Michael's Dispatches

Torture is Wrong

107 Comments

24 April 2009

From Borneo

The British Army runs various jungle training courses in the friendly country of Brunei, on Borneo Island.  I am with a British Army Gurkha battalion and am going through 21 days of combat tracking training at one of the best tracking schools in the world.  Most of the students and all of the instructors are combat veterans.  Very good group to be with. There are Dutch, British and Gurkha students.  This course is about combat, so it’s doggone clear that the Dutch are serious about fighting in Afghanistan.  Nobody would need this course unless they were planning on tracking down bad guys.  (Part of the training deals with preparation for Afghanistan.)  Obviously the Brits/Gurkhas are serious about Afghanistan, so no more needs to be said on that.

We are very busy with the tracking training, so I've got just short periods at a time to write.  It's refreshingly hot and humid in Borneo.  Sweat is the scent of the day.  Last couple of days was all jungle time and had one good overnight in the jungle so far.  The jungle is very nice here, not like some jungles I’ve seen.  Only a few mosquitoes, for instance, but some other jungles are like mosquito farms.

But I am trying to also track on the mushrooming torture issue.  This sad issue is damaging our great country.  I've written extensively on the issue but actually published very little.  Joe Galloway has something out again today.  Looks like Joe is polishing up his bat to start punishing the Obama crowd.  Many of us remember that Joe treated the Bush bunch like baby seals.

I've got to get back to the training.  Can't keep the British Army waiting.  Meanwhile, please see this column by the one and only, Joe Galloway:

Commentary: Obama and D.C. dance the torture minuet
By Joseph L. Galloway | McClatchy Newspapers

There they go again, those folks in Washington, D.C. Everyone wants the power; nobody wants the responsibility.

We're back to the question of which Bush administration officials ordered Justice Department lawyers to concoct some legal way to use illegal torture methods on the prisoners we were taking in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

It appears that no one in power or recently out of power wants to know the answer to that question.

The Republicans in Congress, who resemble nothing so much as a dwindling flock of whooping cranes, have been nothing but surly since last November. Now they’re threatening to get nasty if the Democrats across the aisle insist on unearthing the truth - the who, what, when, where and why - about the torture question.

(Spare me your e-mails about how waterboarding isn't torture; even John McCain, who knows more about torture than you do, agrees that it is.)

President Barack Obama doesn't want or need this issue sucking all the oxygen out of the Congress and his ambitious agenda, and he just wishes it would go away. His position, if you can call it that, changes daily, if not hourly. He and his people look and sound like a hokey-pokey line on the issue.

The problem is that they're all thinking and acting like politicians, and there's nothing in this issue for any of them except an opportunity to do the right thing. Whoever won an election by doing the right thing? Talking about doing the right thing is another matter.

Torture, however, isn't a political problem, but a legal and moral problem, and therein lies the painful rub.

The new president and his administration released a few of the Top Secret memos that show how and why the lawyers in the Bush Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) went to work turning criminal acts into just another day at the office for CIA and military interrogation officials.

Then, however, the president hurried out to McLean, Va. to assure CIA employees that none of them will ever face prosecution for just following orders and using methods that they thought were legal - even though one of his first acts as chief executive was to halt the use of torture and order the closing of Guantanamo prison.

Next, the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, released a long-delayed timeline of how the torture issue wended its way from the highest offices in the land to the OLC and across the Potomac to the Pentagon and CIA headquarters and down to cells in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and rent-a-dungeons hidden away around the world.

In the process, we learned that one high-ranking al Qaida prisoner was subjected to waterboarding, a barbaric tool in the torturer's kit that involves suffocation and near-drowning, not one time for 20 seconds, as reported earlier, but 83 times. Khalid Sheikh Mohamed got the same treatment 183 times, or an average of six times a day.

The new director of national intelligence, Navy Adm. Dennis Blair, said that some useful information was squeezed out of the torture chambers, but he isn't certain that this information couldn't have been gained without resorting to techniques borrowed from the Spanish Inquisition.

Former Bush administration luminaries, beginning with former Vice President Darth Cheney and proceeding down the chain, hasten to declare that torturing those people made America safe, or safer than it was on 9/11, when they were all ignoring a CIA warning that Osama bin Laden was "determined to strike in U.S.."

Even if you believe that the end justifies the means and ignore the numerous factual flaws in this ex post facto defense, it doesn't address the question of how many of the 4,954 American troops who’ve been killed to date in Afghanistan and Iraq were killed by Islamic jihadists who were recruited in part by the revelations that we were torturing helpless Muslims. How much safer did those orders to torture make our young men and women?

The plain fact is that waterboarding is illegal under U.S. law. It's illegal under international laws and treaties that we helped negotiate, we approved and we adhered to until President Bush and his men and women decided that we wouldn't.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont has revived his proposal for a bipartisan Truth Commission to investigate the well-known and less well-known authors of this legal and moral outrage. If the Republicans continue to refuse to participate, as they have so far, he says, then he's prepared to launch a congressional investigation.

What's truly disheartening is to watch all the ducking, bobbing and weaving in the nation's capital - like so many powder-haired dandies prancing a minuet.

Yes, it's an ugly chapter in the life of a nation that prides itself on its freedoms and its rule of law. But it's more than that: It's a splendid opportunity for a bunch of politicians from both parties to find their spines, or borrow some, and get to work cleaning out the dark corners in the White House and emptying the closets of skeletons.


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jack Peek · 10 years ago
    Mike Savage has on his website, a tape smuggled out of the middle east, one of a grain dealer who pissed off a member of the royal family....You, and Mr. Galloway, whom I respect and admire so much ....look at that tape...you tell me which is worse...and get back to me.

