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Subject: This is what democracy looks like? rss

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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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William Boykin
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Fnord.


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Jorge Montero
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I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag. With Latin written on it that says "It's hard to give a shit these days"
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If the EVIL TERRORISTS knew about the Friendly Interrogation Softening Techniques that the country uses, they could train against them! Then, when the FBI caught one of those EVIL TERRORISTS, and we had a hunch that he had a 5 megaton bomb ready to blow in an AMERICAN city, he'd be able to withstand our heroes' FISTing, and the city would EXPLODE!

So you'll just have to trust the government, like all GOOD citizens do.
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Michael Kandrac
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In the immortal words of Colonel Jessup...

You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!


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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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Gamegrunt wrote:
In the immortal words of Colonel Jessup...

The megalomaniacal madman who tries to cover up the murder of one of the men who was entrusted to his charge is a great setup for a classic movie villain: the villain who thinks he's doing good.

This movie provides a great example of exactly what a democracy has to be on guard against. A faction of the government with the ability to operate in secrecy, without any accountability to the public that it ostensibly works on the behalf of, will lend itself to unacceptable abuses.
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Ed Holzman
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As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travellers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest's shadow. Fording the river, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of The Necromancer...
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Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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Bearcat89 wrote:
Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Undoubtedly. But they are still bound to operate within the confines of the social values that they purport to defend.

This is no anti-military issue; I'm ex-military and I think the UCMJ is a masterpiece of setting out rules for the most ethical execution of the most horrible endeavor that mankind may embark upon: modern warfare. It's for the good of all of our soldiers that we operate within the bounds of our system of checks and balances. I realize that the enemies we fight frequently sink to horrible depths of depravity, but that's no excuse to sink with them. I believe that our soldiers are the Good Guys, and I demand that their leaders allow them to act like it.
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Bearcat89 wrote:
Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

That the lie that governments and religions would like us to believe.
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Ed Holzman
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As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travellers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest's shadow. Fording the river, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of The Necromancer...
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Aldaron wrote:
Bearcat89 wrote:
Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

That the lie that governments and religions would like us to believe.

Or George Orwell...
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Bradley Hendricks
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I saw the original. Allow me to fill in the gaps:


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Holmes! wrote:
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Jake
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I personally find it very disturbing that so many people agree with torture and other forms of Cruel and Unusual Punishment when authority figures tell them that it serves the Greater Good.

Bollocks and Bullshit. It's a violation of human rights, plain and simple. Why would anyone feel safe with a government that condones torture for any reason? Oh, I forgot, the bogeyman. It is the lie that governments and religions would like us to believe. People willing to fight and die for the public good are one thing, people willing to throw out the Law of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Conventions are something else entirely.
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Bearcat89 wrote:
Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.


That is complete and utter piffle.
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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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muntmeister wrote:
That is complete and utter piffle.

Why is that?

I'm not saying that you're wrong without hearing you out, but it seems like a simple truth. Cops and soldiers are necessary, in a world full of violence. I really dig that you're repulsed by the idea; it speaks well of your inclinations. But it's hard to deny that Bearcat89's maxim is borne out by unfortunate reality.

Tut, tut. Most unfortunate, this reality.
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Scott
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Holmes! wrote:
muntmeister wrote:
That is complete and utter piffle.

Why is that?



This isn't directed at me but I'd like to chime in. The problem that I see with Bearcat's cliche is that is over-simplifies the exceedingly complex issue of torture. Without soldiers, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Had the armies of the free world not combined to hold back the threats of Nazism followed by their old ally Soviet communism we would be living in a different world. Those rough-men-at-the ready purchased the freedom of Western Europe with their blood, and and we all owe them a debt of gratitude. The same goes for any justly deployed military force today.

However, this isn't about military power but torture. And torture is a very tricky issue. It happens. The bad guys do it and the good guys have done it - I'd be willing to bet that more than a few Germans and Japanese were tortured by desperate British and American infantrymen. The problem with this current situation, leaving aside whether these actions have revealed any useful information, is that it appears that these acts were not only condoned but may actually have been encouraged as a matter of policy up to the highest levels of government. While I would argue that all but the most ardent pacifist is thankful for the men and women in the military that have protected his freedoms, it gets tricker when we "good men" have to try to sleep at night knowing that other men(perhaps some innocent?) were and are being tortured on our behalf as a matter of policy. There is necessary violence and unnecessary violence; we should all have a line that we draw. I don't know enough about what exactly has happened to form an opinion yet but rather than resorting to cliche, I'd like to see these issues analyzed in depth:

1. When do we cross the line into torture(i.e. is sleep deprivation torture)?

2. Does torture provide us with useful information? How much info is worth it?

3. When disgruntled young men in the Middle East learn about our torture will it discourage their becoming terrorists or embolden them?

