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A Question For Dick Cheney: Should We Now Waterboard Tiller's Murderer?

[ Posted Monday, June 8th, 2009 – 15:36 UTC ]

I have a question for former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been staunchly defending the Bush administration's use of waterboarding and other torture against prisoners in our care. My question: Should Scott Roeder, accused murderer of abortion doctor George Tiller, now be waterboarded? Roeder has just gone on the record stating that further violence is coming, in "many similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal." In other words, Roeder is claiming the now-infamous "ticking time bomb" scenario of what can only be termed domestic terrorism. So, Mr. Cheney, doesn't this mean (following your own "logic") that Roeder should immediately be waterboarded to tell us what he knows? Anything less, by your standards, would be hypocritically picking and choosing which terrorists get a pass, and which don't.

Following Roeder's provacative statements to the Associated Press, this seems like a textbook case of a ticking-time-bomb scenario. Anti-abortion terrorism has a long and sordid history in America, meaning that the threat must be taken seriously. But, so far, it has not been. News organizations have mysteriously shied away from calling Roeder what he is -- a domestic terrorist. Or, to assuage journalistic (and legalistic) sensibilities -- an alleged domestic terrorist (by this rule, he's "alleged" or "accused" until he has been convicted in a court of law). To date, I haven't seen this term used once in any of the news reports about Tiller's murderer. But it certainly fits the description of terrorism, as far as I can tell. Yet there has been no talk of charging him with any terrorism crimes (although by now, the law certainly allows this to happen). Arsonists committing crimes as part of the "Earth Liberation Front" have had terrorism enhancements added to their sentences, even though they didn't kill anyone, because they were trying to effect a change in government policy by violence and criminal actions. Meaning the legal precedent is clear for domestic terrorism cases. And Roeder has already killed someone (OK, "allegedly" killed someone), and has now made dark threats of "more actions" to come by people across the country. This, again, is a textbook description of domestic terrorism. And anyone who thinks domestic terrorism isn't a real concern should go to Oklahoma City and stare at the space where the federal building used to be for a few hours.

Of course, Roeder could be merely drawing attention to his case. The AP article points this out: "It wasn't clear whether Roeder knew of any impending violence or whether he was simply seeking publicity for his cause." But how can we be sure? Are we (to use Cheneyian logic) supposed to sit around and wait and see what happens, or are we to aggressively interrogate Roeder to foil such plots as may exist before they kill other Americans?

And, still using Cheney's legal theories, the constitutionality of doing so shouldn't even be a question. Dick Cheney is still convinced that everything he ordered done to prisoners was legal, constitutional, and necessary to protect the American public. So I am aware that as far as Cheney's concerned, it doesn't even enter the conversation.

So, Mr. Cheney, I ask again: Should Roeder be immediately waterboarded in an effort to make him tell us what he knows?

Now, even using Cheney's reasoning, there might seem to be a way to back out of this question. After all, Roeder (allegedly) only killed one person. And even if there were a wave of copycat killings, it would all be rather small in the grand scheme of things. So, technically, it could be argued that since it doesn't rise to the level of "mass" killing, even if it is terrorism, it's such low-grade terrorism that it doesn't rise to the level of "enhanced interrogation."

Once again, though, how are we to be sure? The specter of Oklahoma City looms once again. Timothy McVeigh can't be called anything less than a "mass murderer," or (more accurately) a "domestic terrorist."

This would also raise the bar for defending waterboarding that has already happened. If your position (as is Cheney's) is that waterboarding foiled plots and saved American lives, then each one would have to hit the standard of "saved Americans from a mass killing." Which, one assumes, would be a harder bridge to cross.

