Why Is It Okay To Shoot An Old Man In His Jammies?


THIS is a great question.

After pushing the official on the fact that we obtained information that led to the death of Osama bin Laden through enhanced interrogation techniques INCLUDING waterboarding, the question was posed:

Why is shooting an unarmed man in the face legal and proper while enhanced interrogation including water boarding of a detainee under very strict controls and limits; why is that over the line?

The fun starts at 1:58

In short, the answer is that Obama has no answer.

The Left has no answer.

Rather, they come back and say, “Well, that’s not us; that’s not who we are.”

But it is.    We raise men in this manner.  It IS who we are.  And I’m glad it’s who we are.

Jeepers.

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12 comments
  1. nickgb said:

    If you can’t see intuitively why torturing people for information is different than killing an enemy on the battlefield, then there’s no point in discussing it. I’d draw a comparison to the fact that a cop making an arrest has broad discretion to use force while we don’t let prison guards beat prisoners, but you’ve already said you think it’s okay to beat suspects for information.

    But enough with your enhanced interrogation-OBL connection. The vast majority of people and evidence say there was no link between waterboarding and OBL. Even the people who think waterboarding helped at all, and they are few, cannot say that without waterboarding we wouldn’t have got the same information, so it’s irrelevant anyway. Not that I expect any amount of evidence will convince you, but here’s a lot more people who say that waterboarding didn’t lead to OBL: http://mediamatters.org/research/201105090013

    • pino said:

      If you can’t see intuitively why torturing people for information

      nick,

      We don’t disagree on the principle, we disagree on the definition.

      You say it’s “torture” to make a guy listen to ABBA at too loud a level for too many hours; that’s torture. However, you are A-OKAY with locking that same guy in a cell until he answers your questions. If you really didn’t support what you call “torture”, you would let the guy go and mail him a questionnaire.

      What is the characteristic that violates your notion of humanity that makes it wrong to not let a guy sleep but at the same time make it okay to imprison? Where is that inflection point?

      killing an enemy on the battlefield

      You are most certainly not being serious. Battlefield? Messrs bin Laden was at his home with his family. Most likely he was enjoying his day/night in much the same way he has become accustomed to enjoying his time; in the loving embrace of wife and children. That you would call this a “battlefield” is simply silly. In your view of the world, bin Laden is a suspected terrorist given full rights of law. That we would order an illegal raid, on foreign soil, invading a sovereign household with the intent to kill an unarmed man seems to invalidate said view.

      You either think that certain techniques are valid or you don’t. I happen to think they are.

      At least the folks on the Left condemning the killing of bin Laden are consistent.

      I’d draw a comparison to the fact that a cop making an arrest has broad discretion to use force while we don’t let prison guards beat prisoners

      No I didn’t. I said that if bad guy drug dealer was arrested, it would be okay to slam his fingers in a drawer in order to entice him to share where the boss guy drug dealer was. In a similar vein, if the brother of a child molester were caught, I’d slam HIS fingers in a drawer too. Once said bad guys were caught and punished, no further beatings would be valid.

      One is a method of obtaining information. The other is torture.

      The vast majority of people and evidence say there was no link between waterboarding and OBL.

      This is not true. Very few people say that. And the people that work for the guy elected President, who campaigned saying that, don’t even acknowledge that weatherboarding didn’t contribute. In fact, they say the opposite, they say it DID contribute. That Gitmo DID contribute.

      I get that you’re against what you define as torture. What I don’t get is why you’re okay with killing that same guy you would protect if we caught him.

      • nickgb said:

        I’m okay with giving the troops discretion when they are in the field. If he was unarmed, surrendering, and did not pose a threat, then the killing was wrong and there ought to be accountability. But I also give our troops some discretion and when they shoot a guy, I tend to believe they had a good reason to.

        As for whether or not it was a battlefield, it was troops in foreign and hostile territory assaulting a terrorist compound. Were there no guards? No guns? Details are sparse right now, but I don’t think it was the peaceful Leave It To Beaver you seem to think.

        Yes, you said you’d be okay beating suspects for information. You just said it again. In fact, now you want to slam an innocent non-suspect’s hand in a drawer, too. What if it was the child-molester’s wife? Would we beat her, too?

