Club G’itmo

I’ve stated before that I think Rush Limbaugh transformed talk radio as much or more because of his talent and humor than because of his ideology. Assuming Guantanamo is more a detainment facility and less the raging chamber of torture horrors the Daily Kos groupies think it is, I’m linking to the hilarious merchandise Rush has for sale in the Club G’itmo line.

Sample lines from mugs, t-shirts, etc.:

“What happens at Club G’itmo, stays at Club G’itmo.”

“My mullah went to Club G’itmo and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

“Your tropical retreat from the stress of Jihad.”

I think the last is my favorite.

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38 thoughts on “Club G’itmo

  1. Oh, it’s gotta be the Soap-on-a-Rope, c’mon.

    Since the only thing missing from Club G’itmo is women, and Islamodorks hate women anyway, I’m waiting for The Mice That Roar to surrender themselves to the infidel authorities en masse, with their beltbombs conveniently missing a lead.

    Great Halal menu, prayertime 5x a day, complimentary Qu’rans, play some soccer. The lack of some good barbequed camel is made up for with some Xbox.

    I mean, a guy could get to heaven that way too, without all the murder and internal bleeding.

    I grew up on the Nat’l Lampoon, which luckily had Dick Nixon to kick around. So I always thought that the cool polemicists (left, Mort Sahl) had a leg up on the square apologists (right, Bill Buckley).

    In these trying times, not so. I’ll see your Franken and raise you a Limbaugh. With orthodoxies to be skewered on both the left (moveon.nuts) and right (bin Laden), it’s a good time to be alive for normalish people.

  2. Rush Limbaugh’s collaborations with Paul Shanklin are among the funniest, best crafted parodies I’ve ever heard. The fact that Limbaugh recognized Shanklin’s talent and chose to showcase it is, alone, sufficient evidence to prove he is a broadcasting genius.

  3. Hunter, I’m not clear what you disagree with. The military has admitted that they are holding children as young as thirteen. Do you really think that’s okay?

    Now, sure, the prisoner abuse revealed at Guantanimo pales in comparison to the torture that we commit by proxy via the so-called “extraordinary rendition” process, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. The military has admitted that it is.

  4. What I disagree with is the amping up of claims of torture committed in G’itmo when they are really interrogation tactics that fall short of what used to fly in American police precincts.

  5. What do you feel the difference is between torture and interrogation tactics, Hunter?

  6. Just because they *used* to fly in American police precincts doesn’t make them any more right, Hunter. They were wrong then, they were wrong when fucking Sandanistas and Contras used them, when the Chinese, the Soviets, the Nazis, and the Khmer Rouge used them, and they are wrong now.

    It is astonishing to me how a group of men and women who with one hand stand for “universal truths” and a religion of love and then delight in the mocking and degradation of other human beings. It’s not only disgusting, it’s hypocritical.

    What about the fact that interrogator after interrogator, from the CIA, FBI, and the military has stated that the tactics the government admits to are not only inhumane but ineffective? That such treatment results in verifiably false confessions, misinformation, and, when it inevitably gets out, is bad for our standing?

    If torture and abusive, coercive tactics aren’t wrong, then what is? It’s wrong when the aforementioned “bad guys” do it. How is it less wrong when we do it? It isn’t, unless you are willing to forego your claims to an absolutist morality and recognize what you are doing: making relativist value judgments. So, I think we can close the door on your “absolute truths” absurdities once and for all, and have your words and actions to thank for it.

  7. I’m amazed professed christians feel it’s okay to laugh at state sponsored torture (because of course that’s what Jesus would do).

    Way to go guys.

    Even the pentagon investigation found torture occured. So did the FBI investigation. Denial at this point of the fact of torture of helpless prisoners at the hands of our paid government employees is farcical.
    Further supposition that all these prisoners are guilty despite having been rounded up in mass sweeps and never having had access to a trial (with the few exceptions generally getting acquitted) is also grotesque.

    We are torturing children who are quite likely innocent of anything besides being in the wrong pace at the wong time and you sit there making jokes?

