April 30th, 2009

Obama and Churchill and torture: let’s use a little logic

Several have pointed out that Obama’s use in last night’s press conference of an anti-torture quote by Winston Churchill is highly suspect, in that there’s a great deal of evidence that the British did exactly that—used torture—during World War II. Not to mention the fact that Churchill was a great one for “reciprocity”—for example, bombing German civilians because the Germans had done the same to the British.

No doubt Obama will call for an investigation, ex-post facto.

But I’m more interested in finding the source of the Churchill quote. I wonder what was the exact context, and what Churchill’s definition of “torture” might have been, because there is little doubt in my mind that waterboarding would not have fallen under it, any more than it did for the Bush administration. Come to think of it, Bush himself would have been quite confident he was telling the truth if he’d made the same assertion: “We don’t torture.”

Here’s Obama’s full statement on the subject:

I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, “We don’t torture,” when the entire British — all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat.

And then the reason was that Churchill understood — you start taking shortcuts, over time, that corrodes what’s — what’s best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.

I’ve done quite a bit of Googling to find what article it might have been that Obama was reading “the other day” about this, and could find nothing. Obama himself was not helpful enough to say who might have written it or where it appeared. I could find no independent source for the Churchill quote, and no description of who these “200 detainees” might have been.

But I very much doubt that those detainees were illegal enemy combatants and/or terrorists such as the waterboarded Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who were rightly suspected to hold information about future peacetime attacks on innocent civilians. And although in Churchill’s time London was indeed being bombed pretty much round the clock, it’s not as though the 200 detainees would have held information that could have prevented future bombings.

So what would the point of torture have been in such cases, anyway? And I highly suspect that when he said “We don’t torture,” Churchill had in mind some of the more classic and extreme examples of the genre.

Remember, the “torture memos” themselves allowed nothing worse than waterboarding, and even that was permitted only in very limited situations. This is the relevant passage:

The ‘waterboard,’ which is the most intense of the CIA interrogation techniques, is subject to additional limits,” explained the May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo. “It may be used on a High Value Detainee only if the CIA has ‘credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminent’; ‘substantial and credible indicators that the subject has actionable intelligence that can prevent, disrupt or deny this attack’; and ‘[o]ther interrogation methods have failed to elicit this information within the perceived time limit for preventing the attack.’”

Unless Churchill was speaking of waterboarding (highly unlikely), and unless at least one of the 200 detainees in question fit the criteria above (highly unlikely as well), whatever Churchill said about torture is irrelevant to the present situation.

And Obama should (and perhaps does) know that. But, like Humpty Dumpty, that doesn’t stop him from using the Churchill quote however he sees fit.

65 Responses to “Obama and Churchill and torture: let’s use a little logic”

  1. John Lofton, Recovering Republican Says:

    Oh, and don’t forget Churchill’s note to General Ismay re: dropping poison gas on German cities (and ridiculing as “Psalm singers” those Christians who might object); he also wanted to do something with anthrax, too, I believe. In principle, Churchill and America were no different from the Nazis re: the murder of civilians. See, please, among other books, Ronald Schaffer’s “Wings Of Judgment: American Bombing In World War II” (Oxford, 1985). And of course there is America’s allowing more than 50 million abortions, the murder of innocent human beings in the womb* – 50 million being the approximate number of all those killed, on both sides, in World War II – 50 million being three times the population of Iraq whose dictator we said was the focus of all evil in the world because he killed an estimated one million people. We have shed a lot of innocent blood – which God says in His Word He hates. We are morally qualified to judge NOBODY!

    John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com
    Recovering Republican
    JLof@aol.com

    * There’s more than a 9/11 in the womb, every day in America, round the clock, 24/7.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    John Lofton: I was expecting the sort of response you have given, which goes something like this: “Churchill was no worse than a torturing Nazi.” And here you are, right on schedule.

    I don’t have the time right now to engage in discussions of the differences between defensive bombings and offensive ones, or whether Allied targets such as Dresden were strategic, or the differences between concentration camps and civilian bombings in wartime—or the differences between abortion and all of those things.

    There is actually a hierarchy of the moral offensiveness of these acts. Not all killings are alike, as you probably know (the correct translation of the Biblical commandment is actually “Thou shalt not murder,” not “Thou shalt not kill,” by the way). But you seem to be a member of the “clean hands” crew, out to reduce all killing to an equivalence, and in the process to reduce our ability to adequately defend ourselves.

    I do refer you however, in case you happen to be interested, to these posts of mine on related subjects:

    This, this, and this.

  3. gcotharn Says:

    John,

    I agree that “We are morally qualified to judge nobody”. Yet, I don’t actually see your point. Part of the essence of humanity is facing moral choice and discerning moral justice. As best I can figure, you are saying: You have sinned, therefore you are lost forever. Morality? Don’t even try it, buster!

  4. gcotharn Says:

    Barack is deceitful cotton candy: cotton candy don’t know history. Barack deceives via lack of prudence about evidence which is too good to check, and via lack of prudence about accidentally on purpose sloppy reasoning. Barack doesn’t have to worry about his “facts” and “reasoning” being flatly shown to be anything but. He will smile and smooth talk his way out of it. He always has. It’s his winning formula. No one will press him too hard about facts, if at all. No one wants to.

