Below the jump, is a post I first wrote for the Bloggernacle Times on 09/23/06.  We were several years into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the natural abuses of war were being made manifest.  Here we are almost five years later and the United States still maintains troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, for reasons that frankly escape me (particularly in light of the extreme heat–but very little light–generated by the far right about deficits, balanced budgets, and the like).  Regardless, I think the message behind Christ’s injunction, i.e., The Golden Rule, is as relevant and important today as they ever were–even in times of war.

Dick Cheney, one of the primary architects of the Iraq war, and of the Bush Administration torture policies has just published his long anticipated autobiography–so called.  In it, Mr. Cheney makes no apologies and pitches his torture philosophy all over again.  He did the same in a recent interview at media friendly Fox News Sunday. I find the idea is still antithetical to Christ’s teaching of treating others as we would be treated.

The links in the old post should all work (at least the vast majority of the ones I tested did).  You may have to wait a minute for the link to actually link through to the original source, as it first takes you to the cached web page of the provider first, then takes you to the actual original link.   

Originally posted 09/26/06 at Bloggeracle Times: (Archived Version)

Do Ye Even So To Them

So enjoins Jesus Christ on how we all should treat one another:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

On its face, this seems, like a pretty simple injunction. How hard can it be to treat other people as we would like them to treat us?

Yet, there is something about this failing and fallen world that has never quite learned the significance of this simple truth. The incredibly irony, however, is that individuals at the highest leadership levels of the United States government are doing everything within their power to subvert, distort, yea . . . even torture, as it were, Christ’s command that we treat each other as we would be treated.

The current debate raging in the halls of Congress all the way up to the White House is essentially how much abuse and torture can we inflict on individuals suspected of terrorist activities, without crossing the line ourselves into the illegal and the immoral? We read in the New York Times about turning back the clock on rape:

In international law, where rape and sexual assault have long been classified as torture and war crimes, the world has begun to accept the importance of enforcement. In 1998, a tribunal convicted a paramilitary chief for watching one of his men rape a woman in Serbia. A year ago, the world rose up in outrage when United Nations peacekeepers raped women in Congo.

You’d think this was a settled issue. But it’s been opened up again in the bill on jailing, interrogating and trying terror suspects that President Bush is trying to ram through Congress in a pre-election rush. Both the White House and Senate versions contain provisions on rape and sexual assault that turn back the clock alarmingly. They are among the many flaws that must be fixed before Congress can responsibly pass this legislation.

Rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse are mentioned twice in the bill — once as crimes that could be prosecuted before military tribunals if committed by an “illegal enemy combatant,” and once as “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions that could be prosecuted as war crimes if committed by an American against a detainee. But in each case, the wording creates new and disturbing loopholes.

In the bill, rape is narrowly defined as forced or coerced genital or anal penetration. It utterly leaves out other acts, as well as the notion that sex without consent is also rape, as defined by numerous state laws and federal law. That is the more likely case in a prison, where a helpless inmate would be unlikely to resist the sexual overtures of a guard or interrogator.

The section on sexual abuse requires that the act include physical contact. Thus it might not include ordering a terrified female prisoner to strip and dance, which happened in Rwanda, or compelling a male prisoner to strip and wear women’s underwear on his head, or photographing naked prisoners piled together, both of which happened at Abu Ghraib.

The Washington Post opines on the continuing abuse:

The bad news is that Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects. He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation. Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts. The bill would also immunize CIA personnel from prosecution for all but the most serious abuses and protect those who in the past violated U.S. law against war crimes . . .

But the senators who have fought to rein in the administration’s excesses — led by Sens. McCain, Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.) — failed to break Mr. Bush’s commitment to “alternative” methods that virtually every senior officer of the U.S. military regards as unreliable, counterproductive and dangerous for Americans who may be captured by hostile governments.

Mr. Bush wanted Congress to formally approve these practices and to declare them consistent with the Geneva Conventions. It will not. But it will not stop him either, if the legislation is passed in the form agreed on yesterday. Mr. Bush will go down in history for his embrace of torture and bear responsibility for the enormous damage that has caused.

Officially, the government condems the use of torture and abuse:

Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice. . .

The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.

The tragic reality since the inception of the government’s “war on terror” has been shockingly revealed for the entire world to see in the abused and tortured victims at the hands of some in America’s military and “other” government agencies at various locations around the world. Some are and remain secret. Others have been published for the world to see, such as at Abu Ghraib:

11:01 p.m., Nov. 4, 2003. Detainee with bag over head, standing on box with wires attached.

10:57 p.m., Dec. 12, 2003. Detainee after dog bite.

8:16 p.m., Oct. 24, 2003. The detainee “GUS” has a strap around his neck. The detainee is being pulled from his cell as a form of intimidation. CPL GRANER is taking the picture. SOLDIER: PFC ENGLAND

There are scores more of these types of photographs depicting the abuses and torture that were allowed to occur while good men and women did nothing. I encourage you to follow this link to Salon and view some of the more graphic and telling photos as you contemplate this debate. You will read real life accounts of sexual abuse, infliction of severe pain, and mental abuse–all done in the name of protecting freedom, and the American way of life.

Over a millennium ago, the ancient prophet Mormon described similar abuses and torture of other depraved and degenerate cultures which inhabited this same continent. Mormon wrote to his son Moroni:

7 And now I write somewhat concerning the sufferings of this people. For according to the knowledge which I have received from Amoron, behold, the Lamanites have many prisoners, which they took from the tower of Sherrizah; and there were men, women, and children.

8 And the husbands and fathers of those women and children they have slain; and they feed the women upon the flesh of their husbands, and the children upon the flesh of their fathers; and no water, save a little, do they give unto them.

9 And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people in Moriantum. For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue—

10 And after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death; and after they have done this, they devour their flesh like unto wild beasts, because of the hardness of their hearts; and they do it for a token of bravery.

11 O my beloved son, how can a people like this, that are without civilization—

12 (And only a few years have passed away, and they were a civil and a delightsome people)

13 But O my son, how can a people like this, whose delight is in so much abomination—

14 How can we expect that God will stay his hand in judgment against us?

15 Behold, my heart cries: Wo unto this people. Come out in judgment, O God, and hide their sins, and wickedness, and abominations from before thy face!

There is already in place well written and thought out international laws governing the treatment of individuals in times of war. The Geneva Conventions have served the world well. Former warrior and secretary of state Colin Powell argued about the moral implications of the raging debate, in a letter to Senator McCain:

Dear Senator McCain:

I just returned to town and learned about the debate taking place in Congress to redine Cojmmon Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. I do not support such a step and believe would be inconsistent with the McCain amendment on torture which I supported last year.

I have read the powerful and eloquent letter sent to you by one of my distinguished predecessors as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Jack Vessey. I fully endorse in tone and tint his powerful argument. The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk.

I am as familiar with The Armed Forces Officer as is Jack Vessey. It was written after all the horrors World War II and General George c. Marshall, then Secretary of Defense, used it to tell the world and to remind our soldiers of our moral obligations with respect to those in our custody.

Sincerely,

Colin Powell

As an American I am ashamed the leaders of my government are having this debate. America was once a moral beacon of light to the world. As former President Reagan discussed America in his farewell address to the nation, he spoke of a shining city on a hill:

And that’s about all I have to say tonight. Except for one thing. The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the “shining city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.

As an American today, I feel our actions, or the actions of our leaders over the last several years have tarnished the shine of that city on the hill.

As a Latter-day Saint, I am concerned about the moral and spiritual well being of America, the cradle of the Restoration. Truly Mormon and Moroni saw our day over 1600 years ago. They warn us today through The Book of Mormon of what they saw, and what today we are living. Will we heed their counsel and warning? Will we change our course? Or, will we, like the Jaredites and Nephites, before us which inhabited this land of promise, a land choice above all other lands, be swept off because we refuse to serve the true and only God?

And, because the comments are most of the time far more interesting than the original post, I’m re-posting the 77 comments to the original post as well:

77 Comments »

  1. Basically, Amen.Comment by Jared* — September 23, 2006 @ 9:00 pm
  2. Last night the RS met together for the broadcast, where we heard numerous examples and ways that we are “encircled eternally in the arms of His love.” How in the world are we showing the world that they are encircled in His arms, as we torture them? It is entirely contradictory, as you’ve stated above.Comment by Jaime — September 24, 2006 @ 6:31 pm
  3. Good grief, incestuous amplification! There is zero evidence Bush et al have tortured anyone. Until you have proof Bush et al signed off and committed torture, you are guilty of bearing a false witness.Comment by LDS Patriot — September 24, 2006 @ 8:35 pm
  4. Jared * and Jamie, Thanks for stopping by and commenting.LDS Patriot: I think you have missed the point of my post, which is my concern for the moral direction America is headed. Yes, I have referenced specific examples of what I consider to be torture.I think the photographic evidence referenced above establishes as a matter of historical fact that some individuals detained by the United States military and other governmental agencies have been subjected conduct which legitimately can be called torture.I don’t think it much matters which specific leaders or individuals have authorized or actually carried out the torture. What matters is that it has occurred, apparently still occurs, and the government appears to be arguing to be allowed to continue some forms of unacceptable interrogation conduct.This conduct is antithetical to how Christ has taught us to treat one another. It also closely resembles conduct decried by Mormon in the Book of Mormon.Comment by Guy Murray — September 24, 2006 @ 9:25 pm
  5. Does shipping someone to another country to be tortured count as authorizing torture?Like Guy Murray, I am concerned that the torture issue is just one manifestation of the absence of the golden rule in this administration’s policies.Comment by Jared* — September 24, 2006 @ 11:36 pm
  6. I know we all want to believe, but we have a Presidential regime bent on shredding the Constitution. Its been evident since day one of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Did we forget what was exposed there? Do we really know whats going on in Guantanamo, Cuba? Do we really know why we’re being illegally wired tapped? Do we really want the Writ of Habaeus Corpus gutted from our Domestic laws and provisions afforded by the Constitution?Wake up America!!!!! We are being indirectly trampled on when we allow our elected Admin. to run rough shod over our sacrosanct legal system set up decades agon by enlightened men who only sought to escape the tyranny imposed by a forgein government. Im dissappointed on many levels that we rubber stamp this embarrassment of a President.Comment by David L. — September 25, 2006 @ 12:06 am
  7. As someone who has (too) loudly proclaimed my dislike of the current administration’s take on torture and who basically agrees with your assessment, I feel a need to point out that the evidence does currently support the assumption that Abu-Ghraib (sp?) was an isolated group of sadists. There is nothing (that I know of) that has the CIA interrogators (for example) engaging in such cruelty (with the exception of waterboarding).
    I suppose that there is an issue of official negligence, as the Abu Ghraib folks seemed to think what they were doing was authorized from above.Comment by HP — September 25, 2006 @ 10:33 am
  8. HP,On my blog I’ve noted numerous examples of just exactly what the CIA has been doing that is considered torture, and once upon a time, America used to criticize other nations for using these techniques.Sleep Deprivation
    “Conveyor”
    Standing for long periods of time
    Cold Water dowsing
    WaterboardingThese, among many other methods are meant to break the will of an individual who can no longer consciously say anything of his own free will. These tactics have been practiced before by countries such as the Soviet Union, under Stalin, Japan during World War II, and of course today by countries such as Syria and now the United States.I have referenced numerous sources that detail just how bad sleep deprivation and cold water can be to an individual, and I will link them here in a second. The most important point about torture is this:Bush is saying that legalizing torture will protect America. He says the CIA program is a vital tool:

    But as is evidenced in so many places, information received from torture is rarely ever credible.

    Let’s play with a scenario real quick. Pretend you are captured by the enemy and you know an attack is inevitable against the enemy. They torture you for information about the impending attack. Do you give in to the pain, or do you lead your captors down a false trail that will ensure the pain will stop? After all, if the attack is inevitable, why would you do something to hamper the attack’s success?

    Now, if you don’t reveal the truth, what makes you think the enemy will?

    Moreover, the usual justification for the use of torture is the ticking-time bomb scenario. Well, just what is the frequency of the probability of you being in a ticking-time bomb scenario and you’ve got yourself a captive that just might have relevant information about it? Like probably 1%.

    Finally, in the Book of Mormon we have an example of a situation where the lives of innocent people are at risk. In fact, these innocent people are being thrown in a pit of fire right in front of the Prophet of the Lord’s eyes. What does the Prophet do? Does he call down fire from heaven to stop the evil people from killing the innocent? Read Alma 14 and let’s discuss just what was the response of the Prophet of the Lord. Let us see what today’s prophets have said about the mistreatment of others.

