Balkinization  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is the Obama Administration countenancing torture of a US serviceman?

Sandy Levinson

An eloquent editorial in the LA Times suggests that the answer is yes. Put it this way: What would our reaction be if it were discovered that someone held by the Taliban were being subjected to the treatment apparently imposed on Pfc. Bradley Manning? Is this just another example, alas, of the maxim, "if we do it--and it doesn't include the rack and screw or waterboarding (for the Obama Administration)--then it isn't torture" (or even "cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment"?)

For better or worse, I can't blame this on the Constitution, which, properly interpreted, would find such treatment to violate the 8th and/or 14th Amendments. (In the Orwellian world of the law, the 8th Amendment might not apply because Pfc. Manning's treatment isn't "punishment" after conviction (which is what is presumably covered by the Amendment), so we have to turn to an "unenumerated right" contained within the "privileges or immunities of US citizenship."

Comments:

At salon.com. Glenn Greenwald has written many posts on Manning's confinement. Manning's lawyer has a detailed description of it: http://www.armycourtmartialdefense.info/2010/12/typical-day-for-pfc-bradley-manning.html. Here is one item from this description:

"The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay."
 

It seems like a violation of substantive due process, in that much of the treatment of him, such as that I quote in the previous comment, has no rational basis. It is obviously harassment and is not intended to ensure that he is okay. Likewise, not allowing him to exercise in his cell has no rational basis. Nor, for that matter, does solitary confinement in his case.
 

Sandy:

You have obviously never been in the military. This is not torture, this is being given the treatment, and a relatively mild version at that. You will get far worse if you cross a drill sergeant in boot camp or get nonjudicial company punishment.

Hollywood provided a fairly good approximation of the treatment in From Here to Eternity with the Robert E.Lee Pruitt character. Digging and filling in in holes ala Cool Hand Luke under the guise of training to dig fox holes is also a favorite.

Looks like Manning is not disclosing his accomplices. Given that he is disclosing military secrets to the enemy during wartime, this weasel is getting off easy. A soldier caught stealing from his buddies in a infantry company would get far worse.
 

Where to start with Mr. DePalma's comment? His understanding of the military arises from movies is number one. This comment "Given that he is disclosing military secrets to the enemy during wartime" is materially wrong, since he disclosed DIPLOMATIC secrets to Wikileaks (and if you can find the DoW against Wikileaks, Mr. DePalma, then I applaud you).

Plus, as Greenwald has noted: the use of solitary confinement is generally related to the destruction of one's mind. Now, maybe Mr. DePalma is okay with this being done to an innocent man, but I am not. His guilt has yet to be determined or perhaps Mr. DePalma didn't notice that either.

In short, Mr. DePalma, if you were more wrong, you'd be an elected representative
 

I have to give Bart DePalma credit for one thing: he defends torture whether by a Republican or Democratic president does it, whereas we've heard condemnation of Obama from few who condemned Bush for it.

Obama (not "the Obama Administration") is countenancing torture -- even if he didn't initially order it, he must know of it by now and is allowing it to continue). He has committed an impeachable offense and, like Bush, has placed himself beyond the pale as a decent human being.

And, timb, what Manning disclosed were Diplomatic embarrassments, such as U.S. troops' murder of civilians.
 

This by our Yodeler:

"Looks like Manning is not disclosing his accomplices. Given that he is disclosing military secrets to the enemy during wartime, this weasel is getting off easy."

who was trained in the law, a professed defense atorney. Manning is accused. He has not been tried/convicted. He is under no obligation, voluntarily, to disclose any accomplices, if there were any. What, so far, are the military secrets disclosed, other than embarrassing "confidential" material?

The treatment received by Manning might just taint any disclosures of accomplices he might make and the course of his trial, if he survives the ordeals described in the linked to editorial.

Our Yodeler seems to be more a self-styled Rambo than a defense attorney. As for his Hollywood references, I would counter them with films by his formidable namesake Brian as providing examples of wartime misdoings.
 

I question the 8A "Orwellian" point. I think that was more applicable when the SC didn't hold that corporal 'punishment' in school was outlawed by it. That leftie, Justice White, had a strong dissent.

