ALPB Forum Online

ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Norman Teigen on December 10, 2014, 03:40:50 PM

Title: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 10, 2014, 03:40:50 PM
Some might think that the torture report is a time for national repentance.  I wonder what the good readers of this  distinguished Forum might have to say about this.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 10, 2014, 03:46:53 PM
Those who actually did it might consider repentance. As a nation we might consider many things related to how we treat our citizens, the guests in our country, and our attitudes towards the rest of the world. I'm sure we would find reasons to confess our arrogance, selfishness, and lack of consideration for God's people And God's planet.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Terry W Culler on December 10, 2014, 03:48:08 PM
Repentance, national or otherwise, is always appropriate
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Team Hesse on December 10, 2014, 03:58:15 PM
Repentance, national or otherwise, is always appropriate


Was that not the gist of thesis 1 of the 95 thesis? Oh, but there I go again--living in the 16th century..... :o


Lou
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on December 10, 2014, 05:31:18 PM
Repentance, national or otherwise, is always appropriate

'Tis the season for repentance, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Time to ease a tortured conscience, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
For the sins of self or nation, fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la
Go make your Advent Confession, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 10, 2014, 06:26:43 PM
So the nation should turn to The Lord. Somehow whenever a conservative says that he gets derided as a theocrat who can't understand the separation of church and state. But somehow the calls for national repentance today don't seem like calls to turn to The Lord, but calls to wallow in guilt and turn to progressivism. Maybe I'm wrong. What would a day of national repentance look like in practical terms? Would God be one god among many? Would we read the Scriptures in the public schools? How would it work?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 10, 2014, 06:37:31 PM
Peter, have we ever observed a national day of repentance?  I think repentance was connected to prayer in connection with 9.11 by some and then others felt that was wrong to repent because God did not use bad things we didn't do to punish us for things we did do or something like that.... and then there is the question of innocents and just who they might be...  no one seems to know what things are really God's punishment and what things just happen because the world is what it is or isn't...

the torture report...  are there CIA type things that we approve of (somewhere less than torture or even what some do consider torture) that a Christian can't do but we are happy as Christians to have non-Christians to do them for our nation?

say a school of 300 grade school kids was taken hostage by bomb bearing terrorists and the CIA caught a couple of the terrorists who did not make it inside the building.  Are they allowed to lie to these terrorists, threaten them, hurt or harm or torture them if the children are at grave risk in order to save them?  Can Christians participate in some or none of the above actions if they are deemed necessary? 

Anyone?

Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on December 10, 2014, 06:46:49 PM
Peter, have we ever observed a national day of repentance? 
Yes--151 years ago.

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm (http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm)

Quote
By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.
The essential question is:  What would our parish clergy do on such a day?

Observe all the Prayer Offices in the Nave?

Hold a service of Corporate Confession and Forgiveness?

Be vested and at prayer in the Nave for a specified period so as to be available for Individual Confession and Forgiveness?



Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 10, 2014, 07:36:12 PM
The first whereas would never pass muster anymore. There has been too much "progress."
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 10, 2014, 08:27:52 PM
Thomas, Oh, that is right, I read that about Lincoln and I think even re-read it this summer in a Civil War book I perused...  sorry I forgot, thanks for reminding me.  Harvey
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on December 10, 2014, 08:41:15 PM
Thomas, Oh, that is right, I read that about Lincoln and I think even re-read it this summer in a Civil War book I perused...  sorry I forgot, thanks for reminding me.  Harvey
Having served a parish literally at the end of the rail line from Gettysburg the events of 1863 were quite important to us last year. 

Strange how the some of the bloodiest fighting came AFTER the day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Bergs on December 10, 2014, 09:25:43 PM
Maybe we should have repented when we hit 50 million babies aborted?  But we passed that point a couple of years back.  Should we start to repent when we hit 60 million? 

What makes the politically partisan torture report an indication that repentance is now necessary?

No, this report is not indicative of a time for national repentance.  The report is an obvious final slam on the Bush (Boosh, Boosh, Boosh) Administration to take our eye off of all the imperial decrees of the current administration.   Why is there a desire to make this politically partisan report issued for political reasons into a cause celebre for a national moral reflection.  This is a very odd question.

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: DCharlton on December 10, 2014, 09:31:25 PM
Some might think that the torture report is a time for national repentance.  I wonder what the good readers of this  distinguished Forum might have to say about this.

This is very relevant to some of our earlier discussion of repentance and forgiveness. 

1.  Does repentance mean ceasing the sinful behavior?  Do we need to make sure that the current administration isn't continuing those past practices before we ask for forgiveness?

2.  If we are sorry for past torture, must a pastor insist that we intend to change our behavior in the future before forgiveness is proclaimed? 

Those questions are theoretical and practical.  It has been argued before on this forum that sorrow for past sin suffices and to ask for a change of behavior constitutes legalism.  On a practical level, I want to make sure that we are going to repent of the sins of both the Bush and Obama administrations, and not just those of one of them. 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: DCharlton on December 10, 2014, 09:36:51 PM
No, this report is not indicative of a time for national repentance.  The report is an obvious final slam on the Bush (Boosh, Boosh, Boosh) Administration to take our eye off of all the imperial decrees of the current administration.   

Yes.  Why not repent for the drone assassinations carried out on American citizens by the Obama Administration?  Why not repent for Obama's failure to close Guantanamo?   Why not question the methods used to locate Osama bin Laden after Bush left office?  Why not repent for Obama's expansion of government spying on citizens? 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 10, 2014, 10:48:38 PM
I tend to be leery of calls for groups of people to repent of things that they did not personally do and for which they were not personally responsible.  If there had been a national referendum listing the various enhanced interrogation techniques that could be employed and then to check off those permitted to be used, then perhaps those who voted yes for certain techniques should repent for giving permission.

It seems to me that repentance is always a personal thing.  I repent for what I did wrong in thought, word or deed.  Can I repent for someone else?  It seems to me that is a cop out and a cheat.  If I repent for what others did, I can feel virtuous for being repentant and still point the finger at them for doing wrong.  It is also another expression of what has become a national debate ploy - collective guilt.  If I can be classed as part of a group and certain members of that group commit certain wrongs, then must I bear guilt for those wrongs?  I am white.  Does that mean that as a white man I bear guilt and need to repent for slavery?  If I bear guilt for slavery, does that mean that I personally should bear some punishment for slavery?  Even though neither I nor any of my family or ancestors were in any way involved in slavery?  But I am a member of the white group and some whites enslaved blacks so therefor I bear guilt?

Does it work the other way?  Some Blacks have brutally killed whites.  Does that mean that all Blacks bear guilt for that?  I don't think so and I doubt that you would get very far with that argument.

I think that this whole call for national repentance is a red herring and if pursued will side track us from effective and meaningful response.  What is needed is not so much national repentance, but national reflection on what got us to this point.  What led the leadership of the United States to pursue terrorists using torture?  Was it moral?  Was it effective?  If we decide that pursuing the policies that included the torture reported is wrong, how do we prevent it is the future?  What should we do about the instances of torture that occurred?  On both a national and personal level, how did the individual reactions to the attacks on 9/11 contribute to a climate that permitted torture, and how can we manage the shock, grief and anger that arise from such attacks into more constructive actions? 

Or to put it another way, I do not see this as an occasion for which we bear collective guilt and thus in need of national repentance.  (I don't believe in collective guilt.)  I see this as an occasion for which we bear collective responsibility to decide if our leaders acting in our name did wrong, to make any injustices right, and to work toward preventing such actions in the future.

We also bear a responsibility to work toward just and effective policies to deal with threats and attacks in a responsible way, not simply acting out of fear or anger.

Dan
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Dave Likeness on December 10, 2014, 11:20:45 PM
On Sept. 11, 2001 there were 3,000 people killed by
terrorists in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.
This was an act of war on American soil.  The C.I.A. used
torture methods to gain valuable information to prevent
 more attacks.  We should not be naïve about the necessity
to protect Americans from future attacks by extreme terrorists.
War is not a Sunday School picnic.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LutherMan on December 10, 2014, 11:35:21 PM
Some might think that the torture report is a time for national repentance.  I wonder what the good readers of this  distinguished Forum might have to say about this.

This is very relevant to some of our earlier discussion of repentance and forgiveness. 

1.  Does repentance mean ceasing the sinful behavior?  Do we need to make sure that the current administration isn't continuing those past practices before we ask for forgiveness?

2.  If we are sorry for past torture, must a pastor insist that we intend to change our behavior in the future before forgiveness is proclaimed? 

Those questions are theoretical and practical.  It has been argued before on this forum that sorrow for past sin suffices and to ask for a change of behavior constitutes legalism.  On a practical level, I want to make sure that we are going to repent of the sins of both the Bush and Obama administrations, and not just those of one of them.

No, this report is not indicative of a time for national repentance.  The report is an obvious final slam on the Bush (Boosh, Boosh, Boosh) Administration to take our eye off of all the imperial decrees of the current administration.   

Yes.  Why not repent for the drone assassinations carried out on American citizens by the Obama Administration?  Why not repent for Obama's failure to close Guantanamo?   Why not question the methods used to locate Osama bin Laden after Bush left office?  Why not repent for Obama's expansion of government spying on citizens?
Thank you for your fair-minded approach to this issue Pr. Charlton...
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Terry W Culler on December 11, 2014, 07:32:45 AM
The problem with using extraordinary means to accomplish something is they soon cease to be extraordinary.  The old saying (maybe from Franklin?) that someone who prefers safety to freedom will soon find that he has neither, is spot on. 

