May 29, 2008

Thursday 080529

Rest Day


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Pull-up Bar Drills by Jeff Tucker, CrossFit Journal Preview - video [wmv] [mov]

The CrossFit Games registration is re-opening for a limited number of competitors. Register now before the new cap is reached!

"Is John Yoo a Monster?" by John H. Richardson - Esquire

Post thoughts to comments.

Posted by lauren at May 29, 2008 7:09 PM

I am going away for the weekend (Friday-Sunday). Is there a workout anyone can suggest doing for tomorrow being I am going to be off those few days.

Comment #1 - Posted by: Michael at May 28, 2008 7:26 PM

So I was wearing a crossfit shirt today and one of my friends asked me what crossfit is...and he was obviously looking for the short answer...i didnt know what to say do u describe it in a sentence or less?

Comment #2 - Posted by: Sam F at May 28, 2008 7:28 PM

Yeah new crossfit journal in a couple of days, still working through all of them from the cert, that is a ton of material. Question, how much of the journals can I share with people at work that are interested in training with me?

Comment #3 - Posted by: angelo 37/241/15 months xfit at May 28, 2008 7:31 PM

You watch, someday the Crossfit games will be an Olympic sport!

I just wish I was young enough to compete with the immortals...I know, just an excuse...

Comment #4 - Posted by: wtp at May 28, 2008 7:31 PM


Crossfit = Confusion Training.

Comment #5 - Posted by: steve at May 28, 2008 7:32 PM

#3, you say, "instead of going to the 'gym' for 2 hours to socialize, I do crossfit for less than 30 minutes and want to puke."

Comment #6 - Posted by: Brennan at May 28, 2008 7:33 PM

Can't wait for the June journal. Good video, too bad I suck so bad at pull ups that it will be 2009 before I can pull that move off!

Helen today for 12:03. Time sucks because my pull ups suck! At least it was 2 minutes faster than last time. OPT you are a machine at sub 7:00 on Helen.


Comment #7 - Posted by: Bob in NoVA at May 28, 2008 7:37 PM

Muscular Development described Crossfit as "total athleticism."

Comment #8 - Posted by: Roy at May 28, 2008 7:37 PM

#7, well put

Comment #9 - Posted by: david at May 28, 2008 7:38 PM

#1 Michael:

Hotel/Travel Workout: 15 Down burpees for time. (15 burpees, 14 burpees, 13...down to 1)

#3 Sam F:

"Constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity."

Get yourself some bumper stickers at and be prepared for even more questions!

Dan D.

Comment #10 - Posted by: Dan D. at May 28, 2008 7:39 PM

I'm a recreational weightlifter who has recently adopted CrossFit as my exclusive training regimen and I'm enjoying the experience immensely. There are a few people who work out with me who run marathons and don't quite know what to make of CrossFit. These marathon runners used to join me for weightlifting sessions in order to strengthen both upper and lower body and prevent emaciation. So here are a few questions that anyone in the CrossFit community is welcome to answer. If a specialist such as a marathon runner were to workout in the gym to supplement his/her running, which CrossFit workouts would you recommend and why? How many times a week should they hit the gym? Can CrossFit be useful to such specialists? Would WODs that focus on increasing VO2 max be best? I have not attended any certifications yet and these questions are simply beyond me at this point. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Comment #11 - Posted by: M@ at May 28, 2008 7:41 PM

I need the rest!

I was sick last week, so on Wednesday, I made up the three workouts I missed. I did the shoulder presses, then "Jason", then the one with the mile run. It took me about an hour and a half and I am tired!

Comment #12 - Posted by: Hero at May 28, 2008 7:43 PM

why is it that rest days are the worst days

Comment #13 - Posted by: PGall-PHL at May 28, 2008 7:43 PM

Awesome job, Paul.

Tucker, Jason, Paul-
love seeing you GSX guys on the main page.
You all ROCK!

Comment #14 - Posted by: ava at May 28, 2008 7:56 PM

Rest day for my poor infraspinatus...

Comment #15 - Posted by: Herm @ CF Los Altos, CA at May 28, 2008 8:08 PM

Hello everyone. First post. I was looking at "Jason" on Monday. When I looked at it again, I saw it was named after a Navy SEAL, who died serving our country. I think as another sign of respect we could also dedicate this workout to Corporal Jason Dunham, a US Marine who received the medal of honor posthumously. I think it would be very fitting to do this. I have to admit when I first saw the name, I actually thought it was dedicated to Jason Dunham.

Comment #16 - Posted by: Abe at May 28, 2008 8:10 PM

# 12 M
I know the first workout i would have them do is "Cindy" 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 air squats as many rounds as you can complete in 20 min. The goal is to reach 20 rounds in 20 min. More is always better. Any of the timed wod's are great because if you are doing them properly by pushing yourself very hard the cardio training will automatically be part of the work out!

Be Faster Be Stronger Be Better

Comment #17 - Posted by: RAMBO 6'2 191 24 yrs` at May 28, 2008 8:10 PM

as rx'd, 24 hours. Time to catch up on GTA IV :)

Comment #18 - Posted by: Sean at May 28, 2008 8:11 PM

# 11 M I left you an answer on comment 17 i thought you were # 12 My B

Comment #19 - Posted by: RAMBO 6'2 191 24 yrs at May 28, 2008 8:16 PM

What is "rest?" Do we post the time spent sleeping tonight??? Are there any subs for rest?

Ha ha...just kidding. Don't get excited. Anyways, so with all the chatter about these FiveFingers yesterday, I couldn't resist...I just purchased the Sprints. I am kind of hoping a trainer at Hella Gay Fitness (no offense intended) will try and tell me I can't wear them.

Now that I got me some Vibrams, I am itching to test these slides out. So my questions:
a) Should I be running any differently with these on?
b) Are there any palpable benefits to using them? (Yes, I am an impulse spender.)
c) How many people will I have to take down at the gym for laughing at my new kicks?

Comment #20 - Posted by: Bighead at May 28, 2008 8:21 PM


I do both crossfit and run - all distances from 5k to marathons - i do my running in the AM and CF afterwork - when i ran my last marathon in march i stopped CF about 6 days before and picked it up again about 3 days after - it is totally possible and beneficial to do both.

Comment #21 - Posted by: Beth at May 28, 2008 8:29 PM

WTP and I were discussing the possibilities with "Crossfit Games" becoming an Olympic Sport...

...Maybe more of an "X-Games" event - Lets PLAY!!!

Comment #22 - Posted by: DorothyinOZ at May 28, 2008 8:32 PM


I signed up on the CFNYC team. I hope that's ok since I don't even live there anymore. But I don't have a steady gym yet and they were my first affiliate if that makes a difference. I just wanted to represent NYC!

Comment #23 - Posted by: AllisonNYC at May 28, 2008 8:32 PM


CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program based on constantly varied, if not random, functional movements performed at high intensity resulting in an increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

Comment #24 - Posted by: CR at May 28, 2008 8:42 PM

#24 lol id love to be able to spit that out in a regular convo...might get a better reaction than when i actually do the workouts

Comment #25 - Posted by: Sam F at May 28, 2008 8:45 PM

"BigHead"--I just bought a pair of the Sprint Five Fingers the other day too....the first couple days i was kinda sore but now they are incredible. LOTS of weird looks from ppl. I havent gotten any crap from anyone at the globo gym yet tho.

Comment #26 - Posted by: THR at May 28, 2008 8:45 PM

I just looked at the "zone notes" and was surprised how little protein you take. I still eat protein as if I was body building (2 protein shakes a day and protein snacks), which brings me to a couple of questions, some zone related:

Do many other people take protein shakes or have stories about their experience with shakes and crossfit?

Similarly, creatine anyone?
I haven't taken creatine since before crossfit but I keep thinking about trying it. It might be pointless for a regime like crossfit, but i'm curious.

I know people say the zone works, but have people experienced fitness gains that undeniably are because of the zone diet and not just normal progress?

Also, is their enough protein that soreness isn't excessive? or does recovery become quicker with the zone?

Please help a crossfitter out and respond.

Comment #27 - Posted by: soccerman m/22/183 at May 28, 2008 9:15 PM

#20 - I picked up a pair about a month ago, and love them. I ran about two miles in them the first night I had them, and could barely walk the next two days, but hey, gotta play with pain. I've gotten a few weird looks, and my girlfriend laughs every time she sees them, but I still like 'em.
As to the WOD, I've been doing what feels like a bit too much of that lately. I'm afraid I might be getting another blood clot in my leg from working at a desk all day. I've already had to give up rugby and martial arts as a result of this crap, and really hope it doesn't become even more of a problem.
As to the article, it did a good job of presenting both sides of the issue, and Esquire always seems to have well-written articles. Despite being personalized and coming across as a decent guy, however, I think it's still pretty difficult for him to argue that he was unaware of the possible ramifications of his legal (or, to be frank, policy-driven) arguments.
Rather than passing judgment solely on Yoo, it's (past) time to pass judgment on the administration driving America into the ground and mistaking the Constitution for a roll of extra-strength toilet paper. Yoo was told to justify certain tactics, and did so; that doesn't relieve him of responsibility, nor does it relieve those in power of the responsibility for their actions in ordering torture.

Comment #28 - Posted by: Nick 24/M/205 at May 28, 2008 9:28 PM

check out I just took the level 1 running cert., and it was amazing. Have your runner friends follow both programs as rx'd

Comment #29 - Posted by: kristin at May 28, 2008 9:29 PM

thank you crossfit god -- for this peaceful well needed restday!

Comment #30 - Posted by: Zain at May 28, 2008 9:39 PM


Comment #31 - Posted by: yoritomo at May 28, 2008 9:45 PM

#27 - I think that the high protein diet has been hyped up by the musclemags in the past few decades for one reason only, to sell protein powders. Don't be afraid to go to a lower protein intake of the zone (though it is hardly low pro) over a conventional bodybuilding beefcake diet. You won't be any more or less sore. I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian just over a year ago. I started crossfit about 6 months ago. I am stronger and leaner and faster than I have ever been. The average American takes in 400% of the necessary amount of protein each day, and thats just an average person. I don't know how much bodybuilders OD by but I going to guess that it's a lot. As for Creatine I figured I would try it since I wasn't eating red meat and fish anymore. All I found is that it made me heavier and softer but no stronger and it didn't help my endurance by any stretch of the imagination. Stick to whole foods and make sure they are quality foods. Then slot them into the zone proportions. Do it for a few weeks and see if it works for you, either way you will have learned something about your body.

Comment #32 - Posted by: JC at May 28, 2008 9:56 PM

#27 Soccerman Yea "Creatine" (CE 2 Hi Def) its at GNC , only take 2 about 30 min before a workout no more and only if you work out that way your body's own production of creatine is if any only slightly effected/ there is supposed to be 0 water retention from this brand and there isn't I cannot count the amount of abdominal muscles i have.
I do reccomend it~ if you want it that's the 1

Comment #33 - Posted by: RAMBO 6'2 191 24 yrs at May 28, 2008 10:05 PM

I just read the Esquire article on Yoo. As expected, the author writes with a bias against the Bush administration and the war. However, to his credit, he does treat Yoo fairly for the most part. The issues are much more complicated than those throwing around empty accusations of "torture", "war criminals," etc. I view Yoo as a hero and true patriot for taking responsibility and making tough decisions rather than taking the CYA route. The fact that he still stands behind his legal opinions rather than shrinking before all his accusers makes him even more of a hero.

Comment #34 - Posted by: Andy at May 28, 2008 10:06 PM

Soccerman comment 27 undeniable zone gains

Yup, I have an undeniable zone gain for sure.

Before the zone, I weighed 195 and I was not fat and I was crossfitting. When I started the zone I began to lose weight but not strength. About one month into the zone I got my first bar muscle up. This was because of zone for sure. Now I weigh 176 and I did Jason today which is a total of 250 squats and 50 muscle ups and my time was 24:58. I can, beyond the shadow of a doubt, thank a good zone diet for that time on Jason. Soccerman, try the zone for one month and measure everything. I promise that after one month you will be able to measure your own results and you will be hooked on Zone. Also, after about a month the need to weigh all of your food will become less critical because you will have developed some standard zone meals that you like and that are perfect zone.

Have Fun, Train Hard,


Comment #35 - Posted by: Billy at May 28, 2008 10:06 PM

My favorite line from the article:
“Do you often come here to mock the hippies?”

“I don’t come here specifically for that. I try to multitask.”

I was surprised at how flattering (deserved in my opinion)the article was of John Yoo.

Jose Padilla's attorney refuse to define where is the line for torture. I have feeling that no matter where the line was drawn he would be unhappy until it was a weekend at the spa.

I believe that making Yoo's memo public further erodes are ability to effectively combat terrorists. They study the US and it's policies very intently. Al'queda incorporate our 'known' policies into training doctrine to assist their mujahideen anticipate what will happen to them if they are captured. By having a complete list of methods that would not be allowed (& specifically how many times we have used the waterboard) and a vague outline of what will be allowed we have limited our ability to gather useful information.

I wait to read what thoughts Barry and Apollo have so I can say "Yeah that's what I meant to say."

Comment #36 - Posted by: jakers at May 28, 2008 10:15 PM


Broadly speaking, I agree with you - Yoo is not a monster.

Yoo is a "hero and a true patriot"? - my heart pounds and my eyes water - are we back in Gettysburg?

Yoo is, perhaps, what Adolf Eichman would have been if Eichman had failed as a lawyer instead of succeeding as a vacuum salesman.

The article is a vehicle for Mr. Richardson, and content for the sellers of beer, women's bodies, and discount investment adice.

We'd do better to read the Yoo memo itself and leave Robertson to his promo (see pdfs below for memo - if you know of a site that has the memo in a more easily accessible fomat, please provide).



