US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby The Gunslinger » Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:27 am

Quote:
I just think that you've all blown the subject way out of proportion by insisting that the CIA is going to be randomly plucking Tom, Dick and Harry off the street, never to be seen again.
Amen. Let's see if it'll happen in the next 2-4 years. If not, you guys need to have a little more faith in our country & it's inhabitants.

I wouldn't compare ANYTHING in politics today to what happened in WW2. They say that history repeats itself, but at the same time, we learn from our mistakes. There are so many organizations and citizens that would put a cold hard stop to that. Not to mention outside countries that would probably knock on our doors asking if everything is ok. I'd worry more about countries like China that DO torture their own & make them disappear. Go help them
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby -The Fabulous Orcboy » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:02 am

Quote:
Amen. Let's see if it'll happen in the next 2-4 years. If not, you guys need to have a little more faith in our country & it's inhabitants.
First, 2-4 years is too small a sample size. Second, it ALREADY happens with non-Americans, but I guess if you're not a citizen it doesn't count. Even if happen to be citizens of allied nations.

Quote:
I wouldn't compare ANYTHING in politics today to what happened in WW2. They say that history repeats itself, but at the same time, we learn from our mistakes.
People are still people. And you don't actually ever "learn" from your mistakes if you insist on believing that the past can serve no purpose.

Quote:
There are so many organizations and citizens that would put a cold hard stop to that.
Shockingly, I would prefer that "the government" be one of those organizations. Shockingly, I happen to believe that an unfettered or corrupt government can get away with an awful lot of shit, and there is very little anyone can do to put a 'cold hard stop' to that, given that "the government" happens to have an AWFUL lot of resources. Not so shockingly, the overwhelming weight of evidence supports this strange little belief of mine.

I have a sneaking suspicion that you have enjoyed your rights and privileges as a US citizen so long and so unconsciously that you've never thought about how fragile those rights and privileges truly are.

Quote:
Not to mention outside countries that would probably knock on our doors asking if everything is ok.
Or Superman will fly down from Metropolis and put things right with his Kryptonian superstrength. Or maybe you could instead look up "superpower" in the dictionary. Then flip back a few pages and look up "realpolitik". Then we'll talk again.

Quote:
I'd worry more about countries like China that DO torture their own & make them disappear. Go help them!
First, flip back to that dictionary entry under "superpower".

Second, this is a silly game. I can play, too. Ted Bundy never killed as many people as Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan is evil. Ted Bundy doesn't compare. So Ted Bundy clearly isn't as evil. So he must therefore be more good. See? Perfectly logical. I like how you're a fan of relative ethics and relative morality now. I don't remember you being a fan of these things, once upon a time. Isn't something that's "bad" still "bad" even if there are things that are "worse"?

Finally, you want the standard for ethical treatment of human beings in the United States to be "not as bad as the worst excesses in China"? Wow. That's an incredibly low standard. I would have thought you would want the standard to be "better than the best the US has ever been, with continual improvements". Talk about your low expectations.

And anyway, guess what? The current United States only barely clears that low bar. Or did you conveniently forget about all the stuff the US has done in the past few years? Torture. Rendition. "Disappearing" of people into government custody. Black ops prisons. No habeus corpus (right to trial). And this is just the documented stuff that so-called "traitors" in the government have leaked to the so-called "biased" media.

===========

Shorter version:

Lou: "It's not that bad. And someone (= not me) will stop things if it gets out of hand, anyway."

Me: It should NOT be bad at all. And hello, allow myself to introduce myself -- I'm "someone."


More to the point, and to be even more cynical about it: Lou, you dislike me and disagree with basically everything I think and say. Given all that, do you really want ME to be the one fighting for your rights? Or would you rather get up and be one of the "someones" as well? :rolleyes
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby Amazonwarlord » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:48 am

Thanks Ken .. that Quote was the one I was thinking of (bottom of page 2)

Anti speeding laws protect us from maniacs that would kill us with our cars. Laws are required in a society Nidail .. you know this. And you know that was no mine or Ben's point. Misdirection attempt failed. Sorry/

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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby VectorAWX3 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:43 am

Misdirection? Guys, I don't argue like that. You should know this by now. I'm all about the intent, not some crappy rules-lawyering, so take what I say at complete face value.

