winston-churchill_portrait_1941.jpgBarack Obama’s press conference last night punctuating the ritualistic 100-day review of new presidencies showed this President at his best I think — thoughtful, human, willing to take quite a roster of questions, and well . . . wonky.

But Guardian US editor at large Michael Tomasky found a pretty significant error in Obama’s commentary last night. It’s always sort of exciting to be able to correct a President.

I had this chance when listening to Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address and heard:

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

Well, because Grover Cleveland gave the oath twice, there were really just 43 Americans. It interests me that this historical inaccuracy will live forever in Obama’s inaugural text — and there seems like there is nothing one can do about it.

But Tomasky’s catch is far more significant.

Obama recounted how he had read that even at the height of the blitz, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill refused to allow German prisoners to be tortured.

Well, Tomasky counters with the facts. Regrettably and sadly, even the Brits tortured.

When reality punctures the myths we hope are true, it’s not really something to be too glad about — particularly in this case.

— Steve Clemons

Posted at The Washington Note

  • Pingback: Live Chat on Torture: Sunday at 9 p.m. : NO QUARTER()

  • Reason


    Why are you so sure that the article by Tomasky’s in the Guardian is accurate?

    Andrew Sullivan gives just as credible argument in his latest piece on the Brits not having tortured during World War II. Why do you automatically assume that Tomasky information is more credible?

    Just to assume that Tomasky has all the correct facts is a bit presumptious. Sullivan digs up statements from Colonel Robin “Tin Eye” Stephens who was the commander of the wartime spy prison and interrogation in Britian. He says they did not torture. That is also very credible.

    You should actully say in your post that there is an opposing view that the Brits did torture and here it is instead of just trying to blame Obama for something that you really have no idea is true or not.

    All of this happened a very long time ago and it is not at all clear whether the British really did torture during WWII??

    It is just as credible from what has been written that Obama is 100% right that the British did not torture. And in addition his larger point that moral nations don’t torture is right.

    Your “gotcha” bullshit is just bullshit.

  • Ulysses S. Moss

    What the revisionists fail to understand is that any investigation and prosecution into former officials of the United States also means
    Self Prosecution for all Americans including themselves.
    You are allowing the world to have final verdict of guilt on the US which is forever.

    Self Prosecution!!!
    So Ironic!…Isn’t it!

    I’m, just totally surprised that you can’t see this but, of course I have had to defend America in other countries and cultures so I have had practice.

    I will stand by my country again right now and do whatever it takes to prevent this national collapse.
    Democrats have put themselves on the highest of pedestals. They are now boxed in a corner on National Security.
    If the slightest of events should happen out of the perception of weakness, Democrats will suffer the largest collapse in political history.

    • Reason

      Your statement is complete bullshit.

      What you are saying is the government is always right and they can do no wrong. And if they do wrong then it is all the people of the United States fault and therefore we should do nothing about it! What complete bullshit. Where are you living is some kind of facist super patriotic follow the leader like a bunch of sheep state. Go back to your FOX television.

      If you condon illegal acts by the government then we should also put you in jail.

      By the way I believe it is the Republicans who are weak on security. They have made this country a hell of a lot less safe by invading Iraq, who had nothing to do with 9-11. It has been the best recruiting tool for radical islam.

      Frankly, you can make the case that Bush should be put in jail for the Iraq war and for lying about the justifications for the war. Torture is small fry compared to the 100,000s of deaths and misery the Bush adminstration caused in Iraq.

  • lorac

    Something just occurred to me – Popes have commented on social issues, such as their being against abortion and gay marriage, but have they ever addressed such things as torture?

  • pm317

    When reality punctures the myths we hope are true, it’s not really something to be too glad about — particularly in this case.

    That should read,

    When reality punctures the myths that is your President, it is not really something to be too glad about…

    I demand to see his transcripts. I want to know how or what he did in those Ivy League schools.

