Balkinization  

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What Do You Say Now, John McCain?

JB

Dear Senator McCain:

The White House has now admitted that the United States has waterboarded, that President Bush believes the practice is not torture, and that it violates neither the anti-torture statute, the McCain Amendment (which you sponsored) nor the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (which you voted for).

Will you condemn the White House for its latest admission? Will you say to the President what you said to Rudy Giuliani back in October?

"All I can say is that it was used in the Spanish Inquisition, it was used in Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today," Mr. McCain, who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, said in a telephone interview.

Of presidential candidates like Mr. Giuliani, who say that they are unsure whether waterboarding is torture, Mr. McCain said: "They should know what it is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture."


And if that is so, Senator McCain, do you agree that the Administration is subject to criminal liability under the torture statute and the War Crimes statute? Do you agree that the United States, under the leadership of George W. Bush, has committed war crimes and has stated that it sees no obstacle to doing so again?

The country awaits your answer.

Comments:

Don't hold your breath.
 

He might say something like that...as he's signing W's pardon.
 

Ditto.

McCain had no trouble sacrificing his conservative principles to his presidential ambitions. It is doubtful that he will endanger his presidential ambitions picking a fight on this issue.
 

Um, are you suggesting, Bart, that it's a matter of conservative principle to support torture?

I commend to you the works of Burke and Kirk. Conservatism isn't a synonym for chauvinism. Or at least, it didn't used to be.
 

elvis:

It is a matter of conservative principle that you ruthlessly prosecute wars against your enemies rather than extending new rights to them.

It is also a matter of conservative principle that vague laws are unenforceable and should not be used as partisan political weapons against our war fighters.
 

It is also a matter of conservative principle that vague laws are unenforceable and should not be used as partisan political weapons against our war fighters.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 4:07 PM


Baghdad, there is nothing vague about waterboarding. It's torture. If you don't think so now, I'm sure that tune would change quickly if it was being done to you.
 

It is a matter of conservative principle...

Just because youbelieve something, that doesn't make it a "conservative principle." There are plenty of self-identified liberals that believe we should fight hard if we're going to fight at all, as well as plenty of conservatives who are against the use of torture techniques.

There was an article by Goldberg in the National Review a couple years back on what makes a conservative a conservative. The ultimate answer given was that a conservative--no matter what their particular brand of conservatism was--was "comfortable with contradiction." This quality was juxtaposed against a liberal's preoccupation with consistency and hypocrisy.

I find it interesting then that conservatives should be angry with McCain for sacrificing something for ambition; shouldn't they be comfortable with contradiction? Isn't sacrificing one's principles in order to achieve a goal permissible?

Note that I think this cuts to the quick of the matter. Bart, you always throw out the barb "extend new rights to our enemies," but that's not what the other side is all about. They want consistency--if American interrogators can't waterboard American citizens, then they shouldn't waterboard other people, either. Not because they believe non-citizens should be extended new rights, but because they believe interrogators should be held to the same standards regardless of whom is being interrogated.

It will be interesting to see how/if McCain will deal with the waterboarding question once in office. If Goldberg's thesis is correct, McCain should have no problem forgetting his previous promise, and consider the slight ensuing embarrassment a fair trade off for other political goals. Of course, if it were correct, then Mr. DePalma should have had no problem with McCain's "contradictory" behavior in the first place.
 

Prof. Balkin:

The White House has now admitted that the United States has waterboarded, that President Bush believes the practice is not torture, ...

Dontcha see, it depends on a lot of stuff, like, you know, umm, ... the circumstances: who is carrying out the interrogation... (also at the bottom of my blog entry here).

Isn't that the way all laws work; it depends on who is breaking them and why? I thought I remembered something like that from 1L days....

Cheers,
 

It is a matter of conservative principle that you ruthlessly prosecute wars against ...

"... some crappy little country or another. Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

It is also a matter of conservative principle that vague laws are unenforceable and should not be used as partisan political weapons against our war fighters....

"... One defining characteristic of vagueness is that it doesn't differentiate between 'we' and 'some tinpot dictator', and this is of enormous importance. We need to know who the laws apply to, or we'll just make shite up. See Arne's post above on Tony Fratto's comments about "who" is doing the acts in question."

Cheers,
 

The ultimate answer given was that a conservative--no matter what their particular brand of conservatism was--was "comfortable with contradiction."

Like "Liberal Fascism." That certainly explains Goldberg.

"And if all men are equally right and wrong, an exponent of this view can neither speak nor mean anything, since at the same time he says both 'yes' and 'no.' And if he forms no judgement, but 'thinks' and 'thinks not' indifferently, what difference will there be between him and the vegetables?"