Say the LAW says that the CIA can't whisk you away. And the CIA DOES whisk you away. What then? Are the cops going to save you? Do you think they NEVER whisked anyone away under Clinton? (or try to assassinate individuals) Was what Regan did legal with the whole selling of arms to Iran in order to funnel money to central america? Don't think so. But he did it anyway. Is he in prison? No. And Ollie North has a talk show.

Yes, you and I have to follow laws or we're fucked when we're caught. These organizations can get away will all sorts of shit you and I have only read about in books. My point is: SO WHAT if it's on the books that they can't do it? They're doing it ANYWAY. Write all the laws you want. It's not going to make a damn bit of difference. This isn't the NYPD, it's the CIA.
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby -The Fabulous Orcboy » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:06 am

Easy enough.

(1) Okay, so you don't want to call it "misdirection". But it is a very willful misunderstanding of what is being proposed. You know, sort of another way to say "misdirection". Although apparently you don't want to call it that.

(2) Okay, let's play your silly game. Assume that for some odd entirely Nidal-arbitrary reason oversight, enforcement, and the like are NOT possible. Also assume that the CIA (what it is, does, and can do) actually is exactly like the Hollywood action thrillers you are apparently getting your information from.

In that case, here's what I'd do. I'd change the rules of the game, too. I'll give all human beings the power to teleport.

Now, back in the REAL world, the CIA is capable of being the target of investigations. It is under congressional oversight. It is not some sinister cabal or "black box". Its agents are human beings that can be prosecuted for crimes.

Possibly you don't think that this piece-of-shit legislation that is being sped through Congress (already through House, tomorrow through Senate) at record pace actually changes anything, that all the new powers and 'protections' for torture and rendition and the like are ALREADY PRACTICED by the CIA.

Of course, if you thought that, you'd be wrong. But at least it would explain why you think all this kerfuffle isn't worth getting much upset about.

Me, I don't want the CIA becoming the sinister modern Inquisition of spy thrillers.

You, apparently you think this is already the case, so who cares what the law says
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby VectorAWX3 » Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:14 pm

Basically, yes. :lol
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby Bauhaus » Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:45 am

Actually, I know Im exaggerating but the point Im trying to make is that numbers dont matter. If we do it to one person, thats one too many. If we do it too one person were doing to all of us (or any of us.)

The argument that theyre not rounding up thousands isnt really the point. Im upset because theyve rounded up 1.

I oppose the death penalty not just because they might kill innocent people but because they might kill just 1 person that doesnt deserve it. That one person could be someone I know or a nobody.

My in-laws are a bunch of lawyers and one is representing detainees at Guantanamo. I can tell you that there are a lot of people there that shouldnt be. But how does anyone know? People arent allowed access. Every once in awhile the military just releases someone. Theyre done with them I guess. No trial, no evidence, no reason.

I realize that Guantanamo isnt California or Germany. Not even close in numbers but numbers dont really matter.

Didnt Jesus Christ sort of prove that one was enough?
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby VectorAWX3 » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:34 am

Dave, you're sayting that because they might grab 1 person who doesnt' deserve it, they shouldn't do it. How's that different from the legal system? Do courts NEVER convict innocent people of murder, rape, assault, etc? Do those innocent people not occasionally get sentenced to death, life-in-prison, 20 years, etc? Should we dissolve all legal punishment to insure that this doesn't happen? Absolutely not. Otherwise, you may as well be arguing to open up all the prisons in the country, and I'm sure you're not for that.

What I'm saying is that by NOT exaggerating, you make a better point. Once you slip into hyperbole, you start to lose any traction with people you're trying to convince.
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby -The Fabulous Orcboy » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:13 am

Nidal, you just contradicted your talking points.

First you DON'T think laws are worth anything, now you think they're great. Then you accuse Dave of using hyperbole, after having crafted a dozen straw-men yourself.

Pot, meet kettle. Glass house, meet stones.

