Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby James » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:48 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:So it seems the damage is more foreign based then abroad as this report may well be used to smack the US every time it tries to take a moral stance while giving those that dislike America ammunition for years. At least till prosecutions are successfully undertaken and heads roll. It may make extraditions harder to get and some security services may feel bruised by the fall out themselves

Funny you mention it, during lunch I was listening to an NPR discussion about just this subject. The person speaking was more or less expressing the opinion that it won't really come as a surprise to people in other countries for reasons somewhat similar to what I outlined above. It will reinforce what they already believe or won't really come as a surprise. There was also consideration that it might not really spark all that much interest in many countries where the citizen's own government actually does many of these things to their own populace.

The rest of the discussion was about the history of these torture measures, including where they first appeared and where they have been used. For example, Germany did many of the same things in WWII and that didn't stop us from viewing them as war crimes. After searching, this is probably what I was listening to.

I should listen to it again and pay closer attention. It seemed like a good piece.

- - -

Edit: And I've also been wondering—it is a really good thing that the US government is actually able to self reflect on this, even if sometimes it happens to the dismay of another political party. That's actually something other countries tend not to do except when another administration (whatever form it may take) is overthrown.
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:04 pm

James wrote:Those who are opposed on virtue of the subject but don't care to learn about it simply pointed at it and said, "Look! Look! See!? See all these reasons and stories that support my position that torturing people and/or President Bush and/or CIA is bad!" And those who support choices made by the Bush administration, the CIA, and really, some continued choices into the Obama administration (even if these people typically like to oppose everything he does because Obama)—they're just pointing at it and saying, "Look! See? The Democrats are just drumming this up to make Republicans look bad and for political clout! See this one thing that I heard about on FOX? It looks like a discrepancy. Everything behind it is just Obama hateing on Bush and Republicans. Torture is why we have Osama bin Laden!" And the media just dutifully runs down through some of the more grizzly details and then gets some CIA person or politician to argue against it so they can be 'balanced'.


James wrote:And I've also been wondering—it is a really good thing that the US government is actually able to self reflect on this, even if sometimes it happens to the dismay of another political party. That's actually something other countries tend not to do except when another administration (whatever form it may take) is overthrown.


Personally, I'm unsure that we are able to reflect on this adequately, at least if reports like this are any indication, and if what you said the day before is right. Certainly we have no manner of national virtue to boast of in this regard - and the fact that this didn't come out during the Bush Administration but by his successor's from the opposing party speaks volumes. And that last jab at the rest of the world (or whatever 'other countries' you might have been thinking of) looks like a particularly ugly bit of jingo nationalism, and I sincerely hope that it wasn't meant the way it read.

Even the people who seem to be appalled most by this - Democrats like Dianne Feinstein, for example - are acting as though this isn't something they personally have to be responsible for, or even the nation collectively. That isn't a reflective tendency, and it isn't a healthy one. Sadly, it looks like that tendency is still continuing unabated today.
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:10 pm

James wrote:Funny you mention it, during lunch I was listening to an NPR discussion about just this subject.


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The person speaking was more or less expressing the opinion that it won't really come as a surprise to people in other countries for reasons somewhat similar to what I outlined above. It will reinforce what they already believe or won't really come as a surprise. There was also consideration that it might not really spark all that much interest in many countries where the citizen's own government actually does many of these things to their own populace.


That may well be true and our reaction may be due to guilt/frustration with our own system for failing to get anywhere near the issue. However I do think countries will cite this, at least till successful prosecutions occur, when America tries to make stands.


Edit: And I've also been wondering—it is a really good thing that the US government is actually able to self reflect on this, even if sometimes it happens to the dismay of another political party. That's actually something other countries tend not to do except when another administration (whatever form it may take) is overthrown.


It is a measure of consolation but WWD is right (I'm paraphrasing but hopefully not wrong) in it risks becoming the comfort blanket that means the original crimes doesn't get the reflection and prosecutions it needs.

