Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

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Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby sophyturtle » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:45 pm UTC

There is a bit of talk about Dick Cheney advocating and possibly more. It is certain that the US committed war crimes when they kidnapped and tortured civilians from another country, holding them for extended periods of time and sometimes causing their deaths. You can watch him waterboarding and such were totally okay.

Unfortunately I do not have the time to find more sources (meeting in 20 minutes), and I am surprised about how quiet this has been. I thought we hated war criminals. I mean, we destroyed countries to try and get them. And Cheney is doing TV interviews.



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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Vaniver » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:54 pm UTC

Multiple problems. First, war crimes (as defined by things like the Geneva Convention) generally only apply to conflicts between signatory states- I imagine that there would be a strong argument against the various groups Cheney advocated these measures against being signatory states to the Geneva Convention. Second, words like "torture" and "civilian" are ill-defined, meaning that regardless of the moral or practical problems with his approach, there do not seem to be definite legal problems. The opinion of you, me, or experts that waterboarding is torture does not ensure that waterboarding is legally considered torture.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Velict » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

This thread's provocative title fails to address the complexity of this scenario. Cheney admitted that he supported waterboarding and "advanced interrogation techniques".

Cheney can only be charged for war crimes if we presuppose that waterboarding is a form of torture. And therein lies the rub; while many view waterboarding as a form of torture, that conclusion is not universally accepted - a great many, like the former Vice President, argue that waterboarding is an "advanced interrogation technique" rather than torture,

The relevant section of U.S. Code Law defines torture as:

Torture: The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.

(source)

Emphasis mine. The question here, I think, is whether or not waterboarding constitutes severe physical pain; it's clearly painful, but severe is a relative term. Politicians and lawyers are capable of arguing severity all day.

It should also be note that this section of US Law applies only to acts committed in the United States itself. Guantanamo Bay is territory under the control of the United States, but is de jure sovereign territory of Cuba. It is not clear whether or not US laws apply in Guantanamo Bay.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby sophyturtle » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:33 pm UTC

Torture: The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.
I am pretty sure the whole point of water boarding is to cause terror. Which can cause PTSD. Which certainly counts as mental harm.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby MrGee » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:42 pm UTC

sophyturtle wrote:
Torture: The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.
I am pretty sure the whole point of water boarding is to cause terror. Which can cause PTSD. Which certainly counts as mental harm.


Seriously. Explain to me how a procedure that doesn't cause severe pain can be used to extract information from extremely unwilling enemy soldiers.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:56 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:
sophyturtle wrote:
Torture: The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.
I am pretty sure the whole point of water boarding is to cause terror. Which can cause PTSD. Which certainly counts as mental harm.


Seriously. Explain to me how a procedure that doesn't cause severe pain can be used to extract information from extremely unwilling enemy soldiers.



While I totally disagree with the OP that Cheney admitted to any such thing...

If you get waterboarded you will talk. You will say whatever they want you to say.

There is not a single person who has undergone waterboarding who has stated otherwise.
Two big examples are Christopher Hitchens who supported WaterBoarding, then changed his mind after 4 seconds of it.
And ManCow who supported it, then made a 100% reversal after about 8 seconds of it.

Hannity said he would undergo it, but then obviously didn't.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Velict » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

The question is over whether or not the pain is severe. It's blatantly clear that pain is involved.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

Velict wrote:The question is over whether or not the pain is severe. It's blatantly clear that pain is involved.


I think the biggest legal question is that it doesn't cause long term or short term health problems (er vast majority of the time), meaning as soon as they stop, all the problems stop as well, once your revived and what not...
And that in theory it won't kill you.
So for evil pro-torture people: No health problems + no death = not torture.
Where as pulling out teeth does have long term consequences.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby sophyturtle » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

How is the severe part in question? Everyone who has undergone it, even for a period as brief as 4 seconds, considers it one of the more horrible things you could do to someone. After any long term exposure I am sure it could cause PTSD. Which counts as a mental health problem. You can be haunted with flash backs and panic attacks for the rest of your life. I imagine after water boarding something as simple as having water splashed on your face could trigger something.

