Udall, Bennet Push Obama To Left On Torture

Your “Conservadem” Senators in action, folks–this is going to be a little tougher for Rachel Maddow, et al. to explain, isn’t it? Why is the Pueblo Chieftain the only paper that reports the local connection to these national headline stories?

President Barack Obama’s decision last week to declassify secret Justice Department memos authorizing the CIA to use waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation methods during the war in Iraq has ignited a debate on Capitol Hill over whether any U.S. officials should be prosecuted for endorsing what critics claim was torture…

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, asked the White House this week to withhold judgment on prosecutions until that committee finishes its own investigation. Colorado’s two Democratic senators endorsed Feinstein’s view Tuesday.

“There are a number of investigations under way by the Department of Justice and the Senate Intelligence Committee that ought to be completed before we come to any firm conclusions about whether anyone should be criminally prosecuted for engaging in torture,” Sen. Mark Udall said in a statement.

“I think President Obama is right to make clear that past abuses will not longer be tolerated and that our intelligence and military authorities will not engage in torture,” he said. “Not only are these practices contrary to our values as Americans, military experts confirm that torture yields unreliable intelligence and therefore hinders, rather than helps, to keep our country safe.”

Udall serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and served on the House Armed Services Committee for 10 years in the House. He was among the few lawmakers to vote against going to war in Iraq.

Sen. Michael Bennet also said he wanted to see the results of the current investigations.

“I am dismayed that our government authorized the interrogation methods detailed by the CIA memos,” Bennet said in a statement. “I am pleased President Obama put a swift end to these practices. The world needs to know the United States lives by its principles, the rule of law, and does not torture.”

And as every paper in America reports today, President Obama dramatically reversed his prior view that nobody should be prosecuted over allegations of torture during the Bush administration–in response to pressure from international human rights organizations, those involved in the present investigations, liberal bloggers at Daily Kos–and “Conservadems” Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.

We know, trip out, right? The fact is that there are very few people on either side of the aisle willing to defend what’s coming out of the Senate committee’s investigation, and taking a stand on this isn’t going to hurt Udall or Bennet with anybody except maybe the listenership of “Gunny Bob” Newman. And they were probably lost votes before today. No, the people who need to get the message of the above story are, in some putative sense anyway, friendlies…


29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    Very good effort and an extreemly important issue.

  2. Sir Robin says:

    not whitewashed, not stonewalled, not partially completed, and not brushed under the rug.

    The rule of law isn’t what some bought and sold political crony (read Bush appointee) says it is for expediencies sake, or to fit the political mood of the administration in power at the time. The law in this matter is very clear. It is in the nations best interest to vigorously pursue those who broke torture laws. How we behave at this moment in history may well impact how a captured American serviceman is treated someday.

  3. gertie97 says:

    The paper employs a crackerjack political reporter and lets him do his work.

    Too many other papers in the state, facing cutbacks in this recession, have jettisoned the political function.

    Sad, but true.

    • The realist says:

      I read the Chieftain online most days – they often have political/government stories either not appearing in other media, or more thorough than what’s in other media.

  4. GOPwarrior says:

    You wallow in security and question how you receive it, candy ass liberals. God forbid we ever get attacked again because of you.

    Good to note about Bennet–candy ass. Got it.

    • twas brillig says:

      Your country desperately needs you. Good luck!


    • gertie97 says:

      When the Republicans were in control. Nice try, warrior-wannabe.

    • redstateblues says:

      And a shining example of why your party will continue to be in the minority for years to come.

      Why don’t you try a little respect? Maybe an honest discussion?

      Nah. Why do that when you can name call and intimidate?

      • GOPwarrior says:

        These are not things they debate in other parts of the world, ok? And we weaken ourselves before the world when we reveal everything we are capable of doing to defend ourselves. The enemy should not know that, we should regulate ourselves.

        And waterboarding is not torture, you candy asses. Torture is what our enemies do to us, with electric shocks and bamboo shoots in the fingernails. You’re completely out of your fluffy pink minds.

        • twas brillig says:

          War crime. Try to keep up.


          The U.S. government — whether acting alone before domestic courts, commissions and courts-martial or as part of the world community — has not only condemned the use of water torture but has severely punished those who applied it.