The media, since it has been delighted with Cheney's defense of waterboarding for months now, really need to ask him this question. After all, Cheney's been interviewed by the media so many times recently you'd think they'd have run out of their standard questions and enthusiastically embrace new things to ask him by now. Cheney's daughter Liz has been all over the news as well (with a reported 22 appearances in the past month alone), defending her father's actions and policies. So this is a timely question for an honest journalist to now ask either Cheney or his daughter, due to the breaking news of Roeder's brash statement to the AP:

"Given the fact that Dr. Tiller's accused murderer has now warned from prison to expect further 'events' as long as abortion is legal, and given the fact that we simply don't know what accomplices he may have had, and given your strong defense of 'enhanced interrogation' in what has been called the 'ticking time bomb scenario'; would you now support waterboarding Scott Roeder to find out exactly what he knows and to thwart further domestic terrorism? Why or why not?"

But, seeing as how the media has so far been too timid to even call Roeder a domestic terrorist, I am not exactly filled with confidence that any "journalist" will ask him this seemingly-obvious question any time soon.

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

19 Comments on “A Question For Dick Cheney: Should We Now Waterboard Tiller's Murderer?”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    My question: Should Scott Roeder, accused murderer of abortion doctor George Tiller, now be waterboarded?

    Abso-fracking-loutly..

    If there is additional conclusive evidence, beyond his own rantings, that he has information of more terrorism about to be committed, then I say torture the fucker and let me pour the water!

    Pardon my french, but I just wanted to convey my absolute conviction for the necessity of the task.

    But, seeing as how the media has so far been too timid to even call Roeder a domestic terrorist, I am not exactly filled with confidence that any "journalist" will ask him this seemingly-obvious question any time soon.

    I am also constrained to point out that the media (AND the Obama Administration) have also refused to label Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (formerly, Carlos Bledsoe) as a terrorist. This scumbag planned the brutal murder of as many American soldiers as he could kill. Granted, by definition, this wasn't an act of terrorism. But what Muhammad had planned for subsequent attacks was, by ANY definition, acts of terrorism.

    It seems that the media (at the Administration's direction??) doesn't want to label any homeland attacks as terrorism...

    Like you, I wonder why as well...

    Michale....

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    More on the comparison between Roeder and Muhammad here:

    http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/06/05/homegrown-terror-does-america-have-its-eyes-wide-shut/#more-12201

    While I disagree with the contention of that commentary that Muhammad's act was an act of terrorism (although the logical argument could be made for such a claim) I wholeheartedly support the conclusion of the piece, as it is what I have been saying for so many years..

    ...the glib formulation that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” ought to be treated as blasphemy by Americans of all religious persuasions. A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist, and no religious leader can lessen the stench or copy editor can Photoshop an alternate reality — and no decent person should try.

    Michale.....

  3. [3] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Oh my.

    First, they waterboarded brown people, and I did nothing because I hated brown people. Besides, it made me feel safe -- and who cared about their rights, anyway?

    Then they waterboarded Americans, and I did nothing because I hated domestic terrorists. Besides, it made me feel safe -- and who cared about their rights, anyway?

    Then they waterboarded criminals, and I did nothing because I hated criminals. Besides, it made me feel safe -- and who cared about their rights, anyway?

    Then they waterboarded Michale, and I did nothing because I hated comment trolls. Besides, it made me feel safe -- and who cared about his rights, anyway?

    Then they waterboarded me, and there was no one left to stop them...

    Honestly, after reading the account of Mr. Boumediene's seven years at Guantanamo, I don't understand how anyone can think torture "works." Anyone who thinks waterboarding is a legitimate form of intelligence collection needs to ask John McCain about it.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh pullleeeezzzeee...

    Using that reasoning, you could make up the scenario,

    First they came for bank robbers but I did nothing because I wasn't a bank robber.

    Then they came for murderers but I did nothing because I wasn't a murderer..

    Then they came for the child molesters but I did nothing because I wasn't a child molester..

    Then they came for whiney and bitchy peace-at-any-and-all-costs, love-the-terrorist-hate-the victims types and no one was around to do anything for me..

