Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Freedom of Press is limited to those who own one - H.L. Mencken

So don’t $*#@%ing do it!

Shepard Smith explores the nuances of the ethical questions underlying the torture debate:

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/28/09 at 10:15 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by josparke on 04/29/09 at 01:16 AM from United States

Judge Napalatano has been looking a bit nutty lately praising Alex Jones…

Wow! Shepherd really has the potty mouth!

And do you really have to post crap made by firedoglake? Jane Hamsher is nutty as a fruitcake… :(

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 01:18 AM from United States

My favorite bit is where he shoves back from the table and pouts for awhile.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 05:05 AM from United States

Shepard Smith is such a pisser…

Don’t take his parking space either.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:26 AM from United States

Nothing will ever top Shepard Smith’s greatest all-time blooper.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 01:20 PM from United States

I like Smith in this instance.  Obviously, he hasn’t had the greatest track record; however, here, he is dead on.

Napalatano has done great things in the name of true liberty.  A few weeks ago he did have Alex Jones on his midweek show; however, as crazy as Jones may appear to most people, in the bitter end, he is fighting abusive government, and subsequently, persuading more and more people to question their government overlords and their corresponding heinous actions.  These things are healthy. 

As for Alex Jones, well, he may be a member of a fringe movement; however, he does make some legitimate points now and again.

There are a lot of actions without known motives with regard to our government and politically-connected elite.  There are a lot of unanswered questions out there.  Alex Jones offers answers and explanations.  Some people choose to believe them while other people choose not to.

Though, for me, I choose to keep the table open as I do not trust any of the people Alex Jones attacks, and I certainly do not entirely discount or completely discredit the plausibility of an innate desire of these political elite to create a one-world government.

But that’s just me.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 03:15 PM from United States

As for Hitler, well, he may be a member of a fringe movement; however, he does make some legitimate points now and again.

See what I did there?

In the same vein, I’m not going to take dating advice from Roman Polanski.  He may have some great relationship advice, but he does like drugging and ass-raping young girls.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 09:40 PM from United States

BLAH BLAH BLAH....we are america. Never mind we tortured people in vietnam, nuked other countries and specifically propped up governments that tortured others. THIS IS AMERICA.
If they are arab combatants out of uniform torture and don’t just torture, torture and execute the bastards. Stop talking about the intelligence issue. Honestly that is completely irrelevant what matters is the captured terrorist do deserve to break down and be tortured mercilessly. Our own forces don’t have to partake in torture but we should ensure men like Khalid Sheik Mohammed are tortured brutally and executed.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 08:20 AM from United States

Rocketboy,

Nicely done.  You make no valid points.  Fantastic.  You clearly possess infinitely more intelligence than I.

Alex Jones believes in a theory that suggests the ruling elite around the globe collude together as a means to install and maintain a one-world-government that will systematically enslave average citizens.  Is such a claim outlandish?  Perhaps and perhaps not.  Reality is always relative and perceptive.  Could Alex Jones’ theory be accurate?  There is a possibility, but there is also the distinct possibility that it might be completely and entirely inaccurate.  Individuals have the freedom of choice—as they should.  However, if you believe the political elite do not thoroughly enjoy their political careers and the inherent power found therein, well, I have a piece of beautiful beach front property you might be very interested in—and yes it’s located in Iowa.

My point was simply that there are many unanswered questions and political actions with no sensible motive.  Therefore, I conclude, that for me, I take notice of when Jones brings to light certain aspects and actions of government that seem suspicious.  Does this action on my part somehow signify that I believe in the entire theory Alex Jones presents?  Absolutely not.

But hey, I guess that doesn’t stop you from somehow comparing the man to Adolf Hitler, which, by the way, is a debate tool people who lack debating skills use when they have no other ammunition.  You have to be smarter than that.

Oh, and I never suggested that people should believe Alex Jones.  I simply professed admiration due to Jones’ ability to persuade people to question government.

And yes, such questioning of irresponsible and tyrannical politicians IS an unequivocally healthy thing.

-------------------------------------------

Tool,

Your post seems to make a very significant point, yet you seem unaware of the point I speak of.  You clearly mention some of our heinous foreign policy actions over the past several decades (though you remain broad).  Nevertheless, do you not believe that it could be possible that those heinous foreign policy initiatives have produced enormous amounts of animosity around the globe?  Is it not plausible that the people of these nations we have intervened in have grown tired of our ever-present empire and imperialistic tendencies?  One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.  The appropriate term we’re looking for here is “blowback.” This term defines the consequences and repercussions of our interventionist foreign policy.  The CIA created this term to help define and characterize the actions of radical Islam.

Now, I adhere to the true libertarian philosophy and that includes the nonaggression aspects; therefore, I do not condone the deplorable slaughter of innocents in any case.  However, if we are truly attempting to rid the world of these organizations, we must first look to the very reason they even exist.  And the reason these organizations exist and subsequently carry out violent plots is simply because of U.S. foreign policy (i.e. the history of this nation that very few citizens are taught in public schools).

Torture is never permissible.  It is highly immoral.  You should also take note, killing is very rarely ever permissible in Western society; however, the state maintains the ability to monopolize it—and they do.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/30/09 at 09:44 AM from United States

"Stop talking about the intelligence issue. Honestly that is completely irrelevant...Our own forces don’t have to partake in torture but we should ensure men like Khalid Sheik Mohammed are tortured brutally and executed.”