War is dreadful and it involves people doing dreadful things.  That is why it should be hated so much.  And I was in one, so I know something about whereof I speak.  I don't see how the "war" we are in today is accomplishing much of anything.  Maybe that's from ignorance, but I don't think so.  We were attacked.  We struck back.  Okay.  But now it just seems to go on and on and no one can even tell us when we will have won.  It is a little like living in "1984"
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 11, 2014, 07:46:08 AM
http://religiondispatches.org/torture-denial-u-s-flunks-the-religious-acid-test/   In this piece writer Laarman argues that the United States flunks the religious acid test.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Eileen Smith on December 11, 2014, 08:23:26 AM
On Sept. 11, 2001 there were 3,000 people killed by
terrorists in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.
This was an act of war on American soil.  The C.I.A. used
torture methods to gain valuable information to prevent
 more attacks.  We should not be naïve about the necessity
to protect Americans from future attacks by extreme terrorists.
War is not a Sunday School picnic.

I agree with this as harsh as it may seem.  The 'war' wasn't a one-time event of our being attacked on 9/11 and a response.  There have been attacks since Obama came into office and many thwarted attacks - some that we hear of many that we don't.  It is an assault on our ears to hear reports such as the one that was released (and apparently has many flaws).   War, indeed, is not a Sunday School picnic.

Repentance is always good and necessary.  Perhaps a good place for us to start as a nation is allowing abortion to exist in our country.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: John_Hannah on December 11, 2014, 08:35:11 AM
It's simple politics; that's all. The Democratic response to the mid-term Republican victories. It may actually help the Republicans just as the shutdown has helped Democrats.

I think the Christian response is to pray that our elected representatives would resume governing.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 09:03:54 AM
Repentance is always good and necessary.  Perhaps a good place for us to start as a nation is allowing abortion to exist in our country.

I trust that you mean that the nation should repent for allowing abortion to exist in our country?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 11, 2014, 09:40:48 AM
Dave Likeness writes:
The C.I.A. used torture methods to gain valuable information to prevent more attacks. 

I comment:
Actually, we are now learning that the torture did not gain much information and that some of the information it did gain was wrong.
   And since the "abortion" card now equals the "Nazi" card in whip-whap rhetoric, and was almost instantly plopped down on the green baize table as if it would beat a royal flush, I observe that it is not a "nation" or an agency of the federal government that is directing, sponsoring or forcing people to have abortions; while it was the policy of a federal agency to use torture on people in federal custody.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 11, 2014, 09:48:51 AM
Since the federal government, through legislation and court adjudication, has found abortion virtually on demand to be a "right" and legal, and then actively funded it through "healthcare" programs, it is sponsoring it, and it is a policy of the federal government and therefore of the nation.  Fortunately, the nation has stopped short of directing or forcing people to have abortions, so far, as far as we know...

...I observe that it is not a "nation" or an agency of the federal government that is directing, sponsoring or forcing people to have abortions; ...
Quote

Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 09:54:07 AM
Actually, we are now learning that the torture did not gain much information and that some of the information it did gain was wrong.

Which is absolutely disputed by those who were there and in the know. But I suppose those who gained the benefit of the safety rendered by CIA actions can sit around and quibble about the word "much."

An interesting exchange between Eric Bolling and Bob Beckel.  Eric asked Bob which was preferable, killing by drone or water boarding. Beckel's response, "We don't torture." Bolling: "So better to kill by drone than water board?" Beckel: "Yes."  Good grief, we water board our own people in training. As Dennis Miller stated, to ISIS (paraphrased), "ISIS, if you're listening, if the worst you promise to do to those you capture is water board them, you have a deal."
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: DCharlton on December 11, 2014, 10:33:16 AM
   And since the "abortion" card now equals the "Nazi" card in whip-whap rhetoric, and was almost instantly plopped down on the green baize table as if it would beat a royal flush, I observe that it is not a "nation" or an agency of the federal government that is directing, sponsoring or forcing people to have abortions; while it was the policy of a federal agency to use torture on people in federal custody.

The better option is to oppose torture and abortion. 

The problem with calling for national repentance is that we usually end up repenting for other people's sins.  There are so many sins that have been committed by Americans that if we repent of only one group of sins, by implication we justify all the other sins.  Repentance then becomes a political football.  If the Republicans win, they will have America repent of the sins of Democrats.  If the Democrats win, they will have us repent of the sins of Republicans. 

The hard part is naming and repenting of my own sins. 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 11, 2014, 10:48:38 AM
Getting back to my question.  David said that war (or I add interrogation in extreme) is not a Sunday School picnic.   My question is whether Sunday School teacher-types can participate in these extreme measures?    Or do we have to get unbelievers to do them for us.... and of course, is that OK also.   Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 11, 2014, 10:49:41 AM
Pastor Kirchner writes (re the report saying that torture did not gain any "valuable" information)
Which is absolutely disputed by those who were there and in the know. But I suppose those who gained the benefit of the safety rendered by CIA actions can sit around and quibble about the word "much."

I comment:
Well! Duh! What would you expect them to say? But other analysts - also CIA-related - are those saying no valuable information was gained. And I suppose we could "gain" the "benefits of the safety rendered by CIA actions" if we simple went around the world with our weapons and slaughtered everyone who we think opposes us. That's just "torture" writ large. Do you favor that?
I believe Senator John McCain, who knows something about torture, is among those decrying what we have done in the name of our "safety" and worrying that we may be "protecting" a flawed version of "safety" by terrible actions.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 10:55:29 AM
Pastor Kirchner writes (re the report saying that torture did not gain any "valuable" information)
Which is absolutely disputed by those who were there and in the know. But I suppose those who gained the benefit of the safety rendered by CIA actions can sit around and quibble about the word "much."

I comment:
Well! Duh! What would you expect them to say? But other analysts - also CIA-related - are those saying no valuable information was gained.

Are you incapable of having a civil discussion without the "Duh!" and other cheap shots?  To repeat, I suppose those who gained the benefit of the safety rendered by CIA actions can sit around and quibble about the word "much" which you now want to do.

And I suppose we could "gain" the "benefits of the safety rendered by CIA actions" if we simple went around the world with our weapons and slaughtered everyone who we think opposes us. That's just "torture" writ large.

That would be the method supported by the Obama administration et al, i.e., drone killing.

I believe Senator John McCain, who knows something about torture, is among those decrying what we have done in the name of our "safety" and worrying that we may be "protecting" a flawed version of "safety" by terrible actions.

Reasonable minds, including those who have been water boarded in military training, disagree. They think they're better off still being alive.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 11, 2014, 11:04:11 AM
while I would not want to be a part of a comparison test....

waterboarding in military training
vs
what Sen McCain went thru

let's see which do you think was more authentic?

did any of the folks in the training loose the use of their...   ah, forget that...


Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: DCharlton on December 11, 2014, 11:07:17 AM
A deeper question is whether the Clinton and Obama administrations use the same techniques, but without the jingoistic swagger of Bush and Cheney.  I voted for Obama in part because he promised to put an end to those practices.  In hind sight that was more than a little naive.   
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 11:08:01 AM
while I would not want to be a part of a comparison test....

waterboarding in military training
vs
what Sen McCain went thru

let's see which do you think was more authentic?

did any of the folks in the training loose the use of their...   ah, forget that...

Harvey Mozolak

What is your point, Harvey?  Who is suggesting that the type and extent of torture that Senator McCain went through is comparable to water boarding? "Authentic"? That McCain's torture was more authentic? I suppose.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Terry W Culler on December 11, 2014, 11:36:52 AM
For me the effectiveness of water boarding or other methods of torture isn't the point.  If you could get all the information you wanted by putting 10 innocent children in front of the person being interrogated and then killing them one at a time until he talked--would you do it?  The question is do we want to be those people who torture?  I, for one, do not.  I do not want to be Dick Cheney's nation.  And while I rant I'll also say that I just can't bring myself to celebrate Usama bin Laden's murder.  Why didn't we just take him?  I might be wrong, but murder is murder, even if the victim is vile.

Lest anyone believe I'm some sort of liberal Democrat, I am not.  But then even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn, and Sen. Feinstein has found a big one.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 11:52:34 AM
And while I rant I'll also say that I just can't bring myself to celebrate Usama bin Laden's murder.  Why didn't we just take him?  I might be wrong, but murder is murder, even if the victim is vile.

Murder? Osama bin Laden wasn't murdered.

Have you listened to the interview of Robert O’Neill? That would explain to you why we didn't "just take him."

BTW, do you feel the same way about drone killings? How about killing in combat? Are those situations murder?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 11, 2014, 12:04:49 PM
But then even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn, and Sen. Feinstein has found a big one.

Try "willful blindness".  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/12/10/the-torture-reports-one-glaring-weakness/
From David Ignatius' article, referencing the Senate and House oversight committee members years ago and for many years, Democrats and Republicans: "They were silently complicit. They just don’t own up to that fact."

Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: jmiller on December 11, 2014, 12:56:13 PM
I may be the only person on this forum to ever work for the CIA.
I can assure you I have a very hard time believing the senators involved had little or no knowledge of the techniques in question.
Over the almost 20 years of rendition and our own interrogations, they were briefed and approved of it. I would bet the farm.
This report condemns them as much as anyone.
Do we need national repentance? For this and many other things.
Did we get actionable intelligence? Of course we did. Was there another way to get it? Maybe. Is it easy to judge in hindsight? You bet.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: JMK on December 11, 2014, 01:13:18 PM
Quote
For me the effectiveness of water boarding or other methods of torture isn't the point.  If you could get all the information you wanted by putting 10 innocent children in front of the person being interrogated and then killing them one at a time until he talked--would you do it?  The question is do we want to be those people who torture?  I, for one, do not.  I do not want to be Dick Cheney's nation.  And while I rant I'll also say that I just can't bring myself to celebrate Usama bin Laden's murder.  Why didn't we just take him?  I might be wrong, but murder is murder, even if the victim is vile.