  5. gcotharn Says:

    Barack reminds me of defense lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago”:

    “Give em the old razzle dazzle …
    how can they see with sequins in their eyes … razzle dazzle them, and they’ll never catch wise.

    Give em a show that’s so splendiforous,
    row after row will grow vociferous
    Given em the ol flim flam flummox
    How can they hear the truth above the roar?
    [...]
    Razzle Dazzle them, and they’ll beg ya for more.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn5-VN3SH1o&feature=related

  6. Artfldgr Says:

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

    Goebbels continues:

    The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

  7. Baklava Says:

    We do not have the right to kill a termite. It should eat our house and home. It should leave us humble. We owe our lives to the termite. Thank you termite. Thank you John

  8. Baklava Says:

    I cannot lift a hand against the person that takes anyone in my family. There is no defense. We lower ourselves to the killer when we kill. Thank you John for your logic. Protecting life and liberty was not on our agenda as human beings. We need to follow your agenda. I’m convinved 100%. John is right.

  9. Logern Says:

    “We don’t torture,” Churchill had in mind some of the more classic and extreme examples of the genre.

    “The methods of torture most used by the Inquisition were garrucha, toca and the potro. The application of the garrucha, also known as the strappado, consisted of suspending the victim from the ceiling by a pulley with weights tied to the ankles, with a series of lifts and drops, during which arms and legs suffered violent pulls and were sometimes dislocated.[48] The toca, also called tortura del agua, consisted of introducing a cloth into the mouth of the victim, and forcing them to ingest water spilled from a jar so that they had impression of drowning 49] The potro, the rack, was the instrument of torture used most frequently.[50]“

  10. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Carrying out the viewpoints that “it is always immoral to kill,” that, above all, we must always have “clean hands,” and must always “occupy the moral high ground” (but that our Muslim enemy need not be bound by these strictures in the least) to their logical conclusion, leads us to the proposition that there are really no circumstance under which we in the West and America have a legitimate, moral right to self defense (with the unspoken but very real justifying subtext that we and our Western civilizations deserve to be wiped off the face of the Earth because we are insensitive, imperialist, racist and colonialist oppressors, “inauthentic” when compared to the truly authentic peoples of the second and third worlds, who we continually oppress and despoil, and are the polluting, species-destroying, greedy ,energy-hogging, climate destroying ravishers of Mother Earth—a virulent virus that needs to be eradicated), and that we might as well just give up, lie down, and be stomped to death by Islam.

    If we allow this line of this reasoning to control our actions, we will have conclusively proved that we are “too dumb to live,” and deserve the destruction that acceptance of such premises guarantees.

  11. pat Says:

    Closest I could find

    [T]he great privilege of habeas corpus, and of trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the English people for ordinary individuals against the State . . . -The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers-is, in the highest degree, odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments . . . Extraordinary powers assumed by the Executive with the consent of Parliament in emergencies should be yielded up, when and as, the emergency declines . . . This is really the test of civilisation.

    -Winston S. Churchill, Cable to Home Secretary Herbert Morrison from Cairo (Churchill responds to critics over the decision to release accused Nazi collaborator Oswald Moseley), Nov. 21, 1943. Reproduced in The Second World War: Closing the Ring (1952)

  12. Lee Says:

    Oswald Moseley was a British citizen with protections and rights guaranteed by his government.
    Terrorists are not citizens with guaranteed rights like citizens. They are not even considered “combatants” under treaties such as the Geneva Conventions. Under international agreements, they can be summarily executed, treated as spies, or treated in any way seen fit. Just ask the Maqui, or Tito’s guerillas, or the Garibaldi brigades, or the Filipino resistance.

  13. Artfldgr Says:

    i think they are referencing Oswald Moseley.

    during World War II, Mosley together with some 800 of his leading followers and several hundred others were imprisoned without charge or trial because they were opposed the war.

    so its part of this quote
    [T]he great privilege of habeas corpus, and of trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the English people for ordinary individuals against the State . . . -The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers-is, in the highest degree, odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments . . . Extraordinary powers assumed by the Executive with the consent of Parliament in emergencies should be yielded up, when and as, the emergency declines . . . This is really the test of civilisation.

    -Winston S. Churchill, Cable to Home Secretary Herbert Morrison from Cairo (Churchill responds to critics over the decision to release accused Nazi collaborator Oswald Moseley), Nov. 21, 1943.

    see Regulation 18B…

    And technically, we now know that Obama or someone in his office knows socialisms history in detail. the kind of detail that makes my comments usually different than others.

    he is betting that no one would realize that this was the source of it, and who these 800 were, and were connected to.

    the records were destroyed, which doesnt help much. depending on who you read it was because the government was ashamed, etc… but it may be as simple as why ruin 800 lives?

    [edited for length by neo-neocon]

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    http://www.oswaldmosley.com/downloads/18b%20Detainees%20List.pdf

    is the story and list of names, but remember who is telling it and from what side.

  15. Foxfier Says:

    Ah, the perils of cutting and pasting from wiki!

    here is a page from a book that more correctly describes the think Wiki mischaracterizes.

    Waterboarding doesn’t involve causing someone to ingest vast amounts of water; it involves triggering a panic reflex.