4. If, and when, is torture necessary violence?

These questions, among others, are the ones that we as a people should be addressing. A truism or film quote may get you a thumb or two but they fail as rational, relevant discussion.
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King of All Simians — Not a Mere Diplomat
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Oh, golly, I wasn't defending the quote in relation to torture! Just the general principle. I read it wrong, thinking it was his reaction to the quote on its own, and not in light of the full context of the thread.

I don't believe that Isaac or Gg were really offering those quotes in general support of torture. I read them more as a tweak to what they see as unrealistically delicate sensibilities.
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Scott
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Holmes! wrote:
Oh, golly, I wasn't defending the quote in relation to torture! Just the general principle. I read it wrong, thinking it was his reaction to the quote on its own, and not in light of the full context of the thread.

I don't believe that Isaac or Gg were really offering those quotes in general support of torture. I read them more as a tweak to what they see as unrealistically delicate sensibilities.


Oh I know; you started the thread after all. I was mainly addressing those bizarre, out of context quotes(Orwell and A Few Good Men, I believe). I may be reading too much into those statements but I thought the discussion was about torture and I read their references as defending it. Sort of an "ends justify the means" type of thing. My bad. That's would be a shocker: people misunderstanding each other in an internet forum!

My apologies to you guys if I've misunderstood or misrepresented you.
 
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Holmes! wrote:
muntmeister wrote:
That is complete and utter piffle.

Why is that?

I'm not saying that you're wrong without hearing you out, but it seems like a simple truth. Cops and soldiers are necessary, in a world full of violence. I really dig that you're repulsed by the idea; it speaks well of your inclinations. But it's hard to deny that Bearcat89's maxim is borne out by unfortunate reality.

Tut, tut. Most unfortunate, this reality.

And yet, it's a surrealistically twisted reality for the worst indeed for us all if violent actions undertaken in America's name for supposedly noble purposes are in fact directly contrary to the very principles that we tout America as standing for.

Moreover, law-enforcement authorities and/or soldiers are supposed to uphold and defend those principles, not subvert or parse loopholes through them. What's more, any unlawful acts that can be perpetrated with impunity upon any foreign suspect in our holding cells/prisons today might eventually become accepted tactics to use on us citizens (only in such an alternate reality of Tomorrow, by that time, such methods wouldn't have to be blacked out of the public records.)

So the issue isn't the mere use of violence at all. It's the unseemly disingenuous justification for utilizing highly questionable practices and outright unlaw acts of violence which not only undermine one's holding the moral high ground (and don't pass the Smell Test) but also undermine the very principles America claims to stand for.

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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:

Holmes! wrote:
muntmeister wrote:
That is complete and utter piffle.

Why is that?

I'm not saying that you're wrong without hearing you out, but it seems like a simple truth. Cops and soldiers are necessary, in a world full of violence. I really dig that you're repulsed by the idea; it speaks well of your inclinations. But it's hard to deny that Bearcat89's maxim is borne out by unfortunate reality.

Tut, tut. Most unfortunate, this reality.

And yet, it's a surrealistically twisted reality for the worst indeed for us all if violent actions undertaken in America's name for supposedly noble purposes are in fact directly contrary to the very principles that we tout America as standing for.

Moreover, law-enforcement authorities and/or soldiers are supposed to uphold and defend those principles, not subvert or parse loopholes through them. What's more, any unlawful acts that can be perpetrated with impunity upon any foreign suspect in our holding cells/prisons today might eventually become accepted tactics to use on us citizens (only in such an alternate reality of Tomorrow, by that time, such methods wouldn't have to be blacked out of the public records.)

So the issue isn't the mere use of violence at all. It's the unseemly disingenuous justification for utilizing highly questionable practices and outright unlaw acts of violence which not only undermine one's holding the moral high ground (and don't pass the Smell Test) but also undermine the very principles America claims to stand for.



It's also worth pointing out that a significant number, if not most, of the JAGs assigned to Guantanamo detainees have either quit, been reassigned, or have doggedly pursued their clients' cases through the alternate legal system at the cost of their military careers. I think even an overseeing judge has quit as well. (I think it's fair to say that none of these people are raving socialists.)

Why?

Because documented evidence is on record that these Guantanamo trials are designed to be show trials -- convictions at any cost.

Because convictions already obtained are being thrown out -- the only corroborating evidence procured through torture.

Because fully a third of all detainees have been released from Guantanamo: either by being actually innocent (many detainees are there because the Army decided to pay locals for information on suspected jihadis, and you can imagine where that went in a stew of ethnic hatreds), or for lack of evidence. But not without keeping them there for over 5 years without access to an attorney first.

