The Ticking Time-Bomb Scenario

Under rules of engagement developed in the Bush Administration, we can waterboard Scott Roeder:

The man charged with murdering a high-profile abortion doctor claimed from his jail cell Sunday that similar violence was planned around the nation for as long as the procedure remained legal, a threat that comes days after a federal investigation launched into his possible accomplices.

A Justice Department spokesman said the threat was being taken seriously and additional protection had been ordered for abortion clinics last week. But a leader of the anti-abortion movement derided the accused shooter as “a fruit and a lunatic.”

So I’m sure the right will join me in calling for torture “enhanced interrogation techniques” to be used against Roeder, just to see what he’s up to.

What? No takers?

Funny, isn’t it? When the terrorist isn’t brown, the bloodlust just isn’t as fun for you guys.

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28 Responses to The Ticking Time-Bomb Scenario

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    Really? I was not aware that the Bush Administration authorized use of such a technique a) by civilian authorities b) on an American citizen c) on American soil.

    This murderer should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of Kansas law. And I think it’s quite legitimate to see his act as one of terror and to treat him accordingly.

    However, there’s a difference between the rights due to an American citizen in a civilian criminal proceeding and the rights of a combatant in a war on foreign soil. Claiming that race has anything to do with it is absurd.

  2. 2
    Angiportus says:

    Somehow I am still not enthused about torturing (no euphemisms please) this perp and his pals. It is not a dependable source of information. The person being tortured will as often as not say anything to get it to stop. I know this from being “just” psychologically tortured–grilled about embarrassing subjects by an adult–as a child. The answers I gave were bogus, and so would be anything gotten out of these people, or anyone else. And if they kept silent until they died, well, that wouldn’t help much either now would it?
    The time and energy not spent torturing could be used for better surveillance (all right, I’m not sure about all aspects of that either) of suspects, and better defenses [of all sorts] in place for the abortionists.
    If the Bush admin told me the sun comes up in the east, I’d check and make sure.
    I hope that more of the human species will join me in calling for an end to torture.

  3. Pingback: Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Your Ticking Time Bomb Scenario

  4. 3
    dcguy says:

    @RonF – Jose Padilla is an American citizen on American soil. Oh, and he’s brown.

  5. 4
    DiTurno says:

    I think Ron F is a little confused. Since contractors participated in the torture in Guantanamo, “civilian authorities” apparently were authorized. And certainly we could just ship him to Baghram and avoid the whole “American soil” farce. Furthermore, many of the people captured and tortured were not “enemy combatants” at all, as the Bush administration admitted. And because Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was tortured, Ron F managed to go 0 for 4 in his argument. That’s impressive.

    But here’s the larger question that he seems to have missed: if torture works on terrorists, why not use it on domestic terrorists? That’s doubly true if, as Cheney et. al. keep arguing, waterboarding works and is not torture.

  6. 5
    Carl I. says:

    Re: RonF: Two words: Jose Padillo.

  7. 6
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    RonF: Yes, they did. The Shoe Bomber ring a bell? He was tortured so badly that his own defence eventually had to get a judgement about his inability to aid in his own trial. He has been driven insane by his torturers, and that was the finding of the court in his case.

    That was done to an American citizen, on American soil, albeit by military, not civilian forces.

    Nice to know where you stand wrt your fellow human beings. Well, let me fix that… where you stand wrt human beings.

  8. 7
    Jake Squid says:

    It is not a dependable source of information.

    Oh, but it would satisfy our hunger for vengeance and demonstrate the power we hold. And think of the terror it would strike in terrorists! You can’t overlook the importance of those things. Home of the Free, Land of the Brave and all that.

  9. 8
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    RonF, But that is the question – would the right approve of such authorization for Roeder or not? There is a ticking time bomb situation here – remember this was a “thought experiment”? Well, here is a live ticking time bomb in the form of Roeder. Question – would you approve torture?
    Secondly, there did exist international treaties that outlaw torture – the Bush admin just keeps redefining what torture means. In fact Bush himself (unlike you, who claim the Bush authorized it), said “we do not torture”.
    Further the whole question of the utility value of torture has nothing to do with its legality – Cheney says it works. Why don’t we use it on Roeder? If it is against the law locally (as you claim), it is also against the law internationally. So why does the right support it in the case of Boumedienne and not Scott Roeder?

