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Thread: Release of the Bush-era interrogation memos

  1. #1
    freddy is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default Release of the Bush-era interrogation memos

    This doesn't sit right with me. And Obama's reasons for releasing them seem disingenuous to me.

    We're still in the middle of a couple of wars. Bush's chair in the white house is still warm.

    Transparency. I thought he meant transparency in his administration. I didn't know that meant declassifying information related to our national security.

    It just seems inappropriate and unprofessional to me.

    "The president said that while United States must sometimes "protect information that is classified for purposes of national security," he decided to release the memos because he believes "strongly in transparency and accountability" and "exceptional circumstances surround these memos and require their release." Obama argued that "withholding these memos would only serve to deny facts that have been in the public domain for some time."
    "This could contribute to an inaccurate accounting of the past, and fuel erroneous and inflammatory assumptions about actions taken by the United States," he said."


    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/...nts/index.html

  2. #2
    jvirginia is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    My understanding is that the memos are public record under law and that we had no legal standing for continuing to suppress them. The ACLU and others had been suing to have them released, and the previous administration's argument didn't hold water (no pun intended). The president can't decide what memos to release or not to release unless he can prove that releasing them is a risk to national security. I appreciate the fact that Obama made it very clear that the interrorators face no repurcussions for following the advice in the memos.

  3. #3
    SharonB is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Why is it inappropriate and unprofessional? It was pretty widely known that the Bush administration was engaging in torture already, all this does is confirm that for all to see. The documents are chilling, and represent a deliberate attempt to circumvent the law and the Geneva conventions.

    Our supposed moral authority in the world was decimated by the use of these "enhanced interrogation" procedures. On the one hand, we were extolling the benefits of freedom and human rights; on the other, we were shuttling people to black sites, Guantanamo, etc. and subjecting them to methods that we considered torture when they were used against US soldiers in WWII. We convicted a number of Japanese soldiers for waterboarding, because it was torture, following WWII. What changed?

    I think the transparency was completely necessary and shows a determination on the part of the President not only to not use these methods going forward, but essentially eliminating the possibility of using them going forward. I applaud his decision.

    What happened to Ronald Reagan's "shining city on the hill"? We are better than that. We shouldn't succumb to the same methods as the Khmer Rouge and the the Nazis. The facts contained in these memos are deeply disturbing and need the light of day to ensure this won't happen again.

  4. #4
    jknyc is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    The memos were released because of a FOIA request. And I consider it a matter of national security to confirm that the US authorized the use of torture under the Bush/Cheney administration. If the US is truly going to be a positive leader in the world for democracy, acknowledgeing that this did happen and clearly stating it will not happen again is very important.

  5. #5
    AnnieA1998 Guest

    Default Isn't the idea of not going after them a violation of the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by jvirginia View Post
    My understanding is that the memos are public record under law and that we had no legal standing for continuing to suppress them. The ACLU and others had been suing to have them released, and the previous administration's argument didn't hold water (no pun intended). The president can't decide what memos to release or not to release unless he can prove that releasing them is a risk to national security. I appreciate the fact that Obama made it very clear that the interrorators face no repurcussions for following the advice in the memos.
    If those who tortured in the present using the same methods used by other nations against our soldiers in WWII was considered torture then isn't not going after those who "only followed orders" a violation of the US Constitution? Isn't this a violation of the Geneva Convention?

    I don't think we can have it both ways - OK so we tortured but we won't do it again... why because the officers who violated the law were just following orders of their superiors. Isn't that the exact phrase Nazi war criminals used to condone what they did?
    While I am not sure what the President should do, I think glossing over violations of the Geneva Convention as well as violations of the US Constitution won't go very far for the US image abroad.

  6. #6
    jvirginia is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnieA1998 View Post
    If those who tortured in the present using the same methods used by other nations against our soldiers in WWII was considered torture then isn't not going after those who "only followed orders" a violation of the US Constitution? Isn't this a violation of the Geneva Convention?

    I don't think we can have it both ways - OK so we tortured but we won't do it again... why because the officers who violated the law were just following orders of their superiors. Isn't that the exact phrase Nazi war criminals used to condone what they did?
    While I am not sure what the President should do, I think glossing over violations of the Geneva Convention as well as violations of the US Constitution won't go very far for the US image abroad.
    I don't see how it is a violation of the constitution. I think it is a lot to ask of interrogators to ignore/overrule the legal interpretation sent to them by their president's administration about what is or is not legal. They were not being asked to gas or kill people. They aren't lawyers and they have a truly awful job (now why anyone would chose to be an interrogator is beyond me, but I do think there is a necessary role for LEGAL interrogation in protection of our country). I think it would be absolutely wrong to tell people who were following our country's top lawyer's legal interpretation that they will now be prosecuted because that legal interpretation was wrong.

    Honestly I cannot get my mind beyond the arrogance and horror of Gonzales and others ... the Geneva Conventions are a linchpin of humanity in this world and undermining them was hugely damaging. But, I don't blame the interrogators, I blame their bosses.

  7. #7
    freddy is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnieA1998 View Post
    If those who tortured in the present using the same methods used by other nations against our soldiers in WWII was considered torture then isn't not going after those who "only followed orders" a violation of the US Constitution? Isn't this a violation of the Geneva Convention?

    I don't think we can have it both ways - OK so we tortured but we won't do it again... why because the officers who violated the law were just following orders of their superiors. Isn't that the exact phrase Nazi war criminals used to condone what they did?

    They weren't 'just following orders'. Just following orders is no excuse for breaking the law. If your superior orders you to do something that you've been trained is illegal, then you are obligated to not follow the orders. In essence, you're obligated to follow an order from higher up which orders you not to follow illegal orders.

    They were being trained that if they did X Y and Z in such and such a manner, that it was indeed legal, and it was an appropriate order to follow. Its not the soldiers prerogative to decide which orders are legal and which are not. It is his obligation to know the rules (not determine the rules) , and only follow orders that follow the rules.

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    jordansmom is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    What moral compass did the Bush administration use to determine that what they were doing didn't constitute torture? It boggles my mind.

    I hope that those responsible are brought to justice. Especially those who ordered the use of such procedures.

  9. #9
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    Jeannie is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I don't think Obama should have to continue the secretive policies of Bush. If people are seeking the memos and they are public documents, then Obama is free to do what he believes to be in compliance with the law.

    I am far more disturbed by what is coming out in the memos. There's more than cruelty going on here. There's a whole lot of stupidity too. I mean really. They waterboarded that 9/11 guy 183 times? What could possibly be achieved by that? If the technique is effective, they would have gotten all the info the needed after a few sessions. Does anyone really think the information they got in session No 122 was anything reliable. After a hundred or so times, I'd be making stuff up right and left so they'd stop.

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    I believe that reconciliation in this country can only happen when the truth is brought out quickly. If bush, etc did break laws, then we deserve to know what, when,where and how. Has nothing to do with professional or unprofessional imho.

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