    Get over it already.. The world is not the rose-colored touchy/feely koom-bye-ya orgasmic love fest that you want to believe it is..

    It's already been accepted as fact by everyone who is anyone that torture DOES produce actionable intel and saves lives.

    The Bush Administration knew it.. The Obama Administration admits it..

    So please give up the Terrorists-Are-People-And-Deserve-Love-Too lovefest and join the 21st century.

    What's next?? You gonna promote John Gacy as Time Magazine's Humanitarian Of The Year??

    Anyone who thinks waterboarding is a legitimate form of intelligence collection needs to ask John McCain about it.

    No one "THINKS" that waterboarding is a legitimate form of intelligence gathering. It's been PROVEN to be effective and, at the end of the day, nothing succeeds like success..

    Or maybe you would prefer that Los Angeles also had their 9/11 to call their very own??

    So feel free to whine and bitch about how those poor terrorists have been made so uncomfortable.. Oh waaaaa...

    I'll be buying ANY CT interrogator a beer and honoring them for the hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of innocent lives they have saved...

    I guess when it comes right down to it, our respective attitudes reflect our respective values...

    I value the innocent lives of men, women and children and you value the comfort and convenience of terrorists that would brutally murder them...

    And I sleep like a baby each and every night...

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    "It's already been accepted as fact by everyone who is anyone that torture DOES produce actionable intel and saves lives."

    Chris, this is an astounding statement. "Everyone that is anyone" means Dick Cheney. There's hardly anyone else left defending torture. And here's a rather important indicator: the shrinking ranks of torture-defenders don't include a single professional interrogator!

    FBI agent Ali Soufan got information out of Abu Zubaydah with a single name. Strangely, the CIA would later waterboard Zubaydah 83 times without gaining a single piece of actionable intelligence.

    Note that I said "later," because during the first several months Zubaydah was in custody he was recovering from gunshot wounds. So much for ticking time bombs.

    The same FBI interrogator also got information out of Abu Jandal with a plateful of cookies. Yet we cannot use these timely and effective techniques because that would mean "coddling" terrorists? It's so much more important that we make them suffer?

    If that is true, then why listen to the expert interrogators? Or people who've actually seen the documents Darth Cheney claims will exonerate the policy?

    Heck, why even read the US Army interrogation manual, which is such a touchy-feely document that it instructs interrogators to MAKE THE PRISONER COMFORTABLE SO THEY CAN FOCUS ON COMMUNICATION.

    Because people can concentrate on a question so much better while they are drowning. Gosh, why haven't college students adapted this technique for exam prep, Chris?

    Let's just toss all the knowledge and experience out the window. Let's hire amateurs with no experience in interrogations, but who claim mastery in a torture technique we put Japanese to death for using, and torture away!

    Why listen to history? Let's listen only to the Republicans, since they are apparently the 'everybody that is anybody that matters.'

    In fact, let's look at John McCain, who was waterboarded at the Hanoi Hilton. The results say everything we need to know about torture in general and waterboarding in particular.

    The NVA demanded the names of fellow pilots; McCain gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers.

    They demanded bombing targets; he listed cities already bombed.

    Finally, here's what he gave them: "I am a black criminal and have performed the deeds of an air pirate."

    ...Does that sound like "intelligence" to you, Chris?

    Logically and rationally speaking, I am far less concerned about a terrorist's well-being than the information in his head. As a professional translator, I have helped out in these scenarios. We had "ticking time-bombs" to deal with and we would have done anything to protect people; if making a terrorist uncomfortable or terrified or agonized had been more expeditious than interviews, well, then we would have done that. But instead, we did what we were trained to do: WE TALKED TO THEM. And we got what we needed, Every. Single. Freakin'. Time.

    Thirty days underwater is such a better, more "timely" way to get that information. Don't pay attention to the Army Field Manual on interrogations, which says:

    The use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.