You do realize that the only reason these people are taken hostage at all is for the collection of intelligence, right?

It’s the *only* thing that is relevant, that and the broader strategic consequences of our having a reputation for brutally torturing captives.

The reason Iraqis voluntarily rushed to surrender to us in both wars was because they knew that with us, they’d get water and a safe place to sit while we defeated their idiot tyrant. If they ran the other way, they’d be tortured and shot.

Your idea essentially guarantees that we create enemies who aren’t willing to be taken alive, and who will do anything to prevent it.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 01:17 PM from United States

The reason Iraqis voluntarily rushed to surrender to us in both wars was because they knew that with us, they’d get water and a safe place to sit while we defeated their idiot tyrant. If they ran the other way, they’d be tortured and shot.

Your idea essentially guarantees that we create enemies who aren’t willing to be taken alive, and who will do anything to prevent it.

Yes the Uniformed Soldiers did rush to surrender to us, knowing full well they have done nothing illegal but fight for their country. Soldiers aren’t terrorist and aren’t allowed to be touched. You capture anyone who has sawed people’s heads off, they deserve nothing more then beatings a firing squad.
I would like to add we transferred a number of terrorists to the Kurds in northern Iraq, allowing the Kurds to torture and execute them. I said before, *we* don’t have to partake, our allies in the region are more than willing.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 01:22 PM from United States

Is it not plausible that the people of these nations we have intervened in have grown tired of our ever-present empire and imperialistic tendencies?

It certainly is plausible, however our foreign policy actions do little to excuse their crimes. We need not alter foreign policy iniatives because radical terrorist groups attempt to slaughter our civilians. I would further like to add that muslim hate groups appear in western nations regardless of foreign policy. Examine the radical muslims present in the netherlands who assassinated Theo Van Gogh. If you really don’t want any harm coming to those who would saw peoples innocent peoples heads off thats your own issue.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 01:35 PM from Australia

If you really don’t want any harm coming to those who would saw peoples innocent peoples heads off thats your own issue.

If you’re torturing someone after you know they’re guilty, then that’s barbaric. Western civilisation is supposed to have progressed beyond that. It even says it in the US Constitution - no cruel and unusual punishments. Note that I’m not talking about legality here, but about principle.

If you’re torturing somene before you know they’re guilty, then how do you know you’re torturing the right person? What do you do if you’ve tortured someone who is entirely innocent, but just happens to be the same religion or ethnicity as the actual head-sawer?

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/30/09 at 01:40 PM from United States

Yes the Uniformed Soldiers did rush to surrender to us, knowing full well they have done nothing illegal but fight for their country

Plenty of the terrorists do, too. That’s how they get “captured”.

You capture anyone who has sawed people’s heads off, they deserve nothing more then beatings a firing squad.

Agreed.

How many heads have been sawn off, roughly?

How many terrorists were held at Guantanamo?

How many of those terrorists had actually sawn anyone’s head off?

Are you aware of any terrorist who was tortured as punishment for sawing someone’s head off?

Exactly what proximity should a terrorist have to a head-sawing incident before they’re eligible for a cruel execution? Is it sufficient to have seen one happen? Is it sufficient to have known one was going to happen? What if you learned about it after the fact, but didn’t turn the perpetrator over to the Americans?

How would you even know who is who, if you aren’t giving them a fair trial and are only extracting confessions under extreme duress?

Examine the radical muslims present in the netherlands who assassinated Theo Van Gogh.

...and many of the hate groups present in the West are composed of citizens or are otherwise lawful residents. Are you suggesting that we should deny trials to and engage in the torture of Americans who happen to be Muslim simply because we’re *really* repulsed by their crimes? Should Timothy McVeigh have been tortured to death? What about serial killers? If serial killers, why not rapists and pedophiles? If them, why not, say, muggers? Where are you drawing the line between people who have human rights and people who don’t?

We need not alter foreign policy iniatives because radical terrorist groups attempt to slaughter our civilians.

You’re absolutely right.

We should not abandon any of our fundamental principles and stoop to the level of our enemies simply because they’re unconscionably vile scum.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 01:54 PM from United States

Tool,

Not once did I say I could ever or would ever condone the slaughter of innocents.  In fact I said the exact opposite.  I guess perhaps you missed that part? 

Ok so here is a short list of our benevolent foreign policy initiatives:

1. Regime change in Iran 1952...resulted in a highly oppressive regime that our CIA and government backed until the people overthrew it in 1979.  This regime tortured, raped and spied on its citizens and generally made life horrible for the Iranians.

2. Guatemala...regime change.  End result?  Civil War that took the lives of millions.

3. Backing both sides of the Iraq and Iran War during the 1980’s.  End result?  One of the bloodiest wars ever fought.  Probably millions dead.

4. We constantly back Israel which is a fascist nation.  The IDF has probably killed hundreds of thousands of innocents over the decades.  Look at the most recent Gaza military operation.  It is unequivocally proven that innocent people were targeted.  Not to mention the blockade that prevents the people of Gaza from receiving clean water, food, medical supplies and generally a decent quality of life. 

If you were a father of 2 with a wife and your childrem were slowly dying of malnutrition while your wife was unable to receive basic medical care and thus could die from a minor illness or disease, wouldn’t you be pretty angry?  Would you not consider acting on that anger and disdain?  I don’t know maybe you wouldn’t.