  8. Again, unconvinced of the severity of the claims you raise and unconvinced this anything like what I would recognize as torture (e.g. pulling out fingernails, breaking bones, electrocution, etc.) You don’t want civil liberties infringed upon, you don’t want even tough interrogation. The only conclusion is that you are perfectly fine with allowing terrorists unimpeded access to blowing up innocent people.

    And James, lay off the f-bombs. I can’t edit your post. I can only delete and I’d rather not.

  9. No problem. Thanks for the heads up first.

    It’s a far cry from insisting that civil liberties and proper interrogation methods be used to being okay with the murder of innocent civilians. That’s a fallacious argument on its face, and serves no purpose other than to be inflammatory.

    The “ticking time bomb” scenario is great for fans of “24” but not so much in real life. Not only does it rarely, if ever exist, but coercive tactics DO NOT WORK. They are a form of premature punishment, not a useful fact-finding tool. The most common result of so-called coercive tactics is further sadism, not useful information. As FBI interrogator Jack Cloonan, an expert in counterterrorism, said, “You get farther with prayer rugs and figs.”

    WWII interrogator Major Sherwood Moran, USMC, is legendary for his ability to crack the most fanatical of Japanese soldiers. He did so through cultural understanding and humane treatment. He is largely credited with saving the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. soldiers in the Pacific with the information he gathered, and never did he resort to coercive means. Army interrogator Spady Koyama is similarly revered, both by veterans of the Pacific Front and by the Japanese soldiers he interrogated.
    Hans Joachim Scharff, of the Luftwaffe, is regarded as the Third Reich’s most productive and prolific interrogator during WWII. He also never raised a hand to nor even caused his prisoners discomfort.

    The bottom line, Hunter, is that this country has combatted terrorism, crime, and fanatical wartime enemies without such inhumane methods. The Unabomber was tracked down, partly through his library records, before the Patriot Act was a glimmer in Ashcroft’s beady little eye. Due process isn’t a convenience, Hunter. That’s why it’s in the Constitution. According to our Founders, it’s one of those “self-evident truths” that you’re so fond of.

    I can’t find the words “citizen” or “American” in the Bill of Rights, Hunter. Just “person” and “people.” In fact, in the parts of our Constitution that prohibit such actions, no mention of people is even made.

    “Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    That’s the full text in its entirety. It’s a simple prohibition.

    Giving up our most cherished principles in the name of expediency or self-defense defames those very principles. It makes us less than what we were before. By dehumanizing the enemy, we dehumanize ourselves. By becoming inured to such horrors, we lower the threshold by which such horrors become acceptable.

  10. “Again, unconvinced of the severity of the claims you raise and unconvinced this anything like what I would recognize as torture (e.g. pulling out fingernails, breaking bones, electrocution, etc.)”

    Binding people into positions where they can’t move for up to 12 hours at a time, having to relieve themselves in their pants, this isn’t in any way torture to you? Pain has never been the be all and end all of torture Hunter.

    “You don’t want civil liberties infringed upon,”

    You’re absolutely right. I don’t want my government EVER to infringe civil rights. Ever.

    “you don’t want even tough interrogation. The only conclusion is that you are perfectly fine with allowing terrorists unimpeded access to blowing up innocent people.”

    That’s frankly a pretty dumb conclusion. Tough interrogation has been proven to be terribly ineffective. Trying to buddy up to a prisoner has always prioven much more effective at getting them to slip information they don’t mean to. This is established fact in espionage schools. It’s only the brain dead machismo reflex that keeps it from being employed by the army (and republicans).

    Not wanting priosners to be tortured means not wanting to violate our own rules, not wanting to destroy our own credibility, and not wanting to recruit for the terrorists who seek to kill us.

    Does that help you understand the position is not about coddling people but about make the choice that is not only ethical (because we’ve already stated we won’t engage in torture) but also smart (because it works and doesn’t undermine us worldwide).

    Beyond which our prisoners are far too often guilty of nothing. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping score but almost everytime a judge has forced us to actually try one of these guys we can’t prove a thing. They walk.

