal to a hostile, feminist culture and endocrine disruptors in the environment. This could change very quickly in certain circumstances.

Please keep in mind that I'm always the first to say the breeding stock is not what it once was. But on the time scale we're talking about (1945-2015), I think we can blame a great deal on nurture.

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