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Neither Arbitrary Nor Fun Friday:  Truth and Consequences Edition!

Greetings Chávezian Airspacepeople!  Now that Presidente Chávez has rounded up the teabaggers and assorted dead-enders in state-of-the-art Radical FEMA Pedagogy Camps, it’s time to talk about taking the next step.  Yes, that’s right, we’re going to complete the Third-World Latin-Americanization of the nation by forming a Truth Commission to investigate the use of torture by the former U.S.!

Now, I know there have been some conflicting views held by some of you regarding the need for complete security in this matter.  So today we’re going to interrupt the random series known as “Arbitrary But Fun Friday,” and replace it with “Neither Arbitrary Nor Fun Friday.” It seems to me that there are pluses and minuses associated with this “Truth Commission,” and perhaps we can sort them out here.

Plus: The Truth Commission would restore the rule of law and put a decisive end to the era of systematic torture in the Cheney Archipelago of secret detention sites.

Minus: The Truth Commission would not be bipartisan, and thus would make David Broder cry.

Plus: The Truth Commission would bring U.S. war criminals to justice, and strengthen not only national but international legal standards for conduct during wartime.  It will thereby set an indispensable precedent for the treatment of future Yoos and Bybees and Kissingers.

Minus: The Truth Commission would reveal that even though Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded six times a day during March 2003, the U.S. never obtained any evidence for the crackpot Cheney-Mylroie theory that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9/11.  This would make Michael Hayden mad, and it might make Dick Cheney shoot someone in the face.

Plus: The Truth Commission would have profound ripple effects for torture apologists, ranging from Alan “Ticking Time Bomb” Dershowitz to Joe “I Was For Torture A Few Days Before I Was Against It” Lieberman to Duncan “Guantánamo Serves Up Some Fine Lemon Chicken” Hunter, discrediting them irreparably and effectively barring them from public life and public discourse.

Minus: The Truth Commission would cause every the head of every single wingnut in the United States of Chávez to explode.  Some would go so far as to offer to be waterboarded for charity.

Hmmm, comrades, this is tougher than I thought it would be when I first sat down to write this post.  On reflection, I’m not really seeing any minuses at all.  Your thoughts?

Posted by on 04/24 at 12:21 PM
  1. Minus: The Truth Commission would cause every the head of every single wingnut in the United States of Chávez to explode.

    Please to explain why this would be a “minus.”

    captcha:  “bad”

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  01:42 PM
  2. And Chávezian Airspace is good but “Chávezivan Airspace” would be even better.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  01:44 PM
  3. The cleanup, Ed, the cleanup.  Think of the children!

    And check the new sidebar:  the blog is now sponsored by Chávezivan.  If this blog is rockin’. . . .

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  01:46 PM
  4. Oh, I missed the sidebar.  Perfect!

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  01:48 PM
  5. One of the levels of hell includes a karaoke bar in northern Minnesota with “If this van’s a-rockin” on the playlist.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  01:54 PM
  6. minus:  The Truth Commission would mean the U.S. is a banana republic.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  02:26 PM
  7. "On reflection, I’m not really seeing any minuses at all.  Your thoughts?”

    Well, there’s the “someone” who might get shot in the face, although the last guy didn’t seem to mind too much. And someone else has to clean up all those exploding wingnut heads. Not much gray matter, but plenty of red red meat. Think of the custodial staff, Michael! The custodial staff!

    (captcha: “problem,” as in “what’s the ... ?")

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  02:31 PM
  8. never mind (cf #3).

    Someday I’ll learn to read before commenting. or more accurately, I’ll learn to comment more quickly so that other comments don’t obviate my own comment while I try way too hard to craft something worthy. And no, I wasn’t working on the comment for forty-five whole minutes. I got distracted, okay?

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  02:35 PM
  9. Please to explain why this would be a “minus.”

    Because causing vacuums to explode involves an inversion of the laws of thermodynamics. And this would imply that the Washington Post has actually blown for the last decade.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/24  at  02:36 PM
  10. All your minuses are actually pluses.  How was this done, O master?

    Posted by Linkmeister  on  04/24  at  02:48 PM
  11. Nice work, Professor.  You may think your minuses aren’t really minuses at all, but the damage has already been done.  Apparently, President Obama skimmed your post and found the potential downside so convincing, he’s had second thoughts.  Well, it was apparently the combination of your post and a conversation with John Boehner, but since it would be offensively stupid and unnecessary for him to respect John Boehner’s opinion on anything, it must have been your post.  Retroactively.

