When is an apology not an apology? When Durbin’s lips are moving.
June 21, 2005
"I am sorry if anything I said caused any offense or pain”He's sorry IF anything he said… somehow, he has been so thoroughly insulated by his staff that he is not aware of a roar of outrage about his statements.
“to those who have such bitter memories of the Holocaust,”Does anyone have happy memories of the Holocaust? Nobody I want to know, anyway. But it's worth noting that a lack of bitter memories of the Holocaust make despicable statements like his possible. If he had any grasp of history, he would never have made those disgusting comparisons.
“the greatest moral tragedy of our time. Nothing, nothing should ever be said to demean or diminish that moral tragedy.”Yet he saw fit to compare it to Gitmo, hardly the greatest moral tragedy of the month, much less of our time. This speaks volumes about his judgement.
"I am also sorry if anything I said cast a negative light on our fine men and women in the military ... I never ever intended any disrespect for them.IF anything he said cast a negative light… what universe does he live in? When Al Jazeera celebrates your statements, that’s a pretty big clue you’ve just handed the enemy a PR victory.
Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line to them I extend my heartfelt apology,"Does he have an apology for those of us who believe you are a treasonous S.O.B. who has caused immeasurable harm to his country in order to try to score political points?
Durbin said, choking on his words.Should have choked sooner, we’d all be a lot better off. But then he is such a beautiful portrait of the Democratic Party, that it’s almost worth the harm he's caused, just for people to see what Democratic leadership really thinks.
Durbin said in the course of his remarks on June 14, he raised "legitimate concerns" about U.S. policy toward prisoners and whether their treatment makes America safer.His concerns, if he actually had them and wasn't just pandering to the far left, could easily have been satisfied. He could have visited Gitmo himself, and other sources of information were readily available. He didn’t bother. I don’t know why.
If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings," Durbin said last week.As was pointed out on another blog – sorry I can’t remember which one, I’ll update this as soon as I can find it – if I had read his statement and not known he is an elected United States Senator, I would have thought it was an Al Qaeda press release.
Durbin attempted to clarify his remarks last Thursday evening and then again Friday, saying that he regretted if people did not understand his historic analogies, and he suggested that he could not verify the accuracy of the FBI document.We understood his analogies just fine, thank you. That was what caused the problem. If he couldn’t verify the accuracy of the document, he should have kept his trap shut. Even if the document was completely accurate, those activities are not torture. Torture includes activities like starving people, dropping them into wood chippers, pulling out fingernails, and gang rape.
"If this indeed occurred, it does not represent American values. It does not represent what our country stands for, it is not the sort of conduct we would ever condone ... and that is the point I was making. Now, sadly, we have a situation here where some in the right-wing media have said that I have been insulting men and women in uniform. Nothing could be further from truth," Durbin said.He has been injuring men and women in uniform by providing aid and comfort to the enemy. This so-called apology merely adds insult to that injury.
But on Tuesday, he left little room for second-guessing whether he realized his error."After reading the horrible details in that memo which characterized the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, I then, on my own, my own words, made some characterizations about that memo ... I have come to understand that was a very poor choice of words," he said.He has come to understand that he made a lot of people, including voters in his state, mad. And he's apologizing now to make it go away. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what will happen. But since there’s no reasonable chance of getting rid of Mary Landrieu, I will send whatever money that I would normally devote to getting Her Weaselness out of office, to whoever runs against Durbin. I don’t think I’m the only one who will do that, and he might just have a lot more time available to play golf with Tom Daschle.
Posted by Laura Curtis at June 21, 2005 06:39 PM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/963
|# June 21st, 2005 10:40 PM blackfaust|
|Durbin is a scumbag and so is Joe Biden. Durbin should be expelled from the congress. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 12:44 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
|So are you going to villify Ken Mehlman for comparing Dem leaders to Hitler?
And Grover Norquist for saying the estate tax has "the morality of the Holocaust"?
"The Nazis were for gun control, the Nazis were for high marginal tax rates.... Do you want to talk about who's closer politically to national socialism, the Right or the Left?" he told the Jewish newspaper The Forward. He also "told the Forward that he would not hesitate to use Holocaust comparisons in the future."
Or Senator Tom Cole from Oklahoma:
Sen. Tom Cole (R-OK) dragged out Hitler to hit Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
Show me some equivalent anger from the right at using the same images, please.