    Can you give one good reason to torture (possibly innocent)prisoners?

  11. Corrected for syntax:

    Because you have illustrated you know nothing of world history, you don’t know what torture really is. Human history did not start with the Daily Kos.

    I”m about to bitchslap me a hippie or a college professor just on general principles. You freeloading atheists been gettin’ on my last nerve, admiring your own moral perfection while others die for your right to advertise it.

    Well, nobody’s buying anymore, OK? Defend those who want to kill you all you want (and I do admire true pacifism), but many of us have decided that cultural and political suicide is not an option. Welcome to Hobbes’ World. You don’t know anything about it.

    Go protest against, or for, somebody who will unrepentantly kill you. That’s not me, or the Reform Club, and it’s not Bush either, but it is miliant Islamism.

    Calling your bluff, chickendove. Accept the moral responsibility for opening the gates of Gitmo and the human carnage that will undoubtedly ensue.

    Go ahead, dude. All in. No evasions. All in. Call or fold.

  12. I have to say that it was interesting how immediately after 9-11 happened, the feds rounded up this large group of folks and detained them. They seemed to know who was a threat, but didn’t have the justification to hold them UNTIL a few thousand people and the nerve center of national defense had been hit.

    Nicely stated, TVD, by the way.

  13. “Because you have illustrated you know nothing of world history, you don’t know what torture really is.”

    Really? Funny here I thought we had these legal definitions of torture to help us out in that regard. You know the legal definitions the Bush administration paid gonzales to find wiggle room to get around? Remember those?

    “You freeloading atheists been gettin’ on my last nerve, admiring your own moral perfection while others die for your right to advertise it.”

    Bull, the soldiers dying in iraq aren’t dying for anything of mine. They are dying for the warmongering ambitions of the neo-cons, end of story. The evidence is in that the war has made us less safe, the flypaper theory has failed, and it has in fasct spawned more terrorists than ever JUST LIKE THE PEOPLE WHO STUDY TERRORISM PREDICTED. You want to stick to a failed tactic, a tactic that has NEVER worked and then call me ignorant of history?

    Quick question name the terrorist group that has in recent years agreed to disarmament and conversion to political aims. As a bonus question answer whether it was negotiation or bombing that lead to this resolution.

    “Well, nobody’s buying anymore, OK? Defend those who want to kill you all you want (and I do admire true pacifism), but many of us have decided that cultural and political suicide is not an option.”

    You have chosen suicide by engaging in the one tactic that, while it appeals to your machismo laden ego, fails to accomplish the task.

    “Calling your bluff, chickendove. Accept the moral responsibility for opening the gates of Gitmo and the human carnage that will undoubtedly ensue.”

    You really don’t get it do you? You think Gitmo somehow hurts the terrorists? That’s frankly retarded. Us stooping to torture is the best thing to happen to them. Go look at how the world views us now. Then learn that the perception of us is what fuels terrorism against us.

    “Go ahead, dude. All in. No evasions. All in. Call or fold.”

    Not a problem, you are worng in every regard because you lack even the most basic understanding of terrorism.

  14. “I have to say that it was interesting how immediately after 9-11 happened, the feds rounded up this large group of folks and detained them. They seemed to know who was a threat, but didn’t have the justification to hold them UNTIL a few thousand people and the nerve center of national defense had been hit.”

    No hunter, what they did was round up anybody they had a suspicion of. It was a dragnet. Notice that the vast majority of those people were subsequently let go.

    “Nicely stated, TVD, by the way.”

    Then I put the same questions to you that I did to TVD: name the terrorist group that has in recent years agreed to disarmament and conversion to political aims. then answer whether it was negotiation or bombing that lead to this resolution.

  15. Ooo! Ooo! I know! I know! It was the Irish Republican Army and negotiation! What do I win?

    As someone who has a degree that clearly states “International,” “Peace,” and “Security” in it, I have to say, TVD, that not only are you way off, you’re an idiot.