WeiWenDi wrote:And that last jab at the rest of the world (or whatever 'other countries' you might have been thinking of) looks like a particularly ugly bit of jingo nationalism, and I sincerely hope that it wasn't meant the way it read.



Like the UK? I honestly didn't read it at a jab at the rest of the world
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:37 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:It is a measure of consolation but WWD is right (I'm paraphrasing but hopefully not wrong) in it risks becoming the comfort blanket that means the original crimes doesn't get the reflection and prosecutions it needs.


Pretty much on-the-mark, yeah. I'd only add that: it also risks being ignored, understated or given inadequate context for us to do any of the kind of reflection or prosecution we need to do.

Dong Zhou wrote:Like the UK? I honestly didn't read it at a jab at the rest of the world


I don't know about the UK, but to be honest, I'm not the only person who saw these kinds of arguments this way.

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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby James » Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:37 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Personally, I'm unsure that we are able to reflect on this adequately, at least if reports like this are any indication, and if what you said the day before is right. Certainly we have no manner of national virtue to boast of in this regard - and the fact that this didn't come out during the Bush Administration but by his successor's from the opposing party speaks volumes. And that last jab at the rest of the world (or whatever 'other countries' you might have been thinking of) looks like a particularly ugly bit of jingo nationalism, and I sincerely hope that it wasn't meant the way it read.

Even the people who seem to be appalled most by this - Democrats like Dianne Feinstein, for example - are acting as though this isn't something they personally have to be responsible for, or even the nation collectively. That isn't a reflective tendency, and it isn't a healthy one. Sadly, it looks like that tendency is still continuing unabated today.

It's probably worth prefacing my reply to note that I didn't use the word 'adequately', and that's key to my personal position on this subject. I do not believe it has or will be addressed adequately. I don't even believe the United States is capable of adequately addressing this subject. That said, the United States is still capable of self-reflecting on it; of having a discussion about it. Sure, it's sad that it's happening under a Democratic Party administration. Sure, it's sad that nobody is going to face charges or prison time for decisions to approve torture.

(What were you expecting here? The United States couldn't even imprison someone involved in the recent financial meltdown contributed to so generously by Wall Street.)

But the public discussion is taking place. There are powerful people in government working in opposition to it's continued practice; people in government working to expose CIA lies to the population, lawmakers, and even leadership; working to expose the leadership's lies to us. More information is available to lend context to idiotic positions taken by people like Dick Cheney.

It's far from all we'd like, but it's something, and even more sadly, it's rare. That's by no means an endorsement of how this is playing out, nor should it be interoperated as even the slightest amount of admiration—because I think this is disgusting. But it's an explanation of the comment which caught your eye.

Yeah, you're reading too much into the 'other countries' comment.

Dong Zhou wrote:That may well be true and our reaction may be due to guilt/frustration with our own system for failing to get anywhere near the issue. However I do think countries will cite this, at least till successful prosecutions occur, when America tries to make stands.

Oh, sure they will. They'll cite it in legitimate concern; allies who have been complicit to the program will cite it seemingly forgetting their previous role (hat tip to the UK, however, for wanting to know more about any role it played); countries who commit the same sort of atrocities will cite it as well.

Dong Zhou wrote:It is a measure of consolation but WWD is right (I'm paraphrasing but hopefully not wrong) in it risks becoming the comfort blanket that means the original crimes doesn't get the reflection and prosecutions it needs.

Hmm... I don't really follow here. Sure, some might see it as a comfort blanket, but that's on them (that's certainly not my position). I'll take something, however inadequate, with a risk such as that, over nothing, or worse still, a continued practice and endorsement with continued efforts to conceal it from the populace.
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:58 pm

James wrote:Hmm... I don't really follow here. Sure, some might see it as a comfort blanket, but that's on them (that's certainly not my position). I'll take something, however inadequate, with a risk such as that, over nothing, or worse still, a continued practice and endorsement with continued efforts to conceal it from the populace.