(Quotes from http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Questions_of_hypocrisy_in_Republican_attacks_on_senator_who_raised_Nazis_in_Guantanamo_c_0620.html)
|# June 22nd, 2005 7:52 AM Laura|
|That, yes, as a matter of fact if I had been aware of those quotes I'd have been yelling about them too. To normal people, the death of millions is not employed to score cheap political points. But also please consider the gravity of this particular situation. Durbin handed a PR victory to the enemy. Congresscritters and other idiots yapping on and making fools of themselves is reprehensible at any time, but during a time of war, handing the enemy a PR bonanza ought to be denigrated by everybody not just the opposing political party. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 8:13 AM kris|
|I agree with Laura. I'm always opposed to stupid Nazi comparisons like this. There's room to disagree with people and policies without resorting to ridiculous hyperbole.
Bush is not Hitler. Hillary is not the Devil. There are assholes all over the world, but only a select few deserve to be compared with Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot.
|# June 22nd, 2005 8:17 AM reaganyouth|
|Studying and understanding history is key here. The American left would love nothing more to have another Vietnam like outcome. A scenario where America pulls out of Iraq weakened and emasculated.
Pol Pot rose to power in Cambodia in lieu of the absence of the American Military. I have only heard of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. The victims of the killing fields had it much worse than the 20th hijacker.
Durbin's tirade is only a small part of the left's scheme. The overall goal is to attack at the fabric of America and overthrow it. Be weary of them, engage them with discourse and consistently attack thier relative morality and intellectual dishonesty. Expose the lies of the left.
|# June 22nd, 2005 8:40 AM Laura|
|Bill "Spineless" Frist just joined the chorus of Dems enjoining us all to just move on since Durbin has made such a heartfelt apology. If it had been a heartfelt apology, I might have agreed. If Trent Lott had not been run out of his leadership position for what I consider a much milder offense, I might have agreed. As it is, this is just another example of why we need a third party in this country. I'm tired of holding my nose and voting Republican. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 8:57 AM BrianH|
|Durbin is always 100% on message with his party. I've said this on other sites, but I'll repeat here.
Durbin is a party tool. He has never in the past varied from the official Dem message. I believe he was picked to test a new message to see if it had legs. If it went over well in the polls, you'd be seeing the other Dems repeating it endlessly.
Instead it flopped. Even most of the rest of the Dems were unwilling to support him so they left him dangling. He was forced to give this non-apology to remain viable when he comes up for re-elect (I think in 08).
I really don't think any of this was Durbin's idea.
|# June 22nd, 2005 9:31 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
Don't you find it interesting that you never saw those quotes? Why do you suppose that is? I remember hearing about two of them when they happened (the exception being Grover Norquist.) I can tell you that they raised significant ire on this side of the aisle.
Perhaps you should consider this the next time somebody use the term "liberal media filter."
You're going to have to come up with some documentation that "the left would love... a scenario where America pulls out weakened and emasculated." I find it entertainingly appropriate that your post immediately follows Kris' statement that "There are assholes all over the world."
Nobody I know wants America weakened. That's Rush Limbaugh propaganda and nothing short of hate speech. I will accept your exposing "the lies of the left" (assuming you find them) but -- for this intellectual honesty that you say you value -- you must also accept exposure of the lies of the right.
What would you consider to be a "heartfelt apology"? Honestly, it sounded pretty good to me.
|# June 22nd, 2005 10:23 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
Sorry but this is still bugging me. I have to say that this is one of the most intelligent right-wing commentary sites I've found, but the blinders are still visible.
I am a liberal but I do not confine myself to liberal news sources. I've learned that there are often things that go completely unreported on one side or the other. I read DailyKos and I read FreeRepublic (the latter has banned me from commenting.) I watch Fox and I listen to NPR. I go to the source of information whenever possible rather than accepting spin.
And I can't stand it when bright people don't open their eyes.
So let me ask you these questions:
Does the fact that you've just heard about these Hitlerian comparisons now mean you're going to make a headline of them now? Or does the age of the comments make them insignificant somehow?
Does the fact that none of these statements have been retracted by their authors, in manners heartfelt or otherwise, make any difference at all?
Look at it from my perspective: these people are all given a pass, across the media and in every right-wing commentary. Their common feature? They're Republicans.
Durbin repeats a comment from Amnesty International, a calls-em-as-we-sees-em group, decrying our loss of moral character -- and gets slammed.