  • Richard M. Langworth, a churchill historian wrote about this too. I was going to do a post about it, but I see one was already written! :O)

  • Carlyinnj

    Excellent post, the Tomasky link was quite enlightening and the comments (with Tomasky’s Article) are well worth the time to read. There are many commenting on Tomasky who also see through the POTUS and they have some very wry viewpoints.

    IMHO, what is so dangerous about PBO is that he turns LIES INTO TRUTH and TRUTH INTO LIES….PBO knows the TRUTH about Churchill (as Cindy commented on so well above).

    BO knows personally the terrible torture that was visited upon his family members in Kenya (and he also knows Churchill’s involvement in what happened to his OWN grandfather who was a leader in Kenya’s independence struggle). Ironically what took place recently with the US military involving “water boarding” was quite mild compared to what PBO’s own family suffered at the hands of the British. The suppression of the independence movement in Kenya was vicious, brutal and ruthless.

    I believe that the reason PBO so curtly sent back the bust of Churchill (which was located in the Oval Office and which Britain invited BO to keep) was because PBO could not abide the image of Churchill.

    How totally bizarre that PBO would PICK Churchill (of all people) and self righteously conjure up the PURITY of Churchill as the defender of his POLICY TO NEVER TORTURE (a human being)!!!

    Could it be that PBO (in some sort of macabre leaking of hidden motives) is actually telling us that HE, PBO would do exactly what Churchill had done…that is, HE (in some twisted way) WOULD ACTUALLY RESORT TO TORTURE, if needed.

    There could be many other plausible explanations for PBO picking Churchill as a shining example and beacon of light for his “No-Torture Policy.” I’m just asking, is it possible that PBO is so self-deluded that for him any position can be rationalized and any persons actions can be justified. How strange that in this case Churchill did the opposite of what PBO says he did AND PBO KNOWS IT?

    • Obama: Dubya 2 Electric Boogaloo

      Barack Hussein Obama knows the history but his Obot followers probably don’t. One of the first things he did was send back the Churchill bust back the the Brits. Kind of says it all.

      This was a pure and simple bamboozling to get GOP leaning independents and conservatives by raising Churchill and saying he didn’t torture. The kool aid drinking obots will come up with a WORM, and the media won’t spend 5 seconds of the history of British torture anyway.

      • JustMe~~

        I was just going to say that now we know why the Churchill Bust went back….i expect it will stand pride of place in the Embassy now…

  • JustMe~~

    I wonder why at this point hes giving the Brits a pass? or like you say he does not know the history ….

    • Ani

      My experience of him thus far as that he employs whatever revisionist history required, or refocuses the real issue to whatever suits the particular aim or sound bite he is trying to achieve. This may also be part and parcel of the work of Favreau, his frat boy speech writer, who figures people don’t remember that far back, so what different does it make to fudge a few facts.

  • Tex-Mex Soup

    Damn…… You know I was full of HOPE that obama would not live up to many of mine/others fears of having some sort of hidden agenda to screw this country over. Unfortunatley my hope has become a sad reality.

  • Retired

    Definition of Irony: Move now doesn’t want to move on anymore.

    • Docelder

      They need to keep the hatred of Bush alive and well. They must believe it will help sell their social programs.

  • mel

    Along with everything else fearful of Obama’s actions, one needs to wonder something that Obama kept pushing for, the union of Chrysler and Fiat with Fiat being able to control 51% of Chrysler in a few years, after the billions taxpayers dumped into Chrysler to keep it afloat.

    Why is it scary, what wasn’t revealed is that in 1976 a major shareholder arose at Fiat, taking up 10% of the company. That person is Mohammar Khadafi.

    How big a stake in Fiat will Khadafi have in Fiat when Fiat controls 51% of Chrysler?

    Anyone even take the time to investigate Fiat the company, they don’t just make cars, add to it trucks, heavy equipment and military aircrafts to name a few.

    Obama has opened the door for Fiat to take American innovations and high tech in more areas that just making cars, think about it and think also what someone like Khadafi can do with it if he takes on an even bigger stake, like control in Fiat, which he has the money to do!

    • mel

      And for those who don’t recall who Khadafi is, he is the ruthless leader of Lybia, remember now the guy who funded the bombing of the AA flight in Scotland?