    Waterboarding 'works' great. So does torture. They just don't work very well at getting information.

    If you're objectives are political -- to manufacture evidence, embarrass other countries, or outrage your citizens -- then what you are after is called "PROPAGANDA," and torture is a first-rate means of getting it.

    Indeed, America ought to have figured out this distinction. Egypt tortured Sheikh al-Libi by putting him in a coffin for seventeen hours. He was ready to confess to anything by that point -- whatever would make the torture stop -- so he told his persecutors that Iraq had trained al Qaeda to use Weapons of Mass Destruction. That, and a fictional meeting in Prague, were the "links" Cheney talked about when he sold us the smoking gun-mushroom cloud.

    But what's so frightening about the ignorance in that sentiment is this idea: that a right to not be tortured is incompatible with a free society. Just because a person is not an American, or hates America, or wants to kill Americans is not enough justification for us to forget we ARE Americans. The proposal that we should now withdraw the right-not-to-be-tortured from a born American citizen is both frighteningly authoritarian and desperate.

    They would prove the unprovable by calling,/i> it proven, despite utter lack of evidence. They are 'making their own realities' -- the Cheney template. English has a word for that sort of mind.

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Osborne Ink

    "Welcome to the party, pal!!
    -John McClane, DIE HARD

    :D

    Chris, this is an astounding statement.

    Actually, the name is Michale...

    "Everyone that is anyone" means Dick Cheney. There's hardly anyone else left defending torture.

    Actually, it means so many more than Cheney. National Intelligence Director Admiral Blair for one.

    And no one is "defending" torture. They (and I) simply state the facts. That sometimes torture is necessary and that torture has been PROVEN to produce actionable intel and save American lives..

    These are facts that you have, to date, been COMPLETELY impotent to refute...

    FBI agent Ali Soufan got information out of Abu Zubaydah with a single name. Strangely, the CIA would later waterboard Zubaydah 83 times without gaining a single piece of actionable intelligence.

    Sorry, your "facts" are complete and utter fantasy.. Probably comes from reading too much firedoglake.com and taking it's propaganda as gospel.

    Zubaydah was interrogated for weeks without any progress being made. He was waterboarded one night and the next morning, he was singing like the proverbial canary.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/11/agent.tapes/index.html

    The rest of your post is nothing but variable morality wrapped up in blinded liberalism.

    The facts are these.

    Torture CAN produce actionable intel.

    Torture HAS produced actionable intel.

    Torture CAN save innocent lives.

    Torture HAS saved innocent lives.

    These are undisputable facts, conceded by those in the Bush and Obama administrations time and time again.

    They are in a position to know. You are not.

    Why should anyone believe you over the professionals??

    Michale.....

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    So Osborne.. (and David)..

    Tell me.. Are ya'all against animal testing?? Are you against using animals in experiments to develop drugs and other life-saving therapies and procedures??

    Are you against shooting goats and cows so that field medics can learn battlefield techniques that will save human lives??

    No?? You're not???

    Well, then, please explain the logic behind these two completely inconsistent positions??

    On the one hand, you aren't against "torturing" animals if it will save human lives...

    On the other hand, you ARE against torturing "animals", even if it saves human lives...

    I would be interested in hearing your justifications for this (assumed, I know) contradictory stance.

    "You do not see the illogic in a society that forbids suicide, but practices capital punishment?"
    -Commander Tuvok, STAR TREK:VOYAGER, Deathwish

    Michale.....

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Don't pay attention to the Army Field Manual on interrogations, which says:

    The use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.

    Let me ask you something...

    Do you follow a cook-book when you are trying to fix a car's transmission??

    Do you go step by step with a HOW TO SET UP A LINUX SERVER guide when you are cooking a tuna casserole??

    No??

    Then why on the gods green earth would you look to a military manual when operating in a counter terrorism environment??

    You might as well read me excerpts from COOKING WITH JULIA CHILD for all the relevance your posts have to counter-terrorism operations...

