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Friday Talking Points [165] -- Royally Screwed

[ Posted Friday, April 29th, 2011 – 15:58 PDT ]

This is going to be a somewhat surprising column introduction, for our regular readers. For new or occasional readers, I'd have to recommend just skipping this whole introduction entirely, and scrolling down to the awards section and the talking points for the semi-serious commentary. Because I'm about to talk about something I've been absolutely ridiculing all week long -- the royal wedding. And how the American media missed a joke (not to mention a kiss), despite spending millions of dollars in coverage in an orgy of "reporting on the shiny and the distracting, and calling it news." In other words, they couldn't even get it right at their absolute shallowest. Which is why I certainly won't be offended if you just skip this entire section. In other words, I can't believe I'm about to do this... but here goes.

For reasons which surpasseth all understanding (at least to myself), I was actually up very early this morning, before the dawn as a matter of fact. This was due to a scheduled television appearance which, unfortunately, did not occur (for technical reasons). Since I was up, though, I caught the tail end of the British royal wedding, which (for us Pacific Coast Time folks) happened in the middle of the night. Surprisingly enough, I have a few things to point out about the event.

Before we even get to that, though, if you're wondering why this is such a downright egocentric column of my life and impressions, well, I have to chalk that up to the fact that (shudder) I have just been exposed to the network "morning news shows," which is also a rarity for me. Man, I thought the evening news broadcasts were bad, but that was before I paid any attention to the dreck which passes for "news" in the A.M. Which is my humble excuse for this entire introduction, as well as for the headline I gave this article ("At the time, Your Honor, he was under the influence of a royal-sized dose of sappiness, and simply can't be held accountable for his actions...").

Now, all week long I've been taking cheap shots at the American media for their obsession with the British royal wedding. I intended to write at length about this subject today. Thankfully, that task has already been performed so admirably by Dan Rather that I find I cannot add a word to his recent scathing commentary on the priorities of the today's media. He knows far more about the subject than I ever could, and he does not mince words. So I heartily encourage everyone to read what Rather has to say about it -- especially if, at any time during reading this introduction, you become disgusted with its lightweight nature.

I issue this warning, because we're about to discuss some absolute fluff. The new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to be exact. As I said, I turned on the television after the religious wedding ceremony itself was long over (thank your lucky stars for this, because it means I will not be commenting upon any of it). When I tuned in, I witnessed a solid half-hour of the mechanics of British crowd control, as a large group of people slowly made their way down the wide avenue towards the plaza outside Buckingham Palace. One of the stations (NBC, I believe, but I couldn't swear to it), in order to hold our interest, had a "Countdown To The Kiss" clock running. The British police got the crowd organized (they really were remarkably precise about the whole thing), and the royal family finally appeared (a few minutes after the "Kiss Countdown" had run down to zero) on the balcony for the crowd to see.

But here was the first funny thing -- the media, who had been waiting for this moment for at least a solid half an hour, blew it when it happened. They were so concerned with offering up fancy camera angles and picturesque crowd shots that The Kiss wasn't even shown, at least in live action. They had to "go to the replay." You just can't make this stuff up, folks. In the modern "let's cut camera angles every three-fourths of a second" style, they had forgotten to actually show what was happening in the center ring. Whoops!

To be fair, The Kiss was a pretty brief event. Beforehand, we had been read the odds British bookmakers had been laying on how many seconds The Kiss would last for, and all I can say is all the people who put their money on "less than a second" are going to be the big winners of the day. In fact, The Kiss was so brief, the supposedly-stiff-upper-lipped British crowd actually yelled for more (insert your own "stiff upper lip" kiss joke, here). This popular outcry was another event that all of the American news anchors missed entirely. They were so busy yapping amongst themselves, they didn't even notice the enormous crowd chanting what sounded like "Kiss her again!" behind them. The new royal couple finally acquiesced to their (future) subjects' request, and we got "The Kiss II."

Just on kissing analysis alone (kissology?), The Second Kiss was much better for all concerned (the cameras, the crowd, and the new Duke and Duchess) than The First Kiss.

But the really amusing thing to me (in terms of the cluelessness of the American media, at least) happened a bit later. The happy couple exited the Palace, to get on with their lives (as it were), in dashing style indeed -- in a dashing Aston Martin (and oh, so, James-Bond-esque) convertible, complete with the "Just Married!" streamers tied to the rear bumper. Behind the wheel (no chauffeur!), driving with panache, was Prince William. But the truly funny thing about the scene -- once again -- completely went over the heads of the American media.

If you see footage of the cute little convertible, driven by the new Duke with new Duchess by his side, take a close look at the front of the car. On the grill is a square badge with the letter "L" on it. This is funny, to the Brits, because it is a somewhat-traditional wedding prank usually performed on the groom.

The "L" stands for "Learner." This plaque is required by law on all cars being driven by young Brits who only have what the Americans would call a "learner's permit." It's actually a really good idea, because it warns all the other drivers around that there's a newbie behind the wheel. Which is why it makes for such a good wedding-car prank...

Get it? (Wink wink, nudge nudge?)

Prince William, one assumes, got his real driver's license a while back. He doesn't need an "L" plate to drive on British roads. It refers, instead, to his... um... marital abilities (and we would strongly advise against inserting your own "royally screwed" joke here, as that would be just ever so "common").

Ahem.

Like I said, it's a funny prank to pull on a British groom, and nobody else in the media seemed to even notice it, so there you go -- you are now "in" on a joke which millions of American media dollars spent on researching Britishness failed to uncover. You're welcome, America.

I can't believe I just wrote all of that. Maybe the morning television news fog is (hopefully) beginning to wear off....

Getting back to our usual (but still snarky) attitude towards both politics and the media (in preparation for the remainder of the column), Dan Rather was sadly right. As I admitted, "morning television news" is a foreign concept to me ("Why would anyone voluntarily subject themselves to this drivel?" is my basic attitude), but even so, what was stunning was the lack of coverage of the disastrous tornado attack on the American South yesterday. As Rather all but predicted.