    (Retroactively paging Chris Clarke to make the inevitable thermodynamics-related joke in one . . . two . . .)

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  02:51 PM
  12. m.ho. @ 6: mmmmm, bananas.

    Shannon @ 7-8:  no worries!  the penalty for failing to read previous comments is only twice as harsh as the penalty for typographical errors.  As Presidente Chávez pointed out this morning, the only problems arise when one commits a typographical error without reading the previous comments.  This demonstrates a lack of commenting discipline that can be remedied only by severe self-criticism.

    Linkmeister @ 10:  All your minuses are actually pluses.  How was this done, O master?

    By simple inversion of the laws of thermodynamics, young grasshopper.  Time just isn’t what it used to be!  And-a four, and-a three . . .

    Posted by Michael  on  04/24  at  03:14 PM
  13. Apparently, President Obama skimmed your post and found the potential downside so convincing, he’s had second thoughts.

    Actually, Michael had me at “The Truth Commission would not be bipartisan, and thus would make David Broder cry.”

    Posted by Barack Obama  on  04/24  at  03:16 PM
  14. it might make Dick Cheney shoot someone in the face.

    You know that’s bound to happen sooner or later. No point in fussing over it now.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  03:25 PM
  15. Plus: The Truth Commission would have profound ripple effects for torture apologists, ranging from Alan “Ticking Time Bomb” Dershowitz to Joe “I Was For Torture A Few Days Before I Was Against It” Lieberman to Duncan “Guantánamo Serves Up Some Fine Lemon Chicken” Hunter, discrediting them irreparably and effectively barring them from public life and public discourse.

    Alas, I don’t think that even the Truth Commission can pull that off. Not that it isn’t worth a try.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  04:11 PM
  16. Oh, V. Ed, you’re so cynical.  But look at the Iraq war!  Every pundit who was wrong about it has been put out to pasture, never to be heard from again.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/24  at  04:32 PM
  17. 16: Dunno, maybe all of the practitioners of High Broderism can move on to more suitable second careers like Steven Den Beste. (Caution: marginally NSFW, and not something you probably want to click on their anyway.)

    A weaboo is an American fan of anime who does things like using the odd Japanese word in RL, and wears kimonos at home, and really tries to live the life instead of just reading about it and watching it.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  05:19 PM
  18. All I can say is I need another bottle of windex for the computer screen after the last couple of days of spitting coffee laughing during reading the comments.

    And I’m sure our new leader will respect and appreciate the fact that it was “coffee” that I was spitting and not some wimpy northern beverage.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  08:04 PM
  19. has the department of dangeral studies folded due to recession-induced budget cuts?

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  08:11 PM
  20. Does Hugo have a FB page? I think we should all friend him if he does.

    e.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  09:33 PM
  21. In Chávezian Airspace FaceBook, Hugo friends you.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  09:57 PM
  22. Not providing anything fun, but Scott Horton wrote a considerable well-crafted (and truth filled) essay on just this subject.

    The alternative is a hybrid—an executive-legislative commission that would be created by an act of Congress but would draw also on the authority of the president. This alternative typically involves an elaborate process for the appointment of commissioners by both the White House and the congressional leadership. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, usually called the 9/11 Commission, is the most recent example of this approach. The hybrid commission can be challenged on constitutional grounds as an intrusion on executive prerogative, so its success still requires the president’s support and cooperation. The leaders of the 9/11 Commission were, in fact, pointed in their criticism of the false or misleading statements that were provided by some agencies, particularly the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration. In their book, Without Precedent, the commission’s co-chairs, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, write that they openly considered recommending prosecution of some government officials for criminal obstruction, a threat that ultimately secured some compliance. They remained skeptical, however, about how much cooperation they ultimately received. In general, the presidential commission seems a smoother, less legally problematic model, whereas the hybrid commission is cumbersome but more likely to command broad public support and confidence from the outset.

    I suppose we can create a more expansive hybrid to account for the new Hugo inclusive greater American hegemony dreamtime.