    This event was over a 5,000 dollar grain deal, not stopping another 911.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Eric · 10 years ago
    Mr. Galloways quote: "Even if you believe that the end justifies the means and ignore the numerous factual flaws in this ex post facto defense, it doesn't address the question of how many of the 4,954 American troops whoƒ??ve been killed to date in Afghanistan and Iraq were killed by Islamic jihadists who were recruited in part by the revelations that we were torturing helpless Muslims. How much safer did those orders to torture make our young men and women?" you say this like they used it as a reason! Like they think like we do! C'mon...like Mr. Yon and others, I have been to Afghanistan and Iraq, do you really understand this metallity? Ovwer and over I hear about "Well, if we just leave them alone...or if we didn't torture them" Oh horse crap! Its hard to find meaning when there is know real known meaning. Crazy, fanatical is still and always will be crazy fanatical!
    Everyone keeps on saying the water boarding "may" have saved lives and then dedicate a whole story to that statement. How about this, can you prove it didn't save lives? You and Michael both, whom I have a tremendous amount of respect for, need to realize sometimes, sometimes torture is necessary!
    Even if you continue to disagree, you cannot disagree with the fact that this is no longer about humane treatment or law, this is about crush them and this is one club to use! This is now become a publicity tool tool, a PR campaign, so which is more scary? You figure out who the "them" is!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Don · 10 years ago
    Everything comes down basically one issue or event, in a situation that information is absolutely vital to save the country, how far and how willing would the POTUS be willing to go to save citizens and the country, I want the comfort of knowing that we will always be safe because of our intelligence system and the willingness of the POTUS to do what is needed to save us and the country. Essentially that is core responsibility. And in the last 8 years since 9-11 I have not been aware of any major terrorism events, That says something is right.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Christopher J. Scull · 10 years ago
    Your opening line defines the problem !CkhF
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Arthur L Throckmorto · 10 years ago
    Joseph L. Galloway writes "how many of the 4,954 American troops whoƒ??ve been killed to date in Afghanistan and Iraq were killed by Islamic jihadists who were recruited in part by the revelations that we were torturing helpless Muslims." Mr. Galloway, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

    With all due respect, would these "HELPLESS MUSLIMS" be those that killed 3,025 American and foreign CIVILIANS on 9/11? Would these be the "HELPLESS MUSLIMS" that attacked the U.S.S. Cole killing 17 Navy service members or the "HELPLESS MUSLIMS" that bombed the Marine Barracks in Beirut killing 242 American Marines? All of these events occurred before any waterboarding.

    Take a look at the Significant Terrorist Incidents, 1961-2003: A Brief Chronology, at the U.S Department of State web site (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/5902.htm). Now tell me that waterboarding senior Al-Qaeda leaders is going to make America less safe from their radical agenda? From the Munich Olympic Massacre in 1972 to the Mumbai, India attack just last November, 2008, there is not another group more violent, without provocation, than Islamic jihadists. They don't need an excuse for recruitment and their not going to stop until they are killed.

    These are terrorists and radical fundamentalists that care nothing of their own lives and only of imposing their beliefs on all non-believers. They don't waterboard prisoners, they cut off their heads or burn them alive. Just this week Pakistan is finally learning appeasement does not work. When will the World (and President Obama) learn from history. Talking to Hitler did not stop him, but killing him did. Talking to Saddam Hussein did not stop him, but killing him did. Talking to Kim Jong-il of North Korea will not stop him and talking to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran will not stop him either.

    I do not support killing a prisoner. But if we have to make a guy think he is going to suffocate or drown 1,000 times to save American lives, then show me where the hose is? Bottom line is the United States has not been struck again since 9/11 and we have taken the fight to the enemy on their turf.

    You say "spare me your e-mails about how waterboarding isn't torture; even John McCain, who knows more about torture than you do, agrees that it is." Well guess what, there's more than one reason Sen. John McCain lost his presidential bid. I don't care if you call waterboarding torture or not. More Americans support the practice when necessary than oppose it. The "rule of law" is a wonderful thing in a civilized world. Unfortunately, the entire world is not civilized.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tim Brouwer · 10 years ago
    Pretty one sided article. Espescially coming through you Mr Yon. Someone I have expected truth and uninhibited honesty from. I know you didn't write the piece and also know you will continue to write the truth about what is going on in both theaters; however, this piece seems to forget to mention the congressmen and women that were briefed on what was happening and now seem to feel the need to bash the previous administration because it is politically convienient. I do take exception with the thought that Al Qeida recruits tortured simply because we did. That is the equivelant of saying if we stop they will and that is absurd! Anyway, just my 2 cents worth, please keep up the good work, we need the truth here in America and you are the only way to get it! Thank You!!

    Tim
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jame Retief · 10 years ago
    The torture issue is a sideshow being used by the current administratio to distract from the things that they are either stealing outright, screwing up or ignoring because they haven't got a clue how to deal with it.

    In this article Galloway both strokes Obama as the One Who Can Do No Wrong and decries how he has not made a decision on this subject, while ignoring the decision that was made.

    Face the first fact: This adminstration has No Clue how to deal with the goings on at any level right now. The things that it takes credit for (ie-handling of pirates) were done IN SPITE of the lack of decisiveness of this CiC.

    As long as the tortue issue is waving around, point towards the previous administration, then the complete incompetence of the current administration can be ignored a while longer

    Mr Galloway, congratulations on being the patsy that Mr Obama needs to keep our attention elsewhere.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    "Revelations that we were torturing helpless Muslims"? Do you think those "helpless Muslims" give a damn about what's legal or what's illegal?

    Go to hell, Joseph Galloway and others who continue to blame the United States!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    I tried to post a comment of what I think about Galloway but it was blocked. That's fine, but posting an article about "helpless Muslims"? You have got to be kidding me!