  10. 9
    brendan says:

    The Bush Administration
    a, authorized torture by ‘civilian authroities’—in fact it is not usually the military that is implicated. the CIA, for the obvious example, was lead player at least largely because it is civilian and not subject to military treaties, codes of discipline, etc. same for most of the others involved–docs, psychiatrists, fbi, etc.
    b. on American citizens–john walker lynd is the best known, and a nasty schmuck, but not the only example,
    c. on American soil–Gaunatonomo IS american soil–that is its whole legal reason for being. ‘American soil’ includes P.R., the Canal Zone before the treaty of a few years ago, and lots of other places that are not part of the States, nor on the continent.

    this whole debate seems to involve nearly delusional arguments advanced by folks who just can’t bring themselves to believe that we may had done real harm, wrongly.

  11. 10
    brantl says:

    Really? I was not aware that the Bush Administration authorized use of such a technique a) by civilian authorities b) on an American citizen c) on American soil.

    Besides the shoe bomber, does the name Jose Padilla ring any bells? Been subject to sensory deprivation, heat deprivation, the loud music and sleep deprivation, his defense lawyers said that he was incompetant to stand trial, as they’d made him crazy….. Wrong, RonF.

  12. 11
    Jeff Fecke says:

    Lest anyone be confused — no, I don’t think we should actually torture this schmo, despite the risk of more violence. But this is precisely the scenario that we’ve been told requires harsh interrogation. If it’s fine when the terrorists are Muslim, why isn’t it fine when the terrorist is Christian? For my part, I don’t think it’s fine either time — but why isn’t the right showing a willingness to get to the bottom of this? Could it be that torture is still torture when we’re torturing a white conservative Christian?

  13. 12
    Myca says:

    Hey, not to interrupt the (incredibly well-earned) pile-on here or anything, but I just want to remind folks to be civil. In particular:

    polyorchnid octopunch:

    Nice to know where you stand wrt your fellow human beings. Well, let me fix that… where you stand wrt human beings.

    Though I (of course) sympathize with the sentiment behind the statement, I think that veers a little too close to ‘gratuitous insult’ and a little far from ‘criticism of a position.’

    —Myca

  14. 13
    mashy says:

    When I was a young man I was a conservative, as I was raised, and the idea that we would be holding people without charges for years at a time would have met with great scorn. that was what communists and fascists did. due process isn’t just some special right for american citizens, it is a basic thing that all people who love liberty should cherish and all civilized peoples should practice for all. its merely the idea that the state needs to prove why it is holding you, that you have done something to warrant it. is that so hard for the state to have to prove their case? i might point out that framed as special right it seems week. but due process isn’t just some some fancy right for certain people, but a way of ascertaining the truth. if we dont want to give people as fair a trial then we are also saying we hold a lower truth standard for certain people. you can see where that got us, having held without charge or trial many innocent individuals for years. what a disgrace that modern conservatives rationalize such things.

  15. 14
    iLarynx says:

    RonF makes some truly bizarre distinctions/rationalizations in a flailing attempt to justify torture.

    American soil – The American government has exercised territorial control over Guantanamo for over 100 years. The American Government occupies, manages, polices, and controls this piece of land as it has for over a century. But Americans torturing people is OK, just as long as it doesn’t happen on the dirt between Maine and California? WTF kind of logic is that? Want to smoke pot? Travel to Amsterdam. Want to torture people? Travel to GITMO, Uzbekistan, or Tel Aviv! See your travel agent (or CIA agent) today!

    American citizen – I don’t believe that the Bush Administration memos made any distinction regarding citizenship or non-citizenship. As such, it appears that the Bush Administration would torture whomever it decreed an “unlawful combatant.”
    Conversely, if you stoop to the “torture works” argument, and crushing the testicles of a US citizen would keep a US city from being nuked, why not? Why draw the distinction? (My guess is that these radical pro-torturerers will now want to amend the Constitution to nullify the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments.) Patrick Henry is rolling over in his grave.

    Civilian authorities - The civilian Executive Branch initiated and gave its approval for the torturing of individuals. This was overseen by the civilian CIA, which employed civilian contractors who actually implemented the torturing. This wasn’t just Rummy and crew. Civilian authorities right up to the top.

    The comparison of the logic for torturing an alleged terrorist in GITMO vs. torturing an alleged terrorist in Kansas may not be a precise 1-1 comparison, but it is 100% valid. This is why it gives the wholly unAmerican pro-toruturers fits.

  16. 15
    RonF says:

    iLarynx said:

    RonF makes some truly bizarre distinctions/rationalizations in a flailing attempt to justify torture.

    Really? What part of my posting construes an attempt to justify torture? Please quote it.

  17. 16
    mark says:

    TO Ron F.

    A difference or a distinction? I think neither. If you think it is “OK” to torture a ‘Non-american” if it happens not “on american soil”, you must not understand what America and American Ideals stand for. I assume you are a proud conservative and cherish the “rule of law.” Except not when you are scared or afraid or just had your ass kicked. then of course it’s ok to torture. I am so sick and tired of the “rights.” idiotic rationalization of torture. You need to sit down with Shepard Smith. I quote…. “this is america, we dont f___ing torture.” Yeah, that is what separates us from everyone else.