    [* In the tormento de toca, a gauze bag was placed in the throat and water poured in it,
    forcing the gauze gradually down the oesophagus into the stomach. Other torments were the
    gradual pouring of water drop by drop on one spot of the body, and the great swinging pendulum,
    oxpendola, with the knife affixed, as described in Poe's haunting story.]

    from :
    THE HISTORIANS HISTORY OF THE WORLD 2 (1907)
    Author: HENRY SMITH WILLIAMS LTD

  16. Lee Says:

    Neo,
    Actually, Churchill’s reciprocity against Germany wasn’t for bombing British civilians, but for civilians in general, specifically Rotterdam.

    The United Kingdom had a policy of using aerial bombing only against military targets and against infrastructure such as ports and railways which were of direct military importance. While it was acknowledged that the aerial bombing of Germany would cause civilian casualties, the British government renounced the deliberate bombing of civilian property, outside combat zones, as a military tactic.[4] This policy was abandoned on 15 May 1940, two days after the German air attack on Rotterdam, when the RAF was given permission to attack targets in the Ruhr, including oil plants and other civilian industrial targets which aided the German war effort, such as blast furnaces that at night were self illuminating. The first RAF raid on the interior of Germany took place on the night of 15 May – 16 May.

    From wikipedia.

  17. br549 Says:

    If I am sitting in my home with my family and someone bursts in to do us harm, to do us in, it is my moral obligation to take that person or persons out if I can. Even if I end up enjoying it. End of conversation.

    America belongs to me and a little over 300 million neighbors. It’s my home. See the first paragraph. End of conversation.

    We did not, as a nation enter WWII until Pearl Harbor, although we did furnish equipment and weapons that allowed friends and allies to survive the onslaught of a few nations who wanted to take over a large portion of the world. When we were forced to enter, we fought to win. We did not start it.

    John is a typical left wing chicken. He bad mouths his fellow countrymen who do not think as he does, knowing full well he can say as he pleases with no danger to his existence or freedom. Take that talk to the Taliban, or Al Quaida (Queda) and let’s see how that works out for you.

    And as my dad once said to me (he fought in the Pacific theater) it’s better to fight over there, than to have it going on in our own streets. They brought it here twice. First time, they didn’t take the towers out (has everyone forgotten that?) so they planned for 5 years and were successful beyond their wildest dreams the second time. They took out more people than in Pearl Harbor. If it happens again, it’s our own fault. More so, our current administration’s fault. End of story.

  18. grackle Says:

    [T]he great privilege of habeas corpus, and of trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the English people for ordinary individuals against the State . . . -The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers-is, in the highest degree, odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian governments . . . Extraordinary powers assumed by the Executive with the consent of Parliament in emergencies should be yielded up, when and as, the emergency declines . . . This is really the test of civilisation.

    -Winston S. Churchill, Cable to Home Secretary Herbert Morrison from Cairo (Churchill responds to critics over the decision to release accused Nazi collaborator Oswald Moseley), Nov. 21, 1943. Reproduced in The Second World War: Closing the Ring (1952)

    A good quote from Churchill that I agree with. However, the writer is wrong in his characterization of Moseley as an “accused Nazi collaborator.” Oswald Moseley was a British citizen and a member of the British nobility who fell in love with Fascism to the extent of founding his own fascist party, the British Union of Fascists, some members of which even stood for parliamentary election in Great Britain – all very legal. He was interned during WW2 along with other British citizens involved in Fascist politics in Britain, as a precaution during war time, not because he(or the others) actually collaborated with the Nazis. Many of these folks continued their political careers in Great Britain after they were released at the end of WW2.

    The terrorists are NOT US citizens, are NOT members of any legitimate political party and the terrorists are responsible for the murder of thousands of US citizens. Oswald Moseley never murdered anyone.

    I find it interesting that Moseley was interned by Churchill all throughout WW2 although Moseley had done nothing illegal but only because he and the others sympathized with the Nazi cause. It would be kind of like if Bush interned the editorial staff at the NYT because they always favor the terrorists. No ACLU in Britain during WW2. Things were a bit different back then, eh?

  19. Lee Says:

    “…,and no description of who these “200 detainees” might have been.”

    I’m willing to bet one of them was Rudolph Hess, although even in his case “…it’s not as though [Hess] would have held information that could have prevented future bombings.”

  20. Thomass Says:

    Obama made an argument with a suspect analogy? No, say its not so! Hahahha

    It’s his calling card. :)

  21. FredHjr Says:

    The real issue in this ongoing saga is not being discussed on this blog and certainly most others: the concept of bill of attainder or proscription being introduced into our system. Mark my words: it will have sanguinary consequences.

  22. Baklava Says:

    omg

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=7471217&page=1

  23. Matthew M Says:

    The moral culpability for hurting or killing those who initiate an attack (eg, Al Quada or Nazi Germany) lies with the attackers not the defenders.FDR had the idea:

    Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

    Pacifism places nonviolence above life. It is a utopian wish that ignores the reality that it is moral to defend yourself.

  24. david foster Says:

    1)From what I have read, the British on several occasions captured German spies and gave them two choices: either “turn” (continue transmitting information as if you were still free, but it will be information *we* give you)…or hang immediately.