Give me some other explanation.
|# June 22nd, 2005 10:39 AM BrianH|
|I think maybe this:
had something to do with Durbin's sudden about face on Gitmo.
|# June 22nd, 2005 10:46 AM BVBigBro|
|Ok, I refrained until now. Amnesty International is not a calls am as we sees em group. Amnesty is now a political organiztion with political goals quite different from their original intent. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 10:58 AM BVBigBro|
|FYI this site has linked, on multiple occasions, to an article reflecting on how everyone gets their fifteen minutes as Hitler, should you care to note. That article said it clearly and needs no embellishments here. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 12:39 PM Laura|
|That, a heartfelt apology typically includes the sentiment that one's actions were wrong, not the sentiment that someone's reaction is wrong. He did not at all acknowledge the harm he has caused, and he did not make a retraction. Read his quotes "some may believe my remarks crossed the line" not "my remarks crossed the line." He is just about as sorry as I was when mom made me apologize to my brother for hitting him.
The fact that I did not hear of those quotes probably has more to do with whatever was going on in my life at the time they were made, because I also get my news from a variety of sources. Also, Ken Mehlman and Grover Norquist are not nearly as newsworthy as Lott and Durbin. Only serious political junkies would even have heard those names. The only reason people know who the DNC chairman is, is because he was already a well known political figure.
As for the idea that Republicans are getting a pass, hmm, yes, that certainly was what happened with Trent Lott.
|# June 22nd, 2005 5:12 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
Sorry, I am new here so I have not seen the link. I will keep an eye out.
Please support your statement about AI.
True, Trent Lott did not get a pass. Sometimes things work out right. :) (Sorry, cheap shot. But when a guy comes out and says we should have all stayed segregated and it'd all be better now, I have trouble calling him a leader.)
Maybe you also missed Senator Santorum's comparison of all Dems to Hitler just last month? He did retract the statement after a week's pressure; he said it was a "mistake" and he "meant no offense"(?!?) but not that he was sorry or that he retracted the statement.
(search for "santorum")
I guess my point is you -- meaning "anybody" -- can play word games all you want, and take offense wherever you want. You'll hear what you want to hear. What's relevant to me is, first, did the speaker genuinely mean the apology? They're politicians: we'll never know for certain. And second, are the consequences of making the statement (including media coverage) appropriate to its content, its venue (floor of Senate, or over drinks at a bar?), etc.?
Durbin erred, was properly pounded (by both sides, you might be interested to know) and apologized in politico-speak. So did Santorum. I'm not satisfied by Santorum's, you're not satisfied by Durbin's. I call that square. But if Santorum isn't hounded out, you can't call for Durbin to be, either.
|# June 22nd, 2005 5:53 PM Laura|
|Actually that's not what Lott said, and I don't believe that's what he meant either. "All these problems" covers a pretty broad spectrum, and supporters for the Dixiecrat party also included those who were against the New Deal. I believe that is to what Lott is referring. But there's no use in arguing about it, as you pointed out...
I thought - and said at the time that Santorum made a BS non-apology and he should have been more direct and owned up to it. However, Durbin's statements were far more serious in that they handed a PR victory to the enemy. At best it was phenomenally poor judgement, and he should step down.
One way to prevent this from continuing would be to take the rhetoric down a few notches. Both parties are fighting over that middle 30 or 40%, and they don't seem to be aware that they drive more away than they draw. Unfortunately I have no idea how to restore a civil tone to the debate short of a massive voter uprising expressing disgust for the whole lot of them and we both know that's not going to happen.
|# June 22nd, 2005 6:02 PM BVBigBro|
|You may note that AI's leadership saw fit last year to donate the maximum allowable to the Kerry campaign. I also invite you to read AI's world report for 2005. It endlessly refers to "unlawful" and "illegal" activities by the US in Iraq and elsewhere. Without debating whether or not events actually occurred, AI has seen fit to appoint itself the expert on international law, as well as judge and jury. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 6:11 PM otopico|
The idea that the 'left' wants Iraq to be Vietnam II is insulting. You seem to think that because I think the war is unjustified, then I want Americans to die to prove I'm right? So, basically you are saying that opposing the war is equal to treason? I just want to be sure I get that straight. That way the police can come and take me into 'detention' and protect you from evil people like me that think truth is important. After all, I guess that means I was happy when 3000 people died in Ny, or the Holocaust, that was great too. It's important to do whatever your leaders tell you. That way everything works out OK, just like in Germany.
Two. in general
So, if calling GITMO a gulag is a terrible thing, what does torturing prisoners, holding them indefinitely, lying to the American people about it all count as?
I don't see the president apologizing for putting us into an unprovoked war, based on completely made up 'facts'.
The closest I have seen is GW telling us that 'everybody' thought Iraq was a danger. Kind of like how earlier in American history, 'everybody' thought owning slaves was OK.
As long as 'everybody' can be blamed, that somehow makes the actual guilty free of any responsibility?
No one with half a brain thinks we can just leave Iraq. But our troops deserve to have an idea of what they are dying for and what criteria a victory can be declared. Its called a 'strategy'.
