November 11, 2010 4:57 am at 4:57 am #592987
This is for Charliehall:
The United States must prosecute former President George W. Bush for torture if his admission in a memoir that he authorized waterboarding holds true, rights group Amnesty International said Wednesday.
In “Decision Points,” published this week, Bush defended his decision to authorize waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning condemned by some as torture.
(Reuters)November 11, 2010 5:00 am at 5:00 am #713749
They should be prosecuted for sedition!November 11, 2010 5:26 am at 5:26 am #713750
The Hard Left wants to criminalize defending this country.
They also treat earning too much money as a crime.
On the other hand, some mean spirited cities and states try to criminalize the poor with draconian fines.November 11, 2010 9:56 am at 9:56 am #713751
I think he should be prosecuted for not doing enough. They had to waterboard KSM 180 times! Waste of water! Electricity would have found us Osama’le with just a few session, and then we could have turned up the voltage.November 11, 2010 3:09 pm at 3:09 pm #713752
Nothing we do to our enemies, to prevent them from brutally murdering innocent victims in the most horrific of ways, is off-limits. THEY do not play by the rules of civilized people, and we need to fight fire with fire. PERIOD. George W. did not go far enough. Those same people, given the chance, slowly cut the head off Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl. Should anyone really feel sorry for THOSE animals?November 11, 2010 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #713753
oomis im with you 100%November 11, 2010 3:20 pm at 3:20 pm #713754
Where is Charliehall?!
He is supposed to be giving us all our liberal news. We even started a special forum for him.November 11, 2010 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #713755
You guys can support whatever you’d like. Torture is illegal no matter who you do it to. There are two questions here: 1. Is waterboarding torture? 2. Were there mitigating circumstances? Amnesty’s position on the first is clearly that it is (and they’re not American, so I’m not sure where the idea of trying them for sedition comes from, nor can I imagine that anyone here thinks it’s illegal to say pretty much whatever you want about the president so long as you don’t threaten him physical harm). As for the second, usually that would be a matter for the courts.
Amnesty would hypocrites if they didn’t think Bush should be prosecuted here, since they would think anyone else should be.November 11, 2010 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm #713756
This is for Charliehall:
What’s with your obsession over Dr. Hall’s political viewpoints of late?
The WolfNovember 11, 2010 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #713757
“Dr. Hall” has what sort of doctorate?November 11, 2010 4:01 pm at 4:01 pm #713758
Moshe, what about Halacha? What does the Torah say about torturing terrorist in order to save thousands of lives?November 11, 2010 4:08 pm at 4:08 pm #713759
Amnesty International is not a Jewish organization and is not concerned about halacha.
Amnesty would also disagree with you premise that torture was or is ever necessary to save lives. If Bush wants to say that he broke the law in order to do so though, he’s welcome to do that. Amnesty though is perfectly within reason in thinking the place that argument should take place is in a courthouse.November 11, 2010 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm #713761
Excellent. But could you answer my question?November 11, 2010 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #713762
I’m not all that comfortable paskening halacha in the Coffee Room, especially where it’s not at all relevant to the conversation, but I’d say that yes a person who kills or tortures a rodef is patur in certain situations. That person is not however somehow exempt from going to Beis Din simply because they say that’s what they did.November 11, 2010 4:24 pm at 4:24 pm #713763
“Dr. Hall” has what sort of doctorate?
Do you have reason to believe he’s lying that you put his title in quotation marks?
The WolfNovember 11, 2010 4:26 pm at 4:26 pm #713764
So what Bush did was moral, right? This is a purely legal issue of an immoral law?November 11, 2010 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #713765
‘”Dr. Hall” has what sort of doctorate? ‘
I earned a doctorate in biostatistics from Johns Hopkins University. I am not a physician.
I have no opinion on this particular issue; I am familiar with neither the facts or the law.November 11, 2010 4:32 pm at 4:32 pm #713766
Bush, like any person who claims that he violated the law because it was immoral is more than welcome to argue that at trial. Neither you nor I have any idea if that’s accurate because we don’t know the facts. Generally, the burden to prove a defense of necessity is on the defendant, who to this point hasn’t really bothered to even suggest he needs that defense (Bush is still insisting he was relying on his lawyers in believing waterboarding was not illegal).November 11, 2010 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #713767
Bush ignored many other laws including the one requiring the US Embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem and the one requiring US Passports to say, “Jerusalem, Israel” rather than simply “Jerusalem”.November 11, 2010 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #713768
True, he did get that opinion the Justice Department ( at the time).