I mean, if this is not severe, what would be?
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Dauric » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:57 pm UTC

Velict wrote:The question is over whether or not the pain is severe. It's blatantly clear that pain is involved.


Seriously, your wiki-fu brings you much dishonor if you can't look up "Waterboarding" on wikipedia and then follow through on the citations from legal experts, war veterans, law enforcement officers, etc. etc.

Bent Sørensen, Senior Medical Consultant to the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims and former member of the United Nations Committee Against Torture has said:

It's a clear-cut case: Waterboarding can without any reservation be labeled as torture. It fulfils all of the four central criteria that according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) defines an act of torture. First, when water is forced into your lungs in this fashion, in addition to the pain you are likely to experience an immediate and extreme fear of death. You may even suffer a heart attack from the stress or damage to the lungs and brain from inhalation of water and oxygen deprivation. In other words there is no doubt that waterboarding causes severe physical and/or mental suffering– one central element in the UNCAT's definition of torture. In addition the CIA's waterboarding clearly fulfills the three additional definition criteria stated in the Convention for a deed to be labeled torture, since it is 1) done intentionally, 2) for a specific purpose and 3) by a representative of a state– in this case the US.[164]


And that's just from the Wikipedia itself.

Denial that waterboarding is a form of torture is just self-delusional at this point. It's been acknowledged as such since it was first used, can we please get beyond the inane trolling of "well maybe it's not really torture..."?
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Velict » Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

UNCAT is not particularly relevant here, however. The United States has a storied history of ignoring international guidelines. The definition of torture under federal law is what is relevant, as is the whether or not federal law is applicable to Guantanamo.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby MrGee » Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:49 pm UTC

Velict wrote:The question is over whether or not the pain is severe. It's blatantly clear that pain is involved.


No, that is not a question at all. A stimulus that can only be voluntarily withstood for a matter of seconds is severe pain. The only reason you are pretending otherwise is that you don't want to admit the US tortures people. And we don't even have the "ticking time bomb" excuse.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:13 pm UTC

Velict wrote:Guantanamo Bay is territory under the control of the United States, but is de jure sovereign territory of Cuba. It is not clear whether or not US laws apply in Guantanamo Bay.

No. Guantanamo is American soil, according to America. Cuba officially disagrees, but hasn't done shit about it for decades.

This is like trying to argue that I could set up a Casino in Orlando because technically the Seminole Clan still lays claim to that piece of land, and since the Seminole are still at war with the US, the question of whether or not US law applies to Orlando is "unclear."

Bullshit.
Velict wrote:UNCAT is not particularly relevant here, however. The United States has a storied history of ignoring international guidelines.

I disagree. The United States has a storied history of spending billions of dollars and thousands of American lives bringing the people who ignore international standards to justice. This should apply to former VPs as well.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Dream » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:26 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:
sophyturtle wrote:
Torture: The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.
I am pretty sure the whole point of water boarding is to cause terror. Which can cause PTSD. Which certainly counts as mental harm.


Seriously. Explain to me how a procedure that doesn't cause severe pain can be used to extract information from extremely unwilling enemy soldiers.

You don't have the right to any and all information in their heads. The whole point of the Geneva Conventions and various other laws and statutes against mistreatment of prisoners is that they do not become chattels or rightsless non-entities the moment you get your hands on them. They still have rights, and one of those is to say or not say whatever they feel like under questioning.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:55 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:
Velict wrote:The question is over whether or not the pain is severe. It's blatantly clear that pain is involved.


No, that is not a question at all. A stimulus that can only be voluntarily withstood for a matter of seconds is severe pain. The only reason you are pretending otherwise is that you don't want to admit the US tortures people. And we don't even have the "ticking time bomb" excuse.


He is talking about what the current state of legality is and your talking about your damn opinion.

Who cares how many freaking people say its torture, thats all moot until our Legal system concludes: Waterboarding = torture and thus a warcrime.