      • God & Gun Clinging American

        Sorry… no offense, but it was a Pan Am [Clipper 103]flight that was bombed over Scotland. I can’t help it I’m an airplane/flying nut…

        • Seattle Moss

          Pan Am Flight 103 was a Boeing 747-100 named Clipper Maid of the Seas. The jumbo jet was the fifteenth 747 built and was delivered in February 1970…

          From one plane nut to another!

          • JustMe~~

            my goodness that was a terrible incident…

    • FLDemFem

      Did you notice that the Obummer administration announced yesterday that Chrysler would be filing for bankruptcy, and today the headline said, “Chrysler files for bankruptcy” Since when does the White House make announcements concerning a private company?? Oh, and Ken Lewis, who is one of the people on Obummer’s shit list, has been removed by his shareholders. But what don’t understand is why the White House is making the announcements regarding the financial filings of a private company. Does Obummer think that being head of the Executive Branch makes him head of all the companies in the US? Does he really think he has that kind of power??

    • Thanks for the info. I never put any thing past this traitorous thug.

  • Seattle Moss

    Never have I been as angry as I am right now!

    Revisionists like John Stewart saying that Truman was a war criminal.

    Why the suicide???
    As John McCain said today…MOVE ON ALREADY!!

    Telling our enemy when we are getting out of Iraq giving time tables and apologizing..Prosecuting those that kept us safe…
    Obama is snatching defeat from victory in Iraq
    Telling the Iranian’s that we won’t do anything to stop their nukes.

    Obama and his minions are destroying everything I hold dear.

    Unless you really do want us to go down

    • I’m with you, Moss. It is something I still can’t believe is happening. These people are going to be singing Kumbayah as we have our throats slit. These people want our families dead.

      • These people are going to be singing Kumbayah as we have our throats slit. These people want our families dead.

        You mean people like Larry and the other intelligence professionals who oppose torture?

        • Docelder

          There are at least two separate issues in there if not more.

        • andrew 191

          Wow DCMediagirl, nice try at changing the subject! It’s quite entertaining to witness your sanctimony and hypocrisy when you are so often guilty of the very tactics that you are so quick to scold others for using.

  • Seattle Moss

    This country is hell bent on National Suicide!

    I lived in England 8 years and I know for a fact that Brits come first if knowledge can be obtained to save lives.
    However, they took torture to a whole new level after the war..
    Check out these pictures.

    • Cindy

      Seattle–thanks for this link but can’t get it to work.
      And why did Jon Stewart say that Truman was a war criminal? WTF????

      • Seattle Moss

        John Stewart called Truman a war criminal because he knows that his audience knows jack shit about history.
        As most of us know Truman dropped the bomb to end the war and prevent a costly invasion as the Japs were not surrendering.
        Actually took the second bomb for the military junta to finally surrender to the US.
        The Know it all Stewart calls Truman a war criminal because Truman should have dropped the bombed 100 miles off the coast as a warning.

        More revisionist history!

        • Total Stewart BS. I never watch him or Colbert anymore. They are harmful.

        • Docelder

          Hey Seattle, exactly, it took a second bomb before they surrendered. The second bomb was as much a test as the first bomb was. That we had the resolve to do whatever was necessary to prevail… well that was the test and Truman passed it. Had Japan known for a fact we would do it again, or that we had more than one of them… it may not have taken two. If two hadn’t worked there would have been three. It wasn’t totally our decision, there was a war declared. People have forgotten 9-11. They have forgotten that we have been at war. People have exchanged what they knew for the rhetoric of Bush hatred. Bush was not perfect, but we never had another attack while he was at the post. Let us hope Obama turns out so well.

          • Seattle Moss

            The most interesting fact is that Truman was the most unpopular president with an approval rating of 20%..
            My father talked of those days and how everyone hated Truman..
            Truman derangement syndrome!!
            My father also told me that years later he came to believe that Truman was the greatest president America ever had for ending the war in Japan and fighting off the invasions of both China and the USSR by popular generals and rebuilding both Europe and Japan.

