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CIA?s Five Stages of Woe

Uploaded: Dec 11, 2014
This hasn't been a proud week for most Americans. We will forever chase our ideals, of course ? aspiring to them is our cherished, shared bedrock value. We expect to come-up short from time to time, but occasionally this country's systems fail to the point of pratfall. Those failures are particularly difficult to square with our sense of ourselves ? our claimed American Exceptionalism. Hard lessons must be internalized, lest we are to fail again similarly in the future.

Devotion-to-principle is best tested under pressure, whether on a personal or national scale. Do we rise to the occasion, or sacrifice what we stand-for in favor of some expedient? Moral leadership and actions are easy in the hypothetical case; they are much harder when character is actually in-play.

So, now we have to absorb the meaning of the Senate Report on Torture. Hopefully, the process that most Americans will go through begins with 'Horrified' and ends with 'Resolve' ? a commitment that this will not ever happen again in our names. The CIA, however ? the Agency that MOST needs to learn these lessons ? seems to be going through Five Stages of Woe in a desperate attempt to learn nothing. Their arguments go something like these:

First: "these (agents) are Good People." Those words were actually attributed to the former Prez, under whose tenure these abuses occurred. They were uttered as part of a pre-emptive strike, days before the report itself issued. I had almost forgotten the mediocrity of his analytical powers. Many CIA personnel ? even the vast majority of them -- ARE Good People, including some who were required to actually carry-out the torture.

But two points need to be made here: Good People sometimes do bad things, particularly when they operate within weak ethical systems. The fact that no one intervened is an indictment of the Groupthink mindset that enabled this catastrophe. Also, 'just following orders' is a time-worn and -dishonored defense. It doesn't work to absolve anyone. Those facilitators, up and all the way down the chain of command, are going to have to find some way to live with what they've done. It's a long, soul-wrenchingly difficult process.

Second: To the extent the Report is even true, it was necessary to get good information, under ticking time-bomb conditions. (I'm paraphrasing here.)

Yes, we were/are under stress, anger and grief. And that is precisely when it's critically important to have systems in place to resist our/everybody's basest instincts. Otherwise, we sink to the level of our attackers, whom we characterize as brutal, cowardly barbarians. Are we better than that? Only if we act the part.

Further, the claim that 'good information was gained' was thoroughly debunked in the Report. One of the CIA's ongoing courses of misconduct was to try to maintain this illusion. Only trouble is: it.just.ain't.true. Indeed, the Agency itself, in saner circumstances, had earlier rejected the use of torture as ineffective and even counter-productive ? leading their agents down rabbit holes opened by torturees who will say anything to make it stop. They should have listened to their own advice and disavowed these discredited brutalities.

Third: It's too dangerous to air this filthy laundry: it puts our interests and our people at-risk. These revelations are so horrible, the argument goes, that Americans will now be newly subjected to them. There's also a belittling claim that Any alternatives would have been coddling those fellow human beings in our custody.

This approach is mere deflection ? a diverting mirror in the smoke-and-mirrors playbook. As the departing Intelligence Committee Chair, our own Senator DiFi said, and she's right: "there is no good time to bring this out, but we must." The evil is in the several-year conspiracy of torture, cover-up lies and deceit ? it is NOT in the plot's revelation. Sometimes, dark humor is brilliantly instructive ? in that regard, Andy Borowitz' latest take on this absurdity is recommended reading.

Any direct reprisals from this report will also be brief ? captors will do what they'll do ? without taking direction from failed tactical programs of the CIA. Somebody, somewhere may indeed get a rectal infusion because we administered them, but mankind's abilities to devise humiliations and inflict suffering are nearly infinite. I truly doubt that torturers gained much insight or inspiration from this Report (And I could have died a happy man without ever knowing about rectal infusions).

Fourth: "well, if you take all the captives all over the world, we're still better than average." This was heard on PBS from a former CIA flack and apologist ? delivered with a completely straight face. It attempts to provide context in a race to the bottom of human depravity.