Lest anyone believe I'm some sort of liberal Democrat, I am not.  But then even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn, and Sen. Feinstein has found a big one. - Pr. Terry Culler

That is a good point! It should be pointed out that one of the most prominent human rights specialists in the LCMS is a clergy man who is against torture and also is decidedly pro-life when it comes to abortion. His name is John W. Montgomery. Also, of course, on the Republican side is John Mccain who is against torture. It is not just a Democratic party issue.

I wonder if the church's view of medieval torture should be brought out in the discussion? For example, I came across one article that pointed out the following:

“The huge elephant in our Catholic living room that everyone politely refrains from mentioning is the massive, trimillennial Judeo-Christian tradition that legitimized torture right up until Vatican II” as a means of punishment or extracting information." - https://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2006/04/29/114633381931140970/



Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: John_Hannah on December 11, 2014, 01:15:30 PM
I may be the only person on this forum to ever work for the CIA.
I can assure you I have a very hard time believing the senators involved had little or no knowledge of the techniques in question.
Over the almost 20 years of rendition and our own interrogations, they were briefed and approved of it. I would bet the farm.
This report condemns them as much as anyone.
Do we need national repentance? For this and many other things.
Did we get actionable intelligence? Of course we did. Was there another way to get it? Maybe. Is it easy to judge in hindsight? You bet.

Yep!

Furthermore, it is not in our national interest to be playing politics with our intelligence apparatus.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 11, 2014, 01:48:58 PM
Years ago in these threads we had a debate about the definition of "torture" and what practices should be included under the definition. The word is key to the emotional impact of the debate. It does no good to say, "You are guilty of depriving terrorists of sleep!" You have to first define that as torture, then ditch the qualifications and say, "You are a torturer," so that there is no distinction between what the CIA was doing and what might have been happening in the Tower of London back in the day. It is the same thing as referring to unwanted kissing as rape-- it gets the point across at the expense of clarity. I always go back to the movie Mississippi Burning, in which the Gene Hackman character resorts to what today would be called torture to beat the KKK. He cuts one man, beats another senseless, orchestrates a mock lynching to terrify another into talking, and behaves as an all-around bully to the poor klan members. Is he is a hero? A monster deserving of a prison sentence? A tough cop who may have gone too far in a good cause? It is hard to make a blanket condemnation of the Hackman character because we believe wholly in the purity of his cause and the evilness of the KKK. But in movies or stories where the cop does the same sorts of things but is not necessarily on the side of the good and the pure and his victims not visibly in league with Satan, we see a lot of ambiguity and even cruelty in actions like the cop in Mississippi Burning took. Similarly, those who believe in the rightness of the American cause and the pure evil of Jihad have a more difficult time condemning the CIA without qualification, while those who think America isn't so right and pure and Jihad not so abjectly Satanic seem to have no trouble condemning the CIA in unqualified terms.   

What would be genuinely helpful as an alternative to blanket condemnations would be a set of proposals. We catch a terrorist plotting an attack and we know he is a key part of a network planning more attacks. What shall we do? Let him go? If not, what can do beyond asking him nicely to get him to share the information that we know he has and that could very likely save many lives? Anything at all? And if we can do anything at all to get him to talk, what would you say for yourself if what you just approved was later determined by other people to be torture? Because that is, I think, the situation many of these interrogators involved in water-boarding or sleep deprivation techniques find themselves in. They weren't saying torture is okay, they just didn't think they were really torturing.     
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 11, 2014, 02:00:26 PM
FWIW it is not hard at all to make the blanket combination of the GEne Hackman character in Mississippi burning. His tactics were despicable. The rightness of his cause or the evilness of the KKK did not make them any less despicable and wrong and shameful.
And why do you draw a phony line between considering America wrong and Islamic Jihad right?
America is not always right and pure. That doesn't mean we have to think the "other side" is correct. I am not responsible for what the other side does. I am responsible for what my country does.
If we catch terrorists plotting against us, we deal with them according to our laws. We do not take to some other country, hide them somewhere, and torture them.
Of course, we do indeed do that; but we shouldn't.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 11, 2014, 02:18:48 PM
FWIW it is not hard at all to make the blanket combination of the GEne Hackman character in Mississippi burning. His tactics were despicable. The rightness of his cause or the evilness of the KKK did not make them any less despicable and wrong and shameful.
And why do you draw a phony line between considering America wrong and Islamic Jihad right?
America is not always right and pure. That doesn't mean we have to think the "other side" is correct. I am not responsible for what the other side does. I am responsible for what my country does.
If we catch terrorists plotting against us, we deal with them according to our laws. We do not take to some other country, hide them somewhere, and torture them.
Of course, we do indeed do that; but we shouldn't.
Well, some people never find it hard to make blanket condemnations. But the question is whether the Hackman character is deserving of prison. The movie was made in the 80's and he was clearly the hero of the movie at the time; I don't recall anyone finding it easy to make a blanket condemnation of his behavior back then. It was a big movie-- perhaps you or one of your journalist friends reviewed it or wrote about it; if so, I doubt the main character was condemned in the review for using torture. Applying today's standards to the past is easy. But if the movie ended with Hackman in cuffs and the klansmen going free based on the fact that the evidence was obtained illegally, not many people would call it a triumph of justice.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Terry W Culler on December 11, 2014, 02:24:28 PM
And while I rant I'll also say that I just can't bring myself to celebrate Usama bin Laden's murder.  Why didn't we just take him?  I might be wrong, but murder is murder, even if the victim is vile.

Murder? Osama bin Laden wasn't murdered.


Have you listened to the interview of Robert O’Neill? That would explain to you why we didn't "just take him."

BTW, do you feel the same way about drone killings? How about killing in combat? Are those situations murder?


Everything about war makes me uncomfortable. Killing in combat is not murder, but neither is it good, even if occasionally it might be necessary from a human perspective.  Sending men to kill other men does things to them which should not be done to anyone.  It feeds the beast in our hearts and drives out thoughts of turning the other cheek and going the extra mile.  I can't think our Lord is pleased with it.  No one can walk away from combat unchanged, and that change is never good.  If we have to fight wars, all long distance weapons should be banned and we should have to fight with short swords, our fists and our teeth.  Drones and other forms of distance attacks make death seem clean and unreal to those who aren't dying. 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 02:57:40 PM
Killing in combat is not murder, but neither is it good, even if occasionally it might be necessary from a human perspective. 

Was not the attack to kill bin Laden a combat mission?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: David Garner on December 11, 2014, 03:05:22 PM
I am not a pure pacifist, but I share Pastor Culler's discomfort with war and the justifications for war.  Regarding Bin Laden, I wrote this shortly after his death:

http://forheisgoodandlovesmankind.blogspot.com/2011/05/osama-bin-laden.html
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Rev. Matthew Uttenreither on December 11, 2014, 03:15:04 PM
The CIA water-boarded some really bad people and made them listen to heavy metal music to keep them awake.  Muslim terrorists chop the heads of innocent people. 

As for drones, that is President Obama's weapon of choice. 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 03:33:54 PM
I am not a pure pacifist, but I share Pastor Culler's discomfort with war and the justifications for war. 

As do we all. But that is quite different from suggesting that the US murdered Osama bin Laden.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 11, 2014, 03:34:24 PM
And while I rant I'll also say that I just can't bring myself to celebrate Usama bin Laden's murder.  Why didn't we just take him?  I might be wrong, but murder is murder, even if the victim is vile.

Murder? Osama bin Laden wasn't murdered.


Have you listened to the interview of Robert O’Neill? That would explain to you why we didn't "just take him."

BTW, do you feel the same way about drone killings? How about killing in combat? Are those situations murder?


Everything about war makes me uncomfortable. Killing in combat is not murder, but neither is it good, even if occasionally it might be necessary from a human perspective.  Sending men to kill other men does things to them which should not be done to anyone.  It feeds the beast in our hearts and drives out thoughts of turning the other cheek and going the extra mile.  I can't think our Lord is pleased with it.  No one can walk away from combat unchanged, and that change is never good.  If we have to fight wars, all long distance weapons should be banned and we should have to fight with short swords, our fists and our teeth.  Drones and other forms of distance attacks make death seem clean and unreal to those who aren't dying.
Aerial warfare was considered immoral by many people in WWI, as were chemical and biological warfare. Nuclear warfare hadn't been invented yet, of course, but eventually the world agreed that nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare were immoral but never agreed to say the same about aerial warfare. All of these forms of warfare are novelties from the first half of the 20th century, but today a typical nation has a proud air force but must abolish or hide any capability of using those other types of weapons.

 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: J.L. Precup on December 11, 2014, 04:05:35 PM
The CIA water-boarded some really bad people and made them listen to heavy metal music to keep them awake.  Muslim terrorists chop the heads of innocent people. 

As for drones, that is President Obama's weapon of choice.

I'm not understanding this very well:  "as for drones, that is President Obama's weapon of choice."  Can you elaborate on that a bit more, please?

Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 11, 2014, 04:08:46 PM
Peter, one of the purposes of civil law is to protect the innocent, not to make it easier to nab the guilty or to allow crimes in the pursuit of a conviction. If evidence or witnesses are obtained by illegal means, then they must not stand. "Mississippi Burning" was a movie. If a real life FBI agent did with that agent did, then he should've been made to pay the penalty.
Pastor Uttenreither, do you believe that because "their "acts would seem to be worse than ours, then that gives us permission to engage in despicable tactics? "They" kill, so we can torture?
And are we saying that some people are so "bad" that the plan should be to kill them on sight?
There may be a certain kind of retributive "justice", or revenge in that, but I do not believe it is justice in the grander sense. And we should not endorse it.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: pearson on December 11, 2014, 04:40:49 PM

I am not responsible for what the other side does. I am responsible for what my country does.