In recent years, network news has decided that "the weather" is a national story. The media as a whole has been led into this situation mostly by NBC, who is still desperately trying to recoup some of the billions of dollars it spent on The Weather Channel a few years back. Any mildly-heavy rainstorm, any mildly-heavy snowfall, any flooding anywhere -- all are treated as just short of Armageddon by the national news media these days.

Then, when a truly monstrous weather event happens, they can't even be bothered. After all, there's a wedding to cover, people!

Dan Rather was absolutely right. I'm sure this morning's newscast will come as a great comfort to the families of the hundreds of people who died in tornados yesterday, or otherwise had their lives shattered by Mother Nature.

[Note: This was all written very early in the morning, and once I had finished the entire article, I had found another brilliantly scathing take on the American media's royal obsession. So I heartily encourage everyone, after reading the Dan Rather article, to also check out this piece by David Sirota, as it is just as worth reading.]

Sigh. Well, enough of that. Let's get on with our weekly look back, starting with the awards.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Before we begin with Democrats, here, I'd like to at least mention two journalists who, this week, did the right thing -- both of them, by walking away from the shiny object in front of them. Being journalists, they aren't really eligible for our MIDOTW and MDDOTW awards, but we felt they deserve a mention for their actions.

The first is Brian Williams, of whom I am not a big fan (although I do like him when he does comedy, I have to admit). Williams reportedly hit the ground in London and was being whisked away from the airport to the big wedding-stravaganza, when he got the call to turn the car around and head back to the U.S. to cover the tornado story, which he then did (as Williams tells it, he made the decision, not the producer, but that's a minor detail). After spending millions to broadcast Williams from the royal wedding, NBC decided there was a more important story for their anchor back at home. For keeping the world in proper perspective, both the organization and Williams deserve a pat on the back.

The second journalist to "just walk away" was the Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (with whom I also don't always agree), who wrote an extraordinary column about why he's making other plans this weekend than attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner. This is an era-of-the-Caesars-style extravaganza where the politicians, the media who are supposed to be their watchdogs, and random Hollywood celebrities (for no apparent reason whatsoever) all get together and yuck it up for a night. Milbank's newspaper invited, to sit at their table (are you sitting down for this?), none other than Donald Trump. For putting this entire fiasco in the proper perspective in quite scathing terms, Milbank also deserves a pat on the back.

A third non-political honorable mention must also go out to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who just gave the first scheduled news conference ever by a sitting head of the Federal Reserve. Yes, you read that right: "ever." Bernanke is moving the Fed towards a new model of openness, at least when it comes to answering questions from the press, and says he's going to give regular pressers from now on. Well done, Ben! It's about time.

Moving into the political realm, President Barack Obama deserves an Honorable Mention for -- after years of saying "this is too silly to dignify" and "how many pieces of proof do you clowns need to see?" -- releasing his birth certificate. By doing so, he has taken the wind out of the sails of one of the worst slurs against him by his opponents. The entire episode just served to make Obama look (once again, following a recent theme) like "the adult in the room."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be eligible for a MIDOTW award soon, if he follows through on his pledge to force Republicans in the Senate to actually vote on the Ryan budget which passed the House by party-line vote. Republican House members (some of them, at any rate) are already realizing that this may blow up in their faces with the voters, and the Republican senators really really wanted to avoid actually going on the record. Harry is going to force them to do so. But until he actually does, he'll have to settle for an Honorable Mention, for showing he can still play hardball.

But the real winner of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is the current head of the Central Intelligence Agency (there's a sentence I never thought I'd ever type).

Call me biased (Panetta is a "local boy done good," I should mention, where I live), but naming Panetta to be our next Secretary of Defense is looking like a pretty good move by President Obama. Panetta, from all accounts, did a pretty good job at the C.I.A., and (more importantly, these days) would likely face no resistance at all to Senate confirmation. He can be counted on to continue the Gates model for the next two years, at a bare minimum. The "promotion" alone was the most impressive news out of the past week, in a purely literal sense.

We can't help but think of how Obama's first two years might have been different if he had named Panetta to his old job in the Clinton administration -- White House Chief of Staff. How might things have been different -- how might Obama have accomplished more -- if Panetta had been in charge instead of Rahm Emanuel? We'll never know, but we do know that Panetta will likely do a great job overseeing the Pentagon.

All of which adds up to the first time in our history -- and, quite possibly, the last -- that we've awarded the MIDOTW to a sitting C.I.A. director. But Leon Panetta was, indeed, the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week last week.

[Just on general principles, we're not going to link to the C.I.A. here. Instead, we suggest you send your congratulations to the White House contact page.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Does Gloria Allred count as a Democrat?

If she did (under our rules), we would easily have handed her the MDDOTW this week for the idiocy of this press conference. Did the kids really need to be in the room, Ms. Allred? Don't you think that might actually even undermine your legal case? Sigh. Enough said.

Instead, I'm going to hand out a group Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award, to "every single Democrat in Congress who didn't speak up about this nonsense." Which is, pretty much, "all of them."

Let's see, what's on Congress' plate right now? Earthquakes, nuclear accidents, three wars, spiking gas prices, budget fights, lightbulb bans, and 600 tornados this month alone. Plus the impending doom of not raising the debt ceiling, which would (not "could" but "would") send the world's economy into drastic and unprecedented chaos which would likely take years to recover from, as Congress destroys the "full faith and credit" of the United States of America to the rest of the world. So, in other words, quite a few things to do, right?

So why did they just take two weeks off?

The sad answer is: because they can, and because they are used to it. This will never, ever change -- right up to the point when Americans wake up and realize what they're getting for their tax dollars when it comes to "days worked by Congress." Heck, at this point, I'd even cheer on the Tea Partiers if they decided to tackle this gross abdication of duty by our elected officials (from both parties, I should mention).

There's just no excuse, guys. Harry Reid, in particular, is in charge of setting the Senate's schedule. No excuse. This is pathetic, and it should end. For every member of Congress just getting back from their most recent two-week vacation, you guys and gals should hang your heads in shame, as you all are awarded a collective Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[You'll have to contact your own individual senators and representatives, to let them know what you think of their actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 165 (4/29/11)

Well, we seem to be running a bit long here this week (insert your own "How can you tell?" joke here, if you must), so we'll just get right to the talking points we're suggesting for Democrats to use this week.

