Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Senator Orrin Hatch And Torture

Utah Politics posted recently on Senator Orrin Hatch's support for a CIA torture ban exemption: "I think there has to be a bright line that we do not cross." Pete Ashdown also has some great comments on this: "America should always be the beacon for human rights and dignity throughout the world. The use of torture extinguishes that light." Perhaps the best response is from Jim Knowlton at Beehive Donkey: "Will our enemies torture our people in disgusting and horrific ways? Unfortunately, yes, they will. But that is what separates us from them." Senator John McCain has proposed a torture ban in the War on Terror. Senator McCain of course is the man who spent five and a half years of imprisonment and torture in Hanoi, Vietnam. His captors, no doubt, justified their torture at least in part as a way to gain information to protect their citizens. Senator Orrin Hatch was elected to the Senate only 3 short years after the release of John McCain from captivity. Senator Hatch, you may want to think long and hard about what you've learned after 30 years in the Senate because Senator, it doesn't get any clearer than this.


Blogger Reach Upward said...

Careful, this is a two-edged sword. The U.S. must not engage in torture for the reasons so eloquently noted in your post and related links. However, many of the supporters of the referenced bill are not terribly interested in the morality of the issue, but are more interested in micromanaging the executive branch's prosecution of the current war effort; the kind of stuff that caused us to lose in Vietnam.

Passing this bill could set two precedents: one that statutorily recognizes our nation's humanity, and one that authorizes the legislative branch to hamstring the executive branch. Let's not kid ourselves into thinking that if this bill passes it won't encourage Congress to add such micromanaging measures to just about every bill they consider. Regardless of the merits of the first precedent, we need to carefully consider the long-term impact of the second one.

11/09/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Brett said...

If we should be taking advice from anyone about torture, I think that it should be John McCain. While I do not agree with him on every issue, he, from experience, knows torture does not work. The purpose of this amendment is not to "micromanage" but to do Congress' job. It is the Legislative, not Executive, Branch's responsibility to set forth the ground rules for war tactics.
I also disagree with you that micromanaging caused us to lose the war. That wasn't the reason, but this isn't the place to discuss that.

11/09/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Ethan, it's November 9th and, thank god, we can start agreeing on stuff again.

Everytime Hatch talks about morality we no doubt can shove the torture issue up his ass. Two guys kissing bad, electrocuting testicles, good. This is the Orrin Hatch guide to morals.

As for the above post, I can think of no better reason to have a system of checks and balances. I hate to say it, but the torture issue shows a gross lack of morals, competence, and general character of the White House. If torture isn't a candidate for a legislative smack-down, then what is?

McCain was on the Daily Show last night and one of his reasons (besides his own personal experience with torture) for introducing the bill was that the Israelis had found that psycological interrogation techniques were more effective than physical ones. My god, if even the Israelis have banned the use of torture, then what kind of ruthless f_cks are running OUR military?

11/09/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger pramahaphil said...

Shawn has a very strong point. Is the CIA resulting to physical torture first or is it used as a last resort (no one knows, classified BS I'm sure). Before 9-11 I spent a brief time with a reserve MI unit (I got out before boot camp, so I maybe a incorrect or naive). During that time whenever they talked about interrogation techniques psychological methods were the methods that MI soldiers are taught to use. Does the CIA play by those rules, or are they only shoving splinters into fingernails?

This issue is vexing. On the one hand you have the stupid juvenile actions of soldiers at Abu Ghraib, and on the other you have CIA operatives who may truely need to result to some of those unsavory tactics to extract information that could stop another 9-11. Although it seems awful, we must remember that some of these people would do anything to see our way of life destroyed and kill as many Americans as possible. Therefore why would we weaken the power of the CIA to extract potentially life saving information from those would destroy us?

As far as Reach Upward's position (the bill is an attempt to micromanage) I suppose that could be the motives of some in Congress, but I believe the bill is more of a statement to show the world that as Americans we will not resort to the vicious actions that our enemies take. However, there certainly might be situations that warrent the CIA using those horrible actions to save American lives. Therefore, the Congress has to leave torture on the table as a last resort for CIA operatives. I know keeping torture available makes the bill/statement rather hypocritical, but if the potential information critcal to national security is at stake -- I don't see any other option.

11/09/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous jack said...

It was nice to see the Ashdown campaign finally take a stance on Hatch. I know Peter has a lot of great ideas on the issues, but, if continutes to fail in pointing out WHY HE IS A BETTER CHOICE (which he is) someone is going to give him a primary challenge and then no one wins.

11/09/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that we're even discussing torture makes me sick.

We're abandoning everything I love about America.

Torture. Does. Not. Work.

Why did we bother defeating the Soviet Union when it's clear we're rushing to take their place.

11/11/2005 02:11:00 PM  

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