    The church “condemns inhumane treatment of any person under any circumstances,” said church spokesman Dale Bills.

    Any person under any circumstance. That should be pretty clear.

    The following are my posts on my blog about torture, sharing experiences of people tortured as well as those who interviewed people who were tortured. Please read them and know that this is wrong for America. We must not do this.

    Commentary on the torture “compromise.”

    the Wrongness of torture

    the methods of justifying torture in the Bush administration

    Why are Americans so eager to torture people?

    Bush’s “alternative set of procedures” in the words of Soviet prisoners

    making a deal with the devil

    Comment by Dan — September 25, 2006 @ 11:09 am

  9. Guy,I wasn’t even going to comment, because it seems to me that we have so little common ground that any discussion would be unfruitful. But since you asked for feedback, here’s mine.First, a few details. HP is right, the actions depicted in the photos you have posted are anomalies. The people who committed these crimes have been tried in courts martial and found guilty. Those responsible for their oversight have been disciplined and relieved of command. We may argue that these actions were foreseeable and more should have been done to prevent them, but I do not believe it is responsible to argue that GWB is responsible, and more than we can say that president Hinckley is responsible for the dog bites that dozens of missionaries will suffer today.This is the first administration in our history to actually take the definition of torture seriously. Previously, we just ignored it. Is waterboarding any worse than the practice we used in Viet Nam of binding and blindfolding a prisoner, the taking him into a helicopter, lifting off, then throwing him out? The copter was hovering only a few feet off the ground, but the blindfolded captive didn’t know that. He thought he was going to die. If people gave JFK the same treatment they give Bushitler we would be calling him JFKKK.The way we think about punishment and torture has changed a lot in the last 30 years, for the better, IMO. My brother attended a public high school in Utah where the principal used a wooden paddle on delinquents’ hindquarters. Nobody thought anything of it. But if that were done today to a POW, it would be called torture. So, to seek clarification of what is actually meant by the term isn’t unreasonable.I reject completely the assertion that GWB represents a force for evil unprecedented in U.S. history. Look how POWs were treated in the civil war. Google up Andersonville sometime, but I suggest you don’t do it right before lunch, because you will lose your appetite. Lincoln employed measures far harsher than the Patriot Act and suspended the right to Habeus Corpus, yet most people still think of him as a great man and one of our best presidents. In WWII, the sainted FDR ordered that tens of thousands of American citizens – men, women, children, including the very old – of Japanese origin be forcefully relocated into concentration camps. They lost their homes, businesses, livelihoods, and sometimes their lives in conditions that were far worse than Guantanamo. Yet FDR is still considered a great man and one of our best presidents. In the six months between D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, the allies simply shot outright thousands of German prisoners, as a matter of policy. If we want to blacken the name of GWB, we need to do the same thing to FDR, Churchill, Eisenhower, and Truman.Comment by Mark IV — September 25, 2006 @ 11:17 am
  10. Back out Abu Ghraib and we are still faced with everything else Ive stated. It doesnt matter if Bush knew or didnt know. He takes the fall for it. Some high ranking colonel or general knew. The rank and file take and follow orders and don’t operate in a vacuum. Is he or is he not our Commander in Chief? Is he or is he not the “Decider?” He cant just take credit for when things go right and not when things go horrifically wrong.I know its hard to believe we elected this President. Especially at the expense of our better judgement. We all have heard him slur his speech, butcher the English language, and lie about bogus intelligence, yet we still “supposedely” reelected him. I hate to say it but we get what we deserve.Comment by David L. — September 25, 2006 @ 11:25 am
  11. Mark,

    This is the first administration in our history to actually take the definition of torture seriously. Previously, we just ignored it. Is waterboarding any worse than the practice we used in Viet Nam of binding and blindfolding a prisoner, the taking him into a helicopter, lifting off, then throwing him out? The copter was hovering only a few feet off the ground, but the blindfolded captive didn’t know that. He thought he was going to die.

    No. That was the Truman administration that wrote the Geneva Conventions in the first place. They saw the evils of what the Japanese did to our side, including waterboarding btw, among other techniques. These techniques that Bush is advocating are not new. They have been practiced before by the Soviet Union.

    In regards to the helicopter technique from Vietnam, do you perchance have any sources or citations for that? I am curious to see what exactly happened in those cases.

    By the way, anytime you make a detainee think he is going to die, that is considered torture.

    Comment by Dan — September 25, 2006 @ 12:52 pm

  12. Dan and Guy,
    As I am sure you know, I agree with you on the issue of torture. I was wanted to emphasize that the Abu Ghraib phenomenon is not necessarily emblematic of everything that is going on. That said, while I find most of what is going on extremely disturbing, I find it less disturbing than what happened at Abu Ghraib.Comment by HP — September 25, 2006 @ 3:16 pm
  13. Mark IV: Thanks for your feedback. While we may have very little common ground, I think discussion is always important. I think you miss the point of my post if you think I have implied George Bush “represents a force for evil unprecedented in U.S.” The fact is I did not mention any leaders by name in my post. I would make the same post regardless of the oval office occupant. I fault all leaders at all levels of the American government who do not speak out about the current trend to re-define and re-write the Geneva Conventions and against the abuses that have been and now are being uncovered.Dan: Thanks for your links and analysis. Of course I am in agreement with them.HP: Your point about Abu Ghraib is well taken; however, my response is that Abu Ghraib happened because good men and women did nothing. The fact that the highest levels of our government continue to decide just how much abuse and torture can be legitimately inflicted, I believe, sends the wrong message and plants the seeds for further Abu Ghraibs in the future, regardless of how isolated it was. That said–even assuming it was isolated, it was still too much. And, still the government toys with the idea that mistreatment is somehow helpful. I disagree.Comment by Guy Murray — September 25, 2006 @ 3:41 pm
  14. Guy,No worries then. I was reacting to this statement:

    America was once a moral beacon of light to the world.

    When you followed that up with the quote from RR, I assumed you meant that everything before that was sweetness and light, but we’ve gone downhill since RR. My apologies for misreading you.

    Comment by Mark IV — September 25, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

  15. how much abuse and torture can we inflict on individuals suspected of terrorist activities, without crossing the line ourselves into the illegal and the immoral

    But …

    HP: Your point about Abu Ghraib is well taken; however, my response is that Abu Ghraib happened because good men and women took pictures, filed complaints and saw them through to prosecution.

    As we should continue to do.

    My personal take on it is that if you really feel that something is necessary, they strap you down next to the person and everything he experiences, you experience too.

    I continue to oppose torture, including waterboarding and similar techniques.

    Thank you for this post.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 25, 2006 @ 6:27 pm

  16. Guy, Dan,Islamic terrorists, who are blowing up dozens of innocent men, women and children daily, thank you for your support.Comment by Eric Russell — September 25, 2006 @ 11:42 pm
  17. Eric,If supporting principles of the Gospel equals supporting terrorism, then so be it. I won’t lower my standards.Did Alma implicitly support terrorism by allowing innocent people to be thrown into the pit of fire, instead of lowering his standards and doing some dirty business of his own? Read Alma 14

    10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
    11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

    Seems to me the Lord doesn’t have a problem with some innocent people dying so that his judgments will be just against the wicked…..

    Furthermore, perhaps if Bush would have actually sent in hundreds of thousands of troops, there would be no place for terrorists to hide in Iraq, and you wouldn’t have “dozens of innocent men, women and children” dying daily. But as we know, Bush was trying to win this war on the cheap. He said, of Americans: “Our hope, of course, is that they make no sacrifice whatsoever.”

    Lastly, your post implies there is only one way to fight off terrorists, and that is to torture them. Is that true?

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 4:47 am

  18. Mark IV,It’s interesting that you seem to think that those of us who oppose this President’s stance on torture/duress are ignorant of such things as the Bataan Death March, Andersonville, Vietnam POWs, the Rape of Nanking, Sudan, Congo, etc…Why is that?Because I assure you, I am well aware of these atrocities. I’ve seen the photos. I’ve read the descriptions of reporters and political activists being sodomized by Coke bottles in Uzbekistani jails, I’ve read accounts of Poles being tortured to death during the Russian civil war.I’ve been around on this issue.It’s because I’ve read these things that I’m ashamed of the stance our leadership has taken. It’s because I’ve seen these evils that I’m unwilling to take even one step down this path, even if it means the destruction of our entire nation.The interesting thing about the atrocities described by Mormon is that they occured at the height of Nephite civilization. Times were prosperous, the military was strong (as to the “strenght of men”), people were enjoying themselves.But it was all a shallow veneer covering a wretched civilization ripe for destruction. Their learning, culture, patriotism, indignation, and prosperity were only so much trash before an angry God.We could easily be right there with them – in as short a time period as ONE YEAR. I’m not the one who needs to “wake up to the harsh realities of life” here.Comment by Seth R. — September 26, 2006 @ 8:15 am
  19. Guy: As an American I am ashamed the leaders of my government are having this debate.The shame lies with the conspicuously absent lack-o-leadership Democrats, “The Democrats have not risen to the occasion. As the country debated this issue, the Democrats made a conscious decision to absent themselves from the stage, allowing the Republicans to claim that they’re the only party serious about the war on terror. http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/1733Guy: I don’t think it much matters which specific leaders or individuals have authorized or actually carried out the torture.Oh really now? To prove that it matters very much who the guilty parties are compare Abu Ghraib to the Mountain Meadow Massacre (MMM). How often have the enemies of the Mormons blamed MMM on the LDS Church and its leadership? How many anti-Mormons have concocted conspiracy theories “proving” Brigham Young was the mastermind behind MMM? Extrapolate the effect and affect MMM has had on the LDS Church and its members, then tell me again you don’t think it “much matters which specific leaders or individuals have authorized or actually carried out the torture.” How many anti-Bush, anti-American people have used Abu Ghraib to smear Bush et al?Guy: This conduct is antithetical to how Christ has taught us to treat one another. It also closely resembles conduct decried by Mormon in the Book of Mormon.Of course behavior of those involved in Abu Ghraib was deplorable. Contrast that with the militaries excellent investigation and punishment, thus proving these acts are not supported or condoned by the U.S. military.Again, to the bigger picture, there is zero evidence Bush et al have tortured anyone.Lastly, I don’t think you really mean it when you say you want the U.S. military to use the Book of Mormon as the standard of what is moral and immoral behavior.I don’t think you have the stomach for it, neither does Dan. Examples below:Alma 44 Moroni refuse to accept the enemies arms which they hand over unless they covenant to stop fighting; i.e., he rejects temporary peace, slays them all, and scalps the leader instilling fear in the enemy.Alma 46 Moroni slays those who refuse to enter the covenant of freedom. Gee, you are either with us or against us, where have I heard that before?

    Alma 51 Moroni compels the pacifistic “dissenters to defend their country or put them to death” and in fact slays many of them.

    Alma 51 Moroni casts remaining dissenters “into prison, for there was no time for their trails at this period”. Nephite Gitmo?

    Alma 54 Moroni demands enemies stop their “murderous attacks”, calls them “a child of hell” and is not open to prisoners exchanged except on his own terms, which are highly waited in favor of the Nephites.

    Alma 55 Moroni refuse to exchange prisoners, because he is angry for he knew their enemies did not have a just cause and he did not want to grant them greater strength.

    Alma 60 Moroni uses executive power to “use all their power and means to deliver themselves from their enemies” and even threatens the government to supply his armies or he will turn attack and slay them! Bush hasn’t gone that far yet, but Bush has everything in common with how Moroni managed the affairs of the Nephite war.

    Alma 62 Moroni kills the king-men because they refuse to defend their county. He has zero tolerance for dissension and pacifisms and dividers and non-supporters so much so he kills them!

    Imagine if the U.S. and Israel actually used the Book of Mormon as the standard of moral and immoral management of a war, how much the U.S. and Israel would be hated by the U.N. and the World in general.

    So, I say it again, Guy, I don’t think you really mean it when you say you want the U.S. military to use the Book of Mormon as the standard of what is moral and immoral behavior.

    No, Guy, the last thing you want is the U.S. using the Book of Mormon as its moral code on how to conduct a war. I don’t think you have the stomach for it, neither does Dan.