    If you cannot access it, though i believe it is open to the public, please email me and i will forward you the .pdf of it.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  10:18 PM
  23. Hugo Chávez doesn’t subscribe to the Many-Worlds Hypothesis, the Many-Worlds Hypothesis subscribes to Hugo Chávez.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  10:32 PM
  24. I won’t mind giving up the cumbersome Truth Commission if in fact we get a special prosecutor who nails all the bastards. I keep hoping Obama is playing a “make me do it” game to increase the credibility of the prosecutor—see, I didn’t want to go this way, but that Attorney General did his independent thing and I can’t stop it.

    I don’t really trust Senators and Congressmen not to screw it up. So I have to hope Obama is not what he seems, but is much more devious and ruthless. (So that’s what the “hope” slogan was about). Please, God, don’t let him be the get-along “centrist” he seems to be.

    I can’t really imagine those former “leaders” behind bars in orange jumpsuits, but then, I didn’t think that American would vote for anyone not white, or that the Republicans would destroy themselves so completely, so . . . there’s that hope thing again.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  11:40 PM
  25. But Hugo can’t friend Michael. (he said as he picks at the open sore one more time)

    captcha “country” as in....

    e.

    Posted by  on  04/24  at  11:50 PM
  26. I do not see what is the large deal.  Who does not enjoy the careful waxing of the waterboard?  Who does not receive the tingling thrill of joy when catching a monster wave?  Next you will be placing Frankie Avalon in the jailhouse, and banning Clambake from the cinematic theaters!

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  03:41 AM
  27. But Hugo can’t friend Michael.
    or can he???
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/PRESIDENTE-HUGO-CHAVEZ/43226174584
    http://www.myspace.com/hugo_chavez

    Oh wait, Elliot is correct, Michael has no direct Facebook or Myspace friending apparatus; thus he cannot friend Hugo.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  06:07 AM
  28. has the department of dangeral studies folded due to recession-induced budget cuts?

    In United States of Chávez, there are no “budget” “cuts”!  And every department is now Dangeral Studies!  Class, open your books to Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, page 88.

    Because behind Hugo Chávez’s smile is . . . another fist!

    Oh, wait.  I think I may have breached the Smirnoff-Norris Confundulum.

    Elliot:  All I can say is I need another bottle of windex for the computer screen after the last couple of days of spitting coffee laughing during reading the comments.

    Oh noes!  You sound just like this guy!

    I do not see what is the large deal.

    Well, Torquemada’s grandma, it seems to have something to do with my decision to join or not join Facebook.  Dang, I thought that was all resolved!  or not!  But you raise an important point.  Justice will not be served in this blighted land until Frankie Avalon has paid his debt to society.  Even The New Republic now admits that Clambake is torture.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  10:18 AM
  29. One of the levels of hell includes a karaoke bar in northern Minnesota with “If this van’s a-rockin” on the playlist.

    And the only two people allowed on stage are Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

    Posted by Jason B  on  04/25  at  10:41 AM
  30. Even The New Republic now admits that Clambake is torture.

    And the subjects of torture aren’t the only victims. Clambake killed Elvis!

    In her 1985 book, Elvis and Me, Priscilla Presley writes that by the time filming was to begin on Clambake, Elvis’s growing distress with the quality of his films led to a despondency accompanied by overeating that saw his weight balloon from his normal 170 lb (77 kg) to 200 lb (91 kg). Possibly due to this, Elvis appears overweight, tired and looks sick. A movie studio executive ordered him to lose the weight in a hurry, marking the introduction of diet pills to his already excessive regimen of medications.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  11:20 AM
  31. And Frankie Avalon continues to wreak havoc from beyond the grave. How many maimed?

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  11:22 AM
  32. Now this deserves to become an internet tradition!

    Hoping to avoid laboring in the underground accent mines soon to be opened, I’m going to do the whole Bart Simpson write on the blackboard thing: Chávez, Chávez, Chávez!

    Captcha, and I kid you not: “foreign.”

    Just to be neither arbitrary nor fun for a moment: this is an excellent book that destroys the argument that the ticking time bomb legitimates torture. And from a consequentialist standpoint, so you can out-realist the alleged “realists” willing to get their hands dirty, etc.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  04/25  at  11:25 AM
  33. Because behind Hugo Chávez’s smile is . . . another fist! Oh, wait.  I think I may have breached the Smirnoff-Norris Confundulum.