    2)Roosevelt involved himself heavily in the case of the German U-boat saboteurs captured in the US, with the intent of making sure they went to the electric chair without delay.

    3)Leo Marks was the Codemaster for the British sabotage and subversion organization called Special Operations Executive. In his book (“between silk and cyanide”), he describes a disinformation operation called Periwig. Part of this operation called for Marks to brief a captured German agent on a certain set of British codes. The agent would then be parachuted out over Germany after being killed in a manner that suggested he had met with a fatal accident–with the codebooks in his pocket. Marks did brief the agent, but it is unclear whether the operation actually took place.

    Marks found his part in Periwig to be an emotionally difficult one, but in his book he does not express any surprise that SOE would carry out such an initiative.

    4)When the British became aware of the V-1 and V-2 research being conducted at Peenemunde, they bombed the site heavily with the specific intent of killing as many of the scientists (many of whom lived there with their families) as possible.

  25. david foster Says:

    More on item 1 (the double-cross system) from my comment below here.

  26. waltj Says:

    As usual, Obama both cherry-picks and gets his analogies wrong. He could have been talking about Oswald Moseley, yes, or could also have been talking about German airmen who had been shot down over Britain. These, of course, were not “detainees”, but prisioners of war, whom the British accorded the customary privileges. Obama is vague enough that we just don’t know.

    As others have noted, the Moseley case is different than that of an AQ detainee. Moseley was detained under wartime conditions to prevent him from providing assistance to his ideological brethren in Berlin; he had not yet done so (as MI5 certainly would have told Churchill) but the risk that he would was considered unacceptable. While the British rightly believed that it was best not to have openly-Fascist Brits running around free, there was also clearly no reason for “enhanced interrogations” here.

    AQ is another story entirely. They are not American citizens. Thus, unless they are already the subject of a U.S. warrant, they do not qualify for U.S. criminal procedures when captured abroad. They do not belong to any national army, they do not bear arms openly, they do not follow a recognizable chain of command, nor do they wear any sort of identifying uniform or article of clothing, thus making them ineligible for protection under the Hague and Geneva Conventions as prisoners of war (read them if you don’t believe me. They are quite specific in this area). The Conventions only deal with the treatment of POWs and civilian populations under conditions of occupation. Spies, saboteurs, and, yes, terrorists, are all beyond the remit of the Conventions.

    Just one more thing about the WW2 Brits. Maybe they didn’t torture. But they did summarily execute Nazi war criminals. These weren’t the high-ranking Nazis who were put on trial at Nuremberg, but captains, sergeants, and common soldiers, Army and SS, who tried to hide among other prisoners or refugees at war’s end. British intelligence identified them, specially-picked squads did the deed. Saved the time, expense, and effort of a trial. And I believe the world is a better place because of it.

  27. Steve Says:

    If, as The Chosen One claims, waterboarding is some horrific torture, why does the Democrat-controlled Congress not write up a bill, pass it and submit it to TCO to outlaw it forever?

    I’m just sayin’.

  28. Oldflyer Says:

    Well, it just goes on and on.

    The buzz tonight is about ABC News publishing the names and pictures of the Psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA interrogation regime.

    Someone in the Administration linked those names and ABC happily put these fellows and their families at risk to our murderous enemies.

    I have corresponded with both of my Dimocrat Senators to inquire whether they are going to call for investigations and prosecutions. Ha! I hope that everyone will demand action.

    Obama’s knowledge of history borders on the abysmal. World War II was absolutely brutal on all sides, and it is simply ludicrous that he would try to twist any event from that time to justify his position.

  29. nyomythus Says:

    I was under the impression that the British government, when they were being bombed nightly, didn’t torture captured Nazis — what they did reciprocally on the battle field is a different matter.

  30. jon baker Says:

    Since this is a “torture” thread, let me point out an Ann Coulter article which is even more hilarious than normal on the subject: http://www.anncoulter.com/

  31. dicentra Says:

    Obama got the Churchill “quote” from Andrew Sullivan, according to Mickey Kaus.


    Classiest President Evar
    !

  32. Robohobo Says:

    Could it be that The Won invented this ‘quote’? You know, makes it up from whole cloth?

  33. tehag Says:

    Obama was reading “the other day”

    Truly this is a jest. It means his speech writer read some blog a few years ago and half-remembers what he read.

    tehag

  34. njcommuter Says:

    I’ve written this on both HotAir and PajamasMedia, and I repeat it here: “We we never torture” is as morally serious a stance as “we will never take up arms against an enemy.” There are times when most people will acknowledge a moral justification, and even a moral need, to prepare to kill and to try to kill an enemy.

    Torture is not justified for revenge, personal or institutional (though I had some thoughts about fit punishments for the 9/11 masterminds). It is not justified when there is a small chance of gaining information, or when the people trying to gain the information lack the understanding or capability to use it effectively. (Is this sounding like the Just(ified) War doctrine?) The diabolical bungholes who tortured American POWs in the Hanoi Hilton until they “confessed” that aircraft carriers had giant livestock pens (not believing in giant refrigerators or regular resupply by sea and air) lacked both that understanding and that capacity.