          After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: “I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure.” He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. “Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning,” he replied, “just gasping between life and death.”


          As a result of such accounts, a number of Japanese prison-camp officers and guards were convicted of torture that clearly violated the laws of war. They were not the only defendants convicted in such cases. As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the “water cure” to question Filipino guerrillas.

    • Raphael says:

      your, dubious, premise, how do you draw the line of causality between “we are safe” to “torture has made us safe?”

      Didn’t think so.

      Post hoc ergo propter hoc, mi amigo.

  5. Thorntondem says:

    I am a Marine Corp veteran who understands the need for security. However, we should not use the “security” card to violate the Geneva Convention or our liberties defined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    Torture and unlawful wiretaps are just two obvious violations. If we do not  investigate these crimes and hold people accountable then the “nation of laws” talk is just, well…talk. Poor folks have forever been saying that the law only applies to them. We are watching and these crimes against humanity and U.S law should not be swept under the rug.

    I’m not sure the level of influence our Senators and others had on President Obama’s decision, but regardless, I am grateful and I am proud to be an American today.

    • Meiner49er says:

      Here, here, Thorntondem!  Reminder to all “warrior-wannabees,” if you want to defend America, seriously, you first take an oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution” NOT the country.  No constitutional rights, no country.

      That said, I’m not sure “dismay” and “leaving doors open” to prosecute those who violated the Constitution can really be counted as “defending” it.  Nuremburg applies here:  the bureaucrats who authorized this should be tried. Otherwise, “the world WONT know the United States lives by its principles, [and] the rule of law….”

      • twas brillig says:

        Mike Hesse/GOPwarrior might start trying to challenge your patriotism for using syllogisms.

        …if you want to defend America, seriously, you first take an oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution” NOT the country.  No constitutional rights, no country.

  6. Karate Kid says:

    Whatever you think about enhanced interrogation techniques, what are we becoming here, some Third World country?  You have Obama and high-ranking Democrat senators suggesting that Bush officials should be prosecuted for taking part in the interrogations.  This is purely a policy difference, folks.  What specific law could possibly be cited for prosecuting the Bush folks?  This is the type of stuff you see in banana republics.

    • Ralphie says:

      If anyone broke the law, they should be prosecuted.

      “The Law” includes any treaties we might have signed.

      It has nothing to do with policy.  It has everything to do with what we agreed to.

    • G Pulviczek says:

      These are allegations of actual crimes committed by the previous Administration.  We have several international treaties which require us to investigate and prosecute as appropriate.

      Torture is unconstitutional, evil, immoral, and unconscionable.  It is not a legitimate policy.

    • twas brillig says:

      Lord knows 3rd World countries don’t torture people for political ends?


      Or set up detention camps and kangaroo courts outside judicial review?


      Or hold citizens without access to representation? Or conduct warrantless surveillance of citizens, journalists, and lawmakers? Or wage wars of choice out of ego and vanity?

      And torture is just a “policy difference.”

      What law(s)? A fine place to start would the 8th Amendment to the Constitution. It specifically prohibits government officials from conducting acts of torture. Read your Bill of Rights again, friend. And there’s plenty of stuff in US Code and in treaty obligations that makes policymakers culpable for high crimes and misdemeanors.

      Shit, they don’t even get these College Republican drones to take a poli sci class or two any more. At this point they can’t help but engage in self-satire.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Are you saying the president is above the law? If that were true we would be a dictatorship not a democracy. If the president broke the law he needs to be brought to trial.

      This is why Nixon resigned, because he broke the law. And the only reason he was not tried in a court of law is that Ford pardoned him.

      • Karate Kid says:

        that if you could save a dozen, a thousand or a million people by water boarding some schmuck from another country who was out to destory us you wouldn’t do it?  That’s insane.  It was good policy.  It kept our country safe.  Heck, our elite armed forces units get water boarded for practice all the time, so they’re ready for it.  These things hardly count as torture, my friends.  And if someone would not appropriate some modest interrogation tactics to protect the country, they have no business leading our country.  Time for some introspection on your part.  This is far left, looney stuff you are saying.  Do you ever take a position in opposition to MoveOn and George Soros?