    Comment by LDS Patriot — September 26, 2006 @ 8:56 am

  20. Dan wrote: “That was the Truman administration that wrote the Geneva Conventions in the first place.”This would be the same Truman administration that oversaw the execution of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel by means of 28 minutes of strangulation? I think I’d rather be waterboarded.Comment by Chris Grant — September 26, 2006 @ 9:30 am
  21. Seth R.:My point in participating on this thread was simply to counter the view that our country now is in some horrific way worse than it has ever been, a view you appear to be asserting, and with which I strongly disagree. While I agree that there has been abuse and even torture, I think there has been LESS torture and abuse in the current war on terror than in any other war the US has fought in its history, and I tried to present evidence to support that contention. I belive that many see the torture issue as a political tool which can be used to attack GWB, and to the extent they do that, they are using the abuse of the detainees to promote politlcal ends and are every bit as cynical as they accuse the administration of being.Comment by Mark IV — September 26, 2006 @ 9:30 am
  22. Chris Grant, 20.Indeed. And the same Truman administration that approved the use of The Bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and the firebombing of Tokyo.Comment by Mark IV — September 26, 2006 @ 9:32 am
  23. LDSPatriot,Your understanding of the Book of Mormon seems to be flawed. You are using the Book of Mormon to justify immoral actions by claiming they were also done by a near perfect individual. You set up a straw man—-a fake Guy and a fake Dan who don’t have the stomach for the military action supposedly needed against this enemy—but as a typical straw man, is false. You have no actual evidence that Guy or myself could or could not stomach an action, moral or immoral, hence the use of the straw man. Then you paraphrase incorrectly the events of certain chapters of the Book of Mormon that supposedly makes your case. Well, let’s look at those chapters in more detail and let us see if what Captain Moroni did was immoral. By the way, by even using the word immoral within the context of military action, it seems you agree with us that the US military has been involved in rather immoral actions…..Alma 44you say:

    Alma 44 Moroni refuse to accept the enemies arms which they hand over unless they covenant to stop fighting; i.e., he rejects temporary peace, slays them all, and scalps the leader instilling fear in the enemy.

    Man you really misrepresent Moroni….Let’s see what he said.

    5 And now, Zerahemnah, I command you, in the name of that all-powerful God, who has strengthened our arms that we have gained power over you, by our faith, by our religion, and by our rites of worship, and by our church, and by the sacred support which we owe to our wives and our children, by that dliberty which binds us to our lands and our country; yea, and also by the maintenance of the sacred word of God, to which we owe all our happiness; and by all that is most dear unto us—
    6 Yea, and this is not all; I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us.
    7 And now, if ye do not this, behold, ye are in our hands, and I will command my men that they shall fall upon you, and inflict the wounds of death in your bodies, that ye may become extinct; and then we will see who shall have power over this people; yea, we will see who shall be brought into bondage.

    Moroni demands the Lamanites go home and promise not to come back to attack the Nephites. He tells the Lamanite captain that if he doesn’t, he will end their lives. Seems sensible to me. The Lamanites are in Nephite country, having started the conflict. Moroni, through ingenuity and the Lord’s protection, defeated the Lamanite army. The Lamanite army stopped fighting, and now Moroni makes the demands. What does the Lamanite captain say?

    8 And now it came to pass that when Zerahemnah had heard these sayings he came forth and delivered up his sword and his cimeter, and his bow into the hands of Moroni, and said unto him: Behold, here are our weapons of war; we will deliver them up unto you, but we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath unto you, which we know that we shall break, and also our children; but take our weapons of war, and suffer that we may depart into the wilderness; otherwise we will retain our swords, and we will perish or conquer.
    9 Behold, we are not of your faith; we do not believe that it is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that it is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you.

    Zerahemnah says he can’t make that promise because he knows it will be broken again. Now, based on your interpretation of Moroni, at this moment, Moroni would kill Zerahemnah, right? Well…..let’s see what Moroni did.

    10 And now when Zerahemnah had made an end of speaking these words, Moroni returned the sword and the weapons of war, which he had received, unto Zerahemnah, saying: Behold, we will end the conflict.
    11 Now I cannot recall the words which I have spoken, therefore as the Lord liveth, ye shall not depart except ye depart with an oath that ye will not return again against us to war. Now as ye are in our hands we will spill your blood upon the ground, or ye shall submit to the conditions which I have proposed.
    12 And now when Moroni had said these words, Zerahemnah retained his sword, and he was angry with Moroni, and he rushed forward that he might slay Moroni; but as he raised his sword, behold, one of Moroni’s soldiers smote it even to the earth, and it broke by the hilt; and he also smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp and it fell to the earth. And Zerahemnah withdrew from before them into the midst of his soldiers.

    Moroni didn’t take his sword and kill Zerahemnah, did he? No, he gave Zerahemnah yet another chance. Zerahemnah gets angry and tries to kill Moroni. And still, Moroni still has yet to raise his sword to kill Zerahemnah. Not only that, but the soldier who defended, merely broke Zerahemnah’s sword, and gave him a cut on the forehead. Even the soldier did not kill Zerahemnah, even though it would seem he was justified. Zerahemnah withdrew back to his soldiers, still alive. This is getting interesting. Let’s see what happens next.

    13 And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword, and stretched it forth unto them, saying unto them with a loud voice:
    14 Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace.
    15 Now there were many, when they heard these words and saw the scalp which was upon the sword, that were struck with fear; and many came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and entered into a covenant of peace. And as many as entered into a covenant they suffered to depart into the wilderness.

    You state that Moroni killed them all. As we see, this is a lie. Moroni prolonged the demand to give them as many chances to stop fighting as possible. And guess what, some had finally agreed to the oath, and they were left to go in peace. Let’s see what else happens.

    16 Now it came to pass that Zerahemnah was exceedingly wroth, and he did stir up the remainder of his soldiers to anger, to contend more powerfully against the Nephites.
    17 And now Moroni was angry, because of the stubbornness of the Lamanites; therefore he commanded his people that they should fall upon them and slay them. And it came to pass that they began to slay them; yea, and the Lamanites did contend with their swords and their might.
    18 But behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites; yea, behold they were pierced and smitten, yea, and did fall exceedingly fast before the swords of the Nephites; and they began to be swept down, even as the soldier of Moroni had prophesied.
    19 Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they anever would come to war again against them.
    20 And it came to pass that Moroni caused that the work of death should cease again among the people. And he took the weapons of war from the Lamanites; and after they had entered into a bcovenant with him of peace they were suffered to depart into the wilderness.

    Moroni rightfully defended himself, but read it carefully, it was not Moroni who instigated the work of death, was it? That was Zerahemnah. He pled again for the fighting to stop, and this time made the covenant. Did Moroni kill him? No. He let him go.

    Now, what was immoral about that? Trully, if our military were to learn from Captain Moroni how to treat enemies, our world would be a wonderful place.

    I bet if we were to look closely at all the chapters of Alma you paraphrased, we’d find they were moral and just in their actions, and not as you depict them, LDSPatriot.

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 10:18 am

  24. Chris,#20,

    This would be the same Truman administration that oversaw the execution of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel by means of 28 minutes of strangulation? I think I’d rather be waterboarded.

    nice changing of words. Be honest, please about Mr. Keitel. He was executed for his war crimes during WWII in Nazi Germany, and he was hanged instead of shot for his war crimes.

    Bush is not advocating using torture as a means of punishment for war crimes after an open trial, open to the whole world, where no evidence is secret. Bush intends to use torture—has already used it on detainees in violation of law—for the express means of gathering intelligence. Truman would never agree to this.

    as for his firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo and his use of the atomic bombs, they are not related to the question today about torture. Yes, they were reprehensible. In fact, British pilots who flew missions over Dresden were never given any awards for bravery……seems the British saw how reprehensible it was to bomb civilians.

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 10:24 am

  25. Dan writes:“nice changing of words. Be honest, please about Mr. Keitel. He was executed for his war crimes during WWII in Nazi Germany, and he was hanged instead of shot for his war crimes.”Yes, he was hanged and it took 28 minutes for him to die by strangulation. Are you saying that his status as a war criminal made the infliction of this sort of suffering okay?And it’s beyond humorous to be lectured on the “changing of words” by someone who reads about Zerehemnah getting his scalp sliced off and rephrases that has him getting “a cut on the forehead”.Comment by Chris Grant — September 26, 2006 @ 11:01 am
  26. I belive that many see the torture issue as a political tool which can be used to attack GWB, and to the extent they do that, they are using the abuse of the detainees to promote politlcal ends and are every bit as cynical as they accuse the administration of being.Exactly. This thread is not really about being Christ-like. It’s about scoring political points.At least we didn’t get claims about the firey sacrafice demanded by the eyes of George W. Bush.BDS is in full swing, and just because one can seletively quote scripture means nothing. Many won’t admit it – but it’s really more about double standards and partisan politics than any real view of the gospel.And Captain Moroni really was somewhat of a “facist”. Yet Mormon says if everyone was like him, hell itself would be shaken. The attempts to whitewash his actions are quite funny. LDSpatriot has it exactly right: most of us (including me) do not have the stomach to go as far as he did.Claim he was wrong (and ignore Mormon’s admiration) but don’t ignore or whitewash what he did.Comment by Ivan Wolfe — September 26, 2006 @ 11:23 am
  27. Our U.S. Govt is either acting Christlike or it isnt. Our Govt is either a beacon of light for all to see and revere or it isn’t. We are either the “Gold Standard” of right actions and behavior or we’re just another thuggish Nation acting just like the terrorists we seek to destroy. We all remember the bullies on the block and the school yard. Some of us may have been that person. Now hand that same bully a Book of Mormon or a Bible and have him go out and try and preach the word.We’ve managed to unwind decades of earned worldwide Goodwill fought and paid for by our forefathers on the beachheads of Omaha and Utah and the Asian Pacific theatres of battle. Not to mention the dismantling of the former Soviet Union and our involvement in ending the Cold War.Its that simple. Quoting passages from religious texts doesn’t change the outcome or atrocities already commited. It doesn’t help assuage the innocent victims of our Nation’s abusive power. Nor will it help reverse the destructive direction and path we’re on.The only message here is, “an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.”Comment by David L. — September 26, 2006 @ 11:30 am
  28. David L. wrote: “We’ve managed to unwind decades of earned worldwide Goodwill fought and paid for by our forefathers on the beachheads of Omaha and Utah and the Asian Pacific theatres of battle.”If you think the Americans didn’t do anything as harsh as waterboarding during WWII, you should do some more reading.Comment by Chris Grant — September 26, 2006 @ 12:11 pm
  29. Ivan,it is not us who wish to torture detainees. We wish that America stood by its principles and the law. Changing the law to allow torture reduces America’s principles to that of the old Soviet Union. Frankly, I have higher standards for my country.

    And Captain Moroni really was somewhat of a “facist”. Yet Mormon says if everyone was like him, hell itself would be shaken. The attempts to whitewash his actions are quite funny. LDSpatriot has it exactly right: most of us (including me) do not have the stomach to go as far as he did.

    Claim he was wrong (and ignore Mormon’s admiration) but don’t ignore or whitewash what he did.

    I thought fascism was evil. What do we call our “enemy” today? Islamo-fascists? Now you are admiring a supposed ‘fascist’ leader…..which is it? Is fascism good or evil? If we resort to fascist qualities, are we not becoming the very enemy we are supposedly fighting?

    Moreover, I’ve shown scriptures that are not selectively chosen or shown. I have no problem taking the time and reviewing every single verse in the Book of Mormon to show just how badly LDSPatriot is mangling the character of Captain Moroni. But I don’t think you all have the stomach to read all that. ;)

    Prove my interpretation of Alma 44 wrong. Show me where it says that Moroni killed every single Lamanite, as LDSPatriot asserted. Chapter 44 seems quite clear that Moroni did everything in his power to save their lives, which is the opposite of what LDSPatriot asserts. I quoted nearly the entire chapter. Prove me wrong.

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

  30. Chris,

    If you think the Americans didn’t do anything as harsh as waterboarding during WWII, you should do some more reading.

    Interestingly, the Japanese practiced waterboarding on allied forces during WWII. Now we practice it on our enemies……

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 12:30 pm

  31. Dan writes: “Interestingly, the Japanese practiced waterboarding on allied forces during WWII. Now we practice it on our enemies……
    ”Interestingly, my grandfather’s U.S. infantry unit killed POWs during WWII. Now we might object to such behavior……Comment by Chris Grant — September 26, 2006 @ 1:17 pm
  32. Interestingly, my grandfather’s U.S. infantry unit killed POWs during WWII. Now we might object to such behavior……

    Right. Because of these kinds of actions, we created the Geneva Conventions.