As for your example of Theo Van Gogh’s untimely demise…

Well, do you actually believe this world will ever be truly rid of violence and hate?  Also, murders happen all the time.  Does that mean we need to take extraordinary actions to attempt and prevent them—when those actions will infringe upon the rights of others? 

“Any man willing to sacrifice liberty for security will receive neither.”

A great quote.

In any case, you cannot deny that US foreign policy and interrogation techniques have resulted in both millions of unnecessary deaths (not interrogation so much here) and high levels of animosity around the world.  And yes, if US foreign policy directly infringes upon the person, property, or life of another human begin ten it should be condemned.

Crime happens.  While sad and unfortunate, it is inevitable.  Thus, allow the populace to secure itself freely and avoid prevention because prevention leads to infringements upon basic rights and is not even that successful anyway.

Posted by JimK on 04/30/09 at 02:37 PM from United States

which is a fascist nation

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” /princessbride

I’d love to abolish the use of the word “fascist” from any and all political discussions online.  No one seems to *ever* use it to mean anything other than “someone I don’t like who does stuff I don’t like as a government.”

‘kay, nitpick over. Everyone feel free to continue beating this dead horse. Maybe if we hit it enough, it’ll come back to life.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 02:40 PM from United States

God, I hope not.  I’m covered in it’s blood.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/30/09 at 02:46 PM from United States

Maybe if we hit it enough, it’ll come back to life.

”I feel happy! I feel happy!”
Posted by on 04/30/09 at 03:05 PM from United States

and high levels of animosity around the world.

People will always hate us even if we let foreigners fuck our women and take all of our shit. When you are the big boy on the block, you’re going to have enemies.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 03:20 PM from United States

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Jim,

I love you, but no.  I do know full and well what “fascist” or “fascism” both mean.  Now, I will give you the fact that historians and political scientists do disagree on the true definition.  However, if you use the definition provided by Mussolini in 1932, well, there are many parallels that you may not know exist.  Fascism doesn’t necessarily need to include mass genocide or starting world wars.  No, it must have several components such as private enterprise that is ultimately controlled by the acting political regime.  Also, certain civil rights must be maintained, but only those the ruling elite deem necessary.  All others are done away with.  Etcetera.

Regardless, Israel, is essentially fascist.  If anyone would like me to really go deeper into this claim, I can, just ask.

But first, I would ask people to read Mussolini’s explanation of what fascism is/was.

I digress.

Jim, you’re still the man.  JUst thought I would defend myself…

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 07:37 PM from United States

We constantly back Israel which is a fascist nation.  The IDF has probably killed hundreds of thousands of innocents over the decades.  Look at the most recent Gaza military operation.  It is unequivocally proven that innocent people were targeted.  Not to mention the blockade that prevents the people of Gaza from receiving clean water, food, medical supplies and generally a decent quality of life.

Nope, sorry you just lost any and all respectability in my book. You are right, Israel which is after all the only country in the middle east allowing arabs to participate in a true democracy...except...wait Iraq. Thats fascism?
For every sob story you mention about palestinians I have a story of some dead Israeli schoolchild killed by landmines/rockets/suicide bombers to cry over. Here are some other fun facts about your foreign policy misconceptions.

1. Regime change in Iran 1952...resulted in a highly oppressive regime that our CIA and government backed until the people overthrew it in 1979.  This regime tortured, raped and spied on its citizens and generally made life horrible for the Iranians.

Interesting, a autocratic royalty was deposed and replaced by another one, how horrific of us. Only then to be deposed by another autocratic regime which spies, murders and tortures thousands of its own citizens.

2. Guatemala...regime change.  End result?  Civil War that took the lives of millions.

I haven’t seen any Guatemalans ram suicide ships into our destroyers or fly airplanes into buildings. We’ve intervened countless times in South America since the 1800’s.

As for your example of Theo Van Gogh’s untimely demise…

Well, do you actually believe this world will ever be truly rid of violence and hate?  Also, murders happen all the time.  Does that mean we need to take extraordinary actions to attempt and prevent them—when those actions will infringe upon the rights of others? 

That wasn’t a murder, it was a premeditated assassination perpetrated by a bunch of rabid islamists.

3. Backing both sides of the Iraq and Iran War during the 1980’s.  End result?  One of the bloodiest wars ever fought.  Probably millions dead.

How interesting, we backed Iraq which started the war for its own territorial ambition as a counterweight to Iran. Simply horrific that we exacted revenge on a country that had stormed our embassy and roundly humiliated our nation. The only reason we ever gave any arms to Iran is to free hostages they had control over.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 07:51 PM from United States

You capture anyone who has sawed people’s heads off, they deserve nothing more then beatings a firing squad.

Agreed.

How many heads have been sawn off, roughly?

How many terrorists were held at Guantanamo?

How many of those terrorists had actually sawn anyone’s head off?

Are you aware of any terrorist who was tortured as punishment for sawing someone’s head off?

Yes, I am, Khalid Sheik Mohammed claimed he was the cowardly fuck who sawed Daniel Pearl’s head off.
http://tinyurl.com/c4rpnc
And yes the fuckhead was tortured repeatedly as he deserved for thinking he was brave. Only thing now lacking is KSM’s firing squad.

...and many of the hate groups present in the West are composed of citizens or are otherwise lawful residents. Are you suggesting that we should deny trials to and engage in the torture of Americans who happen to be Muslim simply because we’re *really* repulsed by their crimes? Should Timothy McVeigh have been tortured to death? What about serial killers? If serial killers, why not rapists and pedophiles? If them, why not, say, muggers? Where are you drawing the line between people who have human rights and people who don’t?