I think it reasonable (if not perhaps necessary) to limit the 8A to conduct after conviction. This leaves open various means of protection.

A case can be made that the confinement is a type of "punishment" for him not confessing; but that also raises self-incrimination concerns. Prevention of torture was a prime reason for that protection. Alan Dershowitz had a good book on the subject.

Also, mistreatment, not just "punishment" which is a stretch in various instances, in custody is a violation of substantive due process. Mistreatment in a state psychiatric hospital because of lack of resources would be too.

I do agree the P/I Clause has special force. As does its application in the protection of a U.S. Citizen in the news (also covered by Greenwald) held in Kuwait and not allowed back. The Slaughterhouse Cases, e.g., noted protection of citizens abroad was a privilege of national citizenship.

One might add in cells here too.
 

Brian DePalma sounds like a heartless selfcentered prick. I was in the army during the Vietnam War serving as an enlisted man and later a commissioned officer in the military police. Believe me, if we acted toward our prisoners as what is happening to Manning we'd be in jail.

DePalma sounds like he lives in a fantasy world and ignorant of facts. I was a middle school teacher for fifteen years, he sounds like one of my immature matcho boys scared they were gay.
 

For those of you not familiar with Baghdad Bart, he is the board's Tea Party representative. He's also the board's fascist representative.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Let's not get sucked into attacking Bart; trolls are better ignored. The person to attack is Obama. Why is the mass media, other than the LA Times, letting him get away with this? It ought to confront him at his next press conference, and remind us, as Greenwald has done, of all the valuable things that Manning allegedly exposed, which the American public had a right to know. Politicians should address the matter too, but I am not foolish enough to expect any of them to have the integrity to do so.

Manning apparently committed his crime because he was troubled by the U.S. crimes that he witnessed. He is a young hero, but he may be permanently damaged psychologically, and Obama is doing it to him. (I do not mean to imply, of course, that if Manning were a traitor or had otherwise done evil, that Obama would be any less the criminal for torturing him.)
 

I think Henry is right as to who to worry about here.

Bottom line, let's say Manning is a "hero" for what he did. He very well might be guilty of a crime. Fine. But, this doesn't warrant what is being done to him. This is so even if it is not "torture," but some other type of mistreatment.
 

14A as limit on federal action is a bit iffy beyond the citizenship clause.
 

One more comment on Obama and then I'll shut up. Obama is going to Tucson to make a speech in connection with the shooting, and presumably will call for toning down the violent rhetoric. How can we take him seriously -- how does he have the moral standing anymore -- while he is allowing the torture or abuse of Bradley Manning?
 

Mr DePalma:"You have obviously never been in the military."I commanded an infantry company,E(recon)3/21 INF,196LIB, in Vietnam. I have given non-judicial company punishment(Article 15,UCMJ). Penalties are usually a combination of extra duty, reduction in pay or rank. To impose the treatment being inflicted upon Pvt Manning for an Article 15 would be to surely invite your own court martial. In my unit if you were found to be a thief your victems would severely kick your ass and I would transfer you out of the unit
 

timb said...Where to start with Mr. DePalma's comment? His understanding of the military arises from movies is number one.

I am a veteran of over seven years in the Army as enlisted, NCO and officer. I have personal knowledge of what I posted. The movie references were for the vast majority here who have not served.

timb said...This comment "Given that he is disclosing military secrets to the enemy during wartime" is materially wrong, since he disclosed DIPLOMATIC secrets to Wikileaks...

The first wave of disclosures were classified military reports of nearly every aspect of our conduct of the Iraq War disclosed to an enemy which will use this knowledge against our troops conducting similar CI campaigns across the world.

timb said...Plus, as Greenwald has noted: the use of solitary confinement is generally related to the destruction of one's mind.

Citing Greenwald for anything military is like the blind leading the blind.

Henry said... I have to give Bart DePalma credit for one thing: he defends torture whether by a Republican or Democratic president...