What, indeed? (Aristotle, Metaphysics, bk IV, 1008b.)
 

There was an article by Goldberg in the National Review a couple years back on what makes a conservative a conservative. The ultimate answer given was that a conservative--no matter what their particular brand of conservatism was--was "comfortable with contradiction." This quality was juxtaposed against a liberal's preoccupation with consistency and hypocrisy.

Then why the constant accusations that liberals are "moral relativists," "grade on the curve" and "practice situation ethics"? Those do not sound like accusations by people who are comfortable with contradiction.

The fact is, everyone values many different things. Inevitably, one value comes into conflict with another, and the more important one prevails. To people who have a different order of priorities, the outcome seems incomprehensible.

To me, the all-important principle here is respect for universal human rights that extend to everyone -- even terrorists. To others, it is apparent that the top principle is defeating terrorists by fair means or foul.
 

Not to mention that, according to Geneva, we may prosecute those who flaunt the Conventions under either our civilian or military justice systems in place at the time (and not create new ones for the situation), we are not supposed to break those same rules.

It is amusing to hear apologists who are attorneys argue for the flouting of the rule of law.
 

Fraud Guy: I point this out because it is a common mistake, but you meant "flout" where you used "flaunt."
 

Henry,

For some reason, I was thinking of people paying the piper, and created my hybrid spelling.
 

pms_chicago said...

Bart, you always throw out the barb "extend new rights to our enemies," but that's not what the other side is all about. They want consistency--if American interrogators can't waterboard American citizens, then they shouldn't waterboard other people, either. Not because they believe non-citizens should be extended new rights, but because they believe interrogators should be held to the same standards regardless of whom is being interrogated.

That is precisely what post Vietnam liberalism is all about.

It seems to escape liberals that our citizenry and a wartime enemy are in NO WAY similarly situated.

Our citizens enjoy a range of constitutional rights while a wartime enemy enjoys none of these.

In general, our government may not take the life of a citizen without due process, if at all, while a wartime enemy on the battlefield can be killed at will.

A citizen in government custody for a crime has a right to silence while a POW has no such right. Instead, the enemy POW can and should be interrogated for intelligence.

A citizen has a right to be free from coercive interrogation while the GC only extends that privilege to POWs who follow the laws of war and also observe the GC privileges of our captured soldiers. The only right an enemy capture has under the GC which is not earned through reciprocal behavior is not to be killed or tortured.

Treating a wartime enemy like a US citizen criminal defendant is most certainly extending rights to which the enemy is not entitled and did not earn.
 

To Bart:

I really don't care what you call yourself, you are a moron.

Waterboarding is a form of torture outlawed by international treaties and domestic federal statutes. You may wish that the law were otherwise, but stop pretending that the law is "vague" or somehow idiotic because it gives enemy combatants rights "they're not entitled to."

Aren't you a positive lawyer, i.e., a lawyer who understands what an enacted, positive law is and believes that until changes, such laws should be enforced?
 

@Theodore: An excerpt from the Michigan Lawyers Oath: "I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law;"

Apparently they have no such clause in Colorado.
 

@PMS: I'd chide you for feeding the troll, but anything that keeps you posting is fine by me.

Hmm, was it a conservative member of the GOP who dropped the bomb? Or acted as commander in chief during WWII? Was the guy who wrote the torture bill a draft-dodging liberal (or an oft AWOL, coke-snorting, coddled cowboy "member" of the National Guard?) But when a vandal puts up such easily countered "points" it does little good to address either the points or the vandal.

That Goldberg article you mention certainly flies in the face of my personal experience with self-identified conservatives; my experience is closer to that of enlightened layperson's: they breast-beat (or bible-thump) ad nauseam about "absolute values". I suppose one could argue that I've made a category error, that when a right-wing shill cries "relativism!" it is only a tactic born of their "comfort with contradiction" and aimed at the liberal's preoccupation with intellectual honesty. This layered view may actually be the most accurate; who would be surprised at a sophist crying foul on the same tactics they themselves use? Rhetoric as a tool of expediency is the name of the sophist game, right?

"Comfortable with contradiction"...run this by your plausibility meter: Posit adherence to a text chock-full of palpable absurdities and outright contradictions (such as claiming a deity defined as "Love" is the same deity that drowns the world in a fit of pique, or that said deity, "Love", sent she bears to rend 42 kids to bits for making fun of a particular bald man, or that 1=3). Second, posit indoctrination from an early age which says, a) Thou shalt not question these contradictions, b) Thou shalt accept my interpretation of the text as the only true and possible interpretation. This is not "comfort with contradiction," this is supression of the critical faculty by means of authoritarianism. Might such a scenario produce some of the behavior in question?