Comment #37 - Posted by: Prole at May 28, 2008 10:15 PM

Soccerman comment 27 soreness and zone

I actually have not had sore muscles for a long time and I go after each crossfit workout like my hair is on fire. I got sore often when I first started crossfitting seriously but I have not been sore after a workout for quite a while. I don't give all of the credit to the Zone though. Aside from the Zone diet, I drink lots of water, get plenty of rest and I take lots of fish oil (6000mg per day, Zone Omega RX) from I hope this helps...

Have Fun, Train Hard,


Comment #38 - Posted by: Billy at May 28, 2008 10:18 PM

As for the video posted, you guys should google/youtube "campus board" and see the possibilities you have at a rock climbing gym.

Comment #39 - Posted by: KC37 at May 28, 2008 10:46 PM

Before I started Crossfit 3 months ago I thought I was pretty strong on my pullups, but, I have been proven terribly wrong! I had only done dead hang pullups and I'd do only four sets per back workout, maybe twice a week...mainly BB type of routines. I have learned, after reading a lot of the posts, that my pullups actually are pathetic, but, they are getting better! As always, I'm looking for continued great gains in strength and athletesism.

3 Rounds
800 Meter run
50 Pullups

as Rx'd

Comment #40 - Posted by: Old man Vern at May 28, 2008 11:24 PM

I have been doing CrossFit for only 3 weeks so far with great results. Never has a workout kicked my ass so thorougly and efficiently. I am proud of the fact that the Hero workouts are named after fallen heroes. I have a request- a good friend of mine was killed in Afghanistan on Feb. 13th 2006 by an IED (roadside bomb). Sergeant First Class Chad A. Gonsalves was a member of 7th Special Forces Group conducting a combat patrol near Deh Rawod, Afghanistan when an IED struck his vehicle, killing him and three other team members. He left behing a wife and three children, including twins. Chad was my first partner and mentor when we were snipers together in Germany. I would like to know if there is a way I could get a workout officially named after him. If anyone has suggestions on how I can make this happen, please let me know. In the meantime, Google 'Chad Gonsalves' and read his story. Thank you very much!

Comment #41 - Posted by: Thai Starkovich at May 29, 2008 12:16 AM

So wish i had the equipment to do that pull-up drill.

Anyone from the USA see the Football (Soccer) yesterday?

Comment #42 - Posted by: Scott Jenkins at May 29, 2008 12:44 AM


First off, welcome back. You are a decent sparring partner.

Second, I read Hannah Arendt's book long ago, once, and found it unremarkable. Banality of evil: I can explain this. Evil people are uncreative. That's how it works.

For example, we can expect little new from Iran or North Korea other than continued repression of their nations. They might attack somebody somewhere, but that is just an extension of their internal policies in the outside world.

Gettysburg Address, "Government of the people, by the people, for the people", I have read many times, often with renewed inspiration. I am currently listening to a series on the progression of the war effort itself.

The bottom line, for me, on your post is your on-going difficulty grasping that the word patriotism does in fact have an ideological and behavioral referent which is not entirely ambiguous, or contingent upon leftist deconstructive narratives.

That's enough for now. I've had a long, long day, and will be going to bed. I'll respond more substantively to the actual article in a day or two.

Comment #43 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 29, 2008 1:11 AM

#32: Sweet! Another veggie :)
#20: I too love my VFF...yes they are functional and your feet will feel better in them. To answer 'c' - as many as it takes ;)
Interesting article all the same. Pretty tough to draw the 'line''s easy to say you can't torture someone, but put a few hundred lives on the line and suddenly its ok.

Comment #44 - Posted by: AlexR/M/27/6'2"/95kg at May 29, 2008 2:13 AM

m/23/~85kg/Sydney, Australia

No time for a workout tomorrow, so I took the opportunity today to work on my squatting - especially the ol' hip drive (thanks rip) and introducing myself to the overhead squat (HARD!).

I've actually been really frustrated with my squat in recent times. Everything else is progressing, but I just cant seem to get my technique right such that I can safely progress on the squat. I just can't keep my butt from dipping under! I've been stretching a lot (hams, butt, hips), and I think that's helping... I've got 'starting strength', but that video of rip teaching the hip drive has helped a lot too I think - things felt good today.

Back Squat

OH Squat

Comment #45 - Posted by: TimE at May 29, 2008 4:32 AM

Didn't rest today, since I rested monday. Getting back into crossfit due to some healing injuries. Did tuesday's workout, instead.

1 mile: 7min 14sec
Row: 34 calories
30lbs Dumbell thrusters: 40
95lbs Clean (don't have a 20lbs medicine ball): 26
Jump rope (never been able to do double-udners)
Pull-Ups (not kipping): 29

Additional 40min swim

Comment #46 - Posted by: Chris Meyer/M/22/5'10"/195lbs at May 29, 2008 5:14 AM

Hey guys,

I am interested in giving the Zone diet a try since i hear to much about it on here. Which book would you recommend that I buy, and where can I find it? Also, any tips on making the transition into the zone easier would be greatly appreciated. I currently am 5'8" and at about 172... not sure of my body fat but I know i cannot see all of my abs. would like to lean out! Any other tools I will need for the zone besides the book?

Thanks in advance!

Comment #47 - Posted by: Don at May 29, 2008 6:00 AM

Nice video... Chad Brandt from CrossFit Lethbridge posted his double pullup video on youtube quite a while back It's just too bad it never got posted on here. It's pretty amazing considering the bars are a good 2 1/2 feet apart.

Comment #48 - Posted by: Katrina at May 29, 2008 6:12 AM


Quickly: I admit the analogy with Eichman is strained. One of the many differences between Yoo and Eichman is context - USA 2003 is not Germany 1935-45. Eichman's own moral collapse was reflected back to him by the German people, thankfully, Yoo's has not been reflected back to him.


Speaking of drawing lines: is there a line that the executive (and its hirlings) may not cross in the prosecution of the War on Terror? Is there a line, which once crossed, makes someone a subject rather than a citizen? You would have the executive torture in secret, and you would have Barry and Apollo speak for you - USSR? Pravda?

Comment #49 - Posted by: Prole at May 29, 2008 6:18 AM

Subject: Increased vocabulary

Since getting into crossfit in January (still a newbie), the following terms and phrases have a found a place in my vocabulary. I get blank stares if I mention these in front of my friends or my wife:

kipping, WOD, ...for time, thruster, wallball, tabata (still not sure I'm pronouncing it right), fight gone bad, "Last night I did Cindy (Fran, Mary, Elizabeth, etc.)", and my favorite "This afternoon, I did 45 pullups...for a warm-up!"

Anyone else get the stares or looks of disbelief?

Comment #50 - Posted by: IlliniJason 38m165#5'10" at May 29, 2008 6:23 AM

I was off a day so I finally got around to "Jason". I sub'd pull ups and dips for muscle ups 1 for 1 and wore my good 'ole flak vest (about 16 lbs.).


I did my workout today for Jason, and for Daniel Tallouzi who took a piece of shrapnel in the brain while we were in Iraq. He's not gone and he's definitely not forgotten. If for some crazy reason anyone in this community would happen to be around the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in N.J. (it always amazes me how if you know a couple CrossFitters you know the world) please tell Dan and his Mom that they're in my prayers.

The New York Times did a story on Dan and some other soldiers in his same situation.


Comment #51 - Posted by: ProPain at May 29, 2008 6:28 AM

I just did some searching online and found out that Dan Tallouzi is back at home in Albuquerque, NM with his mom.

Comment #52 - Posted by: ProPain at May 29, 2008 6:35 AM

OFF TOPIC, but does anyone here know a method to relieve muscle soreness after a workout? I've heard ice baths and massages take the pain down a notch, but is there anything for the common person? Thanks XFIT!

Comment #53 - Posted by: Patrick at May 29, 2008 6:46 AM

Soccerman #27: Glad you asked this, because I'm interested in how others will respond. I am on day #25 of the Zone with no refined sugar and no milk. I'm a little leaner than when I started and (milk related) I think my asthma is a little better. Can't really speak for the perfomance gains, but around day 30 I'm going to repeat a wod we did the first couple days, to check for Zone improvement.

Maybe it's because I am female that people assume I am Zoning to lose weight, but that is not the case. I like how the Zone makes me feel, but my goals were to get off sweets and see a difference in performance.

Comment #54 - Posted by: Leslie Ap at May 29, 2008 6:53 AM

#11 is the way to go if you run marathons. I trained for 4 marathons using the traditional "millions of miles" method and then trained my last, Boston, with crossfitendurance. It made an amazing difference in my hill running and speed with a long run total of (1) 15 mile run NO runs over 15 miles! The workouts are short and intense and timed 3 hours before or after the WOD. I will NEVER train for marathon in any other way. (btw my Boston time was 3:31:45 and i am a 40 yr old mother of three)

Comment #55 - Posted by: Janine at May 29, 2008 7:00 AM

As far as a quick and easy guide to Zoning your diet, there was a great article from 2004 that I use as my steady reference and companion. It even has some basic starter meal plans in it.

Comment #56 - Posted by: Mau Mau in Burlington, VT at May 29, 2008 7:03 AM

Had to take yesterday off, so this morning I got up and decided to do "Murph". Did it two weeks ago and got each mile done and 12 "Cindy" rounds in 42:00. Today got both miles and all 20 rounds done in 43:03. Much better showing.

Comment #57 - Posted by: Luke at May 29, 2008 7:11 AM

New to the CF system and wondering for some insight on the CFE supplement. I am confused by the guidelines on how many workouts to do. I am on the WOD plan and off today but it says to workout on the CFE. Could someone explain the in and outs of the CFE in conjunction with WOD. Any help or insight would be appreciated.

Comment #58 - Posted by: Darrin at May 29, 2008 7:14 AM

#11 workouts are done in addition to the WOD and specific directions are given as to how to program your endurance routine around your normal crossfit routine. Check it out, and give those guys the best of both worlds


When I started zoning I was 30%BF at 220# with 154# of lean body mass. Right now im 19%BF at 200# with 162# of lean body mass, and in just 2-3 short months. All this while on the zone with an average protein intake of about 115-120 grams of protein a day. To actually gain 8 pounds of lean body mass during what I'd call a cut or weight loss phase on that amount of protein is amazing to me. I was a chest, tris, shoulder, back bis, legs M&F type that thought you had to have 1.5-2 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass to gain strength or size. Not anymore. Recovery is remarkably quick, both in general, and when I take a 5 second breather during a Metcon based workout. I set a PR almost everytime I do a WOD. My metcon has improved, my strength has increased, energy is up, and in this same time period my CFT has gone from 750# to 930#.

Comment #59 - Posted by: tejanostylin at May 29, 2008 7:15 AM

They are naming a neww Navy Destroyer after Lt. Micheal Murphy.

Comment #60 - Posted by: MarkSC at May 29, 2008 7:27 AM

The GSX guys are actually as nice in person as they are in this video. Great guys. I would highly recommend going to any training or cert that these guys are involved in.

Comment #61 - Posted by: sevan at May 29, 2008 7:31 AM


Rest day... a necessary evil.

I a bit bummed today... Ordered rings and AbMat from Rogue Fitness. UPS said it would deliver yesterday, but the &^%#$* driver never showed up (he takes the occasional day off) so now they'll probably come today. No sure I can resist the temptation to play with the rings and blow my rest day!

Maybe my UPS driver is CFing - 3 on/ 1 off?

A little over a month into CF. Have been following the WODs and loving it. Feel like I'm 25 again. Almost all the tweaks that I had attributed to no longer being a young guy are gone, recovery ability is back where it was ten years ago. Energy is up. And my pants are starting to fall off. :-)

Will be starting Zone soon...

Comment #62 - Posted by: ScottE at May 29, 2008 7:35 AM

#27 Soccerman

You can use your protein shakes as long as you "block" it and make it work for your requirements. For example:

If you need 4 blocks per meal and your shake is 2 scoops = 40g protein, 20g carb, 1g fat....well

40/7g = 5.7 blocks (too many)
20/9g = 2.2 blocks
1/1.5g = Not enough

So sub it like this....have a little over 1 scoop which would equal your 4 protein blocks, and 1 of your carb blocks, so add 3 other carb block (good idea is strawberries, rasberries, bananas (high in archadonic acid)) and then add your 4 fat blocks and your good to go!

Hope this helps!

Comment #63 - Posted by: RC at May 29, 2008 7:38 AM


I did Murph last night no armor no vest. First time. 53:28 It was my second WOD of the day, I also did the 5 x 3 press and set a PR of 167 in the am. I was happy to finish, next time I'll shoot for a 40 something and make that my sole activity for the day to see how my performance improves. June 28th would be a good day to do it. It's the anniversary of the day Lt. Michael Murphy was killed in action.

Comment #64 - Posted by: tejanostylin at May 29, 2008 7:38 AM

One of the first things one notices in beginning to understand Leftism for the pathology it is, is the disabling of the comparison function that is necessarily brought on by rejecting traditional standards and values. It is very simply not possible to rationalize China to even a minute extent without disabling one's capacity for rational comparison.

For example, Prole is implicitly comparing Bush's Administration to that of Hitler, and the War on Terror to WW2. I don't have time to go into all the obvious reasons this is a piece of (regretably common) lunacy, but let's start with a few basic statements.

First off, Bush--in drawing from the evidence available to him that Hussein already possessed WMD's, instead of merely the intent to make them, the capacity to deceive, and the wherewithal to fund and use them--is said to have deceived the American people. Maybe he was three years early. So what? The reality of the confluence of capacity and intent was not affected by what we found or did not find.

Contrast this with the Third Reich, whose entire purpose was to conquer and literally enslave all races they considered inferior, and literally to kill anyone considered to be polluting the gene pool. They justified this with recourse to Darwinian notions of natural selection, with the overt murder of prospective competitors for your supremacy being an obvious way to protect your genes.