Stop acting like your opinions about 'whats obvious' mean anything. We all have opinions about what 'should be', we just generally don't state them like facts.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

He did more than state an opinion, he offered an objective measurement.
MrGee wrote:A stimulus that can only be voluntarily withstood for a matter of seconds is severe pain.

If the law says it has to be severe, we need some way to measure severe. If we take something as a baseline, such as breaking someone's fingers, we can judge severity from there. If objective analysis of current data shows that waterboarding will break a person faster than breaking their fingers, I see that as a strong argument for classifying it as "inflicting severe pain."

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Nordic Einar » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:30 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure when the USA executed japanese officers for waterboarding American POW's we set a pretty clear fucking precedent on whether or not it constituted torture. But that's just me.

I cannot believe anyone could possibly argue otherwise without being at least self-aware of how disingenuous they were being.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Velict » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:53 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Velict wrote:Guantanamo Bay is territory under the control of the United States, but is de jure sovereign territory of Cuba. It is not clear whether or not US laws apply in Guantanamo Bay.

No. Guantanamo is American soil, according to America. Cuba officially disagrees, but hasn't done shit about it for decades.


Let's not argue analogies - analogies serve no purpose other than to obscure a point.

Guantanamo is not American soil. Guantanamo is Cuban soil leased to the United States as part of a 1903 agreement.

As I can't immediately locate a source for what's relevant here, I'll quote Wikipedia (which is sourced to a book):

By the war's end, the U.S. government had obtained control of all of Cuba from Spain. A perpetual lease for the area around Guantánamo Bay was offered February 23, 1903, from Tomás Estrada Palma, an American citizen, who became the first President of Cuba. The Cuban-American Treaty gave, among other things, the Republic of Cuba ultimate sovereignty over Guantánamo Bay while granting the United States "complete jurisdiction and control" of the area for coaling and naval stations. The base was an important intermediate distribution point for World War II merchant shipping convoys from New York City and Key West, Florida, to the Panama Canal and the islands of Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Trinidad.


Emphasis mine.

Guantanamo Bay wasn't just randomly chosen by the Bush administration as an out-of-the-way location to torture detainees. It was chosen because it has a highly unique legal status that vastly weakens the authority of federal law over government operations there.

I disagree. The United States has a storied history of spending billions of dollars and thousands of American lives bringing the people who ignore international standards to justice. This should apply to former VPs as well.


My argument is entirely one of pragmatism. The United States government has categorically denied participation in international organizations concerning human rights and justice, such as the International Human Court and various UN actions. We can argue that the US ought to listen to such organizations, but it traditionally has not - hence my belief that any charge of war crimes must be handled within the US legal system. Tradition is a powerful force; I think it is highly unlikely that advocates of charging the former Vice President and others for war crimes will be able to do so under international definitions of such.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:29 pm UTC

About PTSD or mental trauma;

From Christopher Hitchens' Waterboarding video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LPubUCJv58

"As a result of this very brief experience, if I do anything that gets my heart rate up and I'm breathing hard, panting. I have a slight panic sensation that I'm not really able to catch my breath again. I have to drink some water, sort of just assure myself bit. I'm not like this at all, I don't have nightmares either. But lately I've been having this feeling of waking up being smothered having to push everything off my face."


Imagine what it's done to those who have been waterboarded for long periods of time and at many points.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby The Reaper » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:40 pm UTC

Nordic Einar wrote:I'm pretty sure when the USA executed japanese officers for waterboarding American POW's we set a pretty clear fucking precedent on whether or not it constituted torture. But that's just me.

amongst other forms of torture in a big long list of torture techniques used by the japanese soldiers. Would they still have been executed if the list was just 1 item long, consisting only of water boarding?

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:57 pm UTC

Is the severity of an offense measured by how many different ways you do it?
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby The Reaper » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Is the severity of an offense measured by how many different ways you do it?

Yes?

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Bright Shadows » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:11 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Is the severity of an offense measured by how many different ways you do it?

Yes?

No?
13 murders of the same degree and heinousness would not be a more serious if one was a gunshot kill and one was a poisoning.

