Letters to the Editor


May 7, 2009


To the editor:

Perhaps my mind is twisted by having so many of my family working in corrections, but I can’t go along with the media consensus that those who approved and promoted torture should be given a pass. From Garrison Keillor on the left to soft and hard right commentators, writers agree that prosecution would be nasty and politically unpleasant and to be avoided. Many people are doing time for behavior attorneys thought defensible.

Crime pollutes the state; justice clears it — even when the criminals are well-dressed, especially when they wear flags in their lapels.

Haehl is from Lawrence


Kawatchi 9 years, 1 month ago

"Many people are doing time for behavior attorneys thought defensible."

-What does this mean? Exactly which behaviors do all attorneys find unworthy of defense?

skinny 9 years, 1 month ago

Some of you must live in a fantasy world.

Have you forgotten 9/11!!!!

John Kyle 9 years, 1 month ago

"Some of you must live in a fantasy world.

Have you forgotten 9/11!!!!"

America started well before 2001. I'm so sick of the "post 9/11 mentallity" Move on!

repaste 9 years, 1 month ago

disgust level approaching that of the approval rating of W - 20%. 80% support. Obama has been a moderate, not a extremist like the Rep. leadership. . Obama has been a strong supporter of not prosecuting. Pelosi is right there withe Rep. leadership of last few years, doing whats best for the elite.

repaste 9 years, 1 month ago

Seems Tom gets his numbers from Rush the Pill, 80% think things are improving. 70% think previous leader left us in the gutter.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

Dear Leader Barry will hold off on the show trials until he really, really needs to divert our attention from some epic fail of his regime.

yellowhouse 9 years, 1 month ago

There are many forms of torture by the Government! People are blind to it, they dont realize until it becomes the giant elephant standing in the middle of the road!

Torture is being accused of something you didn't do!

Its being railroaded by the police who refuse to admit they may have acted in haste against someone!

Its being arrested multiple times for charges that have no merit!

Torture is having your legs shackeled and being thrown in a cold cell like some kind of animal and forced to sit there for 8 hours with no food.

Its having to sit in court and listen to peole who have made deals with the prosecutor lie about you just to get a better deal for themself!

Torture is being drug threw the system for nearly 5 years never having closure so you can move on with your life!

Torture is having to open the paper and find that you are headline news, and what they are saying is not true, and you have no voice to defend yourself.

Torture does not have to be physical,

There are many forms of Torture, and a lot of Americans are tortured by our Justice system!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

The Nazi lawyers in Hitler's government would agree totally, Pilgrim--

This is constitutional lawyer Scott Horton's analysis--

"[Hitler's] lawyers were indicted and charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes arising out of the issuance and implementation of the Nacht- und Nebelerlass. The United States charged that as lawyers, "not farmers or factory workers," they must have recognized that their technical justifications for avoiding the application of the Hague and Geneva Conventions were unavailing, because these conventions were "recognized by all civilized nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war." That is to say, they were customary international law. [...]

After trial, the two principal [German] Justice Department lawyers, one a deputy chief of the criminal division, were convicted and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, less time served. This judgment clearly established the concept of liability of the authors of bureaucratic policies that breach basic rules of the Hague and Geneva Conventions for the consequences that predictably flow therefrom. Moreover, it establishes a particularly perilous standard of liability for government attorneys who adopt a dismissive attitude towards international humanitarian law."

In addition to the Hague and Geneva conventions, BushCo's lawyers were also bound by the convention against torture, ratified by Reagan.

temperance 9 years, 1 month ago

@ esq2eb: Okay, I read the article to which you linked. Why are you against The Patriot Act? Are you some kind of "libtard?" "Have you forgotten 9/11!!!!”

[rightwing hypocrisy . . always hilarious . . .]

ksdivakat 9 years, 1 month ago

Yellowhouse....just one question....you are always saying you are innocent of all crimes that the LPD has tried to pin on you....tell me this... Just how is it you are innocent of having a marijuana grow operation in your home?? I seen the news, and I seen the cops drag plant after plant out...how will you deny this?? If I remember correctly, marijuana is still illegal in this country, and yet you are proclaiming innocence to all who will listen. Do you see how you have no credibility now??

temperance 9 years, 1 month ago

" . . .rounding up Americans, putting them in prison, and denying them basic rights?"

So, where were you 8 years ago when the Patriot Act was created? You're such a brave defender of individual liberty . . . when the law is applied to a middle-class white kid . . .