After, that is, we shamelessly troll for online votes for a very worthy blogger. Vote for Matt Osborne to win a Democracy For America scholarship to Netroots Nation! I wrote about this earlier this week, so please read all the details. And then vote for Matt! He needs your vote, so do it today! Get your buddies to vote, too! Go Matt!

OK, back to being non-biased... or at least less blatant about our biases. Ahem.

 

1
   The Ryan budget

This first one is actually catching on. Not only does it personify the Republican budgetary ideals, but by "branding" it in such a fashion, more and more people are starting to hear about the details. This can only be a good thing for Democrats.

"I've noticed that the angry town hall meetings Republicans have been facing in the past few weeks haven't gotten nearly as much media attention as they used to -- and I wonder why that is. Go out into the country, and you will find plenty of people who are outraged over Paul Ryan's budget, which every Republican in the House except four voted for. The Ryan budget has really lit a fire under seniors, which is no surprise. Once people find out what is in the Ryan budget, the overwhelming majority thinks it is the wrong way for America to go. If you haven't heard about the Ryan budget, just spend a few minutes online and learn what it will mean to you and your family."

 

2
   Why are Republican senators afraid to vote?

This one is a taunt worthy of the schoolyard, I realize. That doesn't mean it isn't a good idea, or can't be effective for Democrats.

"When the House of Representatives voted on the Ryan budget, all but four Republicans voted in favor of immediately hiking seniors' medical expenses. Now the Republicans in the Senate appear to be scared of putting their vote on record. What is the problem? If this is the wonderful Republican plan for the future, you'd think they'd be the ones begging Harry Reid to bring it up for a vote. Now that Reid has said that he will do so, Republicans seem terrified of voting on it. Perhaps they've heard from their counterparts over in the House what the public thinks of the plan. Senate Republicans should put their votes on the line, or else they are nothing more than political cowards trying to avoid a vote which will come back to bite them in the polling booth."

 

3
   Seniors actually care about their progeny

Who knew Grandma and Grandpa would actually care about their children's and their grandchildren's future? I mean, who could have possibly predicted that? Note: rolling your eyes at the end of this quote just drives the point home.

"The Ryan budget had a trick in it, by attempting to reassure seniors that they won't be the ones paying the outrageous costs out of their own pockets -- it'll just be all those folks under the age of 55. Did the Republicans really think Grandma and Grandpa wouldn't care about what their children are going to face at their age? Or their grandchildren? It's like Republicans just got a news flash -- 'This just in... The elderly care about future generations!' I mean, who could have ever predicted that?"

 

4
   Save Medicare!

This one is short and sweet and has a nice ring to it. It ought to, since it was dreamed up by the Republican Talking Points Corporation, LLC (a Cayman Islands entity). Kidding aside, they're good a this sort of scare tactics, so why not just be all "green" and recycle it? Heh.

"Republicans, a few years ago, were telling voters that they were going to be the ones who would, quote, save Medicare, unquote. Now that they're in power, they've pulled a bait-and-switch, and are actually working to turn Medicare into a privatized voucher system -- ending Medicare as we know it today. Back then, Democrats were working to save Medicare. When the Republicans said they were going to 'save Medicare' it was because they were against the Democrats' money-saving plans. Now those exact same plans are a part of the Ryan budget. But Democrats didn't want to destroy Medicare back then. Republicans now do. The voters are fast realizing who is truly working to save Medicare, and it certainly isn't Paul Ryan."

 

5
   Seniors vote

This, again, is a taunt. It is calculated to send chills and shivers down the spine of every single congressional Republican up for re-election next year. And it's an easy one to remember, too.

"Well, all I can say about the Ryan budget is that seniors remember this sort of thing. And Republicans should be quaking in their boots over one very simple fact: seniors vote."

 

6
   Don't take Unions for granted

This one, to be somewhat even-handed, is one calculated to send shivers down national Democrats' spines.

"I see the national firefighters union has just announced that they will not be making any donations on the national level to Democrats in next year's election. Instead, they will be putting their money towards electing Democrats at the state level, where politicians are more accountable. The firefighters have apparently gotten tired of being taken for granted by the national Democratic Party. It doesn't surprise me, since Democrats couldn't manage to move any legislation friendly to Unions through Congress when they controlled both houses, and instead just gave lip service to the Union ideas. The big battles on the Union issues are now happening at the state level, so it makes perfect sense for the Union campaign donations to bypass the people in Washington who couldn't get the job done. This should serve as a warning for Democrats: don't take your core constituencies for granted."

 

7
   Playing the Trump card

OK, I just couldn't resist that heading. Heh.

I'm with Obama on this one. When faced with fringe opinions, you should either ignore them or ridicule them. Especially after you've already proven them wrong previously. Alas, though, this didn't work, and the fringe was in danger of becoming (at least in Republicanland) "the mainstream," especially when the carnival barkers of the political world gnash their teeth. Now that Obama's proven (once again) that there simply was no gigantic conspiracy over the circumstances of his birth, it provides a handy way for any Democrat to semi-politely call any Republican on the lunacy which, at times, comes out of their mouths (on all sorts of subjects). The following is a generic response, to be given when a Republican says anything laughably inane to your face. Ridicule is a strong weapon, if wielded correctly.

"Really? That's interesting. Hey, you know what I heard? I heard President Obama was actually born in Area 51, and that one of his parents was from Alpha Centauri, and that his other parent was part of the plot to levitate the Pentagon, back in the 1960s. And you know what? There's absolutely no proof which shows this isn't true! Really! Maybe we should adopt the system the British use for their royals, and demand that a member of Congress be physically present whenever any baby is born which has a chance of becoming president some day -- that would solve the whole problem, don't you think?"

 

-- Chris Weigant

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

57 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [165] -- Royally Screwed”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Dan Rather was absolutely right. I'm sure this morning's newscast will come as a great comfort to the families of the hundreds of people who died in tornados yesterday, or otherwise had their lives shattered by Mother Nature.

