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Military report cites humiliation of U.S. prisoners

Schweddy

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Source: Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON -- The Guantanamo detainee suspected of being the would-be "20th hijacker" for the Sept. 11 attacks was subjected to abusive treatment, including being forced to wear a bra and perform a series of "dog tricks" during interrogation, according to an official report made public during a Senate hearing Wednesday.

The military investigators' report recommended punishment for the commanding officer of the Guantanamo Bay jail at the time, Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, but that suggestion was overturned by a higher-ranking officer.

The report said Mohamed al-Qahtani--labeled by U.S. officials as the "20th hijacker"--was forced to stand naked before a woman interrogator for at least five minutes and was made to wear thong underwear on his head and a bra.

Qahtani also was told by interrogators that "his mother and sister were whores," according to the report, and he was led by a dog leash attached to his hand chains and made to do a "series of dog tricks" as part of the interrogation.

Female interrogators also massaged Qahtani's neck and back, and one ran her fingers through his hair and told him that resisting the questioning was futile.

A second "high value" detainee was told that he and his family would be killed if he did not cooperate.

Despite the harshness of these tactics, it is not clear that they violated any law. The Geneva Conventions prohibit sexually degrading tactics, but the Bush administration has said the Geneva Conventions don't apply to the Guantanamo detainees, saying they are suspected terrorists rather than prisoners of war.
 

Arch Enemy

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That's a big problem with todays world. We cannot possibly draw the line between infringing on someone's rights and what we need to do during interrogation in order to get life-saving information out of them. Those actions are the United States trying to lower the prisoner's self-esteem, in order for him to break-down and submit to the interrogators.

We have to remember that as long as interrogation tactics are invented counter-interrogation tactics will also.

So where do we draw the line, between us trying to pull life-saving information and down right inhumane actions?
 

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I think that person should be thanking Allah that we don't take a page out of the Viet Cong book of torture techniques. I hear electrodes attached to various sensitive organs produce results. Then there is the ever infamous Spanish Inquisition techniques of flaying for confessions, or the rack, or breaking each digit on your fingers and toes. Or better yet, use the same techniques his fellow terrorist use, and maybe saw off his body parts with pen knives on internet television for the entire world to see. Hmmm. But the Americans are the inhumane ones. We are the flies in this soup.
:doh
 

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Oh my God...! this is tragic... you mean the man who participated in planning the slaughter of over 3000 american civilians was made to wear a bra and thong... THE HORROR! How dare we do this...? What gives us the right to use empty verbal threats on a prisoner in order to gain information that may save the lives of American soldiers....

OH the humanity... these humiliating actions bring shame on our bullying country... and make me ashamed to call myself an American....!



[ /sarcasm]
 

shuamort

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Back in High School, I was president of the school's Amnesty International chapter. We went to the locally based Center for Victims of Torture to hear a man speak about his life as a political dissident in Argentina. He and his wife were tortured for speaking out against the governments abduction of people and putting them into prisons. He and his wife were then imprisoned and tortured in front of each other to have them name names of other dissidents. At one point that inserted a glass tube into the man's urethra and broke it with a hammer. His wife, blindfolded, burned with an iron poker, and starved, eventually died in front of him from the torture.

Torture has NEVER been proven to be an effective form of extracting information. Hearing this story and many others similar to that made it quite firm in my mind that no one should EVER be tortured.
 

Stherngntlmn

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shuamort said:
Back in High School, I was president of the school's Amnesty International chapter. We went to the locally based Center for Victims of Torture to hear a man speak about his life as a political dissident in Argentina. He and his wife were tortured for speaking out against the governments abduction of people and putting them into prisons. He and his wife were then imprisoned and tortured in front of each other to have them name names of other dissidents. At one point that inserted a glass tube into the man's urethra and broke it with a hammer. His wife, blindfolded, burned with an iron poker, and starved, eventually died in front of him from the torture.

Torture has NEVER been proven to be an effective form of extracting information. Hearing this story and many others similar to that made it quite firm in my mind that no one should EVER be tortured.
Actually the report that was released... stated specifically that there was NO, I repeat, NO torture at Gitmo. There were a couple instances where a prison may have felt humiliated during an interogation, and a couple of instances of abuse by rogue personel... but NO Torture.

by the way... if you classify the instances listed in the original post of this thread as torture, the transvestites, transexuals, and alternative sex lifestyle lovers of the Gay Marriage section might start really disliking you.
 