Durbin made a political faux pas, but does that mean that everything this administration has OK's is just and legal? The masses are ignoring the ideas behind the message and having a great time tearing apart anyone (on both sides of the aisle) that says something in a stupid way.
|# June 22nd, 2005 6:20 PM otopico|
Durbin didn't hand anything to the enemy. If you notice, the Iraqi insurgency was already going strong before Durbin put his foot in his mouth. The single greatest tool the enemy has is our presence in Iraq. With evidence coming out about pre-war planning, the lies told to the world about the reasons for war and the inability of any of our leaders to admit mistakes were made, the off hand comments of a Democratic shill don't really add to the PR ammo of the enemy.
Sometimes it isn't a crime to look back on history and see patterns of behavior. If you see someone doing something that a terrible person from history did before is it wrong to point it out? Would the genocide in Rwanda warrant the Holocaust comparison? Certainly the numbers are different, but just as with the Nazi, the government of Rwanda sanctioned the killing of a particular ethnicity. Seems pretty damn similar to me. Is it wrong to say so?
|# June 22nd, 2005 6:58 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
"they don't seem to be aware that they drive more away than they draw." Hear, hear. Unfortunately those are the only kinds of statements that get more than sound-bite attention from the media these days. Maybe this is a consequence of living in a media-speed information-saturated society?
I still have a problem with this concept of "handing a PR victory to the enemy." While I see the value they could make from this, it seems to me the PR victory was given when the tortures took place, not when they were exposed. A just society, one that the Iraqis need not fear, would not have done the deed; sweeping the problem under the rug won't win us any friends either.
So what ARE we supposed to do about it?
My opinion: If we want to maintain the moral high ground, we have to walk the walk. The "walk" is that the law applies equally to everybody, even us, and lawbreakers face consequences. If lawbreakers go free, then a hue and cry over both them and their protectors is not only appropriate but a requirement for maintaining their moral high ground.
Remaining silent makes us accessories to the crime, permits future crimes to occur -- and makes the cost (both in morals and as a "victory for the enemy") that much greater when the crime is exposed. And I submit that finding, charging, and punishing those responsible -- swiftly, publicly, and harshly, as high up as they may go -- will go far toward cancelling that PR victory.
Be mad at the Senator if you must. Yes, his rhetoric was over the line. But keep in mind he's only the messenger. Talking about the mess, no matter the words used, is nowhere *near* as significant as making it in the first place, and actually is the first step in fixing the problem.
Were those donations as an organization or as individuals? The latter? May I then point out that the leadership of Diebold, maker of electronic voting systems, made similarly maximal donations to the Bush/Cheney campaign? Does that mean that Diebold, corporately, has a political agenda? How about Fox News?
Regarding AI, from their Statues: In addition to its work on specific abuses of human rights, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL urges all governments to observe the rule of law...
... Sounds to me like law is something they're supposed to be good at. And their terminology, while shared by judge and jury, is also shared by every lawyer who ever tried a case. Are you saying no lawyer may now say his client is innocent? Or that no District Attorney may charge that "Mr. X is guilty of thus-and-such"?
"Without debating whether or not events actually occurred" -- here you *ask* them to conduct a trial where in the next sentence you condemn them for doing so. Pick one.
For the record, AI only brings forward charges it can clearly document -- i.e. charges which would at least merit (in theory) a hearing if not a trial in the American criminal justice system. Also for the record, in the section on the USA, the word "illegal" is never used and the word "unlawful" is used once in reference to a decision made by a judge, not in characterization of an act by the US.
There is nothing I can see that is actually controversial (meaning "factually debated") in the USA summary page. If you disagree, please, again, support your statements with specifics.
|# June 22nd, 2005 7:27 PM Laura|
|That and otopico, you both seem to be fully convinced that what took place was torture. I believe you are as wrong as you can be, and since we're not likely to ever agree on this, I'm not sure any further discussion would be useful. Do you? Is there anything I could possibly say to persuade you that torture is not a fair definition of what took place? |
|# June 22nd, 2005 7:48 PM Laura|
|I want to clarify; I'm not refusing to engage in civil discourse, but I think I can see where this is going. Both of your responses to me, while I'm sure in your opinions were fact-laden and correct, in my opinion were rehashed propaganda that has been debunked many times. I could spend an hour composing what I fondly believe would be a link-laden and thorough fisking, but what's the point? I wouldn't presume to put words in your mouths, but I would be very surprised if you don't have similar feelings about my arguments. We're not even speaking the same language. So where do we go from here? |
|# June 22nd, 2005 7:53 PM BVBigBro|
|I didn't ask AI to debate. That comment was for those of us here with our own opinions.