    Hugo Chavez for President of (newly independent) Texas! It’s an oil state, he won’t have any problems! And Chuck Norris for Overlordship of the Drug Cartels! After all, in that field, virtually all problems can be solved with a combination of karate and machine gun fire, plus! Reality TV show!

    Plus: The Truth Commission would have profound ripple effects for torture apologists [...] discrediting them irreparably and effectively barring them from public life and public discourse.

    They’d be reduced to stints on Miami Vice CSI:Miami and talk radio gigs. Well, excepting Lieberman, who would have to move on to the Likudnik rubber chicken circuit, and appearing in late-night commercials for the Ronco Talking Dreidel.

    Clearly this Truth Commission is needed to provide our Party Comrades with months and months of endless amusement, which in turn would help insure the success of the Six Year Plan for Maximal Utility of Hilarity, so I heartily endorse this and all your suggestions, Comrade Bérubé.

    max
    [’It would be worth it even if it only made Dick Cheney shoot a Fox personality in the face on national TV.’]

    Captured: section, like sectionalism and nullification.

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  11:50 AM
  34. The Truth Commission

    For bipartisan balance, not to say bi-coastal balance, though, the T.C.  needs some Bay Area liberals such as Di Feinstein and Chairgal Pelosi herself.  Plus, with a moneymaker like DiFi on board, the T.C. could conceivably bring back a healthy return on investment, assuming DiFi farms out some of the Truth bidness to her hubby < a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_C._Blum">Blum aka Daddy Warbucks</a>.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/25  at  12:46 PM
  35. Uh, guys, I told you this whole thing would make David Broder cry.

    Posted by Barack Obama  on  04/25  at  10:12 PM
  36. Barack - that’s the most painful link I’ve seen in a long time. Now I want to cry. I couldn’t get through the whole thing, had to stop after these 2 gems:

    Their argument is that without identifying and punishing the perpetrators, there can be no accountability—and therefore no deterrent lesson for future administrations. It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.

    Because attempting to live by the rule of law, upholding our most valued ideals, and trying to regain our moral high ground would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to our country?

    Obama has opposed even the blandest form of investigation, a so-called truth commission, and has shown himself willing to confront this kind of populist anger.

    Because Democracy totally sux, and “the people” need to just STFU?

    captcha: why

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  11:13 PM
  37. Broder:It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.

    I for one, am glad that George has had such a positive influence on Broder by convincing Broder to turn in his hour of need to that hippie communist, Jesus, and his advocation of turning the other cheek.

    Perhaps things might have gone better in the earlier part of this decade had Broder and Republican friends not misunderstood the phrase as referring to butt cheeks; we might have avoided that whole sadomasochistic torture of Muslims in a righteous act of vengeance thing.

    max
    [’captured: those people.’]

    Posted by  on  04/25  at  11:22 PM
  38. Well, maybe all the messy politics that would accompany the investigations should be avoided. How about we skip all that and instead use harsh interrogation techniques on Cheney and Bush until they confess and name names?

    Posted by  on  04/26  at  08:35 AM
  39. It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.

    Now we know what movie Broderella has in his Netflix queue.

    Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Broderella does!

    Or, risking another breach in the already tattered Smirnoff-Norris continuum (is that why all the Dust seems to fleeing lately?): In Chávezian Airspace all your plausible-sounding rationales are belong to us.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  04/26  at  09:03 AM
  40. Yeah, this Broder column goes right into the time capsule along with the Sally Quinn piece from the late ‘90s. Pure, distilled, self-serving arrogance on the order of his classic hits like, “The judgment is harsher in Washington. We don’t like being lied to”. (At least they didn’t lie about the torture, oh wait, but they did ... um ... help me Obi-W non-partisan politics: you’re our only hope. Ah! They’re gone now, must look forward, must not look back ...)

    My favorite line is probably, They are looking for individual scalps—or, at least, careers and reputations. Oh the humanity, reputations destroyed by advocating torture.

    And this is “serious” business for the Kewl Kidz, they’ve doubled down on so much since 1992 (or the early 1980s, really), they can’t stop now? You want to see a tarnished reputation, Broderella? Just freaking wait.

    Posted by  on  04/26  at  06:17 PM
  41. Via LGM, Michael Scheurer debasing himself, logic, Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post, and a whole political class. Just incredible. (I know, preaching to the choir.)

