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June 18, 2005

Torturing Straw Men

So I'm back for another episode as Ezra's recurring werewolf guest. Thanks, Ezra!

The first thing I want to do is point out the way that people on the right are confusing the torture debate. They pick up on random things happening at Guantanamo that aren't instances of torture by themselves, and claim that no torture is going on because, hey, feeding people chicken isn't torture! John Kass, the problem isn't that we sometimes played Christina Aguilera in prisoners' cells instead of, say, Sleater-Kinney. Darleen, the problem isn't that we exposed the prisoners to heat over 100 degrees. Captain Ed, you aren't even responding to anybody when you say:


If that means they get cold, or hot, or have little accidents on the floor, then so be it. That isn't torture or even abuse.

This FBI agent, however, was witnessing torture:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more.

I challenge right-wing bloggers to cite this and still argue that no torture is going on in Guantanamo. Just to be clear, it isn't the absence of a chair that's the problem here. Withholding a chair is not torture. Chaining people to the floor in their own feces and urine for many hours, however, is torture. If you'll follow the link, you'll see that the extreme heat and cold cited by right-wing bloggers as an example of non-torture often occurred under those conditions, which is why they're relevant, if not torture by themselves.

--Neil the Ethical Werewolf

June 18, 2005 in Terrorism | Permalink

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» Confusing the torture debate from Dadahead
'Confusing the torture debate' is, of course, the whole point. We need to focus on the real allegations of abuse, and we need to stop allowing the discussion to get turned into a debate on whether or not Gitmo is worse than Auschwitz. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 18, 2005 3:22:47 PM

Comments

1) What year was that memo? I believe it was in 2002, right after 9/11.

2) Who was the detainee in the room? Oh, yeah, it was the 20th hijacker. Not Moussoui, the guy Mohammed Atta was waiting for when he was supposed to come to the US for flight training, but the detainee was on a suspected terrorist list and not allowed to enter the US. We wouldn't want to let HIM poop all over himself.

3) Durbin or any other official who suspects torture is welcome to visit gitmo anytime they want. The Pentagon even encouraged Durbin (or anyone with questions) to visit gitmo before drawing conclusions. That would be the responsible thing to do.

I wonder why Durbin didn't go to gitmo before giving Al Jazeera more ammo against our troops? Rush even offered to pay for the trip.

Weather forecast:

Guantanamo Bay - 87
Baghdad, Iraq - 113

Them poor detainees.

I would like to see PROOF of torture, not accusations.

The fact that you would take up the cause defending the statements equivicating US troops to Nazis, etc. shows where your loyalties lie. Go back to watching Al Jazeera.

According to your reasoning that there is torture at gitmo, using that same logic we have to assume Michael Moore sneaks into peoples houses at night and eats their babies. I mean, how can you get that fat unless you are eating whole babies. I dare any left winger to show me proof Michael Moore is NOT eating babies.

Get stoned!

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 18, 2005 1:38:34 PM

Claim 1 is irrelevant to the question of whether there was torture at Guantanamo. Claim 2 is false -- the FBI agent uses a plural pronoun, so it can't have just been the one case Captain Toke cites. Claim 3 is of dubious relevance, and ends with an argument that makes no sense given that there is an FBI agent's testimony proves the allegations of torture in the post.

I hereby declare Captain Toke a troll, and encourage further commenters to ignore him.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 18, 2005 1:52:19 PM

That's a tactic used quite often by the right, and frankly, it's fucking brilliant. Just take something that's ok and no one is complaining about, and present it as the subject of the initial up roar.

Then Joe Smith watches Hardball goes, "wtf? Democrats are comparing chicken dinners to nazis?" They do it with everything, and it almost always works.

Posted by: Tom | Jun 18, 2005 2:26:57 PM

------" I challenge right-wing bloggers to cite this and still argue that no torture is going on in Guantanamo."

1)The above challenge makes #1 relevant. We may have been making terrorists poop on themselves in 2002, but where is the evidence we are still doing it?

2)I am pretty sure it was just the one terrorist that the FBI agent saw being "tortured", the 20th hijacker. The plural refers to him entering the room more than once. Even if it was more than one terrorist, it was 2002, right after 9/11, but that is if you accept your premise that it was more than the one terrorist, which I do not.

3)Where does anyone get off asking a liberal US Senator to check facts that are readily available to them before they make wild accusations and comparisons in a time of war. Accusations that can be used by the enemy to further their cause, like Al Jazeera running Durbin's statements over the last week.

I hereby declare you should not read or respond to what I write cuz it will shatter your liberal fantasyland with facts.