The words unlawful and illegal are used more frequently. The war in Iraq is referred to as "illegal", the battles in Fallujah are called "unlawful attacks". Note that the US is referred to repeatedly throughout the document and not just in the US section.
Diebold is a for profit corporation. I wouldn't suggest that they are an unbiased or disinterested source as has been suggested with AI. AI's leaders donated, I presume, as individuals. They are free to do so, but in doing so they taint the supposedly apolitical organization they run.
As to the rule of law,what court has declared the Iraq war illegal? What court has declared Gitmo illegal? The rule of law has been observed.
AI has not documented its' case. In addition, in the document it refers to those who disagree with its' opinion as "reprehensible".
|# June 22nd, 2005 10:56 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
You raise two valid questions: what constitutes torture, and did whatever it is actually occur?
As for the first, it's quite possible we'll never meet on that one, but let me give it a shot. And bear with me as I think it through -- I can get long-winded at times. :)
As far as I'm concerned, "torture" is the deliberate instigation of pain, whether psychological or physical, on a captive. The bar for psychological torture is pretty high: getting thrown into jail, for example, can be traumatic but doesn't qualify of itself. This is partly because the purpose of jail is usually confinement, restraint, i.e. the protection of those outside as well as the just punishment for those inside. (OK, here's another revealed characteristic: torture is not a "balancing" act, in other words it is not part of meting out justice. If an act is societally judged as an acceptable punishment, and the captive has committed the corresponding crime, that's not torture.) (Forgive me if I beat a dead horse -- I did warn you. :) )
So torture is defined in large part by the motivation of the person/group committing the act. If a person is locked naked in a cold room for a day because there isn't anyplace warm and there are no clothes available, that's not torture. The same act committed deliberately for the purpose of breaking down a prisoner's resistance, on the other hand, is torture.
I recall seeing a photo of a pyramid of naked men being laughed at by a female American GI. Nakedness, especially for a man to touch another naked man, or to be naked in front of a woman who is not your wife, is vastly shameful in Islam.
I also recall a man in a black poncho and hood draped with wires and told he was about to be electrocuted.
But if you can find a way to explain these as a genuine necessity of the moment or demonstrate that the photos were faked, I'm listening.
Your answer will also have to explain why a military tribunal could have convicted said GI in light of her actual innocence (http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,15335319-401,00.html.)
You might also be interested to know that as of mid-March the military itself is investigating 20-odd "criminal homicides" across both Afghanistan and Iraq -- link at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/printer_031605J.shtml. Also see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17883-2004Dec21.html
"misconduct included shocking detainees with electric guns, shackling them without food and water, and wrapping a detainee in an Israeli flag."
These people are being held without lawyers, without a chance to argue their case, without being able to see the evidence against them, without oversight from even NGOs like the Red Cross, without even government acknowledgement of the names -- or even quantities! -- of "detainees." All of these statements meet agreement from the military and from the Administration, and in fact the Administration continues to work to find loopholes in the law to keep things this way, so much so that the Supreme Court had to slap them around about it. (http://www.cdi.org/news/law/gtmo-sct-decision.cfm)
This is not the America I love.
You're just repeating your point, and ignoring mine. Somebody who says "X is guilty" is making a charge, an accusation, not a conviction. This is allowed, and in fact is part of many people's everyday job (see also "policeman", "lawyer", "politician", or "watchdog group").
The rule of law is not violated once a judge or jury agrees. It's violated when the act is committed.
Diebold had better-the-hell be a disinterested company or I don't want them anywhere near my polling station, thank-you-very-much. As for AI's "taint", don't you think the research they did up to 2003 was sufficient for people closely involved to feel strongly enough to donate against Bush?
You can't have it both ways. Either Diebold is tainted too or AI leaders can legitimately separate their personal feelings from their professional actions -- like doctors, lawyers, and many others do all the time.
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:01 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
Sorry if I sound a little hot under the collar in response to your legitimate questions. I feel strongly about the issue. :)
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:17 PM BVBigBro|
|I fail to see any point about Diebold. I never claimed they were a "call em as they see em" organization. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:18 PM Laura|
|That, obviously we disagree on how to define torture... I don't think shaming someone is torture, and I don't think temporary physical harm, while deplorable in most contexts, is torture. If shaming someone, poking them in the chest, yelling at them, making them pee their pants, etc. is done in the context of an interrogation, it's acceptable, and if it's done in the context of some soldiers being jerks, it's a matter for the UCMJ. So something can conceivably be wrong, and yet not rise to the level of torture. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:19 PM Laura|
|And by the way, the fact that she was convicted proves my point, that the military is not condoning malicious behavior on the part of the troops. |
|# June 22nd, 2005 11:58 PM BrianH|
|How about using the ICRC's definition of torture:
Torture: existence of a specific purpose plus intentional infliction of severe suffering or pain;
What occured at Gitmo is not torture. Further the European Court for Human Rights ruled that similar treatment was NOT torture:
(I won't claim credit for finding that last one, I got it VIA Dalythoughs
see # 28)
|# June 23rd, 2005 8:46 AM cokane|
|whats wrong with AI donating to Kerry? They aren't dem stooges, they just think that, holistically, human rights will be better under a democratic president than a republican president.