In Germany at that time--in the empire they occupied in Western Europe, Africa, and Russia--more people were likely tortured every day for most of the years of the war than we have tortured in the entire course of the War on Terror.

Where they made no effort to justify what they did, we are trying to do what appears at times necessary in order to protect our nation from a catastophic attack by nuclear, biological, chemical, or well placed conventional weapons.

Where they were working to aggressively expand, we are working to contract. Where they murdered in cold blood millions, we hear complaints about prisoners in Guantanomo Bay.

Where Jakers says that Paul and I often articulate thoughts he agrees with with more facility than he does, you want to compare him to a thought and information deprived Soviet.

I will point out generally that there is literally a point where sufficient immersion in code word (Change/Hope being new ones, with the comparisons to National Socialists being "old school") propaganda drops you into a state where the only possible tactics left remaining to argue your "position" are sarcasm, misdirection, and insult.

None of these are what are taught in reputable schools, what our Founders had in mind in creating a right to free speech, or what we need to work through the increasingly complex problems of our times.

Comment #65 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 29, 2008 7:47 AM


Breathing ladder complex (w/protective mask):

1 - 10 KB Swing, 2 pood;

1 - 10 Med ball slam, 40#;

1 - 10 Dead Lift, 225#


Comment #66 - Posted by: MWade at May 29, 2008 7:48 AM

#27 soccerman

There is a great article in Crossfit Journal 69 (last months) called "The Hard Routine." It talks about what a person is capable of when they get serious about diet.

In my own opinion, the Zone is not a low protein diet. The recommendation for someone doing weight training 3 or more times a week is .8 to .9 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight (total body weight minus percentage of body fat.) That seems to be on par with the recommendation in most of the BB mags I've read. Check out this link: elite athletes on the Zone
work/family safe.

I haven't heard too much about supplementation in the crossfit world, other than the fish oil, but I used Cell-Tech creatine (made by Nitro-Tech) for a while about 6 or 7 years ago. I remember coming home from the gym, and thinking my muscles were going to pop out of my skin they were so pumped, and I did gain about 10 pounds without too much of it being bodyfat. Today I just cringe at the !75! grams of sugar per serving, though. I can't believe I put that in me. Might be good for a hardgainer, but I see you are 183 pounds, and I suspect not too overweight. So I guess it depends on what your goals are.

Comment #67 - Posted by: Murray/San Diego/M/31/5'10/185 at May 29, 2008 7:51 AM

I notice that there are a few posts today on the subject of naming hero WODs after the fallen. I think it is a superb and very fitting jesture to name the WODs in this manner. Although it is said that they will not be forgotten I think that this is not strictly true as although there family and friends will think of them everyday, most people will only think of them when they are called to mind. So what better than to call them to mind more often by having a WOD named after them. Always take a moment to pay your respects before you hit a hero WOD and then give all you have.

Comment #68 - Posted by: Bob T-G at May 29, 2008 7:56 AM

Just read the 1st page of that Esquire article.

& it's garbage.

John Richardson just validated himself in being a inconfident loser.

Comment #69 - Posted by: Andrew Wilson at May 29, 2008 7:57 AM

In this country, civilian prisoners routinely rape their fellow inmates. We all know this. Somewhere, no doubt, there are memos explaining why this is not cruel and unusual punishment. Nobody knows or cares who the authors are. People joke about the situation, and the media does not give it one one-thousandth the coverage that it gives water boarding.

In my opinion, the Left’s concern with our “torture” of war prisoners is a pretext and a transparent one at that. I am aware of not a single politician expressing concern about the US’s treatment of war prisoners who has also said a word about the conditions in our civilian prisons. Why is that? If this is a human rights issue, why are terrorists considered more human than, say, incarcerated drug offenders?

Comment #70 - Posted by: Hari at May 29, 2008 7:58 AM

what is the web site that you can go to to log your workouts? Do anyone know?

Comment #71 - Posted by: MCD at May 29, 2008 8:01 AM

Yoo is a scumbag. How can anyone be cool with the idea of crushing children's testicles in the name of fighting the phony "war on terror."? The war on terror is a fraud. Just about all "terror" this country has experienced has been self inflicted. 9/11 was an inside job. They had the patriot act all ready locked and loaded before it happened. They needed a big event to get it through. And they made it happen. Its called Problem-Reaction-Solution. Create a problem, blame it on an external enemy. The public cries out for something to be done. The same gov't that carried out the attack offers the solution in form of shredding the constitution and taking away people's rights, starting wars etc. WTC 7 came down like a Vegas casino implosion. "Oh yeah, it had a little damage on one side and a little fire, then it imploded perfectly into its own footprint."

Comment #72 - Posted by: Bob at May 29, 2008 8:07 AM

#71 wfs

Comment #73 - Posted by: tejanostylin at May 29, 2008 8:08 AM

Agree, and in these people's culture they are the type that lock up downsyndrome children in sheds with no cloths, windows, and no bathrooms, so they crap on themselves and eat dog food for meals.

& we catch a guy that wants to exploded a dirty nuclear bomb in our country and suddenly we're being too harsh by turning the temperate down in his cell?

The real issue isn't how we treat prisoners, it's that a certain population in our society only see the world as victims, and have limited minds so locked up and concerned with their own perceptions, that reality is never seen, neither the full picture.

Extreme bias and thought such of this, is just the author trying to reinforce his own self esteem.

Comment #74 - Posted by: Andrew Wilson at May 29, 2008 8:17 AM

Victim mentality = comment #72 by Bob

I hope you understand.

Comment #75 - Posted by: Andrew Wilson at May 29, 2008 8:21 AM

You know, I go to the gym, it takes me an hour to do the stretching and "official warm up." Then I do the workout. I spend almost 40+mins doing the WOD since I am a beginner. Its almost 1 hr 40mins in the gym. Am I spending too much time?!

Comment #76 - Posted by: Eklavya at May 29, 2008 8:28 AM

I find Eichman an interesting choice for a different reason. Eichman’s capture and trial is somewhat controversial. Obviously Israel wasn’t as concerned about Argentina’s sovereignty as they were capturing Nazis (National Socialists). For Heaven’s sake they broke international law. Should Eichman been allowed to live out his days in peace in Argentina? Is Argentina’s sovereignty more important than justice? Should Israel have to make reparations to Argentina for the violation? Are the Mossad and the SS equivalent? I mean the Mossad was violating law and the SS was just enforcing it. Maybe the Mossad is morally corrupt in comparison to the SS.

Now to your questions. Yes there are lines the executive branch should not cross in the War on Terror. That is why the memo was written. The administration was trying to establish a line. All the left has done is criticize. They haven’t offered an alternative or a limit. Very cowardly.

The debate about protection of citizenship for parties involved in sedition is long & involved. It was referenced in the article from the civil war. Recently the nation has leaned towards citizenship rather than treating them as enemy combatants. There are pros and cons for both. I believe the tipping point is how great is the danger to the Nation. The less the danger the more likely they will be regarded as a citizen as the continuum increases they are more likely to lose the protection of citizenship.

So Barry and Paul speaking is the equivalent of secret torture? I don’t believe I condoned torture in secret. Nope I want it out in public. I think it would have huge pay perview numbers. Hostel and Saw have done rather well at the box office. We could finance quite a bit of the war on terror with the money.

But I do think there is a difference between ‘aggressive’ interrogation and torture. Do you? Should we only ask questions with a pretty please with sugar on top at the end?

I find communicating through the written word slow and tedious. Barry seems to have a gift for it and communicates very clearly. Paul doesn’t seem as gifted or practiced but both have a very sound thought process that leans Libertarian. Because of this I’ll write something come back and read there posts and say “Dang it. That is what I meant to say.” or "Tru'dat"

Comment #77 - Posted by: jakers at May 29, 2008 8:42 AM

#53 - Patrick

I do not advocate ice baths at all ... instead I recommend a warm to hot bath with Epsom Salt (about 1 cup). Does it work? All I know is after a good soak, I feel much better!

Comment #78 - Posted by: Stephen Mercer at May 29, 2008 8:47 AM

Well, those prisoners MUST be well taken care of since they receive their allotment of $24K a year. They don't actually receive it, though. That would be inefficient. The prison oversees the safe distribution of their wealth and welfare. I, for one, look forward to this brand of government welfare.

Now we just need to get the $24K plan online for the struggling working-class families all over this nation.

Comment #79 - Posted by: Tim 27/m/195 at May 29, 2008 8:52 AM

Glad you're off to the games Allison-Jacob Tsypkin keeps asking me to go-and get my behind kicked-maybe next year, as Bingo says"musings are in the filter!"

Comment #80 - Posted by: miles@crossfitwestsussex at May 29, 2008 8:52 AM

For crossfit endurance, if you are a single sport athlete, you do your sport 2-3 times per week, then you supplement with CF 4-6 times per week (I think that is if you've been doing CF for a while). If you're a multisport athlete, then you do each sport 2 times per week (1 interval and 1 tempo), and you supplement with CF. At least that is how I understand it. I went to the level 1 running cert. and it was amazing.
Also, you can e-mail them at CFE, and they are great about getting back to you with answers.

Comment #81 - Posted by: kristin at May 29, 2008 9:04 AM

i attended the running/endurance cert at topsfield, ma last weekend. great coaches, learned a ton, i recommend it for anyone who wants to improve run time and if you wanna stop hurting your body. thanks brian and carl!

Comment #82 - Posted by: 3dmatrix at May 29, 2008 9:08 AM

5 Rounds

1 HSC - 10 FS's
1 Snatch - 10 OHS's
10 Ball Slams
Run 200 m

20:11 w/ 65 lb's

Comment #83 - Posted by: S.O.C. at May 29, 2008 9:12 AM

5/28 workout:

5 thrusters 95#
1000m row
10 thrusters 95#
750m row
15 thrusters 95#
500m row


Comment #84 - Posted by: Greg-Omaha at May 29, 2008 9:18 AM


Made up the shoulder press wod today:
150x1 + 2 push press

Added Hang cleans 5x1:

Comment #85 - Posted by: JAKE at May 29, 2008 9:25 AM


The question was about Yoo.

My suggestion was that there were some common elements in the psychology of Yoo and Eichman as they carried out their very different functions for their very different states (my comparison was not between Bush/USA 2000-2008 and Hitler/German 1935-45).

I have some sympathy for Yoo, he was asked to give an opinion, he gave it, he probably knew where he was supposed to end up, his job was to find a legally defensible path toward that place. One of the things that impressed me about Arendt's book was the way it laid out the staged progression of German legal reforms that slowly stripped foreigners and then domestic undesirables of their rights (the most decisive step was to declare these people to be citizens of no state, stateless).

Comment #86 - Posted by: Prole at May 29, 2008 9:29 AM

What does WOD stand for?

Comment #87 - Posted by: Ali at May 29, 2008 9:38 AM

#76- it depends on the workout...but basically yes you are spending too much time. Although you may be able to do a workout as rx'd in an hour, it is much more crossffitty (powerful) to scale back to say half the weights or 2/3 of the reps if it allows you to do it in half the time, but it totally depends on the workout...obviously the murph is gonna take about an hour...and something like fran or grace shouldn't be anywhere near that.

On a separate note, I don't buy defending Bush's actions with the whole "intelligence showed Saddam had WMD's"...even if he was developing WMD's, how can we expect countries without WMD's to not develop them when those with WMD's refuse to give them up...kind of an uneven playing field...and if every time an Arab country develops a new weapon, we're afraid they're going to use it to attack us or Israel, I think that speaks volumes about the legitimacy of ours and Israel's actions in the Middle East over the last 50 years...maybe it's time to rethink our foreign policy?

Comment #88 - Posted by: Sam F at May 29, 2008 9:43 AM

#70 Hari

Uh....we don't torture people in Jail, they also get tried, and get lawyers. So its not at all like we treat terrorists.

The torture issue is not a left/right issue, its about the ol' necessity v. justice argument. Are we to do whats necessary, or do what is just? If we put necessity ahead of justice, does that not make us inherently unjust as a people?

Comment #89 - Posted by: Crazyguywithasword at May 29, 2008 9:43 AM

Ridiculous pullup strength in this vid:

Comment #90 - Posted by: cgwsc at May 29, 2008 9:44 AM

axial fractured my right ulna yesterday during the workout. too much stress.. hooray for rest day

Comment #91 - Posted by: AmnNiv at May 29, 2008 9:45 AM

I'm forming an idea that Freedom and Liberty must have boundaries. Those boundaries are always disputed. I'm still pondering the rest topic for the 17th "Defend our Porn! Protect our Freedom". I also noticed that the poster (Lauren, Coach?) made no comment and also left up the posting. The poster had to leave it up to defend the principle of free speech. I'm not sure if this was carefully thought out. The battle lines formed and the poster was stuck with a bad (IMO) bedfellow. So, there it is for all to see, and make judgements, and dispute until it cycles off the main site. (It will probably remain available in the archives.)

And Mr Yoo. He also is in the archives. He defined a new (?) boundary around Freedom and Liberty. Whenever a boundary is defined someone always wants to dance on it.

Each society must define their own appropiate boundaries of Freedom and Liberty. In the case of the USA, don't we vote on issues? Majorities decide. In the free market, consumers can choose to to boycott. Money and votes decide where the boundary lies.

IMO has a scab on it's site. ("Defend our Porn! Protect our Freedom") It will be viewed as a STD by some and a proud war wound by others. I did notice that everyone just wants it to go away. If it is a proud war wound why?

I admit, I'm not comfortable with boundary redefinitions offered by the Porn industry. I am also disappointed that a decision (to give any credit to porn) of this gravity was made for the entire crossfit community.