    Just to put it in perspective.... The 300+ people killed by tornadoes breaks the record that was set back in 1932...

    All of which adds up to the first time in our history -- and, quite possibly, the last -- that we've awarded the MIDOTW to a sitting C.I.A. director. But Leon Panetta was, indeed, the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week last week.

    I saids it before and I'll says it again..

    Panetta is a political hack. He is the consummate Dem Party insider... He is a bean counter...

    You can bet that the quality of leadership at the Pentagon will go down past the basement..

    The ONLY good thing about Panetta being at the Pentagon is that the quality of leadership at the CIA will definitely go up...

    There's just no excuse, guys. Harry Reid, in particular, is in charge of setting the Senate's schedule. No excuse. This is pathetic, and it should end. For every member of Congress just getting back from their most recent two-week vacation, you guys and gals should hang your heads in shame, as you all are awarded a collective Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

    Oooorraaaaaaa.... Can't argue with that one iota... Except to say that the GOP is just as guilty...

    The Ryan budget

    Polls are showing that the American people, especially seniors prefer the GOP budget to the Democrat's or Obama's budget...

    I'm just sayin...

    Seniors actually care about their progeny

    That's why they don't want to hand them a broken country with a destroyed economy...

    Don't take Unions for granted

    Can you say, "Massussuchets"??? Well, I can SAY it.. I just can't SPELL it.. :D

    Playing the Trump card

    So, despite all the claims and prostrations, Obama doesn't mind continuing the silliness.. The very silliness he himself decried..

    Hmmmmm I guess Obama lied... Again...

    He really DOESN'T have anything better to do...

    You will also note that the birther's have been quiet the last day or two...

    Why stir them up again???

    Long weekend coming. I'm out.. :D

    Michale....

  2. [2] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Aw..come on. Can 2 billion people be wrong? It's not like the tornados were planned...

    Did you see the fly over? The first flight were Battle of Brittan planes, I believe a Lancaster, a Spitfire and a Typhoon. Beautiful planes.

    Panetta is a political hack. He is the consummate Dem Party insider... He is a bean counter...

    As I asked you in the other thread: got a link or just talking out your...er...bias showing again?

    I will say you are right about him being a bean counter. A truly gifted bean counter as his record in the House as Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget and in the Clinton white House as Director of the United States Office of Management and Budget proves.

    I would also recommend watching if you can find it: the Panetta institute lecture series. He has not chaired it since being at the CIA but he is one of those rare birds that can get a really rational, in depth and interesting conversation out of people with opposing view points.

  3. [3] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    d'oh! One of the jets in the second set of planes was a Typhoon. The last prop job was a hurricane...

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    BashiBazouk -

    I actually thought that (and the cool convertible) were the best parts of the show.

    The "fly past" (apparently the Brits don't call it a "fly by"... who knew?) was awesome, especially the Lancaster -- I had never seen one of them before in the air. They actually had a GREAT angle... from a chase plane, but they (once again) kept changing camera angles every 0.4 seconds, so you didn't get to see much of that shot. Sigh.

    But it was indeed pretty cool, I have to admit!

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Hey, everybody -

    Matt made it into third place (and an automatic scholarship), but then fell back into fifth place. He is now in fourth, but only the top three are guaranteed.

    So if you haven't already, GO VOTE FOR MATT!

    Get family members and friends to vote, too. It only takes a second, and it's free.

    Go Matt!

    -CW

  6. [6] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    All I know is, while Panetta was at the CIA, there was never any public squabbling or infighting. Not every CIA director can say that, wouldn't you agree? Got any evidence that the CIA declined while he was there? I haven't heard any such story, but I'm always open to new things.

    Oh, and DADT repeal over at the Pentagon seems to be in the process of a pretty smooth introduction, wouldn't you agree? Hmmm?

    As for Congressional vacations, as I said, I'm ready to get behind even the Tea Partiers if they take up this cause... grumble... grumble...

    Have you ever read "Parliament of Whores" by P.J. O'Rourke? You would freakin' absolutely love it, I promise you that. I didn't agree with much of it, but I also loved other parts of it, as you will too.

    As for the Ryan budget, why are Senate GOPers so scared of the vote? Why don't they have the courage of their convictions, eh? Seems you've ripped into Dems on occasion for just such a lack of spine...

    The birthers are quieting down? Haven't heard that, but don't keep up with them much (beyond your comments here... heh... OK, that was a cheap shot... enjoy your long weekend, and hope you get back to see the penultimate shuttle launch!)

    -CW

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the press dinner was pretty damn funny, especially with donald trump standing there scowling the whole time.

  8. [8] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    The crowd wanted a sexy kiss. The whole British culture has changed on this score -- the bride's virginity was not an issue.

    Culture wars CAN be won.

    OTOH, we have Ben Cohen's experience. He accidentally watched the wedding live in an airport bar and found himself charmed -- I think it was because he had AVOIDED all the advance coverage, etc.

    Which I did. I watched it on video. Yeah, culture is a good thing; I say let there be more culture and fewer culture wars.

  9. [9] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Wow. We finally got Osama bin Laden.

    Good speech. I thought it was also good that Obama gave George W Bush a courtesy call before the speech, though that would probably be standard for all modern presidents.

    Looks like Leon Panetta did well in directing it. Not so much a hack, eh? Ok I realize he probably had little to do with it beyond directing and funneling money but if the director takes blame for failure he should also get a little of the credit for success...

  10. [10] 
    dsws wrote:

    "... whenever any baby is born which has a chance of becoming president some day ..."

    Zing.

    Also, please explain the Media Relations Building reference in the column before last. http://www.chrisweigant.com/2011/04/27/should-america-assassinate/#comment-14210

  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Um, you want to maybe change your assessment of Panetta's leadership at the CIA, considering current events? Hmmm?

    BashiBazouk -

    The speech did its job. I'm not sure how good it was, because I was kind of in shock while watching it. I taped it, I'll review it to see what Obama actually said later...