    Your invocation of our “freeloading atheism” demonstrates your total lack of anything resembling an ability to look at the situation rationally. Furthermore, your conflation of opposition to strategy and tactics employed with support for the enemy is not only idiotic, it’s offensive and the final refuge of someone without any facts to add to the conversation.

    I have provided you with four interrogators who, when faced with fanatical opponents, used non-coercive tactics to become some of the most successful interrogators in their fields. You have yet to demonstrate how this is wrong.

    Furthermore, you conflate due process with just letting everyone go. Nonsense. The preponderance of evidence in federal courts or military courts is hilariously lax. There should be no difficulty holding actual terrorists. You’ll pardon me if I don’t think that a 13 year old is so far beyond redemption.

    There is no way that al-Qaida in their circa 9/11 stature could have culturally or politically eviscerated the U.S. They were no more powerful the day after 9/11 than they were the day before except in perception.

    I repeat, tvd: Opening the gates of Gitmo doesn’t mean letting people go. Your entire “challenge” is based on a fallacious premise.

    Please come and play again.

  16. Yes indeed. A decades old terrorist threat has been resolved through the exact manner the right refuses to consider: negotiation and compromise with the aggrieved people so that the terrorist organizations lack motivation and recruits.

    When they don’t hate and fear you they won’t kill themselves to hurt you. This isn’t a hard thing to understand.

    Were we to pull out of the middle east (where we don’t belong anyway), refuse to give any more guns to israel (who has shown it doesn’t deserve them anyway), and made a vow of disengagement (which we should do anyway) we’d see the end of Islamic terrorism toward america within a decade.

    Yes there would still be a hard core nucleus of al qaeda and others that hated us but without money and recruits from the larger muslim population they are impotent.

  17. “Ah, you fold, then.”

    LOL.

    Classic. JE and I point out in depth just how you are wrong in everything you said and your rseponse is to claim we ran away.

    side note: Hunter, this is exactly the behavior I’m talking about.
    No doubt you’ll now claim I’m the denial that poor TVD is running his head into.

  18. The proposition was simple: All you had to say was that you believe the US military has spent millions building Club Gitmo to mess with a bunch of innocent people.

    And if they’re set free based on your assertion, and they do kill US troops or civilians, you take full moral responsibility.

    You folded.

  19. “The proposition was simple: All you had to say was that you believe the US military has spent millions building Club Gitmo to mess with a bunch of innocent people.”

    But I don’t believe that and I’ve never said I did, so all you did was construct a straw man. I believe there are innocents in gitmo not out of intent but incompetence on the part of the US military.

    ” And if they’re set free based on your assertion, and they do kill US troops or civilians, you take full moral responsibility.”

    Another strawman since I never said set free. I sadi don’t torture. Oh yeah and giving them trials would be good too.

    “You folded.”

    Yes I chose not to let you put ridiculous assertions into my mouth, I folded from your crooked game. When you’d like to debate honestly without making up arguments for me to have “said” let me know.

  20. Here’s more fuel for your funeral pyre, tvd.

    http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/
    2005_cr/s072505.html

    Maybe you’re going to tell me that the JAGs of all four services are wussy atheists who hate America? Cuz, you know, it’s funny, they all protested against allowing coercive interrogation measures.

    To quote: “U.S. Armed Forces are continuously trained to take the legal and moral ‘high road’ in the conduct of our military operations regardless of how others may operate,” wrote the Air Force’s deputy JAG, Major General Jack Rives. “Approving exceptional interrogation techniques may be seen as giving official approval and legal sanction to the application of interrogation techniques that U.S. Armed Forces have heretofore been trained are unlawful.”

  21. Ah, this is good, T. You may doubt my sincerity in saying this, but it’s genuinely difficult to separate your free-floating anti-Bush agitprop from principled definitive statements.

    These are rather definitive statements. We could talk.

    You seem to allow that we shouldn’t set the guests at Club Gitmo free willy-nilly. On this we agree. Ain’t this great?