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

  33. Dan writes: “Right. Because of these kinds of actions, we created the Geneva Conventions.”Wrong. The U.S. ratified the Third Geneva Convention 15 years before these POWs were killed, and it specifically outlawed this sort of behavior.Comment by Chris Grant — September 26, 2006 @ 2:50 pm
  34. You’re right, the Third Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war was ratified by the US Senate in 1932. I wonder though why you say that now we object to killing prisoners and in 1945 we didn’t when in fact, it was the Law of the Land that killing of prisoners is a crime?just what point are you making?Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 3:42 pm
  35. Dan writes: “I wonder though why you say that now we object to killing prisoners and in 1945 we didn’t ”I didn’t say we didn’t object to it in 1945 (whoever “we” were).“just what point are you making?”The point I’m making is that the assertion that “America was once a moral beacon of light to the world” but that “the last several years have tarnished the shine of that city on the hill” betrays a lack of understanding of history. In particular, the idea that the United States was somehow more humane in its prosecution of WWII than it is in its prosecution of the War on Terror is not sustained by the evidence.Comment by Chris Grant — September 26, 2006 @ 4:02 pm
  36. Chris,

    The point I’m making is that the assertion that “America was once a moral beacon of light to the world” but that “the last several years have tarnished the shine of that city on the hill” betrays a lack of understanding of history. In particular, the idea that the United States was somehow more humane in its prosecution of WWII than it is in its prosecution of the War on Terror is not sustained by the evidence.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think you understand our anger at what is happening today. Yes, there were incidents of horrible actions in the past, but never were they legalized! What Bush wants to do is legalize these very horrors that were done on our troops by the Japanese. Can you name me any other time in American history where such horrors were legalized? Yeah, bad things happen, mostly out of rage and loss of control. But when else was it legalized to torture people here in America? Previously guilty parties were held accountable (to at least some degree). What Bush wants to do is immunize individuals in the CIA (and of course immunize himself) from prosecution for crimes they already committed. Bush has already told the CIA to break the law and waterboard detainees. Now he is seeking legal cover. Has something like this ever happened in the history of America? I can’t think of an incident.

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

  37. Dan writes: “Yes, there were incidents of horrible actions in the past, but never were they legalized!”Apparently it was legal for Keitel to be strangled for 28 minutes. Those who did so were never prosecuted, nor was any prosecution suggested to my knowledge. Is being waterboarded worse than 28 minutes of strangulation? Was Keitel worse than those being waterboarded?“What Bush wants to do is legalize these very horrors that were done on our troops by the Japanese.”The descriptions I’ve read of Japanese waterboarding sound different from the description I’ve read of U.S. waterboarding (although both sound terrible). As I understand it, it is common for U.S. aviators to agree to undergo U.S.-style waterboarding in their training. I doubt that many would agree to the Japanese-style drown/resuscitation cycle.“Can you name me any other time in American history where such horrors were legalized?”I can name all sorts of horrors that were apparently legal. (Intentionally immolating hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese civilians, for example.)“Yeah, bad things happen, mostly out of rage and loss of control.”My grandfather describes a GI in his unit calmly walking into the woods with a shovel, a rifle, and a German POW; a while later, the GI returned alone. POWs would be in the way during an impending Allied offensive. This was done in cold blood, and it was not an isolated incident.Comment by Chris Grant — September 26, 2006 @ 4:59 pm
  38. *shakes his head*This is going nowhere, Chris. You feel just fine with your country legalizing evil things. I don’t. I shall continue persuading my fellow Americans to keep their standards high, irregardless of what happened in the past. Past actions do not justify present actions. Not especially when the church has come out againstinhumane treatment of all.

    The church “condemns inhumane treatment of any person under any circumstances,” said church spokesman Dale Bills.

    Sounds like a good principle to live by.

    Comment by Dan — September 26, 2006 @ 6:23 pm

  39. LDS Patriot # 19:

    The shame lies with the conspicuously absent lack-o-leadership Democrats, “The Democrats have not risen to the occasion.

    While my post was not meant as a political post, I would nevertheless agree with you in part. There were only three, as I recall, U.S. Senators brave enough to speak up against the policy proposed by the Executive. I fault all United States Senators, and Representatives regardless of party who did not speak out loudly against this attempt to re-write and/or re-interpret the Geneva Conventions and to introduce torture as a legitimate means of interrogation.

    How many anti-Bush, anti-American people have used Abu Ghraib to smear Bush et al?

    Again, this post is not meant as an anti anybody smear. It is an outcry against what I consider to be immoral conduct by civilized people in times of war or even peace. You miss the larger point by going into defense mode of the current administration. My point is this conduct, these proposals, are indefensible–regardless of the party or administration in power.

    Lastly, I don’t think you really mean it when you say you want the U.S. military to use the Book of Mormon as the standard of what is moral and immoral behavior.

    I didn’t say that–you have made this assumption. What I said was that the conduct engaged in by United States officials from the lowly Army Privates at Abu Ghraib to the highest levels of Congress and the Executive (which branches are trying to legitimize this type of conduct) is the same type of conduct decried by Mormon. Furthermore, your recitation of scripture is completely irrelevant to the verses I referenced in my post. Surely you must not be suggesting that Captain Moroni as aggressive as he was during wartime engaged in the types of conduct decried by Mormon in Moroni.

    Comment by Guy Murray — September 26, 2006 @ 10:57 pm

  40. Eric Russell # 16: Please re-read my post, and then seriously reconsider whether you believe that I am in agreement with

    Islamic terrorists, who are blowing up dozens of innocent men, women and children daily.

    Ivan Wolfe # 26: Contrary to your assertions this is not a political thread. I tried to word it carefully so that it would not be a political thread. Some of the comments have taken a political overtone. You are certainly entitled to your own opinion; but, you have it from the “horses mouth” that was never my intent in the original post.

    Comment by Guy Murray — September 26, 2006 @ 11:10 pm

  41. Dan writes: “You feel just fine with your country legalizing evil things.”Wrong. I never said any such thing.“I shall continue persuading my fellow Americans to keep their standards high, irregardless of what happened in the past.”For future reference, “irregardless” is not a word.“Past actions do not justify present actions.”And a desire to condemn present actions does not justify misrepresenting past actions.Comment by Chris Grant — September 27, 2006 @ 7:59 am
  42. Guy -you may not have intended it, but since the original post is full of policitcal point making, you failed at making your intentions clear. Discussing the Geneva conventions, Colin Powell and taking shots at current political leaders all scream: I’m making a political point.So you didn’t intend it – fine. Next time, drop the political cheap shots.Comment by Ivan Wolfe — September 27, 2006 @ 8:09 am
  43. Chris,definition of irregardless ;)Comment by Dan — September 27, 2006 @ 8:14 am
  44. I should be a little clearer:Nothing is written in a vacuum. And while there’s nothing wrong per se with citing the Geneva conventions in a post on Christ-like love, filling a post suppossedly on Christ-like love with standard anti-Bush talking points (especially considering how often they keep getting repeated over and over again as though the mere repition will bring down Bush et al) -well, that doesn’t say “this is about Christ like love” – it says “I have these standard anti-Bush talking points that I’m using the gospel to cover for.”You say you didn’t intend that. Great – next time then, don’t just toe the party line so exactly. Try and be original.Comment by Ivan Wolfe — September 27, 2006 @ 8:18 am
  45. Dan:You are correct. “Irregardless” is a word, just as “for all intensive purposes” is a phrase. I suggest you use neither.Comment by Chris Grant — September 27, 2006 @ 9:04 am
  46. Chris,your suggestion is noted. I’ll use what I want, thank you. :)Comment by Dan — September 27, 2006 @ 9:22 am
  47. (#45) I love both irregardless of what anyone things. (grin)Comment by Clark Goble — September 27, 2006 @ 3:11 pm
  48. I view the LDS debate on torture and the Gospel as a subset of a larger delimma.
    I think the current debate reflects different attitudes on what war is and whether we are really ‘in a war’.Geneva isn’t scripture. It is also of limited practical value when faced with war. Geneva Conventions appear to introduce humanitarian limits upon what a side may do to win a war. But isn’t that creating something less than war? War isn’t a humanitarian undertaking. Isn’t Geneva trying to make war into more of a police action, security operation, or some other type of limited warfare?If you believe that God justifies war, as I believe he rarely does, has God proscribed limitations to the conduct of war? I haven’t seen any.Pragmatically this interpretation makes sense because:
    Historically, I’d assert that without exception, those nations which have been most successful in conflict have been those that wage unlimited and terrible war and in so doing, annihalate thier enemies, and deter any other potential threats by the sheer intimidation of their ferocity. (Hebrews, Athens, Spartans, Alexander, Romans, Conquistadores, Allies of WWII…etc.)
    Can anyone come up with an exception?I won’t make an opinion on whether we should be in Iraq. But I do doubt whether the average American or Mormon really feels like we are in a ‘real’ war there. Or better stated, whether winning is necessary to survival.The US and Allies firebombed, nuked and terrorized thier enemies with thier airpower in WWII, and rightly so. The entire point was to dishearten the enemy at home and destabilize thier confidence in making war. Anything less than victory threatened allied survival.The human rights of any Allied enemy clearly came second to victory because nobody doubted the necessity of victory. Similarly with the brutality displayed during the Civil War; when Americans feel that their back is against the wall, they don’t entertain constitutional guarantees to the enemies of thier constitution.I feel that according to scripture, that war is war, the last and most decisive recourse in conflict.
    I don’t think an American or a Mormon can justly engage in it unless they believe the possible destruction of thier enemy is justified.Torture becomes just a mum and necessary truth in a just war. But in any other circumstance outside of necessity (ie: defense), the gospel and human concience seem to struggle with war and its associated horror.Comment by Sam — September 27, 2006 @ 3:24 pm
  49. Guy #39:

    introduce torture as a legitimate means of interrogation.

    A major part of the problem is defining “torture” vs. strong and legitimate interrogation techniques. We can’t even agree who the enemy is, what to call the enemy, the meaning of the word “terrorist”, and who to blame for the WTC collapse!

    I digress, my point is simple: what you call torture may not be torture at all. It is a debate much needed to be sure, and thanks to Republican leadership we are getting much closer to the ideal balance.

    Again, this post is not meant as an anti anybody smear. It is an outcry against what I consider to be immoral conduct by civilized people in times of war or even peace. You miss the larger point by going into defense mode of the current administration. My point is this conduct, these proposals, are indefensible–regardless of the party or administration in power.

    I understood your point from the beginning.

    What I said was that the conduct engaged in by United States officials from the lowly Army Privates at Abu Ghraib to the highest levels of Congress and the Executive (which branches are trying to legitimize this type of conduct) is the same type of conduct decried by Mormon.

    There lies the crux of the matter, your gross overgeneralization and blanket condemnation of the U.S., its leaders, and the military. I know of no leader trying to “legitimize this type of conduct” (torture in the classical sense of the word). All leaders have condemned and punished those involved in the outlandish behavior at Abu Ghraib. Just as MMM was limited to a few wackos, so is torture, rape, etc., limited to a few wackos. There is zero evidence the U.S. has a policy of tortures period.

    What is more, the state of moral decline decried by Mormon is many times worse than anything comparable in the U.S. and its military; but a case could be easily made it does fit the patter of Jihadists.

    To be specific, in the U.S. military there is no:

    - deliberate slaying of prisoners (husbands/fathers/women/children)
    – forced cannibalism
    – food and water deprivation aimed at dehydration & starvation
    – mass rape and the endorsement thereof
    – murder in the most cruel manner
    – torturing of bodies unto death
    – cannibalism

    Furthermore, your recitation of scripture is completely irrelevant to the verses I referenced in my post. Surely you must not be suggesting that Captain Moroni as aggressive as he was during wartime engaged in the types of conduct decried by Mormon in Moroni.

    On the contrary, the scriptural citations I mentioned are highly relevant to the theme/gist of your post, namely, modeling Christlike, moral behavior (especially in war) as stated in your first post: “is essentially how much abuse and torture can we inflict on individuals suspected of terrorist activities, without crossing the line ourselves into the illegal and the immoral? … America was once a moral beacon of light to the world … As an American today, I feel our actions, or the actions of our leaders over the last several years have tarnished the shine of that city on the hill … the moral and spiritual well being of America”.

    That is why I choose Captain Moroni as the perfect model of Christlike, moral behavior, especially during a war against an intractable evil enemy bent on the destruction of his society and its freedoms. It perfectly parallels your posts topic. Captain Moroni is our perfect example of what is moral and immoral behavior; the litmus test you are seeking, is he not?