    How come so many of you like Galloway forget about all the innocents slaughtered for the past decades by "helpless Muslims"?

    I don't know where your hearts and minds were after 9/11, but I'll bet there were moments you wanted those "helpless Muslims" who slaugthered more than 3,000 innocent Americans in about an hour to pay for what they did, huh?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    I guess you all know how mad I am!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard B. · 10 years ago
    Wrap two turns of det cord around a man's neck and bring the ends together at his chest. Crimp a blasting cap on about ten feet of fuse and secure the cap to the ends of the det cord. Wrap the fuse around the man's torso, genitals, and down his leg. Light the fuse and let his fellow prisoners watch as the fuse burns against his body. If that man fails to answer the question asked, he will lose his head but fellow prisoners watching it happen will answer all questions. Without a doubt, that is physical torture.

    Leave a man locked in his cell with bright lights and music playing night and day is also torture.

    I am sure that some would consider a diet of bread and water to be torture.

    The whole idea of interrogation is to get answers. If some forms of torture are used to get answers but the prisoner retains all body parts without damage, maybe that is not really torture, regardless of what John McCain thinks.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave Jensen · 10 years ago
    I am shocked Michael Yon has joined the far left 'torture crusaders' and the re-writing of history to meet political objectives. I remember the psyche of the public long after 9/11 and the impact it had on this country emotionally, economically, and politically. I remember the consistent fear the american people and our leaders had long after that tragic day. It's really easy to look back on a lazy day in April 2009 and see what we did wrong and forget the goal was to make sure this didn't happen again. Did we cross the line - yes but only a little. If Khalid Sheik Mohammed was really waterboarded 183 times then it wasn't torture, not after reading about his consistent antics at his trial. Obviously Khalid wasn't severely damaged physically or emotioanally after reading about his antics and tirades. Congress provided a very weak definition of torture in their 1994 law and President Bush had proper legal cousel to determine what constituted torture. In addition, key leaders of both political party's were informed of the findings and from what I can conclude the comments were more "keep the american peopel safe" rather then outrage. This ridiculous article by Mr Galloway in support of turning the US into a Banana Republic should be embarrassing to you Mr Yon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Wally Ferrell · 10 years ago
    Just who the heck are you kidding? These methods worked--they done the job and the people were not forever maimed as your hero John McCain was. This issue was in bed and should have stayed there. Only Bananna republics go back and kill all members of the previous administratiion who made decisions they didn't agree with. If you believe all this rot--it didn't work--we were too hard on those poor guys--we should jail every member of the Bush administration who participated in any way---then you likely also believe that if there are any surviving members of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations alive, they should be punished for nuking Japan!! It's time to get over this and move on, so, move on, Joe and Mike!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jerry Hossom · 10 years ago
    Mr. Yon I have greatly admired your objective reporting of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, appreciating your emotionally unfiltered descriptions of the war, its people, and the events as you've witnessed them, as they truly happened. It's why I've read your columns. Heretofore, yours has been the only reporting available which did not editorialize on the morality of war, the purposes served by the war, nor have you enriched your stories with hearsay and second hand information. Your work has been excellent, until recently.

    Now you've become one of the editorialists, like those in virtually all other news media, who embellish their stories with emotional and subjective opinions on the righteousness of war. War is not righteous, Mr Yon. It isn't a scene in Technicolor or shades of gray. It is starkly black and white. You either kill or you are killed. You either defend yourself and your fellow soldiers by whatever means are necessary or you, your fellow soldiers, and in this case large numbers of innocent civilians as well, will be killed. You kill them there or they will kill us here. You've previously acknowledged that, but now you want to place the same kind of tactical and strategic limits on our combatants as doomed us to defeat and tragedy in Viet Nam. "Don't waterboard to gain information" is no different from "don't bomb Hanoi". What else would you remove from our arsenal? Cluster bombs? What else?

    It's a death spiral, Mr Yon, and once you step on that slope there is no turning back. You have begun to erode our military's capacity to defend itself and us, my wife and my children. I promise you, if I were faced with the choice between morality and having my children die, there would be no limits, NONE, on what I would do to prevent that happening.

    I will remind you of something else. You have the luxury of being where you want, when you want. Soldiers don't. You also have the luxury of not forming the special emotional bonds that become an integral and necessary part of any military unit and its effectiveness in battle. I speak of the bond that can lead a soldier to unhesitatingly give his life for his fellow soldiers, who will throw himself on a grenade knowing he will die as a result, but does so willingly to protect his friends. Why would you possibly think that same soldier should treat the enemy who threw that grenade and will most certainly throw others with some greater regard for his welfare than he would allow for himself?

    Your reporting has been excellent, but you have corrupted that with editorial. You have shaded one with the other and have lost my trust.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jerry Hossom · 10 years ago
    Mr. Yon I have greatly admired your objective reporting of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, appreciating your emotionally unfiltered descriptions of the war, its people, and the events as you've witnessed them, as they truly happened. It's why I've read your columns. Heretofore, yours has been the only reporting available which did not editorialize on the morality of war, the purposes served by the war, nor have you enriched your stories with hearsay and second hand information. Your work has been excellent, until recently.

    Now you've become one of the editorialists, like those in virtually all other news media, who embellish their stories with emotional and subjective opinions on the righteousness of war. War is not righteous, Mr Yon. It isn't a scene in Technicolor or shades of gray. It is starkly black and white. You either kill or you are killed. You either defend yourself and your fellow soldiers by whatever means are necessary or you, your fellow soldiers, and in this case large numbers of innocent civilians as well, will be killed. You kill them there or they will kill us here. You've previously acknowledged that, but now you want to place the same kind of tactical and strategic limits on our combatants as doomed us to defeat and tragedy in Viet Nam. "Don't waterboard to gain information" is no different from "don't bomb Hanoi". What else would you remove from our arsenal? Cluster bombs? What else?

