Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eric Holder Explains It All

I think I got it now. Attorney General Eric Holder explains it here:

Lungren wondered: Are Navy SEALS subjected to waterboarding as part of their training being tortured?

Holder: No, it's not torture in the legal sense because you're not doing it with the intention of harming these people physically or mentally, all we're trying to do is train them --

Lungren: So it's the question of intent?

Holder: Intent is a huge part.

Lungren: So if the intent was to solicit information but not do permanent harm, how is that torture?

Holder: Well, it... uh... it... one has to look at... ah... it comes out to question of fact as one is determining the intention of the person who is administering the waterboarding. When the Communist Chinese did it, when the Japanese did it, when they did it in the Spanish Inquisition we knew then that was not a training exercise they were engaging in. They were doing it in a way that was violative of all of the statutes recognizing what torture is. What we are doing to our own troops to equip them to deal with any illegal act -- that is not torture.

Okay, that means we have two options:

1) We can waterboard all we want and call it training (after all, KSM needs to know how to handle other bad things that will happen to him in custody); or

2) We can try the Bushies for hate crimes, because it's the same logic used there.

Well, actually we can do one other thing. Let the matter drop entirely. And there's a pretty good chance that's what is going to happen in the end.


Gino said...

what is bothersome:
the democrats pounded the torture issue for political gain, yr after yr.
they got their gains, and now that it threatens to hurt them, it wont.

in the end, they may have lost the debate, but power is based on electoral outcomes.
they'll keep their spoils.
they always do.

and the GOP will continue to be ineffective at passing an agenda because they are not playing the same game.

Mark Heuring said...

I dunno, Gino -- on this particular issue, what did they really win? Pelosi looks like a fool and they are going to anger their base.

They won because they weren't Bush. Now people are beginning to realize who they are again.

my name is Amanda said...

I'm thinking Democrats pounded the torture issue because they are morally opposed to it, and they believe it violates the Geneva Conventions. I don't actually think any debate on the topic has been "lost;" throwing around a lot of persistent rhetoric doesn't win a moral debate, but it would be unsurprising to me if the issue actually did fade, as you mention.

Mark Heuring said...

I'm thinking Democrats pounded the torture issue because they are morally opposed to it, and they believe it violates the Geneva Conventions.

Well, they (meaning the Democratic leadership) didn't get around to expressing their moral opposition when it mattered, in 2002. They never said a word. And the reason was simple: it was an election year. You can look at their reasoning in one of two ways: (a) they were willing to toss their morals aside to try to win an election; or (b) they really weren't opposed to it then, but are now raising the issue because the political climate seems more hospitable. Neither explanation seems much like a Profile in Courage, eh?

my name is Amanda said...

I suppose that is correct, about the election year, and no, not courageous at all - although I do believe that people who currently speak out against it, feel the same way. (And that it was a lot more complicated to speak out, post 9/11, for several years - something that was very frustrating for myself as a citizen to witness.)