    I also thought it was very classy to give Dubya a courtesy call before the rest of the world knew about it. And, to be fair, I thought Bush's statement was pretty classy too. It wasn't the politicians, it wasn't even Panetta (although I agree with you about the whole blame/credit thing), it was the grunt-level spooks who put this one together. They'll remain forever nameless, likely. But the politicians, so far (Bush and Obama) have been doing a pretty good job of announcing the whole thing to the world.

    The celebrations outside the White House, on the other hand, I wonder if that'll engender any kind of blowback. Much like Americans decried celebrations of 9/11, celebrating death always seems to me to be somewhat offensive just on the face of it...

    Just a snap reaction, though...

    -CW

  12. [12] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    dsws -

    Hah! OK, you asked nicely. But give me an hour, other things are happening fast, and I've got stuff to read...

    :-)

    -CW

  13. [13] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Definitely spot on about the grunt level spooks. I hope we get at least a good slice of the real story. I'm looking forward to reading it. And seeing the motion picture version. And the TV movie. OK, maybe not that last part...

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    During the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001, 24 Canadians were murdered.

    The news of the killing of bin Laden during a successful US operation targeted on his compound in Pakistan is a very exciting moment in history ... justice has been delivered to a figure who was responsible for the deaths of so many people of all faiths and nationalities.

    Hopefully, this will be an event that will ultimately unite all peace-loving people around the world in the ongoing struggle against terrorists and their dispicable acts and that we will see the day when al-Qaeda and its affiliates and like-minded groups are finally defeated and eliminated.

    Heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the efforts of the US military and intelligence services and to President Obama and his national security team and, particularly, to all those courageous military and intelligence officials who were involved in the planning and successful execution of this critical mission.

  15. [15] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Osama bin Laden was dead. Like a scene out of The Godfather, Obama gave the order to have bin Laden killed and then cracked jokes on Trump at the gala.

    I feel like this.

  16. [16] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    I mean, this.

  17. [17] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I feel like this.

    Well, I'm not sure if it's what you meant but the first comment is spot on:

    To quote Mark Twain: I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.
    - comment on Osborne Ink story, Obama Offs Osama.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I'm not sure if it's what you meant but the first comment is spot on:

    To quote Mark Twain: I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.
    - comment on Osborne Ink story, Obama Offs Osama.

    Indeed!

  19. [19] 
    Moderate wrote:

    I honestly don't care that this almost certainly ensures re-election for Obama in 2012 (those Republicans yet to throw their hat into the race must be chuffed as they can now avoid the whole thing).

    Today is a good day. It doesn't matter that it happened on Obama's watch. It's a credit to his decision to make some unpopular decisions to continue Bush policy in certain areas, which both his own base and opposition must credit him for.

    If a momentous achievement like this cannot unite everyone, across political boundaries, in celebration, then nothing can. Justice has been done for 9/11.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    WOW..

    I go away for a weekend and ya'all have conversations without me! Harrruummphhh...

    :D

    I'll get to the frabjous news in a moment, but let me take things in order...

    Bashi,

    As I asked you in the other thread: got a link or just talking out your...er...bias showing again?

    And I gave you a quote in the other thread.. Not my fault ya didn't read it. :D

    While I always encourage people to do their own research, I'll be happy to point you in the right direction..

    Google "Leon Panetta" and "Political hack". Bonus points if you actually READ the links instead of just pooh-pooing them away because of who says it..

    CW,

    All I know is, while Panetta was at the CIA, there was never any public squabbling or infighting.

    Ahem...

    Google "Leon Panetta" Squabble "Dennis Blair". There were some very public squabbles, in-fighting and out-fighting..

    Oh, and DADT repeal over at the Pentagon seems to be in the process of a pretty smooth introduction, wouldn't you agree? Hmmm?

    If, by going smoothly you mean that there hasn't been any negative publicity about it, then yea.. I would call that going smoothly...

    "Lack of evidence is not the same thing as no information"
    -Spock

    I am withholding judgement until actual integration is complete and there is no degradation in our military's ability..

    Keep in mind that I have never been against the repeal of DADT..

    As for the Ryan budget, why are Senate GOPers so scared of the vote? Why don't they have the courage of their convictions, eh? Seems you've ripped into Dems on occasion for just such a lack of spine...

    Agreed.. GOP seems to be as afraid to go on the record with the Ryan Budget as Democrats were with CrapCare...

    The birthers are quieting down? Haven't heard that, but don't keep up with them much

    Haven't read much in the MSM about the birthers beyond the initial reaction to the BC release..

    So, whether or not this issue dies looks to be in the lap of Obama and the Democrats... To date, since the initial release of the BC, all I have heard is Obama talking about it...

    NYPoet,

    the press dinner was pretty damn funny, especially with donald trump standing there scowling the whole time.

    As I mentioned to CW above, the only one who seems to be talking about the Birth Certificate now is Obama.. While I will not begrudge a man a certain amount of gloating (if anyone has earned it in this regard, it's Obama) I have always thought that Obama had fancied himself as above this sort of thing.

    But I am sure his base is eating it up...

    Matt,

    Yeah, culture is a good thing; I say let there be more culture and fewer culture wars.

    Then why is the Left always hellbent on destroying American Culture???

    OK, now to current events..

    Again.. WOW!!! I was pretty well ripped from my weekend, so I didn't even bother checking news sites until first thing this AM...

    I was floored.. Bin Laden had obtained almost "boogey man" status...

    And, I have to admit that when I read he was buried at sea, I wondered for a split second if there was something hinky.. But then it occurred to me that THAT choice was brilliant.. No grave marker for terrorists to rally around and become a holy pilgrimage site..

    But that shouldn't stop terrorists... I encourage ALL Al Qaeda members to visit Bin Ladens grave site. Get right up close to the body....

    What do you call 1,000 terrorists at the bottom of the ocean???
    A GOOD START!!!

    :D

    Bashi,

    Good speech. I thought it was also good that Obama gave George W Bush a courtesy call before the speech, though that would probably be standard for all modern presidents.

    I have to give points to Obama for that move...

    That was more than decent. That was classy and gentlemanly...

