...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

June 28, 2005

Just A Question

The BTK Killer's nickname stood for "bind torture kill. i wonder if he chose to call himself that because he liked to play loud rap music and turn the a/c up on his victims.

i'm not being flip here, just trying to make a semantic point.

Posted by annika, Jun. 28, 2005 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


I don't think you're being flip at all. I think it's a valid point, and if I had Dick Durbin's ear, I'd ask him that very question.

Although, I'm sure the pseudo-intellects of the Left, such as Al-queda Franken, would tell you that it's just a different flavor of torture.

Posted by: Robbie on Jun. 28, 2005

It seems to me there is something a little screwy on the right-wing's view of Gitmo and Abu Gharib--and I speak as a conservative Republican here. On the one hand, it's said that these were the acts of a few wayward, undisciplined soldiers and, while regrettable perhaps, they do not reflect badly on the army or the mission as a whole. On the other hand, these acts are said to be no big deal, a necessary response to a ruthless enemey. The problem is whether they're regrettable acts of folks acting outside their authority, or defensible on their merits.

The fact is the torture allegations go beyond the silly pictures of Lynnie England or the burned Koran story. A dozen or more individuals have died in captivity, some at the hands of their interrogators. A third or more of Gitmore detainees have been released after they were determined not to be AQ. If innocent individuals are being interrogated in a fashion that kills them--with beatings, drowning, etc.--this is the essence of torture and military excess, would you not agree?

That said, the media's obsessive focus on the sensational images of Abu Gharib to the neglect of the more serious allegations--that certain detainees have been killed in custody--shows how immature of an institution it is.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 28, 2005

Roach, It's a war. Bad things happen. Some of the "not Al Quaeda" were later killed on the battlefield after we had let them go. Oops.

I'd say that these guys are being treated far better than they deserve. I've heard no practical alternatives to holding them somewhere for the duration of this war. Unless you'd prefer that we execute them as illegal enemy combatants? Which, BTW is completely in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Posted by: MarkD on Jun. 28, 2005


We have no way of knowing how and why these criminals died at Gitmo. They could have died from natural causes. If any of these Bad Guys met a violent death is was due to guards protecting their lives.

These criminals are desperate and insanely violent. At every opportunity, they will try to murder the guards using their feet, hands and their teeth. They make Hannibal Lector look like a 80 year old grandmother.

Every one of those criminals sent to Gitmo was captured in a battle. All should still be in Gitmo today. Through the kindness of America's military, the combatants who were determined not to be hard-core Al Qaida were released. It is a decision the military has regretted often as most of them were recaptured in other battles.

It is hard to believe that you are a conservative. No thinking person would believe anything MSM says about Gitmo and Abu Gharib. MSM has consistently distorted, made-up or exaggerated the facts concerning those two military installations.

Posted by: Jake on Jun. 28, 2005

You say, " If any of these Bad Guys met a violent death is was due to guards protecting their lives." This is false. Army investigations have focused on more than two dozen cases where captives may have been killed in the course of interrogations, none of which involved claims of self defense. Such killings are in violation of US law, Army regulations, Army rules of engagement, and the like. Here's the Army CID report:


Mindless cheerleading should not be opposed to the mindless criticisms of the war.

You also say that all the Gitmo detainees were found on the field of battle. This is false in at least some cases, and anyone who has looked into this knows it. Many were turned in by Afghans seeking to cash in on the cash rewards given for pretty much anyone turned in. While some that have been released have been wrongfully released and returned to AQ, at least some are acknowledged by the military and everyone else to be completely innocent. So should torture be used preemptively on anyone, even those who are factually innocent, just to find out? Would't this hurt our PR efforts in the Muslim world--where we're trying to separate jihadists from the uncomitted--and just be wrong to boot? I have no problem with us arresting detainees and determining for ourselves their status, but that does not mean we can or should torture all of them on the mistaken assumption they're all enemy combatants, nor does it mean we should tolerate the violations of Army rules and regs by lower level guys that decide for themselves to torture anyone, i.e., those that violate direct orders. The Army itself has concluded many of these detainees are not enemy combatants. http://washingtontimes.com/national/20050608-112525-6483r.htm

The mindless jingoistic chorus from the so-called conservatives in this country that refuse to look at the facts (and distorts those that exist) is not conservatism. You have to fight lies with truth, not more lies or raw and false assertions.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 28, 2005

How do you sleep at night? You know, being on the same side as the terrorists, and all?