The degree of heinousness is what would be the main variable; more methods of torture, more possibly especially heinous methods. It's not simple variety which would cause the punishment to increase.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Nemiro » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:33 am UTC

MrGee wrote:
Velict wrote:A stimulus that can only be voluntarily withstood for a matter of seconds is severe pain.


I'm not sure you're right there. Holding one's breath is not painful, but it is not something that can be done indefinitely. Hell, tickling is not painful, but there are people who cannot stand it for long. The mental damage side is the more interesting here I think.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Nordic Einar » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:54 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:
Nordic Einar wrote:I'm pretty sure when the USA executed japanese officers for waterboarding American POW's we set a pretty clear fucking precedent on whether or not it constituted torture. But that's just me.

amongst other forms of torture in a big long list of torture techniques used by the japanese soldiers. Would they still have been executed if the list was just 1 item long, consisting only of water boarding?


We mentioned waterboarding specifically as a reason to execute these men. Even if we had others, waterboarding was given as a reason to end their lives.

Do you use a net when performing such astounding acts of mental acrobatics? I'd be terrified of falling to my death while jumping so high and twisting this way and that to justify my nations actions.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby The Reaper » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:14 am UTC

Nordic Einar wrote:We mentioned waterboarding specifically as a reason to execute these men. Even if we had others, waterboarding was given as a reason to end their lives.
After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation,
Reading, I does it. It may be the first one in the list, BUT THERE'S STILL A LIST. They weren't executed solely for waterboarding.
A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps.
And even for their torturing, they weren't all sentenced to death.

In regards to the Tokyo war trials, there were 54 counts of POW abuse, and a bunch of later trials for other people. http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics ... e_Far_East
the other people=
According to Japanese tabulation, 5,700 Japanese individuals were indicted for Class B and Class C war crimes. Of this number, 984 were initially condemned to death; 475 received life sentences; 2,944 were given more limited prison terms; 1,018 were acquitted and 279 were never brought to trial or not sentenced. The number of death sentences by country is the following : Holland 236, Great Britain 223, Australia 153, China 149, USA 140, France 26 and Philippines 17. Additionally, the Soviet Union and Chinese Communist forces held trials for Japanese war criminals.


And as far as the list is concerned, http://neveryetmelted.com/categories/war-crimes/
Since burning, flogging, strappado, and pulling out finger and toe nails are mentioned after the “water cure,” it is far from obvious that the authors of the Tribunal’s list of war crimes were intending to rank it as more inhumane than the others.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Kulantan » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:31 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:And even for their torturing, they weren't all sentenced to death.

I think, perhaps, most of us are fine with that being the case. Go back to Einar's first statement and have a look at this:
Nordic Einar wrote:we set a pretty clear fucking precedent on whether or not it constituted torture.

That is the important part. What matters is that waterboarding was included on the list of charges under the heading: torture. Anyone who says it isn't legally torture, well there is the legal precedent for calling it such. As far as I understand it, precedent is reasonably important in the legal system. If the courts did ever convict him, then we can all worry about what the sentence should be (my vote isn't for the death penalty).
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby The Reaper » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:45 am UTC

Kulantan wrote:
Nordic Einar wrote:we set a pretty clear fucking precedent on whether or not it constituted torture.

That is the important part. What matters is that waterboarding was included on the list of charges under the heading: torture. Anyone who says it isn't legally torture, well there is the legal precedent for calling it such. As far as I understand it, precedent is reasonably important in the legal system. If the courts did ever convict him, then we can all worry about what the sentence should be (my vote isn't for the death penalty).
As far as precedent is concerned, should we go with the precedent of evidence use in the tokyo war trials as well?
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The evidentiary standard was greatly relaxed. The Charter provided that evidence against the accused could include any document "without proof of its issuance or signature" as well as diaries, letters, press reports and sworn or unsworn out of court statements relating to the charges.[4] Article 13 of the Charter read in part: "The tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence . . . and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value".[5].