Really? Is that a claim which, if true, would be explanatory or proud? "USA! We're Number About Average!" Is this the standard of world moral leadership to which America aspires? The world is a cruel and inhumane place, yes indeed ? which argues Better leadership, not worse. Those who fear slippery slope-itude elsewhere might want to ponder this well-greased angle ? how far down ought we to go -- and when, or how, will we stop?

And finally (I hope): "we knew all this already ? the Report really isn't very significant." I call this the Officer Barbrady defense, as heard from someone else on KQED's Forum yesterday. It attempts to call this old news, and hardly worthy of serious citizens' sustained attention.

Calling this situation anything like 'business as usual' is a scary thing. It's not so. It keeps company with the incidents like the My Lai massacre and internment of Japanese Americans in our national conscience, in terms of its tragic flagrance. It needs to be studied, and processed, and learned from, and practiced at a baseline policy level ? not swept out with yesterday's scraps. This 'insignificance' claim also begs the question of why the Agency worked so strenuously, and illegally, to compromise the fact-finding process, and head-off the eventual publication of these findings. Methinks they doth protest way too much.

All these tactics are predictable, I suppose. Acknowledging truth, accepting accountability and taking serious steps to ensure that We the People will never again to be so shamed in front of the world by our official representatives, is an arduous process. It's made worse by clinging to Any of the stages of woe.

The best thing I've see written on this topic comes from David Cole, writing "Taking Responsibility for Torture", in The New Yorker. I wish I could claim it, or improve it, but I can at least reproduce it for your reflection:

"The report's central lesson is that when government officials abandon the obligation to treat human beings with dignity, that decision will corrode all that follows. Jeremy Waldron, a professor at N.Y.U. Law School, has argued that the prohibition on torture is absolute because it is central to the idea of the rule of law. The Senate report is a vivid confirmation of that insight. The C.I.A.'s decision to use torture tainted everything it did in connection with the program. What began as an effort to find out the truth about terrorist threats led to the C.I.A. repeatedly lying to cover up its own wrongs.
?
The report's depiction of the agency's abuses and deceptions unquestionably does the American public a great service. As Senator John McCain noted in a floor statement after the report's release, "'Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. This executive summary ? makes clear that acting without conscience isn't necessary, it isn't even helpful, in winning this strange and long war we're fighting. We should be grateful to have that truth affirmed.'"

Let the great uncomfortable, and necessary national soul-searching begin.

Comments

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

When I found out that the prisoners were tortured I was waaaaaay tickled!

When folks prance about like cheering bunnies and believe they're invincible, they gotta be coo-coo. Turn about is fair play!

Most prisoners all over planet earth have been tortured and very few folks care.

Any war us a nightmare. Has everybody forgotten Andersonville during the American Civil War? Wounded Knee? Hiroshima and Nagasaki? While such horrific crimes against humanity continue to happen, most civilized patriots remain waaaaaaaaay quiet.

Like lemmings jumping into the sea, humans do it differently. I think that humans are no more sensible than bed bugs.

i rest my case...





 +   2 people like this
Posted by pololo mololo, a resident of Carriage Gardens,
on Dec 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm

State of the Union!!!

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 11, 2014 at 4:29 pm

[Cholo: it's hard to link up your post with the blog in any way other than both concern mankind's inhumanity to itself. What you posted was indeed tragic, but not relevant. -- Moderator]



 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Westerner, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I'm not sure what is worse: Capturing terrorists, interrogating them, waterboarding them, threatening them, putting women's underwear over their heads, then calling all of it "torture" even though no pain is involveed, or killing them with a drone strike, along with their wifes, children, and innocent civilians who are nearby.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by buckeroo, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Dec 12, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Was there a particular reason to leave out recreations like beatings, caboose abuse, hypothermia and leaving them hanging for hours, Hoss? I've also heard tell that waterboarding is no dip in the pool. And why the false either-or choice - is there something in the Cowboy Code about two wrongs together making them both right?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Dec 13, 2014 at 8:51 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Let me first get this out of the way: I don't have any sympathy for those in Guantanamo and other locales receiving whatever interrogation treatment they get/got as a result of being captured in various war time activities. In fact, I don't remember hearing anything about those same individuals being forced to jump from burning buildings in the hopes that SOMEHOW they will survive a devastating aerial attack.