Will these kind of no win scenarios continue? When I open an affliate will I be blind-sided by a contraversial main site moral stance?

Comment #92 - Posted by: Lee in NV M/54/203#/71" at May 29, 2008 9:48 AM

John Yoo was asked to give a legal judgement. He was not asked to make policy prescriptions or make a moral judgement.

"What is legal?"


"What is right?"


"What should we do?"

Comment #93 - Posted by: Sameer Parekh at May 29, 2008 9:49 AM

I'm maybe under the crazed idea that if we believe in the rule of law, than shouldn't the laws be just? If you can say there is a difference between "what is right" and "what is just", then our regime is unjust.

Comment #94 - Posted by: Crazyguywithasword at May 29, 2008 9:51 AM

Question: Wondered how to incorporate time in the workout to practice other skills, (gymnastics, parkor, pull ups) and still do the WOD with out overtraining?

Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Comment #95 - Posted by: Centerhorse at May 29, 2008 10:01 AM


A lawyer?

Disingenuous? Surely not.

I hope he's proud of himself.

Comment #96 - Posted by: Nick K at May 29, 2008 10:10 AM

M@ #11-
Endurance athletes benefit immensely from crossfit. Check out Brian Mackenzie at CrossFit Newport Beach:

If you notice he reduced his training times from upwards of 30hrs/week to around 6...and PR'd on everything from 400m to 10K's with nothing but CF training.

Marathoners will run faster, recover better and remain injury free (ideally) with a smart strength & conditioning program. What your runner friends may have a problem with is what to do with the spare time an intelligent approach to training offers.

Comment #97 - Posted by: Robb Wolf at May 29, 2008 10:18 AM

We should all wrap ourselves in flags sewn by Chinese slaves and worship our government. Its all part of the new freedom.

Comment #98 - Posted by: Bob at May 29, 2008 10:22 AM

Soccerman #27-

The Zone is befuddling for the very fact that it IS skinny in both calories and protein as compared to the standard bodybuilding approach...yet it builds muscle even while reducing body fat. Without fail folks tend to find an optimized bodyweight for their activities.

Regarding shakes: The top performers use them sparingly if at all. All have tried them and they seem to get better results and mileage out of real food. I find the people who are wed to the multiple shakes/day-bodybuilding eating schedule are...FAT. A misguided approach to "get big" combined with buying the supplement companies BS leads to a compulsive eating schedule that is completely at odds with performance, health and good body composition. I am by nature a suspicious type, I'd hope the same of what's my motivation recommending the Zone? It works. I think what confuses people is there is no "CrossFit Secret diet...available to you in six easy payment of $19.99". Grab crossfit journal #21, or a Zone book from a used book store...or for that matter go to the zone website and get your whole block thing figured out for free...then do it. It's so easy but folks over think the process and never get around to actually DOING the Zone. About the only supplement we routinely recommend is fish oil...grab it from costco. I DO like creatine..use it if you want. 5g/day no sugar, just the plain monohydrate.

Comment #99 - Posted by: Robb Wolf at May 29, 2008 10:43 AM

I must like the idea of torture because I continue to crossfit


Comment #100 - Posted by: cak at May 29, 2008 10:54 AM

This comment is going to be long. It's been a few days now since the Crossfit Level I cert in CHarlotte and thought I would post my feedback, the good, bad, and ugly. Here is the thing, I had a lot of fun at the certification. It was great meeting new people. Our coaches/trainers were terrific. Meeting Nicole and Adrian was awesome. I did a 4:32 Fran (my best yet) and did my first of about 20 muscle ups that weeekend. It was also my first time in a crossfit gym. Coach Hendel is a great guy, and is still in badass shape. HIs GYM is seriously cool.

THe thing that I hated the most was the price. 1,000 dollars is a lot for me. I had been waving back and forth with paying for the cert. because of what coach glassman had said in one of his videos, "were not going to teach you anything new. You came here for better understanding..."

1,000 dollars just seems steep to me. Maybe 500-750.

But here is the TRUTH- Over the Past three years between looking at the site, watching the videos and photos, which are all FREE, thats right FREE, I have learned more from this site than any of my Exercise textbooks in College. AND that ladies and gentlemen is... PRICELESS. So ALthough it hurt my wallet to pay for the cert, I would like to say thank you to coach glassman, tony budding, and a ton of other people who make crossfit what it is. THe best DAMN FREE/ or Paid WEBsite in the WORLD.

Comment #101 - Posted by: Mark W at May 29, 2008 10:58 AM

#65 Barry,

It is typical for certain types of individuals to defend the atrocities of their government. You seem to be working effortlessly to point out how the actions of our government are inherently different from similar atrocities committed in the past (Germany’s in this case). I thoroughly concede that the actions of Nazi Germany during WW2 are not identical to the actions of the Bush Administration. That is not the point. The degradation of human beings is the point. You are behaving like the maintenance man for the status quo and given your current behavior I’m sure you would have defended Germany’s actions just as passionately had you been a German in the 1930s or 40s.

Clearly Yoo’s work was extremely politically motivated, which is not unique.

But, none of this is the point. The real question is:

When we say “All men are we created equal” do we mean it? Or do we actually mean, “All American citizens are created equal,” (which happens to mean superior to the rest of the world)? Or do we mean all men are created equal when convenient? Or unless it jeopardizes someone’s safety? Human dignity and value is actually the issue. Inalienable rights, by definition, cannot be voided by someone’s action. If we sacrifice the very values we are trying to protect, it kinda defeats the point.

Comment #102 - Posted by: Cody at May 29, 2008 10:58 AM

Haha #100..."Is Greg Glassman a Monster?"

Comment #103 - Posted by: Sam F at May 29, 2008 10:59 AM

#94 -- I agree. But you need to then lay the blame with our society, our president, our congress, whomever. I don't think John Yoo is the monster here.

Comment #104 - Posted by: Sameer Parekh at May 29, 2008 11:03 AM


Of course, I wouldn't lay the blame squarely on him, although hes no shining beacon of virtue. It just exemplifies, to me, how people will on one hand put justice secondary to all these other concerns, like security, and then say we're fighting a war on unjust people. I don't think you can have it both ways.

Comment #105 - Posted by: Crazyguywithasword at May 29, 2008 11:06 AM

#101 -- you're right, all men are created equal, not limited to just americans. All men have inalienable rights, even if they are not americans. Being an american doesn't mean you have more rights than others. Everyone has these rights, even subjects of the worst dictatorship.

HOWEVER, it is the duty of the american government to protect the rights only of americans. Sure the us government can and will go around protecting the rights of non-americans every now and again, but it does not have a duty to do so. Non-americans have rights, but they should not expect the american government to protect those rights. They need to protect their own rights themselves, find another government who will protect their rights, or become americans.

Comment #106 - Posted by: Sameer Parekh at May 29, 2008 11:07 AM

This line near the end of the article sums up my views on whether or nor Yoo is a monster quiet succinctly. "his story becomes a cautionary tale about the incremental steps that can lead a nation to disaster."

Yoo is not a monster, but the advice he gave was used to do and justify monstrous things. The focus of making such value judgments (monster or not) IMO should focus on the system and the decision makers within it, not those giving advice. As an officer I've always been told to listen to my NCOs but to always remember that in the end it is my call and my responsibility. If my WO says we only need a seven bay bridge and it ends up in the gap because it should have been an eight bay, I wear it, not my Warrant. In the same way, Yoo should not be blamed for the US policy on torture.
Whether or not he correctly judged what torture is in the memo, is another question entirely, which I'm not going to investigate as I don't intend to read the article.

Comment #107 - Posted by: KCN at May 29, 2008 11:07 AM

Ive had some Virbram Sprints for a couple of months now and I love them. I where them for most WODS and Running. I also use them as water shoes and Recently used them on a 2 hour hike up a mountain in Haiti to visit a church and back down... Love them. My calves took several weeks to get used to running in them but I dont get the same soreness that I used to... Hope that helps.

Comment #108 - Posted by: MarcusG 5'10" 170# at May 29, 2008 11:13 AM

Yet the problem remains.

The conservatives/right draw a line, make a decision because real life demands it.

The liberal/left get caught up in complaining about how bad the decision is but never offer an alternative.

You hippies are “good” at art, draw a line. Give us YOUR definition of torture, a line of what is and what isn't torture, one that can actually be applied in the real world over a board range of situations/scenarios.

Otherwise please be quiet and let the adults talk.

Comment #109 - Posted by: penty at May 29, 2008 11:17 AM

Anybody with different sized feet order the Vibrams anyway? The Vibram website says they might nor fit right if your feet are different sizes and when I measured, I noticed my feet are about 3/4 of an inch different. Now I can't get the shoes I want AND I'm self-conscious of my grotesquely misshapen feet!

Comment #110 - Posted by: splint at May 29, 2008 11:19 AM


" Give us YOUR definition of torture, a line of what is and what isn't torture, one that can actually be applied in the real world over a board range of situations/scenarios."

Uh the conservatives draw a line because the president is a conservative, so he does the line drawing. Lots of "hippies" (lets try to remain civil, or can I call right wingers fascists?) have pushed back and tried to change that definition......

Comment #111 - Posted by: Crazyguywithasword at May 29, 2008 11:22 AM

Run 1 mile (watch time did not start so time unknown)

2 min of each:
Row (cal) : 31
20# DB thrusters : 27
70# Cleans: 14
Box jump: 35
Pull ups (jumping and negatives): 27

Total= 134

Comment #112 - Posted by: in8girl at May 29, 2008 11:24 AM

After yesterday being a fairly easy and short day, and today being a Rest Day..... What lays in store for uo tomorrow????

Comment #113 - Posted by: Rich 45/M/5'8"/199 at May 29, 2008 11:29 AM

I hope it's a crazy metcon

fran, helen would be nice

i'd like to see linda as well

Comment #114 - Posted by: Sam at May 29, 2008 11:34 AM

#101 Your rights can most certainly be violated as a consequence of your actions. For instance, if you murder someone and are prosecuted and convicted, you will at the very least spend some time in prison where liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not options for you. Removing your liberty because of a crime you committed does not in any way reflect on the liberty of others who have followed the law or invalidate their beliefs that everyone deserves liberty.

Should there be no punishment for crime? Should our government do nothing in response to an attack on its citizens? Should our government be proactive in the defense of our nation, or should it be reactionary? Should it be passive?

#70 Comments like yours amaze me. I hope that you are not a US citizen. If you are, it might benefit your state of mind to move to a country where you can place trust in your government.

John Woo is not a monster. He is just a man with a day job, like most of the rest of his countrymen.

Comment #115 - Posted by: ether m/31/5'9/195 at May 29, 2008 11:41 AM

#110 Crazyguywithasword

And yet you can't draw a line for yourself on what is torture and/or offer an alternative definition?
Thank you for proving my point.(You whine "the president draws the line".. can't you think for yourself and come up with one as a counterpoint? Or is your only contribution to be negative about the work of others?)

I didn't say being a hippie was bad only that they complain and don't offer solutions. Leftist relativism says that is just as valid a behavior as any other. Also leftist shouldn't call names like "facist" as it contradicts their entire belief of moral relativism.

Are you saying moral leftist relativism is invalid? Well if it is invalid then a black and white defintion of torture should be easy for you to provide.

Comment #116 - Posted by: penty at May 29, 2008 11:44 AM

#114, ether m, writes,

"#70 Comments like yours amaze me. I hope that you are not a US citizen. If you are, it might benefit your state of mind to move to a country where you can place trust in your government."

Would you care to elaborate (i.e., what about my comment amazed you)?

Comment #117 - Posted by: Hari at May 29, 2008 11:59 AM

found a new 1RM for MUs - 17.5 lbs.

Comment #118 - Posted by: esteban at May 29, 2008 12:01 PM

The easiest book in understanding the ZONE diet is "Mastering the Zone". It is very clear, short, and easy to read. Has good examples of portions, and an easy calculator for your Block perscription.

Comment #119 - Posted by: Drew at May 29, 2008 12:03 PM

I vote for Angie

Comment #120 - Posted by: Pete at May 29, 2008 12:05 PM

I used creatine for my last 4 years playing hockey, during ages 36-4o'ish. As I was getting older, the muscles in my legs would start to burn during a shift. As I was also doing some power lifting, I decided to try it. I was amazed at how great it was for taking away the burn from hard skating. The creatine helped me play an extra four years.

Having played hockey most of my life, I am used to pushing myself into a high level of intensity (probably why I love crossfit!) and can see the benefits of creatine. (I am now 45 years old and haven't used creatine in 5 years).

I see that some people are not opposed to it's use and I would imagine some are opposed. Can we discuss the pros and cons as seen through the eyes of the crossfit people. I have come to realize that this group has some of the "wisest" fitness and nutrition minds out there...

Comment #121 - Posted by: RD at May 29, 2008 12:10 PM

Missed the WOD on 080527
I don't have a rower so I modified it a bit:

Run 1.5 miles- 9:48
2 minutes of each:
30# DB Thrusters- 30
20# Med. Ball Clean- 40
DU's- 124
Pull Ups- 49

Comment #122 - Posted by: MarcusG 5'10" 170# at May 29, 2008 12:15 PM

Yoo is not a monster; more of a scapegoat. He was asked to draw a line, and he drew it based on his legal opinion. I think that the US government erred in missaplying the advice they were given. Perhaps because the threat posed by the terrosist groups in questions was over-estimated.

Re: left wing hippies offering suggestions for the drawing of a new about the Geneva Convention to start?

Re: Comment #93 Sameer Parekh
"What is legal?" not "What is right?" nor "What should we do?"
Aren't laws intended to reflect the morals of society and guide the behaviour of its citizens?

Comment #123 - Posted by: Reto at May 29, 2008 12:22 PM

122: They are. But if they laws do not reflect the morals of the society, don't blame the lawyer who merely told you what the laws say. Change the law.