War time press releases of the Allies were admitted as evidence by the prosecution while those sought to be entered by the defense were excluded.[6] The recollection of a conversation with a long dead man was admitted (Ibid.). Letters allegedly written by Japanese citizens were admitted with no proof of authenticity and no opportunity for cross examination by the defense (Ibid.).

Finally, the Tribunal embraced the "Best Evidence Rule" once the Prosecution had rested .[7] The "Best Evidence Rule" dictates that the "best" or most authentic evidence must be produced (e.g., a map instead of a description of the map; an original instead of a copy; and, a witness instead of a description of what the witness may have said). Justice Pal, one of two justices to vote for acquittal on all counts, observed, "in a proceeding where we had to allow the prosecution to bring in any amount of hearsay evidence, it was somewhat misplaced caution to introduce this best evidence rule particularly when it operated practically against the defense only . . ."
Hardly something I'd want to be using as legal precedent....

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby JonScholar » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:08 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:Hardly something I'd want to be using as legal precedent....


Whether or not the conduct of the trial was 100% proper is another issue entirely. The point that's being made is that waterboarding was clearly recognized as a war crime by the tribunal.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby fjafjan » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:24 am UTC

Nemiro wrote:
MrGee wrote:
Velict wrote:A stimulus that can only be voluntarily withstood for a matter of seconds is severe pain.


I'm not sure you're right there. Holding one's breath is not painful, but it is not something that can be done indefinitely. Hell, tickling is not painful, but there are people who cannot stand it for long. The mental damage side is the more interesting here I think.

Waterboarding is not about holding your damn breath. Seriously, read up on this shit. Of course it's not physiologically damaging (directly anyhow, though the mental damage will probably have effects). But saying torture is about "severe pain" is stupid, and water boarding is the perfect example. If anyone wants to say waterboarding is not torture, I'll be glad to go kicking and punching them for one hour (without knocking them out), then waterboard them for one hour, and ask them which one they'll rather have for a third hour. From what I've read and understood of waterboarding the results from this would be all the basis we need.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Nemiro » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:06 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:
Nemiro wrote:
MrGee wrote:
Velict wrote:A stimulus that can only be voluntarily withstood for a matter of seconds is severe pain.


I'm not sure you're right there. Holding one's breath is not painful, but it is not something that can be done indefinitely. Hell, tickling is not painful, but there are people who cannot stand it for long. The mental damage side is the more interesting here I think.

Waterboarding is not about holding your damn breath. Seriously, read up on this shit.


I am aware of that. I read all about it when that Hannity guy said he'd do it and didn't.

What I'm saying is that "A stimulus that can only be voluntarily withstood for a matter of seconds" does not necessarily constitute "severe pain". But it can still be torture. I'm reminded of the Mythbusters episode with the "Chinese Water Torture". Obviously that was longer than a few seconds, but that's the sort of thing I'm talking about.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Dream » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:24 pm UTC

With a little training and effort, holding one's breath can be done to the point of passing out. So, it can be done indefinitely, in as much as anything can be done until exhaustion or fatigue makes it physically impossible. The big difference here is that waterboarding is not under the control of the victim, which leads to the terror and panic that are the problem.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby aleflamedyud » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:19 pm UTC

I just wish to note that internet petitions do not have much effect on national politics. The time for trying the "pitchfork, torch and shotgun wielding mob" approach has long passed, and we might as well move on to just capturing Dick Cheney ourselves.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Nemiro » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:13 pm UTC

Dream wrote:With a little training and effort, holding one's breath can be done to the point of passing out. So, it can be done indefinitely, in as much as anything can be done until exhaustion or fatigue makes it physically impossible. The big difference here is that waterboarding is not under the control of the victim, which leads to the terror and panic that are the problem.


I was not aware that people did that after the toddler stage. I am somewhat bemused as to why they would want to.

I have to wonder if waterboarding would be intolerable to all people who have undergone it.. I realise I am probably being to talked to in a strong "don't be so ridiculous you heathen" manner after this, but from what I see there are maybe 5 people who have publicly undergone it, and that's a very small sample. Not only that but technically they were in control, and able to stop the experiment at any time. I don't think it's so easy to say that lack of control is the issue either.

