Monday, May 14, 2018

Despicable!

As anyone who's read many of my posts (which is a far larger number than I thought would read them when I started and for which I am very grateful) may surmise, words like Honor, Integrity, Courage and Duty are important to me.  It may also be surmised from the comments on those posts, they are important to those commentators also.  Which is reassuring.  Reading the news or watching it on TV, thumbing through Facebook or, God Forbid, Twitter, would lead one to believe that those concepts are no longer important.  

I don't believe that.

Which is why I rarely read the news, watch much TV, haven't posted on Facebook in years and don't believe that anything worth saying (beyond Thank You, or I'm sorry) can be said in 140 characters.

But, I digress.

I believe there was a new low in conversation this week.  Apparently,  the ongoing discussion about the use of waterboarding in interrogating terrorists has descended into the realm of name calling.

This is an important discussion with no right or wrong answers, only bad and less bad.   Should we? In a perfect world, no.  Should we ban it, completely? In a perfect world, yes.  Use thereof lessens us as a people.

But this isn't a perfect world.  More talented debaters than I can "Yeah, but..." both sides of the argument, and there's validity to both positions, so I'll leave that debate to them. 

When I was flying, dying didn't bother me much.  It would most likely have been alive on second, not alive the next.  At worst, there would have been time for a final "Ah S4!7!" and it would be over.  Nothing to be done about it.
Source

However, getting shot down and captured scared the bejesus out of me.  Remember I came on Active Duty right after Vietnam.  I knew several people who had come under the kind care of the North Vietnamese.  Some I knew through my Father as student pilots whose first operational assignment was Vietnam.  Others were IPs of mine or in my squadrons.  

Sometimes, they would open up about the experience and, while alcohol was involved in the telling, the stories were always sobering.

To a man,  all said that they had "broken" under torture.  Some broke earlier than others and there are a few who are not invited to POW/MIA events for their actions.  The rest came to the realization that talking under torture was not an end, but a pause.  They knew the honorable thing to do was to hold out as long as humanly possible, give as little useful info as you could, recover from your injuries and start all over again.  Make your captors waste as much time as possible to get very little info.

As I said, those stories were sobering, and cause for much introspection.  Would I, could I hold up to their standard?  Would it be better to just ride it in?  Could I do that?  Fortunately, I was never placed in that position.  

It also was apparent to me in listening to the stories, that the story tellers, whether they were ex-POWs or knew ex-POWs, did not believe there was any dishonor in having broken, that it was inevitable and as long as you continued resisting, your honor was intact.  The few who had collaborated were shunned by the group as a whole, however.
Col Day
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I have read Col George "Bud" Day's books, heard him speak, and have met him. He and Sen McCain were cellmates in North Vietnam.  At no point, did he give any indication that Sen McCain was anything other than honorable in his duty while a POW.  That's good enough for me.

Now, some asshat, named McInerney, has taken to calling the Senator "Songbird", because the Senator "knows torture works" alluding to the fact the Senator broke while a POW.

Yes, asshat, he knows it works because he experienced it.  Knowing that, he STILL doesn't think we should do it. That's his belief and he's entitled to it.  

I'm not particularly fond of the Senator and don't like much of his politics, but I will not condone the calling into question his honorable actions as a POW to score political points.  The fact that the asshat uses his retired rank to grant more credence to his commentary only further pisses me off raises my ire.

Yes, I think there's a case to be made for Enhanced Interrogation techniques.  In a Vince Flynn scenario where a nuke is hidden in a large city and the clock is ticking?  You betcha.

Senator McCain disagrees.  He knows torture works and STILL doesn't believe we should use it.  

Is he wrong? I'm not so sure. But that discussion needs to be conducted by adults, not preening peacocks obsessed with their own opinion of themselves using character assassination in order to make their point.  Despicable!

Fox News, McInerney needs to go

Update: Behold the power of Chant Du Départ

Full disclosure: I was deployed to McInerney's headquarters at Elmendorf for an exercise and have interacted with him.  Wasn't impressed.  My impression was that he was one of "those" AF generals.  You know, "what have you done for me lately?"  However, I didn't think he'd sink to this level.




46 comments:

  1. Asshats......everywhere you look there are ......asshats. I share your outlook on the news, don't watch the national and my blood pressure is ok. Too many people want their 15 minutes of fame and reveal what they are through their use of social media. Which is good, doing so lets you know who to watch out for. IMO, those who went through torture have a greater weight to their opinions than mine. Way too much of politics is preening.

