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15 November 2009

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Dixon Cruickshank

It just doesn't ever seem to get better

Michael Anderson

Dick Cheney??!??!!?!!?

I thought that guy was in The Hague being prosecuted for for war crimes!

Sheesh.

Nina

There’s discussion going on amongst Descendants of American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (of which I am a member) and former POWs, who are speculating if Obama will apologize for dropping atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima based on both speeches to the Japanese and perceived position of the BOW. See the attached link for perspective on the BOW: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/11/on-president-obamas-bow-to-the-japanese-emperor-an-academic-friend-writes-that-both-the-left-and-the-right-are-wrong.html Though Obama will not be visiting these sites this visit, he has promised to return. A letter campaign to Axelrod and electeds to discourage any apology for stopping the war in the Pacific has begun.

George Rebane

Mr. Anderson - was your apprehension about Cheney based on some published source, i.e. who indicted Cheney for what war crimes?

Michael Anderson

Sorry Mr. Rebane, I was getting ahead of myself. I guess I just assumed that justice had prevailed by now.

BTW, the reason we have a Geneva Convention is all about protecting our troops rather than being nice to theirs. Besides which, torture doesn't work anyway.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/090600-105.htm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/30/usa.dickcheney

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/04/21/torture-works-cheney-unrolls-new-campaign-to-justify-war-crimes/

A long history...

George Rebane

Mr Anderson, your comment takes us a bit afield from the obvious thrust of my wordless post. However, the ‘Cheney as war criminal’ notion is worth the exchange of some politically incorrect bits.

First, Professor Jensen’s position is a bit specious since he charges Cheney with “targeting of civilians”. As national policy, the US has not targeted civilians since the WW2 terror bombing raids on Germany and Japan. (In Germany I served numerous times as one of the younger targets of the Eighth Air Force.) Most certainly targeting Iraqi civilians has never been our policy; however, their inadvertent deaths in the pursuit of our battlefield enemies has occurred with alarming regularity due to their policy of using of civilians as a shield. A major blindspot for the Left - that Jensen never even considers this speaks volumes on the real propaganda intent of his journalistic instincts.

The Guardian’s perspective on the Iraq war and anything right of center is legend. A careful reading of the cited article reveals no charges beyond the innuendo in the answers to well-formed questions. As their tagline states, “Vice President accused of backing torture”. Politically motivated accusations with no follow-through are numerous and cheap.

A similarly careful read of Turley’s blog yields the same accusations from the Left, but does include at least the gist of Cheney’s remarks on the effectiveness of torture. This is worthy of expansion. The simple truth of the matter is that torture works, and works in spades. Every nation since biblical times has used torture to its profit during peace and war when it served their perceived interests. For squeezing information from the unwilling, the cost-benefits favor it overwhelmingly. It is for this reason that every nation has and will continue using it as they refine their methods for effectiveness and political cover. To think otherwise is to consume the pabulum of infants.

Having said that, the available record over the last century or so indicates that the US has not been anywhere near as rapacious as it could have been in its application of torture. We always responded with relatively mild counters, and always after our troops and civilians had been hideously treated by the enemy. Today is no different – e.g. witness the torture and murder of Danny Pearl among many.

The known methods, including waterboarding, used by our side are laughable compared to what is doled out to us by our enemies. One can only hope that the terrorists know in more detail than we of what our CIA is really capable, because there are fates worse than death. (Is it a scary prospect that technology may make torture obsolete?)

Abu Ghraib was a joke – not so long ago punishments in fraternities, military training, and coached sports were more fearsome than what we have been shown from that prison. And those ‘tortures’, we should note, were not the result of national policy, but the acts of some ignorant and rogue prison guards. However, it all continues to serve as effective fodder for the Left to denigrate our national image.

Finally, torture comes in two major flavors – as punishment and for prying out information. As national policy, using it for punishment does not rate high in my book. But to get information - especially from someone who has already killed innocents and threatens more - that may save more lives should not deter our methods. To ignore the obvious makes us complicit in the follow-on atrocity. Explain the pious reading of Miranda rights to the relatives and other survivors.

We have always been able to respond to enemy nation-states in a graded manner, even to the point of declaring a holiday truce and singing Christmas carols to each other in no-man’s land. The severity of the conflict has never been all or nothing, nor will it be in the future.

Responding today to nation-less irregular combatants of a common belief system is new and unknown territory for us. We fool ourselves in calling it a war on terror when in fact it is an acknowledged clash of civilizations. Witnessing the fate of Europe, in such a clash it only takes one to tango.

But in the end, we should recognize that the veil of civil behavior has always been gossamer thin and in places torn. To save the life of your or my child, I would counsel continuing to operate through one such classic tear – and with declared gusto when it serves the survival of our civilization.

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