And now, I'd like to introduce you to the concept of "appeals". It's real sexy. Sort of a 'fix' to the holes in the system. Almost as if other people had SEEN a problem, and then come up with a SOLUTION. Weird, I know.

======

Lou, serious question so serious answer.

What is your limit?

That's really what all this comes down to.

To use a less emotional example, observe the lie detector. The lie detector does not work. Or rather, it works very well for what it does -- registers any sort of change in physical excitement. The basic theory of the lie detector is that a LIE causes a physiological change that can then be measured. The basic theory does not hold. It has been disproven countless times since shortly after the "lie detector" was invented.

The REASON the thing is a failure is that, while a good number of people DO trigger the sensors the way the theory does, it is nowhere near statistical probability. Many people slip through the system, even with a very, very good reader. And it is possible to train most people to beat the "lie detector".

It is therefore USELESS for any accurate detection of lies. In fact, that's why it's no longer admissible as evidence in court.

That said, it still DOES catch some lies.

The PROBLEM is, there's never any way to really be sure that it has caught a lie, or just screwed up. The machine does return false positives (like when people are stressed, or have a flashback, or if they just have really really sweaty skin). And there's the converse problem that there's NEVER any way to be really sure that someone really is telling the truth.

So if you're being generous, you don't rely on that alone.

=======

Now, torture.

Torture has an exceedingly well-documented history of working extremely poorly (yes, this includes "truth serums", which people can fool, circumvent, or otherwise 'beat'). Many times -- most times -- people will say anything at all simply to stop the pain. And people are really, really, really good at telling other folks what other folks want to hear, particularly when they've got torture inspiring them to be good at figuring that out.

This means that yes, SOME of the information you get from torture may be true.

But how can you be sure? A huge amount of the information you get will NOT be true. And there's never any guarantee that torture will work to get accurate information from someone even if they have it.

So it's immensely unreliable. Actually, it's many times more unreliable than the "lie detector". Which, you will remember, is not very reliable at all, only slightly better than 50/50 (which is a coin flip) on average.

Then there's the OTHER downside of torture. Which is that it's TORTURE.

Nidal (as usual) misses the entire picture. Someone wrongfully imprisoned has an appeals system, in the US system, to turn to. There are processes in place to try to fix a mistake if/when it occurs.

If you torture someone, that's hard to "fix". You've not only imprisoned them, you've also fucked them up. Badly. Repeatedly. For information you're not sure is accurate or worth anything at all. And if you're WRONG about whether they had any information, then what?

-----

If you're okay with this anyway, then I really don't know what else to say to you. If you're okay with torturing people just on the OFF CHANCE that you might MAYBE get some useful information out of them, which you'd still have to somehow pick out of the huge amount of total frantic lies you've also gotten, then your morals and my morals are on totally different planes of morality.

What makes the current debate "exciting" is that the President wants to not only permit the TORTURE of people, he wants to ALSO:

(a) not get in trouble (or have his torturers get in trouble) if innocent people are mistakenly tortured.
(b) get to pick and choose who can be tortured, without any need for evidence or proof or otherwise that they've actually GOT any information.
(c) not let Congress or the courts -- you know, the other two branches of government -- keep an eye on this
(d) torture people whenever he wants for as long as he wants, and never let them go if he doesn't want.

That's not just TORTURE, that's torture and a shitload of even worse stuff.

And just for kicks, he's doing this because the Supreme Court (you know, one of the other two branches of government) told him a month or two back that he could NOT torture people, because the US had a treaty obligation -- the Geneva Convention -- that Congress had ratified, and thus it was Unconstitutional for him to actually (you know) VIOLATE the Geneva Convention. Plus it would also be a violation of the Geneva Convention, which is pretty bad stuff.

So he went to Congress and told them to let him violate the Geneva Convention. Because then he could torture people and it wouldn't technically be unConstitutional. All it would be then is a VIOLATION of the Geneva Convention. Which is totally different.

This is like the logic of a six year old, by the way, who has just been told that he's not allowed to eat candy. Except that instead of "eat candy", it's "torture people".

So even if you're "okay" with a little bit of torture in a controlled environment in certain cirumstances, what Bush wants is about a thousand times worse.

