Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Do you think Bush-era officials responsible for harsh interrogations should face trial?

April 21, 2009

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Should Bush administration officials face trial over harsh interrogations?

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— President Barack Obama said Tuesday the United States lost “our moral bearings” with gruesome terror-suspect interrogations and he left the door open to prosecuting Bush administration officials who vouched for their legality.

At the same time, Obama said the question of whether to bring charges “is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws and I don’t want to prejudge that.” The president discussed the continuing issue of terrorism-era interrogation tactics with reporters as he finished an Oval Office meeting with visiting King Abdullah of Jordan.

Obama had said earlier that he didn’t want to see prosecutions of CIA agents and interrogators who took part in waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, so long as they acted within parameters spelled out by government superiors who held that such practices were legal at the time.

But the administration’s stance on Bush administration lawyers who actually wrote the memos approving these tactics has been less clear. “There are a host of very complicated issues involved,” Obama said.

The president took a question on this volatile subject for the first time since he ordered the release last week of top-secret Bush-era memos that gave the government’s first full accounting of the CIA’s use of simulated drowning and other harsh methods while questioning terror suspects.

Obama banned all such techniques days after taking office. But members of Congress have continued to seek the release of information about the early stages of the U.S. response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror under former President George W. Bush. Lawsuits have been brought, seeking the same information.

Obama said Tuesday that he is worried about the impact that high-intensity, politicized hearings in Congress could have on the government’s efforts to cope with terrorism, but that he could support such an inquiry if it were done on a bipartisan basis.

Obama said such an investigation might be acceptable “outside of the typical hearing process” and with the participation of “independent participants who are above reproach.” This, he said, could help ensure that any investigation would be a tool to learn, not to provide partisan advantage to one side or another.

“That would probably be a more sensible approach to take,” Obama said. “I’m not saying that it should be done, I’m saying that if you’ve got a choice.”

The president made clear that his preference would be not to revisit the era extensively.

“As a general view, I do think we should be looking forward, not back,” Obama said. “I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively and it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations.”

Last week, Obama’s Justice Department published previously classified memos that described the Bush administration’s legal justification for CIA interrogation techniques that included methods criticized as torture.

On one side, Republican lawmakers and former CIA chiefs have criticized the memos’ release, contending that revealing the limits of interrogation techniques will hamper the effectiveness of interrogators and will compromise critical U.S. relationships with foreign intelligence services.

On the other side, the memos’ release has appeared to increase calls for further investigations of the Bush-era terrorist treatment program and for prosecutions of those responsible for any techniques that crossed the line into torture.

Comments

Bobo Fleming 6 years ago

Why not Clinton officials? They were doing rendition in the 90's. Oh wait, the Democrats so we wont be doing that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Let the trials begin, be they Republican or Democrat.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus agreeing with you...

I wonder how many of you will admit that you think that politicians and government officials are above the law...

Shane Garrett 6 years ago

Here is one that should be prosecuted: EXCLUSIVE: Senator's husband's firm cashes in on crisis Feinstein sought $25 billion for agency that awarded contract to spouse By Chuck Neubauer (Contact) | Tuesday, April 21, 2009

EXCLUSIVE:

On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband's real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

Mrs. Feinstein's intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn't a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars.

salad 6 years ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says…

Let the trials begin, be they Republican or Democrat.

X2

Clickker 6 years ago

"Let the trials begin, be they Republican or Democrat." Wrong. Trying these people, who were carrying out thier jobs under the laws at the time would basically shut down law enforcement as we know it. For example, if tomorrow we captured the #1 terrorist and there was evidence he was planning an attack, and if YOU were the interregator for the Govt, how do you know that ANY methods you would use ( currently approved by this administration) would not be looked back on in 4 years as criminal? Would it be worth your career? Your family? Your life?.....I love my country, but if I were in that position, I would resign on the spot. We cannot use revisionist legal opinions to run a law enforcement organization.

Evan Ridenour 6 years ago

The officials who were responsible for writing the legal memos? Yes.

Any official who carried out acts under the guise of said legal memos? No.

RonBurgandy 6 years ago

Of course they should. It would not shut down law enforcement as we know it. Most officers know how they should and shouldn't proceed.

Also, most know the difference between right and wrong. Do something illegal, get punished for it. It's pretty simple.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years ago

Eride so then you disagree with the Nuremberg principle that did not allow for a defense of "I was only following orders"?