        • twas brillig says:

          First you justify torture with the ticking timebomb red herring. In fact, a report found that KSM was waterboarded over a 100 times because Cheney wanted a linkage between Al-Qaeda and Iraq to justify the invasion. That’s not saving us from a nuke; that’s using torture to win the political conversation on the networks.

          That’s fucked up.

          Second, after justifying torture with a red herring fallacy, you then argue that acts established and understood as torture since the Inquisition, and as war crimes in US history, are somehow not torture.  

          Third, you invoke the SERE program to argue these techniques (which were taken far beyond SERE) prove that they are not torture — when the whole purpose of SERE interrogation training is to train resistance to torture. Duh. That also ignores the SERE professionals who warned against using these techniques in an interrogation program (hint: the Communists were looking for “confessions,” not intel).

          Unfortunately, national policy makers were just as ignorant, arrogant, and blithely uneducated on these practical, legal and moral issues as you yourself apparently are. That excuses nothing.

          You should be disgusted that Republican operatives like yourself are being asked to carry this kind of water, for a few reasons: (A) You suck at it; (B) it’s morally reprehensible; (C) it makes you look like you place a jackbooted will to power above the US Constitution. You don’t owe those bastards a damn thing.  

          • Karate Kid says:

            1.  Hard to classify any of this stuff as torture.  No terrorists were harmed in any advanced interrogations.

            2.  According to information in the memo from Obama’s National Intelligence Director, which Obama attempted to redact, the information gathered from these interrogations led to very valuable information, including a plot to blow up buildings in Los Angeles.

            3.  If you want to start prosecuting your fellow citizens for having a difference of position on policy, then why don’t we start posthumously prosecuting Roosevelt and his cronies for interning the Japanese in WWII.  That truly was a moral outrage.

            • twas brillig says:

              If you are in favor of turning this country into a banana republic or not. Because at first you were wailing about it, and now you are defending banana republic practices with all the lazy logic and euphemisms preferred by authoritarian regimes.

              • 1. Once again you ignore contemporary evidence and centuries of historical record. Ignorance ain’t bliss, baby.
              • 2. I’ll call that bluff, and you need to stop ignoring the evidence that Cheney pushed for torture b/c the White House wanted to establish the bogus Saddam-Qaeda link. People get hanged for that sort of thing.
              • 3. I agree. Unfortunately, the US Supreme Court at the time legitimized it in some really awful caselaw. They are not repeating those mistakes this time.

              This is why you got into politics? To defend and apologize for this kind of stuff?


            • Aristotle says:

              This is your morality, right here. No wonder people are leaving the GOP in droves.

              • redstateblues says:

                As much as I love that show, it’s only a show. In real life the choice isn’t as stark as “either we torture this guy, or a nuke goes off”.

                For Republicans, I think that’s the scenario that’s playing out every time we water board some terror suspect. Hence the moral “clarity”–or lack thereof.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          We won’t win this war by killing people, we’ll win it by getting most people in the muslim countries on our side. (Yes fighting is necessary, it’s just not the end game.)

          So thousands will die regardless. The trick is to take the path that over time has the fewest dying and us winning. Engaging in torture devastated our moral standing and whether you agree with it or not, made us morally equivilent in the eyes of many in the muslim world.

          We can’t win if we’re viewed as morally equivilent.

  7. rocco says:

    First of all, the United States executed Japanese personnel for the very CRIME against GI’s that gop flacks are calling “enhanced interrogation”.

    Spouting off “tough guy” garbage about “schmucks” and “trading our values for saving lives in  ticking time bomb situations” is another pathetic attempt by red apologists to validate the bush/cheney gutting of our laws and values.

    Water boarding is a crime. It’s torture. bush and cheney knew that when they ordered hacks like john Yu to rationalize their actions.

    This one’s a loser for republicans.    

  8. eTourist says:

    From Rational Wiki:

    Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.

    From GOPwarrior: Water Boarding isn’t torture when we do it to someone else, but it was torture when the Japanese did it to our soldiers in WW2.

    KK, nice time warp.  KSM was caught after the “Tower Plot” was foiled.

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