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shuamort

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Stherngntlmn said:
Actually the report that was released... stated specifically that there was NO, I repeat, NO torture at Gitmo. There were a couple instances where a prison may have felt humiliated during an interogation, and a couple of instances of abuse by rogue personel... but NO Torture.
Is it too much to ask to treat people as people and not humiliate them. Especially when they have not been CONVICTED of anything? Claiming that since they're not american citizens is the worst cop-out of all.


Stherngntlmn said:
by the way... if you classify the instances listed in the original post of this thread as torture, the transvestites, transexuals, and alternative sex lifestyle lovers of the Gay Marriage section might start really disliking you.
I'd consider it torture to be forced in a prison to have sex with a person of the opposite sex (and I'm sure you'd feel the same about having sex with a person of the same sex). Of course, this isn't an issue of sexuality, this is an issue of forced humiliation.
 

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Datamonkee said:
I think that person should be thanking Allah that we don't take a page out of the Viet Cong book of torture techniques. I hear electrodes attached to various sensitive organs produce results.
The new definitions of torture don't include this. This is now classified as mere abuse.

Datamonkee said:
But the Americans are the inhumane ones. We are the flies in this soup.
This a one of the classic logical fallacies. Tu quoque is what it's called. (That link by the way has a real life example from UbL no less.)
The gist of it is no matter how rotten other people are, it doesn't make doing something wrong into something that's right.


Stherngntlmn said:
Actually the report that was released... stated specifically that there was NO, I repeat, NO torture at Gitmo. There were a couple instances where a prison may have felt humiliated during an interogation, and a couple of instances of abuse by rogue personel... but NO Torture.
Our current Presidential Administration has raised threshold for torure beyond what a reasonable person would define as torure.
Many horrific acts are no longer considered torture under our new definition since they don't rise "to the level of death, organ failure, or the permanent impairment of a significant body function."

Electrodes on the genitals- no longer torture.
Bamboo under the fingernails- no longer torture.
Thumbscrews- no longer torture
Electrical shocks- no longer torture
Red-hot irons- no longer torture
Beatings- no longer torture


Given the new, improved definition of torture, I doubt if there's much torture going on.

Some of us more old-fashioned folks are taken aback at what's no longer torture but now merely abuse.
 

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shuamort said:
Is it too much to ask to treat people as people and not humiliate them. Especially when they have not been CONVICTED of anything? Claiming that since they're not american citizens is the worst cop-out of all.
Since when has humiliation been a Synonym for torture! Webster couldn't find it! Webster Definition So really where's the link? When did being convicted have to do with information! You do know you cannot be convicted of anything and still be with holding information. Look at the Aruba case! Food for though! :mrgreen:
 
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It will really **** me off if any milllitary personel get stuck with little more than a slap on the wrist for this. The information retrieved during these interogations can save live. Plus there was no physical harm done to prisoners and i don't want to hear the public complain until the military personell start sawing off heads and putting the videos on the internet.
 

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It seems that many people, including some American officials are not aware "of the absolute, unequivocal prohibition against torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of any person, including terrorist suspects. The right to be free from such mistreatment is one of the most fundamental and unequivocal human rights. "

Whetther the Geneva convention applies or not is irrelevant in the sense that international law prohibits any use of torture and there is no exception.

Q: What laws prohibit torture?

Torture is universally condemned, and whatever its actual practice, no country publicly supports torture or opposes its eradication. The prohibition against torture is well established under customary international law as jus cogens; that is, it has the highest standing in customary law and is so fundamental as to supercede all other treaties and customary laws (except laws that are also jus cogens). Criminal acts that are jus cogens are subject to universal jurisdiction, meaning that any state can exercise its jurisdiction, regardless of where the crime took place, the nationality of the perpetrator or the nationality of the victim.

In 1948, following the horrific abuses of World War II, the General Assembly of the United Nations inserted the prohibition against torture in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 5 states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." This ban on torture and other ill-treatment has subsequently been incorporated into the extensive network of international and regional human rights treaties. It is contained in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by 153 countries, including the United States in 1992, and in the Convention against Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention against Torture), ratified by 136 countries, including the United States in 1994. It is also codified in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights.

The prohibition against torture is also fundamental to humanitarian law (also known as the laws of war), which governs the conduct of parties during armed conflict. An important element of international humanitarian law is the duty to protect the life, health and safety of civilians and other noncombatants, including soldiers who are captured or who have laid down their arms. Torture of such protected persons is absolutely forbidden. Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, for example, bans "violence of life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture" as well as "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." The use of force to obtain information is specifically prohibited in Article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: "No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties."

According to the 1999 Initial Report of the United States to the U.N. Committee against Torture, in the United States, the use of torture "is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority…No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form…Every act of torture within the meaning of the [Convention against Torture] is illegal under existing federal and state law, and any individual who commits such an act is subject to penal sanctions as specified in criminal statutes."