NO SYMPATHY.

I won't get into a point-by-point takedown of what Tom wrote, frankly, it would be too easy given the historical record of what's already known about the U.S. use of interrogation.

But I will put something out there to all you hand-wringing liberal cowards who think that the world is made up by sane individuals who practice law and can wax poetic from the security of their office and home:

The world has some VERY bad people.

People who would sooner chop your head off then to actually reason with you. People who would think nothing of wiping out your family just so they can further their own interests. You know they exist, you have possibly seen their production of mass-beheadings. Yet you all sit here whining and claim we must do better? I got news for you boys, we actually DO do better than them.

All the hyper-ventilating shows is that you are in denial that there are people out there that will do you great harm just because you and your family exist. Do I want to know who they are, YES. Do I approve of non-conventional methods (torture) to be able to learn where they are, YES.

This is the only sane way to go. Talking does not make you safer and if you don't believe me, go down to one of the highest crime neighborhoods in our county, walk down a street and see what happens. I'll bet you won't.

Show me a man who would not go to extreme measures to protect his family and I will show you a man who does not care about his family.

Continue your hand-wringing and pontificating while MEN and WOMEN protect you.




 +   4 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 13, 2014 at 9:19 am

I assume that the term "hand-wringing coward" refers to Senator McCain?

And this is your one fair warning: you are way over the line here. Any future similar verbiage of base personal attack -- or any defense of it -- and you will earn yourself a one-way ticket-to-ride. The story is fair-game; I am not.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School,
on Dec 13, 2014 at 9:35 am

While I understand rage, I agree with Tom.

Maintaining a civilized society is difficult and extremely frustrating.

At times, all we can depend upon is respecting and reviewing the laws that guide us and help us maintain a semblance of sanity.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Dec 13, 2014 at 9:42 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"I assume that the term "hand-wringing coward" refers to Senator McCain?"

Since you asked: Yes.

Your warning is noted and [deleted. See ya. -- Moderator].


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Dec 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

?I had almost forgotten the mediocrity of his analytical powers.?

Those words better describe Mr. Cushing?s latest attempt to attack Republicans. As a lawyer he should have rejected the so-called ?torture report? simply because no one was interviewed who took part in these activities. It would be as if in a criminal trial the defense was not allowed to present witnesses or state a defense. This wasn?t a Senate report. This was a partisan Democrat attack. How is it possible to get beyond that fact?

Mr. Cushing also avoids the context, or the greater picture. For liberals, history always starts and stops at the most the most convenient time. And so it is with Mr. Cushing?s diatribe. It would be inconvenient for him to mention that President Clinton began the systematic use of harsh interrogation techniques in the mid 1990?s. As an example, President Clinton?s administration picked up people in one country and had them shipped to Egypt where they died or were executed. And at the other end of this story, President Obama avoids the issue by sending a missile at a suspected target killing all people, innocent or not, in the blast area. This represents the Democrat?s view of the higher ethical and moral ground. Better just to kill them. Or kill somebody down there.

Mr. Cushing states that in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, ?we sink to the level of our enemies.? He fails to comprehend a simple and clear distinction. We are trying to save lives. Our enemies want to kill as many people as possible.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 15, 2014 at 8:12 am

While legal practice tips from commenters are always appreciated, that comment willfully ignores a lot of ?context.?