    So if the above worst-case scenario ever comes to pass [we don’t torture OBL despite his revealing American cities will be nuked and he knows the details but won’t tell!—JPS], Americans will have at least two things from which to take solace, even after the loss of major cities and tens of thousands of countrymen. First, they will know that their president believes that those losses are a small price to pay for stopping interrogations and making foreign peoples like us more. And second, they will see Osama bin Laden’s shy smile turn into a calm and beautiful God-is-Great grin.

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  12:03 AM
  42. More evil links from JP, who clearly has a fondness for torture - torturing us, that is. Well, fine.

    Scheurer: And second, they will see Osama bin Laden’s shy smile turn into a calm and beautiful God-is-Great grin.

    That a very nice touch - throwing down the ol’ “Our God is better than your god” gauntlet. It threatens America with the image of OBL rejoicing in the Victory of Allah while the United States lies in ashes at his feet. Well, no true American is going to stand idly by and allow their false god to trump the Real God. If we have to torture in Jesus’ name to prove His superiority, so be it.

    captcha: point, as in the thing Scheurer is clearly missing.

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  01:43 AM
  43. Michael has clearly forgotten his physics. Any investigation wouldn’t let the past be the past, thereby destroying the space-time continuum. Would you really want the world to end over you unworthy desire for vengeance? Oh wait, of course we would. GNF’n all. Well then, as you were.

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  04:13 AM
  44. The Truth Commission would bring U.S. war criminals to justice, and strengthen not only national but international legal standards for conduct during wartime.  It will thereby set an indispensable precedent for the treatment of future Yoos and Bybees and Kissingers.

    I’m pretty sure this is something that wouldn’t happen:  a “Truth Commission” is what you do when you decide the most important thing is to get the facts out, so you grant everyone immunity and make them testify in public.  If you want people prosecuted, you need a prosecutor.

    (In theory, you can prosecute people even if they’ve already given testimony under a grant of immunity, but you need to prove that you didn’t make any use of their immunized testimony in putting your case together, which is practically impossible.  Which is why Oliver North’s conviction was reversed on appeal.)

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  09:42 AM
  45. Alkali raises a plausible-sounding point, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  09:55 AM
  46. a “Truth Commission” is what you do when you decide the most important thing is to get the facts out, so you grant everyone immunity and make them testify in public.  If you want people prosecuted, you need a prosecutor.

    So, instead of saying having DINOs like Hillary or DiFi (or most of House and Senate) sit on the T.C., or having the SCOTUS scum look at it, move for like change of venue to a Hague-like court, or maybe the Russell Tribunal, ungraded (or maybe jus’ fuggetaboutit). Alas, a Sartre, Bertrand Russell are not available, and El Viejo Chomsky probably senile, bored, or sympathetic.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/27  at  11:46 AM
  47. Besides, vengeance is mine.

    This comment has been approved by David Broder.

    Posted by Tom DeLay  on  04/27  at  02:17 PM
  48. Wow...it just occurred to me that my occasional “Castroesque” appearance may turn out to be a plus afterall

    Oh dear I think I’m skipping the haircut and beard trim for a couple of months. I got some stuff to do.

    e.

    Posted by  on  04/27  at  08:32 PM
  49. Are ya, Elliot Abrams-bour?

    When are you going to boot the frauds and crypto neo-cons off the site, Maestro Mike .

    Or have you joined them

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/28  at  08:18 AM
  50. Or maybe Elliot Abrams-bour, you don’t like to hear that one of yr heros, Diane Feinstein’s a corrupt pedazo de mierda, equal to like Cheney in crime?  It’s probably that, puto.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/28  at  08:29 AM
  51. no relation to senor Abrams (thank god)

    e.

    Posted by  on  04/28  at  10:45 AM
  52. G*d, as in JHVH, Allah, Almighty, Wotan, etc?? 

    At one time, Maestro B had banned the word, ah thought.  Now, He’s back. 

    Let’s do our part to keep Aero-Chavez monotheist-free.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  04/28  at  11:10 AM
  53. For some reason - can’t for the life of me figure out why - I suddenly just now remembered I promised Michael I’d install a “close this comment” functionality and have not yet done so. My bad! I’m just lucky there’s a double indemnity clause in that show trial confession I “signed.”

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/28  at  02:56 PM
  54. To keep on going in this kind of sport, you need more stamina than ordinary people. Feel free to see this review. Who knows that it might help you out.

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