Comment #124 - Posted by: Sameer Parekh at May 29, 2008 12:26 PM

So when "everyone" does the wod thats all that you do? It just seems like I would want to do more after it is over. Like yesterday with the shoulder press. I want more not just 12 reps and I am out of there haha.

Comment #125 - Posted by: Brandon at May 29, 2008 12:28 PM


Yeah, you should probably do 3-4 WODs every day. In fact, why don't you go back through the last few cycles and try it...

Comment #126 - Posted by: bret kleefuss at May 29, 2008 12:32 PM

I am not sure what you mean. So today is my rest day. Now what would I do tomorrow?

Comment #127 - Posted by: Brandon at May 29, 2008 12:34 PM

Mr. Yoo is not a monster just an employee asked to give his legal opinion and followed orders. If they allow Padilla's lawyers to sue him, then we might as well sue (prosecute) each servicemember in the war with that thinking. Another left wing idea because the majority of Americans don't agree with them.

Comment #128 - Posted by: Todd W. at May 29, 2008 12:35 PM

Comment #123 - Posted by: Sameer Parekh

"But if they laws do not reflect the morals of the society, don't blame the lawyer who merely told you what the laws say. Change the law."

Agreed. If someone wants to pass blame in this situation, shouldn't they blame those that make the laws (i.e. the Representatives and Senators)?

Comment #129 - Posted by: Tim 27/m/195 at May 29, 2008 12:36 PM

I def. agree with you that if we broadcast exactly what we will do in an interrogation, with set limits, etc. then we will give terrorists a pretty clear guideline on how they should train. However, one thing to keep in mind is the role outside intel agencies play. Many of the European ones are refusing to give information to the US because they will not work with anyone who "tortures", no matter what we do to show the rest of the world we are a civil country. Some people probably laugh it off, but that would be very dangerous and stupid, as most of the intel we get comes through outside channels one way or the other. So I think one has to look at the bigger picture of the ramifications of our actions, if that makes sense. Its relatively easy to decide a clear guideline for ourselves, but others (that play an important role in our intel gathering) may have very different opinions of what we do, so I think we need to be very careful in the way that we frame what torture is and explain our actions.

Crazyguywithasword (wow, what a name)
Thanks, your earlier post was right on, this isnt a left vs right issue, its an issue where people have to look at it from all different sides. On one side, if someone proposes hardcore "harsh interrogation" and secrecy, they might get the immediate information from the person but will lose support from the rest of the world. On the other hand, if we take away all different forms of harshness and limit our own intelligence gathering, we will lose a lot on the immediate front, but might gain more from the international community that will be more willing to help out. So yeah, there are tradeoffs on either side, those people saying that anyone who disagrees with them is a "hippy" or "fascist" are naive and ignorant.

Yeah, an hour to warm up is pretty overkill in my opinion. The crossfit warmup is a good guideline to use, but listen to your body as well, do what you need to do and incorporate the exercises and moves that help you out the most.

Comment #130 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at May 29, 2008 12:37 PM


You sound kind of angry.

Can't really understand how you got on about relativism, so I'm going to ignore it.

And what I meant was the reason that you hear only about the "rights" definition is not because others don't exist (like #122 rightly pointed out, the geneva convention) but because they're the ones currently who decide.

And the issue is that they don't think torture is bad for terrorists, not necessarily what torture is or isn't.

Comment #131 - Posted by: Crazyguywithasword at May 29, 2008 12:37 PM

Tried out the butterfly pullup today on Lynne. WOW!
When I get it figured out perfecly, and can keep the rhythm going once I get smoked I'll be able to put up scary numbers!

Comment #132 - Posted by: FRED 24/215/6'3" at May 29, 2008 12:39 PM

Does anyone here subscribe to the crossfit journal. If so does it have videos on it? how many are there usually? thanks

Comment #133 - Posted by: Brandon at May 29, 2008 12:45 PM


Sorry, I was being sarcastic and there was no call for it.

The WOD, done consistently and full-bore, will be enough training for most people. Yesterday might have been "easy", but it was probably welcomed by all those who went balls to the wall on the two prior WODs, which were brutal.

If you feel like you did not get enough work done, practice something (handstands, ring work), and be confident that the next day's, or the next week's, WODs will not be so easy.

Look at it from a broader perspective. Don't view it as a day of work, view it as a 3-day cycle of work, or a month-long cycle of work. I promise you will get tired and obtain a training effect (if you work hard). And you will eventually welcome the "easy" days for the recovery they allow.

Comment #134 - Posted by: bret kleefuss at May 29, 2008 12:48 PM

Barry you write
>>Contrast this with the Third Reich, whose entire purpose was to conquer and literally enslave all races they considered inferior, and literally to kill anyone considered to be polluting the gene pool. They justified this with recourse to Darwinian notions of natural selection, with the overt murder of prospective competitors for your supremacy being an obvious way to protect your genes.<<

Accept that this is a cartoonish exposition of what the the Third Reich was about. Facism in general and Nazism in particular was about building a stronger society in which each citizen could maximize his own talents and in which the relatively minor differences among citizens were put aside for the advancement of the state.

It is a system which simultaneously recognizes the harm both in constrictive unionism and unchecked corporate greed. Both serve to divide key elements of society rather than to unite them.

It is important, I think, to understand Nazism from the point of view of Nazis if you are going to be sure that you are not following in its path. Saying that our government is clearly different than anti-Nazi propaganda is not much of an achievement.

This is not to say that I am pro-Nazi or anti this government just that if you want to be strict on objective interpretation you have to be objective to everyone, including Nazis.

Comment #135 - Posted by: Karl Smith at May 29, 2008 12:51 PM

Hey...anybody have, or know of any good stretching routines?

Comment #136 - Posted by: relentlessAZ at May 29, 2008 12:54 PM

#122, reto

"Re: left wing hippies offering suggestions for the drawing of a new about the Geneva Convention to start?"

Sigh, now it’s complaining and worse, expounding and being uninformed. At least you phrased it as a question, that's something.

Did you even read this article? Did you understand it? Have you read the Geneva Convention, ever? How do you define its use of the phrase “severe pain”? How do you define “prolonged mental harm”? “Prolonged”, what is prolonged? What is “severe”? What is “harm”?

The Geneva Convention is worthless and invalid as a guide; it's full of ambiguity and relativism when it comes to defining torture, as is explained in the article. As is ALSO stated in the article, “the Justice Department had never prosecuted anyone under the antitorture statute, so there were no judicial opinions to guide him(Yoo).”

To quote the actual article and Yoo’s reasoning, “So he buckled down ….defining the limits of acceptable pain. He knew it would (have been) be easy to draw a vague standard that sounded good and then give the CIA a meaningful wink. But that wouldn’t be fair to the officers in the field.” The Geneva Convention’s definition would have done just that, it’s a blanket statement with NO REAL MEANING allowing anyone to do anything because its definition is relative.

“He (Yoo) wanted to draw a clear line.”

I’m not going to thank you again for proving my point. It actually saddens me the fuzzy/bad thinking going on these days.

To repeat: “Give us YOUR definition of torture, a line of what is and what isn't torture, one that can actually be applied in the real world over a board range of situations/scenarios.”

Comment #137 - Posted by: penty at May 29, 2008 12:57 PM

If there is no rings what could someone do for muscle ups

Comment #138 - Posted by: Brandon at May 29, 2008 1:01 PM

"You hippies are “good” at art, draw a line. Give us YOUR definition of torture, a line of what is and what isn't torture, one that can actually be applied in the real world over a board range of situations/scenarios.
Otherwise please be quiet and let the adults talk"

So your tactic is to demand that someone spell out a very complex task (on a crossfit opinion page) that would take thousands of pages, tackling important questions that have plagued societies for centuries (all to your immediate satisfaction), or else you wouldn't talk to them. Thats your compelling case? Everyone has opinions, some "left", some more "right" but nonsense like this doesn't really add anything to the discussion.

Comment #139 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at May 29, 2008 1:02 PM


bar muscle ups

Comment #140 - Posted by: splint at May 29, 2008 1:16 PM

Zo #129
I do understand the value of for/int their hum/int network is usually quite a bit more robust than the USA's. But it too has it's con's. We will receive intelligence that is not actionable because of the source. Heck we have a hard enough time getting our own agencies to share int much less foreign powers. But your point does have weight we shouldn't complicate it unnecessarily.

But this begs the question: Is waterboarding torture?
Is rendition legal (outsourcing torture)?
Is taking two suspects on a helicopter ride blindfolding them and shoving one out and then beginning the interrogation torture? (The guy that gets shove out falls 20 feet and lands in a rice paddy. He's relatively unharmed.)

I don't think our government is currently removing fingernails or electrocuting until they smell well done.

I'm for aggressive questioning. In the words of Rage Against the Machine, How far is to far? Capture and interrogation isn't a day at the spa (although those facials can get pretty mean.)

Comment #141 - Posted by: jakers at May 29, 2008 1:31 PM

One last thing before I leave, if the Geneva convention is so worthless why is it mentioned on the back of the armed forces ID cards? Why did we get repetitive refresher training on it while deployed? Why do we have JAGs all over to help us determine whether our actions are justified? Yeah, trust me, I know the Geneva convention has its holes and is unclear in places, but this is a topic that will always have ambiguities. Reto is well justified to mention it as a tool to help determine right from wrong in war, and while its not a perfect document it is a start at least. Its hypocritical to demand someone answer your question to perfection and your satisfaction, yet not do anything but try to debunk other people's answers. All I have seen you say is that the "left" and "hippies" are ruining everything, but I havent seen anything concrete from you either.

Comment #142 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at May 29, 2008 1:37 PM

Samir at #105:

"HOWEVER, it is the duty of the american government to protect the rights only of americans. Sure the us government can and will go around protecting the rights of non-americans every now and again, but it does not have a duty to do so. Non-americans have rights, but they should not expect the american government to protect those rights. They need to protect their own rights themselves, find another government who will protect their rights, or become americans."

Very interesting viewpoint. Especially interesting in that many of these "victims" have no country of record, and those that do have been disavowed by their own countries. Will no one who believes that Yoo is so wrong address it? And what of those of you who feel so strongly that the U.S. is now equivalent to regimes past and present who have and continue to torture their own citizens in response to political differences?

And how does one reconcile this restriction on the available tactics for those charged with protecting us with the broad-brush charges that somebody, SOMEBODY could or should have done something, SOMETHING more than was done to prevent 9/11, etc.? What faith can any government employee have, be they lawyer in the DOJ or SEAL, that they will not be prosecuted downstream, for doing what they clearly understand is their job, by the armchair quarterbacks of the political opposition at the time? My heavens, do I understand this correctly, that there is a move afoot to allow an enemy combatant to bring a civil suit against a former U.S. government employee for actions done in the course of his (desk) job?

These arguments and this line of discourse are the privileges of a society gone soft. A society far removed from the sacrifices necessary for survival. The winning entry in the Freakonomics contest to choose a slogan for the U.S.:

"Our worst critics prefer to stay."

Comment #143 - Posted by: bingo at May 29, 2008 1:41 PM

I just did "Jason" from Monday...holy crap! That is probably the hardest WOD I have done in a long time. anyone else have the time of their life with it?

Comment #144 - Posted by: Brendan_FL at May 29, 2008 1:46 PM

Bob comment #72

I'm a big joke fan and nothing ruins a joke more than having to say "I was kidding" or having to write the :) sign, but I gotta know: You're kidding, right? Does someone like you really exist? If you're Andy Kaufman-ing us, I apologize for messing up the joke. If you're for real, write more. Very entertaining.

Comment #145 - Posted by: Andy 41 yoa 6'3" 200 lb. white guy at May 29, 2008 1:56 PM

No time to get into the argument today, so I'm going to settle for a drive-by.

I think most everyone can agree that Yoo didn't do anything wrong (as in illegal) but I think that naming him in this lawsuit is perhaps the best thing that Padilla's lawyer could have (unintentionally) done for America. The whole issue of interrogation/torture is muddied because of the confusing mixture of legal and moral arguments. Settling the legal questions can only help.
...that is unless the case gets dismissed for the reasons bingo just mentioned. It does seem like sort of a shaky case looked at that way.

Your well-reasoned, eloquent, informed arguments prove that it takes an education to reach the dizzying heights of bad judgment characterized by North American leftists. That's not a specific response to anything you've said today, just a general observation that I wanted to make since any discussion we might have would eventually end up there anyway.

On another note:
The article mentioned that Yoo "considered our history of warfare against nonstate groups like Indians and pirates." That made me think of this article, that I found from a link on the freakonomics blog.

Comment #146 - Posted by: RifRafRob at May 29, 2008 2:01 PM

First of all, let me begin by saying that though I'm not a Bush fan, neither am I a Bush hater. We'll see how history views the man and his accomplishments.

But one of the earlier posts sparked my interest. One of the posters brought up the infamous "WAR ON TERROR."

Let me pose a question to the community:

How can we war against an idea?

Let me declare a war on knowledge, or a war on stupidity, or a war on ignorance.

There is no defined enemy and therefore victory cannot be had.


Comment #147 - Posted by: Jim G-ville at May 29, 2008 2:04 PM

how about this for torture: cruel and unusual. if we wouldnt do it to a US citizen convicted of a crime, we have no business doing it to any person of any country, certainly when there has not been any due process, trial, access to competent defense. even hussein, milosevic, and the ww2 criminals got that much. the argument that torture saves lives is bs, since under fear/pain people will make up whatever they need to make it stop. show me one life that was saved by torture. if you come up with any, weigh that against the fact that we have lost our right to claim "we are the good guys," the fact that we have created a world where the sole superpower and most developed nation uses torture. isn't the country that I love and defend supposed to represent freedom, democracy, human rights?