I have never defended torture. Rather, I have demonstrated why coercive interrogation does not fall under the statutory definition of torture and the treatment Manning is allegedly receiving in not in the same galaxy as torture.

shag: who was trained in the law, a professed defense atorney. Manning is accused. He has not been tried/convicted. He is under no obligation, voluntarily, to disclose any accomplices, if there were any.

You are confusing Manning's rights as a criminal defendant with his duties as a soldier. As a soldier, Manning has an affirmative duty to report criminal offenses and breaches of security such as this. Manning could cut a deal with the military to provide this information if it was not used against him in his criminal case. Instead, Manning is withholding information of perhaps the most massive security breach in Army history.

Next, you are confusing military discipline with judicial punishment. Officers and NCOs have wide discretion to use their authority to enforce military discipline including gaining this information so long as they do not themselves violate the UCMJ or Army regulations. I see nothing about Manning's treatment which violates either.

shag: The treatment received by Manning might just taint any disclosures of accomplices he might make and the course of his trial...

It is very likely that Manning could exclude this information from his trial if he can prove it was gained through coercion. The Army needs to weigh that risk against the benefits of gaining the information.

Craig said... I was in the army during the Vietnam War serving as an enlisted man and later a commissioned officer in the military police. Believe me, if we acted toward our prisoners as what is happening to Manning we'd be in jail.

Really? Under what provision of the UCMJ is detention in isolation and checking on the welfare of a prisoner a crime? They are not even close to the edge of criminality here.

If you are indeed a Vietnam era enlisted man, basic training was far harder than anything Manning is experiencing. The DIs could strike you, curse you out, work you half to death and there was no minimum sleep requirements.
 

I have never defended torture

Nonsense. Of course you have. You just indulge in the conceit that if you call it by a different name it isn't torture.
 

I have never defended torture

That is complete nonsense. You have repeatedly defended torture.
 

jpk:

No, you folks engaged in the conceit of attempting to redefine torture into something the Congress never enacted and the Senate never ratified.

I simply called you on the attempt.
 

You just keep telling yourself that, dude.

And keep telling yourself that if the same things were done to an American POW it would be torture, after all.

And keep telling yourself that your clients don't drive drunk.

See, if you say it, that makes it true.
 

No, you folks engaged in the conceit of attempting to redefine torture into something the Congress never enacted and the Senate never ratified.

Blankshot, if the same actions were taken against US troops you would be calling it torture, and everyone who reads your bullshit knows it.
 

I am grateful to Sandy Levinson (and Brian Tamanaha) for allowing comments, but I'm afraid that if you people keep up the juvenile exchanges with Bart, they'll do as the other Balkinization professors have done.
 

Henry, worry about your own comments. If you don't like mine, stop reading them.
 

jpk:

You are confusing the torture treaty with the GC POW privilege from coercive questioning which applies to our troops.

As I said, I called you on the conceit.
 

I cannot comprehend the kind of mindset that blithely defines waking someone up every five minutes as unobjectionable "checking on the welfare of a prisoner." The persistent belief that one can redefine reality in this manner borders on the pathological.
 

Steve,

Manning's lawyer's description of Manning's treatment, which I quoted in the first comment, is ambiguous as to whether the guards ask him every five minutes even during the night whether he's okay. I doubt it, though, because that level of sleep deprivation would have destroyed his mind by now.

Disturbing him every five minutes for seven months during the day, however, is bad enough. It prevents him from having any sustained thoughts or daydreams and strikes me as a vicious form of harassment, designed to make him feel utterly powerless. And he is, of course, because if he refused to cooperate in any way, they could punish him by denying him reading material or television and forcing him to sit with no external stimuli 24 hours a day.
 

Questioning him every five minutes also prevents him from napping, of course. And, as there is absolutely no reason why he shouldn't nap when he wants to, it is wrong to prevent him from doing so.
 

Is Private Manning a criminal defendant under military law? If so, what rights does he have confined in a cell? To sleep? To eat? To dream? To not incriminate himself? To remain silent? To consult with his attorney? Or is he other than a criminal defendant under military law, e.g., assigned for his military duties to a cell for non-judicial discipline? Our Yodeler's expertise echoes between his ears, apparently.
 

called you on it

Of course you did!