First, the Report (not a prosecution) was composed from the CIA?s very own internal files and communications (except for the various videos that had been illegally destroyed by its agents, and many other documents from the so-called Panetta Review, that should have been produced to the Senate, but were not). Such ?business records? have credibility because they were independently created in the ordinary course of running the Agency. I note that you skip right over the ?are they true?? issue, which is, of course, central to the case.

Facts are facts; they are Non-partisan and they are Abundant in the Report. Your refusal to look at them is mighty flimsy.

Second, most fact witnesses were unavailable to the Committee because of a concurrent DOJ probe. The senior officers might?ve been willing (at least Now they might?ve been), but what were they going to say: ?just kidding? We made those up for the office Holiday Follies?? No, they were going to claim security privilege, or the plead the 5th, or further delay the Report in hopes of a softer landing (they almost got one, anyway).

Third, I?ve written about this twice before, Web Link and you have commented copiously in those threads ? so perhaps you recall the (other) extreme lengths the Agency went-to to obstruct this Report: resisting production of documents, illegally withholding other documents, hacking the Committee?s files(!) and removing 900 particularly damaging documents (!!) and then lying about it and having to apologize. You may decide that they were just trying to avoid this 'partisan' report, but the much better conclusion is that they were hoping to head-off a 'truthful exposee,' of 'Torture.'

As to whether it?s ever been done before, I see no linkage to your claims, again. But even IF they are documented as credibly as was done in this Report ? then what? ?You?re one, too?? That?s playground stuff, and didn?t ever work well, even during elementary recess. I?m not after Republicans, here ? I?m after INDECENCY. These wretched misdeeds, done in our names, must not be repeated. You can try to deflect about drones and war-being-hell, but none of that stuff matters Here. THIS was wrong. It would be just as wrong if Mother Teresa had authorized it.

As to Mr. Bush, he either actually believes that ?good people? are a sufficient substitute for ?bad systems? (which is poor management and lowest-level mediocre analysis, at the very best) or he is striving mightily to stay above-the-loop of what turned out to be Amateur Hour at Langley ? plausible deniability, or the ?Enron defense.? It?s interesting that Mr. Cheney has been working hard to put him back in that loop ? perhaps he?s lonely at the bottom of this awful debacle.

Finally, commenter, you may take comfort in our good intentions, but perhaps you recall where they can lead you? Web Link Or ponder this one: Web Link


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Dec 15, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Other traits of mediocre analysis are the use of too many words to make a point, a lack of tolerance for differing opinions and a lack of knowledge of widely known facts.

Mr. Cushing continues to make my point that the so-called torture report was nothing more than an attack on Republicans, especially the Bush administration, when he ignores the fact that the Clinton administration actually began the systematic implementation of enhanced interrogation techniques that included or led to the death of detainees. His blogs would be slightly more credible if he were to acknowledge this and give appropriate credit to President Clinton. And he could acknowledge the morally superior President Obama who takes no prisoners because he simply and ?decently? blows them away, families and all, from 10,000 feet.

To Mr. Cushing only Republicans lie or cover up the truth. Never mind that the Obama administration lies on a regular basis in order to cover up scandals and/or win elections. Mr. Cushing lies to his readers when he states that potential CIA witnesses were not available due to a ?current DOJ investigation?. That investigation ended in August 2012.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 15, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Web Link

Good luck indeed. There's an old adage in the law that if the facts are ag'in you, argue the law; if the law's ag'in you, argue the facts. Here, if the blog's ag'in you, argue the 'partisanship' of the blogger. That I was critical of the Administration for not firing the CIA Director Brennan way back last summer managed to escape being mentioned.

It's a time-worn tactic. Anything to distract attention. It doesn't work, except to reveal who the Real blind partisan might actually be.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Dec 15, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

There is an old adage that if you are unable to formulate a coherent counter argument, simply ignore the issue and insult the opponent. This is yet another attribute of a mediocre analysis.

This so-called "torture report" was a partisan attack by Democrats. It lacks credibility because those directly involved were not questioned or consulted and because similar actions by Democrat presidents were ignored.