I've never understood this, so I'm asking for help.  What does being "responsible" (in this sense) have to do with making a moral judgment?  Just because I'm not "responsible" for what the other side does, how does it follow that I can't make a moral judgment about what the other side does (but only about what "my country does")?  I'm not "responsible" for the political and sexual shenanigans committed by Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, but I can still judge them immoral, right?  I'm not "responsible" for the faked studies on stem cell research concocted by Korean scientist Hwan Woo-suk, but I can still tell my students that it is decidedly wrong to do so, can't I?  The implication seems to be that I can only make moral judgments about things that are, in some sense, under my immediate control.  That can't be right.

Tom Pearson
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 11, 2014, 04:43:21 PM
Peter, one of the purposes of civil law is to protect the innocent, not to make it easier to nab the guilty or to allow crimes in the pursuit of a conviction. If evidence or witnesses are obtained by illegal means, then they must not stand. "Mississippi Burning" was a movie. If a real life FBI agent did with that agent did, then he should've been made to pay the penalty.
Pastor Uttenreither, do you believe that because "their "acts would seem to be worse than ours, then that gives us permission to engage in despicable tactics? "They" kill, so we can torture?
And are we saying that some people are so "bad" that the plan should be to kill them on sight?
There may be a certain kind of retributive "justice", or revenge in that, but I do not believe it is justice in the grander sense. And we society should not endorse it.
But the law is filled with judgment calls in words like "unreasonable," so as standards change it is very easy for people who weren't criminals to suddenly become criminals without knowing it and without changing what they were doing. That's why it is so important for congress to make laws rather than relying on judicial precedent to act as the de facto law.

In It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey engages in what would today be called (by some, at least) sexual assault when he manhandles Mary and then forcibly kisses her. The standard has changed. But if it has not changed formally in the text of the law and instead simply relies on judges to interpret old laws according to new standards, then the judiciary becomes the de facto legislative body and some people who are as innocent as George Bailey but who are not up to speed on the evolving, unwritten standards of conduct will become registered sex offenders in what amounts to an ex post facto conviction-- they were doing something that formerly wasn't illegal but now is illegal without the law ever changing or anyone in any official capacity informing them of the change.

If animal rights activists passed a law banning fur, at least it would be a law and one would know if one was breaking it. But if animal rights activists successfully got society in general to consider the trapping and skinning of animals to be cruel, they could simply accuse fur company workers of cruelty to animals, which is already illegal. And if they won the lawsuit, they would have successfully changed the law without changing the law, simply by replacing formal laws and legislators with judges and evolving standards. It might work, but it would be totally unfair to the fur industry workers.

     
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 11, 2014, 05:15:48 PM
If animal rights activists passed a law banning fur, at least it would be a law and one would know if one was breaking it. But if animal rights activists successfully got society in general to consider the trapping and skinning of animals to be cruel, they could simply accuse fur company workers of cruelty to animals, which is already illegal. And if they won the lawsuit, they would have successfully changed the law without changing the law, simply by replacing formal laws and legislators with judges and evolving standards. It might work, but it would be totally unfair to the fur industry workers.


If the killing (and skinning) of animals is deemed cruel, are we all willing to stop eating meat and using leather in our furniture? I'm afraid too many people are like a woman who thought hunters should buy their meat at the grocery store like she does. That way no animals are killed.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 11, 2014, 05:22:53 PM
how would any of you who support the Enhanced approach teach that in Confirmation Class or talk about it in a sermon that touched on the fifth commandment?  God says, but the way I see it, in this instance, these days, facing this particular type of national enemy... Christians can...  ???   Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 11, 2014, 05:31:26 PM
No, Peter, the law is not filled with "judgment calls." Laws may be subject to interpretation, but that is a different matter, and it is done by the courts interpreting the laws, not the police supposedly enforcing the law. I do not believe I understand what you are trying to do with this thread of argument, but what I do understand about it I don't like very much. As usual, I'm afraid I find your analogies as dense and dark as a Siberian forest at midnight on a moonless night.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 11, 2014, 05:41:28 PM
how would any of you who support the Enhanced approach teach that in Confirmation Class or talk about it in a sermon that touched on the fifth commandment?  God says, but the way I see it, in this instance, these days, facing this particular type of national enemy... Christians can...  ???   Harvey Mozolak


You might start by explaining the change that allowed Christians to serve in the military in the first place. Early Christians were not allowed to be soldiers; and those who were soldiers or magistrates, were not allowed to take another human life. At some point, the Christian church allowed its members to be soldiers and be involved in combat, and to take human lives in a "just war".
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 11, 2014, 05:49:08 PM
And Brian what allowed the church to change.  The Holy Spirit?  The Scriptures?   Harvey
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 11, 2014, 05:56:57 PM
They figured that as long as they could change the Levitical shellfish laws they could change Sinai's law from allowing justified killing in warfare to not allowing it.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Jim_Krauser on December 11, 2014, 06:18:31 PM
No, this report is not indicative of a time for national repentance.  The report is an obvious final slam on the Bush (Boosh, Boosh, Boosh) Administration to take our eye off of all the imperial decrees of the current administration.   

Yes.  Why not repent for the drone assassinations carried out on American citizens by the Obama Administration?  Why not repent for Obama's failure to close Guantanamo?   Why not question the methods used to locate Osama bin Laden after Bush left office?  Why not repent for Obama's expansion of government spying on citizens?

Is there a moral difference between the "drone assassinations" and the way outlaws such as Bonnie & Clyde or John Dillenger were ambushed and gunned down? (I believe they were US citizens.)   
Shall we debate the use of shoot to kill orders for "public enemies," those sought for notorious crimes? 

The citizenship issue in the drone attack is of little importance to me; I see no reason that we should behave differently toward non-citizens than citizens, and vice-versa if they are acting outside of the law. 

Many of our "rules" such as Miranda, the posse comitatis act, and the like are as much about the restraint of government power as they are the rights of suspects.

I, for one, would argue that they are morally dubious and unnecessary if arrest and capture are possible.  But what if a criminal or terrorist is so protected or outside of our normal reach so as to make apprehension impossible, can technology such as drones be applied?




Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Dave Likeness on December 11, 2014, 06:30:42 PM
The gang of Bonnie and Clyde had killed at least 9
policemen in their robbery of banks and stores.
Killing police will get you to the top of the public
enemy list.  As murderers this gang became wanted
dead or alive.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Jim_Krauser on December 11, 2014, 06:42:27 PM

I am not responsible for what the other side does. I am responsible for what my country does.


I've never understood this, so I'm asking for help.  What does being "responsible" (in this sense) have to do with making a moral judgment?  Just because I'm not "responsible" for what the other side does, how does it follow that I can't make a moral judgment about what the other side does (but only about what "my country does")?  I'm not "responsible" for the political and sexual shenanigans committed by Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, but I can still judge them immoral, right?  I'm not "responsible" for the faked studies on stem cell research concocted by Korean scientist Hwan Woo-suk, but I can still tell my students that it is decidedly wrong to do so, can't I?  The implication seems to be that I can only make moral judgments about things that are, in some sense, under my immediate control.  That can't be right.

Tom Pearson

I don't think this statement is intended to say we cannot judge the actions of others; but rather that we cannot use the actions of others to excuse actions we might do. 

I have heard argued that any of these "interrogaction tactics" are permissiable because these our enemies want to destroy us and themselves engage in brutality and savagery as we have seen exemplified in 9/11 and by ISIS and the like.
Thus:  the distinction, quite simply, is that the heinous acts committed by another cannot be justification for acts I might otherwise regard as heinous, especially when I go out of my way to characterize those acts as heinous by others. 

This is textbook hypocrisy.

Perhpas a tweaking of the proposed axiom will help.

I am not accountable (before God) for what others (my enemies) do or permit.   That is to say, there sins are their own.
I am accountable (before God) for what I do/permit my country to do.                 That is to say, my sins are my own.   
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Jim_Krauser on December 11, 2014, 06:48:35 PM
The gang of Bonnie and Clyde had killed at least 9
policemen in their robbery of banks and stores.
Killing police will get you to the top of the public
enemy list.  As murderers this gang became wanted
dead or alive.

I understand the circumstances that led to the ambush and the crimes for which they were accused (and surely committed). 

The question raised about the manner in which they were killed (rather than any attempt at apprehension) is one of due process within our system of justice; which is the one behind the drone issue, if I understand it correctly.

If "wanted dead or alive" is an appropriate attitude to be struck toward those at the top of the public enemies list...why not the terrorist attacked via a drone?

Obviously with a drone attack the issue of colateral damage (as it is so euphemistically expressed) is at least one issue.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 11, 2014, 07:00:30 PM
They figured that as long as they could change the Levitical shellfish laws they could change Sinai's law from allowing justified killing in warfare to not allowing it.


More likely, those who walked with Jesus followed his example of not using weapons or armies to fight back; to allow one's self to be killed with the expectation of a resurrection.


My hunch is that, like with a number of other things, Constantine converted the Church more than the Church converted the emperor. Being a good Christian meant being a good Roman which meant serving and supporting the expansion of Rome and Christianity through military means.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 11, 2014, 07:09:53 PM

My hunch is that, like with a number of other things, Constantine converted the Church more than the Church converted the emperor. Being a good Christian meant being a good Roman which meant serving and supporting the expansion of Rome and Christianity through military means.

I pity poor Constantine, the nature of whose Christian commitment has probably been analyzed and interpreted by more people than most any other Christian in history.

But at least Brian admits that he's only playing a hunch.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: JMK on December 11, 2014, 07:23:23 PM
For those interested, there is an interesting article on torture by Daniel R. Heimbach, who teaches ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The journal in which the article is published is edited by the conservative Lutheran theologian, John W. Montgomery. You can find the article here: http://www.phc.edu/TOC_Vol_10__No__1.php

Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Team Hesse on December 11, 2014, 08:20:24 PM

My hunch is that, like with a number of other things, Constantine converted the Church more than the Church converted the emperor. Being a good Christian meant being a good Roman which meant serving and supporting the expansion of Rome and Christianity through military means.