Let me be absolutely clear, the only terrorists which should be beaten/executed are ones that A) aren’t u.s. nationals or citizens, and B) are captured in combat posing as civilians. I’d make an exception for KSM considering he gleefully admitted to sawing Daniel Pearls head off on camera. That is where you draw the line Aaron.

As to this condescending question of yours

How many heads have been sawn off, roughly?

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/
you should read the
the catalog of decapitations should answer that.

How would you even know who is who, if you aren’t giving them a fair trial and are only extracting confessions under extreme duress?

This is very simple really, if you are posing as a civilian in a combat zone and captured. It isn’t terribly difficult to make that distinction, you can ask anyone who has served in Iraq. I’d also like to add, I would like to avoid our soldiers/cia torturing people when we have very capable allies for such things.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/30/09 at 07:53 PM from United States

We constantly back Israel which is a fascist nation.

Respectfully, Seth, this stuff is why I can’t get on board with the Paulestinians or the “L"-ibertarians.

National Interests Abroad != Imperialism.
Disproportionate Responses != Fascism.

If we’re going to go with the economic argument, Israel’s certainly hardly more fascistic than a lot of our European allies.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/30/09 at 08:32 PM from United States

Let me be absolutely clear, the only terrorists which should be beaten/executed are ones that A) aren’t u.s. nationals or citizens, and B) are captured in combat posing as civilians. I’d make an exception for KSM considering he gleefully admitted to sawing Daniel Pearls head off on camera. That is where you draw the line Aaron.

OK, let’s start from here. This is a very clear and objective boundary, and I appreciate that you’re willing to answer.

As to this condescending question of yours…

By no means was that question meant to be condescending. The purpose of those questions was to establish that the use of waterboarding and other practices widely accepted for generations as torture has absolutely nothing to do with punishing people for sawing off heads. The purpose is to extract information from people who have not been proven guilty of any crime.

This is very simple really, if you are posing as a civilian in a combat zone and captured.

Of the 750-odd detainees that were brought to Guantanamo Bay, far more than half were released without charge. Of those, most were not terrorists posing as civilians, they were *actually civilians*, who had been picked up on suspicion or on the mere accusation of local rivals.

In any case, we’ve come a long way back from your original standard of “sawing people’s heads off”. Based on what you’ve said so far, if we were to apply your standard, we’d have tortured and murdered hundreds of innocent people at Guantanamo Bay.

Then there are the rather obvious intermediate cases, like Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur. Should he be tortured and executed? Obviously, he’s part of the organization that enables the terrorist attacks, but he’s *actually a civilian*.

I’d make an exception for KSM considering he gleefully admitted to sawing Daniel Pearls head off on camera.

After being waterboarded, what was it, 183 times, and the Pakistanis reportedly starving his small children? (Is it true? Hell, I don’t know. The federal government lied to us about everything else we were doing with these guys.)

Another terrorist who was accused of beheading Pearl had brought his name up as the “real killer” in the past, so it’s just as likely that they asked him about him and he said what he thought they wanted to hear to make the drowning stop.

Even the CIA agrees that much of what he said was nonsense, and it’s certainly not comforting that his “confession” hearing had to be held without any journalists being permitted. Among his other “confessions”:

A plot to assassinate Jimmy Carter.
A plot to blow up the Panama Canal.
A plot to truck bomb the Sears Tower.
A plot to destroy Heathrow Airport, Big Ben, and Canary Wharf.
A plot to attack an Israeli airliner in Bangkok.
A plot to attack NATO Headquarters.
A plot to kill John Paul II.
Responsibility for the Bali bombing.
Responsibility for the first WTC attack.
Responsibility for the killing of a Marine in Kuwait.
Responsibility for 9/11, “from A to Z”.

Apparently, that fat Ron-Jeremy-lookalike bastard was actually some kind of super ninja terrorist, but because he was being waterboarded when he said all this and probably expected he would be again if he didn’t play along, all the things we actually know he did do are poisoned by duress.

I’m all in favor of shooting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed right in the forehead, hanging him, putting him in an electric chair, a guillotine, whatever, and ending his pathetic life for the things we know he did do. Our handling of his interrogation, however, served no purpose but to validate the propaganda of our enemies and endanger our own liberties should our government one day decide that we are “terrorists”.

I’d also like to add, I would like to avoid our soldiers/cia torturing people when we have very capable allies for such things.

How is this morally different from you being unwilling to murder your nagging wife, so you ask your friend do it for you?

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 09:13 PM from United States

After being waterboarded, what was it, 183 times, and the Pakistanis reportedly starving his small children? (Is it true? Hell, I don’t know. The federal government lied to us about everything else we were doing with these guys.)

Be still my beating heart, as I cry tears of sympathy for an avowed islamic terrorist.

I’d also like to add, I would like to avoid our soldiers/cia torturing people when we have very capable allies for such things.

How is this morally different from you being unwilling to murder your nagging wife, so you ask your friend do it for you?

This is the logic the site has been using for the past 4 years. THIS IS AMERICA...WE DON’T TORTURE AND NEVER HAVE. Conveniently ignoring our support of the Shah and South Vietnam (both of whom tortured quite extensively). No need for analogies about wives, we’ve propped up governments that torture while being a “beacon of freedom” in the past (whatever the hell that means). So we can continue by allowing our allies to do what our interrogators can’t.