    I ask you to honestly reply to the following … would you support (moral) or condemn (immoral) the following Captain Moroni-like behaviors if practiced today by the U.S., its military, and/or Israel?:

    - scalping to instill fear
    – enemies that do not promise or covenant to stop fighting are slain
    – slaying those who refuse to enter into a covenant to defend freedom/nation
    – compel pacifistic “dissenters to defend their country or put them to death”
    – keeping dissenters (terrorists) in prison until the war is over
    – calling the enemy “a child of hell” (evil doers)
    – refusing to exchange prisoners, simply not open to demands of the enemy
    – if the enemy refuse to disarm and stop fighting, invade their land or wherever they run and hide and slay them
    – use sweeping and broad executive “power and means to deliver themselves from their enemies” and even threaten ones own government to supply & support armies or executive leader will turn on ones own government and attack them and slay them
    – a policy of zero tolerance for dissension and pacifisms and dividers and non-supporters during a time of war and crisis so much so they are killed in summary executions

    Comment by LDS Patriot — September 27, 2006 @ 5:12 pm

  50. Sam

    I don’t think an American or a Mormon can justly engage in it unless they believe the possible destruction of thier enemy is justified.

    Torture becomes just a mum and necessary truth in a just war. But in any other circumstance outside of necessity (ie: defense), the gospel and human concience seem to struggle with war and its associated horror.

    But as we see from the Alma 44 example, Moroni did not kill all the Lamanites who attacked him. He gave them ample opportunities to give up their fight and go home, promising never to come back. And as we know, they broke that promise. I think Moroni knew they would break it, but did that change his actions? He remained righteous.

    Would have he remained righteous if he had eliminated the entire Lamanite army right then? It is my belief that he would not.

    Torture is never a justified tool in a just war. Never. What is the purpose of torture? Getting information? well…..let’s look at Moroni once again to see how he got information about the movement of the enemy. Let’s read Alma 43

    23 But it came to pass, as soon as they had departed into the wilderness Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also,knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
    24 And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came unto Alma, and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people. And those messengers went and delivered the message unto Moroni.

    What a brilliant idea! If any of us lack wisdom, how should we get information? Torturing people? NO! Why not ask the Lord? Would the Lord tell us the truth? He told Alma the truth, and Alma told Moroni. And they didn’t have to torture a single individual!

    Why not take this example and use it today?

    Do you think the Lord will not help us today?

    Comment by Dan — September 27, 2006 @ 9:00 pm

  51. Dan,
    You cite: ‘But as we see from the Alma 44 example, Moroni did not kill all the Lamanites who attacked him. He gave them ample opportunities to give up their fight and go home, promising never to come back.’Alma 44 doesn’t address torture or anything remotely like it. It addresses killing prisoners.
    The US doesn’t kill all of the insurgents it captures. It doesn’t require them to give an oath, on pain of death, either). Insurgents aren’t about to pledge allegiance to the Infidel flag, many would rather die honorably. But the US does extract information from them, using pain. Does Alma 44 address this? No. It gives no information about prisoner treatment protocol. In my unqualified opinion, I wouldn’t be surprised if Captain Moroni’s troops did extract non-voluntary information from Lamanites, even if by vicious means. (”Better one man perish than an entire nation wander…”) But I don’t know. The BoM, while scripture, is by no means thorough as to Nephite/Lamanite practice and history.You also state: “Torture is never a justified tool in a just war. Never.”Which is exactly what this thread is debating. (as well as what torture really is). But Dan, without any support, your above assertion doesn’t advance the debate. I counter that if the entire earth population’s survival depended upon me extracting info from one man, it would be both efficient and just to torture him for it.
    While my example is extreme, it is the same principle which drives the conscience of every officer with a duty to ensure national security.You further stated, “What is the purpose of torture? Getting information? well…..let’s look at Moroni once again to see how he got information about the movement of the enemy. Let’s read Alma 43. Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites”Are you suggesting that to win this war, or find Bin Laden, that it will be necessary for the Pentagon to ask an apostle’s help?
    I don’t ridicule the idea; I just don’t see it happening. A gruesome reality currently provides a menu of the alternative measures taken to obtain intellegence. That reality currenlty seems to rely on torture.“Do you not think the Lord will not help us today?”I do think He will and I think He is. For either side in thier righteous endevours. But the question remains: is torture always unjustified to him? We know that killing is not because Nephi killed an unarmed Laban with his own sword at the Spirit’s insistence. God seems to be a pragmatists in such matters.Comment by Sam — September 28, 2006 @ 7:49 pm
  52. Re: comment 25
    Dan,
    you said,
    “Moroni rightfully defended himself, but read it carefully, it was not Moroni who instigated the work of death, was it? That was Zerahemnah. He pled again for the fighting to stop, and this time made the covenant. Did Moroni kill him? No. He let him go.Now, what was immoral about that? Trully, if our military were to learn from Captain Moroni how to treat enemies, our world would be a wonderful place.I bet if we were to look closely at all the chapters of Alma you paraphrased, we’d find they were moral and just in their actions, and not as you depict them, LDSPatriot.”Dan,Moroni let them go because he had defeated them. Twice. Nephites had won. We haven’t and aren’t even close. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SCENARIO…let the Alma comparisons go. Moroni didn’t need Lamanite oil, or regional stability, or the deterrence of Iranian interference. Neither did he fear a Lamanite alliance with a nuclear power, nor any other power, because the Lamanites and Nephites were the only powers in the land.Comment by Sam — September 28, 2006 @ 8:01 pm
  53. Sam,I had a big long comment in response to your first comment, but somehow it has not appeared, and silly me, I did not copy it. Oh well.Basically, it doesn’t matter. I’m past feeling right now on this issue. Too many Mormons like justifying torture when there is no scriptural backing for it. Too many Mormons forget what happens in Alma 14, where the Lord let innocent people die, instead of lowering his standards.This will end badly for America.

    Moroni didn’t need Lamanite oil, or regional stability,

    I beg to differ. I think Moroni was very interested in regional stability. And no, the Nephites and the Lamanites were not the only powers in the land. They are the only ones Mormon chose to write about.

    Comment by Dan — September 28, 2006 @ 8:30 pm

  54. Sam, I concur.Comment by LDS Patriot — September 29, 2006 @ 8:12 am
  55. I’ve given this thread a rest for a few days. I’ve now revisited the comments, and appreciate all the views expressed. Of course, I don’t agree with all of them; yet, I appreciate the fact you have all participated left the comments you have.There has been a great deal of discussion about politics, and who has the better political arguments or not. There has been a great deal of discussion about the definition of torture.There has even been some discussion about being anti-American and the like for expressing a particular view. I also don’t agree with that characterization.But, what I did not see was much, if any discussion at all on my original point about The Savior’s injunction to treat each other as we would be treated. That simple injunction, it seems to me, answers the question of what is acceptable treatment. What is acceptable is how we would want to be treated. If none of us want to be “water boarded” or subjected to sleep deprivation, or stripped naked and humiliated–then I suspect we should not subject others to that same type of treatment.I think Stephen Ethesis #15 was one of the few, if not the only one to really discuss the standard of treatment as that standard of how we would want to be treated.In short, I am unpersuaded that anyone has yet made the case that Christ’s injunction in Matthew should not apply to how we should treat those in our control in this war on terror. If I am wrong, and if Christ’s injunction should not apply; or if you can demonstrate through citation to other scripture or Latter-day prophets that Christ did not mean what he said–I’m still waiting to see it.Comment by Guy Murray — September 29, 2006 @ 10:33 pm
  56. Guy,I’ll try to address your points specifically.First, following up on Stephen’s comment # 15. According to Mark Fox, a reporter for ABC news who has interviewed the CIA personnel who do the interrogations, the interrogators themselves have actually undergone every coercive treatment which is used on the detainees, including waterboarding. Which is to say that they are NOT doing anything to the jihadis that they have not already experienced themselves, voluntarily. Does that help at all with the golden rule argument?Second, I dont like basing an entire agrument on a single passage of scripture. Ezra 9:4-6 records that the Lord commands the Israelites to “slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women.” According to our doctrine, that is the same God who said “do ye even so to them”. I have difficulty reconciling those two statements, and until I can, I don’t feel like making any authoritative pronouncements based on either one.I hope this helps to shed some light.Comment by Mark IV — September 30, 2006 @ 12:11 am
  57. I have a question for all of you who back torture….er…”alternative set of procedures.” Can you picture, can you envision, President Hinckley or President Monson placing a rag over a detainee’s head and then pouring water over his head to induce the gag reflex? After hearing their talks last night in the Priesthood session, can you honestly envision them doing this. If we are to follow the example of the prophet, if they ask us to love our enemies and do good to them that wish us harm, how can we in all honestly live our gospel and torture at the same time?Comment by Dan — October 1, 2006 @ 9:47 am
  58. Dan,
    #57. It is manipulative because it begs me to associate Hinckley with Abu Graib. To this point you’ve tried to make select battle scripture apply to torture, used generalized ‘feel good’ phrases that on the surface make good sound bites but don’t address the reasons why some of us don’t agree with them. I don’t answer your compassion with compassion, but I do respond with the the difficulties of appling such principles to US foreign policy and possible unintended consequences and costs of said compassion as you’ve interpreted it.
    I don’t belittle your arguments, or think that they don’t have merit. But maybe you and I are arguing from different planes altogether. I’m looking for workable Gospel sanctioned answers/principles that could be applied in Church stance and Government strategy.
    But maybe that isn’t what you are after.
    I’l take your bait as per #57:
    Would Pres. Hinckley do such things as you suggested?
    Did Nephi cut off Laban’s head? What if it took more than one blow? Or it resembled the Daniel Pearl beheading? What if Laban felt it? (”Better one man perish…” -personally, this statement disturbs me b/c of its Koranish-like potential for misuse/abuse).
    There are a zillion examples of God sanctioned acts of violence.
    True, those are Old testament times subject to Old Testament law; But if the spirit compelled President Hinckley, would he be less obedient than Nephi? Remember how Nephi’s knowledge of the Gospel and his own conscience resisted the spirit? Obedience was asked and it was given. Is Hinckley any less obedient or great than Nephi?
    And if you agree with me that President Hinckley obeys the spirit to the best of his knowledge/discernment, doesn’t it lead us back to the exact same question which you fail to address: “Can the saviour sanction torture (Or lesser forms of abuse)?” Or, applying your suggestion. Would the Savior ever ask such an act of an honorable Preisthood bearer?To me this is the issue, not any amount of pain, humiliation, blood or death. If God sanctions war, does he weigh in upon the methods used therein? And if so where? Does it address torture?Comment by Sam — October 1, 2006 @ 3:40 pm
  59. Addressing comment #55 (Guy)
    I agree, that my posts may appear to not address the “Do unto others” theme. But I think, implicitly I have been. I can’t resolve the torture issue with such a broad brush. For me, the devil is in the details. :)
    The ‘do unto others’ theme conflicts sharply with war. Certainly you wouldn’t war upon yourself. Guy, do you believe war can ever be justified? Does your vision of the Gospel justify killing a man who never shot at you personally, because he carries the wrong flag represent ideals that he loves, but seem to threaten yours? (Jihad, and Dar al-Harb- “house of war”). This is what confronts us. And I think your question is both interesting and important.
    Does the Gospel address War with an alternate set of rules than those addressed by “Do unto others…” and the beatitudes? I hope not because that would be both confusing and dangerously easy to abuse.
    But off of the top of my head I can think of so many cases where violence is condoned and even encouraged by the Church, through scripture in war. And I agree, stopping fascists and Communists was important.
    I alsoI see such ‘war justification’ arguments as being analogous to those of torture. War is horrible evil, so is torture. If God can understand the need for one, then why not the other?Comment by Sam — October 1, 2006 @ 3:50 pm
  60. Sam,

    To this point you’ve tried to make select battle scripture apply to torture, used generalized ‘feel good’ phrases that on the surface make good sound bites but don’t address the reasons why some of us don’t agree with them. I don’t answer your compassion with compassion, but I do respond with the the difficulties of appling such principles to US foreign policy and possible unintended consequences and costs of said compassion as you’ve interpreted it.

    Like I said earlier, I actually had a long post in reply to an earlier post of yours but I think I had too many links in it, and wordpress assumed it was spam and never posted it. Foolishly I did not copy what I wrote and it was lost. I don’t debate an issue of such importance as torture without credible evidence. I don’t work on ‘feel good’ quotes, but on actual reality.

    Yes, the attempt to link Hinckley to Abu Ghraib is manipulative, but if we are to follow the prophet’s example, such a question is valid, akin to “what would Jesus do?” If you cannot picture a prophet of the Lord acting out what we saw in Abu Ghraib, how can we do it ourselves, moreover even consider making it legal.