    But when there is a substantial likelihood that the prisoner is perpetrating, abetting, or an accessory before the fact to, a mass atrocity, and when the individual is not properly protected by treaty (e.g. when he not is a member of a State, even a Market-State, that conspicuously observes the Geneva Conventions, including the requirement that the Red Cross or other organization be given access to POWs), then torture seems to me morally necessary, not morally forbidden, once other measures have failed, or if there is no time for other measures. Note that when there is sufficient evidence of a planned atrocity, it is clear that the Geneva Conventions have been breached, and their protection forfeited, at least insofar as this person and this expected atrocity are concerned.

    A person who is a driver or a clerk for the plotter may reasonably be expected to have at least some information of material value.

    Moreover, such torture can, in my view, include mock executions or any other means of cowing the prisoner. In such a case there is no reason to exclude fear. Soldiers are expected to face fear; irregular, illegal combatants who are by their silence committing an atrocity should not be exempt. Long-term starvation is not likely to get information in time, and would seem not to be justified. Likewise for maiming, although the real presence of a ticking time bomb suggests that some permanent damage might be accepted IF it was a side effect of a last resort. (Pain holds can cause permanent tendon damage.) Likewise measures playing to particular fears (that exposure to dogs, pig manure, or menstrual fluid will result in eternal damnation) seem to pass muster.

    The moral justification for this is that an individual is, by his silence, commiting an atrocity which he has no right to do under any theory of war (or civilization) whatsoever. If one could inflict pain or fear upon someone shooting down children in a school and thereby stop the attack, would it be moral to do so? If so, why is it not moral, and even necessary, to use similar measures to stop someone who is committing an atrocity by his willful silence?

  35. Adrian Says:

    Obama’s has a third grader’s grasp of history. He probably got this information from some internet blog. It’s funny that one of the first things that he did as president was to send a bust of Churchill back to England. Now, he’s all about Churchill. He’ll probably be wanting that bust back so he can have his picture taken with it sitting on his desk.

  36. kcom Says:

    If we allow this line of this reasoning to control our actions, we will have conclusively proved that we are “too dumb to live,” and deserve the destruction that acceptance of such premises guarantees.

    Which is why I will never accept such premises and why I will never vote for someone who does.

  37. dane Says:

    Obama and his handlers are very artful with this sort of statement. By saying, “I was reading in an article” it gives the statement wight and the sound of authenticity and scholarship. However without citation of author and title it could have been an article written by one of his staff specifically for him – and he could not be accused of lying. Misdirection but not lying.

  38. armchair pessimist Says:

    In wartime rough and ready men will do rough and ready things, always have and always will. The politicians have a choice. They can speak their pieties and wink at the proceedings; they speak their pieties and meddle.

    Unfortunately, we have elected a prize-ass of the second variety.

  39. Artfldgr Says:

    filter bad again suddenly

    As usual, Obama both cherry-picks and gets his analogies wrong. He could have been talking about Oswald Moseley, yes, or could also have been talking about German airmen who had been shot down over Britain.

    no..

    he was talking about mosely, because he gave the number that were imprisoned as 800. everything fits mosely.

    and saying that mosely wasnt a nazi, or was that way is drivel. the majority of those 800 were not just thrown in. just bcvause the state cant reveal the evidence at a certain time, doesnt mean that its always acting like russian state without evidence or care.

    want to know how far the Mosely fixation goes wiht nazi stuff? down to their sexual appetites. go ahead and take a look at the video of his son max mosely in a nazi themed orgy while he was FIA president.

    in fact, take out some paper, and start drawing connections and you will find out all kinds of bizarro things. (like, let me know how many were actually punished for the atrocities, and how many were actually silently pardoned by one man)

    osley got to keep his job despite acknowledging he participated in an encounter with sex workers in a basement apartment in London. On top of that, Mosley also headed to the UK courts to claim characterizations of Nazi overtones by NOTW were completely invalid, and even if they were valid, it was done in the privacy of someone else’s home.

  40. Artfldgr Says:

    nd how many people get the association of the symbology of that fascist union and a certain rock and roll group and teenagers on both sides of the pond.

    for the person that said he was not a nazi sympathizer but “only a lover of fascism”, can you tell me where he and Diana Milford were married?

    the story kind of has a ayers feel to it.

    She married Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, in 1936, at the home of Joseph Goebbels, with Adolf Hitler as guest of honour. Subsequently her involvement with right-wing political causes resulted in three years’ internment during the Second World War.

    yeah… no connection… but he god married at Goebbles house, and hitler was a guest of honor.

    the historically ignorant drive me nuts with their haughty thing, and yet they dont even try to check it out. like takking the list of the names of the 800 i provided and then researching some of them as to who they were, mitford is on the list. duh.

    [edited for length by neo-neocon]

  41. nyomythus Says:

    I’ve done quite a bit of Googling to find what article it might have been that Obama was reading “the other day” about this, and could find nothing.

    neo — there are lots of recent article where this could have appeared, either in the article or in the comments (if the latter hopefully cross referenced).

  42. Artfldgr Says:

    i think its killing links to information sources..