    CW,

    Um, you want to maybe change your assessment of Panetta's leadership at the CIA, considering current events? Hmmm?

    I would wait to break out the Panetta Champagne until his role is fully explained.. From my brief readings, it seemed it was more of a MilOp than a CIA operation...

    Regardless of that, I have served with commanders where our units had great and successful ops IN SPITE of the commander rather than BECAUSE OF the commander..

    I have no doubt that this is another one of those instances...

    Panetta is a politician.. And that is, by far, NOT a compliment...

    *If* Panetta was involved, he obviously had the sense enough to know what he doesn't know, step aside and let the professionals do what they do best.

    If this turns out to be the case, then he deserves a kudo, to be sure...

    Liz,

    Well said...

    Moderate,

    I honestly don't care that this almost certainly ensures re-election for Obama in 2012

    I have to agree.. My first thought was, "Jeezus, you throw this guy in a pile of shit and he STILL comes up smelling like baby powder!!"

    It's a credit to his decision to make some unpopular decisions to continue Bush policy in certain areas, which both his own base and opposition must credit him for.

    This will definitely enhance Bush's legacy, as it was the Bush policies that made this even possible.

    I am just very happy that Obama had the wisdom AND the testicular fortitude to ignore his base and do the right thing..

    While this is definitely a win for Obama it's as big a win for Bush and his administration..

    I hope that the Left will finally give Bush the credit that he is due...

    Regardless, I say a very heartfelt and very sincere thank you to President Obama...

    You have my respect, sir....

    Michale.....

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Now that the euphoria has worn off, the cynical part of me speaks up.. :D

    It would have made more sense to capture Bin Laden, rather than kill him..

    Imagine the treasure trove of intel that could be wringed from him at a nice custome "suite" at Camp Delta... :D

    I wonder if anyone would have a problem with torturing Bin Laden..

    :D

    Michale.....

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Also, I think it's safe to say that Obama's downward slide of his poll numbers has been arrested for a while... :D

    Michale.......

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    The celebrations outside the White House, on the other hand, I wonder if that'll engender any kind of blowback. Much like Americans decried celebrations of 9/11, celebrating death always seems to me to be somewhat offensive just on the face of it...

    I don't think that's going to be a problem..

    The 9/11 celebrations were celebrations of terrorist attacks that killed INNOCENT people...

    Bin Laden's execution (and he WAS executed, have ya'all seen the pic of his body??) was a warranted act that deserved celebration..

    Anyone who has an issue with the celebration of Bin Laden's death, well to me it shows where their sympathy lies...

    Like Matt's quote of Mark Twain,

    "I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."

    Bashi,

    I'm looking forward to reading it. And seeing the motion picture version.

    Hell with that! I wanna play the Game!!!

    THE EXECUTION OF OSAMA BIN LADEN for PC, PS3 & XBOX 360

    :D

    Michale.....

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I have always thought that Obama had fancied himself as above this sort of thing.

    there is a lot that people thought about president obama which turned out not to be the case. both in good ways and bad, he has stuck with many of the policies from bush's second term. and (yes, you're right about this) he has mirrored some of bush's chippy attitude as well.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    there is a lot that people thought about president obama which turned out not to be the case. both in good ways and bad, he has stuck with many of the policies from bush's second term. and (yes, you're right about this) he has mirrored some of bush's chippy attitude as well.

    Troo dat.. :D

    Like I said, I don't begrudge the man a bit of gloating. He has more than earned it...

    But Obama did get some really good revenge... His "Bin Laden is dead" announcement pre-empted Trump's CELEBRITY APPRENTICE..

    "Revenge is a dish best served cold"
    -Old Klingon Proverb

    :D

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Google "Leon Panetta" and "Political hack". Bonus points if you actually READ the links instead of just pooh-pooing them away because of who says it..

    Hmm...a bunch of conservative blog opinion only hatchet jobs without anything in them to back it up. Seems his big crime is being a democrat and not career military, mainly being a democrat. Somehow I expected nothing less from you...

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hmm...a bunch of conservative blog opinion only hatchet jobs without anything in them to back it up. Seems his big crime is being a democrat and not career military, mainly being a democrat. Somehow I expected nothing less from you...

    TRANSLATION:
    I didn't actually read the links, but seeing that they are words from the likes of Michelle Malkin et al, my assessment is as stated.

    Somehow I expected nothing less from you... :D

    You may have a high opinion of Panetta...

    I simply don't share it.

    If you have a problem with that, well... It's your problem... :D

    "Oh yea, the cat. Well, there's a problem with the cat."
    "What's that?"
    "It's your problem"

    -MEN IN BLACK

    :D

    Now, I could rebut your position with point by point factual data of why Panetta is a political hack..

    But if I have learned anything here, it's that once people's minds have been made up, no amount of facts changes them.

    So, we will simply have to agree to disagree and move on... :D

    Michale.....

  28. [28] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I didn't actually read the links, but seeing that they are words from the likes of Michelle Malkin et al, my assessment is as stated.

    Nice try, I read the top four, all matched my description EXACTLY. Looked at the urls of the rest on the page...

    But if I have learned anything here, it's that once people's minds have been made up, no amount of facts changes them.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Ahhh contraire.. I am always amiable to changing my opinions based on factual data...

    Once again, I could show you, but your mind is made up so it would be to no avail... :D

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    I read reports that the White House is debating whether to release photos...

    http://goodlawd.com/

    WARNING: Photo is gruesome.

    It shows an execution-style head wound just above the left temple..

    My guess is Bin Laden was on his knees facing his executioner....

    Anyways, regarding WH deciding to release photos...

    I think that ship has sailed..

    Although the photo could be photo-shopped.

    There is some incontinuity between the upper head and lower head..

    Bashi, whatcha think???

    But the wounds are consistent with what has been reported in the AA report...

    Michale.....

  31. [31] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Probably just depth of field from the angle the photo was taken, but most photos see time in photoshop for if nothing else to adjust levels, reduce the image size and to do a good compression to .jpg. Nothing grabs me as modified.

    The problem with calls of photoshopping is someone good at it, you would never know and many photos straight out of a camera will have glitches in them people will think are evidence of photoshopping.

