Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 25, 2009

Five Torture Myths

Myth: This only about the CIA.
Fact: Most of the torturing was done by the military, especially by special operation troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Myth: This was based on legal findings.
Fact: Torture on Abu Zubaydah and many people in Afghanistan was ordered and conducted months before any legal finding was made. The later legal arguments were made to justify torture and have been retracted.

Myth: The torture cases are only about water-boarding.
Fact: The other techniques used in these interrogations also constitute torture.

Myth: Important intelligence was gained through this.
Fact: The CIA IG says he could not find any proof for that claim.

Myth: Obama issued a general amnesty for the torturers.
Fact: Obama does not have the legal power to do such a thing. The U.S. is obligated to prosecute torture. Obama can pardon people only after they have been judged.

Posted by b on April 25, 2009 at 18:34 UTC | Permalink


Is there an archive of news and commentary program transcripts anywhere? I would like to know how many times "abuse of power" and "rule of law" was used between January 1996-1999 compared with January 2005-2009.

Posted by: rjj | Apr 25 2009 19:52 utc | 1

were used.

Posted by: rjj | Apr 25 2009 19:52 utc | 2

Thank you for the last one in particular, b, I misunderstood the power/affect of Obama's statements.

Posted by: Jeremiah | Apr 25 2009 20:26 utc | 3

Not sure about the last statement, b. As I recall Jimmy Carter fulfilled a campaign promise to pardon all Vietnam war draft resistors. I'm not sure of the legalities involved, but I'm assuming not all of them had been convicted or even formally indicted. This is certainly not to compare the 'crime' of draft evasion with that of torture only the rules regarding the power of presidential pardon. I think that is the one area where the constitution really does grant enormous discretion to the president.

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 25 2009 21:22 utc | 4


I think the difference is that torture is a crime against international law and draft dodging is a crime against a country's laws.

Posted by: DavidS | Apr 25 2009 21:27 utc | 5

Myth: Americans think that torture is un-American.

Posted by: alabama | Apr 25 2009 21:41 utc | 6

thank you for your clarifications, b!

btw, as far as I can tell, the allegations that KSM and AZ were tortured in order to make them say that AlQ and Iraq were in cahoots - were made by an anonymous person. Weak, that...

Posted by: lambent1 | Apr 25 2009 22:09 utc | 7

Myth: John McCain is against Torture, and rewrote the statutes in 2008 to "prevent
torture ever happening again," rather than redefining torture away, so he could gain
liberal points as a middle-of-the-roader; who suddenly embraced the Surge, no doubt
to gain more liberal points, although by then Mahdi has issued a cease fire and the
Anbar Awakening was on the Senate Armed Services Committee "...and other undisclosed
national security purposes" bahksheesh list, so JM wasn't risking blowback.

Myth: A melon head and a fluff head were the Best of the Best Republican candidates.

Myth: America is a Democracy.

Myth: Voting once every four years is the definition of a Democracy.

Posted by: Archy Plut | Apr 26 2009 1:03 utc | 8

Fact: I would have personally pulled Abu Zubaydah's fingernails out with a pair of pliers, just for the hell of it. I'm only glad the military was there to do it for me.

Posted by: 911 Witness | Apr 26 2009 2:47 utc | 9

My own favorite:

Military men are honorable.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Apr 26 2009 3:04 utc | 10

myth - European countries do not torture - ask the Irish.

Posted by: outsider | Apr 26 2009 4:53 utc | 11

Come on, the whole Iraq invasion was illegal and every Iraqi death was murder.

Posted by: biklett | Apr 26 2009 5:29 utc | 12

Yeah. I think we should track down "911 witness" and send him over to a few Syrian-based Iraqi refugee families and see what they decide to do to him.

Probably, they'd just let him go. But it'd be nice to see him piss his pants in humiliation.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Apr 26 2009 6:31 utc | 13

piss his pants in humiliation

of that you can be certain. he is a coward who delights in imagining the suffering caused to others and fancies that he would do it himself. he would not do anything dangerous like tracking and capturing these evil doers but would happily do the torturing once they are safely restrained.

alabama nails it in #6

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 26 2009 9:30 utc | 14

"Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from July (January) 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974."

Myth: Obama can pardon people only after they have been judged.

In this case an Obama pardon (before a judgment) may very well be a violation of an international treaty, but he clearly has the legal right (under US law) to do it.

Posted by: Extinct Species | Apr 26 2009 14:37 utc | 15

when realizations come too late
irreversible damage, broken minds
electrical currents cooking testicles
but when the market dives, eyes get wet w/ tears

they feed us fears and supple nymphs
couched in spacey, wooden wombs
mesmerized by insatiable streams
of capital’s poisonous blooms

all within share torture’s sin
to kill a man five times a day
we welcome a shift to dirty swine
because there’s nothing we can say

nothing softens evil’s hand
or slows its dark, methodic hold
and nothing will be what is left
when sadism’s so easily sold

Posted by: Lizard | Apr 29 2009 5:59 utc | 16

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