Maybe it's a dumb stance (i mean the difference really isnt very big--both men said "kill" and "destroy" alot in the campaign), but there definitely are reasons to see why AI would prefer a Kerry presidency over a Bush presidency. Bush's continued support of extending PATRIOT Act provisions comes to mind... there are numerous other arguments as well
|# June 23rd, 2005 9:23 AM BrianH|
|"whats wrong with AI donating to Kerry?"
Nothing (well maybe a violation of US election law if they aren't a US based group), it just removed any pretense that they are "a calls-em-as-we-sees-em group". They are not objective and have an obviously political leaning.
|# June 23rd, 2005 10:20 AM cokane|
|wow a human rights group with a political leaning GOD FORBID |
|# June 23rd, 2005 10:35 AM BrianH|
|Again, I don't have a problem with them having a political leaning. Just don't present them as an unbiased group (they aren't).
|# June 23rd, 2005 11:18 AM ThatWouldBeMe|
Good call about using the ICRC's definition. I can certainly agree with that.
Laura? Is there some part of that definition which has not been met? Or are you saying that "severe suffering or pain" is OK if it's "temporary"? And define "temporary" -- momentary, a few minutes, or "doesn't leave scars"? "Temporary" is no good for me, I don't accept that -- life is temporary.
Diebold makes voting machines. Accountability-free ones. Yet they're in an identical situation to AI. If they're not a calls-em-as-they-sees-em outfit, if they can't be one simply because their leadership donated to Bush/Cheney, I want to know about it. That's the relevance.
You are confusing the issue. Amnesty did not and cannot make a political donation. The topic at hand was their leadership, as private individuals, making donations.
Once more, the work of the group can be separated from the feelings of those doing it.
|# June 23rd, 2005 11:32 AM BVBigBro|
|I always thought the Diebold thing was kind of bizarre. I mean, it's infinitely easier to commit voting fraud with paper ballots than it is with anything else. |
|# June 23rd, 2005 12:18 PM cokane|
|whats wrong with private individuals making contributions? making contributions isn't proof of anything really... but really this way never my point
as someone commented -- "bias" what does this even mean? Just because a group is biased does that mean that everything they say is trite? Thats ridiculous. Establishing bias proves very little, i'm surprised some of you think its a definitive end to an argument. Amnesty's goal isn't to put the Democrats in power, that would not be a victory in of itself--only a moron would portray their goals in such a manner.
Their goal is to improve human rights, and if that may entail thinking kerry > bush and there could be truth behind it. There is nothing wrong with the leaders of amnesty pushing for actual changes that could improve overall human rights in there minds. I don't see whats so hard to get about this. Because they favor one politician over another they aren't objective? That's nonsense
|# June 23rd, 2005 12:35 PM BVBigBro|
|No, it's not nonsense because in doing so one steps into the realm of asserting that a particular political viewpoint absolutely favors the human condition and others do not, as opposed to simply establishing a desirable condition and not worrying about how we get there. In addition, what happens to human rights when AI actively supports a candidate and they lose? How does that benefit the people amnesty is supposedly trying to help?
I suggest you read AI's 2005 report. It's disappointing. It reads like an opinionated students' term paper, or a typical internet rant; except its' not as well documented.
|# June 23rd, 2005 12:46 PM BrianH|
Nothing that happened at Gitmo or Abu Gharib fits the definition of torture.
What happened at Abu Gharib fit the definition of:
"Outrages upon personal dignity: no specific purpose, significant level of humiliation or degradation."
The people involved in that have been prosecuted by our government. It was not sanctioned or legal activity.
There was a beating incident at an Afghan airport that fit either torture or
"Cruel or inhuman treatment: no specific purpose, significant level of suffering or pain inflicted;"
The people involved in that are being prosecuted. I'm not sure if it fit torture, because that implies a purpose usually of extracting information. I don't know if they beat that man while questioning him or if they had "no specific purpose". Either way, people are being prosecuted by OUR government.