            Years later we might be saying similar things about about our most recent president..
            I already think that way!!

            • Docelder

              Laura Bush said that history would judge her husband differently. No doubt, we will look back at those days as the last of the best. Honestly, as we are looking at doubling or tripling the national debt, socializing banks and industry and punitive redistribution taxes on all future energy uses… well, we are either going down, going into a civil war or coming back swinging. I hope for the latter, But, I would settle right now for a split U.S. to end it right now.

            • andrew 191

              The Japanese were resolved, ruthless, remorseless, and suicidal in their determination to win the war and enslave all of those that they had conquered. It was the nature of their culture, developed over hundreds of years. It took the A-bombs to prove to them that we were equally resolved and determined to defeat them. It was the ultimate show of force that finally convinced them that they could not win. If the battle had remained conventional they would have faught to the last man, woman, and child. It’s the nature of their culture.

              Our current enemy have been raised in a culture where petty theft is punished with a severed hand, adulterers are stoned, there are brutal whippings, and serious crimes are punished by beheadings. Few in this country can even imagine such a system, while our enemy can’t imagine anything else, it’s a foundation of their religion, developed over hundreds of years. They can’t imagine a system where car theft is often punished by a day or two in jail, or less, and adulterers, gays, pornograghers, etc., are not guilty of breaking any laws. Their religion demands that such behavior be dealt with according to their beliefs. That’s why they hate us, that’s why they won’t stop, punishment of the infidels is their cause for existence. As with the Japanese, we will never defeat them until we prove beyond all doubt that we can be more powerful, more determined, and equally, if not more, brutal than they can ever imagine themselves to be. It is folly to believe that harsh interrogations and waterboarding enrage or rally them, when their OWN leaders and cultures routinely dispense vastly more cruel treatment on their subjects, and they still remain rabidly loyal to that ideology. the only way we’ll defeat them is with a massive show of strength, unlike anything they’ve seen yet, and unless we do that, we’re simply playing their game. They’ll keep fighting as long as they think there’s even a thousand to one chance that they’ll win. It’s the nature of their culture.

              • Seattle Moss

                the only way we’ll defeat them is with a massive show of strength, unlike anything they’ve seen yet,

                For the past 7 years Bush did exactly that!!

                • andrew 191

                  Shock and Awe, on steroids!

                  • Seattle Moss

                    Just a heads up where the actions going to be…

                    The Puget Sound Conservative Underground


                    • andrew 191

                      Thanks for the info, I’ll seriously look into it.

                  • Andrew 191: It’s a waste having you squander your patriotism and expertise in intelligence gathering and military strategy commenting on a blog. The last time I looked the Army was eager for new recruits. So when do you deploy?

                    • andrew 191

                      Wow, the old and hackneyed “If you like war so much, why don’t you join up?” stupidity. How unbelievably pathetic!

                      The irony of ignorance is that it prevents the sufferer from recognizing the extent of their affliction. Your statement and prior contributions illustrate my point beautifully.

                    • I know. I have a lot of nerve to assume that someone who writes so excitedly about “schock and awe on steroids!” would want to get in on the action first hand instead of just writing about it.

                      And as to this happy phrase you like to use:

                      It’s the nature of their culture.

                      So according to your worldview everyone born a certain religion, race or nationality is culturally pre-determined to behave and think in a certain way, correct? I must have missed the memo, because according to people who tend to grossly oversimplify and stereotype it would stand to reason that since I’m Jewish I must be a moneylender. And yet I’m not. Hmm.

                    • viking


                      From what I’ve read, you’re just a one woman middle-east war.

                    • DCMediagirl

                      Viking: I don’t even know what that means. Just say what you mean and stop speaking in riddles.