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Miranda-izing terrorists??

    Now I have heard everything.

    Next thing you know, our CT operatives will be like the Bobbies of old England..

    "STOP!!! Or I'll say 'STOP' again!!!

    Is the Obama administration trying to LOSE the war against terrorists???

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I think this horse is dead. You should leave it alone.

  11. [11] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Elizabeth,

    Trolls don't know when to quit beating anything dead. They do not know how to stop even when the horse has been turned to mush. That's because their outrage NEVER really dies; it wanders the land in zombie form, turning black into white and up into down.

    My favorite part of the rants above: "Why should anyone believe you over the professionals??"

    I think this is the third time I have told the troll that I HAVE INTERROGATED TERRORISTS. It's like having a nearsighted witch-doctor tell a surgeon the latter knows nothing about anatomy.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Matt,

    I know that you are not on speaking terms, at the moment, with Michale.. But, he is not what I would ever call a troll. And, as a Biden fan, I’ve crossed paths with more than my fair share of trolls! Michale just sinks his teeth into a subject more than most, and then shakes it back and forth...again and again.

    I am sure that the two of you will end up best buds - so to speak - even if you don't see eye-to-eye on most issues. In fact, I'll bet that it won't be too long before you both are pleasantly surprised to find yourselves on the same side of something, and in complete agreement!

    Stranger things have already happened. :-)

    I, for one, will be looking forward to that momentous occasion.

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Liz

    I think this horse is dead. You should leave it alone.

    Yea, probably.. But it's only one of a very few subjects that CW posts about that I really get passionate.

    When I read that the Obama administration has, oh so quietly , started the process where terrorists captured on the battlefield will be Miranda-ized!!

    Especially, since TWICE during the election Obama scoffed and laughed at the GOP's suggestion that he would EVER think of Miranda-izing terrorists. He called is nothing but fear mongering from the Right. Well, looks like the "fear" was completely and utterly justified. It is VERY disappointing to see Obama stoop to such hypocrisy...

    @Osborne

    Trolls don't know when to quit beating anything dead.

    Perhaps you should learn the definition of an Internet troll before you try and apply the label. It would make your posts a lot less silly..

    I am more of a pit bull than a troll. :D

    I think this is the third time I have told the troll that I HAVE INTERROGATED TERRORISTS.

    Sorry, you are wrong. You stated you were a translator, not an interrogator.

    "As a professional translator, I have helped out in these scenarios."

    That's like Bill Murray saying in GROUNDHOG DAY that he was such a great piano player because his father was a piano mover..

    Further, if I recall correctly, you have stated you were a MILITARY translator. Once again, apples and alligators.

    Regardless, if you spent even a TENTH of the time in trying to refute my facts as you do in attacking me personally, you might actually WIN some arguments and I would have a lot less fun of a time here... Just a thought. :D

    Have a happy.... :D

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's like Bill Murray saying in GROUNDHOG DAY that he was such a great piano player because his father was a piano mover..

    Further, if I recall correctly, you have stated you were a MILITARY translator. Once again, apples and alligators.

    This was, in NO WAY, meant to diminish the honor of your service.

    I simply state that it has little bearing on the issue under discussion.

    Don't feel bad. Even the military professionals who SHOULD know better always get confused on this issue. While counter-terrorism does share some aspects of military actions and also with law enforcement activities, it's neither fish nor fowl. It has it's own classification. Or at least, it SHOULD have it's own classification.

    Why? Because in war and in law enforcement there are rules. Rules designed to protect both the innocent and the guilty. And everyone understands and, by and large, abides by the rules.

    Terrorists have thrown out the rules. And so, those who deal with them must also throw out the rules, if there is to be even the slightest chance of defeating the terrorists.

    The ONLY rule that terrorists follow is to destroy to incite terror..