Posted by: Robbie on Jun. 28, 2005

Unbelievable. Hey Robbie, go buy a clue, read a book, and learn a little something. It's Army officers in the JAG corps and the FBI who've raised the biggest stink about this. Are they on the same side as terrorists? Do I have to make excuses for illegal actions not to be on the same side as the terrorists. I agree this doesn't belong on page 1, etc., but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter at all.

Incidentally, is the Army and Navy CID on the same side as the terrorists.

One more thing, go fuck yourself Robbie.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 28, 2005

Hey Robbie, how does it feel not to have something intelligent to say? To live in a world where on any issue, no matter all the various degrees of opinion and sub-issues, there are two positions -- pro-terrorist and anti-terrorist?

Maybe you'll think about what a stupid, worthless little shit you apparently are before accusing someone who had two brothers serve in Iraq, and who had an NYFD uncle die on 9/11, of being a terrorist sympathizer.

You worthless, sniveling little fuck.

Posted by: Answerman on Jun. 28, 2005

Insults always clarify everything.

Posted by: Mark on Jun. 28, 2005

Hey answerman, I noticed that while listing all the brave people in your family, you left yourself off that list.

Having served in Iraq in the US Army, I can tell you that my first hand experiences just don't vibe with all the hearsay that you've read on the Internet.

Posted by: Robbie on Jun. 28, 2005


I stand by what I said. I read the CID report, and it no way supports your accusations that you made.

We have not tortured prisons at Gitmo. We have applied psychological pressure on these terrorists which is allowed by the Geneva convention. Muslims hear what some Americans call torture and they laugh at the Americans sucked into believing terrorist propaganda.

Your mindless jingoistic chorus is not conservatism. You are ignoring the truth and believe only lies or raw and false assertions.

Posted by: Jake on Jun. 28, 2005

Actually he was talking about me and my family, which someone with basic command of English grammar would have noticed. So, do you still think I support terrorists simply because I conclude that some of what was undeniably torture took place under US auspices?

Why do you feel so free to insult people and their patriotism, Robbie, as soon as they disagree with you on some particular? Why do you think that people who've not served in our military are not patriotic or are liberals? And what of the CID, JAG, and FBI folks mentioned above? What of the fact that certain lies and misinformation are the only way to support your position?

You served. Good for you. That doesn't mean you get to win every debate on any subject relating to the military or foreign policy for the rest of your life. We're a republic of equal citizens; not a warrior aristocracy.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 28, 2005

Well Jake, I'm just willing to believe things that are troubling, and not dismiss them as "raw assertions." It's true the tortures in quesiton took place in Iraq and Afghanistan--not Gitmo--but that doesn't change the fact that killing someone in an interrogation through suffocation or blunt trauma is torture under any reasonable definition of that term.

Look up jingoistic when you get a chance; you're obviously misusing the word.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 28, 2005

Robbie, unlike Roach, I thank you for your sacrifices in serving your country.

Posted by: Mark on Jun. 28, 2005

Mark maybe you can lick his boots to show real appreciation.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 28, 2005

U da man, Robbie.

The man in the arena always has to listen to this kind of shit.

Everyone who takes arms against this country has given up the right to life, unless of course it was for the cause of hanging five members of the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Casca on Jun. 28, 2005

Robbie, that's wonderful that you served. Of course, it doesn't excuse you for being a piece of shit who -- in response to reasoned argument from Roach with which you may or may not agree (anyone who cares, read Roach's original comment) -- feels justified in cavalierly accusing people whom you don't know of the most morally vile things imaginable, like sympathy with the terrorists.

You're a dimwitted cheerleader who can't have an intelligent debate with someone who supports the war but has certain policy disagreements with Bush. Although you service does you proud, your comments in here do you, the Republican Party, and your country shame. You're an embarrassment to this country, and your unthinking, populist approach is truly cause for sadness about our future.

Rot in hell, cocksucker.

Posted by: Answerman on Jun. 28, 2005

Answerman seems to be a little contradictory and apparently believes hell, with the most hideous suffering and torture imaginable (for the rest of eternity even), is an appropriate place for our bravest guys like Robbie.