              • Andrew 191: If you’re going to pontificate you should try to read up on your facts.
                1. Not every Muslim country practices Sharia law;
                2. Not every country that practices Sharia law goes to these extremes;
                3. A great deal of resentment in those countries is generated by Western financial and political support of the corrupt and brutal “strong men”/dictators who run those countries;
                4. Many of the people living in those countries are brainwashed by the crude, anti-Western and anti-Semitic propaganda that passes for state-run media;
                5. Unlike Catholicism, Islam is not a centralized religion, which means there is no one interpretation of the Koran which applies to all Muslims. Anyone who thinks the Wahhabis and the Sufis have the same worldview is openly demonstrating their ignorance. And you might want to check into the Sunni-Shia split.

                • viking

                  DCMediagirl: If you’re going to be an apologist you should take up residence in a jurisdiction that imposes Sharia law.

                  With your elite education on the nuances of Islam and practicing Muslim sects you could really improve matters for everyone. Imagine your influence among the brainwashed! Your very presence, emanating understanding and tolerance, would bring a thankful end to the Western and Islamic worlds’ misunderstanding of one another!

                  Moreover, being a female…oh wait.

                  • “Viking”: I’ve noticed that the most ignorant commenters tend to resort to ad hominem attacks, childish foot stamping, patronizing observations, deliberate misreading of material and, when all else fails, falling back on faux patriotism. It’s too bad you know nothing about Islam and look down on people who are educated but I’m not to blame for that.

                    Given the silly and hysterical content of your response to my post, how ironic that the other day I was brutalized by yet another group of commenters, all women, who attacked me for pointing out the evils of the Taliban and the suffering of women who live under their rule. The gang of so-called “feminists” accused me of being anti-woman. These women were complaining about lack of openness and honesty in the American media and demonstrated their commitment to the importance of free speech by insulting me and telling me to shut up.

                    Some of you are so comical….

                    • arran

                      DCMediagirl–You come here to whip us into shape, and you could use your knowledge and intelligence toward a far-reaching productive purpose of “engagement.” In other words, if you’d tone it down a couple of knotches, some of us might be more open to converse with you–maybe even agree with you on occasion.

                      Take for instance the analogy made of the Obama policies/adm’s similarities to the Taliban. I also didn’t think the analogy was convincing and true at *this* juncture. I quickly discovered that you and other commenters had taking sides and were battling it out.

                      The writer of the post writes about many topics that I enjoy reading. I instantly knew if I offered my opinion that I would have put myself out there to be attacked even though I was responding objectively to the analogy.

                      I’m asking for a more civil discourse between us here mainly because I revel in my opinions, and others, being challenged, not attacked, whereby I become eager to educate myself on the topics by reading and debating.

                    • Seattle Moss

                      Unlike you I have been educated throughout the world and have a considerable command of both History and geography.
                      Stop telling people they are insane just because you disagree with them.

                      Your tunnel vision and hate amazes me and is probably the reason that your threads have the lowest amount of comments.

                    • pm317

                      arran, thank you for this note.

                      since you made reference to me, the writer of the original comment, a slight correction to your note : I compared the American media (not Obama admin) to Taliban to the extent that they both undercut individual choice (and that has profound effect in the way you’re governed). If anybody thinks the media gave you enough information about the candidates so that you could vote for the best in the last election, then they are deluded. Taliban uses violence to make the populace pliable to their goals and the current (liberal?) media uses misinformation/corruption to make fools out of gullible public to do what they want.

                      Yea, sure it is shocking to compare American media with Taliban but this is first world politics which would not include all the violence Taliban does but in some respects they are as bad relatively speaking for a well functioning democracy.

                      It is hard to keep the integrity of the original thought when things get distorted.

                    • If I disagree with what anyone has to say I post my opinion. If I think people are being ignorant and racist or that offensive and inappropriate analogies are being made I’ll say so. If you equate having someone disagree with your ideas with incivility then that’s your issue. If you agree with the idea that the American media are in any way, shape or form comparable to the Taliban (the allegation that launched the contentious thread on a post the other day) you really need to re-think your choice of words. If you accuse me of being anti-women’s rights because I stand up for the women being brutalized by the Taliban, either you reading comprehension is very poor or you’re demented. And I apologize in advance if what I’m about to write is uncivil or hurts anyone’s feelings, but if you don’t read or comment on my posts I couldn’t care less. Oh, and if you think you can bully me into silence by insulting me, twisting my words around or lecturing me you’re wrong.