    And before you say Abu Ghraib was a mistake done by a few wayward soldiers, take a look at what they were doing at Abu Ghraib and then look at what the CIA wants legalized.

    Putting detainees in stress positions. Check.
    Unclothing detainees. Check.
    Forcing detainees to stand for prolonged periods of time. Check.

    Many of the things that happened at Abu Ghraib are what they are because the CIA brought those techniques to Abu Ghraib and practiced them on ghost detainees. Furthermore, General Miller, who was in charge of Gitmo before going to Iraq, brought those techniques from Gitmo.

    Furthermore, these are not new techniques that the CIA wishes to practice on detainees. Nothing of what we hear—and probably don’t hear about—is new. It has all been practiced before, to ill effect, by the Soviet Union.

    Here is where the links came in last time, and was the cause of my post not appearing. I’m going to link to only one thing, my blog, where I reference numerous sources showing the Soviet Union using stress positions, sleep deprivation, cold dousing, etc. on their prisoners, to ill effect.

    Please take a look at this post on my website. I’ve brought up numerous examples, including by a noted Soviet dissident who was near to become president of Russia after Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Bukovsky.

    In an op-ed he wrote last year on the issue of torture he said many valuable things for America to learn. I don’t want to quote the whole thing, but the whole article should give pause to anyone considering using torture on any individual.

    So, why would democratically elected leaders of the United States ever want to legalize what a succession of Russian monarchs strove to abolish? Why run the risk of unleashing a fury that even Stalin had problems controlling? Why would anyone try to “improve intelligence-gathering capability” by destroying what was left of it? Frustration? Ineptitude? Ignorance? Or, has their friendship with a certain former KGB lieutenant colonel, V. Putin, rubbed off on the American leaders? I have no answer to these questions, but I do know that if Vice President Cheney is right and that some “cruel, inhumane or degrading” (CID) treatment of captives is a necessary tool for winning the war on terrorism, then the war is lost already.

    He goes on to describe how even the mundane things, if used just right become torture.

    A simple prison bed is deadly if you remove the mattress and force a prisoner to sleep on the iron frame night after night after night. Or how about the “Chekist’s handshake” so widely practiced under Stalin — a firm squeeze of the victim’s palm with a simple pencil inserted between his fingers? Very convenient, very simple.

    Water, for example, is essential for life. As we know, though, too little water can kill you, but how about too much? Is it torture to give someone too much water to drink? What happens to a person’s body who has too much water in it? Just because something looks mundane on paper (cold water, standing for prolonged periods of time) does not diminish their power if used in a certain way. Douse someone with cold water for a prolonged period of time, and you start destroying that person’s body.

    The supposed intent of torture is to get information. How accurate will the information be if you completely break the will of an individual? How will you know if what that person says is credible? You use a ticking-time-bomb scenario to justify general practice, but in a ticking-time-bomb scenario, you do not have time to verify if the detainee has told you the truth. Either he has, or he hasn’t. Doesn’t fit the facts, does it? For the information to be accurate, you need verification before moving on what a detainee says. But if you have a ticking-time-bomb about to go off, you do not have the time to verify. What good is torturing the individual then?

    Real life is not Jack Bauer. Give up watching that show to get a sense of what torture really entails. Note though the effect of a show like that has on the American public. They are more willing to accept torture as an American art.

    Did Nephi cut off Laban’s head? What if it took more than one blow? Or it resembled the Daniel Pearl beheading? What if Laban felt it? (”Better one man perish…” -personally, this statement disturbs me b/c of its Koranish-like potential for misuse/abuse).
    There are a zillion examples of God sanctioned acts of violence.

    We don’t know how many blows it took for Nephi to cut off Laban’s head. And pain is not the issue. Nor is the issue killing someone who stands in your way of your civilization growing. I have no problem with a strategy that completely destroys our enemy, or to the point where they surrender. The moment they surrender, like the great Captain Moroni, the killing stops.

    And if you agree with me that President Hinckley obeys the spirit to the best of his knowledge/discernment, doesn’t it lead us back to the exact same question which you fail to address: “Can the saviour sanction torture (Or lesser forms of abuse)?” Or, applying your suggestion. Would the Savior ever ask such an act of an honorable Preisthood bearer?

    This leads back to the question of torture, and my thinking-out-of-the-box alternative. Torture is supposedly used to get information. Would the Lord sanction effectively raping an individual to gain information? What has the Lord asked us to do if we needed information? Thus, by default, the Savior will never ask us to torture individuals, because if we seek information, asking him will always be the only option he would advise, and has advised us to use.

    So no, I cannot see the Savior ever asking such an act of an honorable Priesthood bearer, nor are there any examples of priesthood bearers torturing human beings to get information. Anytime I think of a Priesthood bearer possibly acting out such acts, I recall D&C 121 about how priesthood bearers should act. Methinks Joseph Smith and the Lord did not intend there to be any exceptions to the qualifications and qualities of a priesthood bearer who is honorable and worthy.

    To me this is the issue, not any amount of pain, humiliation, blood or death. If God sanctions war, does he weigh in upon the methods used therein? And if so where? Does it address torture?

    His prophet has.

    The church “condemns inhumane treatment of any person under any circumstances,” said church spokesman Dale Bills.

    No exceptions. Any person under any circumstance.

    Comment by Dan — October 2, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

  61. The moral of the story is we live in a state of irrational fear and based on that fear we’ve resorted to implementing our own rules of engagement… A by any means necessary approach to combating the demons of 911 and the apocalyptic threat of Osama Bin Linden.Abu Ghraib is the by product of our degenerative mindset and what happens when we dehumanize the faces our enemy. Our actions over there were borderline Hitleresque and accomplished nothing, but more ill will worldwide and an another excuse for our enemies to join the terrorist business and risk their lives in pursuit of Jihad.These are the facts, irrespective of scripture, comparative analysis or whatever may have occured at one time on our ever evolving planet. God help us all as we continue on this irrational path of destruction.Comment by David L. — October 2, 2006 @ 9:02 pm
  62. Oh I just thought of this…..Supporters of torture downplay these techniques, saying things like what Brian Aikens said over on Guy Murray’s blog in response to his post:

    I’m sorry but I remember being subjected to three of the above while trying out for an elite Boy Scout group while a teen, Guy may have been there.

    If it is true, that these techniques are no more harmful than what we are subjected to during Boy Scout hazing rituals, how does one expect them to actually work on a hardened terrorist?

    Comment by Dan — October 2, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

  63. No, Dan you are wrong when you say, “The moment they surrender, like the great Captain Moroni, the killing stops.”Point of fact, it was not the surrender of weapons that made Captain Moroni stop killing, rather, it was the surrender of weapons + covenant to stop any future fighting. Those that refused to enter a permanent cease fire, he gave their surrendered arms back and slaughtered them without mercy.In present context, if Israel were to act like Captain Moroni, Israel would not withdraw from Lebanon but would destroy Hezbollah to annihilation. Likewise that is what the fate of all Jihadists groups ought to be.And you’d support such strong measures because you are in favor we follow the example of Captain Moroni, right Dan?Comment by LDS Patriot — October 3, 2006 @ 8:14 am
  64. Its amazing how we can talk about the torture of POWs as if it is some far away reality. Our congress just passed a bill (HR 6166) which makes it possible for the president to declare U.S. citizens enemy combatants using whatever criteria he wishes. Once a U.S citizen is imprisoned under the bill, the normal rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights are no longer valid. We can be held without evidence and without a trail as long as our president or his representatives see fit. I’m sure our government will not stoop so low as to torture us in such a situation…..right?
    I am amazed that the priesthood of our church has sat by and let our Constitution be destroyed under the guise of a war on terror and that our members are clueless as to what is happening. I don’t blame the first presidency, they have been warning us for years. I blame the general apathy of the American populace. It’s a shame are members and our priesthood have fallen victim to this general constitutional ignorance. As a result we are well on our way to tyranny.Comment by james — October 3, 2006 @ 11:48 am
  65. LDSPatriot,

    In present context, if Israel were to act like Captain Moroni, Israel would not withdraw from Lebanon but would destroy Hezbollah to annihilation. Likewise that is what the fate of all Jihadists groups ought to be.

    And you’d support such strong measures because you are in favor we follow the example of Captain Moroni, right Dan?

    actually I would.

    In the case of Israel, I thought their response was way overblown. Both sides had been trading kidnapping in return for some ransom for the past 25 years. What Hezbollah did was nothing new. Why the sudden massive response that ended up being rather unwise? I know that Israel had been planning some sort of action against Hezbollah for some time, and they thought they could take advantage of Hezbollah’s aggression here to move against them, but then when they began, Olmert and his top chiefs wavered, not sure if they should go all the way, or back off. It is ironic, really, because they had the support of almost everybody in the world. I would not have had a problem with them going in full blown, but alas, Israel learned the wrong lesson from America, and thought that simply bombing this bridge or that apartment complex, Hezbollah would somehow capitulate. Did Israel not see that the Taliban continued to pester America?

    If you are going to go on an adventure, go all the way, or not at all. If you go half-way, you will lose, because most likely, your enemy is not going to defend himself only half way. He will strike back at you with full ferocity. Either go full way, or not at all. This was our problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the unfortunate lesson Israel did not learn.

    Captain Moroni knew this. Which is why his defense of his people when the Lamanites first came to battle against them in Alma 43 had the Nephites at a distinct advantage with their defenses. Then upon having the Lamanites not give in to their demands, they were willing to go all the way. Once the Lamanites finally realized this, did they make the promise they knew they were eventually going to break in Alma 44. Moroni still stopped the killing once they made that covenant, even though he knew in his heart they would break the promise, as they did in Alma 46.

    I have no problem supporting strong measures. But I will rightly question policies that are ineffectual and counterproductive. Hence my criticism of both our policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lamentable use of torture as a tool. All these are bringing shame and eventual harm to my country.

    We should have fixed Afghanistan completely before venturing into any other country. The Taliban should not have been allowed to live without the same covenant Captain Moroni gave the Lamanites. Alas, Bush’s distraction war in Iraq wrecked Afghanistan, and just yesterday you had Senator Frist actually say that he wouldn’t mind seeing the Taliban be a part of the new Afghan government! What?!?!?!?!?!

    Comment by Dan — October 3, 2006 @ 11:51 am

  66. Dan,
    You’ve finally said something that we both agree upon completely. Israel did learn a poor lesson from the US when it decided to go into quasi-war mode. Defense is always justified. But offense rarely is. Israel went from defense to offense. Offense is justified by completevictory, because a complete victory resolves teh conflict and returens stability. Israel did neither. It only took lives, and by Hamas mere survival, it is encouraged.
    It is analagous to the US.
    The US went into Iraq only half committed, as evidenced by:
    -# troops committed
    -amount of initial mobilization at home
    -projected budget
    -failure to prepare/placate the Western international community.
    The US failed to enforce a meaningful occupation and has lost its victory. Thus, I’d argue that unless the US is willing to mobilize for all out conventional war, including increased taxes and a draft to increase troop numbers, it will lose. Our enemies are defending their homeland. Short of destroying them we can’t beat them.War is war. If you’re not defending yourself at then you better be ready to go all out. (But Dan,this is where you and I disagree, I think this all out war implies torture, mostly because war ALWAYS has involved torture…which testifies to its effectiveness). If we are willing to war, then I could care less about international goodwill unless it is militarily expedient, because I should feel morally justified regardless.Otherwise I would rely on diplomacy. The threat of force should be very very scary because it represents a real threat of annihalation. The US military is weak because its ability to war is constrained by domestic politics. (international politics are always relevant).To be effective, war should be the last and most horrible measure (to better deter future war).I wonder if Captain Moroni would be considered a war criminal by today’s standards? The expectations for ‘War’ have changed so much. He probably wouldn’t be, but there might be a trial. But Moroni was a tyrant, the very definition of a tyrant. He destroyed political enemies, threatened his own government, and used his control of the military to control Nephite power structures. Caesar-ish? But perhaps populists tyrants are preferable in times of war? They certainly wage it much better than democracies. Don’t the Executive ‘war powers’ implicitly recognize this fact? Democracies are divided and indecisive, which isn’t good in war, but is great for peacetime stability. WWI and II are exceptional b/c the media aided gov’t propaganda instead of rebuking it. Hence the media became an extension of government.Moroni’s validation as a necessary and good tyrant comes when he gives the power back to the government. Contrary decisions by other historical tyrants have condemned them as dictators.My point is that Iraq isn’t a real war to Americans or to Dan. They aren’t willing to pay higher taxes, gas prices, suffer a draft or pay the moral prices of largescale killing and suffering. Perhaps they would be if the leadership had the courage or faith in them to even ask. But I think even LDSpatriot would concede that our current political leadership will not be looked kindly upon by history even if Iraq and Afghanistan are won.Comment by Sam — October 3, 2006 @ 1:56 pm
  67. Man, sorry my posts are so full of typos…I’m in a hurry.Comment by Sam — October 3, 2006 @ 1:58 pm
  68. Sam,Did you get a chance to read my earlier post ( here )? I discussed why torture is never good. You haven’t commented on it, so I was curious if you read it.You claim that in total war, torture is a viable and legal option. Yet, the United States, Germany and Britain, all signatories to the Third Geneva Convention–the one that includes the ban on torture–fought a total war without the use of torture on any prisoners in WWII. Sure you had the few soldiers who lost control and out of anger beat up POWs or even killed them. But it was not a general practice by the leadership down. And what do you know, we won the war, totally and completely. It did not require the use of torture, on a vastly more powerful enemy than we are currently facing today. Today’s enemy fights differently, but are far weaker than the Nazis were. Nazi Germany was the most powerful country on the planet in 1941. Don’t diss the efforts of the Greatest Generation by comparing Islamic terrorists who hide in caves to the most powerful enemy America has ever faced. It is a disgrace to their sacrifice. If the Greatest Generation could defeat the greatest enemy without employing torture, why can’t we?Again, there is a difference between a true warrior, and one who employs torture. We don’t doubt Wesley Clark’s ability to war, as he did as NATO commander during Kosovo, because he employed tactics that are in line with our moral characteristics. Moroni was a righteous man who defended his country. Much of LDSPatriot’s attempts to compare Moroni to the CIA’s torture tactics are taken out of context. It is disingenuous to compare Moroni’s political environment with that of ours. They were not a democracy, nor a representative republic. They were ruled over by judges, a totally different system, with different sets of rights and privileges. To try and compare them to us is not being fair or accurate. The reason Moroni was probably not pursued criminally after the war was because everything he did was in line with the laws of his people. We don’t know all the laws because Mormon doesn’t describe all the laws.