    Now, holding innocent people is troubling to us all, tho you’ll have to take my word for that, too. But how separate them from the gruesome monsters? Of the 100-odd Gitmo guests already set free, at least a dozen have been recaptured on the battlefield, up to their old tricks. Damn. Not as easy as it would seem.

    As for “torture,” the most egregious of the Gitmo guest activities was making a man sit in his own poo-poo. Icky, we would agree.

    You’ve presented expert testimony that such tactics don’t work, but perhaps they did in this case. I’m still uncomfortable about it, but poo-poo is temporary and murder is permanent. If it saved lives or was a good-faith attempt to do so, I can shoulder the moral responsibility.

    Still, one would agree that in the long term, the buddy-buddy approach recommended by your experts is the most effective. From what I see on the Gitmo activities calandar these days, that’s precisely the approach being taken. No more poo-poo, moral dilemma solved.

    Now, I’d agree that trials would be preferable, but what if our military were convinced that one of our merry Gitmo guests was mortally dangerous, but the proof didn’t meet US legal standards? Our principle is that a hundred guilty men should go free to preserve the rights of a single innocent. But this is life or death.

    See, although I’d like to see Gitmo as a legal issue, it’s a public health issue, and homicidal/suicidal Jihadism is a mental illness. One does not loose a deadly illness on the world population in the interest of “rights.” It is morally irresponsible, because death is permanent, and we must hope that a stay at Club Gitmo, no matter how pleasant, will be of a limited duration, only until who is sorted out from who.

    Nice talking with you, T. I have zero desire to put words in your mouth, but with a little hyperbolic coercion, you sing like a canary, beautifully and well.

  22. “Ah, this is good, T. You may doubt my sincerity in saying this, but it’s genuinely difficult to separate your free-floating anti-Bush agitprop from principled definitive statements.”

    It’s actually quite easy to make statements that are both principled definitive statements and anti-bush.

    “You seem to allow that we shouldn’t set the guests at Club Gitmo free willy-nilly. On this we agree.”

    Indeed.

    “Now, holding innocent people is troubling to us all, tho you’ll have to take my word for that, too. But how separate them from the gruesome monsters?”

    We have a very good system to do that it’s called a trial. It serves to balance the needs of the state with the individual’s rights.

    “As for “torture,” the most egregious of the Gitmo guest activities was making a man sit in his own poo-poo. Icky, we would agree.”

    I wouldn’t call that the worse per se. The forced positions, temperature extremes and other humilitaion techniques (ego down I think was the euphemism they used) were just as bad as forcing a person to soil themselves.

    “Still, one would agree that in the long term, the buddy-buddy approach recommended by your experts is the most effective. From what I see on the Gitmo activities calandar these days, that’s precisely the approach being taken. No more poo-poo, moral dilemma solved.”

    Were that the case then why is the whitehouse holding up military funding because of a rider that says we won’t torture anymore? Could it possibly be that the techniques are still being employed?

    “Now, I’d agree that trials would be preferable, but what if our military were convinced that one of our merry Gitmo guests was mortally dangerous, but the proof didn’t meet US legal standards?”

    Then you let them go. Absolutely 100%. You know why? Because the military has been convinced of things that weren’t true all the time. They aren’t omniscient, and if they can’t prove their case then they cannot be allowed to hold the person.

    “See, although I’d like to see Gitmo as a legal issue, it’s a public health issue, and homicidal/suicidal Jihadism is a mental illness. One does not loose a deadly illness on the world population in the interest of “rights.” It is morally irresponsible, because death is permanent, and we must hope that a stay at Club Gitmo, no matter how pleasant, will be of a limited duration, only until who is sorted out from who.”

    The problem with this argument is that unlike a disease holding these people in “quaranteen” has caused others outside to be “infected.” Our treatment method is causing the disease to flourish. That’s a very bad planof action because, as you say, death is permanent.

  23. James, that’s because the JAGs are lawyers, not doctors (see above).

    But principled disagreement need not run to scorched earth. Moral dilemmas like Gitmo have right on both sides.