    It's a death spiral, Mr Yon, and once you step on that slope there is no turning back. You have begun to erode our military's capacity to defend itself and us, my wife and my children. I promise you, if I were faced with the choice between morality and having my children die, there would be no limits, NONE, on what I would do to prevent that happening.

    I will remind you of something else. You have the luxury of being where you want, when you want. Soldiers don't You also have the luxury of not forming the special emotional bonds that become an integral and necessary part of any military unit and its effectiveness in battle. I speak of the bond that can lead a soldier to unhesitatingly give his life for his fellow soldiers, who will throw himself on a grenade knowing he will die as a result, but does so willingly to protect his friends. Why would you possibly think that same soldier should treat the enemy who threw that grenade and will most certainly throw others with some greater regard for his welfare than he would allow for himself?

    Your reporting has been excellent, but you have corrupted that with editorial. You have shaded one with the other and have lost my trust.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian Roberto · 10 years ago
    So what else are we to do with captured terriorist. Pleasant conversation? The far left never suggest an alternative. What's going on in Washington D.C. is a witch hunt, orchestrated by the ACLU, and Move on.Org. All this is doing is dividing the country and distracting everyone from the real issues out there. This is Obama's time to show his leadership and put this issue to bed once and for all.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    I have to agree with you, Jame Retief, that this is a tactic being used by the Obama administration to detract from the "torture" he is inflicting on our nation both economically and with regard to security.

    Which brings me to why I'm posting again. Have you heard about the tape snuck out of the UAE showing Mohammed Zayed al Nahyan, the brother of the country's crown prince Sheikh Mohammed? In case you haven't, here's a little tidbit for you:

    "The Sheikh begins by stuffing sand down the man's mouth, as the police officers restrains the victim. Then he fires bullets from an automatic rifle around him as the man howls incomprehensibly. At another point on the tape, the Sheikh can be seen telling the cameraman to come closer. "Get closer. Get closer. Get closer. Let his suffering show," the Sheikh says. Over the course of the tape, Sheikh Issa acts in an increasingly sadistic manner. He uses an electric cattle prod against the man's testicles and inserts it in his anus. At another point, as the man wails in pain, the Sheikh pours lighter fluid on the man's testicles and sets them aflame. Then the tape shows the Sheikh sorting through some wooden planks. "I remember there was one that had a nail in it," he says on the tape. The Sheikh then pulls down the pants of the victim and repeatedly strikes him with board and its protruding nail. At one point, he puts the nail next to the man's buttocks and bangs it through the flesh. "Where's the salt," asks the Sheikh as he pours a large container of salt on to the man's bleeding wounds. The victim pleads for mercy, to no avail. The final scene on the tape shows the Sheikh positioning his victim on the desert sand and then driving over him repeatedly. A sound of breaking bones can be heard on the tape."

    Sheikh Issa's lawyer, Daryl Bristow of Baker Botts in Houston, told ABC News "the tape is the tape." The torture victim was identified by Nabulsi as an Afghan grain dealer, Mohammed Shah Poor, who the Sheikh accused of short changing on a grain delivery to his royal ranch on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. The UAE government, in its statement, says the matter was settled privately between the Sheikh and the grain dealer, "by agreeing not to bring formal charges against each other, i.e., theft on the one hand and assault on the other hand."

    Those "helpless Muslims" you refer to could be lying. Why should we believe a terrorist over an American soldier, or for that matter, an American president? Whether we have "tortured" or not, terrorists have used and will continue to use that propoganda as a recruiting tool. I will never blame the previous administration for doing what it thought was right under difficult circumstances. I guess Monday morning quarterbacks have nothing better to do.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jerry Hossom · 10 years ago
    Mr. Yon I have greatly admired your objective reporting of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, appreciating your emotionally unfiltered descriptions of the war, its people, and the events as you've witnessed them, as they truly happened. It's why I've read your columns. Heretofore, yours has been the only reporting available which did not editorialize on the morality of war, the purposes served by the war, nor have you enriched your stories with hearsay and second hand information. Your work has been excellent, until recently. Now you've become one of the editorialists, like those in virtually all other news media, who embellish their stories with emotional and subjective opinions on the righteousness of war. War is not righteous, Mr Yon. It isn't a scene in Technicolor or shades of gray. It is starkly black and white. You either kill or you are killed. You either defend yourself and your fellow soldiers by whatever means are necessary or you, your fellow soldiers, and in this case large numbers of innocent civilians as well, will be killed. You kill them there or they will kill us here. You've previously acknowledged that, but now you want to place the same kind of tactical and strategic limits on our combatants as doomed us to defeat and tragedy in Viet Nam. "Don't waterboard to gain information" is no different from "don't bomb Hanoi". What else would you remove from our arsenal? Cluster bombs? What else?

    It's a death spiral, Mr Yon, and once you step on that slope there is no turning back. You have begun to erode our military's capacity to defend itself and us, my wife and my children. I promise you, if I were faced with the choice between morality and having my children die, there would be no limits, NONE, on what I would do to prevent that happening. I will remind you of something else. You have the luxury of being where you want, when you want. Soldiers don't. You also have the luxury of not forming the special emotional bonds that become an integral and necessary part of any military unit and its effectiveness in battle. I speak of the bond that can lead a soldier to unhesitatingly give his life for his fellow soldiers, who will throw himself on a grenade knowing he will die as a result, but does so willingly to protect his friends. Why would you possibly think that same soldier should treat the enemy who threw that grenade and will most certainly throw others with some greater regard for his welfare than he would allow for himself?