But you did one better: you called reality on it. You told that old reality you don't have to listen to it!

Hooray!
 

Manning's lawyer's description of Manning's treatment, which I quoted in the first comment, is ambiguous as to whether the guards ask him every five minutes even during the night whether he's okay. I doubt it, though, because that level of sleep deprivation would have destroyed his mind by now.

People, the military knows from decades of experience how sleep deprivation affects the mind and the limits a person can stand. This information is incorporated into our training, the rotation of troops in and out of full operational tempo, and the interrogation of prisoners. Very likely, Manning is under medical surveillance.

I have a serous question for the folks who post here. Are you really naive enough to believe that the military is going to allow a traitor who has disclosed secrets on a volume not seen since Aldrich Ames to simply conceal what he knows while lounging in a cell with TV and a book?

Grow up.

In the Aldridge Ames case, the CIA with full knowledge of a Dem Administration got everything they wanted out of Ames by threatening to imprison his wife for life, very likely along with a number of other threats to her life and well being.

This is not a game. Manning gave al Qaeda and its allies an amazing amount of primary information on how the military ran its counter insurgency campaign in Iraq. Men and women will die (if they already have not been killed) because of Manning.

If the military does not do everything up to the legal line and maybe a bit over to break Manning and discover everything he knows, they are not doing their jobs.

Welcome to the real world.
 

Blankshot, how do you post crap like that and still find the nerve to claim that you don't defend torture?
 

Oh, but he doesn't defend the claim. He just asserts it and pretends it's true. Because it is here but it isn't there but it was but it wasn't because I said so you don't understand because.

A valiant struggle against reality.

Reality is so very impressed with bullshit.
 

Oh yes, to answer the original question: yes.
 

everything up to the legal line and maybe a bit over

Yes, I feel the same way about war crimes. They're OK. Just a little bit over the line, is all. And completely justified. Unless of course it was the other way around. Then it would be wrong. Then it would actually be a war crime. Because it isn't unless it is so it isn't except when it is.
 

Our Yodeler says:

"Manning gave al Qaeda and its allies an amazing amount of primary information on how the military ran its counter insurgency campaign in Iraq."

Does he mean the "surge" that had been vividly described by our own military well before the Wikileaks disclosures, including Gen. Petraeus' manual? What is this "amazing amount of primary information"? The "surge" in Iraq was so "successful" that the military couldn't wait to brag about it, both directly and via leaks. And then the "surge" became the rationale for Afghanistan, again with our own military hyping its counter insurgency campaign to justify the Afghan policy, to lock the military in Afghanistan seemingly forever with light at the end of an ever lengthening tunnel (aka Obama's War).

This is the longest war in American history. The public has not paid that much attention for various reasons, including that most Americans have not had to make sacrifices. If the public had been aware of some of the Wikileaks disclosures on a timely basis, perhaps an informed public would have paid more attention. But the public was given, in addition to guns, butter and tax cuts ... and then the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great Recession. But the Military-Industrial complex continues to thrive. Just imagine if our Yodeler had remained a military Rambo and had worked his way up the ranks to lead us in Iraq II and Afghanistan.
 

Apparently the answer to my question is not only do you expect the military to allow Manning to lounge in a cozy cell with a tv and a book, but you want them to release Manning with an apology and a book deal.

Incredible.
 

Oh, a straw man! What impressive legal reasoning! I know I'm blown away.
 

Our Yodeler attempts to answer his question to jpk with this:

" ... but you want them to release Manning with an apology and a book deal."

suggesting that our Yodeler has "book deal" envy.
 

Off topic, but I was pleased with an email (from a liberal site, of course) that yesterday was the 67th anniversary of FDR's State of the Union message (1/11/44) on the Second (Economic) Bill of Rights.
 

Cass Sunstein's book on the Second Bill of Rights was an interesting read.
 

After the government largely took over management of key sectors of the economy during WWII, the Roosevelt Administration was about to take the next step to full fledged Euro democratic socialism.