Although no single provision of the U.S. Constitution expressly prohibits torture as a means to extract information, secure a confession, punish for an act committed, intimidate or coerce, or for any reason based on discrimination, there is no question that torture violates rights established by the Bill of Rights. The U.S. courts have located constitutional protections against interrogations under torture in the Fourth Amendment's right to be free of unreasonable search or seizure (which encompasses the right not be abused by the police), the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination (which encompasses the right to remain silent during interrogations), the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments' guarantees of due process (ensuring fundamental fairness in criminal justice system), and the Eighth Amendment's right to be free of cruel or unusual punishment. In numerous cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned the use of force amounting to torture or other forms of ill treatment during interrogations, including such practices as whipping, slapping, depriving a victim of food, water, or sleep, keeping him naked or in a small cell for prolonged periods, holding a gun to his head, or threatening him with mob violence. Torture would also violate state constitutions, whose provisions generally parallel the protections set forth in the federal Bill of Rights.

Article 4 of the Convention against Torture obligates state parties to ensure that all acts of torture are criminal offenses under domestic legislation. Although there is no single federal law specifically criminalizing torture, the United States has insisted that existing federal and state laws render illegal any act falling with the Convention against Torture's definition of torture. In the United States, most criminal laws are state rather than federal. Although a few states have laws addressing torture as such, each state has laws that criminalize violence against persons (e.g. assault, rape), regardless of whether committed by public officials or private individuals. In addition, states typically have specific laws that criminalize acts by public officials that constitute abuses of authority, "official oppression," or the unlawful infliction of bodily injury. The principal federal law that would apply to torture against detainees is 18 U.S.C. 242, which makes it a criminal offense for any public official to willfully to deprive a person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
 

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Q: Are there any situations in which torture is permitted?

Under customary international law as well as underinternational human rights treaties, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is prohibited at all times and in all circumstances. It is a non-derogable right, one of those core rights that may never be suspended, even during times of war, when national security is threatened, or during other public emergencies.

According to the U.S. government, "U.S. law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a "state of public emergency") or on orders from a superior officer or public authority."
The European Court of Human Rights has applied the prohibition against torture contained in European Convention on Human Rights in several cases involving alleged terrorists. As it noted in one case, "The Court is well aware of the immense difficulties faced by States in modern times in protecting their communities from terrorist violence. However, even in these circumstances, the Convention prohibits in absolute terms torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, irrespective of the victim's conduct." (Chahal v. United Kingdom, Nov. 15, 1996)

Similarly, the Committee against Torture, reviewing Israel's use of torture as a method of interrogation against suspected Palestinian terrorists, stated, "The Committee acknowledges the terrible dilemma that Israel confronts in dealing with terrorist threats to its security, but as a State party to the Convention Israel is precluded from raising before this Committee exceptional circumstances as justification for [prohibited] acts" [United Nations Committee against Torture. "Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture" (1997), A/52/44,paras.253-260. (15 Nov. 2001).]



Q: Shouldn't torture be permitted if its use will save lives?

Some people argue that the goal of saving innocent lives must override a person's right not to be tortured. This argument is presented in its starkest form in the "ticking bomb" scenario: a bomb has been set to explode that will kill thousands of people and a detained person is known to have information on where the bomb is and how to defuse it. Is torture justified in such a case to force the detainee to talk? Those who say that it is argue that governments should be permitted to choose torture as the lesser of two evils in such a situation.

The international community, however, rejected the use of torture even in the "ticking bomb" case. International human rights law - as well as U.S. law - do not contain any exceptions to the prohibition against torture.

There are practical as well as moral reasons for not permitting a "ticking bomb" -or terrorist attack -- exception to the ban on torture. Although such an exception might appear to be highly limited, experience shows that the exception readily becomes the standard practice. For example, how imminent must the attack be to trigger the exception and justify torture - an hour, a week, a year? How certain must the government be that the detainee actually has the necessary information? Under the utilitarian logic that the end (saving many innocent lives) justifies the means, torture should be permitted even if the disaster might not occur until some point in the future, and it should be permitted against as many people as is necessary to secure the information that could be used to avert the disaster.

Israel provides a good example of how this logic works in practice. For years Israel justified its use of torture - what it called "moderate physical force" - by citing the "ticking bomb" scenario. But despite a genuine security threat, Israeli security forces rarely if ever were able to identify a particular suspect with knowledge about a particular bomb set to explode imminently. Rather, they ended up applying the scenario metaphorically to justify torturing virtually every Palestinian security detainee - thousands of people - on the theory that they might know something about some unspecified, future terrorist act. In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the use of torture, although the practice seems to have increased in the past year.