                    • arran

                      pm317–I apologize for my memory loss and can’t excuse not looking the analogy up because I had a late am appointment. I will re-think the whole shebang.

                      After the primary as a Hillary supporter, I despised the attacks. I believe they merely polarize people and just work people up in an unnecessary rage. I will not be badgered in S(ing)TFU.

                      DCMediagirl: I’ve scanned your comment below. It will be the very, very, rarest of moments if I ever reply to your comments again. That decision will save me a lot of time for *civil discourse*.

                    • pm317

                      arran, we encourage participation to the fullest extent at NQ. Don’t be deterred or hesitant to say what is on your mind. Some people will hijack the thread and make it unpleasant but we’ll deal with it as and when it happens. Thank you for being a loyal NQ patron.

                    • andrew 191

                      If anyone is guilty of ad hominem attacks, childish foot stomping, patrinizing observations, and deliberate misreading of material, it’s YOU!

                      While you are obviously so proud of your knowledge of all things Islam, and couldn’t resist regaling us all with your mastery of the subject, your whole lesson appears to be a response to your intentional misreading or distortion of my post. I intentionally referred to the people I was describing as the “enemy”. The “enemy” are the type of monsters that strap bombs to their children, and fly plane loads of people into buildings. I never indicated that all of the Muslims in the world are the enemy, (that is YOUR disgusting distortion) but in the war on terrorism I think it is safe to say that the “enemy” are all muslims; bred, raised, and molded in the cultures that I ACCURATELY described. By far, most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia where the brutality I wrote about is commonplace.

                      Be honest (if that’s possible), your whole post is a bizarre response to points and arguments that I never made, and never would make. For instance, where did I claim that Wahhabis and Sufis were anything but peaceful? However, you clearly imply that I’m ignorant for not understanding those sects, and you also imply that I don’t understand the difference between Shia and Sunni. How do you know that I’m not an expert on those subjects? How do you know that I’m not a Suffi? Nothing I wrote indicates otherwise. You quite often assume the ignorance of posters and your superior knowledge, without any evidence to back up your beliefs. What is in evidence though, and is revealed in your posts, is your stark prejudice.

                    • DCMediagirl

                      For instance, where did I claim that Wahhabis and Sufis were anything but peaceful?

                      Wahhabi Islam is what’s practiced in Saudi Arabia. It is the extremist form of Islam that is taught in the radical madrassahs that encourage the types of practices that we all abhor. Sufis are the mystics. So there is a difference. That was my point.

                    • dcmediagirl

                      Andrew 191: I still think that your talent is wasted here. I don’t get why you get so defensive when I suggest you sign up. You’re also in posession of such a clear, sharp mind and blessed with above average reasoning skills and understanding of foreign cultures. But maybe it’s just as well you’ve carved out a niche for yourself here with your admirers Cindy, Viking and pm317. You’re all perfect for each other.

                  • Sabina

                    viking that was such a stupid coment to make, ‘being a female oh wait”

                    yes we know how muslim countries treats women, but this country has nothing to be proud about considering the way women were treated last election year, considering the violence against women in this country, considering how commedians think it is perfectly OK to make rape jokes despite the statistics on the number of women who are raped and many more who do not report it.

                    So please viking diagree with DCMediagirl, reply to her with sarcasm but there is no need to point out that women are still treated as the Nig*ers of the world. There is no need to be condescending to a woman about the bigotry that women around the world including in this country face.

                    Yes muslim men treat women like shit, so do the men in this country.

                    • Sabina: I appreciate your support, but you’re fighting a losing battle. “Viking’s” idea of debate is to make up and attribute to you ideas you didn’t say or write, then top it off by resorting to childish and condescending insults. You can’t reason with people like that.

                    • viking

                      Holy shit! You two, Sabina and DCMediagirl, have completely missed the point I was making, which was to support Andrew 191 remarks and point out DC’s unprovoked and snobbish retort.