There is no government sanctioned torture being carried out by our people.
cokane, bias is not a problem so long as it's disclosed. But don't present a biased source as an impartial observer. I'll admit to having a conservative bias. My first reaction to anything socialist will always be "it's wrong". Similarly AI's bias against the current administration will cause their first reaction to US policy to be "GULAG!".
|# June 23rd, 2005 12:49 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
I've read the decision you cite and, while that is a good argument, the cases are not strictly parallel. The prisoners in this case were held for two months. The prisoners at Guantanamo have been held for years now, and the court did cite "duration" of the treatment as one of the factors in determining torture took place. In addition, none of the cases cited include death -- but there are at least 26 "criminal homicides" being investigated by the military right now (citation earlier.)
I think a valid argument can still be made that the events at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are more severe than those in your cited case.
You're obviously not a computer programmer. :) Some of the machines used in Florida in 2000 and 2002 could be hacked with a paper clip. Or, just about all of the electronic systems in use now are MS-Windows based -- and Windows is so laughably insecure that there are dozens of companies that make a living fixing those holes (not that Diebold has used any of their services.)
Each method provides different avenues for tampering. The best solution would combine both. Redundancy and validation is where the effort should be expended -- electronic counts and paper recounts.
Let me ask a different question, which really is what I was trying to focus on earlier. Assume a hypothetical case in which torture did occur at Guantanamo. Do you agree that this torture should be exposed and stopped, or is it OK for it to continue because exposing it is too much of a "PR victory"?
|# June 23rd, 2005 12:54 PM BVBigBro|
|I absolutely oppose ANY effort to have some paper trail unless it identifies me by name as the voter and I am notified when my vote will be "recounted" so I can be there. Someone else looking at my ballot and telling me who I voted for is the most offensive propostion I've ever heard. If people want to go all paper, that's fine too, but then eliminate recounts. The whole point of recounts is to commit fraud. |
|# June 23rd, 2005 2:48 PM cokane|
|no wonder your name is bigbro, your posts are full of doublespeak. A chilling example: "to simply establishing a desirable condition and not worrying about how we get there"
In order to "establish a condition" we must worry about "how we get there" HOW else can you establish a condition son?
Freedom Is Slavery
"in doing so one steps into the realm of asserting that a particular political viewpoint absolutely favors the human condition and others do not"
YES! This is the fundamental argument of any human rights organizations. Some things are preferable over other things! But, I really love how you twist the act of simply supporting one presidential candidate into "asserting that a particular political viewpoint absolutely favors the human condition". First of all, favoring the democrat over the republican is hardly "asserting a particular viewpoint." There are nuances, but your rhetoric is painfully too simplistic on this issue. Amnesty members supported kerry over bush because they believed he would be a better President. We don't need to take it any further than that. Because they support a candidate they are no longer objective (this is your only argument so far)?
AI supported one candidate because they thought he could win. If he won, that would make a difference. The election was very close. Why they chose to support him seems rather obvious to me. As does their 2005 report. After all... is Kim Jong Il going to listen to what Amnesty has to say? Or... more importantly, will the citizens of North Korea or other awful dictatorships ever be able to disseminate AI reports? No, the reason they focus on the US so harshly (aside from the real abuses we have committed) is twofold: Their reports will hit an audience here and we set an example for the rest of the world very often.
Now getting back to this "bias" issue, I'm going to make another attempt to explain it. Imagine it's 2004--and there's another human rights watchdog group, except they focus on the rights of fetuses. Who will they support in the 2004 election? Does that support make their criticisms of Kerry worthless? Suppose they offer up facts about the number of fetus deaths and other gruesome details. Facts, objective facts. Does their partisan support remove the objectivity of said facts?
|# June 23rd, 2005 2:49 PM kris|
|Or, you know, his name might be "bigbro" because he's my big brother |
|# June 23rd, 2005 3:08 PM BVBigBro|
|Those are precisely some of my points cokane. The AI report is woefully short of facts. It has lots of anecdotes. And yes their actions do make them biased. They now have added a partisan political motivation to their organization. Lots of nonprofits take great care to avoid political entanglements.
No, you can very easily establish acceptable conditions for people and vehemently disagree on how to achieve them. When an organization like amnesty takes a political viewpoint, as it now has, it is saying "here are the acceptable condions, and here is how you must achieve them". That is something totally different. It obliges anyone reading their documents to consider the now real possibility that the information presented therein is there for the intention of inducing the reader to reach a political conclusion. The nature of politics is the means, not the ends. Amnesty has tradionally focused on the ends.