Rex Russell 9 years, 1 month ago

Let's set aside the political revenge theory for everyone who wants to see this aired out. If after that, procecutions are warrented, so be it. I could care less about the political fall out. Not everyone is as rabidly partisan as some here. Some are morally against compromising core American values. To air it all out would help to prevent future abuses. I think the perfect scenario would be to have the President go on TV and say he is going to ask John McCain to be the head of a truth commission. As a POW and someone who has experienced torture first hand, this gives him credibility. Having him be a Republican, sets aside partisan questions. Let him assemble his own team of investigators along with it. And then step back leave it alone.

Mixolydian 9 years, 1 month ago

repaste (Anonymous) says…

Seems Tom gets his numbers from Rush the Pill, 80% think things are improving. 70% think previous leader left us in the gutter.

Off the topic, but this needs cleared up. Obama inherited a mess from a democrat controlled congress since 2006. It's congress that passes laws and establishes a budget bill. A president can only recommend a bill or exercise veto.

All I know is that this country was a far sight better prior to, than it was after, the 2006 elections.

That's why a complete democrat stranglehold on government is a disaster in the making. There have been republican control of executive and legislative, but there's been the check of an inquisitive and demanding press.

Unchecked power with a fawning press. What good is going to come out of that?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

"Godwin flag on bozo."

That only pertains if it's a gratuitous reference. There is international law precedent involved, and it just so happens that it involved the actions and subsequent war crimes trials of the Nazis.

"Just one more legal opinion. Nothing more, nothing less."

Another celebration of his willful, blissful ignorance by Pilgrim.

coolmarv 9 years, 1 month ago

Yellowhouse Do you post comments that don't have to do with your situation? If you are innocent quit trying to prove it on these message boards. Stop being selfish. We have all heard it already.

sinverguenza 9 years, 1 month ago

Mixolydian (Anonymous) says…

"but there's been the check of an inquisitive and demanding press."

Tee hee! Ha ha! Whew!

Best laugh of the day. Thanks, Mix.

temperance 9 years, 1 month ago

Rex: "I could care less about the political fall out. Not everyone is as rabidly partisan as some here. Some are morally against compromising core American values."

Exactly. I could care less if they have a D or an R in front of their name. The "but Pelosi and other Dems knew about it!" argument doesn't work. I'm just as disgusted by Democrats who spout the Orwellian "let's look to the future, not the past"; "now is the time for reflection, no retribution" nonsense.

jaywalker 9 years, 1 month ago

" The “but Pelosi and other Dems knew about it!” argument doesn't work."

I don't know, seems to have worked well enough to reduce the initial clamoring for investigations to a mumble on the HIll.

"I'm just as disgusted by Democrats who spout the Orwellian “let's look to the future, not the past”; “now is the time for reflection, no retribution” nonsense."

Noble sentiment. "For the majority of us, the past is often regret, the future an experiment." Mark Twain

kmat 9 years, 1 month ago

Some very simple info for you. Bush Co. broke two signed treaties. That's why if he, Cheney or Rumsfeld leave the country now, they will be arrested and prosecuted. Spain is finishing the formal charges.

In the least, Bush Co. needs to be prosecuted for perjury. They lied to congress about torture and wouldn't release the memos that have now been made public. The memos showed that they did use torture (whether you believe it was correct or not to use torture), but they lied to congress and said they didn't use toture.

No righty can scream about perjury charges. If it was ok to impeach Clinton perjuring himself about getting a BJ, then it sure as hell is warranted to prosecute Bush Co. for lying to congress about torture.

Mixy - Oh yes, the colapse of our economy just started as soon as the dems took insignifigant control of congress. Go do a little studying on the deregulation that has occurred under Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton (yes, he was guilty too) and finally the worst of the deregulation under Bush 2. Your statement is complete crap.

Rex Russell 9 years, 1 month ago

I'll say it one more time to those out there who don't believe this was torture and possibly a crime. If the powers at the top were sure of it's legality, why have inside White House lawyers right opinions justifying it? If it was legal, why set up black-op prisons around the world and not do it on US soil? Why did we turn our detainees over to the Intel people in Syria,Lebenon and Egypt to do interrogations on our behave? It goes to show the mind set of those who authorized it first and justified it second.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree that they should be prosecuted, but now just doesn't seem like a very auspicious time to do so. I guess, though, if there is a statute of limitations to deal with, then whattya gonna do?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

It's not an issue here, 75X55-- this has been illegal ever since Reagan signed and the Senate ratified the convention on torture.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

Should Bush Admin aka repub party leaders be investigated for lying about Iraq?