                      All of which has nothing to do with some other posting and apparently the cat fight that ensued there. I haven’t read it and don’t want to.

                      And DCMediagirl, regarding “…make up and attribute to you ideas you didn’t say or write, then top it off by resorting to childish and condescending insults.” I haven’t made up or attributed any ideas to you. Nor have I insulted you. I fully admit to mocking (yes mocking!) your snobbish superiority. Oh, the brutality!

                    • viking


                      “viking that was such a stupid comment to make, ‘being a female oh wait”

                      Really? Why don’t you trot on down to say, the SWAT Province in Pakistan and time just how long it takes for the nuances of the Muslim sect in control there to appreciate you and anything you or “DC” have to say.

                    • andrew 191

                      Wonderful point Viking, but it is probably wasted on Sabina and DC. It’s a waste of time and reason.

                  • Cindy

                    viking— i think your comments are very well articulated and I whole-heartedly agree. And you made me laugh out loud when you wrote “being a female….oh wait”.
                    You’re alright in my book!

                    • viking

                      Cindy and Andrew 191-

                      Thanks for that.

      • Seattle Moss

        I have been checking this thread for the pictures and could not find them.
        Here is the complete story with the pics

        • Cindy

          Gosh, those pictures!
          Check out what I found (above).The British tortured Barack’s grandfather…Hello!!!!

          • What does this point have to do with the price of eggs? Regardless of what Britain did or did not do, the U.S. shouldn’t torture. Period.

            • Cindy

              DCmedia—step AWAY fron the crack pipe!

              • Again with the insults and ad hominem attacks instead of an anwer. At least you’re consistent.

  • This is what scared me about his reference: Even if you haven’t read British history (and he clearly hasn’t), if you’ve watched a single Hollywood or UK movie or read a single novel about the IRA’s treatment in British prisons, you KNOW the Brits torture.

    • Cindy

      Susan—-to wit:
      Beatings and abuse made Barack Obama’s grandfather loathe the British …Dec 3, 2008 … Barack Obama’s grandfather was imprisoned and brutally tortured by the British during the violent struggle for Kenyan independence, … – Similar pages

      • Seattle Moss

        Thank you for that link.
        I have been very puzzled as to why Obama would threaten the Anglo-American alliance.
        Now I might know the answer.

        • TeakwoodKite aka Badwolf

          Seattle Moss, I knew BO had a “daddy” complex but a Bush size one?


      • JustMe~~

        Ok now I will be suttle here…. The IRA!!! They too were one of the worst clans MURDERING innocent British people and military…. LIVE ON TV at one point at a funeral 2 soldiers were murdered and dragged through the streets…. The blowing up of the Public Remembrance service just a couple of incidents. The IRA too were similar to the terrorists we are all trying to find/fight now…… It was not like all out war they bombed innocent people, military families and Royalty if anyone remembers Lord Mountbatten… so let’s not think the IRA were innocent they also tourted….

        My brother was in the British Army for 28 years and before he could jump in drive his car they had to be checked EVERY TIME ……. Families were blown up with the car bombs they planted.
        Hell at one point you were unable to go for a drink in near a military town in case the pub was nailed bombed….OR at one time be on a train station……..

        It was known as tit for tat during this long long war….

        Do I agree with torture Hell NO…… but the IRS were not innocent …..

        • JustMe~~


          • Seattle Moss

            Hey Justme,
            Western Civilization can thank the British for most of the liberties we hold dear starting with the Magna Carta.
            As an empire builder the British built infrastructure and gave British common law and autonomy to the people.
            Unlike the Spanish which tortured and killed anybody that wasn’t like them and got in the way.

            Every culture has tortured and committed genocide against those they deemed a threat or an inconvenience to their goals and conquest.

            Any culture that doesn’t use the full force of their military to survive ends up enslaved or dead…

      • How fascinating, Cindy. I wonder if Obama even knows the story.

        Btw, I’m reading the article linked in The Guardian piece that Steve refers to.