      • pino said:

        I tend to believe they had a good reason to.

        I think you are being inconsistent. It was a kill mission. You know it and I know it.

        it was troops in foreign and hostile territory assaulting a terrorist compound.

        Nope. Pakistan is an ally of ours. We are not hostile with that nation.

        I don’t think it was the peaceful Leave It To Beaver you seem to think.

        Whoa Nellie. I think he’s a terrorist that plays by different rules. Rules that allow for different actions. I am ALL for killing him. Which is consistent with with taking a book with some words on it and putting that book in a bowl filled with water in order to get more information from captured terrorists about OTHER terrorists for the explicit purpose of shooting THEM in the head too.

        No guns?

        So you are okay with cops breaking down a door of a suspected murderer, without a warrant, because they think he might have a gun? Really?

        Yes, you said you’d be okay beating suspects for information.

        Wait. You are purposefully being oblique on the delineation. I would allow for harsh interrogation methods of certain detainees in order to obtain information that would lead to the capture of other dangerous people. That is different than saying I’m okay with beating a prison inmate who happens to be in prison because he was found guilty of stealing a car. One is done in order to obtain information that will prevent further crimes. The other is just torture.

        What if it was the child-molester’s wife? Would we beat her, too?

        Are you sexist? Are you suggesting that there should be different standards of policy for people based on the fact that one might be a woman and the other might be a man? What if we didn’t slam his [or hers] fingers in a drawer and rather just threatened them with 30 years of prison all the while making them stand up for 12 hours? Does that somehow remove the whole “beating a woman” issue from the table?

        Again. It’s perfectly valid to be against harsh interrogation techniques. I may call foul when you claim it’s “torture” when you know full well what I mean. But it’s NOT valid to be against those techniques AND think it’s just a-okay to march into a man’s house, without a warrant, and shoot him in the face. You have a contradiction on your hands.

  2. nickgb said:

    There may be contradictions here, and I’m happy to discuss them, but there are fundamental differences between how we have to act in the field and how we have to treat people in custody. That’s a simple fact, and it’s the fact that you’re ignoring as your entire premise.

    I was not being oblique on the delineation. You have said you would be fine beating a suspect for information. I have never said you would be okay beating a prisoner for fun, because that is the one thing even you consider torture.

    I want to just see you type the words “I would waterboard the wife of a suspected child molester to find out where he was.” I’m not sexist, I think the standards should be the same for men and women. But all this bravado you have about how it’s good that we beat and drown and humiliate men for being caught in the wrong country isn’t about the law or morality or even law enforcement. You seem to just like the idea that we’re tough and willing to “get our hands dirty.” If you really think that these things are all valid ways of getting information, then you have to agree with the sentence above about the wife. If you can’t in good conscience say that, then I think you are the one with inconsistencies to deal with.

    • pino said:

      there are fundamental differences between how we have to act in the field and how we have to treat people in custody.

      I don’t deny this. I also agree that when “lawful armies” are engaged in combat, the act of one soldier shooting on another soldier is not seen as illegal or even immoral. However, we are not engaging “lawful armies”. We are engaging unlawful citizens. Where I think your contradiction comes into play is that you think a citizen living his normal life in his home with his family constitutes “the field” and then you claim that if somehow catch this guy, we all of a sudden have a different set of rules to abide by.

      Where I think you disagree with me is in degree to which we “torture” someone [your word, not mine]. For example, I think that you agree with the articles of torture put forth in that treaty. Not only do you see that as legally binding, but I think you agree with the spirit of that law. So you deny the use of those harsh techniques yet you seem okay with detaining that same individual. Even to the point of indefinite detention in illegal prisons with no hope for charges ever to be brought. So, if I’m engaging in your world opinion on the matter, I would have to see the detention of that individual as “torture” in the same manner as I see sleep deprivation, humiliation by wearing a bra or spiritual torture by watching a Koran by flushed down a toilet.

      You have said you would be fine beating a suspect for information. I have never said you would be okay beating a prisoner for fun, because that is the one thing even you consider torture.