But why is it different from killing? Does the commander-in-chief Obama need to prove necessity ever time he blows off the head of a taliban chief? Is the burden of proof on obama? Should we prosecute him and let him prove it? Killing is also illegal. We kill to protect our country.
Killing a terroist is better then torturing him?November 11, 2010 4:41 pm at 4:41 pm #713769
Yes, on a legal level killing a terrorist is better than torturing him. Killing people (and even assassination) is obviously not banned during war. Torture is, by the Convention Against Torture, which the US has signed.November 11, 2010 4:46 pm at 4:46 pm #713770
True. You are correct, legally speaking. But it’s on record that Bush received authorization from the DOJ, so how can he prosecuted?November 11, 2010 4:50 pm at 4:50 pm #713771
“Bush ignored many other laws including the one requiring the US Embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem”
So did every other president. Including your pals Slick Willy, and BAM.
WIKIPEDIA: The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995  The act also called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. Israel’s declared capital is Jerusalem, but this is not internationally recognized, pending final status talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United States has withheld recognition of the city as Israel’s capital. The proposed law was adopted by the Senate (93-5), and the House (374-37).November 11, 2010 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #713772
Again, relying on your attorney in good faith can be a defense (it usually isn’t), but at least in theory, that should be argued in court. Laws against torture would never be enforced if a government was able to claim it was relying on its own interpretation of the law and therefore can’t be brought to trial.November 11, 2010 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #713773
I’m thinking that was directed at me, but I’m not sure I’ve ever suggested I was pals with either of the people you mentioned.
Anyway, while it’s not something I know a ton about, I’m pretty sure the National Security Waiver provision is included in the act (so the Presidents have gone by at least the letter of the law), and I think the Constitutional argument is certainly not baseless. If you’d like to sue the President and attempt to compel him to move the embassy, you’re more than welcome to try. I’d imagine it’s a lost cause for now.November 11, 2010 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #713774
Bush is a really good man, who REALLY wants the best for this country (unlike someone else who shall remain nameless). The media completely demonized him, making him out to be a horrible person…November 11, 2010 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #713775
that was the impression i got also
a man of honesty and integrity (pretty much)
of course i dont follow news and politics
but thats the impression he made on me
and im usually pretty hard to fool, when it comes to “impressions”November 11, 2010 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #713776
…because the opinion was repudiated later by the DOJ. So by approving waterboarding (ironically, unlike SecDef Rumsfeld, who refused to let the DOD do it in Gitmo)…so ultimately, it boils down to morality – where I think he was completely correct, but legally – indeed. And do we really disagree with the convention on torture? In theory, but the question is about letting the genie out of the bottle. So it boils down to if water boarding is torture.
I think it is, just doesn’t leave permanent damage. Oh well! Moshe, you are indeed correct.November 11, 2010 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #713777
The Torah HaKedosha teaches…
Ha’ba le’harge’cha, hashkaiym le’hargo.
I think from that, it is only logical to deduce…
Ha’ba le’harge’cha… -Do WHATEVER you have to do to prevent him/them from accomplising what they set out to do.November 11, 2010 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #713778
A couple of points:
From CNN: Bush further declares that the new techniques proved effective, yielding information on al Qaeda’s structure and operations, and leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, the logistical planner of the 9/11 attacks who was captured on the first anniversary of the attacks. And if there were any lingering doubts or conflict about the use of waterboarding, Bush discloses that he received reassurance from an unlikely source: terror suspect Abu Zubaydah.
The former president writes, “His understanding of Islam was that he had to resist interrogation only up to a certain point. Waterboarding was the technique that allowed him to reach that threshold, fulfill his religious duty, and then cooperate.”
Bush elaborates that Zubaydah gave him a direct instruction, “‘You must do this for all the brothers.'”November 11, 2010 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #713779
Just what is the criminal act being alleged here?
Does the treaty someone mentioned make it a criminal act which can be prosecuted by the federal courts?November 11, 2010 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #713780
Waterboarding CLEARLY is torture. Whether it is a criminal matter is not clear to me. And I’m not sure a President can be prosecuted for actions taken while in office; the Constitution seems to provide impeachment as the remedy.