Yes, I believe that there are detainees there who actually merit being isolated/imprisoned. But the torture issue has so polluted any credibility or sense of justice, even for the people working closest to the issue, that I think the only solution is to close Guantanamo and put whatever worthy detainees are left into the civil justice system. We already have precedent for this, with the worst-case scenario of the Mossaoui trial, where the judge gave him significant leeway to rant and rave -- and, in the process, gave the trial legitimacy as well as showed Mossaoui's religious zealotry for what it was. A far more successful example is the Ramzi Yusuf (sp?) trial of the 90s.

If "convictions at any cost" was the goal, torture has made that goal a colossal failure.

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Holmes! wrote:
muntmeister wrote:
That is complete and utter piffle.

Why is that?

I'm not saying that you're wrong without hearing you out, but it seems like a simple truth. Cops and soldiers are necessary, in a world full of violence. I really dig that you're repulsed by the idea; it speaks well of your inclinations. But it's hard to deny that Bearcat89's maxim is borne out by unfortunate reality.

Tut, tut. Most unfortunate, this reality.


This is a rather complicated issue of which the discussion is more
appropriate for a 15000 word PhD thesis but i will try my best.

First I would seperate police and soldiers they are really two
different beasts, mixing them is always a mistake and my comment
was more targeted at armies and necessity or lack of necessity of
them.

To say soldiers are necessary is false.
Why are they necessary to protect against other soldiers?
That has only limited benefit.
Our soldiers have never been used to protect our citizens.
They have only been used ot fight foreign wars for whatever
reasons those wars were fought. When used locally it is always
used for civil disasters, not a core function of a military
and not something you need a military for.

World War II was mentioned before are the people of france,
belgium, holland and other european states safer now, with small
"underfunded" armies or back then with large armies backed with nationlistic fervour?

What about pakistan, fiji, the red army and KMT in china did
they contribute to stability or detract from it?

I have seen reports that suggest for 2/3 thirds of the annual
US military budget hunger and homelesssness could be elimnated
for the whole world,(such comparisions are a bit cheeky but do
provide a certain perspective) and given that perspective does
the US military actually keep the US safe or exacerbate the
hostility directed towards it as it is percieved to be used
by special interests against the general populace.

Could the argument be contructed that armies protect the
populace from problems caused by armies? There is evidence
to suggest it could.

Like I said this is a very complicated problem.

Cops and soldiers are useful in certain situations
neither are necessary.

They could just be the playground bully in disguise.

I believe that psuedo truism to be piffle, I believe it to be
dangerous piffle.

But then I could be wrong.

I do not sleep safely in bed because new zealand has a pitiful
military. I sleep safely in bed becuase we don't go around annoying
as many poeple as possible. I live in a community that believes
living inside the law is a good thing, not because there are lots
of cops wandering around with big sticks.

If I didn't live in such a community I would not sleep safely no
matter how many soldiers or police were around, after all if the
citizens won't live within the law why should we expect the soldiers
and police to?

regards.
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muntmeister wrote:
Holmes! wrote:
muntmeister wrote:
That is complete and utter piffle.

Why is that?

I'm not saying that you're wrong without hearing you out, but it seems like a simple truth. Cops and soldiers are necessary, in a world full of violence. I really dig that you're repulsed by the idea; it speaks well of your inclinations. But it's hard to deny that Bearcat89's maxim is borne out by unfortunate reality.

Tut, tut. Most unfortunate, this reality.


This is a rather complicated issue of which the discussion is more
appropriate for a 15000 word PhD thesis but i will try my best.

First I would seperate police and soldiers they are really two
different beasts, mixing them is always a mistake and my comment
was more targeted at armies and necessity or lack of necessity of
them.

To say soldiers are necessary is false.
Why are they necessary to protect against other soldiers?
That has only limited benefit.
Our soldiers have never been used to protect our citizens.
They have only been used ot fight foreign wars for whatever
reasons those wars were fought.

Because they were fighting overseas to prevent an invasion of the US, or attacks on US interests they are not considered to be protecting US Citizens? What about these:

War of 1812.
Were US Soldiers protecting American Citizens in places such as Virginia, Maryland and Louisiana?

WWII.
Did our soldiers attempt to protect our citizens in the Hawaiian Islands?
Did our soldiers attempt to protect our citizens on Attu?
Not sure if Filipinos constituted US "citizens" in your eyes so won't profer the Phillipines.

Cold War.
What constitutes "soldiers"? Do the airmen of SAC count?
 
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Gutrender wrote:
muntmeister wrote:

Our soldiers have never been used to protect our citizens.
They have only been used ot fight foreign wars for whatever
reasons those wars were fought.

Because they were fighting overseas to prevent an invasion of the US, or attacks on US interests they are not considered to be protecting US Citizens?


Psst! He's talking about New Zealand's military, not the U.S.A.
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Oh man, I forgot to pay for my cable again...
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