      Fair enough. These words are more clear of my position. I don’t ever wanna construe that I’m okay with sick prison guards running a mortal combat scheme in their prison for fun or money.

      Further, beating isn’t the only form of interrogation that I’m okay with. If people think making a prisoner stand up for 17 hours without sitting will get the job done, so be it. Listen to Nancy Pelosi sing the National Anthem at volume 11, cool with that too. Dog barking-fine. It doesn’t have to be a beating.

      I want to just see you type the words “I would waterboard the wife of a suspected child molester to find out where he was.”

      If I would conduct water boarding on the brother of said child molester, I would use water boarding on the sister of said child molester. If, on the other hand, all it took was sufficient frightening by pushing someone into a wall and screaming really loud, that would work too.

      Now, you, how would you handle it? Would you simply offer the brother the opportunity to deny interrogation and that be that? A cigarette and cup of coffee and a hope he spills the beans?

      • nickgb said:

        Even to the point of indefinite detention in illegal prisons with no hope for charges ever to be brought. So, if I’m engaging in your world opinion on the matter, I would have to see the detention of that individual as “torture” in the same manner as I see sleep deprivation, humiliation by wearing a bra or spiritual torture by watching a Koran by flushed down a toilet.

        Well, detention is not torture, period. It can be illegal, it can violate human rights, but detention itself is not torture. And I’m against the indefinite detention, too, since you bring it up, but for different reasons.

        Where I think your contradiction comes into play is that you think a citizen living his normal life in his home with his family constitutes “the field” and then you claim that if somehow catch this guy, we all of a sudden have a different set of rules to abide by.

        That’s not a contradiction. When troops burst into the compound of Al Qaeda’s #1 they have to be ready to use lethal force if they need to. If he appears to be going for a weapon, or if he might be triggering explosives, they are allowed to kill. That is how war works. Hell, depending on what “resistance” he put up (details scarce here, too), a kill might have been authorized even if it were cops. But once you have someone in custody, they aren’t an active threat against the soldier/cop and then you don’t get the right to kill.

        Further, beating isn’t the only form of interrogation that I’m okay with. If people think making a prisoner stand up for 17 hours without sitting will get the job done, so be it. Listen to Nancy Pelosi sing the National Anthem at volume 11, cool with that too. Dog barking-fine. It doesn’t have to be a beating.

        Yeah, I get that, I just like to use “beating” because it just shows how completely out of the norm your views are. Police beatings for information are the kinds of thing you get in totalitarian countries. This is why we have a fifth amendment (though, really, even in England the practice was already limited). And that’s for actual suspects, you want to beat witnesses who have committed no crime. That is absolutely horrific. That is the triumph of “24” over law. This isn’t modern liberalism we’re debating, you’re advocating barbarism that wasn’t really acceptable even back at the founding.

        Now, you, how would you handle it? Would you simply offer the brother the opportunity to deny interrogation and that be that? A cigarette and cup of coffee and a hope he spills the beans?

        I’m not saying you coddle a witness. The police are allowed some latitude with applying leverage, but you cannot physically assault a suspect, much less a witness.

        What if someone falsely claimed that your brother or cousin or whatever had raped them? And the cops come out looking for him, and you insist that you don’t know where he is because, well, you don’t. And they don’t believe you, so they haul you into custody and knock some of your teeth out. You actually want that kind of world?

      • pino said:

        Well, detention is not torture, period.

        I suspect you are referring to the legal definition. However, personally, I would call it torture. Being locked in a cage, being fed what the hell ever and not being allowed to just “be”. That’s a lot like torture; certainly more so than the very LEGAL act of flushing a book down a toilet in front of someone is.

        When troops burst into the compound of Al Qaeda’s #1 they have to be ready to use lethal force if they need to. If he appears to be going for a weapon, or if he might be triggering explosives, they are allowed to kill. That is how war works. Hell, depending on what “resistance” he put up (details scarce here, too), a kill might have been authorized even if it were cops.