    Take the case of Lt. Col. Allen West. He fired a gun near the head of an Iraqi to get information about an upcoming ambush. Although the experts would say such tactics don’t work, apparently they did. Col. West saved his men.

    Now, what West did was “illegal,” and it cost him his career. But no doubt he would do the same again, and proudly. I do consider him a hero, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say justic wasn’t properly done. Such is the way of moral dilemmas.

    (Tlaloc, your argument now seems to be that Gitmo does more harm than good. This is a legitimate argument in its own right, however it’s one of effectiveness rather than principle, and not the discussion we were having.

    I cannot agree that it’s better to treat this as a legal problem, and it is all but certain that some homicidal maniacs would be loosed for lack of formal legal proof. This was the point I made in my original proposition that you rejected as putting words in your mouth.

    Simply say plainly that you’re willing to accept the moral responsibility for the people they will kill, I will respect that position, and we will arrive at an armistice.)

  24. But you do have responsibility because you are in a position to stop certain murder. That’s the way the world works.

    Instead, it’s the Pilate Syndrome. Wash your hands and walk away from moral dilemmas.

    Read the story of Col. West. Coercion does work. It is a very morally difficult case, and fully analogous to Gitmo.

    Your closing proposition assumes that the Club Gitmo invitees are as innocent as the random man on the street. I do not see why the US military would fly random people ten thousand miles in order to check them out. We therefore have an insoluble epistemological problem, so I guess our work here is finished, Pontius. You have made your position clear.

    Let me make mine clear in parting—I value human life over the law and both my own and my nation’s moral vanity. The arguments on both sides have merit, and so are reduced to a priority of values in the end.

    I’m with Col. West, with life over law. I accept full moral responsibility for my position.

  25. “But you do have responsibility because you are in a position to stop certain murder. That’s the way the world works.”

    Of course not beacuse I cannot consistently prevent the murders I can onlt do so by drastic indiscriminate action as with asking you to kill everyone you meet.

    “Your closing proposition assumes that the Club Gitmo invitees are as innocent as the random man on the street.”

    But that’s precisely what they are! Many of them are people who were simply swept up in the wrong area at the worng time. The afghani shepherd out with a flock who gets picked up because a fire fight with taleban soldiers happened nearby.

    I wouldn’t think the military would go to the expense of bombing the Chinese embassy during kosovo either but they did. They make mistakes, a lot of them frankly.

    “I’m with Col. West, with life over law. I accept full moral responsibility for my position.”

    But again you are mistaken in thinking your position promotes life over law, it promotes both death (by encouraging further terrorism) and injustice (by violating our own principles of justice as well as international law). It’s quite simply lose-lose.

  26. I accept the possibility that what you say is true. Guess what? I don’t care. I’m still with Col. West and would hope to have the courage to do what he did. He saved lives, of this we are sure. The rest is speculation.

    I can only conclude that you would have not done what Col. West did. If so, let me say clearly—I would not want you as a friend or brother. I don’t say this to insult you, but you would let me die for your principles or geopolitical theories.

    This is what CS Lewis means by “Men Without Chests” in the book you decline to read. The chest is where the heart is, and metaphorically what makes a man a man and not a walking computer. Virtually every word you write chafes at this same First Thing.

    But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ’bout rock and roll…

  27. “I can only conclude that you would have not done what Col. West did. If so, let me say clearly—I would not want you as a friend or brother. I don’t say this to insult you, but you would let me die for your principles or geopolitical theories.”

    Damn straight I would. And similarly even in a situation where I or my kids were going to die if you didn’t get information from a prisoner I’d still want you not to torture them.

    People die, it happens all the time and to all of us. The question is whether you’ll compromise yourself and your beliefs in order to eke out a scrap more life. And of course once you are willing to do the little violations to save your lief it’s only a matter of time until committing the big violations as a matter of convenience becomes routine.

    “As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.”
    – Christopher Dawson

  28. Tvd, the problem with your analogy is that it isn’t directly analogous. LTC West was in a war zone, arguably in imminent danger. The “ticking time bomb” scenario so often used to justify coercive interrogation simply doesn’t exist. “24” is on television because it’s just that: TELEVISION!

