Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rumsfeld O.K.'d Torture?

At Reuters.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Years after the fact, Karpinski "remembers" a Rumsfeld signature that absolves her from blame and al-Reuters reports it? Zzzzzzzzzz.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tommy, that was so funny I forgot to laugh.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bklsnarg has been the policy of the Bush Administration. The fact that bklsnarg includes all the elements formerly pertaining to the word 'torture' does not mean that U.S. policy allows torture, since that definition has now been changed.

We'd let you read the new definition, but it's top secret eyes only, so we would have to imprison or shoot you if we did let you read it. You wouldn't want that, now would you? No? Thank you for your democratic consent to the policy, which conforms to all the laws of the land, except for those we don't have to obey, which really is all of them in time of war. And the war could last forever, and its battlefield is everywhere.

But of course we're fighting for your freedom.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

DA, you don't laugh. That's why you're a leftist, man.

LL, that was kinda funny. Not in the laughing sort of way, because derisive humor can only engender a crooked grin, but clever. I grinned meself.

As a right-winger, I agree with your underlying truth. I love when innocent people get picked up off the street so our troops can torture them aimlessly in the name of quote-end-quote freedom. It makes me laugh. Sorry, but I'm just that kind of person. (I suppose you won't be inviting me to dinner.)

Of course, to stay on topic, former General (busted to Colonel) Janis Karpinski is still hitting the road, "remembering" things that exonerate her and blame the Bushies to anyone who will listen. As Pavlov proved, those conditioned to respond to such things will salivate.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TVD, your tendancy to tell us about us based on the comments reminds me of an old song by Cher.

I can tell that you must be gainfully employed by a psychic hotline network, since that would be the best place to exercise the talents you've displayed here in the past and in this thread.

It's risible that you speak of Pavlovian conditioning, as you've given us marvellous examples of BAK-reflexes in the past, whenever WS or a commentator posts something that would lead a reasonable observer to conclude that GWB mightn't be the best thing to come along since sliced bread.

Go ahead and wail about my use of a pseudonym as well, you seem to be one of those people who aren't happy unless they've got something to be discontented with.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Mike Russo said...

This does come off a bit odd, but after thinking about it, I'm pretty sure Karpinski's telling the truth here. The key thing is that Tom's assumption -- that she suddenly remembered seeing this memo during her time in Iraq -- is almost certainly incorrect. Look over the story, and she never says *when* she got a look at this memo.

I spent a year at a human rights organization working on detention and torture issues, and for a while there's been very strong circumstantial evidence pointing to the existence of memos like this, in which Rumsfeld personally signed off on "enhanced" interrogation techniques for particular detainees at Abu Ghraib. Unfortunately I can't really go very much further into what I consider to be the most persuasive of this circumstantial evidence; thus the invocation of "I've actually worked on this stuff" as buttressing a rather dodgy claim to authority.

Anyway, allegations about the existence of such memos are hardly novel. It's just that the allegation is being made in a more public forum, via Karpinski. The timing is important. Say you're in the Pentagon and were responsible for some of the torture policies: Democrats just took over Congress and are threatening to do actual oversight, and there's a new boss coming in who's going to get access to all the old files. The first rule of bureaucratic survival in such situations is to pin all the bad stuff on the outgoing boss. Thus, there's a positive incentive to get out documents personally implicating Rumsfeld, so that his subordinates can absolve themselves of blame (to a lesser degree, there might be people who wanted to leak such memos as a matter of conscience, but couldn't bring themselves to do it while the threat of retaliation was high. I really doubt this is the real explanation, though).

Once you've got one or more of these documents circulating through unofficial channels, it's not hard to see how Karpinski gets a look -- she's been one of the main faces of AG and has been making allegations against Rumsfeld for a while, so she's a natural go-to person if you want to generate some noise without actually leaking a copy of a classified document to the news media. It gets the idea out there, and while the people at whom the communication is aimed will receive the message, much of the public will dismiss it as made-up, assuming much as Tom did that she meant that she saw the memo back when she had a leadership position in Iraq, rather than last week sometime when a Pentagon staffer desperate to keep his job channeled it to her.

This is all much less plausible if you don't believe that Rumsfeld actually signed such memos, of course, and again, I regret that I can't justify my conviction in their existence more fully. But once that leap's taken, the bureaucratic jockeying within the Pentagon falls out rather easily.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

" seem to be one of those people who aren't happy unless they've got something to be discontented with.

Oh, my. That one crawls with clues.

DA, your use of "us" is kinda creepy, like a cult or something.

Mike, you could be right. Even if so, Karpinski isn't vindicated for her apparent dereliction of duty and neither does all of and perhaps the worst of Abu Ghraib get laid at Rumseld's feet. Lynndie England, et al., were Karpinski's responsibility.

Did Rumsfeld personally sign off on "enhanced" interrogation techniques for particular detainees at Abu Ghraib? I'm sure he did. But that doesn't make him responsible for the sadistic fun house that Karpinski's charges made of the place, which the implication of the Reuters article.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm a left-winger, too, like Dark Avenger. Don't I get to be too serious for mere laughter?