In addition, the ticking bomb scenario offers no logical limitations on how much or what kind of torture would be permitted. If the detainee does not talk when shaken or hit, why shouldn't the government move unto more severe measures, such as the application of electric shocks? Why not threaten to rape the suspect's wife or to torture his children? Once torture is allowed, setting limits is extraordinarily difficult.



http://www.hrw.org/press/2001/11/TortureQandA.htm [/I]


Unfortunately those who are really responsible for the mistreatment of detainees will never be punished because they are high ranking officials.
 

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shuamort said:
Back in High School, I was president of the school's Amnesty International chapter. We went to the locally based Center for Victims of Torture to hear a man speak about his life as a political dissident in Argentina. He and his wife were tortured for speaking out against the governments abduction of people and putting them into prisons. He and his wife were then imprisoned and tortured in front of each other to have them name names of other dissidents. At one point that inserted a glass tube into the man's urethra and broke it with a hammer. His wife, blindfolded, burned with an iron poker, and starved, eventually died in front of him from the torture.

Torture has NEVER been proven to be an effective form of extracting information. Hearing this story and many others similar to that made it quite firm in my mind that no one should EVER be tortured.
nice story...but how does it relate to Gitmo?
 

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shuamort said:
Is it too much to ask to treat people as people and not humiliate them.
yes; that IS too much to ask...If they're going to kill for their religion, and nothing will deter them, then they should not be treated as "people". They should be treated as an enemy of society...To me, that's open season.

Of it sounds too harsh, give me an alternative...stop saying everything being done is wrong....give another option...
 

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The option we are offering is the inherent dignity of human beings. They never forfeit that dignity no matter what is done to them, or what they do to others. It is within us all, and we have no right to ever have that taken away from us. To quote the christian scriptures, do unto others what you would do to yourself. And somehow, I don't think Christ would appreciate a vindictive behavior, in fact, I believe he would be quite appalled at it.

So there is your alternative-see the inherent dignity in all people, no matter what they have done or had done to them.
 

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ShamMol said:
So there is your alternative-see the inherent dignity in all people, no matter what they have done or had done to them.
I respectfully disagree...

"Dignity" should be afforded all untill they prove otherwise...and this is a perfect example.

If there was a chance that this "I see you don't respect humanity but I will"
scenario had a chance of changing other's opinions, then I would be all for it...But it's obvious that would be an exercise in futility.

If you punch them in the face, they will want to kill you...If you give them flowers and try to hug them...they will STILL want to kill you. Affording them "inherent dignity" will not change this.
 

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cnredd said:
If you punch them in the face, they will want to kill you...If you give them flowers and try to hug them...they will STILL want to kill you. Affording them "inherent dignity" will not change this.
Punching them in the face will make them want to kill you even more, wouldn't you think? Treating them with dignity, like they're a human being, you don't think that would help in the least?
 

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I still can't get over the fact that frat pranks are considered torture. They put a thong on a prisoner. Had him stand naked in front of a woman. So far this is the same thing strippers do every day. The only torture there is not getting good tips. Stop calling it torture. It isn't. It might be humiliating. Oh frigging well, these are foreign nationals caught in COMBAT zones in Afghanistan. Someone PLEASE explain to me why innocent people would be vacationing in the mountains of Afghanistan?!? Somehow I don't think that is what they are doing. But that just me. Obviously they people are guilty of something, whether it being terrorism or stupidity, humiliate them till your hearts content!
I agree with Guns_God_Glory. When our military starts chopping heads off on internet TV spouting scriptures, that is when I will start to worry about torture.
 

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Datamonkee said:
I still can't get over the fact that frat pranks are considered torture. They put a thong on a prisoner. Had him stand naked in front of a woman. So far this is the same thing strippers do every day. The only torture there is not getting good tips. Stop calling it torture. It isn't. It might be humiliating. Oh frigging well, these are foreign nationals caught in COMBAT zones in Afghanistan. Someone PLEASE explain to me why innocent people would be vacationing in the mountains of Afghanistan?!? Somehow I don't think that is what they are doing. But that just me. Obviously they people are guilty of something, whether it being terrorism or stupidity, humiliate them till your hearts content!
Do you think that those kinds of attitudes/thoughts/actions are the examples the US Marines should be making? Humiliate them till your hearts content? Guilty or not guilty, treat them humane and GIVE THEM A TRIAL.