        Again, I agree with this position. You’re working too hard at trying to convince me. My point simply is that they should have served a warrant first. Certainly should have allowed Pakistan the chance of detaining him and handing him over. THIS is the legally acceptable position that you operate in. Flying stealth commando dogs in with 24 Navy Seals to kill a a foreign citizen residing within the lawful boundaries of an ally is not.

        Look. Deep down we all know that we need laws that protect the suspect the criminal. If not, we get what you describe below; a brutal police state that no one wants. However, just as true, there are times, when reasoned men acting with principled thought, have to, MUST, delve into that dark place. We don’t ever wanna admit it, we don’t wanna see it. But we know, deep down, that it must be done. And, frankly, that it was.

        I’m just sayin’ it.

      • nickgb said:

        Look. Deep down we all know that we need laws that protect the suspect the criminal. If not, we get what you describe below; a brutal police state that no one wants. However, just as true, there are times, when reasoned men acting with principled thought, have to, MUST, delve into that dark place. We don’t ever wanna admit it, we don’t wanna see it. But we know, deep down, that it must be done. And, frankly, that it was.

        I’m just sayin’ it.

        Nope, reasoned men acting with principled thought, when confronted with situations that test them, stick to their principles. This is a fetish of the right, the idea that a “real man” is willing to do horrible things when there’s a ticking time bomb. But there’s never a ticking time bomb. It doesn’t take conviction to take a prisoner and make him think he’s drowning. It doesn’t take principle to hold a barking german shepherd in the face of a terrified, shackled man. It doesn’t take reason to humiliate another human being.

        We’re a principled nation, a nation of laws. Being a nation of laws is the hard thing. Being able to say that even a terrorist deserves rights and protections under the law, that is the difficult, brave choice. Liberals don’t love terrorists, we hate them. Viscerally, we’d love to use them for target practice. But because we are trying to be “reasoned men of principle”, we understand that the principles are more important than our desire for vengeance. The same way we understand that a suspect doesn’t ever deserve a beating, regardless of the stakes. Our principles are what make us better, becoming savages when it suits us makes us less.

  3. If I can throw my own 2 cents in I just want to acknowledge, as someone on the right, a few credits where they’re due.

    To Glenn Greenwald’s dismay, Obama has continued with the majority of Bush’s policies regardless of whether waterboarding has helped or hasn’t. Plus, he’s shown some balls by kicking them up a notch, too. Keeps Gitmo open, gives more green light to military tribunals, not only starts the drone attacks, but intensifies them, puts more troops in Afghanistan, seems to be working well with the CIA, and in the meantime, it’s Bradley Manning who? I doubt any of those secret prisons are actually closed and instead, they just went back to being secret, too. Considering all that, I may start to like this Chicagoland way of doing things when they follow those of a Texan. 🙂

    Obama’s showing to be a bad-ass. With ObamaCare, he just “did it”, same as with Libya and most recently, OBL. Screw appearances, screw process. It’s not so much that what we were told we were getting wasn’t what we actually got. It’s more (to me), that what we got in each case was pretty violent. So now when I see him talking about the Dream Act once again (something which I think is a big P.O.S. legislation), I’m thinking, perhaps he’s just saying one thing to appease his base (which he’s insulted before) and is really planning something kick-ass in secret behind closed doors? I mean his deportation numbers are up. Maybe he’s just using the Dream Act to smoke the rest of them out and then plans to secretly deport them all back to Mexico in the middle of the night? Or maybe now some drone strikes and unannounced invasions into Mexico to hit some of the cartels? Dare to dream!

  4. times, when reasoned men acting with principled thought, have to, MUST, delve into that dark place. We don’t ever wanna admit it, we don’t wanna see it. But we know, deep down, that it must be done. And, frankly, that it was.

    Well said, and if we didn’t have people doing that dirty work from those dark places for us we’d have lots of people doing it to us.

  5. Alan Scott said:

    Does anyone remember when the Florida Pastor burned the Koran and he was blamed because a bunch of idiots killed about 20 people in Afghanistan ? Well after President Obama put out a hit on Osama another bunch of idiots killed about 80 people in Pakistan . If President Obama is not responsible for the 80 dead in Pakistan, maybe, just maybe Terry Jones is not responsible for the 20 dead in Afghanistan .

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