Thankfully, the voters finally rebelled against Dem rule in 1946 and even the Warren Court declined to rewrite the Constitution far enough to incorporate Roosevelt's proposed affirmative rights to other people's earnings.

Near miss.

Now we face a similar challenge today.
 

FDR proposed the Second (Economic) Bill of Rights in 1944 some 15 years after the 1929 Hoover (R) Administration Great Depression. America had the experience of the Great Depression that gave rise to this economic proposal by FDR. However, the economic recovery that started with WW II perhaps caused some to forget the economic needs of some, many, Americans.

In 2008 under Bush/Cheney, we had the Great Recession, second only to the Great Depression in economic and financial impact. Perhaps if the recovery from the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great Recession takes as long as for the Great Depression, there just may be a reconsideration of FDR's 1944 proposal.

Our yodeler did not live through the Great Depression. His reference to "full fledged Euro democratic socialism" is misplaced historically in the context of 1944. But perhaps our yodeler wishes to return to the good old days of the Roaring Twenties leading to the Great Recession or to the good old days of Bush/Cheney 1/21/2001 - 1/21/2009 that gave us the Great Recession. Medical care, a job, education, a place to live, etc, apparently should be available only to the rough and ready who lift themselves up by their own bootstraps, as seems to be the case with our yodeler, a self made man.

By the Bybee (&^$%#$@!*), FDR was successful with WW II over a much shorter period than Bush/Cheney with their Iraq and Afghanistan wars. And consider the post-WW II economic recovery that included the Marshall Plan for restoring Europe and the recovery of Japan. Our yodeler apparently still believes in the free market fairy. As for "other people's money" our yodeler is so concerned about, maybe the free market fairy will get him a book deal so that his money will need protection.
 

shag:

The path which FDR proposed shorty before his death was taken by the UK and reduced it to a nationalized, strike ridden, largely insolvent, second rate power in the space of a generation. Absent Thatcher's free market liberalization, the UK would have gone the way of 2010 Greece back in 1985.

If you wish to live in the world the Second Bill of Rights envisioned, may I recommend to move your retirement to Venezuela. Charming place.
 

Our yodeler points to the UK post WW II, when Churchill was tossed out. But the UK was not indicative of the mainland of Europe at that time. Our yodeler fails to consider the conditions that existed in the UK and in the mainland of Europe that had to be rebuilt. Perhaps we need a visit from our too long absent UK friend Mourad at this Blog to address in more detail our yodeler's revisionism.

By the Bybee (&@%#$^*), Truman continued in office, winning election on his own in 1948, albeit with more Republicans in Congress. And it was Truman's Marshall Plan that helped to rebuild Europe, which provided markets for American products and America's recovery from a wartime economy. Was America like Venezuala back then?

No, I'll stick around the Boston area where I was born. As to our yodeler, I hope he stays where he is, as his bile provides inspiration for progress, where he can continue to dream of the free market - with Maggie "Irondraws" Thatcher as his fairy Godmother (with Ayn Rand as second in command, making for a three-way the thought of which could blind one).

Further by the Bybee (#*^&%@$), I wonder if our yodeler has ever read FDR's Second Bill of Rights? Perhaps a good samaritan can provide a link for him and other visitors to this Blog to examine and evaluate.
 

Off topic again, How Appealing* provides a link to Garrett Epps' The Atlantic article "How Will Loughner's Gunshots Echo in the Supreme Court's Quite Halls?" with references to Heller and McCarthy v. Chicago. No specific mention is made of Justice Scalia's dicta in Heller about possible limitations on Second Amendment rights but I'm sure that Scalia is thankful that he included his dicta that has been pointed out to have flaws from the perspectives of both originalism and history. Let's hear from the Second Amendment absolutists!

*Bashman provides a great legal website.
 

Shag:

Apart from the Blitz, Britain suffered almost no destruction in WWII. Its socialist woes were all self inflicted.

It is ironic and telling that you celebrate FDR;s proposed socialism but refuse to move to a socialist paradise with actual affirmative economic rights and instead stay in regressive old Massachusetts.
 