    The US failed to enforce a meaningful occupation and has lost its victory. Thus, I’d argue that unless the US is willing to mobilize for all out conventional war, including increased taxes and a draft to increase troop numbers, it will lose. Our enemies are defending their homeland. Short of destroying them we can’t beat them.

    I wholeheartedly agree. We’ve put Iraq on a credit card for our children to pay. How shameful of our generation that we are unwilling to pay for our own wars! Shameful!

    If we are willing to war, then I could care less about international goodwill unless it is militarily expedient, because I should feel morally justified regardless.

    You should always care about international goodwill, because you never want the whole world against you. Never. Take Nazi Germany for example. Did they care about international good will? Nope. They invaded country after country, until they were all alone with Japan. Didn’t turn out so well for them, did it? International goodwill keeps the rest of the world on the sideline in your war with your enemy. Never turn the world community against you. Yeah, we’ve got enough nuclear weapons to destroy all the world, but then….just what are we fighting for?

    My point is that Iraq isn’t a real war to Americans or to Dan. They aren’t willing to pay higher taxes, gas prices, suffer a draft or pay the moral prices of largescale killing and suffering. Perhaps they would be if the leadership had the courage or faith in them to even ask.

    Well said. If I could have believed the lie that Iraq was a threat, and Bush had asked me to make a sacrifice, I would have. The unfortunate thing about Iraq, is that right from the start, I knew it had nothing to do with 9/11, nor with WMDs. Too many instances of occasions where information was counter to what Bush and his supporters said. Take for example what Colin Powell said in February 2001 in Egypt.

    We had a good discussion, the Foreign Minister and I and the President and I, had a good discussion about the nature of the sanctions — the fact that the sanctions exist — not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein’s ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction. We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they are directed toward that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was ten years ago when we began it. And frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. So in effect, our policies have strengthened the security of the neighbors of Iraq…

    Before 9/11, Colin Powell said that the sanctions worked, and Saddam had not reconstituted his WMD program. I distinctly recall watching that very press conference he gave in Egypt, and then could not understand why later on his administration would say something completely different. From the start, this war was a lie. But if it were true, I would have backed it.

    I may be on the liberal side of things regarding foreign policy, but that does not equal being weak or soft on defense. Consider me a Kennedy liberal, the old 50s and 60s liberal who has a soft heart for the people of the world, but a strong back, who doesn’t get pushed around easily, and doesn’t get blown around by the wind as a leaf, like the hippie liberals of the late 60s and early 70s.

    But I think even LDSpatriot would concede that our current political leadership will not be looked kindly upon by history even if Iraq and Afghanistan are won.

    I’m not going to hold my breath for people like LDSPatriot to concede that Bush will not be looked kindly upon by future generations. Hardcore Bush backers remind me of old Confederates who 150 years later still hate the fact that they lost the Civil War.

    Comment by Dan — October 3, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

  69. Dan, I did post a one-line response to post #60 but apparently it didn’t make it through.
    I thought the post to be a meandering digression full of great ideas and thoughts and sources that didn’t address my questions/issues. It seemed to be better aimed at your conversations with LDSpatriot. You did mention some of my issues before tying them up with others that really are beside the point (effectiveness of torture according to a Russian who was never in the KGB). Or that you might know more about what torture entails than I do.
    That is condescending and wrong. Neither of us are privy to any of the informations other than that provided by the MMM and bloggers with axes to grind which, I think you’d concede, are limited and bias from both angles.Instead of addressing whether the Gospel indicates that God would weigh in on whether war and torture are justified, it just reiterated the same rhetorical ‘appeal to emotions’ question of whether I can picture Christ torturing. Can you picture him cutting off someone’s head?I assume you discount my Nephi response because Nephi was ordered by the spirit to kill Laban and not torture him. The Spirit is God Dan, remember? Three separate beings, one purpose and will. If you would like to bootstrap this to ‘WWJD’ and God ordered it, than it is pretty much the same as if God beheaded Laban right? . So, yeah. If there is room in the Gospel for beheadings, then there might be some for torture. THAT IS MY QUESTION. If God his prophet to commit one, he may order him to commit the other.
    As much as it might pain the soft and fuzzy Heavenly Father paradigm that can’t imagine a violent, just and pragmatic God, God does do some pretty rediculously violent stuff when he deems it justified. (Starvation, fire from heaven, drowning etc etc…wait Dan, these methods of destruction sound a lot like…your examples of torture). The Old Testament is tough to reconcile eh Dan?
    But in the New Testament Christ never took up arms and fits the ‘warm and fuzzy’ paradigm. I agree, it is confusing. But it is on point.in #60 you said “Anytime I think of a Priesthood bearer possibly acting out such acts, I recall D&C 121 about how priesthood bearers should act. Methinks Joseph Smith and the Lord did not intend there to be any exceptions to the qualifications and qualities of a priesthood bearer who is honorable and worthy.”Methinks you’ve expressed an unsupported opinion that you’d hope were so true and simple, but since this is a novel issue as applied to Priesthood behavior I won’t take your word for it (or the church spokesman talking to the press. Do you really expect him to speak outside of cozy generalities to the press, like”hey, there might be some exceptions to ‘do unto others’ in cases of war here and there, but we are a people of peace.” Our Gospel is full of exceptions ex: ‘Do unto other’s…’ excepted by ‘better one man perish…’You said “It is disingenuous to compare Moroni’s political environment with that of ours. They were not a democracy, nor a representative republic. They were ruled over by judges, a totally different system, with different sets of rights and privileges. To try and compare them to us is not being fair or accurate.”We are in agreement I’m glad you finally concede that Moroni comparisons aren’t applicable. Since you began bringing him up LDSpatriot and I have been going crazy trying to hammer this very point. You might try and rescind what you’ve said and say that it was only in response to my tyrant/war criminal comments taht I baited you with. But that would be both inconsistent and disingenuous. Moroni comparisons have been a stretch from the begining.I maintain that international goodwill would be immaterial to me if I thought I were justified to go to war. And not only is your inaccurate Nazi (Nazis were friends with Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Italy and several African countries), it not even close to comparable because the Nazis attacked nations that fought them, even sinking US ships before we declared war. Which is so different from goodwill…also off point Nazi allusions it violate blogging etiquette.Trying to tie out torture discussion into the debate about whether we should be in Iraq, and appealing Colin Powell, a man that could probably be elected King of the USA if he wanted, doesn’t bring your point any closer to the issue. I also read Woodward’s “Plan of Attack”
    and lived in Washington when CP was put ‘in the freezer’ by Bush aides. I agree that they blew it. What is your point? I didn’t intent for my last post to open the door for your to digress into yet another hindsighted digression.I disagree that there was no torture during WWII. I think that we, our allies and enemies didn’t systematically torture (under any definition) during WWII. google: WWII torture. And I again assert that war has always entailed torture.You paint yourself “I may be on the liberal side of things regarding foreign policy, but that does not equal being weak or soft on defense. Consider me a Kennedy liberal, the old 50s and 60s liberal who has a soft heart for the people of the world, but a strong back, who doesn’t get pushed around easily”

    Whatever, I like Kennedy too. Consider me Sam. Someone who just takes what he’s experienced, learned and feels; and then voices a vain and admittedly underinformed opinions about whether torture is ok with God.

    I think we’ve exhausted this thread. I feel I understand your point and that it could be true. I hope it is. But I’m unconvinced.

    PS I don’t watch the show 24, but I’m glad you know more about torture than jack Bauer.

    Comment by Sam — October 3, 2006 @ 6:30 pm

  70. PS
    Dan, Think about what you said. Do you really believe WWII threats were greater than those faced today? I’m a fan of Brokaw’s greatest generation and enjoy a great life b/c of their sacrifice. No doubt. But c’mon.WWII was like getting smacked in the jaw with a bat. This is more like leukemia.I consider Islamo-terrorists at least as dangerous as WWII powers.
    They know no borders and hide in broad daylight, in streets, cafes and malls. They attack ME governments and Western ones. They know no borders, they have no munitions plants or civilian infrastructure to attack. They are motivated by God and use the word ‘hate’. They seek not ‘lebensraum’ but instead are envisioning an apocalyptic war with the west. They have no embassaries and don’t offer diplomacy. They recruit the poor of each nation and infect like cancer. They don’t differenitate between civilian targets and military ones and in fact deliberately aviod military confrontations to kill civilians. They convince/pay young men to become bombs…they may obtain access to dirty bomb materials….they have no central authority structure or control, so they couldn’t declare peace from thier side if they wanted to.Comment by Sam — October 3, 2006 @ 6:50 pm
  71. Sam,I think I’ve just not done well enough in explaining my point of view.First off, it was not I who first introduced Moroni into this debate, but LDSPatriot. Look at his first post (#19). I was countering what he said. Moroni was an honorable man, and torture was not something he applied.Secondly, I know my WWII history, and it was not the policy of the United States of America to torture prisoners. In fact, our clear standard allowed the enemy to surrender to us, knowing full well that they would be treated well in our custody. Imagine with what sort of ferocity the Germans would have fought if they doubted they would be safe in our custody! Instead of telling me to go google WWII torture, (which I did btw, and found sites that proved Japan and Russia tortured but not the US), why don’t you show me examples of US policy of torturing prisoners in our care. If you can’t, then the point stands that America won the toughest war in world history against the strongest enemy, without the need of torture.

    the church spokesman talking to the press. Do you really expect him to speak outside of cozy generalities to the press,

    Um….yeah, when he represents the First Presidency, I expect him to tell the truth, and if the First Presidency meant there to be exceptions, he would have noted them. Alas he didn’t, and I take the First Presidency and their public relations representative at their word. Show me where the First Presidency has stated there is an exception to allowing inhumane treatment of anybody under any circumstance? If you can’t, then this point stands as well.

    Instead of addressing whether the Gospel indicates that God would weigh in on whether war and torture are justified

    That’s because war and torture are two separate things, and righteous people of God have never, ever applied torture in any war they fought. Killing someone is not torture. Torture is used for two reasons. 1. the extraction of information. I showed in Alma 43 that when the people of God needed information about the enemy, they went to the Lord, not to capturing the enemy and torturing him for information. 2. vengance and lust for violence. These examples are found in the Soviet Union. Can you show me in history where a righteous people employed torture? If not, yet again, my point stands. Torture is not a part of a war employed by righteous people. Nor has it ever been.

    Or that you might know more about what torture entails than I do.
    That is condescending and wrong. Neither of us are privy to any of the informations other than that provided by the MMM and bloggers with axes to grind which, I think you’d concede, are limited and bias from both angles.