With Republicans about to take control of the Senate, Mr. Cushing will, no doubt, look forward to equally compelling Senate Select Committee reports on the ATF (Fast and Furious), the Bowe Bergdahl release, the IRS, the Associated Press, Solyndra, the collapse of Iraq, GSA, VA, Benghazi, EPA, and the DOJ to name just a few.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Tom Le, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Dec 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Let's not forget that:

1. There were only 3 terrorists who were waterboarded. Yes, other EIT were used. Some debate on if waterboarding was used at a black site in Afghanistan.

2. For all EIT methods, the staff were trained by medical professionals, there were doctors and emergency security staff during each session, command & control superiors in attendance, and third party non-military psychologists were also present. The characterization that this was some rogue operation like you'd see Jack Bauer perform in 24 is far from the reality. In fact, there were strict rules for the types of torture, even water-boarding, where the duration of each pour was timed and specific limits were placed on total, consecutive and average pour times.

3. The climate of the American people post 9-11, and that of both parties in Congress, was to do whatever it took to fight the war against the terrorists. Those in Congress today praising the release of the report were in full support of expanding the CIA's remit when the mood of the nation was starkly different.

4. Those of you against EIT, unequivocally, should also be against drone strikes, unequivocally. Those of you who are okay with EIT, especially with the precautions and limits placed by our own military and government, as a nation at war should also be supportive of drone strikes as a nation at war. What is irritating is the partisan politics of trying to dance that delicate line of condemning EIT (because it's Bush's fault) while supporting expanded drone strikes (because Obama did it).

In the end, what Obama did was trade EIT for drone strikes. Thousands of civilians have been killed by drone strikes. No innocent civilians have been killed by EIT. There were only 119 prisoners in custody. That shouldn't be the only measure, but it's a revealing one.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

Thanks, Tom for commenting on the issues. It's a pleasure to step away from willful refusals to consider these merits.

On your first two points, to pick out one form of torture and say we didn't use it much is just anecdoctal. There's ample evidence we used a wide variety of torture methods on 120+ people. It feels like cherry-picking intended to somehow minimize the indecency of the program as a whole. I think you are also overstating the controls and safeguards.

Your third point is absolutely critical -- and goes to the heart of why this Report is so important. The CIA had no real interrogation system in-place pre-2001. So they tried to build one on the fly, with inexpert contractors, in the haze of post-9/11 fury. Inevitably, they got it wrong -- AND then they kept getting it wrong for several more years of ineffective, inhumane tactics, and cover-up that continues to this day.

THAT's why you build management systems when you're Not under that kind of pressure, and you practice them -- indeed you Live them. Civilian example: J&J got Tylenol right because they lived and practiced the value of 'patient comes first.' I was personally involved in decision-making on several incidents at another company where the temptation to do the wrong thing was palpable -- except that it would have violated the company's most closely-held values. Those guidestars kept us on-course.

Now, how our spy agency could Not have had a proper, sophisticated interrogation system is beyond belief -- the FBI has one, for instance. And you can probably find ways to blame a whole series of Administrations and their CIAs for the now-obvious lapse, if one insists that this is a 'partisan' issue -- it's not -- it's an American issue. .

And THAT's the point -- we as a society now have to come to grips with the translation of our values into our policies. We are not under 9/11's horrific cloud and can more rationally create, practice and live better approaches -- ones that actually work, and that we do not have to hide and lie about. I hope this Report spurs that process -- that's why its release was crucial -- not partisan points, but soul-searching and correction.

As to drones, I too am very uncomfortable with our current approach -- too much expediency and too few controls, for starters. I do not think the issues are identical, at all, although there are obvious similarities, too. I think we should be pursuing the same kind of correction process on those rules of engagement. Perhaps the new Congress will pursue those issues, rather than further abusing the exhausted, expired equine of Benghazi?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 16, 2014 at 9:07 am

"As to drones, I too am very uncomfortable with our current approach -- too much expediency and too few controls, for starters. I do not think the issues are identical, at all, although there are obvious similarities, too."

