Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What we've learnt Extreme Interrogation Techniques

  • It is torture. Torture, like a rose, by any other name is still torture
  • We all knew it was going on and we all turned a blind eye
  • It was systemic. It wasn't just a wink-and-nod kind of thing. There were memos and all sorts of legal instruments to give the doers legal authorization
  • You know there's something shady going to when memos are being destroyed. That demonstrates an awareness of wrongdoing.
  • We are better than that. If we have to resort to the methods of our enemies, then what are we fighting for?
  • "Warrantless wiretapping" is illegal. Period.
  • The funny thing is history is replete with warnings about the fallacy of trading freedom for security.
  • If this was done by a third world country, you bet the president of that country will be charged with war crimes.
  • Eventually, the period of Bush's presidency from 9/12/2001 till he left will be known as the dark days in American history. That along with things like segregation and race inequality.
On the question of whether or not these techniques ("techniques" is so clinical a term for something so God-awful) worked: really what does it matter whether or not they worked! The question is whether they were legal under US constitution. No reasonable person will try to make a case that slavery worked; or that searching a defendant's property without a warrant works. We know these things aren't allowed under the constitution so the question of whether or not they work is a non-starter. 

Bush people will like us to believe these techniques are what kepts up safe from 2002 till now. But is that the best we can do? Is that the lofty standard to which America wants to be held? 

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Obama, now you've opened pandora's box...

Good luck trying to get it closed in your guaranteed 4 years! Of course we tortured people. Sure we called it "enhanced interrogation techniques" and we tried to legalize it with memo's after the fact. But what's the upside to opening this particular pandora's box? It certainly won't endear us to our enemies and it won't strengthen our bond with England (one of the few true friends we have left). So why release the memos? What could you possibly gain? Unless your goal was to further embroil congress in grave matters of little consequences. We all know if you really follow the thread, you'll end up in Dick Cheney's office. So are you prepared to prosecute a Vice President of the United States for conspiracy to torture?

First you said you weren't interested in looking backwards. Then you said CIA interrogators won't be punished but the writers of the justification memos will be punished. How can you not punish the actual CIA interrogators when the guards at Nazi concentration camps were tried and punished? When a couple of the guards from Abu Graib are serving prison sentences.

Frankly this is just Obama's inexperience showing. We all knew about the torture but decided to turn a blind eye to it.  We all knew about the warrantless wiretapping but decided to ignore it. What makes Obama think we are now ready for the truth? He ought to have just stopped at saying "We don't and won't torture". Now he's gotta find a way to extricate himself from this process before his entire agenda gets derailed.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Retention Bonuses

The economy is bad. Unemployment is high. Higly skilled professional workers are settling for unskilled work just to make ends meet. So why then are some companies paying retention bonuses to the tune of millions of dollars? I can understand wanting to reward loyal hardworking employees that are helping your company through the difficult times. But should you bankrupt the company to do so? Paying bonues in time of plenty is all well and good. But why would you pay $13.3 million in bonuses to 703 employees on the same day you lay off 53 of their co-workers?

I just wonder what these companies think employees will do if they aren't paid retention bonuses. Quit and join the millions of unemployed?