Election 2012

Romney Will Bring Back Torture

If you're a smug, "civil liberties progressive" who's voting for a third party candidate, you're actually voting for this:

Q: Waterboarding: do you think it’s torture?

Romney: I don’t. … We will have a policy of doing what we think is in our best interest. We’ll use enhanced interrogation techniques that go beyond what’s in the military handbook right now.

A vote for a third party candidate over President Obama is a vote for Mitt Romney and all of the accompanying awfulness he would resurrect. I don't care who you think you are or what kind of smartypants progressive hipster you comport yourself to be, these candidates are worlds apart on everything, including the war on terror and civil liberties. If you can't see this vast and obvious distinction, you're a phenomenal idiot -- beyond the idiocy it requires to believe that you can somehow divorce politics from policy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Norris/1597765442 Michael Norris

    I’ll tell you what, Willard. For fifty-cents I will get a couple of my retired military buddies (actual spec-war operatives) and we will water-board your boney ass. After about five or ten minutes of that shit, you let me know if you think it is torture or not. As someone who (shall we say) knows the drill, I can tell you–it’s torture. And anyone who says otherwise is a spineless, pus-dripping, lecherous weasel. By Wednesday or Thursday everyone in this country is going to know how this nation dodged a bullet. What a piece of shit.

    • incredulous72

      You think Willard would last five or ten minutes being water-boarded?

    • Brutlyhonest

      And anyone who says otherwise is a spineless, pus-dripping, lecherous weasel.

      This is what so enraged me when we, as a Country, were “debating” torture. The number of op-ed pieces and letters-to-the-editor from people who had been through SERE that let their politics speak instead of their brains.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Norris/1597765442 Michael Norris

        Spot-on Brutly. SERE 1979. Anybody who supports this level of “interrogation” deserves whatever happens to them. These are people who really do not know what they are talking about. Thanks for recognizing that. You are a good American my friend.

  • mrbrink

    Come for the torture, stay for the forcible rape.

    We’ll torture and forcibly rape our way to prosperity!

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…torture and forcible rape, forcible rape or torture…decisions, decisions.

    America! Fuck yeah!

    When are the orderlies going to drag these silly fucks back to their Cuckoo’s nest?

    • Brutlyhonest

      A question: Is rape, when used as an instrument of torture, legitimate?

      • mrbrink

        Oh, that’s an easy one. Republicans have got all your rape and torturing needs covered. When rape is used as an instrument of torture, the rape is only legitimate if it results in pregnancy, and jobs and the economy. Otherwise it’s just rape/torture/rape/rape.

        I’m sure they’ll hand out a pamphlet, or something.

        • Brutlyhonest

          OOH, OOH, MRBRINK (think Horseshack):
          I bet they have a plan to ensure pregnancies from the torture/rapes so they can call them gifts from god!

          • mrbrink

            I can just see the public service announcement from Priebus Broadcast Network:

            Attention, women. We will be coming around to strip you of your rights for jobs and the economy! Give them up. You are no match for Jobs and the economy!

            “Your Stripped Rights and Loss Of Protections and YOU!”

            Tired of your reproductive rights destroying society as an abomination from God?

            Well we are too!

            Paid for by the Republican Party Committee for Torture and Rape.

  • muselet

    This morning, Robert Scheer, admitting he has been “a harsh critic of Barack Obama for continuing … bipartisan capitulation to Wall Street,” gave Obama a “generous B- grade” and Mitt Romney “a solid F,” and urged his readers to vote for the B- candidate. It was a lesser-of-two-evils sort of endorsement, but it was an endorsement.

    In the malarial swamp that is Truthdig’s comments, however, the faithful were congratulating themselves on never voting for either Democrats or Republicans, talking up Jill Stein, calling Obama a “Bushian F, and worse,” and droning on about drones.

    “Phenomenal idiots” just about sums it up.


    • bphoon

      It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that siphoning votes off of a candidate like Obama just puts a sociopath like Romney in office. In my world, if you want to make a political statement, it should be one that has practical, and positive, consequences.

      That these dipshits are willing to sell our country down the river so they can feel smugly superior by making some nebulous political statement puts them on the same level as the Mitch McConnells of the world who are willing to, say, sabotage the economy in order to get their political way.

      Assholes, every one of ‘em.

  • Brutlyhonest

    What’s really mind-boggling, to me, is how easily so much of the US public accepted/accepts torture as OK. They can rationalize anything by repeating the lie that “it keeps us safe.” This is especially ridiculous from military members who are now potentially subject to more harsh treatment if captured because we have reset the bar (lower) as to what is acceptable.

    “We” took the instructors from our school that teaches torture resistance/survival techniques and used what we new about how other people had previously tortured US service members to design “OUR” torture techniques. Propagandizing it as “enhanced interrogation techniques” makes it OK, even to people who would/should find it unacceptable if not for letting their political beliefs warp their core beliefs.

    I obviously take this issue very personally and am appalled by how many purportedly moral people don’t have a problem with the US accepting torture as policy.

    • bphoon

      This is especially ridiculous from military members who are now potentially subject to more harsh treatment if captured because we have reset the bar (lower) as to what is acceptable.

      At the risk of sounding contrary to a post that I otherwise wholeheartedly agree with, I have to say I don’t think al Qaeda and others calibrate their level of abuse by how abusive we are. They’re going to do what they’re going to do regardless of what we do. The only real factor I see from this line of reasoning is that by torturing the prisoners we capture we hand the bad guys a propaganda lever.