Clickker 6 years ago

"Most officers know how they should and shouldn't proceed." Well, yes they do UNDER THE CURRENT LAWS...but thats the problem here. If they see that the laws can be interpreted differently 4 years from now and their actions ( legal at the time) can be prosecuted....you bet it would shut down law enforcement.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Barry lied. "In releasing highly classified documents on the CIA interrogation program last week, President Obama declared that the techniques used to question captured terrorists "did not make us safer." This is patently false. The proof is in the memos Obama made public -- in sections that have gone virtually unreported in the media." Read the rest at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/20/AR2009042002818.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

preebo 6 years ago

TrooGrit, for someone how is constantly chastising the "big government" view, you are eerily quite on this front. On one issue we shouldn't trust government but on the other we should. I would think this is an issue most people, save a few Bush loyalists, would agree upon. Where is the consistency in your logic? Simultaneously, for one who believes government is too big, you sure do refer to it with reverence labeling Big-G Government (acknowledging it as an institution rather than a tool of governance) when it is not necessary.

Steve Jacob 6 years ago

As I say over and over again, would you of tortured Zacarias Moussaoui if you could have prevented 9/11?

And Pat Buchanan is right saying if we are attacked again, we'd want for the CIA to go "Jack Bauer" on them.

And far as trials, no, they where under orders, and Obama seems to look toward the future, not the past.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years ago

"Do you think Bush-era officials responsible for harsh interrogations should face trial?"

The answer regarding the Bush era is the same as it should be for any era: yes.

james bush 6 years ago

This is more of the Obama administration's tactics of disinformation/obfuscation/sleight-of-hand to keep the political pot stirred and the public confused as they go about socializing the government...........smoke and mirrors, ACORN,Soros, Ayers style.

Clickker 6 years ago

"Absolutely! I think they should be tried, and when they are convicted, I think they should be publicly waterboarded, slapped, humiliated…."

Really? I guess if we were trying to stop a 911 type attack on L.A. or something I would agree. Otherwise, this is a silly nonsensical statement.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years ago

Truegrit: Can't think for yourselves, need to pick an agenda, dumb a$$es!

you liberal left wing imbeciles

All you libs, who think big government is the answer…well you're just f**cked!

wake up you idiots!

With such clear-headed, evidence backed, emotionally free posts, how can anyone not agree with you?
You are doing more harm to your cause than that crazy lib in the White House ever could. It is very entertaining, though! Keep it coming!

BrianR 6 years ago

Exactly, "I was just following orders" is not an excuse.

Jean Robart 6 years ago

NO- desperate times call for desperate measures

RedwoodCoast 6 years ago

I think anyone in an official capacity who orders and conducts borderline or over-the-line interrogation practices should face trial, regardless of the administration in which the policies were implemented.

Centerville 6 years ago

How about torturing them with the dreaded caterpillar of terror technique? Sheesh.

Alia Ahmed 6 years ago

It is interesting that the headline used the words, "harsh interrogations" instead of the word, "torture". Would people answer the question differently with the word torture instead? Isn't that what we are actually debating, whether the use of torture is acceptable?

beim 6 years ago

With the democrat republican paradigm at its highest peak ever, them being two different wings of the same bird, I really have given up all hope as we have only two choices that act different when on screen but are best of friends when off. I have no faith in our government ever telling the truth, even if they say we'll stop torturing. Anyone can research the CIA and know that they have never answered to anybody and have terrorized the world, one of the many good and disgusting examples would be pushing Pinochet to power in Chile which resulted in the most brutal murder and torture of hundreds if not thousands of common people because of different political beliefs. The CIA is the problem; they will never stop lying and will always do what they want. They are a very un American agency and should be equated as murderous. Go to You Tube and watch a video of the CIA secrets, or read one of the many books on the subject, and you'll soon realize that they are indeed the world's largest terrorist organization. To think that we could ever believe our government; I find it laughable.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Running a 'question' like this just shows those at the LJW have a sense of humor and look for ways to stir the pot of commenters.

Vitruvian 6 years ago

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

A majority of respondents to this poll seem to believe that kidnapping and torture are morally permissible when these acts are performed by agents of the state.

I have little reason to believe that any of the kidnappers and torturers will be held accountable for their crimes, or that their victims will receive any restitution, for the current regime is populated with individuals complicit in those very same crimes.

oldcat 6 years ago

At the Nuremburg Trials, we said following orders was no defense. Why are we now allowing our own homegrown idiots to claim it is? At the very least we should start at top and come down and prosecute all these scumbags.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Should we blow up some building in LA to apologize to the poor terrorists that were thwarted?

beatrice 6 years ago

I find the laws on the interrogations of detainees approved by the Bush administration to be repugnant and I'm glad that Obama changed them and that he did so publicly. However, I don't think it is in our nation's best interest to pursue prosocutions of interrogators. I feel that we should move on and do better in the future.