  43. Artfldgr Says:

    obama is related to cheney and bush..

    in 1933 Smedly butler and prescot bush and a band of industrialists planned to take over the state from FDR… today its described as a fascist coupe attempt. but since everything to the right of communism which is at dead zero on the scale, is fascism, the attribution can be taken as taht, OR that they saw socialism and plotted to remove the communist president… (now you know why they are afraid of the right wingers.. eh napolitano?)

    the names related to this are interesing, even more so when you connect them to todays politics. look up American Liberty League, you find the heinz family, colgate family, birds eye, and General motors too…

    remember that FDR was our most communist president with communists in his cabinet and state that he said he didnt care about (dexter for one).

    In 1936, William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, wrote a letter to President Roosevelt in which he stated,

    “A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime…. A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions.”

    remember that the tin hatters are shills for only one side. which is why they have lots of info against the US and not much on others. the others feed them, and so they make their living injecting such into the stream.

    to a socialist everythign is fascist that is not socialist… even a homestead in the middle of nowhere, if its not under state magnifying glass.

    but if one reads enough history, and reads how they use language, then translation is possible and a more valid view isnt hard.

    but to keep pressing crappy history, and to be WAY TO LAZY to correct it, is why they have gotten to a positin where they are.

    facsism is to the left of the american state. so one has to pass through it to get to communsm. hitler stopped at taking actual control of industry directly, obama has not. so where are we headed? stalin was a international communist, hitler was a national socialist, and obama says he is a transnational socialist. communist and socialist are synonyms, regardless of waht the obfuscators who dont know better parrot. international and transnational are the same thing, so they are synonyms. we are taking a harder left turn than even hitler took.

    [edited for length by neo-neocon]

  44. amr Says:

    As dicentra said on May 1st, 2009 at 12:49 am
    Obama got the Churchill “quote” from Andrew Sullivan, according to Mickey Kaus. I have read that in other places as well.

    And the Cage in London also supposedly was a torture chamber during WWII and for a few years later according to the Guardian in a 2005 article.

    Obama seemly has no adult supervision since his writers were/are 26-27 and one is 30-31.

  45. Artfldgr Says:

    you realize that this whole argyument has been encapsulated in its full thinking absurdity by monty pythons spanish inquisition skit?

    just as socialism is the spam they are talking about in the spam skit.

    there is a long line and tradition of this kind of thing going back to mother goose!

    old mother hubbard (elizabeth)
    went to the cubbord (national treasury)
    to get her poor dog a bone (raleigh)
    but when she got there (house of commons)
    the cubbord was bare (the treasury was nigh bankrupt)
    and so the old dog got none (raleigh didnt get the ships he wanted or needed)

  46. Hulk2008 Says:

    The author claims that various Googling efforts failed to get a hit on Churchill’s comments – the author must have entered the worst possible search arguments to have missed entirely.
    Of course, the author could be ruling out sites that disagree with his political leanings – and thus sites like Amnesty International would be discarded as “sources”.
    Regardless of what the British did or did not do, two wrongs do not make a right. And Americans are presumed to be a more virtuous people – otherwise what’s the point of the words “in order to form a more perfect nation” ? One cannot thump one’s chest about being an American when it suits one’s self-image and then act like a barbarian when it suits another baser urge.

  47. waltj Says:

    OK, so it’s Moseley. No problem with me on that. I also have no problem with the Brits locking him and his pals up under wartime regulations. He obviously had the connections and the ideological inclination to assist the Nazis, but it looks like MI5 was all over him (and his wife) like a cheap suit, so it’s likely he never got the opportunity once the shooting started. It doesn’t change the fact that his case differs drastically from that of an AQ detainee. He was a British subject who was detained in Britain under what appear to be relatively benign conditions of detention. For good reason. Without the ability to contact anyone else, his effectiveness in helping the Nazi cause immediately ended. Did he know the location of German airfields, U-boat patrol areas, or targets for a planned Luftwaffe raid? Hardly, so his intelligence value was virtually nil. Therefore, there was no need to subject him to rigorous interrogation.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, on the other hand, appears to have possessed valuable intelligence on plots that had already been set in motion. Plots he initially refused to talk about. The water that was poured on him seems to have “primed the pump” as it were and opened a veritable floodgate of details on these plots. This is the “elephant in the room” that the left is trying very hard to ignore or minimize. Maybe he would have broken eventually through the subtle, astute efforts of a patient, rapport-gaining interrogator (I seem to remember reading somewhere that he in fact was, but after he had already been waterboarded and given up what he knew about immediate threats). But maybe the plots would have come to fruition. Then where would we be?

  48. Baklava Says:

    Hulk wrote, “Regardless of what the British did or did not do, two wrongs do not make a right.

    And there in lies the question Hulk. To you and others the techniques were “wrong” and “torture”.

    You do not allow for the fact that they are “uncomfortable” techniques but NOT torture.

    Why you do this is because you are weak and UNPREPARED (like Obama is unprepared) to protect this nation.

    Heaven forbid we make somebody “uncomfortable”. The decisions made by the Bush lawyers were legal opinions that make sense.

    You couldn’t protect my shirt from getting wrinkled Hulk.

    You couldn’t protect my plants in my greenhouse from getting frost.

    You couldn’t protect the inside of my refrigerator from getting ants.