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    Fascinating analysis.. And spot on as well.. :D

    There are reports calling this photo fake.

    But read of the After Action report does coincide with the wounds shown...

    Time will tell... I am sure the Obama administration is going to have to release SOME evidence that it actually was Bin Laden...

    Michale.....

  33. [33] 
    dsws wrote:

    There's more to justice than just vengeance.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    dsws,

    There's more to justice than just vengeance.

    And, sometimes, justice versus vengeance provides a difference without distinction.

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, sometimes, justice versus vengeance provides a difference without distinction.

    That's pretty deep, Liz... :D

    As Spock would say,

    "A difference which makes no difference IS no difference."

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    I have to wonder if it's a mistake to emphasis the Muslim traditions that were followed in planting Bin Laden..

    It seems to me that it would legitimize that Bin Laden was a true Muslim, when we all know that Bin Laden perverted the religion for his own psychotic ends..

    I know, I know.. There are very logical and valid reasons for doing as the US did..

    I just have to wonder if it may have sent the wrong message to those in the Muslim communities who already have a beef with the US...

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    The execution of Bin Laden has had the added benefit of proving beyond any doubt that torturing terrorists for intel DOES, in fact, work...

    And, apparently, it works quite well...

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Michale,

    Notice that the photo you posted has disappeared from the internet? Guess it was a fake. I was looking at a story about ABC's footage of the compound where it all went down to see if there was any similarities between that and the photo. Went to compare and it's gone as are other versions I found via Google images. The thumbnails are there but the linked to pages are gone.

    This is the problem with photography right now. I've seen and worked with so many bad images that looked fake but I knew to be real I would not be surprised it going either way and of course reality has really bad, mixed lighting :-)

    Unless it's blatant it has become really hard to tell with all the cell phones and other crappy image capture devices with tiny lenses that warp in unexpected ways especially in low light and close up. There really needs to be some corroborating evidence to make a determination. I read this weekend that even Nikon's digital signing technology has been cracked.

    Though thinking on it later, the professionalism of the troops involved and where they were and went after the mission and the time line involved it would almost have to be fake or intentionally leaked...

  39. [39] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The execution of Bin Laden has had the added benefit of proving beyond any doubt that torturing terrorists for intel DOES, in fact, work...
    And, apparently, it works quite well...

    “It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”

    http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/DonaldRumsfeld-gitmo-waterboarding-osamabinladen/2011/05/02/id/394820

    ~D. Rumsfeld

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    Good point... There are now reports that Bin Laden's skull was blown apart...

    So hard to sift thru all the info and separate fact from fiction..

    Nypoet,

    Rumsfeld also said in the same article....

    Asked if harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay played a role in obtaining intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, Rumsfeld declares: “First of all, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. That’s a myth that’s been perpetrated around the country by critics.

    We both know that this is not true, so I would take your posted statement with a huge grain of salt..

    Sounds more like CYA than anything else...

    We've known for a while that torturing terrorists for data mining has saved innocent lives. This comes from officials within the Obama administration..

    It's also interesting to note that the intel from this started with revelations in 2007.

    Under the Bush administration..

    Not belittling Obama's role in this whatsoever. As Moderate said above (and I have said ad nasuem.. :D) Obama deserves the credit for continuing the Bush policies that lead to this momentous event... Obama did this despite huge and unfair pressure from his base...

    It's a testament to Obama's integrity that he did what was right for America and not what was right for the Dem Party base...

    But the facts are, it was the Bush Administration that set the standard...

    Remember when I said that history will look favorably on the Bush Administration once things come to light??

    This is exactly what I was talking about..

    Michale.....

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    The story behind the raid begins four years ago, when prisoners being interrogated under torture at Guantanamo Bay betrayed the ‘nom de guerre’ of a courier used by Bin Laden. Fat and heavily bearded, he was said to be a protege of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and one of the few men on the planet whom Bin Laden genuinely trusted.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382860/Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-Abbottabad-raid-ended-10-years-defiance-Obama-watched.html

    Michale.....

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    The more I read about the op, the more I am impressed by Obama and his decisions..

    He had almost decided to just bomb the compound with dozens of 2K bombs dropped from B2s..

    But he opted to go with Seal Team 6, so as to obtain proof positive that it was Bin Laden..

    It also had the added bonus of allowing ST6 to obtain a treasure trove of intel...

    The significance of this simply cannot be over-stated. This is HUGE...

    Imagine the intelligence that can be gleaned from reading Bin Laden's hard drive??

    While the war against Al Qaeda is far from over, this is a huge boost for it...

    This is Al Qaeda's Gettysburg... The beginning of the end...

    Again, props to President Obama.. He certainly deserves an atta-boy on this one...

    Michale.....

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just so there is no question..

    in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information and that was true here… It's a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got… I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I'm also saying that, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.
    -Leon Panetta

    Of course, Panetta does not want to come right out and say it, but it's clear that torture was used to produce the intelligence that ultimately led to Bin Laden's death.

    Further, since the intelligence was developed in 2007, during the Bush administration, it can be deduced that torture was used. Because *everyone* knows that the Bush administration tortured EVERYONE they could get their hands on! :D

    The question can be settled unequivocally..

    Torture CAN produce actionable intel that can be used to save the lives of those who deserve to live and end the lives of those who do NOT deserve to live.

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Even more evidence...

    To get bin Laden, Obama relied on policies he decried

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/05/get-bin-laden-obama-relied-policies-he-decried

    I know, I know.. I am harping on this point ad nasuem...

    I guess, like Obama, I can't resist gloating.. :D

    And I believe that, like Obama, I've earned it.. :D

    Michale....

  45. [45] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I think I'll hold my opinion until things settle down a bit and the full story comes out, but I have read quite a few stories that the water boarding did not give up this name. It was because he refused to talk about it that they thought it might be important. The name was not spilled until a year later under normal interrogation techniques according to many of these stories.

    I think the whole operation is likely to fuel the argument on both sides rather than decide it either way. The water boarding may have broken him so they were able to get the intel under normal interrogation later or it caused a year delay and they would have gotten it much earlier if he had not been water boarded.