    Your reporting has been excellent, but you have now corrupted it with editorial. You have shaded one with the other and have thus lost credibility.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 10 years ago
    Let me be the lightning rod for a moment. It disturbs me how many do not understand the difference between Right and Wrong and Right and Left. I would like to see information released that shows we gained information from torture on impending attacks that was not already gained thru conventional and legal interrogation methods. Until that emerges, everything else is guesswork. I understand the Pentagon may be releasing that information soon. Perhaps that will result in a better informed discussion.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    Why do you continue to insult those who disagree with you? What's going on here is people voicing what they feel in their hearts and minds. Many of us still cry about 9/11. That's because it happened on our soil. Many of us don't believe it's torture to waterboard. No matter what you say, the damage is done. Obama has hurt this country in ways that will take decades to repair.

    And further, what about all those innocents who die at the hands of the so-called "helpless Muslims". Who will speak for them? They have to live among beheaders, not waterboarders.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    Maybe you don't have the right definition of Right and Wrong.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    J.H. · 10 years ago
    Ok,

    Time for the other side of the coinƒ??ƒ?? first I would like you to think that another country has just torture your mother, father, brother, sister or even you for the last weeks. Would you HATE the people that did that? Honest answers please!

    If the other country tortured someone from your church for weeks because they thought he or she was a terrorist would you have HATE for them? Honest answers please!

    If your father got water boarded for weeksƒ??.would you want to kill the people that did it? Honest answers please!

    Your discussion of water boarding /torture is not an American topic only, really the rest of the world is reading about America and our torture. At some point you need to wonder what does everyone else in the world think about the US. You can split hairs what is or what is not torture but can you make the rest of the world buy the BSƒ??. NO!

    The rest of the world have been seeing their fellow church member, brother or father being tortured by American hands so do you think that makes them HATE America? Honest answers please!

    Short term you torture and stop an attack that saves 5,000 lives.

    Long term you torture and you cause a whole new group to HATE you and go to war with you and in the long term that group takes a total of 10,000 lives.

    What was really learned for all of the torture, not sure? What could we have learned by not doing torture, not sure? If we were not torturing people would more people have been willing to gives us more information, not sure?

    Would you kill the person or people that torture your familyƒ?? Oh we just water boarded them 50 times thatƒ??s OKƒ??..because we said so.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    A. Timmer · 10 years ago
    I find Galloway's article to be intellectually DISHONEST in several areas.

    "Even if you believe that the end justifies the means... how many of the 4,954 American troops whoƒ??ve been killed to date in Afghanistan and Iraq were killed by Islamic jihadists who were recruited in part by the revelations that we were torturing helpless Muslims."

    He takes the liberty to gloss over the fact that information obtained Khalid Sheikh Mohamed has prevented 2,974 fatalities of innocent American civilians. Only to suggest that, perhaps, the report of "torturing helpless Muslims" increased American troop casualties?! Let's inflate the percentage of those casualties to 10 percent of troop casualties, that would be 495 troop casualties. I can say with some certainty that those soldiers would gladly give their lives again for such returns for their sacrifice.

    Also ignored is the probability that among the Muslim population being recruited for jihad that there was a belief that "helpless Muslims" were being tortured long before people like Galloway were accusing the US of torturing. Or did they have a cheerful picture of the US? Correct me if I am wrong!

    "Khalid Sheikh Mohamed got the same treatment 183 times, or an average of six times a day.... Navy Adm. Dennis Blair... isn't certain that this information couldn't have been gained without resorting to techniques borrowed from the Spanish Inquisition."

    Intellectually DISHONEST! So Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was waterboarded 183 times? Was that because he wouldn't divulge his information the first time he was waterboarded or was the CIA just having fun at his expense? Let's assume he was waterboarded more because he still wouldn't talk after the first couple treatments. Are you asking me to believe that a man who wouldn't divulge his information for 10, 20, 30, maybe even the first 40 times he faced simulated drowning (the absolute worst we could throw at him), are you asking me to believe there might have been another, gentler way to get this information?! Really? Six times in the first day would no doubt cause all but the absolutely most committed men to sing like a cannery but KSM required days and days of this and you want me to believe something else would have worked?!!!

    While the tanks were rolling through Bagdad Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (Baghdad Bob) says, "no American troops are in Baghdad, and the Americans are committing suicide by the hundreds at the city's gates." we call this PROPAGANDA. Why? Because we all know it was intellectually DISHONEST. Well Mr. Galloway look over your shoulder the tanks are right there!

    Again Mr. Galloway, please correct me if my logic is faulty.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ray Esquivel · 10 years ago
    Sir, I don't know what Hal Moore thought of you, but seems to me that your experience at Ia Drang makes the point about use of torture to protect yourself, your family, or your country. You do whatever the hell needs to be done. You did it yourself killing to protect your own ass. So, in reply to the posted note, "Bite Me!" As far as I am concerned, I expect my country to do whatever needs to be done to protect Americans. Our laws do not apply to terrorists in my book.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stevend · 10 years ago
    The release of the enhanced interrogation memos was a mistake, IMO. Michael Yon and Joe Galloway are wrong to argue for it.

    The original damage, caused by the release of the memo, is done. Now, whether you consider the methods outlined in the memos as torture or not, it is clear that the decision to go forward with those methods was not taken lightly. Also, the enhanced interrogation was from 2002-03 - quite a while ago - in the more immediate aftermath of 9/11. It was a different time.

    The issue was dead. Obama could have shown his brilliance by adopting a new tactic that works much better than the old. Instead, he is focussed on the past, not the future, and seems intent on punishing people who were trying to do their best to protect the country.

    What's next? Should we reopen every Afghan and Iraq military strike that killed a civilian? Those accidental deaths contributed to Al Queada recrutiment, too!