Bring on the special prosecutor I say.

Under the Bush/Cheney watch 15 terrorists from a variety of countries were able to highjack 4 large commercial aircraft simultaneously. The rest is history. How did this group get around big brother for 2 years? Big brother is everywhere!

Under the watch of Bush/Cheney over 3,000 people died on 9/11/01 and over 4000 USA soldiers thus far in Iraq… an illegal war based on lies from the White House. Yes the White House lied to congress,citizens and the world.

The 9/11/01 culprits were located a few blocks from NSA headquarters for 2 years under the watch of Gen Hayden yet the FBI never received authority to investigate or keep them under surveillance…why?

Two known 9/11/01 terrorists were under surveillance in Yemen by the CIA until the CIA lost them. They entered the USA by way of San Diego legally all the while listed as possible terrorist yet were not challenged in San Diego…Why? The FBI was never notified…why?

YES! Bring on the special prosecutor.

Of course the republican party does not want their party investigated for possible criminal activity. That would not look good at election time.

Is criminal activity something unusual for the republican party? I should say not!

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

The repub/neoconservative/PNAC party is largest law breaker in our nations history:

LIED TO THE NATION about Social Security: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

Isn't it odd each time our nations financial institutions crumble there are Bush family near by and a McCain still in office?

SAVINGS AND LOAN THEFT - Who has history with financial institutions going south such as the savings and loan scandal? Republicans! http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4120/we_arm_the_world/

McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five. The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate ... http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1989-11-29/news/mccain-the-most-reprehensible-of-the-keating-five/1

CRIME: IRAN CONTRA - Who hosted the Iran Contra secret illegal sale of weapons? Republicans! http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/publications/irancontra/irancon.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reagan/peopleevents/pande08.html

CRIME: Who brought the nation Iran Contra number 2? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/5/iran_contra_20_how_the_bush

CRIME: WATERGATE- Which party illegally spied on the democrats to win an election? Republicans! Watergate! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/index.html

CRIME: Which party held secret energy meetings and refused our elected officials its' content and who attended? GW Bush and the republicans!

CRIME: LIED ABOUT IRAQ - Which party lied to congress and the world,went against military advice and created the worst strategic blunder in the history of the USA aka Iraq War? Republican Party! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10348418/

Which party has held secret oil deals with Saudi Arabia? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2004/4/20/did_bush_cut_secret_oil_deal

CRIME: Secret Oil deals for Iraq Oil- Republicans! http://www.pubrecord.org/nationworld/262.html?task=view

Corey Williams 9 years, 1 month ago

Esq2eB (Anonymous) says… "Temperance: So you wish to justify Obama's actions by comparing them to Bush's actions? The two men are comparable in your eyes. Did you approve of Bush's actions 8 years ago? Do you approve of those same actions now? Do you approve of Obama's actions in imprisoning a 10th grader?"

The only things Bush was doing as of May, 2001 was spending more money on a non working missile defense system, promising tax refunds (the first of what, two or three that didn't do anything to motivate the economy), and choking on a pretzel. How could any of those relate to the first few months of Obama's term?

Is the somali pirate a tenth grader? Was he actually in the tenth grade? One simple google search turned up this:

"U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck cited conflicting testimony that Muse's father gave about his children's ages during telephone testimony from Somalia and his own failure to testify about his age as reasons to find he could be treated by the courts as an adult.

Peck also noted that prosecutors had produced evidence during a closed hearing that Muse acknowledged he had lied to an FBI agent about his age before admitting he was 18 and that one of his brothers had confirmed he was 18." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30313755/

temperance 9 years, 1 month ago

Esq2eB: "So you wish to justify Obama's actions by comparing them to Bush's actions? . . . Do you approve of Obama's actions in imprisoning a 10th grader?"

I don't know enough about the case to make an informed decision. The FBI says he made a bomb threat, but his parents say it was an overreaction. That's what the article says. I'm wondering why you're leaping to his defense based on one news article (hint: he's a white male that you can identify with).

If Obama is abusing the Patriot Act, then I oppose such abuse. I think his recent assertion of "executive privilege" was wrong and I'm glad the courts slapped it down. Like opinions about torture, opinions about privacy and the abuse of executive power shouldn't be driven by partisan considerations.

You likely voted for the guy that passed The Patriot Act and you supported the political party that rammed it through Congress. And you've been silent when the very abuses you're now suddenly outraged about were being committed on a mass scale. (see, for instance: http://news.cnet.com/Report-FBIs-snooping-did-not-follow-rules/2100-1028_3-6166015.html ). Your outrage is reserved for a Democratic president (as if he personally ordered the raid) and your sympathy is reserved for a white male suburban kid.