I pity poor Constantine, the nature of whose Christian commitment has probably been analyzed and interpreted by more people than most any other Christian in history.

But at least Brian admits that he's only playing a hunch.


Peter Heather in his fairly recent tome "the Fall of the Roman Empire" at one point tantalizingly offers the notion that Christianity was more Romanized than Rome was Christianized. I wish he would have fleshed that out a little more but it was a thought provoking assertion.....It was a good read.


Lou
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 11, 2014, 09:00:33 PM
No, Peter, the law is not filled with "judgment calls." Laws may be subject to interpretation, but that is a different matter, and it is done by the courts interpreting the laws, not the police supposedly enforcing the law. I do not believe I understand what you are trying to do with this thread of argument, but what I do understand about it I don't like very much. As usual, I'm afraid I find your analogies as dense and dark as a Siberian forest at midnight on a moonless night.
What in your mind is the distinction between a judgment call and a matter of interpretation? I used the example of the word "unreasonable." If there is a law the unreasonable use of force, it is a judgment call as to how much force that it is and whether any specific use of force was reasonable or not. And if societal standards enter into at equation and societal standards also evolve, then someone could do the exact same thing year after year and suddenly find himself breaking the law when he wasn't breaking the law before, even though the text of the law never changed and what he was doing never changed.

You seem to think it a no-brainier that the Hackman character in Mississippi Burning was guilty of torture. Yet I don't remember anyone saying that in the 1980's. His character was considered a hero, if a flawed hero. And surely if the nation were holding up an obvious torturer as a hero character, you would have been compelled as a pastor and journalist to write something about what a shame it was to praise a torturer. Did you write something? If not, did you just not care that society was praising a torturer?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 11, 2014, 09:46:11 PM
Peter writes:
You seem to think it a no-brainier that the Hackman character in Mississippi Burning was guilty of torture. Yet I don't remember anyone saying that in the 1980's. His character was considered a hero, if a flawed hero.
I comment:
Not by me. Not by some of us.

Peter writes:
And surely if the nation were holding up an obvious torturer as a hero character, you would have been compelled as a pastor and journalist to write something about what a shame it was to praise a torturer. Did you write something? If not, did you just not care that society was praising a torturer?
I comment:
Well, I'm not sure there was all that "praise," but no matter. For heaven's sake, Peter, are we to take out after every mass media piece, whether television, film or book, that shows immoral actions? Really?
     What I am concerned about here - in this modest forum of people who claim to be Lutheran Christians - is what seems to be an easy acceptance of despicable acts.
     "They" are worse. "They" kill. So if we torture a little, it's OK.
     "They" are out to kill us. So anything we do, legal or not, moral or not, to keep them from doing that, is OK.
     Criminals and murderers are really bad guys. So if cops or the feds break a few laws or jaws in getting them convicted, that's OK.
     No. It is not OK.
     And you are, Peter, tying yourself up in knots about "societal standards" in an effort to justify your views. We are discussing law and related matters. Yes, what was illegal at one time, is legal now; lovely things like inter-racial marriage, and gay and lesbian marriage. "Societal standards" whatever the heck they might be, do not seem to be endorsing cops shooting people just for carrying a weapon while being black; or beating the pinfeathers out of suspects to get a confession or badgering witnesses into giving false testimony.

Coach-Rev writes (re my comment on the reaction to the report):
Fascinating.  Just fascinating.  So they can't be trusted though they were there and were participants in that.  They must be lying to cover something up you imply.
I comment:
Well, Duh! Yes! Because - wait for it! - they have already covered something up. Several times. At several levels of government. Of course, of course, they are covering something up. That is exactly what the recent report is telling us.

Coach-rev goes on:
And a couple of years back you incessantly hammered that second hand reports didn't count for anything because they were NOT there and first hand witnesses, AND there obviously had to be more to the story.
I comment:
Yes, I do not trust second-hand reports, especially the ones you seemed to favor so dearly, especially when they came from one "side," a "side" that had a considerable ideological stake in the matter at hand. In some of those now dust-gathering dust-ups, no one from the "other" side was here to make their case.

Coach-Rev:
So its now clear that you will only accept testimony, first hand or other, that corresponds only to your point of view.  In certain circles that's referred to as a self-reinforcing delusion.
I comment:
How do you know what my "point of view" is? I do not believe I have ever commented anywhere on the matter of our government involved in allegedly illegal kidnappings, torture and murder.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 11, 2014, 10:15:22 PM
I'm amazed that this discussion is happening in the US. The country of my youth was proud of being — whether it was true or not, whether it was accurate or not — the good guys, and (at least pretending to) act(ing) that way. We didn't (officially) torture. We didn't (officially) kill everyone attending a wedding party. People were rightly and truly outraged when government actors were shown to have played off-book, even if the final results were acceptable. Discussions of how much mistreatment is torture would have been met with opposition from many, but now? Not so much. It makes me wonder if anyone involved in the "interrogations" ever had a conversation like this (some possible language warnings): Are we the baddies? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU&spfreload=10)
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 12, 2014, 12:11:08 AM
I don't see any easy acceptance of torture here. I see difficulties with simply writing people off as war criminals. If I were dictator, I would probably abolish "enhanced interrogation" altogether. But in trying to think about the issue, the people who see clear black and white don't realize what they're saying about members of the CIA and the military, that they are not just maybe but obviously and unarguably war criminals guilty of crimes against humanity. I'm not willing to buy into such knee jerk judgment, especially when it has an obvious partisan flavor.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 12, 2014, 12:50:15 AM
Peter, I 'm not interested in whether or not those CIA/military actors are "war criminals" or "guilty of crimes against humanity"; those terms were invented to shoehorn war into a crime/justice model, which just doesn't work (then there's the atrocious "WMD", which implies that human lives are so much war matériel).

No, what I'm interested in is in just how quickly our nation has moved from a strong anti-torture position to one where it is ho-hum, everyday stuff, descriptions of which are fit to print on front pages of newspapers and the like. This should be anything but a partisan position (at least it was so in the past; if it has become one, then there's no help for any of us, right or left), because I certainly don't recall one party or the other being more pro-torture than the other (though, awful to say, I can too-easily imagine the 2016 presidential election debates on this very point); the dislike, the odium cast toward it and those who practiced it came from all directions. There is, it must be admitted, a recognition in the language used that not everyone is comfortable with torture: "enhanced interrogation" sounds like something that comes right out of an HR office. Yet, even with such false naming, there is little reticence in speaking about what EI entails, except to protect "trade secrets" so that future recipients of such treatment won't get preparation to resist.

Let's work to call a thing what it is, and own up to what has been done: if what has been done (and continues to be done) is torture (and the descriptions of what has been done — which goes far beyond keeping the lights on and making conditions uncomfortable — sure sounds like it to my politically-right-trained ears), let's call it exactly that, get it out into the open, and decide if that is who we are as a people: are we a people that tortures, or are we a people that doesn't? There is more than a small difference between those two sorts of nation. When expedience wins, as it often does, suffering and death are mere statistics. Is the object lesson in this given to us by Stalin and Friends so easily forgotten?

A thought experiment: could anyone today take the premise upon which The Mouse That Roared was built and build a plausible (with the necessary suspension of disbelief) comedy out of it after Abu Ghraib, after Guantanamo, after the practice of extraordinary rendition?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 12, 2014, 05:07:19 AM
Peter writes:
I don't see any easy acceptance of torture here. I see difficulties with simply writing people off as war criminals.
I comment:
Who said that here? Nobody! No one said "war criminals." But it does seem that some crimes may have been committed.

Peter writes:
If I were dictator, I would probably abolish "enhanced interrogation" altogether.
I comment:
No, you wouldn't.

Peter writes:
But in trying to think about the issue, the people who see clear black and white don't realize what they're saying about members of the CIA and the military, that they are not just maybe but obviously and unarguably war criminals guilty of crimes against humanity.
I comment:
No again. And now you have elevated "war criminals" to "crimes against humanity." No one has done that. Is it inconceivable to you that what some of us are concerned about - namely that our country has engaged in some despicable actions, that in our alleged "war on terror" we may have gone against our principles - might actually have happened? You are quicker to excuse and defend what may have happened than we are to criticize it!

Peter writes:
I'm not willing to buy into such knee jerk judgment, especially when it has an obvious partisan flavor.
I comment:
Big news, Peter. Just because something comes from "one side" (and BTW, this criticism of our country comes from several "sides") does not mean that it is wrong. 

WJV writes (wish I knew who this person really is):
Let's work to call a thing what it is, and own up to what has been done: if what has been done (and continues to be done) is torture (and the descriptions of what has been done — which goes far beyond keeping the lights on and making conditions uncomfortable — sure sounds like it to my politically-right-trained ears), let's call it exactly that, get it out into the open, and decide if that is who we are as a people: are we a people that tortures, or are we a people that doesn't? There is more than a small difference between those two sorts of nation. When expedience wins, as it often does, suffering and death are mere statistics. Is the object lesson in this given to us by Stalin and Friends so easily forgotten?
I comment:
Rather smart words, I think.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Eileen Smith on December 12, 2014, 08:10:04 AM
I'm amazed that this discussion is happening in the US. The country of my youth was proud of being — whether it was true or not, whether it was accurate or not — the good guys, and (at least pretending to) act(ing) that way. We didn't (officially) torture. We didn't (officially) kill everyone attending a wedding party. People were rightly and truly outraged when government actors were shown to have played off-book, even if the final results were acceptable. Discussions of how much mistreatment is torture would have been met with opposition from many, but now? Not so much. It makes me wonder if anyone involved in the "interrogations" ever had a conversation like this (some possible language warnings): Are we the baddies? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU&spfreload=10)

We didn't have internet and 24/7 news where we could watch these things played out…  And rich or wrong - we seemed to have more of an allegiance to those who put their lives on the line and not share what is to be covert. 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 12, 2014, 09:07:25 AM
Peter writes:
I don't see any easy acceptance of torture here. I see difficulties with simply writing people off as war criminals.
I comment:
Who said that here? Nobody! No one said "war criminals." But it does seem that some crimes may have been committed.