    The current debate is not helpful and it will only divide the country. I hope cooler heads prevail and it is ended quickly.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    J.H., you're on to something. Let's wait and see if the beheadings and tortures of their own people/innocents stop because "America doesn't torture anymore". Let's wait and see if the IED's and the kidnappings/beheadings stop because "America doesn't torture anymore". And by the way, how long will it take before the murders stop because "American doesn't torture anymore"?

    You will NEVER make be believe that the murders have been committed by these thugs because Americans tortured "helpless Muslims".
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stevend · 10 years ago
    Your questions are dishonest and you know it.

    If my sister, mother, father, brother or church-fellow was:

    1. responsible for the deaths of thousands
    2. was also actively promoting savagery towards other humans, and
    3. had knowledge that would help authorities to prevent further mayhem

    Then I would plead with them to cooperate to the fullest. If they did not cooperate, I would expect the authorities to make them very uncomfortable till he/she did.

    Also, these enhanced interrogation methods (I do not consider this torture) were not wide spread. It is obvious that the decision to pursue this tactic was not taken lightly.

    Widespread low-level abuse (like in Abu Grahib) is a different matter. That should not have happened, but that's not what we are discussing here.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 10 years ago
    You know Joe I really respect you, but you are flat wrong calling waterboarding torture. I do not care what John McCain says about it, he was NEVER waterboarded. He had REAL torture applied to him and that is why I can't fathom why he calls waterboarding torture. Another point, if waterboarding is torture then why are we torturing our troops by using it on them as a training tool.

    Your position on this is beginning to sound like echos of the yammering salivating liberal wild dogs that are presently ruining our country!

    Here's my take on so called torture. If the procedure keeps my children and grand children from being blown apart by some scumbag filthy Islamic fascist then get out the hand crank generator and the body cavity probes and start cranking with a vengeance!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    5 mikes alone · 10 years ago
    What a biased article. "Vice President Darth Cheney". Are you now a parrot for Keith Olberman? This sounds like mostly hate speech to me. Just remember why you even have the right to speak and publish that garbage. Decisions have been made, were made, are made and you are safe to think and believe what you will. You could even call in to Air America Radio and probably have your magician diatribe applauded. But do you truly think the Muslims didn't already have plenty of fueled up hatred pent up waiting to be taken out on numerous suddenly available 'infidel' American targets? If you think their alleged learning of the so-called torture/mistreatment of captured prisoner terrorists fueled their fire, I think you are greatly mistaken. God Bless those who have served our country with honor and did what needed to be done to keep us safe. I thank them.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    senorlechero · 10 years ago
    Galloway is delusional. "which Bush administration officials ordered Justice Department lawyers to concoct some legal way to use illegal torture methods on the prisoners we were taking in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere." How does Galloway know, or have any idea, that someone in the Bush admin ordered Lawyers to "concoct some legal way" to do anything? He is making it up. The problem is that he believes it, and since he believes it he is delusional. These delusions are the thing making the "torture" issue damage our great country, as Yon says. The "torture" itself protected our country, and made us look strong to our enemies. It's only our "friends" who sit safely in their democratic nations that think the US is weakend by being strong against terrorists.

    And since Yon thinks it's a good thing to print Galloway's delusions, Yon himself is damaging our great nation, even as he laments the damage while reaping the benefits of being a US citizen protected by the greatest nation in the world. I don't (unlike Galloway) claim to know Yon's (or Galloway's) motives for spreading bizarre untruths about things they know nothing about, but I do know it is them doing the damage, along with Obama and the anti American left (within America and abroad), not Bush, not the military, not the CIA, and not those of us who are happy to see terrorists harshly interrogated.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 10 years ago
    As an aside from this distressing torture debate I would like to focus on Michael's first part of this missive. The British Army Gurkhas are one of the finest and probably the most fiercest fighting units on the planet. They have always been kept out of the limelight because of past British prejudice against "wogs", as they called them.

    It is my firm belief that the Gurkas are the very folks we need to use in the war against these Islamic fascists. They, the Gurkas, are born to this kind of conflict and have a long history of success in dealing with insurgents and terrorists. They could clean out the nest of terrorist rats in Pakistan and then go on the Afghanistan to mop up the rest. Probably have it all done before the next harvest of Opium!

    Disclaimer: My apologies to all peaceful and loving rats for lowering them to the level of stinking filthy Islamic fascists!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    NK · 10 years ago
    The next time we're attacked, I hope it's in a Democrat, Obama loving, anti-torture community.
    Sorry, but I'm just weary of listening to you, spineless people.

    The Democrat party is on a never ending quest to investigate the Republicans & the Bush administration; taking the focus off of them & the Obama administration's dismantling of everything Bush put in place, that has kept us safe for 7 years.

    We have a tax cheat in charge of the Treasury, a faggot responsible for the housing market fiasco, a woman in charge of Homeland Security, who wants to open our borders & a president who is turning America into a socialist country.

    Wake up, people!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 10 years ago
    Here is our take on torture on the TDN:

    Torture: Inflicting severe pain; anguish of body or mind. Examples of torture:

    (1) Losing your house and your credit to banks that gave you credit to buy a house so as to package the debt that you owe to them and then sell it to somebody else. Then the bank makes a huge profit from the sale and hands out enormous salaries to their executives and then rapes the banks assets for themselves while hanging their shareholders out to dry and then the executives bail and the bank winds up taking your tax money to repay them for the money they lost to their executives and for the money that they can longer make because their reputations are shot to hell.

    (2) Being told that using certain words is illegal, and then a conglomeration of unregulated, non-governmental concerns called the media enforces these unwritten ƒ??lawsƒ?. Then when enough of you use certain words that are construed as ƒ??racistƒ?, then you are put under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security and are branded as a domestic terror suspect.