Posted by: d-rod on Jun. 28, 2005

Answerman did not question Robbie's patriotism; he questioned his good sense, and he questioned his judgment and intellect. This should be obvious, if you read the exchange above. Robbie rather questioned my patriotism, rather than addressing the merits of what I wrote above. Answerman said something that I would not have said myself, namely, that my family background (and personal background if truth be told) makes it pretty ridiculous to question my patriotism.

If it's wrong and ilegal to kill people during interrogations--some of whom may not be terrorists, hence the point of interogation--and the CID and FBI have tried to prevent these unauthorized and in some cases illegal actions, then I think I'm in good company for distinguishing these incidents from the A/C and other mild coercions of Gitmo. My only point was pretty limited: that focusing on the "rap music" and mild pressure of Gitmo does not tell the whole story, that some of what everyone would classify as torture has been committed by a small number of US troops.

As for Robbie, it's pretty ridiculous for people to expect me to get on my knees and thank him for service when, patriotic or otherwise, he has acted like an asshole and pulled out some pretty strong accusations at the first sign of disagreement. Guess what, there are assholes in that have served in the US military too. It doesn't make you a saint to be a veteran and it doesn't mean you get to win every debate on military and related matters until the day you die. If you want your servie respected, you should not use it as a cudgel.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 29, 2005

Um... I was suggesting that we not question Answerman's patriotism, Roach, since he seems a little unbalanced (in a Nancy Pelosi sort of way). Sorry if that was unclear.

Posted by: d-rod on Jun. 29, 2005

As Duff Cooper wrote, the jingo nationalist "is always the first to denounce his fellow countrymen as traitors." Of course, most jingo nationalists likely do their denouncing with a little more reasoning and argument that our own dear Robbie. But he gets points for the effort.

And d-rod, I don't recall anyone above questioning my patriotism, but I do appreciate your preemptive warning to low-IQ cheerleaders like Robbie and his ilk. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Answerman on Jun. 29, 2005

I respect Robbie and Roach. Cease the conservative infighting. Initiate the truce. Let's get back on the same page and resume bashing the anti-American "Robert McClellands" of the world instead.

Posted by: reagan80 on Jun. 29, 2005

Reagan 80 I appreciate your magnanimity and desire for conservative unity, but I wouldn't want to be associated with anyone that felt so free to hurl around accusations of "supporting terrorists" and treason.

These are not our people; they're not liberals, but they're not conservatives either. They're some kind of militaristic, populist, jingoistic, half-breed. They're the folks that "hate" journalists, lawyers, college professors, successful businessmen, and pretty much anyone with an education. There is a weird mismash of class envy, fear, cocksure certainty, and ignorance propelling the jingoist to the forefront. They crowd out true conservative ideas with their quick accusations and dimwitted pseudo-analysis. And, if they're at all influenced by ideas, it's the world-wide crusading gobbeldygook of the neoconservative theorists at Weekly Standard, the stuff that used to be associated with FDR and liberals. The older America First traditions of Lindbergh, Albert Jay Nock, Russell Kirk, and Robert Taft are totally off their radar. They'd be as at home with Woodrow Wilson and Huey Long, as any of the real conservative statesmen of the 20th Century. They may vote the right way, but that's about it. They're not men of ideas and good sense, but of crude impulses. Their domination of the Republican party is why we've seen no real limitations on government under Bush, whom the new militarist-populists worship. Throw a few bones about gay marriage and look serious about the war and they're happy.

And this trend is on the rise. This human type is more prevalent. Quick to denounce, devoid of independent thinking, and quick to classify the least disagreement on a any particular as a heresy worthy of putting one in the enemy camp. These are not my friens. I wouldn't want to make peace with them. Mencken was down on these people for a reason.

Posted by: Roach on Jun. 29, 2005

How fitting that Reagan80 would invoke Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican."

: )

Posted by: annika on Jun. 29, 2005

I wonder how the Gipper would have felt about tossing around the accusation "terrorist sympathizer"?

Posted by: Answerman on Jun. 29, 2005

Two words, "Evil Empire".

Posted by: Casca on Jun. 30, 2005

Ah, so we see that the brainless populists on the Right equate reasoned policy criticisms by patriotic Americans with totalitarian governments bent on destroying us.

Casca may not be bright, but at least his comments are enlightening.

Posted by: Answerman on Jul. 1, 2005

Am I the only one to think that in some photos, the BTK killer looks vaguely reminiscent of Salman Rushdie?

Posted by: NuggetMaven on Jul. 7, 2005