I’m also not sure what purpose such a prosecution would serve in this case.
I’m also not convinced that torture provides consistently useful information. Police detectives know that they can get criminals to confess under interrogation to all kinds of things that they did not do! That may be one reason why self-incriminating evidence is not permitted in a Jewish court.November 11, 2010 6:46 pm at 6:46 pm #713781
Yes, it is part of the convention, to investigate & prosecute.November 11, 2010 7:05 pm at 7:05 pm #713784
Charlie – the CIA program did a great deal of correlation – remember, over a 100 people were in “the program” (only 3 got waterboard, two thirds were cooperative immediately). SO they asked question they already knew the answers too, and correlated with the others.
I think ultimately they got a lot of actionable intelligence and saved thousands of lives. But the legal question remains.
Wolf VS Mods…pass the popcorn…,November 11, 2010 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #713785
Please capitalize this term. It’s considered proper and respectful when writing in English to capitalize HKBH’s name — regardless of the language being used.
The WolfNovember 11, 2010 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #713786
Wolf is right. The Rambam uses the word “ALLAH” all the time (in the original). It just means God – aka Hashem. So, may Allah be with you all.November 11, 2010 7:13 pm at 7:13 pm #713787
Well, I wasn’t saying we should use the term l’chatchilla — but if we are using it, it should be capitalized.
The WolfNovember 11, 2010 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #713788
All?hu AkbarNovember 11, 2010 7:46 pm at 7:46 pm #713789
Since the arabic name is a form of the Hebrew name spelled aleph-lamed, it should probably also be hyphenated as we generally do with English names of G-d, i.e. “A-lah”.November 11, 2010 8:08 pm at 8:08 pm #713790
I will b”n look into whether the Arabic term discussed above qualifies as a shem H-shem and should therefore be capitilized. (clearly G-d, L-rd, etc. meet that criteria)
If anyone has a mekor, please post it here.
Until then, in the interest of erring on the side of caution, I’d appreciate it if a mod would edit my prior post and capitilize the word in question.November 11, 2010 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #713791
AOM: As you can see, I did put a hyphen — right above the “a”.November 12, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am #713792
Talking about Hashem, there is a big store where I live that has a bunch of Muslims/Arabs working there. All the time, over the PA system, you here: Hashem please come to the front/back etc. Kind of funny…November 14, 2010 4:05 am at 4:05 am #713793
“I’m also not convinced that torture provides consistently useful information. Police detectives know that they can get criminals to confess under interrogation to all kinds of things that they did not do! That may be one reason why self-incriminating evidence is not permitted in a Jewish court.“
That’s an interesting theory.
Self-incriminating evidence isn’t allowed where misa (capital punishment) or malkos (lashes) are involved.
It is allowed in civil cases (where admission of an involved party is considered the equivalent of 100 witnesses), and for certain kaparos that specific transgressions require.
With regards to why we don’t accept a person’s own testimony in order to give him malkos, we say ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? – a person may not make himself a rasha.
Rava in Sanhedrin 9b and 10a explains that a person is a relative to himself, and therefore is unable to establish himself (via his own admission i.e. testimony) as a rasha.
As discussed in the gemara, we even go so far as to “split” the testimony of witnesses – accepting part of it and not accepting another part – because a portion of the testimony is on a relative.
Self-incriminating testimony and its facets are found in several places – Tosafos in the gemara in sanhedrin brings down a couple of other places – it actually differentiates between witnesses who claim their earlier testimony was coerced with monetary or physical threats.
I didn’t get a definitive answer over Shabbos re: the arabic “shem” in question.
Since islam is not avoda zora, your point does makes sense.November 28, 2010 1:32 am at 1:32 am #713795
“Allah” is apparently the equivalent of “God” (both spelled out since this is discussing the halacha), and should be treated with equal respect. This applies to both its written and spoken usage.
I had the opportunity over Shabbos to discuss this with a Rov who is a talmid chochom and who I’ve asked shailos to in the past.
I realize that not mentioning the Rov’s name means that this is basically an unattributed statement, but: a) I didn’t ask his permission to repeat what he said publicly in his name b) It’s too close to home and would include personally identifiable info.November 30, 2010 8:18 pm at 8:18 pm #713796
I can only try,
Thanks! Your rav’s answer makes perfect sense.
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