Your defence of Durbin's comparison shows where your loyalties lie.

The sad thing is that I can get blistered stoned and still out debate you on this subject. When the truth is on your side, it is pretty easy.

Where is that proof that gitmo detainees are currently being tortured?

"the stickiest of the icky"

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 18, 2005 4:37:09 PM

"The sad thing is that I can get blistered stoned and still out debate you on this subject. When the truth is on your side, it is pretty easy."

Keep your fingers in your ears and go lalalalalal real loud some more before reality intrudes and you realize you are trying to rationalize torture. How about we chain you up in a cell in Bahgdad in 113 degree heat for a couple of days. Then report back scumbag.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 18, 2005 4:48:33 PM

------"How about we chain you up in a cell in Bahgdad in 113 degree heat for a couple of days."

Boy you are an idiot. Liberals are bitching cuz terrorists at Guantanamo Bay are having their air conditioning turned off and therefore "tortured". Our troops are in Iraq, with no AC. It is 113 degrees in Iraq, it is 87 degrees in gitmo. Who has it worse?

It just gets harder and harder for you guys to still say you support our troops.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 18, 2005 5:04:13 PM

Yep, it's not really torture at Gitmo. And the Bataan Death March was just a nature hike, honest.

It just gets harder and harder for you guys to still say you support our troops.

And it just gets harder and harder for you guys to claim you aren't sociopathic wannabe gauleiters.

Posted by: Doug | Jun 18, 2005 7:04:32 PM

Boy, I wonder if good old Captain Toke has supported the troops by enlisting? With all that patriotic fervor he'd make an excellent squad leader. It's probably hard to leave the basement when Mom is making dinner for you though.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 18, 2005 7:43:55 PM

Unfair distraction ? I think not. A challenge maybe. So if we snoop around a bit and network maybe we can do the last thing this creep wants ... expose the truth.

Posted by: oit | Jun 18, 2005 8:56:20 PM

------"Boy, I wonder if good old Captain Toke has supported the troops by enlisting? With all that patriotic fervor he'd make an excellent squad leader."

I couldn't pass the drug test.

------" Yep, it's not really torture at Gitmo. And the Bataan Death March was just a nature hike, honest."

How many have been killed at gitmo? Where is the proof people are currently being tortured at gitmo? Why won't Dick Durbin visit gitmo? Don't you think he owes that to the troops he compared to Nazis?

------"And it just gets harder and harder for you guys to claim you aren't sociopathic wannabe gauleiters."

Admit it, you hate the military. The guys that enlisted, most of them, want to go to battle, want to kill. They deserve to be compared to Nazis. They're thugs and sadists.

Go steal some more 'Support Our Troops' magnets off cars.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 18, 2005 9:10:09 PM

So, Captain, if we return to the scene of the alleged crimes and there aren't any crimes being currently committed, that will prove what, exactly?

Posted by: exgop | Jun 18, 2005 10:03:56 PM

I don't know, I have never been there.

But wouldn't visiting a place be the least you could do for US Military personel before accusing them of using the same tactics as Nazis, etc.?

Military personel that you claim to support and want to make sure they get a fair shake, cuz if anybody deserves a fair shake, it is our men and women in uniform.

I am sure a senator could visit at a moments notice, if he wanted. If he had a legitimate concern, and wasn't just politicizing our national security.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 18, 2005 10:42:24 PM

How could Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Christoper Hitchens, George Bush and anybody else who callously calls me a "torturer", "abuser", "monster" or "tyrant" continue with their nonsense without any proof? Have any of them actually been to Abu Ghraib? I mean, if they came to inspect it I GUARANTEE that they would see no torture taking place there, I mean NONE.

And when I allowed the weapons inspectors access to all our sites, why did the Bush dictator still not believe the "proof" that they didn't find what he said I had?

Posted by: Saddam Hussein | Jun 19, 2005 12:09:21 AM

But wouldn't visiting a place be the least you could do for US Military personel before accusing them of using the same tactics as Nazis, etc.?

Why? It is quite doubtful that anyone would do anything in front of a Senator that obviously opposes torture and we already have the account provided by the FBI, for pete's sake.

Military personel that you claim to support and want to make sure they get a fair shake, cuz if anybody deserves a fair shake, it is our men and women in uniform.

I do support the troops and I would never have left them hanging out without legal advise during interrogations the way the Bush administration has. Returning the JAGs to the process would be the best thing that could be done. You should be asking yourself why the JAGs were removed from the interrogation process by the Bush administration, leaving our troops without legal advisors to tell them when they're going too far.