Comment #148 - Posted by: jwin at May 29, 2008 2:04 PM

how about this for torture: cruel and unusual. if we wouldnt do it to a US citizen convicted of a crime, we have no business doing it to any person of any country, certainly when there has not been any due process, trial, access to competent defense. even hussein, milosevic, and the ww2 criminals got that much. the argument that torture saves lives is bs, since under fear/pain people will make up whatever they need to make it stop. show me one life that was saved by torture. if you come up with any, weigh that against the fact that we have lost our right to claim "we are the good guys," the fact that we have created a world where the sole superpower and most developed nation tortures suspects. isn't the country that I love and defend supposed to represent freedom, democracy, human rights?

Comment #149 - Posted by: jwin at May 29, 2008 2:05 PM

Torture = Crossfit!

I have defined the undefinable!

Comment #150 - Posted by: Laz at May 29, 2008 2:10 PM

Rest is for girls...JK....did "Helen" for the first time.10:32

Comment #151 - Posted by: JimBo at May 29, 2008 2:14 PM

How about the war on poverty? when we do get to declare victory on that one?

Comment #152 - Posted by: jakers at May 29, 2008 2:15 PM

Rest is for girls....JK ....did "helen" for the first time....10:32

Comment #153 - Posted by: JimBo at May 29, 2008 2:16 PM

#146, That's a good question. Let me get back to you once Drugs have signed an unconditional surrender.

Comment #154 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 29, 2008 2:21 PM

#151 jakers


Comment #155 - Posted by: Jim G-ville at May 29, 2008 2:22 PM

#11, I'm a competitive endurance athlete (distance tri, marathon, cycling), and I try to incorporate CF into my training. I do the WOD as prescribed, but I alter weights. On occasion I sub some things. For example, after a 4 hours of climbing in the Andes on my bike, I generally don't do squats the next day. Also, I usually don't do the running portion of the WOD as I get plenty of that unless it fits into my schedule. Since the workouts only take about 20 minutes I don't find they detract from my other training. Plus, I've noticed that my core is stronger as are my legs. If your friends are serious marathoners, CF Endurance won't be much help. Stick with their training plan but add the normal CF.

Comment #156 - Posted by: Ian at May 29, 2008 2:26 PM


I've always regretted not being born (or reared) in Europe. Bad judgment just seems to bubble out of the ground over there - here we have to dig it up, study it and learn a new language to make it our own. :)

Comment #157 - Posted by: Prole at May 29, 2008 2:42 PM

#136 penty

All due respect, but I think the interpretation on the definition of torture as set out in the Geneva Convention is clear. For example, as per the European Court of Human Rights.

Comment #158 - Posted by: Reto at May 29, 2008 2:42 PM

Ian, #155

I'm NOT a competitive endurance athlete, and haven't done a marathon training plan, nor crossfit endurance, so I have no bias for or against either.

Having said that, you said "if your friends are serious marathoners, CF endurance won't be much help". Upon what do you base your comments?

Much of crossfit flies in the face of traditional practices and workout philosophies, yet it works in spite of the "conventional wisdom". Have you actually tried CF endurance for several months, and conducted an analysis of the results on your own performance? Or are you simply unwilling to accept the concepts of CF endurance and give them an experiment, because your find them "invalid on their face"? Once again, I have no idea if they actually work or not, but if crossfit is any indication of the potential CF endurance might have for success, I would think it might be worth a try.

Please accept this as a valid question, and not an attack. As I've previously stated, I've never run a marathon, and you have, so you might have some event specific training information that forms the basis for your comments, and your response might lead to an interesting discussion from other endurance athletes regarding their experiences.

Comment #159 - Posted by: Laz at May 29, 2008 2:55 PM

I don't think Yoo is a monster. I do think he has a blind spot the size of the executive branch. In advising his client to take illegal and unconstitutional actions, he engaged in malpractice, and he should be disbarred. The people who partook in the illegal and unconstitutional acts should be tried.

"If you really believe that Yoo is all wrong and the unitary-executive theory completely false, you kind of have to say Lincoln behaved like a tyrant."

That's an easy one. Lincoln behaved like a tyrant.

"Everyone reviewed his war memo. Ashcroft signed off."

That doesn't matter. All the bobble heads on my desk agree with me, too.

"And Congress passed the Authorization to Use Military Force with only one opposing vote. If this was the first mistake in the war on terror, as many now believe, it was a mistake the nation made together."

I'm sorry, that equivocation doesn't work. Authorizing the use of force is a legitimate function of government. Authorizing the use of torture is not.

"It also seemed like a good idea to keep the prison camps distant from U. S. soil, both for safety and to insulate them from those same domestic laws."

Nice. You know, we arrested that British online gambling exec when he stepped onto American soil*. In addition to providing an air of illegitimacy, it doesn't provide legal immunity, apparently.

"So, what about things like isolation, prolonged interrogation, forced exercise, and limited sleep? Where was the line, exactly?"

Three years of solitary, like in Padilla's case, causes permanent psychological damage. It is torture.

"'Waterboarding we think is torture'
'We’ve done it three times,' he repeats."

That you know of, you bastard.

Comment #160 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 29, 2008 3:21 PM

M/53/6'2"/230 lb.

Did "Grace"
As Rx’d
135 LBS clean and jerk
X 30 for time

Then I did the WOD from the Windy city
crossfit Affiliate
As Rx’d

65 Lb thrusters
10 pushups

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes
I got 15

I really slowed down towards the end

Comment #161 - Posted by: Jimslatt at May 29, 2008 3:48 PM


I am amazed by your paranoia and apparent belief in conspiracy. I have a neighbor who swears there are aliens being held captive in secret labs in New Mexico. He also amazes me.


You shouldn't comment on things that you're "ignoring". That is contradictory of you. I'm not sure why you thought I was angry. Perhaps it is because I don't agree with your absolutist opinion. I disagreed with your comment and left one of my own.

I think there is a time and a place for just about everything, and that happens to include torture (porn too, but that was another rest day). Just because something is forbidden by law doesn't mean it's bad. It just means there are consequences. There is nothing magical about the Geneva Convention. It's just words written by members of an international committee. We recognize, in many areas of our lives, that what is suitable for one person is not suitable for another. It's not such a stretch to think that measures necessary to elicit information vary from person to person as well. What is effective and warranted to find out which of your children cut their sister's doll's hair is much different than what is effective and warranted to find out which of the terrorist's associates are also terrorists and what their plans are. If torturing a terrorist saves the life of one innocent person, I am glad that someone was able to perform an unpleasant duty in service to their country.


Comment #162 - Posted by: ether m/31/5'9/195 at May 29, 2008 4:00 PM

Laz, I didn't mean it to come off as a slight on CF Endurance. It's probably pretty good for sprint and olympic distance tris and up to 10-milers, but it lacks one significant component for distance events, the pounding. For competitive marathon running, you really need to have a significant amount of mileage so your body doesn't break down in the last 10K of the race. It's the same for Ironman and cycling training. Your body has to get used to training/racing for hours at a time. I know that CF calls for a reduced amount of training time, and I'm actually a big proponent of that. I run sub 2:40 marathons and sub 10:00 Ironmans, but I log about 30% less mileage than most of the people that go the same speed. The basic principle of CF is quality over quantity, and that's what I follow. For IM or marathon training, though, you simply have to log some long distances during the train up. CF Endurance is a decent training tool, it's just not enough for competitive distance training. Trust me, a person who has never ridden 100 continuous miles in training (let alone not even totaling 100 miles for the week) and not run over 20 miles on a long run day would not survive an IM. Well, they might survive, but they wouldn't be competitive.

As I said, I'm a big fan of CF and use it to supplement my training. I have seen some improvements, mostly power-related, and my strengthened core has helped me maintain form in the later stages of races. One last example for you, the CF Endurance rarely calls for more than 15 miles on the bike. The average cycling race for CAT 5 (novice division) is 40 miles for a road race and 40 minutes for a criterium (crazy-fast racing for the duration of the race). The CF Endurance program doesn't contain enough time, intervals, or sprint training to be competitive.

All of that being said, a person just looking to run the shorter races or even a marathon could get by on the CF Endurance training. I wouldn't recommend it for IM training, though. Just my thoughts. I welcome someone to prove me wrong.

Comment #163 - Posted by: Ian at May 29, 2008 4:13 PM


playing catch up:

Run 1 mile : 7:35
Two minutes of each:
Row (sub 45# sdhp) 43
30 pound Dumbbell thrusters(20#) 25
20 pound Medicine ball cleans (14#) 25
Double-unders 90
Pull-ups 34

total: 217

that was tough. feel like i am gonna puke

pre: wux1
post: nothing

tomorrow is my rest day. legs are still thrashed from jason on monday.

Comment #164 - Posted by: nadia shatila at May 29, 2008 4:19 PM

# 137 Brandon

The sub for muscle ups is 4 each of bar pullups and bar dips. You can find alot of information in the FAQ or by using the search function in the message board. Crossfit journals usually contain 2-3 video articles, alot of the instructional videos on some of the WOD are previews to that months CFJ, for instance todays video Pullup Drills with Jeff Tucker. The WOD is the only thing that alot of Crossfitters do everyday, however; alot of the more elite Crossfitters are involoved in some other sport or specialize in some type of activity. You can and should augment with extra work, drills, or form work from a particular activity or sport. I usually throw in a few extra 5k runs on ME days, maybe some 400/800m sprints on Heavy METCON days. Have Fun!

Comment #165 - Posted by: tejanostylin at May 29, 2008 4:25 PM

I owe myself some shoulder workouts later. .

did Cindy today. 10 min run w/u & 10 c/d
19 rounds in 20:08
all dead hang pull ups, hands facing each other
ahr 161/ mhr 171

Comment #166 - Posted by: chilegringo/m/40/6'/198 at May 29, 2008 4:38 PM


41 M 90#

2min jog warm up

10 24 inch box jump
10 20# db swings
5 pushups
5 leg lifts
3 pullups

10 rounds for time

me 13:39

Christy 32 F 135# 14:49 (same weights)


Comment #167 - Posted by: Sniper 64 at May 29, 2008 4:55 PM

thanks everyone for the comments on my interest in the Zone diet. I am going to try and order Mastering the Zone from amazon or somewhere used!

Also, I am new to recreational running. How do I get past the point where it feels like I either need to quit or I am going to pass out/puke/collapse? Any help would be appreciated!!

Thanks again,

Comment #168 - Posted by: Don at May 29, 2008 5:13 PM

Whooped Adam in 4 games of racquetball.
Thanks Adam for getting up early to get our workout in!

Comment #169 - Posted by: Sullinator at May 29, 2008 5:36 PM

141# zo,

I’m not the one calling Yoo a monster/lackey /war criminal for his definition of torture. Let those who vocally say they have a problem (pretty much the lefties here) with offer the counter. Lefties love whistle blowers but seem to hate problem solvers. Start solving problems instead of pointing out the flaws in others.

“Geneva convention is so worthless why is it mentioned on the back of the armed forces ID cards?”

Sigh, is reading comprehension so bad these days? I said and I’ll quote it for you, “The Geneva Convention is worthless and invalid as a guide; it's full of ambiguity and relativism when it comes to defining torture,…” I am here referring SOLELY to the Geneva Convention’s statements on torture. NOT the entire “convention”, I was very clear.

Zo again, “Its hypocritical to demand someone answer your question to perfection and your satisfaction, yet not do anything but try to debunk other people's answers. All I have seen you say is that the "left" and "hippies" are ruining everything, but I havent seen anything concrete from you either”

That is truly comical, you haven’t provided any answers to debunk. I have offered PLENTY of suggestions. I’m trying to get a framework of discussion going. Sadly the start of a discussion is to define terms so everyone knows what everyone else is talking about. You, or rather “the hippies”, dislike torture and the current definition of it as well. One that isn’t subjective?

Zo, I’m sorry you confuse an attempt at discourse as hypocritical.

#157 reto, okay then do as I asked before, “What is “prolonged”? What is “severe harm?” This is how the GC explains torture and is as subjective and arbitrary as the political winds and changes about as regularly.

Comment #170 - Posted by: penty at May 29, 2008 5:40 PM

#2 SamF Definition of Crossfit:
High intensity training involving dynamic movements.
Sounds good to me anyway.

Comment #171 - Posted by: The Good Shepherd at May 29, 2008 5:43 PM

#166 Sniper 64:

are you really a 40 year old male and weight 90lbs?

Comment #172 - Posted by: Brendan_FL at May 29, 2008 5:46 PM


#159 Maurkov (and others)

I enjoy the opportunities that Coach presents the community here to debate the issues facing our country. I am, however, disappointed to see the discourse of a group that is usually thoughtful and eloquent degenerate into ad hominem attacks ("you bastard," "hippies," etc.)

I have served around the world (visited every continent but Antarctica and sailed literally all the way around the world) and have a tremendous appreciation for the right to free speech and open debate; it makes America what it is and it is spreading around the world. While I agree that you have the right to any remark you choose, you undermine your own point by resorting to personal attacks.

#92 Lee - I respect your point of view regarding the porn article, but disagree that encouraging thought and debate somehow undermines the CrossFit community. It is a debate that we should encourage.

In general, thoughtful debate of the issues results in a more robust democracy, with better checks and balances against extreme views. It also prevents us from making change too quickly, which history shows can have far-reaching consequences.

Thanks to all for the encouragement and comaraderie in the CrossFit community - it is even more inspiring than the dedication to fitness.


Comment #173 - Posted by: ScottE at May 29, 2008 5:56 PM


Did yesterday's today.

75-85-95-100-2 x 105-95

105 set was like clean & press, clean & fail, clean & press, with about 30 seconds of rest in-between.

CFT tomorrow. Oh man.