Probably all of us, excepting perhaps one of the above posters, wouldn't even consider torturing the young child of a terrorist to get information, but many would approve a drone strike that had a not insignificant chance of injuring or killing a small child if the strike had the potential of killing a very high value target.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Tom Le, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Dec 16, 2014 at 11:14 am

On the second day of Barack Obama?s presidency, he prohibited most forms of physical torture. On the third, a CIA drone strike he authorized killed up to 11 civilians.

Obama is relying on the same legal memo that the Bush used to justify EIT of alleged terrorists to justify the drone program.

I could see backing EIT (gain intelligence, limited high value targets, no one dies) and being against drones (lots of innocent victims, such as a high value target's entire family picnic). I can see someone saying NO to both (moral limits to what we should do during) or saying YES to both (both practices are reasonable in the face of war).

What I can't see, and what most Democrats and Obama are supporting, is being against EIT but for the drone program. No amount of moral equivalency can rationalize that choice.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ed, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Dec 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm

As always Tom, you've hit a nerve with your article and we have a lively debate here as a result.
For me, we can't just shake hands with a terrorist suspect and ask him politely to tell us what he knows, nor should we put him in the rack. What ever happened to truth serum? Why can't someone develop a drug or device that can extract information without harming the person?
Of course every housewife would want to use it on her husband if she suspected something. On second thought, scratch that idea.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 16, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Ha! Just guessing here, Ed, but I think 'house husbands' might deserve equal time...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Conservator, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 16, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Ed and Tom,

First off, Tom - Excellent article and discussion. It's like you got the Hatfields and the McCoys together for a holiday gathering.

The future is closer then you think, I believe, to one day sitting someone down in a chair and reaching behind their conscious curtain to search their 'file cabinets'. Even a casual assessment of where organizations such as Google Ventures are putting substantial investments will tell you that neurological modulation (i.e. manipulation) is as much the future as our smartphones were a decade ago. Here's one of the promising neuro device companies that quickly comes to mind (Web Link). There are dozens more. Even if you're not a cynic, it's highly unlikely that this much time & money would be spent on cures for Parkinsons and Alzheimer's alone, if the research didn't point to other potential dark arts.

Won't be long and 'torture' will be passé. Tomorrow's CIA operative will be a relatively low wage attendant who simply has to place a sophisticated colander with wires on you head and your thoughts will be read out in an instant.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

' THAT's the point -- we as a society now have to come to grips with the translation of our values into our policies. We are not under 9/11's horrific cloud and can more rationally create, practice and live better approaches -- ones that actually work, and that we do not have to hide and lie about. I hope this Report spurs that process -- that's why its release was crucial -- not partisan points, but soul-searching and correction. '

Where to start with this diar [C'mon libdis -- you couldn't have expected to get away with this abusive tone. BTW it's spelled "exCrement." Be careful. -- Moderator]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 7:48 am

Conservator: your comment and link had me reaching for my tinfoil hat, as protection from that collander. There may be a Brave New World a-dawning.

An interesting phenomenon has been Hollywood's fascination with torture. You can't watch an episode of popular shows like Blacklist, Scandal, State of Affairs, 24 etc. without being confronted with it. It's often dressed-up in sophisticated clothes that seem to dignify the Amateur Hours that actually comprised this program in-practice.

That it comes from those so-called limo-libs is a remarkable turn-about. I don't have any answers because alternatives are worse, but I do wonder about desensitization effects on the viewing public. I know that fogies have been complaining about TV's great wasteland since Newton Minow Web Link, but I find myself increasingly turned-off and generally frustrated with there being 1000 channels -- and nothing any good's on 'em.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ed, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 9:15 am

The collander idea is a good one - painless, I assume, and will yield all the useful intel that a person has. A brave new world indeed. I wonder how that would change things?