I mean that it risks being "we had a report on it? Job done." or "well we tortured but isn't it fantastic we had a report? How wonderful are we and let's not look any further into why this happened in the first place." Bascially, bad things happened but it is ok now, we did an inquiry and a report.

You set out what will happen now and sure, good on the US that it has even got that far (UK can't even get on the starting line) but isn't it depressing that even in America, that is as far as it goes? That what you laid it is the best that can be managed?
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:15 am

So apparently the CIA not only tortured prisoners, but according to this report it was using the torture programme as a human behavioural experiment, in possible violation of the Nuremberg bans on the practice.

This turns my stomach. This is an incredibly dangerous precedent, and it needs to be prosecuted and punished in the harshest possible extreme. Multiple life sentences at the very least for the scientists and experimenters involved, as well as those who authorised them. They need to be treated in the exact same way, and for the exact same reason, as the war criminals tried in Nuremberg were.

Because if history is any indication, these people won't stop here. If they get given more and more leeway from the DoJ, obviously they will take it all and more. Torture for experimental purposes on domestic political dissidents, people with genetic disabilities, Muslims in general, and other people deemed by the CIA to be lebenunwertes Leben will follow, all to be justified on the grounds that such experiments 'work' to help us to better fend off terrorist attacks.
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:33 am

WeiWenDi wrote:So apparently the CIA not only tortured prisoners, but according to this report it was using the torture programme as a human behavioural experiment, in possible violation of the Nuremberg bans on the practice.

This turns my stomach. This is an incredibly dangerous precedent, and it needs to be prosecuted and punished in the harshest possible extreme. Multiple life sentences at the very least for the scientists and experimenters involved, as well as those who authorised them. They need to be treated in the exact same way, and for the exact same reason, as the war criminals tried in Nuremberg were.

Because if history is any indication, these people won't stop here. If they get given more and more leeway from the DoJ, obviously they will take it all and more. Torture for experimental purposes on domestic political dissidents, people with genetic disabilities, Muslims in general, and other people deemed by the CIA to be lebenunwertes Leben will follow, all to be justified on the grounds that such experiments 'work' to help us to better fend off terrorist attacks.


Hold on here. Before we strap the CIA to the crosses we intend to burn them on lets be frank about who is saying what. The Senate didn't find that the CIA engaged in human experimentation. From what I've read the report itself is fairly flawed and redacted. The charges are brought by people with a obvious bent to look (and call out) for this kind of thing. That is fine. They've only called for a inquiry, not a trial. I've got no problem prosecuting if they are guilty, but as of yet I've not seen established this as unequivocal fact. Considering this association is one who deals in medicine and science, I'm sure they should be able to construct a fair argument on the issue.

Just as a end note, don't take my post as a 'this shouldn't be looked into' or 'this should be taken lightly'. That isn't my intention. Also I'd note you did say possible, so I'm not trying to put words in your mouth if it comes off that way.
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:22 am

I did indeed say 'possible', and meant it.

There does need to be a thorough inquiry first, and the Senate report should by all means constitute viable preliminary grounds for opening one - there was, after all, also a thorough inquiry also before the Nuremberg trials.

If indeed the medical and psychiatric professionals in question are found to have been gathering data from tortured detainees, then they definitely ought to be prosecuted to the full and utmost extent of the law, and punished accordingly. This is one of those areas where there can be no moral confusion, and where justice must be swift, crushing and final - none of this milquetoast Obama-era 'look forward, not backward' nonsense. No would-be Dr. Mengele should be allowed to walk free.
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Re: Can War on Terrorism ever be won?

Unread postby bodidley » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:40 am

The issue is the idea of a war on terrorism itself. What does that really mean and what are the goals? If the goal is to eliminate terrorism, then no it can never be won. If the goal is to reduce the threat from specific terrorists organizations to the point where most people are no longer particularly concerned that they pose a threat, then it was won a long time ago. If the goal is to eliminate the instability and incentive for terrorism in countries that act as havens and recruiting grounds for international terrorism, then there have been both significant success and significant failures.
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