Friday, May 15, 2009

Pelosi, Cheney and Hypocrisy on Waterboarding and Torture

For all the "conservatives" and pundits that are full on attacking the integrity of Nancy Pelosi, whom I don't particularly care for either, over her perceived improprieties and "story changing" in the "waterboardgate" scandal.... I wonder if the irony or hypocrisy inherent in the juxtaposition of these two stories below even register on their consciences or if its just a matter of who you like and don't like or agree with and don't agree with... I just can't believe that A. they think this tactic of displacing blame will work and B. that it is apparently working on a lot of people...WOW!!!:

Read and consider these two articles:

White House denies Cheney endorsed 'water boarding'

Cheney was key in clearing CIA interrogation tactics

If one wants to go after Pelosi for mangling the truth- how can they not take issue with Cheney?

I have often been lectured about moral relativism in discussions with those aligned with Cheney's worldview... Here's the definition of moral relativism:
"In philosophy moral relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, ... Read More historical or personal circumstances. "
Doesn't Cheney's position and/or the lack of consistent standards between these two characters by Cheney's allies and advocates reflect moral relativism?

The United States knows quite a bit about waterboarding. The U.S. government -- whether acting alone before domestic courts, commissions and courts-martial or as part of the world community -- has not only condemned the use of water torture but has severely punished those who applied it.

After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. A number of Japanese prison-camp officers and guards were convicted of torture that clearly violated the laws of war. They were not the only defendants convicted in such cases. As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the "water cure" to question Filipino guerrillas.

More recently, waterboarding cases have appeared in U.S. district courts. One was a civil action brought by several Filipinos seeking damages against the estate of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. The plaintiffs claimed they had been subjected to torture, including water torture. The court awarded $766 million in damages, noting in its findings that "the plaintiffs experienced human rights violations including, but not limited to . . . the water cure, where a cloth was placed over the detainee's mouth and nose, and water producing a drowning sensation."

In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners' civil rights by forcing confessions. The complaint alleged that the officers conspired to "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning."

The four defendants were convicted, and the sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

We know that U.S. military tribunals and U.S. judges have examined certain types of water-based interrogation and found that they constituted torture. That's a lesson worth learning. The study of law is, after all, largely the study of history. The law of war is no different. This history should be of value to those who seek to understand what the law is -- as well as what it ought to be.

Waterboarding was designated as illegal by U.S. generals in the Vietnam War. On January 21, 1968, The Washington Post published a controversial front-page photograph of two U.S soldiers and one South Vietnamese soldier participating in the waterboarding of a North Vietnamese POW near Da Nang. The article described the practice as "fairly common". The photograph led to the soldier being court-martialled by a U.S. military court within one month of its publication, and he was discharged from the army. Another waterboarding photograph of the same scene, referred to as "water torture" in the caption, is also exhibited in the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

If one wants to go after Pelosi- how can they not see the duplicity in the former members of the Bush administration on this issue- denying and lying on this issue on TV and in press conferences in an all too obvious way and then give them a pass? That's partisan blindness, no matter what you think of the issue at hand and is one of the kinds of things that has put their party in their current political predicament. I have called it "selective truth engineering". I know a few people that claim as one of their pet peeves when people mangle the truth to make political points. I share that peeve.

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