I would strenuously argue that human rights would be worse served by a Kerry administration. I would not, however, argue that that would be the intent of his policies.
|# June 23rd, 2005 3:14 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
So you would prefer to do away with secret ballots?
"Somebody looking at my ballot and telling me who I voted for is the most offensive proposition I've ever heard." Excuse me? How else is your vote going to be counted? Or recounted, if necessary?
|# June 23rd, 2005 3:30 PM BVBigBro|
|I was hoping you would note that. It points out the whole flaw behind hand recounts. My point is I know who I voted for. I'm the only one who can say who I voted for. A process which allows other people to arbitrarliy "interpret" my ballot and determine that I voted for someone else, is pretty bizarre. The only way to prevent would be to precisely do away with a secret ballot. I propose instead to do away with the recounts, and accept that any method of counting ballots has a statistical error, and thus count the ballots once and be done with it.
Obviously, any voting method will allow fraud. I will still maintain that paper ballots allow the most fraud, if for no other reason than a single person can do it.
|# June 23rd, 2005 3:37 PM BVBigBro|
|Adios, all. Off to get an environmental license for a couple days. |
|# June 23rd, 2005 3:39 PM Laura|
|That, "Assume a hypothetical case in which torture did occur at Guantanamo. Do you agree that this torture should be exposed and stopped, or is it OK for it to continue because exposing it is too much of a "PR victory"?"
The torture should be stopped, the person doing it and whoever, if anyone, authorized should be prosecuted, but it should not be exposed until it it is no longer a PR victory for the enemy. Yes, that could be years. If justice is done to the person who committed torture, is there a good reason for exposing information that hurts morale and has the potential to generate new enemies during war time?
|# June 23rd, 2005 3:58 PM cokane|
|wow you really want the government to cover up its deeds during war time? If anything, war time is when our government needs to be most open (well about some things).
Dershowitz makes this point in his book "Why Terrorism Works". The government cannot be allowed to torture covertly, beneath public scrutiny. That is too much of a freedom, war time or not--America has fought bigger wars, all this "war time" line of logic seems quite absurd to me. This enemy does not threaten us the way the Soviet Union did.
|# June 23rd, 2005 4:27 PM ThatWouldBeMe|
There is no way I will accept an election whose results are not reproducible, at least to within that selfsame margin of statistical error. Period, end of story, full stop. For that matter, I would prefer that every election be reproduced, for validation. Your statements are so far off the map to me that they seem nonsensical. You want to make elections completely unaccountable, more easily tampered with? You want to make them even less transparent??
I love this country. But if your ideas bear fruit, I will wear black, in grief, and leave, and not look back.
YES there is such a reason: to show that these acts have been stopped and punished. To show that we as a country still value the rule of law. To not cheapen our honor. What happened to honor?
Hiding, secrecy, coverups -- these are the things that make government untrusted, because they are the things that permit government to be untrustworthy. Throw the light on it! Evil withers and dies in light.
What happens if those prosecuted are missed? What happens when some little snippets of fact come out and support the rumors of bad things going on? Exactly what's happening now: people will start to believe worse things! THAT'S the PR victory -- that because we are not being transparent, permitting ICRC inspections, following normal legal procedures, etc., people are willing to believe much worse things of us than are actually happening. If, instead, we had a reputation for being up-front and honest, we wouldn't have to worry about that...
|# June 23rd, 2005 5:06 PM BVBigBro|
|Ok, one last post before I leave. Recent recounts have not been done because of fraud, only because an election was close. The results of various recounts are all different, with the result that we keep recounting until a desired result is achieved, not because the next recount is more valid than the last. Worse, we proceed to recount with a method, hand counting, that is different from the orignal method of counting, not demonstrably more accurate, and that introduces additonal errors.
To note, the 2000 Florida presidential results were reproducible by machine within statistical error and were still recounted by hand. Washington's governors race is well within any reproducble accuracy anyone will ever achieve. Who won? What makes one recount more valid than another? With a lot of people voting, in a close election, you are not going to get an answer unless you want to count the ballots several hundred times and except a statidtical analysis of the results as valid. I would go for that, but that's not what is being done now, and if you want to recount by hand, it may take you several months to reach an answer. I propose that we stop recounts based solely on closeness of the result.
|# June 23rd, 2005 8:00 PM Laura|
|Obviously we disagree. I don't see how the Abu Ghraib media cycle benefited anybody. Those people were already being investigated, already being prosecuted. The military was taking care of it, and the media had actually reported on it, albeit without the pictures, LONG before the huge media push. In other words, the situation had been corrected, the perps were being prosecuted. How did that huge media flap benefit the US? Honor had been satisfied, just not the blood lust of the media and the far left. |