The destruction in the UK, besides the Blitz, was also economic, as the Great Depression was worldwide, and then exacerbated by its entry in 1939 in WW II. There was great sacrifice on the part of Brits, significantly beyond that of Americans. The conservative Brit hero of the UK Churchill was pushed out but Harry Truman was not, following WW II. The UK's economic problems were immense resulting in many political cycles to the present day.

By the Bybee (#*^&%$@), Colorado seems regressive in that it ignored our yodeler and his guru Tom-Tom Tancredo in their Tea Party efforts in 2010. I wonder if that will be reflected in our yodeler's tome(aine) as it goes directly from publication to the remainder bin. But Massachusetts regressive? Or did our yodeler misspell progressive?
 

Apart from the Blitz, Britain suffered almost no destruction in WWII. Its socialist woes were all self inflicted.

Blankshot, Britain was almost bankrupt at the end of the war, you dimwit. "Socialism" had nothing to do with it.
 

Shag:

The UK pulled out of the Depression by the mid 30s as did most of Europe. Only the US suffered a prolonged L shaped recession.

I agree that allocation of GDP to war did impose a hardship on the UK as it did every participant of the war. This is what makes the "WWII pulled the US out of the Depression" theory so obscene.

However, that fact has nothing to do with the reality that the UK chose to take FDR's suggested road to democratic socialism while the United States did not; driving the UK into second rate power status, while the United States took Britain's crown as the most powerful nation in the world.

shag, you are making an argument which the left lost a generation ago.
 

shag, you are making an argument which the left lost a generation ago.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 2:10 PM


Too funny.... Blankshot, you are making an argument that causes normal people to laugh at nutcases like yourself.

It's actually pretty obvious that the war ended the Depression. Where did you get the fucked up idea that it wasn't a factor?
 

While it may seem "obscene" that a war may have a positive economic effect for a nation at war, the defense spending was indeed the stimulus that served to get the US out of the Great Depression so late. (Recall that in 1936, FDR pulled back on stimulus programs which many economists have recognized as a failing of FDR.) Well before Pearl Harbor, FDR recognized that at some point American would have to enter WW II, which required extensive expenditures for readiness, which resulted in creating many jobs, which improved the American economy.

But our yodeler's opening sentence:

"The UK pulled out of the Depression by the mid 30s as did most of Europe. "

is intriguing. Is our yodeler suggesting that the economies of European nations were working well with WW II which started in 1939 for them? What steps did these nations take that pulled them out of the Depression before the U.S.? Details? I don't think WW II served as an economic stimulus for European nations at war.

By the Bybee (@$#%$^%&@*), did FDR actually suggest to the UK the road to socialism? FDR's January 1944 State of the Union speech was addressed to Americans, not the Brits. It was several years later, after WW II, that the UK dumped Churchill. Were voters and members of Parliament guided by FDR who died in early 1945 in adopting their economic policies?.
 

Shag from Brookline said...

While it may seem "obscene" that a war may have a positive economic effect for a nation at war, the defense spending was indeed the stimulus that served to get the US out of the Great Depression so late.

I would think that this would be self evident to anyone who considered the issue for a few moments, but apparently you cannot be bothered.

In WWII, America borrowed a more than its annual GDP to pay for the following things:

1) Draft 20 million men and women to kill the enemy and destroy his property. This did not create a single cent of GDP usable by the citizenry. 250,000 died and times three were wounded, permanently depriving the nation of their lifetime wealth creation.

2) Manufacture and then destroy equipment and munitions on a scale never before seen by the world, which also added nothing to the GDP usable by the citizenry.

3) Reduce the standard of living of the general citizenry back to the 19th Century under a war supply rationing regime and reduced the standard of living for front line troops to the subsistence poverty of a hunter gatherer.

4) Then the nation had to pay all of this money back with interest through taxation or inflation.

Unsurprisingly, the nation slid back into recession as soon as the borrowing and spending spree was over. This is when the nation rebelled after 17 years of recession and war deprivation and gave the GOP Congress in 1946.

War may sometimes be a necessary evil, but it destroys, not grows the national wealth.
 