And, for the record, Durbin didn't assert that they were using the same tactics as the Nazis. He said that most people would think these tactics would be more likely to be associated with Nazis than with Americans.

Posted by: exgop | Jun 19, 2005 12:23:11 AM

More for the Captain:

Me: So, Captain, if we return to the scene of the alleged crimes and there aren't any crimes being currently committed, that will prove what, exactly?

Captain: I don't know, I have never been there.

You don't have to have been anywhere to know that it would prove nothing Captain. Crimes are usually not being committed when the authorities arrive. That doesn't prove no crime occurred.

Clearly you either didn't want to answer a simple question or you fail to understand basic logic.

Posted by: exgop | Jun 19, 2005 12:26:30 AM

Your right Saddam!

Instead of actually checking out a situation for yourself, which Durbin could do at a moments notice (it is kind of hard to hide torture chambers and gas chambers at a moments notice, especially in the rampant and widespread torture of gitmo), instead of checking out a situation you are genuinely concerned with, just hurl the accusation at your own military. Do it to further your political agenda. Parallel your own military with the worst regimes in the world's history, do this in a time of war, which incites the enemy against your own military.

I wonder how many service men and women will vote for Durbin next time he is up for re election?

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 19, 2005 12:27:20 AM

exgop, it is impossible to prove a negative.

Obviously this FBI report is not proof of torture.
Durbin asserted there is torture going on at gitmo. Either prove it or apologize to the military who is fighting for his right to make idiotic, unsubstansiated accusations.

Either prove something is wrong at gitmo, or quit calling for it to be shut down and quit besmirching our military.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 19, 2005 12:33:14 AM

I call as witness the FBI agent in question.

Posted by: exgop | Jun 19, 2005 12:38:04 AM

Captain, you should be able to clean yourself up in few months so you can go support the troops. Come on why deny them your patriotic spirit? Sign up, go to Iraq and hopefully get your legs blown off by a roadside bomb. You don't hate America do you? Retard.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 19, 2005 12:40:40 AM

I don't believe Durbin will release who wrote the e-mail's name. Why won't Durbin unveil his smoking gun? He released a statement of regret over his comments. Doesn't sound like he has proof to back up his charge. I don't believe he has released the whole e-mail.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 19, 2005 12:43:30 AM

If they took pot smokers, I'd be all over it. Their loss I guess, a perfectly good, slightly toasted Captain out here going to waste. I play a lot of 'Medal of Honor' tho, so if I come up with some good strategies, I'll be sure to mail them to the Pentagon.

Who do you guys want to win the war, anyway?

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 19, 2005 12:50:39 AM

If they took pot smokers, I'd be all over it.

Glad to know getting stoned is more important to you than your country.

I play a lot of 'Medal of Honor' tho, so if I come up with some good strategies, I'll be sure to mail them to the Pentagon.

It figures. You think you're a warrior because you play war games.

Who do you guys want to win the war, anyway?

I can only speak for myself, but I want America to win and to do so honorably. You appear to support policies guaranteed to undermine our chances for victory in the wider war on terror. Who do you want to win?

Posted by: exgop | Jun 19, 2005 1:04:50 AM

He released a statement of regret over his comments.

Maybe if you weren't so stoned, Captain, you'd realize he said he regretted being misunderstood and that he was criticizing the approved interrogation methods and not the soldiers. Or perhaps you didn't actually read his statment, but instead relied on liars like you fellow stoner, Rush Limbaugh. I guess he didn't realize that so many right wingers were intellectually impaired and unable to parse plain english.

Posted by: exgop | Jun 19, 2005 1:23:42 AM

I am sure we will win this war, honorably. But people like Dick Durbin will prolong the war and can cost American lives. Al Jazeera has been playing his comments all week. I choose to give our military the benefit of the doubt in the face of unfounded allegations.

Given the fact that of all 'superpowers' throughout history, the US has more economic, cultural, and military influence around the world than any country or empire in the past, yet the US imposes it's will less than any from the past.

Being a citizen and knowing what this country has sacrificed for the rest of the world, I instinctively want to see actual proof of allegations before I am ready to condemn our military or shut down a perfectly respectable military detention center during war. There are alot of citizens who instinctively blame the military or the gov't first, and given our history, I don't understand why.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Jun 19, 2005 1:24:33 AM

"I play a lot of 'Medal of Honor' tho, so if I come up with some good strategies, I'll be sure to mail them to the Pentagon."

Is it hard to play one handed? Or do you have a blanket handy in case mom comes down with some cookies? Don't worry though, someday you might even meet a real woman.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 19, 2005 1:25:34 AM

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