I mean, knowing that someone could be captured and easily have their minds "opened up" would they then be severely restricted in what they are taught and told for fear that if captured they'd spill the beans?

And, could troops/terrorists be outfitted with one of those mind cleaners we saw in "Men in Black" that could be self-administered upon imminent capture to erase what they know making the trip to the collander useless?

Hmmmm....


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 9:16 am

The worthy-of-a-schoolyard excuses and justifications offered by the defenders of torture - "Billy started it! What about what Joe did?! They're all just just big poopyheads anyway and I hate them hate them hate them!" - was predictable, if depressing. Special points go to Formerly Dan for his faux-macho swaggering-from-his-recliner, pontificating about how scary the world is, and only people who are really, really scared like him are actually brave, while those who counsel restraint and calm assessment of right and wrong and what really works are "liberal cowards." (Makes you wonder how much actual personal danger Dan has ever faced, doesn't it?)

But top prize, IMHO, goes to Doug Miller, for this:
"There is an old adage that if you are unable to formulate a coherent counter argument, simply ignore the issue and insult the opponent.
...
This so-called "torture report" was a partisan attack by Democrats."

This raises the question: Does Mr. Miller own a mirror?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Conservator, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Tom, Ed, et al.,

Huxley, as both a writer and philosopher, was leaps and bounds ahead of his time when it came to cynically defining the world that we live in as anything but a Brave New World.

Tom, Thanks for the link. When you read Minow's speech in the right light, it gives one a good chuckle and perhaps a tear or two. In terms of contemporary programming on the tube, I'm personally more worried about today's G-men trying to live up to the 'standards' they are portrayed to possess on the little screen versus the one's that we should hope that Hollywood would reflect of the genuine article.

However, in lieu of reality, I'll take another serving of 'soma' and just call it a day...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

[What is the new definition of insanity? Continuing to post after you get banned, and expecting that your post won't be deleted. -- Moderator]







 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

This so-called "torture report" was a partisan attack by Democrats.

Two recent polls indicate that Americans by about 2:1 have thought about Mr. Cushing's original challenge and have decided enhanced interrogation was justified given the circumstances.

So much for the national soul searching. On to Cuba.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Conservator, a resident of Danville,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 6:12 pm

No need for melancholy over the ever parsing news cycle. Let's recall that Gitmo still exists as we haven't given back what we took from the Spanish in 1898. Thus, the principal subject of Tom's recent article and the dialogue on Cuba can still be one and the same.

Perhaps principal difference in a few weeks or so will be that we can enjoy a good Cohiba cigar while we debate the topic.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 17, 2014 at 7:23 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

[That was not careful. I am not paid to edit your crap. Adios, libdis. -- Moderator]


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by cholo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 18, 2014 at 8:44 am

[cholo -- do you have a new IP address? If so, please email Cushing. -- Moderator]


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 18, 2014 at 9:00 am

NO...I DO NOT HAVE A NEW EMAIL ADDRESS.

Thank you for giving "libdis" what for!

i rest my case...

Sincerely,

Cholo Pololo Mololo
the one 'n onliest...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

A bit of rough language, in an interesting perspective from a law professor at Georgetown University and a Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation. She served as a counselor to the U.S. defense undersecretary for policy from 2009 to 2011 and previously served as a senior advisor at the U.S. State Department. Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Dec 20, 2014 at 10:47 am

Doug Miller is a registered user.

It is easy to understand why Mr. Cushing likes the essay by Rosa Brooks. She has all the right credentials. She has no first hand experience in the topic which exactly matches those who were interviewed for the so-called Democrat "torture report". She has a strong liberal bias given her work for billionaire George Soros, MSNBC, any Democrat running for president, and she has properly blamed Bush for all that is wrong in the world.

Interestingly, the Rosa Brooks piece does not really support Mr. Cushing essay. She basically says that while harsh methods work, and she would use them to save her own family, it is just wrong.



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