Posted by on 05/01/09 at 11:06 AM from United States

Nope, sorry you just lost any and all respectability in my book. You are right, Israel which is after all the only country in the middle east allowing arabs to participate in a true democracy...except...wait Iraq. Thats fascism?
For every sob story you mention about palestinians I have a story of some dead Israeli schoolchild killed by landmines/rockets/suicide bombers to cry over. Here are some other fun facts about your foreign policy misconceptions.

Oh man, you are so off base here you are actually denying historical truths.  Zionism, which still defines Israeli politics IS a fascist political movement. 

Some helpful information…

In 1948, the year Israel’s right to exist was granted and Palestine’s annulled, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and other leading Jews in the United States warned the administration not to get involved with fascists like Menachem Begin who described the Palestinians in the way the Nazis used untermenschen – as “animals on two legs.” He became prime minister of Israel. This fascism, which was not often flouted openly, was the harbinger of Likud and Kadima. These are today “mainstream” political parties, whose influence, in the treatment of the Palestinians, covers a national “consensus” that is the source of the terror in Palestine: the brutal dispossessions and perfidious controls, the humiliation and cruelty by statute. The mirror of this is domestic violence at home. Conscripted soldiers return from their “war” on Palestinian women and children and make war on their own. Young whites drafted into South Africa’s apartheid army did the same. Inhumanity on such a scale cannot be buried indefinitely. When Desmond Tutu described his experience in Palestine and Israel as “worse than apartheid,” he pointed out that not even in white supremacist South Africa were there the equivalent of “Jews only” roads.

Also it is important to note that what allowed the hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants entering modern day Israel at the turn of the 20th century to obtain the land they now have was zionist “terrorist” groups.  These groups terrorized the Palestinians to the point where much of the Muslim population fled in fear.

The modern state of Israel has always been and still is defined by the very basic definitions of fascism.  The IDF is deplorable.  And those horrible terrorist attacks that claim the lives of Jewish children?  Way overblown.  You can thank the statist media for that one.

Since 2000, there is at least a 6 to 1 ratio of Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths.  This ratio does not include recent military campaigns such as Gaza.

The fact of this matter is, while I will never condone senseless violence in any form and from any source, Israel is a nation built upon fascism and stolen land.  Israel has and does deliberately target civilians.  It should be noted Israel supported Hamas as a means to oust another Palestinian democratically-elected regime.  Israel spends on military products, just about 100% of it’s annualized GDP.  I’m sorry but the facts are clear: Israel is a fascist nation and is highly brutal and violent.

As for Aaron, with all due respect, if you cannot consider Israel a fascist nation, then you are denying truth. 

Here is how Columbia University Professor Robert Paxton defines fascism:

“‘emotional lava’ as: 1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions; 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign ‘contamination.’”

Now, if you combine this simple definition with Mussolini’s definition from 1932, what you come to is a robust definition that would easily and applicably cover the United States and Israel.

I agree that the act of referencing someone or a specific nation as “fascist” has been an utterly immature argument over the years, as people wanting to direct negative connotations—but with no substantial argument—have used this ploy many times; however, as you should be able to clearly see, I have done no such thing.  I have provided factual and historical data.

Interesting, a autocratic royalty was deposed and replaced by another one, how horrific of us. Only then to be deposed by another autocratic regime which spies, murders and tortures thousands of its own citizens.

This is no point at all.  My point—which you are completely unable to refute—is that US foreign policy has infringed upon the basic human rights of millions to the degree that millions of lives have been completely eradicated because of it.  Also countless more lives have been unnecessarily poorer.  What you say here does not matter and has nothing to do with what and why the US does what it does abroad.  Why did the US remove the democratically-elected prime minister in Iran in 1952?  Simple, because this elected official was not going to permit the US and British petroleum companies to continue and quite literally steal oil from Iran and its citizens.  Also, due to the statist Cold War, the US wanted to further protect its oil interests from the Soviets.  Also, geopolitical spheres of influence.  Nonetheless all of these things represent one thing: mercantilism, which corresponds directly with fascism and imperialism.

As for Guatemala, the US led a coup in the 50’s in this nation because—as the CIA stated in an official memo—Guatemala was “adverse to US interests.” Ah, US interests.  What were those interest exactly?  Guatemala shaped its government around the one of FDR and Herbert Hoover, and supported Jose Figueres—he seemed to be friendly with regard to the Soviets despite this man openly praising the US in many instances.  Nevertheless, the US propagandized the entire situation, as is always normal, and created a case to overthrow the social democratic movement.  They did, and Guatemala has remained a slaughterhouse since.  But hey...the US got what it wanted...right?  Yes, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of lives.

The Iraq and Iran War?  You are correct, in that the Iran Contra Affair was the US exchanging munitions for hostages, but we also exchanged other munitions.  Why?  As stated by Ed Juchniewicz, who was an operations division head in the CIA, the US just wanted Iran and Iraq to kill each other.  Thus, both regimes would be incredibly weak and far more susceptible to US influence.

Tool,

Look, you come off as making strong arguments but honestly, you completely ignore historical facts.  US foreign policy has caused exponentially more conflicts than it has solved.  We have killed many and supported the killing of many.  We are an empire and have been for decades.  You simply cannot deny such a claim. 