Comment #174 - Posted by: Joshua Holmes at May 29, 2008 6:14 PM


"...can I call right wingers fascists?" No crazyguywithasword, you cannot call the right wingers fascists. Straight from the dictionary Fascism is:

"A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."

Last time I checked, that sounds a lot more like the left wing; stringent socioeconomic controls (redistributing wealth, green power subsidies...); suppression of opposition through terror (i.e. name calling as in racist, homophobe etc.. when other try to express their opposing views); racism (i.e. affirmative action, obsessing over race...).
So I say again crazyguywithasword, no you cannot call right wingers fascist.

Comment #175 - Posted by: Moose Actual at May 29, 2008 6:16 PM

#172 ScottE,

Personally I mainly mean "hippie" as a joke insult and find it hard to beleive anyone could actually take offense.

I mean seriously all the bad names and things out there and "hippie" bothers you?

The only people who should actaully take offense are actual hippes. So hippies, is it offensive to call you hippies? :-) It doesn't count if your offended ON BEHALf of hippies, you have to actually be one.

Comment #176 - Posted by: penty at May 29, 2008 6:48 PM

Read the article. Have not read all the comments.

Thoughts: Yoo is not only not a monster, he is brave and principled. Heroic is perhaps too strong a word, but certainly a much needed man of substance in a difficult situation.

The reality in this world is that force is sometimes needed. How much force, and what type of force are issues that are profitable to debate. There are a spectrum of options available in most all cases, and it's foolish not to think these issues through rationally, in advance, and develop the best understanding possible.

In his case, the examples were all theoretical, so he developed a theoretical understanding for use with enemy combatants in foreign nations. As he states, he did not intend his work for general use, and likely would have drawn different lines in different situations.

The simple fact of the matter is that until people accept that the world is a violent place, they will never be able to rationally minimize the amount of violence they use to control it.

Comment #177 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 29, 2008 6:57 PM

To take a concrete example, South Vietnam lost roughly 250,000 dead civilians, and roughly an equal number of soldiers;North Vietnam roughly 1 million soldiers, and a lot of civilians, but nothing like what South Vietnam lost, particularly in the final assault of 1974-1975, which was tank led, conventional, and very destructive.

If we had taken Rolling Thunder--the early bombing campaign under Johnson--seriously, we would have ended the war within months. Proof of this was clearly seen when Nixon ordered Linebacker 2, which was sustained round the clock B-52 bombardment that left virtually nothing of value standing. This led the inititially intransigent North Vietnamese Stalinists back to the table with their tails between their legs within a week or so.

Johnson--a Democrat, lest I risk even a small chance of being misunderstood here--had the support of the Americans. It was quite clear that the North Vietnamese communists were invading villages--just like Al Queda in Iraq--terrorizing the citizens through torture, kidnapping and murder--just like Al Queda--and forcing people to kill for them--just like Al Queda in Iraq. It was patent, clear, unambiguous aggression of the worst sort.

Yet, he chose to pretend that nothing serious was happening, and act as if half measures were better than nothing, and for that reason better than apparently unsupportable full measures.

He refused, in other words, to accept fully the reality that violence is necessary, and assess the situation rationally, as seen from the perspective of what would most quickly bring an end to the war. We didn't need to lose 58,000 men. His lack of decisiveness in fact did not prevent deaths. It increased them on all sides, and in all quarters. It increased civilian deaths on both sides, military deaths on both sides, and overall devastation on both sides.

This is what you get when you want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that you can avoid difficult decisions.

Yoo is not doing that. He did not do that. He looked at the situation and made the best call he could. This is useful, and as he said it was needed. He didn't want to give CYA, wishy washy directions to people doing jobs that were already hard.

Moving on to the Congress/Executive distinction, the simplest way to put this is that had the President not had an overtly leftist Congress riding his a$$, we would have walked away from Vietnam with a solid victory. I will challenge anyone to dispute this. I have read up extensively on this.

Yoo said as much, when he stated that Truman's strong leadership (I will note that Kennedy was in my view the last Democrat who was not also a leftist) led to much better living conditions for his parents, and much better life for South Korea. Had we persisted even slightly longer in Vietnam, we would have won the same for the South Vietnamese, instead of condemning them to life in a totalitarian regime that cont

Comment #178 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 29, 2008 7:02 PM

#161, ether m, writes,

"Hari,I am amazed by your paranoia and apparent belief in conspiracy. I have a neighbor who swears there are aliens being held captive in secret labs in New Mexico. He also amazes me."

That is hardly a response to my very direct question: What about my comment #70 amazed you? What premise of mine do you find to be paranoid or unreasonable?

Your ad hominem attacks lead me to suspect that you may not have understood what I wrote.

You've accused me of being a lousy citizen, someone who should leave the country. You've suggested that I am mentally ill. What could you possible have seen in my comment #70 to have provoked such a response?

Comment #179 - Posted by: Hari at May 29, 2008 7:07 PM

I watched Iron Man tonight. I was interested to see how they handled the beginning, and it was nearly exactly on par with the original Iron Man comic, set roughly in 1963.

In that comic, roughneck gangsters who are obviously Vietcong capture Tony Stark, and take him to a village they have taken control of. The head guy loves to show off his wrestling prowess, and is constantly manhandling and beating the hapless villagers. He tell Start to build a weapon, and he is assisted by an old Vietnamese professor, who is likewise being held captive.

The obvious story ensues--including, as in the movie--the heroic death of the professor which buys Stark the precious moments he needs.

In actual history, Gen. Abrams pacification program worked spectacularly, which is why the eventual conquest of South Vietnam arose directly from the North. Their tanks attacked in tandem with conventional NVA forces left in South Vietnam as a result of Nixon's need to get a treaty signed to deal with an insurgent Congress and public.

So we can see that the plain story was presented accurately in a comic book in the early 60's, and nothing changed after that, except the public's perception of the war. It was always a defense against an invasion, and the right thing to do was always to help the South.

Returning to Iron Man, we can tie in how this process of intellectual subversion happened. In the movie Stark, who is an arms developer and dealer, is profoundly disturbed that his weapons are used to kill innocents.

Rather than draw the obvious conclusion that he needed to be sure he sold only to the good guys, he draws the conclusion that he must stop selling arms to everyone. Guns create war, just as police create crime (as a brilliant Code Pink protester agreed it could be put).

This is the leftist subtext of that movie. When our conventional military forces want clearance to kill some bad guys (in the movie), they can't get it, because of the possibilty of civilian casualties. Iron Man appears, as an almost literal deus ex machina, to save the day. But we don't have Iron Man, and therefore we still need to ask ourselves what policies produce the most good. Sometimes, as in France in WW2 and countless other theaters, this means civilian deaths to kill combatant deaths. Sometimes this could--note, need not, but could--lead to the need to use torture to save lives.

The basic gist, then, of the thought scrambling propagana meme that threw many millions of Vietnamese into slavery, is that war is bad, and if we don't fight it, we won't have to fight it. There is no bad peace, or good war. Violence is never the answer.

Yet this is manifestly historically wrong. Violence quite often IS the anwer, and the failure to discuss the use of force intelligently--brought on by the failure to grasp this simple and thoroughly supported idea--meant throughout the 20th Century more, not less death, terror, and destruction.

Comment #180 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 29, 2008 7:25 PM

Of course Violence is often the answer- particularly by people people who didnt get the gist of the question.

Arent we enjoying a mutually benificial trade relationship with Vietnam right now? Imagine that.

Im still amazed that people continue to reduce everything to "the leftist" and "the right"

I call for a radical moderate revolution.

Maurkov- you will be ignored on this board- surely youve figured out why.

RIf Raf Bob- stay out of school dude- youre getting smarter every day- soon youll be a liberatarian hippie- they are just like regular hippies- but you get more showers and you keep your job.

Comment #181 - Posted by: James at May 29, 2008 8:38 PM

Mods: repost, as my posts that get held have poor survival rates lately.

Ok, read through the comments. Let's have some fun.

For those who want to hew to the Geneva Convention, how far are you willing to take it? Remember that Convention was intended for combatant soldiers of individual nations whose efforts were directed towards military purposes, and not intentional infliction of mass civilian casualties.

Be that as it may, if you could save the life of a child by torturing the child of terrorist, would you do it? How about the lives of ten children? How about a thousand? A million? What if someone developed a doomsday bomb to bring about Judgment Day, and was literally going to kill everyone on earth. Would you authorize torture then?

There is a continuum there, and you can't pretend that these concepts exist in a vacuum. You can't duck this discussion and still be taken seriously. You can't just say Geneva Convention until the death of the world, and limit cases like this--even if they have no realistic prospect of occurring--show this clearly.

What if the child was a murderer, as many are in the developing world? What if he had buried an American soldier somewhere, who was only minutes from death?

Comment #182 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 29, 2008 8:42 PM

Penty #176 writes
"Sigh, is reading comprehension so bad these days? I said and I’ll quote it for you, “The Geneva Convention is worthless and invalid as a guide; it's full of ambiguity and relativism when it comes to defining torture,…” I am here referring SOLELY to the Geneva Convention’s statements on torture. NOT the entire “convention”, I was very clear."

Haha, you are blaming my reading comprehension? How exactly are you "clear" in saying that you were only specifying torture, when you state that the "Geneva Convention is worthless and invalid as a guide"? If you try to clarify a main point with the second half of the sentence, you have to actually clarify it. But yeah, its probably my reading comprehension skills. I still havent figured out what you are attacking, or who you are attacking, or what your point is. In #130 I explain that there is a fine balance in harsh interrogation, and no matter what side someone takes there is going to be a reaction one way or the other. You can agree or not, I dont care, I dont mind talking to anyone with some sort of rationality. But at least its something of substance, rather then a diatribe against the leftist conspiracy. And I find it interesting that you find the use of words like "hippy" so integral to your argument (reference your defense of it to ScottE). In my opinion, thats the sign of a weak mind, of someone with no originality that they throw out "joke insults" yet at the same time write things like "let the adults talk." Whatever.

Yeah, those questions you ask are compelling and really difficult to answer. I think a lot of people could come up with their answers to it pretty quickly, but I think changing some of the dynamics of the situation might make them reconsider. For instance, I might be all for one type of interrogation, but would I still be up for it if the person I was about to interrogate might not be guilty of what hes accused of? What if it was an eight year old kid, who may or may not have vital information. So many questions, and a lot of them are judgement calls, which is why I strongly agree with you that making set guidelines could give the enemy the advantage. But at the same time, you risk losing your role as the moral superior when you bend rules. Its just so ambiguous and arbitrary.

As for whether Yoo is a monster, I would say definitely not. I think he was in a tough position, and made a judgement call from his own perspective. This article only gives glimpses of some of the things he wrote, I would be interested to read some of his actual arguments in depth, because this article im sure focused on the more sensational ones. However, I will say that I think Yoo has a very good concept of the fact that he did bend the rules at times, and now some of the policies he argued for are being put in place in army manuals and all through different government agencies, which was not his intent. But I do see why people could percieve him as immoral, although I think he was doing his best in a tough situation.

Comment #183 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at May 29, 2008 8:44 PM

Repost, as my held posts have not been making it through.

You have to come down somewhere. Where you do is up to you, but it is disingenuous to reject in total the considered opinions of others without even a rudimentary nod to the problems they are trying to solve. We are trying to balance morality with effectiveness, and legality with necessity. As a nation, we are doing precisely what the Germans did not do, which is conduct a debate about who we are, who we want to be, and what we want. Yoo is an essential part of this debate, and to pretend otherwise is to avoid in a cowardly fashion your duty as a citizen of a free and democratic nation.

Comment #184 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 29, 2008 8:49 PM

29 yom 225#

Made up my own workout today
5 rounds of
500M row (sprint)
max reps bodyweight bench press

time = approx 16 minutes

Comment #185 - Posted by: Kuna at May 29, 2008 8:50 PM


I take offense at you saying the spa facials we give at guantanamo and in Iraq are "mean." I think we are quite gentle at them.

Comment #186 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at May 29, 2008 9:09 PM

Hari, yes, well said way back there. Jakers, enjoyed your retort to Prole's silly personal attack.

Barry well articulates his observation as usual that the standard liberals argue moral outrage from a position which holds at it's center nothing sacred - nothing worth dying for and seemingly nothing worth living for. History is replete with examples of what leftists will kill for, however, so they are at least good for that. Equality is the seeming holy grail of leftism/liberalism - but to what end? Since there's no underlying value, nothing sacred to undergird the equality virtue, there's nothing to restrain the pursuit of it, no reason not to violate liberty and justice in pursuit of the 'equality' goal.

It's an imaginary goal in any event as there's nothing to be done about the broken and unproductive of the world - the super effective can be held down by the state, but the weak, ineffective and unwise gain nothing from that, and generally lose in the deal. The only thing I know of that helps "those in need" is one on one human compassion - I certainly see little benefit given by the existing govt bureacracies, no matter how faithfully their employees serve.

I found the piece a fascinating discussion of the issues. A guy gets a job to provide answers on some of the most demanding questions of law and justice one could have to wrestle with - and he provides them and stands by them. The 'is he a monster' question is spurious, and not worthy of serious discussion.

One point that it raises for me is if these issues can barely be dealt with by a man who's intelligence exceeds the majority of the posters to this board (mine in particular), and perhaps 99% of the population of our nation, I don't think it's likely the rest of us will find any universal agreement on his solutions. The fact that these nearly unsolvable issues would inevitably arise goes directly to why our govt is built as it is. The only way not to abuse power is to abstain from using it. That is the pacifist way (abstinence from the use of power), as I understand it, and that is why there are no surviving pacifist cultures.