Please don't misinterpret me as trying to argue that waterboarding is not torture - I know that I won't get far with that. What I am trying to do is understand why it is torture.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Vaniver » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:28 pm UTC

Nemiro wrote:I have to wonder if waterboarding would be intolerable to all people who have undergone it.. I realise I am probably being to talked to in a strong "don't be so ridiculous you heathen" manner after this, but from what I see there are maybe 5 people who have publicly undergone it, and that's a very small sample. Not only that but technically they were in control, and able to stop the experiment at any time. I don't think it's so easy to say that lack of control is the issue either.
Lack of control makes almost all situations worse. If you want to question it being torture, though, the thing to do is question the ability of pampered public figures to resist any sort of non-torture interrogation. "I cracked under waterboarding" might not mean as much when coupled with "I cracked when the mean man said mean things to me for three hours."

That said, in my non-professional opinion waterboarding should be considered torture, and we shouldn't be doing it.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Dream » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:53 pm UTC

Nemiro wrote:but from what I see there are maybe 5 people who have publicly undergone it, and that's a very small sample.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboard ... rical_uses and so on.

Media personalities are not the only people to describe waterboarding, just the most recent and high profile.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Nemiro » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:21 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Nemiro wrote:but from what I see there are maybe 5 people who have publicly undergone it, and that's a very small sample.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboard ... rical_uses and so on.

Media personalities are not the only people to describe waterboarding, just the most recent and high profile.


Very interesting. Some people broke, and some didn't. Certainly it's torture, and I would infer from most of the reports that it is the mental rather than physical "pain" (although physical stimulus caused by lack of air likely provokes the mental trauma) that causes the victim to snap.

Vaniver wrote:That said, in my non-professional opinion waterboarding should be considered torture, and we shouldn't be doing it.


I agree with that simply on the basis that torture is a good way to get people to do whatever it takes to stop it, not a tool for information gathering.
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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Garm » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:32 am UTC

Question number 5 in Scott Horton's interview for Harper's of Will Bunch is this:

5. Ronald Reagan signed the Convention Against Torture, and his Justice Department indicted and prosecuted a Texas sheriff for waterboarding. How can his views about torture be reconciled with the current Republican pro-torture dogma?


It was torture as recently as the 1980's. What's so different now? Let's get serious about this. If we don't do this thing ourselves (investigate what these people did) no one is going to take us seriously.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

Velict wrote:Let's not argue analogies - analogies serve no purpose other than to obscure a point.

So my analogy is accurate, and shows that your argument is ridiculous, and this led you to believe not that your argument is ridiculous, but that ALL ANALOGIES ARE BULLSHIT.
Velict wrote:Guantanamo is not American soil. Guantanamo is Cuban soil leased to the United States as part of a 1903 agreement.

Wrong. I'd offer an example of how having two different countries claiming sovereignty over a territory does not magically make all inhabitants above the law, but you'd respond with EXAMPLES IS BULLSHIT.
Velict wrote:The United States government has categorically denied participation in international organizations concerning human rights and justice, such as the International Human Court and various UN actions

There are probably around 3 examples of the US disagreeing with the international community on human rights. There are probably 3000 examples of the US and the international community voicing strong agreement. One of these, notably, is torture.
Velict wrote:I think it is highly unlikely that advocates of charging the former Vice President and others for war crimes will be able to do so under international definitions of such.

But ultimately international definitions are unnecessary, since torture is against US law. Members of the Bush administration violated US law on US soil. They are not above the law, and deserve a trial.

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Re: Dick Cheney admits to role in War Crimes

Postby EsotericWombat » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:10 pm UTC

Waterboarding is as old as the Spanish Inquisition, who referred to it as tortura del agua

The most charitable way to describe someone who believes that it ceased to be torture when the Bush administration decided they wanted to do it is to say that they are a complete fucking idiot.

That's really all that needs to be said about this.
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