    (3) Having absolutely no say whatsoever in a process whereby elected officials openly and brazenly issue insane amounts of debt to foreign countries in return for money that you gave them in return for the products, which were made by people who couldnƒ??t care less about anything you believe in, including environmentalism, human rights, and democracy. Then the elected officials who signed off on this have the nerve to get up in front of the nation they represent and spout off a bunch of rhetoric about the virtues of environmentalism, human rights, and democracy.

    (4) Buying oil from people who openly use the money that they earn from the oil to send their own countrymen to come and fly airplanes into your buildings and kill thousands of people. Then completely ignoring them and invading a neighbor of theirs instead, while the price of oil skyrockets and people wind up going broke to pay for the oil that they have to buy from the people who bombed them.

    (5) Finally, torture is waking up one day to find out that you have been in a coma for about twenty years. You find out that the President of the United States has engaged in acts ranging from lewd sexual behavior in the Oval Office with somebody who isnƒ??t the First Lady to going abroad and telling people there that the ones who voted for him are arrogant. You find out that the media is the new government of the country, and they make the rules that you must obey, while the elected government does anything it wants to do. You have to accept the fact that being lied to is not only normal but is downright acceptable and even fashionable.

    At that point you realize that if only somebody had dunked your head in water while being suspended on a board then you might not have fallen into that coma and you might have woken up before it was too late.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    wolfie · 10 years ago
    The number of times the person was water boarded is a msm lie. The number refers to the number of water pours. The drive bys know no limit of deceit.
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    Karl · 10 years ago
    Thank you for refusing to let this important issue rest, Michael, and using your experience and knowledge to bring the truth to light.

    -This- is an conversation the entire nation should, and must, have. Because our leaders must represent the values and ideals of the people, not the other way around.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carol · 10 years ago
    Thanks for making me chuckle (even though it's really depressing) while discussing a topic that is tearing our country apart.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frank · 10 years ago
    Please go to National Review Online, they clear up what being water boared 183 time actully means. Seams they were ordered to keep track of the number of pours, KSM was not wterboaded 183 times, in fact they were not allowed to conduct more then 5 waterboarding sesions in a 30 day period. If this information is true it proves once again how lazy the media is when it comes to acurracy in reporting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Capizzano · 10 years ago
    Michael - Kudos to you and your site. Keep it up.

    After living in the US for almost 7 years, I keep seeing this same theme pop up over and over. America and Americans seem to really not like to fess up and take responsibility for mistakes. It's shown up in the torture issue, the Iraq war, the mistakes of Bush Jr II, and now the financial crises racking the world. There is lip service given to it, sure, but rarely a full-on mea culpa, here's what actually happened, here's who is actually responsible, here's the punishment they are getting, and now let's move forward. What I've seen is more along the lines of here's what happened (but let's not mention names or parties or - God forbid - funding support) and let's move on. Nothing to see here folks! And it's not like it's just from the top - people at the bottom seem to lap it up. Almost as if they don't WANT to know their responsibility in all this.

    I've seen it in Obama, in Congress, and all the way down to friends of mine who vehemently argued for the actions and policies of Bush Jr II's Administration (e.g. Gitmo, torture, etc). Everybody seems quite content to sweep it all under the rug as unpleasant, and not to be talked about; taboo, almost. How can you have real resolution and change without acknowledging the events that led you there, which are usually (mostly) the causes of how you got there?

    It is normal, mature and rational for a person to acknowledge the cause of their mistakes so they don't repeat them. If certain factions of the GOP and Bush II were behind torture, and you voted for them - acknowledge the mistake! Don't pretend it never happened. It just enables the continuation of this farce.

    A great country should be able to take its medicine from time to time, because "great" does not equal "infallible"...especially not lately.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Capizzano · 10 years ago
    Michael - Kudos to you and your site. Keep it up.

    After living in the US for almost 7 years, I keep seeing this same theme pop up over and over. America and Americans seem to really not like to fess up and take responsibility for mistakes. It's shown up in the torture issue, the Iraq war, the mistakes of Bush Jr II, and now the financial crises racking the world. There is lip service given to it, sure, but rarely a full-on mea culpa, here's what actually happened, here's who is actually responsible, here's the punishment they are getting, and now let's move forward. What I've seen is more along the lines of here's what happened (but let's not mention names or parties or - God forbid - funding support) and let's move on. Nothing to see here folks! And it's not like it's just from the top - people at the bottom seem to lap it up. Almost as if they don't WANT to know their responsibility in all this.

    I've seen it in Obama, in Congress, and all the way down to friends of mine who vehemently argued for the actions and policies of Bush Jr II's Administration (e.g. Gitmo, torture, etc). Everybody seems quite content to sweep it all under the rug as unpleasant, and not to be talked about; taboo, almost. How can you have real resolution and change without acknowledging the events that led you there, which are usually (mostly) the causes of how you got there?

    It is normal, mature and rational for a person to acknowledge the cause of their mistakes so they don't repeat them. If certain factions of the GOP and Bush II were behind torture, and you voted for them - acknowledge the mistake! Don't pretend it never happened. It just enables the continuation of this farce.

    A great country should be able to take its medicine from time to time, because "great" does not equal "infallible"...especially not lately.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Buejammy · 10 years ago
    "Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont has revived his proposal for a bipartisan Truth Commission to investigate the well-known and less well-known authors of this legal and moral outrage."

    You mean the same leahy who leaked information to the press which was completely unethical and he should have been removed from his position? Yeah lets quote him some more you ass! Do your homework.


    "lEven if you believe that the end justifies the means and ignore the numerous factual flaws in this ex post facto defense, it doesn't address the question of how many of the 4,954 American troops whoƒ??ve been killed to date in Afghanistan and Iraq were killed by Islamic jihadists who were recruited in part by the revelations that we were torturing helpless Muslims."