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    1. Interesting point on Social Media. If there were some kind of index on Social Media use so you could look at the index and see the poster posts every other minute, you'd know to avoid him. Instead you have to read the garbage. Granted it usually only takes one post to decide his asshat percentage, but sometimes even that is too much.

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  2. Not a big McCain fan, but his conduct as a POW, by most accounts (especially from those who were there), was above reproach.

    Two schools of thought on torture - 1) it works and provides useful intel, 2) it doesn't work, people will say anything to stop the pain so how can you trust the information?

    Yes, everyone eventually breaks, or they die. I don't think we should use it, but that's just me.

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    1. I can't disagree, Sarge. However, I would think an official blanket ban on it would be ill advised. Still available for use in rare situations where circumstances required. Very rare circumstances.

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    2. Not advocating it be made "against the law," just don't care for it on moral grounds.

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  3. Sometimes I think our opinions are formed with a mindset 'that it will never happen to me'......I am up in the air about torture.....right now, sitting here with no threat to me or mine, I would so no...let's not go there. But if my daughter were being held by a bunch of terrorists who were abusing her and I had one of the terrorists in my hands, I think the story would be different. Just my humble opinion.

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    1. Again, I can't disagree. Do something to my family? The ends of the earth aren't far enough to get you away.

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  4. Thank you for addressing this topic; I think that you have done a good job of it.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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  5. Opinions? If you are an enemy of me and mine, I don't care what happens to you.

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    1. I get that and the tighter the definition of me and mine gets, the less I care what happens to you.

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  6. Thanks for that.
    Even after these many years, I don’t have a complete opinion on torture, other than it’s not something I want to experience.
    Boot camp was bad enough, and they were on our side.
    The only other thought I have st the moment is it is really easy to form an opinion when your knowledge of something is based upon prejudice rather than fact and experience.

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    1. A lot of truth in that last sentence, Skip. Unfortunately, it seems more people are using the former rather than the latter.

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  7. I do not believe in the intentional infliction of pain just because it can be done is of any value to any intelligence agency. As far as the relationship between myself and my country goes, I am expendable. Would I apply electricity to some asshole who had information I needed to prevent the deaths of my countrymen? You betcha. Would it bother me? Not a lick. And to make it work even bettr, I'd let his buddy watch.

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    1. For some reason, your comment got me to thinking about this. Be nice until it's time to "not be nice".

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    2. I can't make you tell me what I need to know to save my countrymen. But I can make you wish you had. And once I start, I don't stop until I am convinced you're telling the truth. Not personal, business.

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  8. Thank you for this. I was just about to start seeing if there was anything to the "songbird" allegations.

    Senator McCain has done enough that we know for certain he's done that's reprehensible; we really don't need to be making up stuff he didn't do.

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  9. While I may not agree with his less-than conservative politics, disparaging his service and sacrifice is hitting way below the belt, especially considering his health.

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    1. Wish the other side behaved using the same rules as were taught to us all.

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  10. I feel the same way about torture as I feel about snipers, mines (land or sea, and air if you count barrage balloons,) poison gas, or nuclear weapons. Despicable, I would prefer not to use those methods of war, but... dammit, sometimes you really do have to resort to extraordinary measures, unfortunately.

    But this world isn't moral, and is rather despicable. The more despicable, the more extraordinary the measures taken to even the playing field. So, I'll allow snipers and landmines in warfare. Seamines (and airmines) in the appropriate situations as required (still don't like them, but they are useful, like landmines, for area denial purposes.)

    Nukes, gas and torture? Their best use is as a deterrent. "You want to play dirty? We can play dirty better than you can play dirty." The threat, which must be backed up by use as needed.

    Are there uses for gas - toxic and non-toxic? Yes. But I'd prefer us to stick with less-lethal gasses (which, fortunately, is national policy.)

    Are there uses for nukes? Yes, most emphatically yes. It got us out of a very bad situation at the end of WWII. And the threat of them helped keep the Cold War mostly cold. And the War on Terror mostly cold (what, you don't think that there are people who deal with nuclear weapons who haven't floated the horrible idea of brightening the skys above two of some religion's most important shrines? And then recoiled from said idea? (See, there's that moral boundary that keeps us, well, us.)

    Torture is a horrible moral dilemma. Does it work? Y-yes, to a degree. Does the threat work? Y-yes, to a degree. Is there a slippery slope? Oh, yes, most definitely. But the information gained must be verified, as, yes, people lie to get out of torture. Do I want it to become common-place? Heck, NO! (like use of nukes, gas, landmines...) But there are instances where physical or mental torture is... appropriate.