Peter writes:
If I were dictator, I would probably abolish "enhanced interrogation" altogether.
I comment:
No, you wouldn't.

Peter writes:
But in trying to think about the issue, the people who see clear black and white don't realize what they're saying about members of the CIA and the military, that they are not just maybe but obviously and unarguably war criminals guilty of crimes against humanity.
I comment:
No again. And now you have elevated "war criminals" to "crimes against humanity." No one has done that. Is it inconceivable to you that what some of us are concerned about - namely that our country has engaged in some despicable actions, that in our alleged "war on terror" we may have gone against our principles - might actually have happened? You are quicker to excuse and defend what may have happened than we are to criticize it!

Peter writes:
I'm not willing to buy into such knee jerk judgment, especially when it has an obvious partisan flavor.
I comment:
Big news, Peter. Just because something comes from "one side" (and BTW, this criticism of our country comes from several "sides") does not mean that it is wrong. 

WJV writes (wish I knew who this person really is):
Let's work to call a thing what it is, and own up to what has been done: if what has been done (and continues to be done) is torture (and the descriptions of what has been done — which goes far beyond keeping the lights on and making conditions uncomfortable — sure sounds like it to my politically-right-trained ears), let's call it exactly that, get it out into the open, and decide if that is who we are as a people: are we a people that tortures, or are we a people that doesn't? There is more than a small difference between those two sorts of nation. When expedience wins, as it often does, suffering and death are mere statistics. Is the object lesson in this given to us by Stalin and Friends so easily forgotten?
I comment:
Rather smart words, I think.
Yes I would, and no, it is not inconceivable to me. You simply have no clue what you are talking about, and you seem to get more dogmatic in your pronouncements about the others in this forum the more ignorant you are of their motives, intent, and overall position. Since you have already confessed to not understanding what I'm trying to say and called my analogies impenetrable, why not just conclude, "I don't get your position," rather than declare that you know my position but I don't?

My use of war criminals and crimes against humanity are perfectly valid. If this went on, and if it is torture, and if torture is a war crime, then those who engaged in it are war criminals. That is what I've been trying to say, and what I'm not comfortable concluding so glibly. That's also why I think the discussion of evolving standards is relevant; it potentially offers, a way to condemn the behavior going forward without imprisoning those who engaged in it.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 12, 2014, 09:47:07 AM
Peter writes:
You seem to think it a no-brainier that the Hackman character in Mississippi Burning was guilty of torture. Yet I don't remember anyone saying that in the 1980's. His character was considered a hero, if a flawed hero.
I comment:
Not by me. Not by some of us.

Peter writes:
And surely if the nation were holding up an obvious torturer as a hero character, you would have been compelled as a pastor and journalist to write something about what a shame it was to praise a torturer. Did you write something? If not, did you just not care that society was praising a torturer?
I comment:
Well, I'm not sure there was all that "praise," but no matter. For heaven's sake, Peter, are we to take out after every mass media piece, whether television, film or book, that shows immoral actions? Really?
     What I am concerned about here - in this modest forum of people who claim to be Lutheran Christians - is what seems to be an easy acceptance of despicable acts.
     "They" are worse. "They" kill. So if we torture a little, it's OK.
     "They" are out to kill us. So anything we do, legal or not, moral or not, to keep them from doing that, is OK.
     Criminals and murderers are really bad guys. So if cops or the feds break a few laws or jaws in getting them convicted, that's OK.
     No. It is not OK.
     And you are, Peter, tying yourself up in knots about "societal standards" in an effort to justify your views. We are discussing law and related matters. Yes, what was illegal at one time, is legal now; lovely things like inter-racial marriage, and gay and lesbian marriage. "Societal standards" whatever the heck they might be, do not seem to be endorsing cops shooting people just for carrying a weapon while being black; or beating the pinfeathers out of suspects to get a confession or badgering witnesses into giving false testimony.

Coach-Rev writes (re my comment on the reaction to the report):
Fascinating.  Just fascinating.  So they can't be trusted though they were there and were participants in that.  They must be lying to cover something up you imply.
I comment:
Well, Duh! Yes! Because - wait for it! - they have already covered something up. Several times. At several levels of government. Of course, of course, they are covering something up. That is exactly what the recent report is telling us.

Coach-rev goes on:
And a couple of years back you incessantly hammered that second hand reports didn't count for anything because they were NOT there and first hand witnesses, AND there obviously had to be more to the story.
I comment:
Yes, I do not trust second-hand reports, especially the ones you seemed to favor so dearly, especially when they came from one "side," a "side" that had a considerable ideological stake in the matter at hand. In some of those now dust-gathering dust-ups, no one from the "other" side was here to make their case.

Coach-Rev:
So its now clear that you will only accept testimony, first hand or other, that corresponds only to your point of view.  In certain circles that's referred to as a self-reinforcing delusion.
I comment:
How do you know what my "point of view" is? I do not believe I have ever commented anywhere on the matter of our government involved in allegedly illegal kidnappings, torture and murder.

You just did.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 12, 2014, 09:54:44 AM
Just a quick note on my previous post: I'm doing this on an iPad, which makes for lots of typos that then get autocorrected, sometimes to the wrong word. So if you read my last post and wondered about my anatomies, it has been changed to analogies. Hopefully my getting the words right will make the point I'm making less impenetrable.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 12, 2014, 09:58:29 AM
Been there, done that. At first, however, I thought maybe it was a Dave Benke post.   ;)
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 12, 2014, 09:59:47 AM
Since you have already confessed to not understanding what I'm trying to say and called my anagolies impenetrable, why not just conclude, "I don't get your position," rather than declare that you know my position but I don't?

I liked "anatomies" better.  8)
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 12, 2014, 10:05:11 AM
Pastor Kirchner writes (re the report saying that torture did not gain any "valuable" information)
Which is absolutely disputed by those who were there and in the know. But I suppose those who gained the benefit of the safety rendered by CIA actions can sit around and quibble about the word "much."

I comment:
Well! Duh! What would you expect them to say?

Fascinating.  Just fascinating.  So they can't be trusted though they were there and were participants in that.  They must be lying to cover something up you imply.

And a couple of years back you incessantly hammered that second hand reports didn't count for anything because they were NOT there and first hand witnesses, AND there obviously had to be more to the story.

So its now clear that you will only accept testimony, first hand or other, that corresponds only to your point of view.  In certain circles that's referred to as a self-reinforcing delusion.


There's a difference between an eye-witness and a participant. Uninvolved observers have nothing to lose by telling the truth as they saw it. Participates in illegal or questionable activities could incriminate themselves by telling the truth. It is likely that they will seek to justify their actions.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 12, 2014, 10:13:47 AM
Since you have already confessed to not understanding what I'm trying to say and called my anagolies impenetrable, why not just conclude, "I don't get your position," rather than declare that you know my position but I don't?

I liked "anatomies" better.  8)
Anagolies? I'd better stop using this iPad. I obviously can't type very well on touchscreen keyboards.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 12, 2014, 10:22:31 AM
I'm amazed that this discussion is happening in the US. The country of my youth was proud of being — whether it was true or not, whether it was accurate or not — the good guys, and (at least pretending to) act(ing) that way. We didn't (officially) torture. We didn't (officially) kill everyone attending a wedding party. People were rightly and truly outraged when government actors were shown to have played off-book, even if the final results were acceptable. Discussions of how much mistreatment is torture would have been met with opposition from many, but now? Not so much. It makes me wonder if anyone involved in the "interrogations" ever had a conversation like this (some possible language warnings): Are we the baddies? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU&spfreload=10)


Of course we thought we were the "good guys". Much of the world didn't agree with our assessment of ourselves. For about the last 60 years, "Ugly American" was an expression used by others about us. After 9-11, Bill Maher was chastise for even raising the question about what we might have done to provoke such hatred that would result in these suicide missions. "America just doesn't do anything wrong that would provoke anger," was basically the response he got. Yet, there were the four suicide jet crashes. I don't think they happened because those Muslims thought Americans were "the good guys."


In a class on American Civil Religion, Roger Fjeld, noted that the two things lacking in American civil religion are: (1) Jesus Christ - (we can trust "God," but we don't bring Jesus into our motto); and (2) repentance. We abhor the idea of admitting we did anything wrong. Politicians have people to help them construct a positive spin on just about everything.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 12, 2014, 10:24:13 AM
There's a difference between an eye-witness and a participant. Uninvolved observers have nothing to lose by telling the truth as they saw it. Participates in illegal or questionable activities could incriminate themselves by telling the truth. It is likely that they will seek to justify their actions.

Try asserting that in a court of law to a jury. Eye witnesses, i.e., those who were there and involved, are less reliable than a 3rd party writing a report from what they heard from others?!   :o

Not only is it a crock; the writers of the Democratic report are hardly "uninvolved." They have an agenda.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 12, 2014, 10:32:28 AM
There's a difference between an eye-witness and a participant. Uninvolved observers have nothing to lose by telling the truth as they saw it. Participates in illegal or questionable activities could incriminate themselves by telling the truth. It is likely that they will seek to justify their actions.

Try asserting that in a court of law to a jury.