    The ONLY rule that counter-terrorist experts should have to follow is to prevent terrorists from obeying THEIR rule. And ANYTHING done to accomplish that, short of terrorism itself, is on the table.

    This is the mind-set necessary to prosecute the war against terrorists..

    That mind-set is what made the Bush administration so successful in stopping terrorist attacks on US proper.

    And it is THAT mind-set that the Obama administration is in the process of dismantling. By treating terrorism as a Law Enforcement (which, by definition, is a REACTIVE force) issue, the Obama administration is guaranteeing that there will be another 9/11 on his watch.

    You heard it here first...

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Elizabeth:

    At the risk of repeating myself, this is why I don't feed trolls. My experience of Michale outside Chris's forum is definitely less pit bull than troll. Even here, his arrogance is astounding.

    Military translators are cross-trained in various skill sets. One of those is CEWEO, Combat Electronic Warfare Equipment Operation. Another is EPW, Enemy Prisoners of War. I was trained in both and still have my interrogations question guide somewhere.

    While serving in OP Phantom Dragon (Task Force 2-12) in 1997, I assisted interrogations. Because I was to be in the room translating the questions and answers in a very complex language, it was important to prepare as much as possible. The CI team shared their knowledge and experience with me out of necessity, and I was involved in some very high-stakes interviews.

    But the troll says he knows the difference, and we must defer to him because he's such an expert on intelligence operations.

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Osborne

    At the risk of repeating myself, this is why I don't feed trolls. My experience of Michale outside Chris's forum is definitely less pit bull than troll.

    I wonder if you can appreciate the utter irony of that statement? What do YOU call it when you mention my name or my posts in EVERY one of your posts?? Just curious... :D

    If I have intellectually kicked your butt on other forums, perhaps it's your debating technique that needs work...

    As I mentioned, I am not attempting to dispute your translation ability. I am certain you are very very good at your job. But, to be clear, you are not an interrogator, you are (or were) a translator.

    Even here, his arrogance is astounding.

    "Of course, I am arrogant. I've EARNED it. What's your excuse??"
    -Q, Star Trek: The Next Generation

    we must defer to him because he's such an expert on intelligence operations.

    If anyone around here has the experiences in CT Operations that I bring to the table, by all means, point him (or her) out..

    But, in the interests of amity....

    Hawkeye:"Just to show you what a good sport I am, I'll let you have the last word."
    BJ Honeycutt:"THANK YOU..."
    Hawkeye:"Yer welcome.."

    :D

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, we seem to have gotten off on a tangent of personal mano a mano....

    What do YA'ALL think of terrorists being given their Miranda rights??

    What do ya'all think of terrorists being told they don't have to give up information that will save the lives of innocent men, women and children??

    What do ya'all think of terrorists being told that they can have an attorney, free of charge, paid for with YOUR tax dollars??

    What do ya'all think about ya'all footing the bill so that an Osama Bin Laden or a Zarqawai or a Dubahya can go free???

    Even if I were to ignore my own biased hatred towards terrorists, even if I were completely neutral on the whole issue, the fact that my tax dollars would go towards defending a known terrorist would really chap my hide...

    Again, maybe that's just me...

    Michale.....

  18. [18] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Tom Clancy is not an authority on interrogations. Bruce Willis is not an authority on CT operations. And 24 is not a documentary.

    Chris, the apologists for torture have a problem with reality.

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    @Osborne

    So, we're back to your claim that, just because something has been fictionalized doesn't mean it can't happen in reality, eh?

    Did you ever read DEBT OF HONOR? It fictionalized a passenger plane crashing into the US Capital building. I seem to recall something like that happening in real life..

    You are correct. '24' is not a documentary. But neither is Mr Roger's Neighborhood. A point you just can't seem to grasp.

    Chris, the apologists for torture have a problem with reality.

    Don't you think it's kind of childish when you pretend to post to someone else, but everyone knows you are posting to me?

    Michale.....

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