Any two sine curves drawn on the same axis must occasionally intersect, much as Bart's and my sentiments did at the top of this thread. Heck, he probably even agrees with me that 2+2=4 (although that 1=3 bit might be a tad more contentious.)

In closing, has anyone else had trouble linking to specific comments rather than to the main article to which comments are attached?

Peace.
 

@pms_chicago: btw, did you notice how you left the door open for the vague rhetoric of "wartime" which can refer either Iraq or Afghanistan or Korea or the so-called "war" on "terror"? It really is a losing battle engaging such, as each communication act initiates more garbage than any one round of communicational turn-taking can clean up. It's a hard lesson, I struggle with it myself, but Liberals/Progressives everywhere need to take it to heart so we don't waste our time swimming upstream in a river of swill. The first and greatest mistake Liberals/Progressives make is taking the wrong interlocutors seriously.
 

In closing, has anyone else had trouble linking to specific comments rather than to the main article to which comments are attached?

I've had that problem. It's been extremely frustrating.
 

@EnlightenedLayperson: I've emailed our host. Keep the fingers crossed.
 

It seems to escape liberals that our citizenry and a wartime enemy are in NO WAY similarly situated.

Indeed. Our citizens are good white Cris'shuns, and our enemies are swarthy Islamofascists that bugger camels and wear diapers on their heads. Of course they should be treated differently. After all, WWJWB?

Cheers,
 

Just to be clear: I don't agree with Goldberg's assessment.

However, I still find it to be an interesting exercise to examine the navel-gazing rhetoric of the right to see what they feel makes a conservative a conservative. I also find it germane to the discussion of McCain's possible responses to the administration's admission of waterboarding. In the current "I'm more conservative than you, nyah nyah nyah" battle in the GOP (a gamble at best given the social climate), such rhetoric may help define the borders of permissibility depending on the depth of acceptance. Hypocrisy can become realpolitik, and the opposition could be easily dismissed as cute, but pitiful, ideologues from a long gone era.
 

Our citizens enjoy a range of constitutional rights....

... except when someone says they aren't citizens and then they don't....

But FWIW, when the Constitution (as amended) says "person" (and not "citizen"), it means "person". That is, everyone, axe-murdering pederast, alleged "enemy combatant", or lying, scumbag "Deciderator-in-Chief".

Cheers,
 

A citizen has a right to be free from coercive interrogation while the GC only extends that privilege to POWs who follow the laws of war...

I'd note that this claim is inconsistent with the other justification for such treatment being that of "necessity"; if the "coercive interrogation" of an "enemy" is "necessary" to prevent great harm to the nation, and/or to preserve it, then there's no reason why we should not use such "coercive interrogation" on all enemy prisoners. Surely, if we were at war with the Soviet Union (which did have the power to inflict grievous damage on the United States, or even possibly defeat it), or Nazi soldiers in the battle for the world a half century ago, we should be able to use any methods we wanted in order to preserve the nation.

But we don't do that (or at least, we've signed treaties saying we won't).

Cheers,
 

enlightened layperson said...

There was an article by Goldberg in the National Review a couple years back on what makes a conservative a conservative. The ultimate answer given was that a conservative--no matter what their particular brand of conservatism was--was "comfortable with contradiction." This quality was juxtaposed against a liberal's preoccupation with consistency and hypocrisy.

Then why the constant accusations that liberals are "moral relativists," "grade on the curve" and "practice situation ethics"? Those do not sound like accusations by people who are comfortable with contradiction.

The fact is, everyone values many different things. Inevitably, one value comes into conflict with another, and the more important one prevails. To people who have a different order of priorities, the outcome seems incomprehensible.


I also thought that Goldberg's choice of terms was strange. Most conservatives have a strong set of principles and do not think much of moral relativism.

Although a bit rambling, Goldberg's article does hit some salient points:

Modern conservatism in not really a pure ideological movement. Rather, it is a political alliance of convenience which was created in the aftermath of the failed socialist experiment.

Classical liberalism and conservatism were much more clear cut. Liberals believed in minimal government to guarantee personal freedom in moral and economic matters and were comfortable with the rapid change that brought about. Conservatives believed in tradition and using government to regulate morals and the economy.

However, things became muddled when the left abandoned freedom as the path to personal well being and embraced socialism. Socialism is really classical conservative use of government without the tradition. Consequently, modern liberalism ended up being a hybrid of classical conservative use of government and personal freedom in the moral matters.