It happens all the time. The prosecutor asks the defendant, "Did you commit this crime?" "No, I did not." Or, "It was self-defense." Or, they might use the 5th amendment - and refuse to testify against themselves. (I don't believe that the military have 5th amendment protection in military courts.)


Prosecutors have to rely on forensic evidence from experts who weren't involved, and other eyewitnesses. Even a participant who turns state's evidence - are they telling the truth against a co-defendant or telling a lie for personal benefits (immunity from the crime or a reduced charge against them)? It's often been said in this forum that we don't know the motivations of other people. That's also true of witnesses. They can have hidden agendas.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 12, 2014, 10:44:09 AM
It happens all the time. The prosecutor asks the defendant, "Did you commit this crime?"

No, it does not. You don't know what you are talking about, Rev Stoffregen, while asserting that you "believe" it. No decent trial attorney would ever ask such a question.

(I don't believe that the military have 5th amendment protection in military courts.)

That manifests your ignorance. You simply make up stuff to support your conclusions, Rev Stoffregen. See Article 31 of the UCMJ.

It's often been said in this forum that we don't know the motivations of other people. That's also true of witnesses. They can have hidden agendas.

As the Democratic report demonstrates.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 12, 2014, 12:30:02 PM
As to why I even try to respond, Peter, well I guess hope springs eternal. Perhaps someday I will understand the planet from which you speak, perhaps someday one of your anatomies will make sense to me.perhaps someday you will be able to speak in a way which is clear and understandable for someone like me.
As it is, I now see you falling in to the pit occupied by the Kirchner/Fienen enclave. Fire back at criticism in an "I must get the last word" mode, shift the subject slightly, or blame the failure to communicate on the other party. Or just declare the other party "wrong" without explaining what the actual error is. You and the K/F enclave will, of course, say none of this is true.
But that's how I see it.
As to the topic at hand, I believe that as a nation we have some deep thinking to do. But on some days, maybe days when I think too much about what I hear on this modest discussion forum, I severely doubt our ability to do any kind of deep thinking.
So carry-on. Those who were there when people were tortured, obviously have the best opinion and know what really happened and know how good or bad it was. Let's leave it all up to them.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 12, 2014, 12:37:11 PM
Or just declare the other party "wrong" without explaining what the actual error is. You and the K/F enclave will, of course, say none of this is true.

So, what would you like explained, Rev Austin?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 12, 2014, 03:38:25 PM
I've said for years that Charles and I inhabit different worlds altogether. It is an example of the big divide between orthodox traditionalists and progressive revisionists that cuts through all denominations. Interestingly, at the alpb anniversary celebration probably ten or twelve people, representing the ELCA, NALC, and LCMS told me that although they don't always agree with what I say, they especially appreciate the clarity of my writing, the same writing Charles finds utterly opaque. Yet Charles is an accomplished writer and Lutheran pastor. The only explanation is that we use such different assumptions that we make no sense to each other.

This was one of the points I made in Forum Letter in my critique of the ELCA sexuality study prior to CWA09. To me it almost read like gibberish, yet the bishops praised it for its crisp prose.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 12, 2014, 06:17:22 PM
Peter, I say this not to deprecate what you wrote comparing yourself and Charles or to start a political bomb lobbing...  but I always felt whenever Pres. Ronald Reagan spoke, I was embarrassed... he was like my grandpa blustering but not so sensibly and certainly not with class. And then other said, boy is he the grand communicator!  I felt like I was on another planet.  You may not like what Obama says at all, but he certainly makes a good speech, especially compared to some of his more conservative opponents , I feel ... but others, well...  And somehow I think (in my own crazy way) that I can separate the ability and style from the political position, but maybe I can't.  It is like preachers who just wanna say compared to a more traditional and scholarly sermon...   Harvey Mozolak   
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Michael Slusser on December 12, 2014, 07:59:14 PM
Peter, I say this not to deprecate what you wrote comparing yourself and Charles or to start a political bomb lobbing...  but I always felt whenever Pres. Ronald Reagan spoke, I was embarrassed... he was like my grandpa blustering but not so sensibly and certainly not with class. And then other said, boy is he the grand communicator! 
And yet it was Ronald Reagan who signed the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and persuaded the US Senate to confirm our commitment to that convention. Reagan and the Senate of that time committed our country to take the high road. We have not lived up to that commitment.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 13, 2014, 10:05:38 AM
Or just declare the other party "wrong" without explaining what the actual error is. You and the K/F enclave will, of course, say none of this is true.

So, what would you like explained, Rev Austin?

I didn't think so.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 13, 2014, 12:54:24 PM
Not clever, Pastor Cottingham. Not helpful. Not anything. But not unexpected.
Have a nice day.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 13, 2014, 01:00:33 PM
Not clever, Pastor Cottingham. Not helpful. Not anything. But not unexpected.
Have a nice day.
Almost exactly what I was going to write to your post of 12:30 yesterday, but then thought better of it. Wish you would have thought better of it in this case.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Charles Austin on December 13, 2014, 05:40:49 PM
Lurking is good. For some people.😜
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LutherMan on December 13, 2014, 10:28:12 PM
You are right.  You should try it sometime.
Bingo.  Amen and Amen, Pr. Cottingham...
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Dave Likeness on December 15, 2014, 06:59:23 PM
Harvey's comparison between President Reagan and
President Obama as far as their public speaking is
concerned:

Obama came on the scene 6 years ago touting hope
and change.  His speeches had some style but no
substance.   As he told the American Indians in  the
state of Oklahoma, "If you like your medicine man,
then you can keep your medicine man."  That statement
has been called the biggest political lie of 2013.

Reagan was known for a core set of values that he embraced.
Perhaps his speeches lacked style, but they had substance.
His ability to deal with the Soviet Union and help bring about
its demise was done without any bullets. Gorby was afraid
that Reagan meant business and so the Berlin Wall came down.

Bottom Line:  Putin is not afraid of Obama as he retakes
the Ukraine illegally.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LutherMan on December 15, 2014, 07:54:43 PM
Pew poll: Majority says CIA interrogation methods after 9/11 were justified, 51/29

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/15/pew-poll-majority-says-cia-interrogation-methods-after-911-were-justified-5129/
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 15, 2014, 07:58:05 PM
Harvey's comparison between President Reagan and
President Obama as far as their public speaking is
concerned:

Obama came on the scene 6 years ago touting hope
and change.  His speeches had some style but no
substance.   As he told the American Indians in  the
state of Oklahoma, "If you like your medicine man,
then you can keep your medicine man."  That statement
has been called the biggest political lie of 2013.


In my understand, Obama's plan would have allowed us to keep our medicine man. The plan he wanted wasn't going to pass congress so it got modified (unfortunately in my opinion) into something that eventually passed that wasn't really what the President wanted, but something was better than nothing.



I think that George Sr's statement: "Read my lips: no new taxes" was as much or a greater political lie. Of course, the same argument can be made. He didn't raise taxes, congress did - against his wishes.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 15, 2014, 08:43:56 PM
Pew poll: Majority says CIA interrogation methods after 9/11 were justified, 51/29

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/15/pew-poll-majority-says-cia-interrogation-methods-after-911-were-justified-5129/ (http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/15/pew-poll-majority-says-cia-interrogation-methods-after-911-were-justified-5129/)
Are you suggesting that since a majority of the population thinks that torture is A-OK, that that makes it right? Interesting.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LutherMan on December 15, 2014, 08:47:40 PM
Pew poll: Majority says CIA interrogation methods after 9/11 were justified, 51/29

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/15/pew-poll-majority-says-cia-interrogation-methods-after-911-were-justified-5129/ (http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/15/pew-poll-majority-says-cia-interrogation-methods-after-911-were-justified-5129/)
Are you suggesting that since a majority of the population thinks that torture is A-OK, that that makes it right? Interesting.
No, just pointing out various viewpoints out there...
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 15, 2014, 10:24:33 PM
Pew poll: Majority says CIA interrogation methods after 9/11 were justified, 51/29

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/15/pew-poll-majority-says-cia-interrogation-methods-after-911-were-justified-5129/ (http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/15/pew-poll-majority-says-cia-interrogation-methods-after-911-were-justified-5129/)
Are you suggesting that since a majority of the population thinks that torture is A-OK, that that makes it right? Interesting.

It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 15, 2014, 11:12:15 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 15, 2014, 11:46:15 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.

Perhaps because it's not mentioned?

Point being, don't assume.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 12:01:49 AM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.

Perhaps because it's not mentioned?

Point being, don't assume.
Funny.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 16, 2014, 10:24:21 AM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.

Perhaps because it's not mentioned?

Point being, don't assume.
Funny.
Do you think interrogating people with a "good cop, bad cop" routine, making them think their friends have already talked, intimidating them with a threatening demeanor, etc. is torture? It certainly can lead to severe mental anguish n some people, and probably in some cases walks a fine line or even crosses it. But the question, "Is using a good cop/bad cop routine torture?" is a different question than "Do you approve of good cop/bad cop interrogation?" which is a separate question still from "Do you approve of torture?" Therefore, it is entirely disingenuous to say that those respondents who said they approved of certain interrogation techniques therefore approve of torture. It is assumes an answer to a prior question that is in dispute. Several people in the poll of reasoned, "I approve of these interrogation techniques because I judge them not to be torture," which is completely different from thinking, "I approve of these techniques because torture is justified." 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 11:00:44 AM
This lays it all out. I recall when I first heard about the Democratic report that asserted that Bush obviously did not know about the use of the interrogation techniques that Bush talked all about it in his book. And now we know that Pelosi et al also knew all about it.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/3945047047001/terrorists-predicted-liberal-media-backlash/?#sp=show-clips
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on December 16, 2014, 11:07:45 AM
Do you suppose that there is any argument among us that the incarnation was torture for God to enhance with ultimate perfection our humanity?    Harvey Mozolak
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LCMS87 on December 16, 2014, 12:21:08 PM
I read an interesting and thoughtful take on the issue by Rachel Lu over at the Federalist.  The article is titled:  Torture Is Unacceptable; But What Is Torture? (http://thefederalist.com/2014/12/15/torture-is-unacceptable-but-what-is-torture/)

Here's a teaser to encourage you to click the link:

"Being interrogated by American intelligence need not be a pleasant experience for enemy combatants. They are not honored guests. If interrogators have reason to believe that a suspect has critical information, it seems reasonable to allow them to intimidate or manipulate him in various ways. Averting terrorist attacks is important enough to justify certain breaches of decorum.