I'm glad you've finally joined the battle for civil liberties and I'm sure the ACLU can soon expect a hefty donation from you. But the timing of your rage, and your silence during the Bush years, make you a Big Baby Hypocrite.

camper 9 years, 1 month ago

Igorance of the should not hold up...even if one had (bad) legal advice.

camper 9 years, 1 month ago

"How long are the Obama worshipers/Bush haters going to keep reaching back in time? Six months? A year? Two years? Three years? Forever?"

With all due respect Tom, both parties do this. Clinton, Carter, and even FDR still get blamed for a lot of stuff. As do Bush and Reagen. Some of the criticism is valid some of it is not. "You broke it, you bought it" can apply, but succeeding administrations can and should make corrections. The US probably is the best nation on the planet for doing this. In four years everyone will have a chance once again if they don't like the way things are going.

Susan Mangan 9 years, 1 month ago

"Under the watch of Bush/Cheney over 3,000 people died on 9/11/01" {8 months after taking office following 8 years of a Democratic administration}

"Obama didn't cause these problems, he inherited them" {Which I'm sure we'll hear well into the next year or two}

So blinded by hate, they can't even see the irony.

The simple facts are this...A) Both a Democratic and a Republican administration had the chance to (at least attempt) to do something to prevent 9/11. Both failed to act, and B) There is a hell of a lot of blame to go around for the economic disaster right now. A Republican administration acted irresponsibly spending our money like there was no tomorrow, as did the Democratically-controlled Congress who couldn't have been happier to fork over the Bills appropriating that money. The passionate fights that erupt on this site are really about who's party screwed up the most. What an honor to win that debate!

Some of you haven't figured it out. I'm as passionate about my beliefs as anyone on here. But I know the "other side" is, as well. No amount of "fact-creating" or insult-slinging is going to change my basic beliefs and, conversely, I know I won't change theirs. Instead of raising my blood pressure fighting on a message board about who is right, with a group of people diametrically opposed to my core beliefs, who I can only imagine truly believe they are "right", as well, I will let history decide. Healthy debate can bring about positive change...but only if both parties are flexible and willing to listen and change their positions, if proven wrong. I seriously doubt that anyone on this board (including myself) meets those criteria. So, in the end, everyone here loses because the only goal of your rivals is to affect you by making you angry. And it clearly works.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago


How many responsible and reputable people do you see in politics right now?

Also, your prediction is extremely unlikely - we seem to have numerous systems in place which protect politicians from legal consequences of their misdeeds.

And, isn't it more likely that irresponsible and disreputable people would be scared off?

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

One more thing:

Isn't it obvious that the best way to avoid being prosecuted is to refrain from breaking the law?

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

Waterboarding clearly meets the definition of torture, which includes mental, as well as phsyical, anguish.

Feeling that one is drowning would certainly qualify as mental anguish in my book.

It appears the issue was the mis-defiining of waterboarding by the Bush administration.

Paul R Getto 9 years, 1 month ago

I don't think it makes sense to jail anyone, but the recent controversy over release of the CIA memos reminds me President Bush did great damage to our country and our international reputation by authorizing torture in America’s name. If there were evidence from experts that physical torture actually produces the desired results, perhaps I could feel better. Science and the Bush administration had an arms-length relationship, and it appears the justification for torture was another example of this phenomenon.

Raul Castro is now willing to discuss ‘human rights’ with the new administration. I support a realistic policy towards Cuba and look forward to ending the fiction we have pursued for fifty years. Sadly, when President Obama talks to Cuba about jailing poets and torturing dissenters, he can now say, “Well, you did it too.” Cuba’s ability to point the finger back at us demonstrates the greatest sin of the Bush administration. His policies, well intended or not, painfully violate the last words in the Declaration of Independence, so elegantly phrased by our founders: “…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Only an honest discussion of this dark part of our recent past can remove the stain from America’s honor. Discussion and understanding is not prosecution.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

From Webster's dictionary:

Torture - b. something that causes agony or pain.

Agony - a. Intense pain of mind or body.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

Therefore, for those that can't make the connection themselves:

Something that causes agony (intense pain of mind) is torture.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 1 month ago

coolmary, do not presume to dictate to another poster what they can and cannot post. Do not use selfish as a means to manipulate someone into supporting your point of view.

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