    Hmmm, I would think the testimony of individuals who have been tortured should suffice. Thankfully I’ve never experienced torture, and would pray that no human being ever did. Unfortunately, now the United States will legally apply torture to individuals. How sad.

    Personally, I am going to trust the testimony of Mr. Bukovsky, who was a Soviet prisoner, who had torture applied to him. I think his story is pretty accurate. Read it.

    I think we’ve exhausted this thread. I feel I understand your point and that it could be true. I hope it is. But I’m unconvinced.

    Like Clinton, I tried, but failed. I’m sorry I could not convince you. Perhaps when this comes back to haunt America you will forgive my shortcomings in not being able to fully convince you of the detrimental effect torture will have upon our nation.

    Dan

    Comment by Dan — October 3, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

  72. Sam,#70yeah, but just how influential are they in creating a stable nation/country that can truly destroy another like Germany could? How long did it take for Germany to subjugate France to its full control? Weeks? Perhaps because Germany was conventional, you can’t see just how powerful they were. They were able, within weeks, to fully subjugate other nations to their will. Terrorists who hide in caves can never do this. All they can do is terrorize and create fear. Frankly, I’m not impressed. A simple gunshot can kill a terrorist, whereas the whole mobilization of 200 million people to create a war machine in America is what it took to take down Nazi Germany.Let me give you a modern example. Say if you pit 1941 Nazi Germany vs Iran today, who would win? Nazi Germany. Easily. Hands down. If you pit 1941 Nazi Germany vs the United States today, you’d probably get an even match for a while before the United States pulled away to victory. But it would come at a great cost to the United States, as it did 60 years ago.If the United States were to actually make a sacrifice today to fight terrorists, we’d win rather easily. But we have inept leaders who think they can win this war on the cheap by taking it to the enemy. Unfortunately, as anyone would, these guys are defending their homes against an invading force, and they are fighting like lions. Are they really damaging America though? Not really.Sorry, today’s enemy is nowhere near as strong or as powerful, or as influential as was Nazi Germany. They may seem so in the moment, but pull back and look objectively, you’ll see we’re overhyping the enemy.Comment by Dan — October 3, 2006 @ 7:05 pm
  73. Hello all,I just found this blog today, and was quite fascinated by the discussion by the people that posted above.I know that it is a revert to what this post is not about, but I would like to state my reason to being opposed to the current Administration’s position on torture and the measures that have been passed to protect the country.Our current policies set a dangerous precedent for the future. While Bush may not do anything contrary to the values we all have as Americans (and I believe that he won’t), all it would take would be some other person to come along and say that some American is an enemy. What if he said that the Council of the Twelve or the First Presidency were dangerous enemy combatants who lead Americans astray and incite them to anti-government actions. They could be captured and tortured. And you know what? There is nothing that we could do about it. Why? Because we let it happen by not acting to let our representatives know about what we think about these laws, as is our right and responsibility. You could say that it wouldn’t happen, that it wouldn’t be possible, but people said that people could not fly or land on the moon. People also said that the United States could not beat the Soviet Union in a cold war. It hadFurthermore, what if the United States got into some war and our soldiers were captured? Keeping it in the possibilities of the real for the moment, what if we got caught in a war with Iran? So, the Iranians capture our people and start using waterboarding or any other “aggressive interrogation technique” to get info out of our soldiers. Naturally the U.S. would protest. All the Iranians would have to say is that you did it to people in the war on terror so you shouldn’t talk. The U.S. would be hard put to try and stop it on moral grounds without appearing to be hypocrites.There are consequences to everything the United States and the rest of the world does, for good or for bad. Merely because we are the world’s sole remaining superpower and the leader of the world, in a sense, does not exclude us from obeying the rules.Just my two cents. I hope that I have not made anyone mad or flared up that last heated exchange, but I just thought I would make that point.Have fun!!Cheers,
    Matthew WinslettComment by Matthew “The Texan” Winslett — October 5, 2006 @ 9:59 pm
  74. Dan,
    Post #72. Do you really believe any of what you said? That terrorists live in caves? that they aren’t intellegent like you or I? Even more ridiculous is your estimation of Nazi power. But I understand your point was to show me that terrorism isn’t as big of a deal in the grand scheme of things as Nazis were.
    I wholeheartedly disagree for reasons posted in #70. But pitting Nazis against cruise missiles, stealth fighters and uranium core tank shells is a moot point.On the “righteous people never torture” comments, I think it is a bit naive to cling that the US hasn’t used physical coercion amounting to torture in previous conflicts. And you are willfully blind if you won’t reason out for yourself why it hasn’t been publicized.
    The only reason we are discussing it today is because media sleuths uncovered it. I think perhaps it has always been there…just without somebody’s digital camera to put it on the front page (pictures on the front page…can’t argue with that).You didn’t even look for evidence of US torture. Google ‘US torture WWII’. First hit. Then look at our critics. France in Algeria. Britain in the ME during the 60s. We aren’t alone.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/5/1/141749/6600Or you could live under the assumption that because an army seems ‘righteous’ when at war, they war in righteousness and don’t tortore or terrorize. Tough to disprove a negative… But I think it should be considered in light of your habit of making sweeping, absolute statements. ‘Never’ is almost always wrong in any discussion.
    And once again, the church spokesman is not going to weigh in on torture. I didn’t check your link, is he directly addressing torture? Otherwise I think that the context makes a difference.Post #73 Matt.
    I agree with you, it is dangerous to lose our international credibility for all the reasons you stated. Contrary to how other posters have understood my stance, I don’t like torture either. I just don’t dismiss the necessity for it as easily. I don’t believe that US CIA intellegence operatives think themselves evil. And Bush would be the first to outlaw it if the pentagon told him that torture wasn’t needed. Imagine the political boon! But he maintains it as a political vulnerability because someone tells him that he would have to flat out lie to say that we no longer do it. Bush’s problem is that he got caught. Clinton’s convenience is that he will never have to answer questions about torture on his watch.Another question I have is that I don’t know where the gospel addresses torture without corrupting the context of the scripture.Lastly, I think Iran would probably torture our soldiers if they thought they needed the information. Regardless of our behavior. Not because Iranians are evil, but because they feel the same way every other country does about gathering intellegence.Comment by Sam — October 6, 2006 @ 11:41 am
  75. Sam,

    On the “righteous people never torture” comments, I think it is a bit naive to cling that the US hasn’t used physical coercion amounting to torture in previous conflicts. And you are willfully blind if you won’t reason out for yourself why it hasn’t been publicized.

    That is based on the assumption that the US has always been righteous. I wouldn’t go that far. It is my belief that a torturer is not righteous. And I will stand by that until the prophet himself says otherwise. I doubt he would contradict himself though.

    And once again, the church spokesman is not going to weigh in on torture. I didn’t check your link, is he directly addressing torture? Otherwise I think that the context makes a difference.

    And yes, read the link, the church spokesman was talking specifically about torture.

    Do you really believe any of what you said? That terrorists live in caves? that they aren’t intellegent like you or I?

    Yes I believe what I say, or I would not say it. I ain’t a Republican politician. I am true to my word. The terrorists living in caves comment was in jest, but technically correct. They have to hide, they have to stay in the shadows. They cannot act in the open. And no, they are not intelligent, or they would not resort to terrorism. They’ve let their minds be brainwashed by fiery irrational rhetoric.

    Or you could live under the assumption that because an army seems ‘righteous’ when at war, they war in righteousness and don’t tortore or terrorize.

    You make an assumption that a righteous nation stays righteous regardless of what tactics they use, which is incorrect. Furthermore, the link to Daily Kos that you used as justification for the United States supposedly using torture in World War II does not, in fact, show any evidence of the United States using torture in WWII. Did you even read the article? If you read it, all the evidence of the CIA using torture began with the Vietnam War. Imagine that! And we lost that war too….how about that. The reason that Daily Kos piece comes first is because the author does say the following:

    However the Gestapo, for instance, used torture with some success during World War II.

    The Gestapo used torture in WWII, not America. Imagine that. Did they win or did they lose? They lost.

    However, look at the following about “Why Churchill Opposed Torture.”

    THE FIRST Geneva Convention governing the humane treatment of prisoners of war was adopted in 1929. It is not too much to say that it saved the lives of millions. In World War II, about 96 million people served in the armed forces of all the belligerent states, of whom more than a third spent at least some time in enemy hands. The majority of these were Axis soldiers who became prisoners when Germany and Japan surrendered. Luckily for them, the Allies upheld the Geneva Convention, despite the fact that the Axis powers had systematically failed to do so.

    That includes the United States. Meanwhile Japan and Germany tortured their prisoners. They lost.

    As Winston Churchill insisted throughout the war, treating POWs well is wise, if only to increase the chances that your own men will be well treated if they too are captured. Even in World War II, there was in fact a high degree of reciprocity. The British treated Germans POWs well and were well treated by the Germans in return; the Germans treated Russian POWs abysmally and got their bloody deserts when the tables were turned.

    Imagine that.

    I just don’t dismiss the necessity for it as easily. I don’t believe that US CIA intellegence operatives think themselves evil. And Bush would be the first to outlaw it if the pentagon told him that torture wasn’t needed.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Of course they don’t think they are evil, as much as a pornographer doesn’t think he is evil.

    Lastly, I think Iran would probably torture our soldiers if they thought they needed the information.

    Does this in any way justify our use? If not, why bring it up? Who cares what the enemy does! This is not about him, but about US.

    Comment by Dan — October 6, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

  76. Dan,
    So you imply that
    we lost Vietnam because we tortured and won WWII b/c we didn’t. Imagine that.
    Because the press discovered in Torture in Vietnam it didn’t exist. Imagine that.
    Because public mouthpeices such as Churchill and former US presidents say they abhor torture, then their respective countries didn’t do it convertly . Imagine that.
    That I showed the link to Vietnam torture to show previous systematic US sanctioned torture when you refuted it. Imagine that.
    That the US was righeous in WWII, firebombing Tokyo, terrorizing citizens. Or that such should be overlooked as terrorism because it was really effective with its emotional effect. Imagine that.
    (I’m sorry if the repetitive phrase ‘imagine that’ sounds condescending, for the life of me I can’t remember where I picked up the habit for such petty jabs)You said “Let me give you a modern example. Say if you pit 1941 Nazi Germany vs Iran today, who would win? Nazi Germany. Easily. Hands down. If you pit 1941 Nazi Germany vs the United States today, you’d probably get an even match for a while before the United States pulled away to victory. But it would come at a great cost to the United States, as it did 60 years ago.’The above assertion is beyond ridicule only because it is pathetic.Is is also a perfect example of why I think it is utterly pointless to respond to you anymore. I’m frustrated that I’ve even entertained the jargon thus far. YOu don’t want discussion, you would like to steamroll with absolute all encompassing statements, sound bites, and non related nonsense. You’ve avoided my good faith queries with digressions and red herrings. I’ve probably ruined my credibility on this blog by responding to such tactics and responding with my own and also in allowing the converstation to devolve this far from the intent of the orginal poster.Comment by Sam — October 6, 2006 @ 2:13 pm
  77. Sam,

    That I showed the link to Vietnam torture to show previous systematic US sanctioned torture when you refuted it.

    You have not proven the US tortured in World War II. Since you haven’t, then we’ll continue on with the point being that in their greatest battle, against their greatest enemy, the United States kept to obeying laws they signed and did not feel the need to lower their standards.

    That the US was righeous in WWII, firebombing Tokyo, terrorizing citizens. Or that such should be overlooked as terrorism because it was really effective with its emotional effect.

    Hey, if you want to call it terrorism that’s fine by me. That means that the United States is on the same level as our enemies. Is that what you really want to do?

    Sam, you’ve not proven to me that a righteous nation uses torture. I have provided you with the United States and Britain keeping the rule of law. You have not shown anywhere in scripture that torture is acceptable. I’ve shown you the spokesman to the prophet of the Lord saying that inhumane treatment of anybody under any circumstance is abhorrent. Now you plug your ears and say “la la, I can’t hear you.” and rant on about your credibility on this blog.

    I care more about my country than my popularity on a blog. It is absolutely reprehensible that men of my country could even consider torture as something righteous people employ, and I will say that regardless of how unpopular it is. If I fail to convince it is because the weakness of my writing, not the intent itself. I wish I could be the best orator out there to express just how horrible torture is, but alas, I’m a regular joe shmoe.

    It’s okay though, Democrats are going to win in November and in 2008. We’ll get the country back on the “right” track.

    Comment by Dan — October 6, 2006 @ 2:34 pm