    To put it another way: You complained about a handful of released prisoners having been captured. Now, we can argue all we want as to whether or not they were enemies before or after their treatment at Gitmo. The one thing we can say for sure is that while we’re not sure if they hated us before incarceration, they sure as hell did afterward. And therein lies your dilemma, tvd. In this country, we don’t imprison or execute people for what they MIGHT do. We imprison and execute them for what they HAVE DONE and have been found guilty of IN A COURT OF LAW with the DUE PROCESS OF LAW.

    The power to imprison and execute is a horrible, devatstating thing for a government to have. So, yes, I, living in one of those ACTUAL target cities for terrorists (and not Buttf–k, Mississippi), would rather risk the danger than give my government the right to take that first step onto the slippery slope of abrogating civil rights in ANY circumstance. That’s worth my life, and yours.

    “They that give up liberty for security deserve neither.” – Benjamin Franklin

  29. Good. I thank you for your clarity, T. You’ve come out definitively with the conclusions that your philosophy leads you to. But you will understand why I would not want you as a friend or as a father.

    “I believe that the study of Christian culture is the missing link which it is essential to supply if the tradition of Western education and Western culture is to survive, for it is only through this study that we can understand how Western culture came to exist and what are the essential values for which it stands.”—Christopher Dawson

    If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron, Spider Robinson might add.

  30. Tell you what, tvd, we’ll conduct an experiment. I’m going to come to your house and seize you and Hunter and as many other coercion-apologists as I can round up. I’ll put you in cuffs, blindfold you, then fly you to some undisclosed location, not telling you where that is.

    Then, I’ll toss you in a cell. Alone. Don’t worry, you’ll get a Bible and maybe a copy of The Chronicles of Narnia or something. And three squares a day. And then I’m going to ask you questions. You might know the answers to some of them, but not all of them. Ask for a lawyer, you don’t get one. If you’re lucky, I’ll give you a roundabout bureaucratic answer. But I probably won’t say anything at all.

    If I don’t like your answers, or if I think you know something more that you’re not sharing, I’m going to make you crouch down in the fetal position and chain your feet to the floor and your hands behind your back. You’ll have your blindfold on.

    Maybe I’ll decide to turn the heat up really high. Maybe I’ll turn the AC on as high as it’ll go. Maybe I’ll do both at random intervals. You’ll have no light. I’ll feed you at random times. Sometimes it’ll be utterly silent. Sometimes there’ll be insane nonsense noises or incredibly annoying music, like Ashley Simpson over and over again.

    Every once in a while, I’ll ask you some questions. Maybe I’ll even let you out, let you walk around, play some football, read a few books. And then I’ll grab you, ask you some more questions, and then stick you back in that windowless room with no sensory input.

    Maybe sometimes I’ll strap you to a plank like they use for spinal cord injuries. Still blindfolded, we’ll pick you up, carry you somewhere, and then all of a sudden we’ll tip your head into a barrel of water. Don’t worry, we’ll let you up before you drown. But we’ll let it go long enough so that you don’t know if we will or not. Then we’ll ask you some questions. Don’t like your answers? Back in the water you go.

    Maybe once in a while I’ll let you talk to your family, or look at pictures, or write them a letter. And then, after that sweet, sweet taste, I’ll take it all away, put you in solitary and demand that you answer my questions if you ever want to see them again.

    Eventually, you won’t know what the time of day or the date is. You will know that you are nothing, I control every aspect of your life. Whether or not you are fed, when you are fed, what conditions you live in, whether or not you continue to live. All of these things are mine to control, you will have NO agency in your own life. My whim is your GOD.

    How’s your sanity doing now?

    ARE YOU STARTING TO GET THE FREAKING PICTURE? DO I NEED TO DRAW IT IN CRAYON?!

  31. James, no need to yell or insult me. Please don’t think that no one is familiar with the prevailing arguments outside this website. I do compliment you on what I think is a fair & balanced retelling of the extreme cases at Gitmo. You did not exaggerate; your recap conforms with my best understanding of what goes and I hope went on there when the perception was it was a matter of life and death and imminent terrorist attacks.