    From all the protocols I've read about, so far we, as a nation, have stayed on the morally correct side of torture when we've tortured for information. And we've gotten real, actionable intelligence, which was verified by other means, which lead to actual real operations for the benefit of us and the world. From what I've read, the intelligence agencies have been careful to the extend and to the techniques of torture, and to the persons torture is used upon.

    Torture for punishment's sake only? No. Heck no. Most definitely a big friggin NO! That would make us equal to the ChiComms, North Viet-Nam, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, Turkey, Soviet Russia, Communist Cuba... Those of our nation that have tortured for revenge (or fun, sick f$^ks) should, and have, been punished accordingly (Abu Grabe, being the most famous of stupid people doing stupid things for stupid reasons and getting their asses handed to them accordingly.)

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    1. As suspected, you and I are pretty much in agreement. As, apparently but not surprisingly are the rest of commenters at this point.

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    2. It's due to us here all being responsible ADULTS, not children, which apparently Big Government is too full of.

      The same sort of responsibility that allows us to have a host of stories and information that we'll never talk about because it's either none of our business or classified or both.

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    3. "...which apparently Big Government is to full of..."

      and/or created.

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    4. I can't agree with gas and chemical weapons. Too persistent, hard to control, and indiscriminate, and the effects are long lasting, even years. Nukes, yes as a deterrent, but their use also has long-lasting effects on civilian populations and nature- not worth it. I expect we'll never use them again though. Iran? Not so sure.

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    5. I understand the use of deadly chemicals in WWI. Anything to attempt to break the trench warfare. But deadly chemicals? No. That's pretty much draw the line time. Less-than-lethal, like puke gas or CS or irritating smoke, they have their useful places.

      Well, again, nukes have their limited use. To stop us from spending soldiers like crazy, as in the potential invasion of Japan in WWII, I am okay with that. For a surgical strike against a facility? I think we have better non-nuke weapons available, but I admit I don't know all about our current capabilities (non-secret or secret.) As a detterant against the mad Mullahs? Dunno, depends on what they do with theirs, first. But I have a feeling a certain nation, now in the news, will probably act first and most fulsomely, in a non-nuke way (but the after-effects may end up with a dirty-bomb after-effect, no matter what weapons are used.)

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    6. I think the nuclear deterrent only works because we had to use them in Japan, which showed the world just how deadly they are.

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  11. As to Senator Harris, who supports infanticide, questioning a candidate over Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (which were not commonly used) is wrong. Not giving the candidate the ability to answer fully is reprehensible. The cult of Ba'al is strong in Senator Harris. Enough said about that whole situation.


    On to Senator McCain. What things he has done to the detriment of this nation as a POW he will soon be answering to a higher moral authority than the court of man. His actions and pettiness as a polititian? Well, our noble host's blog space couldn't hold all the negativity towards Arizona's senior senator that said senator richly deserves. (His treatment of Governor Palin during and after the 2008 election was and is reprehensible. She's the only reason he got as many votes as he did, from what I feel.)

    On the other hand, the leaking of a private comment from some random White House worker is truly despicable. What is said off the record, as people vent their emotions, should not be blabbed to a hostile media for all to hear. Those who leak every damned little thing are scum of the largest variety, pandering to the media whores for favors. Spikes on the WH Lawn are almost good enough for those bottom-feeders, almost (but I can fantasize, can't I?)

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    1. Working in a progressive-heavy environment, I can attest to the last paragraph. Spikes would be too good I'm afraid.

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    2. The older I get the more I understand the mind-set of Vlad Tepes.

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  12. I know this is wildly off topic, but when I read the headline, "Despicable!", immediately what I heard in my head was Daffy Duck saying it. (It was a favorite line of his.) You may now return to your regularly scheduled relevant discussions.

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    1. I thought about embedding one of those cartoons, but, on advice of counsel, decided against it.

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  13. Having been waterboarded in SERE, it IS NOT TORTURE. And there IS a time and place for 'enhanced' techniques. Sadly, Haspel is being raked over the coals for something she actually had no control over, unlike Brennan, who was confirmed by those same Dems... sigh

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    1. Waterboarded? Hah, let's see what the things my brothers did to me could be classified as, those sadistic bastards...

      Yep. Brennan. Both sides of their mouths. Or both sides of their asses. (Looking at you, Feinstein.)

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  14. "Or both sides of their asses. (Looking at you, Feinstein.)"

    Well, of course. They have to talk from there because that's where their heads are located.

    Paul

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)