By the way, my satire in no way relies on the veracity of Karpinski's memory. Torture has visibly been the policy of the Bushists for several years, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered with all the legalistic mumbo-jumbo they've put into memos and opinions to justify what they were going to do anyway.

Last, wake up Tracy and Hepburn. A conservative wants to come to dinner!

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TVD, you could put your deerstalker capon and explicate the clues for the rest of the unenlighted who read this blog, but if it's hard work, I'm sure they'd understand.

As for your remark, I was more an Eerie fan, but I did look at Creepy on occasion, perhaps that explains your confusion here.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Very well, DA---whenever you get personal on me, it's with same criticisms I would make of you if I were inclined to get personal.

And "us" is creepy, by left or right. It implies one doesn't think for oneself. But I also preferred Eerie, so perhaps there's hope for the two of us yet.

LL, to just regard the argument formally, the use of "torture" begs the question, just as using "murder" for capital punishment would. If any coercion stronger than tea & figs is "torture," then you are of course correct.

What's for dinner?

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And "us" is creepy, by left or right.

I think it's kind of creepy to parry a claim I make by attacking the usage of language rather than using facts and/or logic in your reply.

Of course, you haven't given up your MO of attacking something that someone posts, and later doing your "plague on both houses" routine when it's pointed out how ridiculous your attack is in the first place.

If you engage in rhetorical mind-reading here, expect to be called on it, because a Kreskin of the Internet, you aren't.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

But "us" is creepy, DA.

And I've invited folks to try their luck over at my blog, where original content and the first salvo is provided for counterargument but the safety of numbers is missing.

And you're still arguing about the form of my arguments (and getting personal), not the content, for the third time now.

I don't find Col. Karpinski a reliable witness, sorry. See if you can fashion an argument that has nothing to do with me. The others managed.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crow, but I understand you have a psychological aversion. Better stick with the imaginary tea and figs.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the safety of numbers is missing

Again, your Kreskin act has led you astray. I comment here not because of safety of numbers, but because I like to comment here.

I've checked your blog, and it isn't worth my time, pure and simple. Your intellectual evasions and leaps of logic are the same no matter where you post, FWIW.

Also, you chose to emphasize form over content using the term al-Reuters in the beginning of this thread, so your objection to others making the same choice in response is a bit like the pot discovering the kettle doesn't reflect visible light very well.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TVD, there certainly is an 'us' that's not creepy - the long list of your, ahem, interlocutors - those of us who have tasted your demands for one-way civility, interlaced with your attempts to teach us object lessons by using what you claim are our tactics, often without making any distinction between us as individuals. You clearly assume this TVD-against-the-world-of-Philosoraptor in many of your postings; don't pretend otherwise.

This 'us' is a happenstance. If you look at our respective points of view, you'll see differences and disputes among the rest of us other than you. For example, I've often taken our esteemed host to task for his wishy-washiness and what I have seen as his unwillingness to believe hard truths that I see as obvious.

There's no doubt you're an outlier. If one or two of us would just (please!) surf up your blog, we could perhaps be the outliers.

But all this is just meta-discussion that appears to have the purpose of distracting from the main point of the discussion.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

True. My point was that I don't find Col. Karpinski or Reuters reliable.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I said above, Karpinski's veracity is not required to reach the conclusion that Rumsfeld and indeed Darth and Duhbya have approved what anyone besides Gonzales regards as torture.

Karpinski's statements reported by Reuters do not appear to be new. See the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, which has a story dated 2004 with a similar claim. I can't say that I read this in 2004, but I'm skeptical that the VLWC could have planted it. This was also reported in 2004 by Common Dreams, which is leftist and thus presumably even more unreliable to TVD than Reuters.

Are these topics resurfacing now because she's on a book tour?

Rumsfeld himself contemporaneously confirmed some of Karpinski's later findings in USAToday. The money paraphrase is:

Rumsfeld told a Senate committee that Pentagon lawyers had approved methods such as sleep deprivation and dietary changes as well as rules permitting prisoners to be made to assume stress positions.

This doesn't admit to torture, only to violation of the Geneva Conventions, unless of course you engage in Bushist newspeak.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

No surprises, then. Good question, tho---why is Reuters running old news? Have they run out of new news?

3:59 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said... that you're last-ditch criticism, then, Tom? That "al-"Reuters is running something true and important but not new? I'm not sure I get the problem here...

10:45 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

That yelling "Abu Ghraib!" is like yelling "Attica!"

The new news of the savagery in Iraq has nothing to do with the US, and needless to say, Bush.


11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the news in Iraq has nothing to do with the US or Bush.

Why would it? I mean, one day all of this bloodshed just began in Iraq out of nowhere.

Maybe it was caused by a lunar eclipse, or an earthquake or something. No, wait, probably the full moon. Yeah, that's it, the full moon.

12:58 PM  

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