  18. 17
    Myca says:

    RonF:

    Really? What part of my posting construes an attempt to justify torture? Please quote it.

    Okay.

    RonF:

    However, there’s a difference between the rights due to an American citizen in a civilian criminal proceeding and the rights of a combatant in a war on foreign soil.

    I read this as saying that though torture might be illegal when used on US Citizens (like Jose Padilla, tortured illegally by the Bush Administration), it was not an offense against the rights of foreign combatants.

    I don’t think that that’s an unreasonable reading, but maybe you meant something else.

    More to the point, Ron, the distinction you draw is (as everyone has pointed out) a false one. We have tortured at least one US Citizen on US soil … but even if we hadn’t, it wouldn’t justify torture. Torture isn’t ‘only torture’ when it happens to us.

    —Myca

  19. Pingback: A Natural Conclusion to the Torture Defense - Think Free : Freedom Politics

  20. 18
    Susan J. says:

    The man charged with murdering a high-profile abortion doctor claimed from his jail cell Sunday that similar violence was planned around the nation for as long as the procedure remained legal, a threat that comes days after a federal investigation launched into his possible accomplices.

    Interesting only that this procedure was ‘legal’ for as long as the Bush administration held office, and prior to that. Don’t they teach Logic in schools anymore?

  21. 19
    chingona says:

    New York Times had a fascinating (in a car wreck kind of way) story about how anti-abortion protestors don’t know what to do with themselves now that Tiller is dead and his clinic is closed.

  22. 20
    Angiportus says:

    After I hit the post button I came to realize that Fecke might have in fact been kidding/ironic/sarcastic/facetious/ whatever. I hadn’t had breakfast yet. I still stand against torture, and for investigation of threats, or at least increased vigilance.

  23. 21
    jd says:

    I think any reluctance on the part of conservatives to torture Roeder has less to do with his race or religion (not nothing, just less) and more to do with the fact that they’re really pretty OK with what he and his co-conspirators are doing.

  24. 22
    Jake Squid says:

    I think any reluctance on the part of conservatives to torture Roeder has less to do with his race or religion…

    I don’t know. I just keep going back to the OKC Bombing and the change in rhetoric, particularly rhetoric from the right, from the early stages when rumors had it as done by Arabs until it was discovered that it was McVeigh and company. Initially, when there were reports of Arabs seen in the area, it was referred to as a terrorist attack. When it came out that it was a white, Christianist the bombing was then called mass murder. I just can’t escape the conclusion that race & religion has an awful lot to do with it.

    As I stated when we began the invasion of Afghanistan, “It isn’t important whether we wear the white hats or the black hats, the important thing is that we wear hats.” All these years later it still seems like a bizarre literary device of some sort of the US attitude towards race and religion.

  25. 23
    PG says:

    Jake,

    I just keep going back to the OKC Bombing and the change in rhetoric, particularly rhetoric from the right, from the early stages when rumors had it as done by Arabs until it was discovered that it was McVeigh and company. Initially, when there were reports of Arabs seen in the area, it was referred to as a terrorist attack. When it came out that it was a white, Christianist the bombing was then called mass murder.

    Yeah, but I think that again was a certain lingering sympathy for the motive. On the far right wing, hating America terrorism is just horribly evil, while hating the federal government terrorism is regrettable but understandable. John Walker Lindh was about as white as you can get, and the right wing loathes him with a passion.

  26. 24
    Jake Squid says:

    On the far right wing, hating America terrorism is just horribly evil, while hating the federal government terrorism is regrettable but understandable.

    Sure. Arab bombing a federal building = terrorism. White christianist bombing a federal building = regrettable. Race and religion has everything to do with it. Same act, attributing different motives based on race & religion.

  27. 25
    Jkat says:

    what’s so pathetic .. is that after seven or eight years of everyone and their dogs being fully aware that [1] not everyone locked up in guanantamo is an unlawful combatant [2] a terrorist .. or [3] was captured or taken into custody on the field of battle .. and further that the supreme court has ruled guanantamo is “american territory” .. and further still .. that “contract employee” i.e “civilians ” have certainly been the actors in carrying out “enhanced interrogation” .. that we still have a significant portion of the body politic who .. like ron f ..remain blissfully ignorant of all these facts .. events .. and reality .. and even after being informed here of the errors in his line of thinking will prance off into cyberspace ..and the real world and continue to spout the same old tired canards which he employed here .. imo .. such behavior and speech is a result of willful and determined deliberate ignorance ..

    a mind is a terrible thing to waste .. no ??