      The reason I find this so ridiculous from military members is that they are–or should be–trained to know better.

      The observation & question I find most cogent here is this: I was raised–and trained during my military career–to believe we are the good guys who, officially anyway, try our best to play by the rules of war and morality. I understand that there are times on the battlefield when we need to be ruthless with our enemy–within certain boundaries. One reason why we have the highly professional military we do is because they are able to defeat any enemy on the battlefield and off using morally and legally acceptable strategy and tactics without much regard to how barbaric our enemy is. So, the question is: Since when did we lower ourselves to the level of our enemy?

      • Brutlyhonest

        We don’t disagree. It won’t, however, always be AQ (or some other non-State entity) we’re dealing with. We have abandoned the moral high ground. That, I believe, makes us less safe and takes away our ability to object to how any US citizens that become POWs are treated. It has never been about the other guys.

        The modern “laws of war” were created by the winners largely as a response to being appalled by much of what they had done in WWII. Ruthless in combat doesn’t have to mean unprincipled.

        As a graduate of SERE, I’m fully aware of what torture is. There are also advanced SERE courses designed to help you survive in specific situations. Before BushCo changed things, I bet you couldn’t find a grad that wouldn’t call waterboarding torture. BTW, the use of water as a choking agent isn’t the only suffocation torture technique I hope we stopped using.

        It would be impractical to send every member of the military through the school, but we could do a better job of educating them on the laws. But instead we do thing like let a wingnut LtCol off easy for violating the laws and he becomes a “hero” Congressman.

        Sorry, I rambled again.

        • bphoon

          We have abandoned the moral high ground. That, I believe, makes us less safe and takes away our ability to object to how any US citizens that become POWs are treated. It has never been about the other guys.

          Agreed. It’s always been about what we do. I was an aviator and went through a couple of “SERE-lite” (for lack of a better term) courses. Given that much of my operations were intended to be conducted across enemy lines, I just assumed that I’d face a better-than-even chance of being captured and would get horribly fucked with. Not a happy prospect but I believed that what we (us “good guys”, that is) were doing was worth the risk. Ceding the moral high ground, for me, just put the last nail in the coffin of lies and incompetence foisted on us (at the expense, by the way, of those who were in harm’s way) by the Bush Administration.

          It strikes me that virtually everyone who claims that “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding aren’t torture are those who never suffered through such experiences even for training. Every single person I’ve heard of who did experience such “techniques” says they’re torture. Every one.

          Ruthless in combat doesn’t have to mean unprincipled.


          • Treading_Water

            I remember watching Chris Hitchens waterboarded, and they gave him 2 weights to hold – by dropping either weight he could end the session. He was quite shaken afterwords, and he lasted something like 17seconds.

            It can’t be torture if you have a safe word.

      • Treading_Water

        Even worse, every time we display that level of barbarity we just act as recruiting agents for AQ. The run of the mill moderate Muslim is as appalled by AQ’s behavior as we are, until they become convinced that we are in a religious crusade to destroy them, their children, and their God.

        The story is that German soldiers in WW2 were told by their parents and grandparents that if they had to surrender, try to surrender to the Americans. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington said,

        “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”

        When I grew up, we were supposed to be the good guys. It seems that we have allowed the 24/7 cable news cycle of fear and hysteria to change who we are as a people.

  • Treading_Water

    Someday, I will be overjoyed to cast my vote for a Perfect Pure Progressive who will somehow embody every single on of my somewhat contradictory positions, who will magically fix the partisan divide in politics, and who will give me my own Personal Pretty Pony in the exact color that I always wanted. Until that person comes along, my next best choice is the progressive candidate who has actually moved some of my positions along, who is working for everyone (including the 47 percent of this country who “choose” not to work for themselves), and is able to understand and adapt to this changing world. It’s either that, or we end up with a corporate controlled oligarch who disdains almost half of this country. One who will make policy based on profitability. One who does not believe in evolution and is incapable of evolving his policy beyond what we’ve already tried under Bush.

    I voted for President Obama this year, and I’ll happily accept my somewhat partial, somewhat imperfect Pretty Pony that really wasn’t the color I was dreaming of. After all, it’s still better than being punched in the nuts.

    • jimtowndem

      i’m glad i read your comment because i was getting all jacked up and yelling at my wife about the idiots that vote for the green candidate because they didn’t get everything they wanted. now i know that there is more than one sane person in the world.

  • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

    What was that Paul Ryan just said about “Judeo-Christian values”? I mean…gee, there was something about a guy who got tortured and nailed to a cross and everything, and how that that work out?

  • missliberties

    There is exactly zero candidates running for President who would ever ever ever satisfy these folks, who in my view are a lost cause, and a source of extreme irritation who if engaged offer nothing but aggravation and unrealistic, idealistic bromides.

  • BuffaloBuckeye

    Bob, very good article, thanks.

    I had to talk a friend down last week, who being a devout Catholic was getting hung up on the Abortion Issue. Single issue, that is his hang-up. Although he couldn’t bring himself to vote for romney, he thought he might ‘sit this election out’. I think I have him convinced that, even though NY is Electorially safe, every vote counts for popular vote and that there are some significant down-ballot races (NY-27 comes to mind) that need him to get in the game.

    Bob, to your point, we need to keep playing until the whistle blows.

  • The_Dork_Knight

    LOL. Somebody’s cranky this morning.