    These unfolding events WILL be Obama’s Katrina times 10. He will look like the most naive president ever. And believe me I hope and pray that isn’t the case. I do not want evil to use our weak president to hurt us.

  49. Artfldgr Says:

    here is what real torture is.

    «The Ghastly Year»
    “The Ghastly Year”

    shows Bolshevism the way it really was: hidden under deceit and lies, filled with the mercilessness of a witch, hungry for anguish and blood, hungry for the moans of martyrs, immeasurable in vengeance and calamity, inconceivable in depravity, derision for mind and honor, blasphemy for virtue – a sign for all of this which was achieved by mankind through many thousands of years of labor and struggle.
    home.parks.lv/leonards/BaigaisGads/eng/Saturs.htm

    somewhere in these photos and history is my family. is my uncle the unknown one… read about what the socialists did BOTH OF THEM…

    On June 15 and 16 of 1940, Latvians came together for the song festival in Daugavpils. This was the last song festival of the Latvian people: the invasion of the Bolsheviks on the night of June 14 of that same year into Latvia started its road of anguish.

    A carnival of blood began. That night “the Great Eastern Neighbor”, after a terrible silence of twenty-three years, took the first step in a dance of death on Latvian soil. These are the visiting-cards with which the Bolsheviks were announcing themselves to ensure the fulfillment of the USSR – Latvian Mutual Assistance Pact signed in 1939.

    A t t a c k s upon the police, soldiers and officers of the Latvian army were happening all through the capital and throughout the entire country. Stones were hurled at the police.

    sound familiar?

    vast majority of people had no idea about their character. Many of them even thought that during those 23 years Bolshevism had changed to become better.
    CAME TO BE UNDERSTANDABLE ONLY LATER…

    does that sound familar? that after so many years its now nice? isnt that the same message we got? isnt that the same message with referencing mosely, and terrorists…

    read those links and you will find the story of the lefts siding with the terrorists and activists in the crowds. and how people expected that those with rocks, or breaking windows would be arrested… but they werent..

    they were cultural marines… on the beach head of change.

    [edited for length by neo-neocon]

  50. huxley Says:

    The author claims that various Googling efforts failed to get a hit on Churchill’s comments – the author must have entered the worst possible search arguments to have missed entirely.
    Of course, the author could be ruling out sites that disagree with his political leanings – and thus sites like Amnesty International would be discarded as “sources”.

    Hulk2008 — Then again, it’s possible that Obama and you do not give a fig about facts and the diligence to verify them unless they fit your narrative.

    While it’s nice to hear the President invoke Sir Winston, the quotation is unattributed and almost certainly incorrect. While Churchill did express such sentiments with regard to prison inmates, he said no such thing about prisoners of war, enemy combatants or terrorists, who were in fact tortured by British interrogators during World War II.

    The word “torture” appears 156 times in my digital transcript of Churchill’s 15 million published words (books, articles, speeches, papers) and 35 million words about him—but not once in the subject context. Similarly, key phrases like “character of a country” or “erodes the character” do not track.

    Obama, Churchill and Torture

  51. Artfldgr Says:

    by the way, forgot to qualify.

    latvians are now more russian than latvian, and the use of yids, and such reflects the attitude the soviets had of jews, the same as hitler. they did the work for the boshivicks, just as they did work for the germans, and many were part of the destruction of their own kind.

    so the use of Yids, while offensive makes sense in a cultural context.

    the point is that its use today does not in any way change the facts that they are presenting.

    most of europe, and even the US at that time was quite anti semitic… but also, after the war, we didnt get the government that was also a part of the exterminations as they did. its not so odd to imagine that the same ideology that spawned hitlers hatred, would have some of that hatred remain as they controlled that state and had similar goals.

  52. huxley Says:

    We can debate at what point sleepless nights or water poured upon a person’s face become torture, but surely we can agree that if the President of the United States is going to quote a historic world leader to support that President’s attack on a previous President, that the quote had darn well better be right.

    And with Obama, it’s not. We have seen this repeatedly with Obama, that he is historically illiterate, that he appears to rely entirely on secondary left-wing sources that fit a left-wing narrative, that he can’t be bothered to check or have his staff check material that he is going to deliver in a speech as opposed to extemporaneous remarks.

    I don’t believe any previous President in the last century, maybe back to George Washington, has displayed such a casual interest in facts. I find Obama contemptible in this regard.

  53. Occam's Beard Says:

    The author claims that various Googling efforts failed to get a hit on Churchill’s comments – the author must have entered the worst possible search arguments to have missed entirely.

    So – what’s the link?

    Of course, the author could be ruling out sites that disagree with his political leanings – and thus sites like Amnesty International would be discarded as “sources”.

    If Amnesty International is the only source, absolutely I’d rule it out. What is the likelihood that Churchill said something that advances AI’s current agenda and only AI knows about the quote? Zero, I’d say.

    And Americans are presumed to be a more virtuous people – otherwise what’s the point of the words “in order to form a more perfect nation” ?

    Behold the core of liberalism: poor reading comprehension and cognitive skills.

    The phrase is “to form a more perfect union,” not “to form a perfect union.” It makes no presumption of the virtue of Americans, but rather expresses a goal of improvement of the union. As such, it speaks to slope, not intercept. The phrase comes from preamble to the Constitution, which was the successor to the failed Articles of Confederation, and expresses the goal of the Constitution as being to form a better union of the states over that specified by the Articles of Confederation. Try to keep up, OK?