And the GOP-controlled House and Senate just (tonight) passed the bill that will allow him to do all of this, in an overwhelmingly partisan vote.

So again -- GOP is now clearly and demonstrably pro-torture. And not just pro-torture, but pro-double-secret-no-oversight-at-whim-torture. How about you, Lou? Or are there political policies that matter more to you than torturing people?

============

PS: to point out the other problems in your hypothetical situation.

(1) Innocent until proven guilty. That's the way the American legal system is SUPPOSED to work, yes? The guys being tortured have never gone to trial. In many cases, it's pretty well proven that they were classified 'terror suspects' wrongly, just because they happened to be in the wrong village on the wrong day.

You keep talking about 'torturing terrorists' -- except there's been no investigation to see if they really ARE terrorists or just random Joe Schmoes. And virtually all the current 'terror suspects' have never seen the inside of a courtroom of any kind. Since capture. That's YEARS of imprisonment and torture with no trial, no investigation to see if you're even a real suspect.

This is not a problem for you?

(2) I don't talk politics to my students. That's unethical.

I am active in other ways. Had I more time, and were I more stationary, I'd actually run for local office. Instead, I participate in political activism on-line and also locally. That's a fair sight more than just 30-odd people.

I generally don't bring that HERE, but there's regularly some new outrage. This one struck me particularly close to home -- because of Japanese-American interment, because of the American experience in war with opponents who DIDN'T honor the Geneva Conventions, because of my own knowledge of history.

But it's a little odd to hear you preaching about how "foolish" I am, and suggest that I should be reaching out to my students. If I do, I do so indirectly, by encouraging critical thinking. But I'm not going to abuse my authority to preach politics to a resentful, captive audience.

(3) The primary (and overwhelming) political influence on people occurs when they are pre-adolescents and teenagers, and comes from their parents.

Most people have the political views they do because of the influence or views of their parents. Even me, and I'm far more conservative than nearly all of my family. Yes, shocking as it might be to you, Lou, I'm actually pretty conservative.

I used to be more angry at the GOP for moving SO far to the right that I no longer could rationally support their policies. But in the last few years, they've worked hard to demonstrate that they don't actually STAND for anything anymore, so I feel a lot better about voting the other way, despite the fact that I really don't have much in common with about 33-50% of the other party, and think that a good number of them are real howling-at-the-moon types.

But in the medium-to-long term, the best way to bring back a GOP comparable to the kind I knew growing up is to beat the tar out of it in elections until it takes a swing back to the left and toward moderation, common-sense, liberal humanist, progressive populism, and Adult Competence. I look forward to once again supporting a moderate, sane GOP, hopefully in just another 10 years or so. Meantime, the Dems have rebuilt as the moderate, common-sense, liberal humanist, progressively populist, Adult and Competent party. So I'll ride that donkey until it goes mad with power and then cheer for the opposition again.

BTW, just in case you're confused -- that's how to be a real "independent". If you don't register but consistently vote one party or another, through thick and thin, and happily justify every excess and malfeasance, that's partisanship, not independence. Sorry :p
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Re: US first major world nation to break Geneva Conventions

Postby -The Fabulous Orcboy » Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:59 am

Note -- the "Torture Bill" has passed both houses in near-record time, less than a week since the so-called "compromise" (= total capitulation) by Warner & McCain.

Bush will almost certainly sign it into law by next week.

The US will then officially be in violation of the Geneva Convention.

It will also be in violation of Article I, Sec 9 of the Constitution, which is about the only silver lining in this cloud. See, this bill is SO bad that odds are pretty decent that the courts will knock it down.

But the fact that it got that far means that the Congress (which is supposed to act as a leash on the Executive) has failed utterly in its Constitutional duty.

And if Bush manages to backload the Supreme Court with another ass-kissing far-right conservative (aka Alito), then the third and final check on authoritarian power will also be lost.

My analysis: Yet more reason to take Legislative power away from the GOP.

That and pray that the current justices last another two years. A third Bush appointee would create a true "legacy" that would have real bad reverb for decades, literally decades, to come
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