If you enjoy living under a government that kills innocents directly and indirectly all the while torturing men who have yet to be found guilty of any crime, and of course, supporting the military industrial complex with stolen taxpayer funds...then go right ahead.  I, however, will fight such a government every chance I can.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 05/01/09 at 11:10 AM from United States

Be still my beating heart, as I cry tears of sympathy for an avowed islamic terrorist.

You’re missing the point, again. It has nothing to do with whether it was right or wrong, it has to do with the fact that you’d confess to beheading Pearl, too, if you’d been waterboarded 183 times in a month and thought your children were in danger.

This is the logic the site has been using for the past 4 years. THIS IS AMERICA...WE DON’T TORTURE AND NEVER HAVE.

I didn’t say that. I asked you how it’s morally different. Noting that it’s been done before does not answer the question.

Posted by on 05/01/09 at 01:08 PM from United States

Tool,

Look, you come off as making strong arguments but honestly, you completely ignore historical facts.  US foreign policy has caused exponentially more conflicts than it has solved.  We have killed many and supported the killing of many.  We are an empire and have been for decades.  You simply cannot deny such a claim.

If you enjoy living under a government that kills innocents directly and indirectly all the while torturing men who have yet to be found guilty of any crime, and of course, supporting the military industrial complex with stolen taxpayer funds...then go right ahead.  I, however, will fight such a government every chance I can.

Yes, I do enjoy living under my expansionist government, absolutely. We’ve been imperialistic since our nations inception, Mexican American War, Indian Wars, Spanish American War, War of 1812, all had some form of territorial ambition involved.

The modern state of Israel has always been and still is defined by the very basic definitions of fascism.  The IDF is deplorable.  And those horrible terrorist attacks that claim the lives of Jewish children?  Way overblown.  You can thank the statist media for that one.

Ok i’ll tell that to the families I know who’ve seen relatives turned into pulp by suicide bombers you fuck. Statist? What kind of regurgitated propaganda are blathering about honestly. You think blowing up a cafe full of people, then blowing up the ems services is overblown.

You still ignore my point that Israeli allows palestinians to vote in their elections (i.e. a functioning democracy, one of only 2 in the middle east). How does that constitute Fascism how?
we were attacked twice by muslims in our country, our response was to invade 2 other nations and kill what 60-80 thousand people.
Israel has been innundated with suicide bombers, rockets, and outright invasion since its inception. Yet they are fascist. Not their neighbors like Syria right?
Its laughable how you deride any sort American imperialism when every country looks out for its own interest. Thats called foreign policy seth, Russia, China, Britain, India, Israel, Iran, Argentina, France, every other country in the world attempts to better its self at the expense of others. Crying about our foreign policy does nothing to change how the world of diplomatic affairs works.

You can insult and level accusations at America for its actions over seas ad nasuem. I am proud of what our country has acheived and the world powerful position it has attained. You “proper libertarian view” of America completely forgoes the fact that our country was founded on exploitation of natives and ruthless territorial expansion at the expense of other nations.

Posted by on 05/01/09 at 01:13 PM from United States

Israel spends on military products, just about 100% of it’s annualized GDP.  I’m sorry but the facts are clear: Israel is a fascist nation and is highly brutal and violent.

Wow, a completely baseless and outright lie about Israeli’s military spending. This shows me that you have an irrational hatred for Israel considering its spends roughly 9-10 % of its GDP on its armed forces not 100 % but keep making up statistics, it really lends credence to your bizarre claims.

What else, oh wait I am waiting for your proud claim that Israel is involved in ethnic cleansing. Come on Seth, show everyone the CAIR talking points I know you have ready for me.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 05/01/09 at 01:19 PM from United States

Israel spends on military products, just about 100% of it’s annualized GDP.

Whoa, I missed that the first time I read it.

Jeez, Seth.

Posted by Sean Galbraith on 05/01/09 at 01:42 PM from Canada

Back (sorta) to the topic at hand. The interrogation program that included waterboarding (i.e. torture), was allegedly designed by psychologists who were overseeing it.

And the names of the architects have come to light.

If true, I think these guys have some explaining to do. It is bad enough if they supervised the torturing of prisoners… but if they actually designed the program themselves? Not good.

Posted by Sean Galbraith on 05/01/09 at 01:43 PM from Canada

And as a bonus…

The new documents show the CIA later came to learn that the two psychologists’ waterboarding “expertise” was probably “misrepresented” and thus, there was no reason to believe it was “medically safe” or effective. The waterboarding used on al Qaeda detainees was far more intense than the brief sessions used on U.S. military personnel in the training classes.

All this for only $1000 a day.

Posted by on 05/01/09 at 03:46 PM from United States

Yes, I do enjoy living under my expansionist government, absolutely. We’ve been imperialistic since our nations inception, Mexican American War, Indian Wars, Spanish American War, War of 1812, all had some form of territorial ambition involved.

And I rightfully condemn each and every one of those wars too.

Ok i’ll tell that to the families I know who’ve seen relatives turned into pulp by suicide bombers you fuck. Statist? What kind of regurgitated propaganda are blathering about honestly. You think blowing up a cafe full of people, then blowing up the ems services is overblown.

Take it up with the fascist government and subsequently the IDF.  They exacerbate the conflict, just as they instigated the Gaza rocket fire that killed...oh...I don’t know...thirteen Israelis.  And what was the response to this instigated rocket fire?  The death of AT LEAST 1300 Palestinians.  You’re the one that is losing control here.  Calling me a “fuck”?  Wow.  Nicely done.