    I feel as though I should send you a bill for educating you.

  54. physicsguy Says:

    Hulk2008 wrote: “And Americans are presumed to be a more virtuous people – otherwise what’s the point of the words “in order to form a more perfect nation” ? ”

    And how virtuous is it to have my children die because someone like you would not use aggressive methods to interrogate someone who wants to kill them. Yes, I AM making it personal. I think that’s the only way to clarify the issue. Hulk, do you have kids? Do want them alive, or would you rather sacrifice them so that some terrorist is not “tortured”? Answer honestly.

    BTW, the quote does say to form “a more perfect union”, not “to form THE perfect union”. BIG difference, which I guess is probably lost on someone who believes in utopia.

  55. Oblio Says:

    That’s it, chaps, keep checking the footnotes. Accept no premise or representation of the facts that cannot be verified.

    You should expect to find Humpty-Dumpty in every paragraph, while the government paints the roses red.

  56. Occam's Beard Says:

    “I was reading an article the other day…well, actually, it wasn’t an article, it was a teleprompter, and it wasn’t the other day, it was …about a minute ago, and my handlers told me to say this commercial message on behalf of my sponsors…”

  57. br549 Says:

    I’m a bit slow on this one. Was the bust of Churchill sent specifically to Obama by Britain? Was it already here?

    If it was presented to him and he returned it, he’s an idiot. The gift was about what Churchill means to the Brits, not what Churchill means to Obama. If it was already here, it wasn’t his to return at all.

    If I must go there – in order for a liberal to understand it – I will. Imagine if Obama gave you a bust of Martin Luther King as a gesture of friendship and closeness. How would he feel if you said “No thanks” and sent it back? Bingo.

  58. Occam's Beard Says:

    br549, the bust was sent by Tony Blair to George Bush (I believe as a loan) after 9/11, IIRC.

  59. Tournefort Says:

    I came across this article today. I think it was via Instapundit and originated in The Guardian in the UK. Speaking of Obama’s Churchill statement, the author said:

    “But the president did make one glaring error. He said, when discussing torture, that he’d read an article recently saying how Churchill, at the height of the blitz, said of Great Britain “we don’t torture.”

    He may well have read such an article, and Churchill may well have made such a statement. But Britain did torture. Says who? Says the Guardian. I refer you, friends, to The Cage.”

    The author cites an article titled “The secrets of the London Cage” that appeared in The Guardian in 2005. “The London Cage was run by MI19, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/nov/12/secondworldwar.world

    Other readers may want to check it out.

  60. Foxfier Says:

    br549 Says:

    May 1st, 2009 at 1:21 pm
    I’m a bit slow on this one. Was the bust of Churchill sent specifically to Obama by Britain? Was it already here?

    If it was presented to him and he returned it, he’s an idiot. The gift was about what Churchill means to the Brits, not what Churchill means to Obama. If it was already here, it wasn’t his to return at all.

    On loan since 9/11.

    And yes, it would be kind of like returning the bust of MLK jr.

  61. Vieux Charles Says:

    Test XHTML Link

    Test – This text would be blue.

  62. Vieux Charles Says:

    Neo,
    You really should consider restricting the meandering tomes of Artfldgr and others.

    Also,

    Hulk2008,
    I say no such Churchill quote exists. I say you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you have the link put up or hush up.

    You do know how to add a link?

  63. neo-neocon Says:

    Vieux Charles: You may notice that I do often edit Artfldgr for length. I didn’t see some of the ones above, though, which I am now about to shorten.

    As for the existence or nonexistence of Hulk2008′s link, please see this.

  64. John Lofton, Recovering Republican Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    April 30th, 2009 at 2:53 pm
    John Lofton: I was expecting the sort of response you have given, which goes something like this: “Churchill was no worse than a torturing Nazi.” And here you are, right on schedule.

    So, point out, please, where this reasoning is wrong. If both Churchill and the Nazis were dedicated to and believed in the “anything-to-win” view, were they not both, IN PRINCIPLE, the same?
    Of course they would be.

    John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com

    Recovering Republican

    JLof@aol.com

  65. neo-neocon Says:

    John Lofton:

    Churchill would do “anything” to win? Don’t think so. Whatever torture the Brits may have engaged in was the rare exception rather than the rule. For the Nazis, it was business as usual.

    Let’s see; what else? Hitler’s war to exterminate the Jews had very little to do with “winning”—in fact, it diverted people and energy from his war effort. I wasn’t aware that Churchill targeted millions of innocent civilians for the purpose of exterminating them from the face of the earth because he felt they were “vermin.”

    More differences? How about the little business of starting a war against people who aren’t bothering you or threatening you in any way, vs. defending yourself and your country against that attack?

    And then there were the principles for which Hitler and Churchill were fighting. Do you really think that fighting to defend a parliamentary form of government that promulgates individual freedom is quite the same as fighting to expand a fascist and repressive, tyrannical, murderous dictatorship?

    If you do, I think there’s a lot more than Republicanism you need to recover from.

    Your arguments are pure sophistry, and I believe you are aware of that.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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