        Secrets of the London Cages.” Here are examples of why torture doesn’t work:

        There is also a long and detailed letter of complaint from one SS captain, Fritz Knoechlein, who describes his treatment after being taken to the Cage in October 1946. Knoechlein alleges that because he was “unable to make the desired confession” he was stripped, given only a pair of pyjama trousers, deprived of sleep for four days and nights, and starved.

        The guards kicked him each time he passed, he alleges, while his interrogators boasted that they were “much better” than the “Gestapo in Alexanderplatz”. After being forced to perform rigorous exercises until he collapsed, he says he was compelled to walk in a tight circle for four hours. On complaining to Scotland that he was being kicked even “by ordinary soldiers without a rank”, Knoechlein alleges that he was doused in cold water, pushed down stairs, and beaten with a cudgel. Later, he says, he was forced to stand beside a large gas stove with all its rings lit before being confined in a shower which sprayed extremely cold water from the sides as well as from above. Finally, the SS man says, he and another prisoner were taken into the gardens behind the mansions, where they were forced to run in circles while carrying heavy logs.

        “Since these tortures were the consequences of my personal complaint, any further complaint would have been senseless,” Knoechlein wrote. “One of the guards who had a somewhat humane feeling advised me not to make any more complaints, otherwise things would turn worse for me.” Other prisoners, he alleged, were beaten until they begged to be killed, while some were told that they could be made to disappear.

        At the time Knoechlein made these allegations he was facing the death penalty, having been convicted of the murder of 124 British soldiers, including 98 members of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. These soldiers had been massacred by men under Knoechlein’s command after being taken prisoner on the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940. He was in a desperate position, and may have been making desperate allegations in a bid to escape the hangman. Nevertheless, his complaint was taken seriously by War Office officials, who considered whether to convene an inquiry. They eventually decided against this, on the grounds that this would mean delaying Knoechlein’s execution. There was no legal precedent for this, one official noted, besides which “any court of inquiry into these allegations would be futile”.

        Similar torture allegations surfaced in 1947. …

        • TeakwoodKite

          I recall my visit to several castles in Wales. The dungeons of the 16th century wreaked of torture.

          Different century, same torture.

          • Seattle Moss

            I have been to those same castles in Wales..

            Yes they reeked…Unless they were remodeled and turned into Ocean front hotels..Sweet!

        • FrenchNail


          I don’t get it. How can you say that torture does not work based on this article. What this article describes is saddism on the part of revengeful soldiers. The German officer already knew he was going to die anyway, so he held on to what was his line in the sand.

          Torture does not work on people who do not have any secret to give in order to make their torturers stop (they say anything and everything), or when people know they are going to die anyway. But it works on people who have secrets their torturers want to know. Few, very few can push their breaking point up to their time of death. The breaking point, when torture is professionaly done, usually arrive before death. That’s the whole point: To let the person being tortured believe that there is another end to torture than death.

          Every time I hear somebody say that torture does not work I want to yell. Of course torture works. I know for an absolute fact it works. That’s the abomination of it. It works.

          The debate is not does it work or not, it is do we now have other techniques able to achieve the same results without inflicting that severe degree of pain?

          To that question, I do not know the answer for certain. It seems that alternative techniques of rapport-building are producing very competitive results. But are they producing similar results? I don’t know and that is why I really would like to see more on the (alleged) results of the torture of those three terrorists.

          • andrew 191

            Rapport building takes time, and time is not always a luxury that we have. 9/11 knocked us so far backward that we were completely in the dark regarding future attacks. It was not unreasonable to operate on an assumption that further attacks were on their way. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, massive and extreme measures were needed to get our intelligence and defenses up to speed and to a complexity that put us back on top of the game. In the face of unknown attacks, there is no way to determine how much time you have to uncover them, so it seems reasonable to operate on the shortest timeline possible, and use the most extreme tactics allowable in our defense. I’m sure it was possible to turn down the sense of urgency after we had more confidence in our intelligence network. Using more subtle methods now is appropriate. But the differences between then and now are quite different, and it is not fair to compare tactics used then to the tactics that may be used now.