    Of course it is troubling, but far less than what I consider true torture. (To litigate this definition further would serve no useful purpose.) It is still a leap to say that a random Afghani shepherd was flown 10,000 miles for this “special treatment.”

    But as I prefer attempting to discern underlying principle to playing Hannity & Colmes (I do prefer Colmes; he far more civilized, and a beacon for his ideological fellows), which can be done anywhere on the net, I’d say that under the Golden Rule or even Kant’s CI, I would understand.

    If a bunch of Philly Irish Catholic boys were killing indiscriminately, and innocent ol’ me got caught simply hanging around with my homeboy murderers, I would not expect that uninformed outsiders would discern that I was obviously an innocent bystander. Although I’d certainly bemoan my own fate, I would know in my heart of hearts that I was hanging with murderers, and bad things happen when one does that.

    In the end, and yes, because of government secrecy, neither you or I have any idea of what’s up with the Club Gitmo population, and an informed opinion is nigh on impossible. They may be all maniacs; they may be a mixed bag.

    So I will and must trust the US military, that they do what they do out of need and not sadism, and when sadism occurs, will conscientiously snuff it out the same as I would. These men defend my very life with their own. They are me, at least in my swampy little brain.

  32. “If a bunch of Philly Irish Catholic boys were killing indiscriminately, and innocent ol’ me got caught simply hanging around with my homeboy murderers, I would not expect that uninformed outsiders would discern that I was obviously an innocent bystander. Although I’d certainly bemoan my own fate, I would know in my heart of hearts that I was hanging with murderers, and bad things happen when one does that.”

    Ironically Ward Churchill made that exact same argument about the 9/11 victims and people got really pissed off.

    Goose and gander.

  33. It’s only torture if the lasting harm is physical? That’s obscene.

    So, let’s see if we can sum up your arguments.

    1.) It’s not torture (and we can dispense with that one, since it’s ridiculous; lasting mental harm is not well-documented before this century).
    2.) They’re all evil.
    3.) Even if they’re not all evil, some of them were in the same country or vicinity as evil people and therefore can’t expect due process.
    4.)There’s a ticking time bomb at work here (as we’ve demonstrated, it doesn’t exist).
    5.) Even if it was torture, it was just “a few bad apples” (which is also demonstrated as false by the JAG memos as protest against DoJ reasoning that one law school dean called “perhaps the most erroneous legal reasoning I have ever encountered).
    6.) I trust my government and the military.

    I think the Founding Fathers (with the possible exception of Hamilton and maybe Adams) would ask you if you were smoking crack. There’s a reason why they were opposed to a standing army and created the Bill of Rights, and your slippery slope above is precisely it.

  34. Aw, your last recap was much more honest, James. I think we’re going backwards.

    I had the afternoon off, and I spent it with you and your evil (haha) twin, and some good points were exchanged. But I do believe that’s at an end.

    So let’s leave it here. I’m working on a theory that implacability is the only true evil, because it has no concern for the fellow humans in its path, makes the present unbearable, and negates the future. I ain’t into scorched earth. I can fast and I can wait, said a great man. Me, I think I’ll go have a beer.

    Over & out. You may declare a win if such is your wont, but y’all just done wore out my last nerve, and my courtesy tank, without which I do not choose to proceed, is on empty. I imagine the final victory will indeed be yours. Rust never sleeps, but the anti-entropic types need a few winks now and then.

    Cheers.

  35. “‘You don’t want civil liberties infringed upon,’

    You’re absolutely right. I don’t want my government EVER to infringe civil rights. Ever.”

    Tlaloc,

    Then I suppose you object to the federal government placing any restrictions on the right to own and carry arms as is guaranteed by the second amendment?

    Funny, the ACLU claims to fight to uphold the bill of rights, yet I haven’t ever seen them take up a second amendment case of a citizen of D.C. or Chicago fighting to get back the second amendment right the goverment is supposed to protect.

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