And I made a mistake with that statistic.  I am trying to comment at work and keep losing focus.  Nor did I have a chance to proofread anything that I wrote.  What I was trying to say was Israel spends roughly 10% of it’s annualized GDP on military products and the like, while the government itself spends 104% of GDP.  Israel is heavily indebted.  Even the IMF has urged Israel to decrease spending substantially.  Also it should be noted that when one calculates GDP, every dime a government spends is added in with consumer spending, balance of trade, and investment.  Thus you have four components added together to create the GDP figure.  However the important thing to take away here is that Israel is heavily in debt, and the military spending is a large chunk of it.  I must also note that all governments fabricate their economic statistics greatly, and of course, GDP is one of those fabricated statistics.  My mistake though—been ridiculously busy here today.

As for the elections you speak of, I assume you are referencing the Palestinian elections that Israel assisted with?  So elections somehow discount fascism?  Assisting in elections whose results Israel is HIGHLY interested in is somehow some saving grace that completely washes away the blood stains of heinous actions for decades?  I can see why you would make this point.  Ideally, according to Mussolini, a compeltely fascist nation would probably not have elections very often, if at all.  One of the tasks of fascism is to discount the majority—hence the basic concept of democracy.  However, this is only one concept of fascism.  Israel, as well as many other nations, easily meet other criteria.  Therefore, because these nations meet several other criteria, it can be concluded that they are generally fascist.  Also, any nation containing even one element of fascism, is thereby deplorable.  Now that’s my opinion.  You can surely disagree.  But fascism (at the very least elements of), in and of itself, is found in Israel, the US...and many other nations.

Also, Israel financially supported Hamas for several years to provide a counterbalance to the PLO.  This support is documented by US intelligence officials.

The biggest fallacy in your debate, Tool, however, is that you are happy to live under an expansionistic regime that kills innocents; however, when the PLO or Hamas or whatever organization kills innocents it is somehow deplorable.  This how governments work.  When governments kill, it is permissible, but when individuals kill, it is impermissible.  This entire phenomenon is fallacious.  Killing is killing. 

All in all government is anywhere and everywhere the problem.  Government fails miserably in everything that it does.  Society does not government, government needs society.

Posted by on 05/01/09 at 04:04 PM from United States

As for the elections you speak of, I assume you are referencing the Palestinian elections that Israel assisted with?  So elections somehow discount fascism?  Assisting in elections whose results Israel is HIGHLY interested in is somehow some saving grace that completely washes away the blood stains of heinous actions for decades?  I can see why you would make this point.  Ideally, according to Mussolini, a compeltely fascist nation would probably not have elections very often, if at all.  One of the tasks of fascism is to discount the majority—hence the basic concept of democracy.  However, this is only one concept of fascism.  Israel, as well as many other nations, easily meet other criteria.  Therefore, because these nations meet several other criteria, it can be concluded that they are generally fascist.  Also, any nation containing even one element of fascism, is thereby deplorable.  Now that’s my opinion.  You can surely disagree.  But fascism (at the very least elements of), in and of itself, is found in Israel, the US...and many other nations.

No you dolt, the Israeli elections, which the arabs in Israeli participate in as full citizens. I know its a hard concept to get through your brainwashed anti Israel head, but arabs in Israel are treated as citizens and particpate in their electoral process. Are there any other true democracies in the Middle East in which arabs can participate (excluding iraq which we installed)?

Yes, I do enjoy living under my expansionist government, absolutely. We’ve been imperialistic since our nations inception, Mexican American War, Indian Wars, Spanish American War, War of 1812, all had some form of territorial ambition involved.

And I rightfully condemn each and every one of those wars too.

Great, I am happy to see you’d prefer America as a small slice of the east coast with vastly more powerful neighbors. You know where that would get us? Regional power struggles ending in warfare, the reason we have been peaceful with Mexico and Canada is because of their comparative weakness in terms of population and size. 

You can surely disagree.  But fascism (at the very least elements of), in and of itself, is found in Israel, the US...and many other nations.

Glad you came out of your shell and finally admitted you think America is fascist. That speaks volumes about your character.

The biggest fallacy in your debate, Tool, however, is that you are happy to live under an expansionistic regime that kills innocents; however, when the PLO or Hamas or whatever organization kills innocents it is somehow deplorable.  This how governments work.  When governments kill, it is permissible, but when individuals kill, it is impermissible.  This entire phenomenon is fallacious.  Killing is killing.

No, I am happy to live under a nation that is powerful and stable. I am also happy that my country exhibits a very strong foreign policy posture.  The wars and corrupt regimes we supported were at times very regrettable. However taking the example of South Korea. We certainly supported military dictatorship in that land, but what would have occured if we allowed it to fall communist? The whole peninsula would be stripping trees of bark and starving to death. Our country does not seek to annihilate and destroy other nations, America is perfectly content with its own territory.

Hamas, Al-Queda, Answar al-Islam, and other radical islamists seek to wipe out western civilization. If you cannot draw the distinction between terrorist seeking crush another civilization and America then you really are lost.

All in all government is anywhere and everywhere the problem.  Government fails miserably in everything that it does.  Society does not government, government needs society.

Of course everybody at this site would love to see an extremely small government. This talking point of yours sounds more like anarchism then anything else however.

Posted by on 05/01/09 at 06:26 PM from United States

Glad you came out of your shell and finally admitted you think America is fascist. That speaks volumes about your character.