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Panetta has blown another call...

    "The government obviously has been talking about how best to do this, but I don't think there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public."
    -Leon Panetta on NBC Nightly News, Tuesday

    President Barack Obama does not plan to release photos of Osama bin Laden to prove his death, CBS News said on Twitter on Wednesday..
    -CNN, Wednesday

    I'm just sayin' :D

    As to the photo itself, I am conflicted..

    I don't NEED to see the photo. I believe the Administration that Bin Laden is fish food...

    On the other hand, I WANT to see it. As a military man, I WANT to see this miserable excuse for a human being reduced to a bloody and bloated corpse...

    Further, I think this administration worries WAY too much about offending Muslims. Muslims who, it appears, don't give a rat's ass about offending Americans...

    "Fuck 'em"
    -Robin Williams, LIVE AT THE MET

    Michale.....

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    In other words, people will see what they WANT to see in the facts..

    I can agree with that...

    Michale....

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    On the other hand..... :D

    We know that KSM (or KMS or KFed or KFC) was waterboarded and the initial intel trail started with him...

    So it's a factual statement to say that torturing a terrorist did produce actionable intel.

    Further, the next break in the trail came in 2007, still under the auspices of the Bush administration. So it's a logical assumption that this terrorist was also tortured to give up such vital intel...

    But, I understand your perspective..

    Michale.....

  49. [49] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    even if it turns out to have worked, i'm still not convinced that torturing was a good decision. in any situation where the outcome rests on a number of random variables, it's possible to make a bad decision and get a good result, just as it's possible to make a good decision and get a bad result. a quarterback can throw into double coverage and still make a touchdown, or he can throw to a wide-open receiver who drops the ball. i'm glad that bin laden was caught and killed. if, contrary to the former administration members' statements, it turns out that torture was what ended up working, well lucky us. could a better decision have been made, which would have been equally or more effective? we'll never know.

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    All I am saying about torture, all I have EVER said about torture is that it is effective enough to keep it in our CT Tool Box...

    My entire point in this thread is to show that those that claim that torture "NEVER" works or that torture "NEVER" produces actionable intel are talking out their asses...

    Torture CAN work...

    Torture HAS worked...

    Torture CAN produce actionable intel...

    Torture HAS produced actionable intel...

    That has been my entire point...

    And, I'll reiterate.. It's not as if we're torturing Aunt Matilda to get her to confess she jay-walked back in 1933.... We're not torturing Little Jack Horner to get him to confess that he did, in fact, stick his thumb in a Christmas pie...

    We're torturing scumbag killers who are responsible for the deaths of innocent people...

    I really don't have a problem with that and I honestly believe that no one else should either..

    could a better decision have been made, which would have been equally or more effective? we'll never know.

    Would you have preferred to explore that option if it meant that Bin Laden would still be alive today??

    Because it's those kinds of abstracts that the people in the CT field have to deal in...

    It's all about saving lives...

    Not about what's politically correct..

    Michale....

  51. [51] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Would you have preferred to explore that option if it meant that Bin Laden would still be alive today??

    That depends on if, in this hypothetical scenario, i knew that torture was going to work. at the time the decision was made, nobody did. to some extent, we still don't. would you agree to completely forgo torture if it were conclusively proven that bin laden would have been killed at the same time or earlier?

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    would you agree to completely forgo torture if it were conclusively proven that bin laden would have been killed at the same time or earlier?

    Abso-fracking-loutly...

    But, as you say, we cannot know either way. We have to rely on the experts on the ground at the moment to make the call..

    But, since torture DOES have a proven track record and if all other options have failed, I have no problem with stringin' the frak'er up...

    As I said, we're not talking about Mother Theresa here...

    Michale.....

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    I mean, let's face it..

    The only VALID argument against torture is that it is unpleasant..

    When you weigh that against the potential benefits.... well, it's a no-brainer..

    Michale.....

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:
  55. [55] 
    dsws wrote:

    Torture makes the victim say whatever they think the perpetrator wants to hear, without regard for the truth.

    Can we come up with scenarios in which torture would work, and enable the perpetrator to avert an even greater evil? Of course: Bob the necromancer has two spells, one which locates the traditional hidden nuclear bomb that's always used in these scenarios (but costs more mana points than he has available), and another which gives him the necessary mana points (but requires him to deep-fry a kitten). Obviously, Bob should go ahead and dunk Fluffy in the oil.

    If one encounters such a situation, however, the correct response is never to commit torture. It's always to seek psychiatric treatment. Even if the scenario doesn't include any handy rhetorical flourishes like spells and mana points.

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    Torture makes the victim say whatever they think the perpetrator wants to hear, without regard for the truth.

    And yet, we found Bin Laden....

    Can we come up with scenarios in which torture would work, and enable the perpetrator to avert an even greater evil?

    Not only can we come up with scenarios, we can come up with real life examples..

    Torture can work..

    That is a fact that no amount of Left Wing koom bye ya mumbo jumbo will change...

    Michale.....

  57. [57] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The only VALID argument against torture is that it is unpleasant...

    i happen to agree with you that practicality ought to trump high-minded values, especially when it comes to saving lives and protecting our country. however, just to play devil's advocate, your statement is not entirely true, because your assertion depends entirely on what you mean by "valid." torture is not "unpleasant." it's cruel, against the core values of our nation, and against the dictates of the US Constitution. i don't give a rat's backside what torture does to some terrorist, but i do care what it does to people who were captured due to mistaken identity - as well as what it does to our government's credibility with our own citizenry and our allies. "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted," is not written with any exceptions for really bad people from other countries. you may not find that argument valid, but i sort-of do. as to torture's effectiveness, there is a lot more room for debate than you're acknowledging.

    Torture can work...

    i'm not disputing that it can work, i'm disputing whether methods that include torture work better than methods that do not involve torture. of that, the evidence is not so clear. much like corporal punishment of children who regularly misbehave, there is a lot of credible evidence that runs contrary to our "gut feeling" about what is and is not effective.

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