Calling it "torture" is misleading. Waterboarding is extraordinarily unpleasant, yes. It's not a nice thing to do to someone; it's almost certainly proscribed by the Geneva Convention (more on that in a moment). But it's not torture, because torture usually involves doing a lot of terrible, horriffic, and permanently damaging things to a human body, things meant to inflict a great deal of pain and psychological trauma.
Putting a man on an incline, covering his face with wet cloth, and pouring more water on him may make him think he is drowning, and it is extremely unpleasant to experience. It leaves no scars or injuries, and the whole experience lasts only as long as it takes for the subject to decide this isn't worth it and talk. Certainly it is not the equivalent of gouging out someone's eyes with a spoon, or breaking his fingers, or beating him with a hose filled with lead shot, or-or-or. (A guy I was friendly with back in the Target days--he witnessed, in Vietnam, an interrogation session where the interrogater cut off a guy's eyelids. Where's the outrage over that? Oh, wait--a Democrat in the White House, never mind.)
According to the Geneva Convention, any combatant in a war action who is out of uniform (whether he's a spy or a terrorist or a mujaheddin or what-have-you) is not subject to the usages of the Convention. That very famous photograph of a Vietnamese man being executed with a single pistol shot--that was completely within the bounds of the Convention because that guy was a spy, out of uniform. (It was invaluable to the American left as propaganda because war is hell. You don't put spies in elaborate death traps like James Bond when you're on the front lines of a war. You shoot them on the spot.)
The use of enhanced interrogation techniques on combatants who have been fighting a war action without a uniform conforms to the very letter of the Geneva Convention. Most of these people are not US citizens and the interrogations did not take place in the US. They were not injured or maimed, and other than interrogation they were treated very, very well, rather than executed as allowed by the Geneva Convention.
The whole issue is one I file under "what else can we do?" Sometimes you gotta war, and when you gotta war, you gotta war all the way. When you gotta war, half-assed war is worse than no war.
But Barack Obama campaigned, in part, on ending this kind of thing, giving these enemy combatants a "fair trial", and letting them go if not found guilty. Two years before we're due to be rid of the skunk he says, "Hey, the CIA was doing its job, and even though I ended the practice, no one has to worry about losing his job over this."
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. He's got a long history of voting "present", after all. I increasingly find myself infuriated that we elected such a pussy. Look: this report could be seen as vindication of his position, yet instead of saying, "This report indicates that CIA needs a house cleaning," he just says, "Well, yeah, okay. Nice job, everyone," and checks to make sure he's going to make his tee time.
I'd find the presidency of Barack Obama a hell of a lot less frustrating if he was actually a leader, even if I disagreed with his leadership.
On the plus side, though, having such a frustratingly weak Democrat in the White House is, on balance, good for our long-term prospects. I suppose it's a balancing act.
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If the rust belt is back from the dead, where are the jobs? The rust belt was the center of heavy industry, factories and foundries requiring thousands of workers to function. Replacing them with health care offices and boasting of a 100 gigabit fiber network is not going to bring back the good-paying middle class jobs that were lost, and a lot of the "reinvestment" this article talks about sounds like it's generating jobs that require a PhD or MD. All well and good, but it's not going to result in an industrial powerhouse.
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There is no need to fear for Obamacare. Yes, Gruber's testimony before Congress, and the video that's already out there, is pretty damning for Obamacare.
No, it's not going to make a lick of difference when the case goes before the Supreme Court in 2015. Justice Roberts, anyone?
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And some humor to lighten things up before I sign off:
Bluesun refers to me correctly. I am not just "Ed" but the Ed, as has been independently demonstrated by several people who have never met each other, Bluesun (now) included.
I am going to note here that I managed to get through yesteday without descending into super-villany.
"The 2014 Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog" is a treat.
I wanna meet the couple (and it has to be a couple) who share such an obsession with coffee that they need to drop two grand on a NASA-designed espresso spaceship that grinds every burr to a precise atomic measurement and heats up your coffee cup to a temperature that was calibrated using advanced fractals. I wanna find this couple, and then piss in their coffee. I really do. Send me their address, and I'll figure out a way. No jury would convict me. Just be happy with plain old coffee, America.Hammacher-Schlemmer is bad enough with its advanced douchebaggery and its panoply of plantar fascitis footwear, but this catalog sounds like it's nigh infinitely worse. "Twee" is infuriating enough; hyper-expensive useless twee is right the hell out, and if anyone gets me a snowman bundt cake pan I am going to hit it with a sledgehammer until it is flat, and then recycle it.
(I do not expect anyone to waste his money on such a useless gift for me. If you do, you've been warned. That pan costs thirty freaking dollars. If you're going to get me a $30 cake pan, do me a favor and get me a gas station gift card instead, something I can use.)
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Christmas is two weeks away. WTF.