1) Draft 20 million men and women to kill the enemy and destroy his property. This did not create a single cent of GDP usable by the citizenry. 250,000 died and times three were wounded, permanently depriving the nation of their lifetime wealth creation.

20 million paying jobs.

2) Manufacture and then destroy equipment and munitions on a scale never before seen by the world, which also added nothing to the GDP usable by the citizenry.

Lots more jobs.

3) Reduce the standard of living of the general citizenry back to the 19th Century under a war supply rationing regime and reduced the standard of living for front line troops to the subsistence poverty of a hunter gatherer.

Lots of people working and nothing to spend the money on means lots of money saved up for after the war.

Unsurprisingly, the nation slid back into recession as soon as the borrowing and spending spree was over.

At least you admit that the war ended the Great Depression. Thanks for playing, now shut the fuck up.

Seriously, how do you keep from starving to death?
 

Our yodeler concludes:

"War may sometimes be a necessary evil, but it destroys, not grows the national wealth."

but omits his sideline rah-rahing of everything Bush/Cheney 1/21/01-1/21/09 that got us into the Afghan and Iraq wars, with most agreeing that the latter was a war of choice and the former as mishandled by Bush/Cheney, with the contributions of these wars to the economic and financial Bush/Cheney crises of 2008, aka the Bush/Cheney Great Recession.

Is our yodeler suggesting that America should not have entered WW II? Does he compare the situation in the late 1930s unfavorably with the situation facing America in 2003 with the war of choice decision of Bush/Cheney? Is our yodeler standing history on its head? Or should fascism of Germany, Italy and Japan have prevailed?

I've noted on several occasions at this Blog the Seinfeld episode about the original title of Tolstoy's War and Peace as "War, What Is It Good For?" There have been a lot of wars involving America during my lifetime (1930, Boston, MA), too many wars. But our yodeler misplaces the history of WW II and its aftermath. What he focuses upon is 1946 when the Republicans made gains in Congress. But what he ignores is the growth in America's economy post WW II. Yes, Virginia (and yodeler), there are economic cycles. As for war, what is it good for? Elaine responded from the song: "Absolutely nothing." There may be good wars, there may be bad wars. But at the time of America's entry into WW II, what if America did not enter? How might Europe had ended up? Would the fascism of Germany, Italy and Japan have prevailed? While America was protected by two large oceans, since WW II it has become evident that America cannot isolate itself from the rest of the world. The threat was real. America responded, some say perhaps a tad late. But the axis was defeated. The world went through a lot of changes. Perhaps America became an empire over time. But Iraq was a war of choice (thanks to Bush/Cheney) and it continues to bog us down. Even if Afghanistan was necessary, it's became America's longest war (now Obama's war) with no end in sight.

Perhaps the point our yodeler wants to make is the Republican recovery in 2010 congressional elections as a comparison to 1946. But the situations are not comparable. And our yodeler cannot revision this.
 

If the military does not do everything up to the legal line and maybe a bit over to break Manning and discover everything he knows, they are not doing their jobs.

Everything he knows? Ctrl-V and the send button?
 

Shag:

I'll take your latest straw man rant as a concession of my point that: "War may sometimes be a necessary evil, but it destroys, not grows the national wealth."

A caution if I may: Spikes in blood pressure at your age could kill you. You may want to practice Yoga or some form of anger control.
 

Is our yodeler now practicing medicine without a license? As many octogenarians, I do have high blood pressure under control with medication, with regular medical check-ups. But I follow the creed i learned early in Massachusetts politics: "Don't get mad; get even." Now perhaps our yodeler's advice is based upon his reactions to my comments and those of other at this Blog and elsewhere, demonstrated by his bile. As to his advice of Yoga, I would counter that he might emulate Seinfeld's George Costanza's father"s "Serenity Now! Serenity Now!"

But perhaps our yodeler's medical advice is his effort at compassion, wishing that I remain healthy to respond to his bile. We had a major snowstorm here and by taking my time, remembering how to lift, I attended to snow removal of my walkways, sidewalk, driveway, and street access.

And speaking of straw men, which of us has anger control issues as demonstrated by our respective comments at this Blog?
 

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