How does this speak volumes about someone’s character? It’s a simple opinion, which for some reason seems to be offending you a little too much. There is credibility in such a claim - America does have certain fascist characteristics. For example, one characteristic of fascism is the government ownership of private enterprise. GM is now going to be run(at least partly) by the government. Another characteristic is disdain for the recognition of human rights - people under fascist regimes can be persuaded that human rights can be ignored as a matter of “security”. Things such as torture, execution, and extended incarceration are permitted - isn’t this what this thread is about? According to Mussolini this was a characteristic of fascism. Have we not seen some of this in our expansionist foreign policy?(which, oh by the way - is another characteristic of fascism). I cannot say that America is a full blown out fascist nation, but you cannot deny that America does have certain fascist characteristics.

Oh, and another one for good measure: Identification of an enemy as a unifying cause. Under fascist regimes, people can be rallied into a patriotic frenzy to eliminate the perceived common threat; whether that be a country, religion, or idea(ex: terrorism)

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 05/01/09 at 10:46 PM from United States

I am happy to see you’d prefer America as a small slice of the east coast with vastly more powerful neighbors. You know where that would get us? Regional power struggles ending in warfare, the reason we have been peaceful with Mexico and Canada is because of their comparative weakness in terms of population and size.

Uh…

#1) If we had vastly more powerful neighbors, we’d be in a constant state of war with them.

#2) The reason we aren’t at war with our neighbors is because we’re vastly more powerful than they are.

Error.

Posted by HARLEY on 05/02/09 at 07:00 AM from United States

Oh, and another one for good measure: Identification of an enemy as a unifying cause. Under fascist regimes, people can be rallied into a patriotic frenzy to eliminate the perceived common threat; whether that be a country, religion, or idea(ex: terrorism)

capitalism, free market, gun rights, free speach.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 05/02/09 at 08:40 AM from United States

Identification of an enemy as a unifying cause. Under fascist regimes, people can be rallied into a patriotic frenzy to eliminate the perceived common threat; whether that be a country, religion, or idea(ex: terrorism)

So, basically, every government that’s ever gone to war has been fascist?

This sounds like a bunch of leftist academics complaining about the real world rather than any meaningful attempt to identify fascist regimes.

Posted by on 05/02/09 at 11:04 AM from United States

Uh…

#1) If we had vastly more powerful neighbors, we’d be in a constant state of war with them.

#2) The reason we aren’t at war with our neighbors is because we’re vastly more powerful than they are.

Error.

What I should have said, is that if we were equal in size to our neighbors, its probably regional warfare would have erupted. Which is why Europe hosted so many wars for so long, no one system of alliances ever managed to gain enough power to overwhelm counterbalancing forces.

If we remained a tiny slice of coastline on the Atlantic, with larger neighbors we would have remained a small country with little room for any population growth. Threatened by powerful neighbors.

Posted by on 05/02/09 at 11:09 AM from United States

Glad you came out of your shell and finally admitted you think America is fascist. That speaks volumes about your character.

How does this speak volumes about someone’s character? It’s a simple opinion, which for some reason seems to be offending you a little too much. There is credibility in such a claim - America does have certain fascist characteristics.

It speaks volumes about someones character, because it shows they lack any sort of rationality. If America qualifies as an example of fascism, you could claim almost any country in the world has been fascist at some point. You can perceive the world as such, but it ignores the basic criteria of fascism.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 05/02/09 at 11:29 AM from United States

Well, while I disagree with this...

If we remained a tiny slice of coastline on the Atlantic, with larger neighbors we would have remained a small country with little room for any population growth.

...it does make more sense that way.

As for that particular contention, lots of countries have much, much, much denser populations, including England. Japan shoehorns about half of our population into a space the size of California and has the world’s second largest economy.

Posted by on 05/02/09 at 04:46 PM from United States

Japan shoehorns about half of our population into a space the size of California and has the world’s second largest economy.

This is true, but it is precisely that reason that heavily urbanized countries such as Japan, Germany, England felt the need for imperial expansion. Australia and Canada served to soak up excess population in overcrowded 19th century Britain. As for Japan and Germany, each nation attempted to violently increase their borders and as a consequence are limited to their present territory.

Posted by on 05/02/09 at 06:37 PM from United States

It speaks volumes about someones character, because it shows they lack any sort of rationality. If America qualifies as an example of fascism, you could claim almost any country in the world has been fascist at some point. You can perceive the world as such, but it ignores the basic criteria of fascism.

Lack of rationality? Using writings of Mussolini, who laid down the basic criteria for what fascism was, and presenting some of these characteristics that America has in common seems very rational to me. Ultimately many countries contain fascist characteristics; this does not make them a fascist state. You cannot deny however that these characteristics exist. Nowhere did I say America was an example of fascism, in fact I said the opposite. I just recognize that there are fascist ideals within our government on various levels. I see this as a negative thing, you seem to accept it willingly/ignore it entirely.

Posted by JimK on 05/02/09 at 06:58 PM from United States

Using writings of Mussolini, who laid down the basic criteria for what fascism was

No. He wrote about HIS interpretation of ONE form of fascism. The system/concept predated his “work” (so to speak).

A person demonstrates a certain level of ignorance when they claim Mussolini is the be all and end all of defining fascism.

One more point: Fascism - regardless of flavor - draws from many other forms of government.  Just because some form of government has similarities to those also found in fascism does not make that form fascist; in fact it may be precisely the opposite: fascism did the borrowing.

Just something to keep in mind.

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