Tom, does the "B" in BDS now stand for Barack?

blakus 6 years ago

Yes, and while we are at it, where is justice for Valerie Plame? I am still angry over how that all went down. I could care less if it was a republican or democrat in office, treason is treason!

JHOK32 6 years ago

I think Bush & Cheney should both be waterlogged for about 16 hours, then thrown in a maximum security prison. They can bunk with Bernie Madoff and see how long it takes for them to become some big bruiser's girlfriend. After they find their "mate" we should through away the key forever!!!!! See if old Georgie still has that sh*t-eating grin on his face after Mongo goes a few rounds with him!! : ) aaaaaaaaarrrgggg!!!!

RoeDapple 6 years ago

So JHOK32, your remedy for perceived illegal acts is to commit more illegal acts? Sounds like you're a candidate for a little "bubba" therapy yourself............

jaywalker 6 years ago

"At the Nuremburg Trials, we said following orders was no defense. Why are we now allowing our own homegrown idiots to claim it is?"

Aww, c'mon. Maybe because these events weren't part of a holocaust, whaddya think?

jaywalker 6 years ago

From Article II of the Geneva Convention:

"the relationship between the "High Contracting Parties" and a non-signatory, the signing party will remain bound to the articles of convention until the non-signatory no longer acts under the strictures of the convention. "..

Safe to say the combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan NEVER acted under the strictures of the convention, unless their torture, mutilation, and beheading of our and allied soldiers is okey dokey.

grammaddy 6 years ago

Torture should never be allowed. We should treat the prisoners we take as we would want our troops treated when they are captured. Treason is treason, prosecute them all. They knew what they were doing was dirty.

jayhawklawrence 6 years ago

Too many Americans have become brain washed by the political dialogue.

There is no reason to believe that the solution to any problem is only what the political leaders, who line up on two opposing sides, tell you.

Imagine trying to run a company like that or even your own household. It would never work.

We need access to news that is not politicized and that is becoming very difficult to find in today's world.

If you are listening to information that is only available in this format, you should reevaluate the quality of the information you are digesting. You may be brainwashed.

In yesterday's news, water boarding a guy 183 times was described as, " what some people may refer to as torture." (Incredibly, torture may no longer be torture)

Dick Cheney essentially is saying, "The end justifies the means." If this is so, how about using some other techniques such as the Apache method of skinning a man while alive over an open fire.

If we follow Dick Cheney's logic will we soon be arguing what methods of torture are the most effective? Will our decision be based on the quality of the information we think we get from our prisoners?

We are better than that. Aren't we?

salad 6 years ago

Wow, I can't believe how many people are still trying to defend a practice (torture) that doesn't work. Seriously, it doesn't work. It doesn't provide useful info. It just makes us barbaric. We're supposed to be the good guys, right? Since when do the good guys torture? BTW, Jack Bauer is not real....seriously, just a TV show...not reality.....even Kiefer Sutherland is against torture.

jaywalker 6 years ago

Salad:

Sorry, but you're just plain wrong. The interrogation methods helped thwart a plot to fly airplanes into the Library Tower in L.A. and into the terminal at Heathrow; stopped an attack on our embassy in Karachi and a marine base in Djibouti, and these were just the plots released in the memos the other day. Try again.

Scott Drummond 6 years ago

"We are better than that. Aren't we?"

No, clearly many American are not.

Deadenders, mostly (to borrow a phrase,) but the corporate/military/industrial media machine is cranking out the propaganda at such levels that their numbers are a growing threat to majority adherence to the nation's ideals.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

In other news: "WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a previously undisclosed private memo, President Obama's intelligence director told colleagues that enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Bush administration yielded important information that helped America deal with the threat of terrorism." http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/04/22/memo-obamas-intel-director-said-interrogations-yielded-high-value-info/

salad 6 years ago

jaywalker (Anonymous) says…

"Salad:

Sorry, but you're just plain wrong."

This may come as a suprise to you, but actually, I'm not wrong! Even our own military interregators protested the use of torture (numerous interviews on NPR). The NAZIs even knew that torture was ineffective and unreliable at getting actual information. It's just a terror tactic. As for your "examples" complete BS, unsubstantiated caca. YOU try again.

jhwk2008 6 years ago

Hey Snap, why don't you add the rest of the quote?

"The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means," Blair said in the prepared statement. "The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

fms 6 years ago

I don't see how this is any different from the "I was just following orders" response at the Nuremberg trials. It's dangerous to set a precedent that "if DoJ says it's okay then it must be okay." Everyone is responsible for good morals regardless of some legal opinion from a political boss.

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