    Holy $&*^! Now we need to make sure we don't do anything to make the Islamic Jihadist mad. Based on that, all us Christians will be dying soon and Israel will be wiped off the face of the Earth. Is this guy serious? What a complete idiotic thing to say.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tim · 10 years ago
    Although you may not have time to write your own outrage about torture, Michael, it's pretty embarrassing to use your website to forward such a slanted article. An honest reporting of Blair's assessment would have been nice, as well as an honest accounting of the frequency of the procedure.

    By pushing this commentary, you do a disservice to your prior fine work.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Phil · 10 years ago
    Of course torture is wrong. What is not clear is whether waterboarding is torture under current law. Since Congress refused to do it's job, the Bush Administration had to make a call, and they thought that it did not meet the legal definition of torture. Congress is avoiding its duty by not clarifying the law, but then they would have to take responsibility if we were attacked and waterboarding might have helped to stop that attack. Our politicians are cowards.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 10 years ago
    Stand up cheer for Wolfie;-)

    "The number of times the person was water boarded is a msm lie. The number refers to the number of water pours. The drive-by's know no limit of deceit."

    That one three sentence statement defines succinctly what is really going on here and it's not about whether the U.S. tortures or not. It is about how the MGMSM (MegaGlomerate MainStream Media) is manipulating the scene and the socio-political arguments. They are pitting one group against another in the name of advertising revenues, even Fox News! You are being bamboozled, hoodwinked, and run-a-muck!

    The Tax Protests are really mislabeled. They should be MGMSM protests instead, as most of the disgust I hear coming out these events is directed at the MGMSM. Obomber is just a side issue compared to the disdain for the MGMSM and their ilk! Real American's are now onto the real rotten apples and are organizing to throw out the herd of pigs gorging themselves at the taxpayers trough!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robohobo · 10 years ago
    Stooping to this type of invective shows Galloway for the clown and tool if the Transnational Progressives that he is. And Michael, have you become one also?

    You better than anyone know the depths of depravity that the jihadists will go to to further their 'cause'.

    This is a massively dishonest article.

    Burn those books BTW. You have sold out.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robohobo · 10 years ago
    Stooping to this type of invective shows Galloway for the clown and tool if the Transnational Progressives that he is. And Michael, have you become one also?

    You better than anyone know the depths of depravity that the jihadists will go to to further their 'cause'.

    This is a massively dishonest article.

    Burn those books BTW. You have sold out.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stevend · 10 years ago
    The memos admit to no mistakes!

    The memos show that the enhanced interrogation was a difficult decision and that it was taken deliberately!

    The 'mistake' is that the memos - and obama - seem to be opening the door for a witch hunt.

    BTW - the only one denying their responsibility - so far - has been Nancy Pelosi. She should be crucified for not defending her position at the time. Everyone else involved is shocked by the left wing vitriolic reaction.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Valerie · 10 years ago
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS, YA'LL. Its so gratifying to see our country's leaders are the problem here, not what's in the minds and hearts of Americans.

    Jerry, Carol, Stevend....brilliant comments and deductions. Let us not forget we have the sanity and goodness within our ranks to overcome this monstrosity called terrorism....and hopefully the tenacity and wisdom to stay strong. It isn't easy making the decisions the Bush administration made but they kept us safe and saved lives. Now we have people seeking to punish them? Endangering future safeguards? Are they out of their cotton pickin' minds???

    Keep voicing your opinions, America, and yes, even you Michael C. though I think your heart is hardly here in the United States. You have a right to be unfairly critical just as "Joe" does. It's people like you who cement my determination to grow, be aware and help my nation overcome results stemming from foolish minds who would be our downfall. God bless you, and the USA.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ken · 10 years ago
    I just can't get worked up over what Khalid Sheikh Mohamed had to go through. The stewardess whose throat was slit on the morning of 09/11, I can get worked up over that. The people who were burned to death on the upper floors, or those who had to decide that their best option was to jump, I can get worked up over them. And the police and firefighters who were crushed to death. Commuters blown up in London and Madrid, I can get worked up over them.

    If the armed forces of two nations fight a conventional war, uniformed soldiers captured by either side deserve to be treated humanely. Al Qaida deserves nothing.

    I also don't care about the recurring argument that evil men will like us better if we're nice to them. We better treat the Somali pirates nice or they'll get mad at us. We better not try to protect the Bosnian civilians or the Serbs will get mad at us. That argument trots out every time we are face to face with evil, and it always suggests that we should sit on our hands. Our enemies slaughter the maximum number of civilians, for the glory of Allah, that they are able to. Anything that we can do to them to reduce that capability makes the world a safer place for western civilization, whose side I happen to be on.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 10 years ago
    This is just in: I waterboarded the cat to no avail. He told me the secrets of the universe, but not where he hid my socks;-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard Scalia · 10 years ago
    When I looked up the author of this smear job this is what I found out on Wikipidia.
    [edit] George W. Bush administration
    In a number of columns, Galloway has spoken out against the Iraq War and George W. Bush. In a column on July 6, 2007, Galloway asked why the Bush administration "looks remarkably more like an organized crime ring than one of the arms of the American government?" He further asks what happened to the George W. Bush he voted for in 2000 and who promised to give a government "whose appointees would be honest, upright, fair and moral." On March 13, 2008 he published a commentary titled "When Will It End?" that asked, "[t]he next time that we Americans start thinking about maybe electing someone with no known talent, limited useful experience and an IQ that's barely equal to his body temperature, what say we just leave the presidency vacant and the White House shuttered for eight years or so?"

    This man obviously has an agenda, nothing he said can be believed. Michael if you ally yourslf with him you are a fool..

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