"At the same time, we should never allow ourselves to forget that enemy combatants are still human beings. . . .  They are not citizens of our nation, nor are they prisoners of war in the proper sense. Still, they are human. This means that they possess that intrinsic dignity and worth that is proper to all human life. Seeing the moral significance of that basic reality is perhaps the most important line that divides a humane and rational society from a terrorist organization or a brutal dictatorship. . . .

"Philosophically, the distinction between aggressive interrogation and torture is critical. Aggressive interrogation is at times a regrettable necessity, but the apologist for torture simply jettisons any plausible claim to respect human life as such.

"In application, the line between these is anything but bright. . . ."


Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 02:07:33 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.

Perhaps because it's not mentioned?

Point being, don't assume.
Funny.
Do you think interrogating people with a "good cop, bad cop" routine, making them think their friends have already talked, intimidating them with a threatening demeanor, etc. is torture? It certainly can lead to severe mental anguish n some people, and probably in some cases walks a fine line or even crosses it. But the question, "Is using a good cop/bad cop routine torture?" is a different question than "Do you approve of good cop/bad cop interrogation?" which is a separate question still from "Do you approve of torture?" Therefore, it is entirely disingenuous to say that those respondents who said they approved of certain interrogation techniques therefore approve of torture. It is assumes an answer to a prior question that is in dispute. Several people in the poll of reasoned, "I approve of these interrogation techniques because I judge them not to be torture," which is completely different from thinking, "I approve of these techniques because torture is justified."
As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less. We don't tell teens to keep going with what feels good until it's clear that it's sex; we teach them, instead (at least I hope we do), not to get near the point where "is it sex?" or "isn't it sex?" even comes up as a question. The same ought to be the case here. Polling on fuzzy moral matters does much more to advance the cause of one, predictable side of the scale than it shines a light on what people are actually thinking. We've seen this in the sex/euthanasia debates of the past 30-40 years — the side claiming that the question is too fuzzy to properly call has nearly always been the side to gain ground.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 02:25:50 PM
As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less.

And I have yet to see where anyone has taken the "less" route. As the video I cited shows, mainly Rove's statements, and even as President Bush's book states, they took great care in reviewing the interrogation procedures before initiating them, including a justice department review. Furthermore, the current justice department reviewed the situation some time ago and came up with nothing to pursue.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 02:29:48 PM
As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less.

And I have yet to see where anyone has taken the "less" route. As the video I cited shows, mainly Rove's statements, and even as President Bush's book states, they took great care in reviewing the interrogation procedures before initiating them, including a justice department review. Furthermore, the current justice department reviewed the situation some time ago and came up with nothing to pursue.
Sing along with "Ode to Joy": law law law law law law law law...
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 02:30:52 PM
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 16, 2014, 02:35:17 PM
Another question came to mind.  Where is the line between due diligence oversight and political grandstanding?  It somewhat weakens the moral superiority of action if moral outrage is suddenly discovered when it is also politically advantageous to be outraged.  Do we really want our government to be run on the basis that any tough call can be reviewed at any time in the future on the basis of new standards discovered by political advantage.

There are two questions here.  Is torture ever morally acceptable.  And just what constitutes torture?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 16, 2014, 02:38:32 PM
One thing that just struck me in this discussion (not so much here but in the wider discussion in the media and blogosphere).  Wouldn't the rule that torture is never morally acceptable a moral absolute?  I thought that one of the selling points of post-modernism is that there are no moral absolutes.  That at best morality is situationally determined? 
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 02:50:05 PM
One thing that just struck me in this discussion (not so much here but in the wider discussion in the media and blogosphere).  Wouldn't the rule that torture is never morally acceptable a moral absolute?  I thought that one of the selling points of post-modernism is that there are no moral absolutes.  That at best morality is situationally determined?

Interesting point. Furthermore, are not foundational moral imperatives of the natural law? Mentioning the natural law usually drives most libs bonkers.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 03:24:24 PM
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 03:38:00 PM
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.

And the burden is not on me to prove anything to your satisfaction, although I have made a prima facie case. It is up to you to show us where anyone has taken the "less" route.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 04:07:47 PM
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.
And the burden is not on me to prove anything to your satisfaction, although I have made a prima facie case. It is up to you to show us where anyone has taken the "less" route.
That's not at all what I meant by "less" caution. But you know that — the "each I was dotted and every T crossed" argument is at once a deflection and another attempt at justification via the law.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 04:14:11 PM
Let's try again:

As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less.

And I have yet to see where anyone has taken the "less" route.  Can you give us any evidence that anyone involved in the situation has done so? That is, those in charge of the interrogations, since it is acknowledged that there were a few particular instances when personnel violated the legal parameters without consent.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 16, 2014, 04:15:32 PM
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.
And the burden is not on me to prove anything to your satisfaction, although I have made a prima facie case. It is up to you to show us where anyone has taken the "less" route.
That's not at all what I meant by "less" caution. But you know that — the "each I was dotted and every T crossed" argument is at once a deflection and another attempt at justification via the law.
"Justification via the law" is a bad phrase to use in this context because it mixes meanings. Nobody's spiritual salvation is even being talked about, and that is the only context in which justification according to the law is impossible and contrary to the Gospel. At issue is purely whether an interrogation technique falls under the category of torture, which is a matter of legal interpretation. If I accused you of copyright violations in this forum and you responded by quoting fair usage laws, it would hardly be appropriate for me to then claim your response was simply an attempt at justification according to the law.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 05:12:24 PM
"Justification via the law" is a bad phrase to use in this context because it mixes meanings. Nobody's spiritual salvation is even being talked about, and that is the only context in which justification according to the law is impossible and contrary to the Gospel. At issue is purely whether an interrogation technique falls under the category of torture, which is a matter of legal interpretation. If I accused you of copyright violations in this forum and you responded by quoting fair usage laws, it would hardly be appropriate for me to then claim your response was simply an attempt at justification according to the law.
1. You may be right that this is stretching things. Yet we can easily think of all sorts of ways in which people attempt to justify themselves before men via the law — yes, I did do x to y, but according to the letter of this law, x is not illegal, and thus right for me to do — which is a false conclusion, as legal ≠ right. When this mindset is in play, people easily walk away self-justified, thinking that as they were shown to not have broken the law, that they are good, not only with men, but with God. The phrase that keeps coming to mind — and yes, its context makes its use iffy as it is from the explanation to the 9th commandment, which by no means appears to apply here — is "show of right". That is all that the legal-so-OK argument is — a show of right — and those who falsely cling to that as self-defense are going to be quite immune from being shown that they just might have been in the wrong, and thus repent (should they really be in the wrong; I'm speaking in general and not just about this case) as they already have been certified to be in the right.

2. Your example using fair use laws isn't apt in this case, for except in those (no doubt done by "rogue elements") cases Pr Kirchner speaks of "when personnel violated the legal parameters without consent", I'm quite sure that those involved have been scrupulous in adhering to the letter of the law. That is a very different matter, and one much more easily answered. Justification according to the law (human in this case, of course) is not showing that the law was actually followed/not broken, and thus simply not illegal, but using the fact that the law was not broken to then argue that that makes what was done right/correct/beyond criticism/whatever, a claim which that fact alone cannot bear.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LutherMan on December 16, 2014, 05:23:50 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.
And you get that how from a link I posted without commentary?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 05:34:32 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.
And you get that how from a link I posted without commentary?
The lack of objection in your response to my response here: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is  time for national repentance? (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=5721.msg355211#msg355211)
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LutherMan on December 16, 2014, 05:44:08 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.
And you get that how from a link I posted without commentary?
The lack of objection in your response to my response here: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is  time for national repentance? (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=5721.msg355211#msg355211)
What part of 'no' didn't you understand?
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 06:08:44 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.
And you get that how from a link I posted without commentary?
The lack of objection in your response to my response here: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is  time for national repentance? (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=5721.msg355211#msg355211)
What part of 'no' didn't you understand?
The range you here suggest was intended for the no to govern was not obvious in your answer, as the no answers the question but does not address its stated premises.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 06:28:28 PM
Well, I guess gibberish is better than Rev Austin's non-attack attacks when attempting to extricate oneself from an unsupported position.   ::)
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Voelker on December 16, 2014, 06:32:34 PM
Well, I guess gibberish is better than Rev Austin's non-attack attacks when attempting to extricate oneself from an unsupported position.   ::)
::) , indeed. Have a joyous Christmas, Pr. Kirchner.
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: LutherMan on December 16, 2014, 09:19:38 PM
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.
And you get that how from a link I posted without commentary?
The lack of objection in your response to my response here: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is  time for national repentance? (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=5721.msg355211#msg355211)
What part of 'no' didn't you understand?
The range you here suggest was intended for the no to govern was not obvious in your answer, as the no answers the question but does not address its stated premises.
??? ??? ???
Title: Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 16, 2014, 09:50:28 PM
Well, I guess gibberish is better than Rev Austin's non-attack attacks when attempting to extricate oneself from an unsupported position.   ::)
::) , indeed. Have a joyous Christmas, Pr. Kirchner.

A blessed Advent to you.