Modern conservatism is a political marriage of convenience of the groups left out of the modern liberalism - economic classical liberals and traditionalists.

WWII and Vietnam further defined the foreign policy of modern liberalism and conservatism.

In the United States, classical liberalism tended to be internationalist while classical conservatism tended to be isolationist. WWII discredited isolationism and both liberals and conservatives were internationalists for a time. However, Vietnam drove the left to adopt isolationism. Consequently, modern conservatism has become the movement of internationalism and modern liberalism the movement of isolationism.

In sum, Goldberg should not have bothered trying to define modern conservatism ideologically because it is not ideologically consistent. Rather, it is an alliance of classical liberals on economic matters, classical conservatives on moral matters and internationalists.
 

CIA Director Hayden has just stated that waterboarding is probably illegal now, but was legal 5 years ago when it was used. It's not clear whether he means that changes in the statue have made it illegal, that recent SCOTUS opinions had that effect, or that changes in the circumstances have reduced the government interest in employing the technique.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23052111/
 

Vietnam drove the left to adopt isolationism.

What a pantload.

I suppose this could be true if by "isolationism", you mean: "a policy of not invading countries that are no threat to us"
 

Patrick Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi'


"The Myth of a Maverick:" Matt Welch on GOP Frontrunner John McCain, via Democracy Now --

excerpt:

MATT WELCH: . . . The basic McCain strategy– you know in 1999 McCain advocated this policy of rogue-state rollback which is basically preemptive war three and a half years before Bush ever thought of it.

AMY GOODMAN: He threatened North Korea with extinction.

MATT WELCH: He threatened North Korea with extinction, and he elucidated this doctrine by which– wherever there is an authoritarian dictator, we support the insurgents. And, if we support the insurgent and the dictator cracks down, then we have to defend the insurgents with US force. And any time we make a threat and someone calls our bluff, we also have to use US force. It is incredibly interventionist militaristic approach towards foreign policy that he has had all along. That’s the reason why neoconservatives have flocked to his cause and championed it over the years.

So, after September 11th, Bush started to embrace those ideas. That kind of policy structure grafted onto Bush and so it was natural that McCain and Bush would become closer over that time. And then– starting around 2004 and 2005, when McCain started eyeing the presidency in 2008, he began this long, slow suck-up to the right, particularly social conservatives, and also to Bush because he wanted to be the sort of front runner of the Republican establishment.

 

What exactly is your beef with McCain on this issue? At rather considerable political risk, he has led the efforts to outlaw waterboarding and, as your post reflects, has been unsparing in his criticism of the practice. He has also clearly stated that he believes it is already illegal. As today’s LA times notes:

In a recent GOP presidential debate, McCain said it was inconceivable that "anyone could believe that [waterboarding is] not torture. It's in violation of the Geneva Convention. It's in violation of existing law."


If you are expecting McCain to say that he will prosecute CIA officials who were serving their country and acting in accordance with legal advice from DOJ, then you are clearly out of luck. But why focus on McCain? Have Clinton or Obama suggested that they would conduct such prosecutions if elected? Have they even been as outspoken on the issue as McCain?
 

I want to see this asked in a debate.

"Mr. McCain, do you stand by your statement that waterboarding is torture?"

"Do you agree that torture is a war crime?"

"How do you react to the attorney general's admission that the president has ordered waterboarding?"
 

HD kaliteli porno izle ve boşal.
Bayan porno izleme sitesi.
Bedava ve ücretsiz porno izle size gelsin.
Liseli kızların Bedava Porno ve Türbanlı ateşli hatunların sikiş filmlerini izle.
Siyah karanlık odada porno yapan evli çift.
harika Duvar Kağıtları bunlar
tamamen ithal duvar kağıdı olanlar var
2013 Beyaz Eşya modeller
Sizlere Güvenlik Sistemleri ayarliyoruz
Arayin Hırdavat bulun
Samsung Nokia İphone Cep telefonu alin.
Super Led Tv keyfi

Amatör Porno - Amcik Porno - Anal Porno - Asyali Porno - Bakire Porno - Erotik Porno - Esmer Porno - Fantazi Porno - Gay Porno - Götten Porno - Grup Porno - Hard Porno - HD Porno - Hemsire Porno - Latin Porno - Lezbiyen Porno - Liseli Porno - Olgun Porno - Oral Porno - Rokettube - Sarisin Porno - Sert Porno - Tecavüz Porno - Travesti Porno - Türbanli Porno - Türk Porno - Ünlü Porno - Yasli Porno - Zenci Porno - Kari Koca Porno - Hayvanli Porno

 

Post a Comment

Home