I agree with Guns_God_Glory. When our military starts chopping heads off on internet TV spouting scriptures, that is when I will start to worry about torture.
Do you really need it spelled out for you? Purple crayon, glittered up, signed by president bush, signatures of the Marines, with DNA analysis, urine samples and a flesh and blood relative to identify them?

What about prisoners with burn marks on their bodies? Doesn't raise any questions or concerns?
 

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They are being treated humanely. A trial doesn't prove anything or show these people anything, other than giving those bastards a chance to get away, and kill more infidels. They should have been shot in the different combat zones that they were captured in, but we are too humane to do that. If you give them a trial, and some bleeding heart, these are tortured people, set them free prat of a lawyer will get them free only for them to pick up an AK-47 and unload it on more of our soldiers or his own people.
Someone posts in here with a great quote in their Sig-line that fits this particular idea. "An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure."
And so what about the burns. These people are the same ones that strap themselves with explosives and attack malls filled with women and children. Do you think, for a second, that burning themselves is beyond them? You don't think that they know they are getting an amazing amount of divisive media attention? You don't think the lawyers that are talking to them aren't telling them to sauce up their plight? I've had a defense lawyer. One of the techniques they teach their clients is to appeal to the sympathy of the court by any means necessary. It works. It plucks the naive heartstrings of the liberal courts. "Woe is me, my people are oppressed. Woe is me, I didn't get to grow up with electricity so I'm not a smart as you are. I have to kill people the only way left to me." I wonder if the Americans would have the same view of terrorist if the African American community had had the audacity and dedication it takes to strap on homemade explosives, sit on a bus and blow everyone to kingdom come, to get the civil rights movement in the media.
 

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vandree said:
For those who believe that torture is an effective way to obtain info, please read this article based on an interview with Jack Cloonan, a counterterrorism FBI agent:

http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=9876
It's shame that you somehow are STILL tying torture to Gitmo...

Five senators and 16 House members returned yesterday from separate weekend visits to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than 500 suspected Islamic terrorists are being held, agreeing that no prisoners are being mistreated but still divided on whether it should be closed.

“It was really an eye-opening experience,” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) told The Hill. “We found a well-run and well-organized camp. Everything we heard previously was negative, but what we saw was much different from what we had heard and read about.”

Nelson, a member of the Armed Services Committee who toured the camp on Sunday with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), said he concluded that, “while there may have been some inappropriate [interrogation] efforts in the past, they are not ongoing, and closing the prison is not one of the things we should pursue.”


This should end the debate, but some people refuse to believe...
 

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Datamonkee said:
They are being treated humanely. A trial doesn't prove anything or show these people anything, other than giving those bastards a chance to get away, and kill more infidels.
I am suggesting a trial, not a release, unless of course they are found innocent. If they are terrorists, hold them. If not, we have no right to do so.

They should have been shot in the different combat zones that they were captured in, but we are too humane to do that.
? Are you attempting to suggest that our armed forces are reluctant to pull the trigger?

If you give them a trial, and some bleeding heart, these are tortured people, set them free prat of a lawyer will get them free only for them to pick up an AK-47 and unload it on more of our soldiers or his own people.
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but seeing as they are listed as "enemy combatants" that would give them not just a trial, but a military trial yes?

Someone posts in here with a great quote in their Sig-line that fits this particular idea. "An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure."
That was Ben Franklin. You know, that guy in the noble Hell Fire Club. As I see it, killing terrorists is somewhat of a cure whereas killing the causes of terrorism would be the prevention. Reminds me of Beowulf.

And so what about the burns. These people are the same ones that strap themselves with explosives and attack malls filled with women and children. Do you think, for a second, that burning themselves is beyond them? You don't think that they know they are getting an amazing amount of divisive media attention? You don't think the lawyers that are talking to them aren't telling them to sauce up their plight?
That is certainly a possibility. That's what investigations are for.

I've had a defense lawyer. One of the techniques they teach their clients is to appeal to the sympathy of the court by any means necessary. It works. It plucks the naive heartstrings of the liberal courts. "Woe is me, my people are oppressed. Woe is me, I didn't get to grow up with electricity so I'm not a smart as you are. I have to kill people the only way left to me." I wonder if the Americans would have the same view of terrorist if the African American community had had the audacity and dedication it takes to strap on homemade explosives, sit on a bus and blow everyone to kingdom come, to get the civil rights movement in the media.
I believe Malcom X was not beyond such tactics, and given time Malcom X's "take it if they won't give it" attitude may have escalated to such actions. Thank God for Martin Luther Kind Jr. I doubt he would support the War on Terror by the way. Brings me back to the "hatred begets hatred" speech.
 
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