I think were I in Bush's shoes (and thankfully for all, I am not) I would have done what he did - I would have found every possible legal avenue I could to bring pressure and pain on the enemy of my nation, the nation I was uniquely charged to defend. I would like to think most of us would do the same. As Coach has said, and as can be easily observed in any performance art/skill, if one proceeds under such complete control that going out of bounds is not possible, that there's no risk of mistake, one is not playing or performing to the greatest potential. Seems to me the President tried to push hard in our nation's defense, hard enough that he perhaps made mistakes (but I won't debate whether he did or didn't with anyone - it's not the significant point to me).

I hate to be circular, but that again highlights why the govt is broken into parts as it is, so that even a well intentioned President (not to mention one with bad intentions) cannot do too much damage, and the magic is in how to give enough power that the Executive can defend our nation and her constitution while not giving up enough that he/she could destroy (accidentally or on purpose) that which he/she seeks (should seek) to protect.

The article makes plain that liberals can see the risk and reject the notion that the Executive can be trusted with unfettered power of life and death – but those same people want to take the power of individual choice in pursuit of one’s own health care and render it under state control in the name of ‘equality.’ Setting aside the conundrum of taking a legitimate virtue, the birthright of pursuing one’s own life, liberty and happiness, and submitting it to a non-virtue based on nothing, equality … can’t they see how impossibly risky it is to cede such power to the state? Isn’t it clear that, being unhappy with the power the state already has and uses in ways that liberals do not approve, they can’t possibly be happy with how they will abuse additional power? Can’t they see that, as routinely incompetent as govt is with its constitutionally mandated powers, such as national defense, it will be just as impotent with something as complex as nationalized health care? Why do we kid ourselves that such a thing can be managed by the same govt that cannot control borders, collect taxes, run a nearly 70 year old social security system, or even pay for the 40% of health care it already ‘owns?’

I realize it’s a stretch, but this all goes together in my perspective – inevitable limitations of govt to execute it’s basic purpose (as demonstrated well in this examination of Woo’s job), much less the additional BS which we’ve added to the heaping plate of the combined and manifest incompetence of the executive and legislative branches of our federal govt, leave no room for hope that govt is going to ‘solve the health care crisis’ or ‘the energy crisis’ or any other thing of such complexity. We’ll only win this game when we the citizenry demand that our govt deliver on it’s basic, fundamental purpose – defend our individual rights and allow us to apply our will, daring and skill to the pursuit of our individual and/or mutually agreeable interests.

More likely, for the present, we will just kid ourselves that ‘if only my candidate were elected, govt would function as we imagine it should.’


Comment #187 - Posted by: Apolloswabbie 6'2" 210 44 yoa at May 29, 2008 9:11 PM

Jesus you guys are touchy about the fascism thing.

Why does everything about this moral issue have to be about right v. left?

And saying that saving lives by torturing is still a necessity over justice argument. If robbing an old lady meant my kids could eat dinner, does that make it right?

Comment #188 - Posted by: Crazyguywithasword at May 29, 2008 9:13 PM

Paul and Barry, as always, well said. You bring honor to your name.

Comment #189 - Posted by: ScottMacArthur at May 29, 2008 9:26 PM

Don #168: Good luck on the Zone. It's pretty straight forward, once you get the idea of it squared away in your head. And regarding getting past the bargaining point in running- I loath running, but all I can advise is when you reach that point, keep going. Really, just keep pushing, don't stop running. But if you have to do that, I'm not sure it's "recreational". Good luck!

Comment #190 - Posted by: Leslie Ap at May 29, 2008 9:26 PM

Apollo #187
You see this is what I'm talking about:
"I found the piece a fascinating discussion of the issues. A guy gets a job to provide answers on some of the most demanding questions of law and justice one could have to wrestle with - and he provides them and stands by them. The 'is he a monster' question is spurious, and not worthy of serious discussion."

That is what I meant to say.

Your last comment about getting the right guy in there reminds me of the Libertarians election slogan. "Government doesn't work. Elect me and I'll prove it!"

Comment #191 - Posted by: jakers at May 29, 2008 9:47 PM

#172 ScottE,

Gosh, I'm sorry that I offended you. Please replace ", you bastard." with "."

Feel free to respond to the rest, though.

#177 "had the President not had an overtly leftist Congress riding his a$$, we would have walked away from Vietnam with a solid victory. I will challenge anyone to dispute this. I have read up extensively on this."

In what way (rhetorically doesn't count) was Congress riding him? Last time I checked, we have one Commander in Chief. Where they failing to approve his military budget? Holding his domestic agenda hostage? What?

Comment #192 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 29, 2008 9:59 PM

Maurkov 192
They cut off aid to S Vietnam. Until then S. Vietnam was stable. We had been gone for two years and they were doing fine.

Comment #193 - Posted by: jakers at May 29, 2008 10:36 PM


I owe you an apology. My original response was supposed to go to Bob, the poster of comment #72, but I apparently typoed that one. I must admit that for a moment there, I thought you were quite unhinged. Ooops.

Until next rest day...

Comment #194 - Posted by: ether m/31/5'9/195 at May 30, 2008 12:34 AM

#192: Yes, they were stopping funding, and they were literally enacting legislation that actively curtailed the President's powers as Commander in Chief.

Ted Kennedy, for example--not content with merely abandoning our military support of the South--initiated cutting of all funds for both military and economic assistance to the REGION. We cut funds to Cambodia and Laos at the same time as Vietnam.

So despite the fact the Vietnamization was a profound success--especially given the ridiculously accellerated pace at which Abrams was forced to execute it, and the lack of resources allocated for it--Congress cut not just the funding for our actual troops, but the funds that were supposed to support the success of the Vietnamization program. The funds that put gas in the tanks of the tanks, planes and jeeps; bullets in the guns of the Vietnamese; food in their bellies; and that got them paid.

Congress passed the War Powers Act, which so effectively reduced the Executive's Constitutional powers that one serious scholar at the time literally argued that the final power to decide if troops could be kept abroad might have to be made the Supreme Court.

Between 1974 and 1979 no fewer than 70 acts were passed by Congress limiting presidential power (including the Foreign Intelligence Service Act).

Ford literally watched the rape and murder of South Vietnam without lifting a finger. He was prevented by Congressional action from committing troops for more than 60 days without their approval, and he had no chance of getting their approval.

The whole thing is shameful. At the time, leftists argued the North Vietnamese weren't so bad, and that American imperialism was the real problem. That's why we turned our backs on an ally we lost 58,000 dead to defend, at the exact hour when the battle was all but won.

We know now that the Domino theory was real, and that both Cambodia and Laos fell in rapid succession to the Communists, and millions of people were killed.

And you know what? Children were tortured, raped, and murdered in the course of millions of deaths, countless acts of other torture, and long term imprisonment for political "crimes".

It is a very clear, unambiguous sign of the intellectual corruption of the Left that they fall into profound histrionics at any mention of Bush working to use legal theory to support efforts to defend this nation, but 30 years later are still utterly unwilling to discuss--much less admit--their patent and unmistakable role in one of the most horrific and preventable atrocities in modern history.

Comment #195 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 6:40 AM

I am SOOOO tired of our country and it's current policy deciders being compared to Hitler and the Nazi regime. Adolf Eichmann and Yoo are the same like you and Oprah are the same, second guessing while sitting on the couch. If torture saves American lives I'm all for it. Bottom line, Germany didn't invade Africa, Asia, and Europe because there was a group of religious zealots, they did it on the whim of a mad man consumed by hatred. Remember Congress and English Parliament voted almost 100% to invade Iraq (to remove a man much more like Hitler than our current president) There isn't much difference between what George W was trying to do in Iraq and what Roosevelt did in Japan and Germany (remove a dangerous dictator) By the way Germans murdered 10 million people. Those Americans that make this despicable comparison only show how soft and easy their own lives have been by displaying a lack of context. It's disgusting. Why don't you all move to Germany if America is also much like the Nazi regime

Comment #196 - Posted by: Jeremy at May 30, 2008 6:55 AM

Paul (the “Consensus-Builder”?),

“More likely, for the present, we will just kid ourselves that ‘if only my candidate were elected, govt would function as we imagine it should.’ ” – I hope this is an olive-branch and not just a chink in the armour.

You used the phrase “standard liberals argue” and it leads to me to pose a few rhetorical questions to you:

What does the standard conservative argue? Is there such a thing as a standard conservative? Are you one? Would like to be addressed as one?

If the standard liberal could address you and your arguments as ‘standard conservative arguments’ it would make her task on this forum a little easier. She could, for instance, respond to you in the following manner:

“The standard modern conservative argues that his position is one guided by ‘realism’ and identifies as real only those things that fit squarely within his preconceived notions (or those fed him by his preacher or Republican Party). Paradoxically, the standard modern conservative loathes the tentacles of the tax-man, but is comforted by the pincers of inquisitor.”

That wouldn’t be very fair though, would it Paul, Barry. Please, let us stop using such tired ideological concepts as: liberal/leftist/conservative/fascist. If I said that government should tax less, would we agree the government should torture less?

I like your analogy between the cross-fit idea that maximum effort requires a break-down in form at some point, and the tasks of Yoo and the Commander in Chief. The difference is, however, that when I go too hard on my thrusters I end up dumping the bar on the floor, not on someone else’s head.


The left is guilty of ‘histrionics’? Re-read the 40 lines (or last two-years worth of posts) you wrote preceding your use of ‘histrionics’? One only has to whisper ‘Vietnam’ around here….

Comment #197 - Posted by: Prole at May 30, 2008 7:05 AM


It's quite simple to define leftists. They are the ones unable to use fixed principles to form considered and defensible positions. You are defending nothing here, other than the sacrality of the notion that all notions are created equal and should be treated as such, as should all people.

In my own view, what you are seeing on my side is not histrionics. I'm not hyperventilating because someone attacked some cherished belief of mine that I can't defend.

On the contrary, I am deeply, profoundly angry at the on-going intellectual corruption that passes for acceptable consideration of whatever the topic at hand might be. We don't debate on here, by and large. Occassionally Jeff Glassman and I will have minor differences, but I respect him and I believe he respects me, and both of us argue our cases. That makes the whole thing useful.

What we see here is me, Paul, Bingo, Dale, Jeff, CCTJoey and others articulating what we believe and why. What we see in response is the argument that we could be wrong, so how can we feel so confident? That, combined with simple repetition of the sundry variations on propagandistic memes (no blood for oil; Bush lied, people died, wrapped up in slightly prettier bows but not defended) is all we see.

Seeing this displayed hundreds and hundreds of times (including your inability to define patriotism) has in fact increased my level of confidence that my own personal goal is to use the feedback I get to improve my own thinking. That's the whole point of this. Not to shout people down, but to deliver shots to vital intellectual anatomy that get progressively more and more accurate, and more and more deadly.

These comments do not arise from a vacuum. The Obama constituency did not arise ex nihilo from an ideological vacuum. Rather, it arose as a logical outgrowth of frustrated 60's style leftists who are frustrated not just by the wars we are waging, but by the success with which we are waging them.

This is evidence that their fundamental stance is not just wrong, but decidedly and obviously wrong.

I'm not shooting in the dark. There are clear latent ideological patterns on display all around us, expressed overtly by incoherence.

For example, tell me where you draw the line on torture and why. Then refine your answer by responding to my questions above. For example, if you want to use the Geneva Convention, when would it not apply? Ever? Why?

Comment #198 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 7:49 AM

#181 "Maurkov- you will be ignored on this board- surely youve figured out why."

Whatever are you talking about?

#195 I appreciate your response; definitely food for thought.

Comment #199 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 30, 2008 7:50 AM

Karl, your comments about objective analysis of Nazis may have had some validity about what the party was initially - however, it became the instrument of Hitler's will, devoid of any greater purpose. Objectively, Barry's points accurately describe how Hitler used the party and the State to gain his 'monstrous' ends. Paul

Comment #200 - Posted by: Apolloswabbie 6'2" 210 44 at May 30, 2008 8:00 AM


Thanks for all of the perspective on the Vietnam War. Fascinating stuff. Just a thought here and I'd like to get your opinion.

If you think of the Vietnam War geopolitically, it was a success. Vietnam ultimately fell, along with Laos and Cambodia, but those countries held little strategic value for us. During the war, we built an enduring partnership with Thailand which likely helped to prevent the further spread of Communism throughout East Asia, the South Pacific, and Indian Ocean. If we hadn't fought Vietnam isn't it possible that Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and others may have also fallen? Didn't Vietnam drain resources from the Soviet Union just like it did from us? Didn't Vietnam teach our military lessons about warfare vs. Soviet equipment and tactics? Didn't the problems with morale lead directly to improvements in training and recruitment, especially the move to an all-volunteer force?

This is not to say that we couldn't have done better but it seems to me that we got a lot of positive outcomes from Vietnam that contributed to our ultimate victory in the Cold War.


"I've always regretted not being born (or reared) in Europe. Bad judgment just seems to bubble out of the ground over there - here we have to dig it up, study it and learn a new language to make it our own. :)"

Sounds about right. Witty comments like that one are what make you likable even though you're a commie. Incidentally, your comments on the above are also welcome.

Comment #201 - Posted by: RifRafRob at May 30, 2008 8:09 AM

I sincerely thank the CrossFit bloggers, especially Rambo, Beth, Kristin, Janine, tejanostylin, Rob Wolf, and Ian for answering post #11. All of your comments were very useful and greatly appreciated.

Comment #202 - Posted by: M@ at May 30, 2008 8:20 AM

183, zo “Haha, you are blaming my reading comprehension? How exactly are you "clear" in saying that you were only specifying torture, when you state that the "Geneva Convention is worthless and invalid as a guide"?

Yes, zo, reading comprehension. I did clarify it after the word “when”. When you, zo, only quote/read half a sentence don’t expect to be able to follow along. I explained it once even though it as unnecessary giving examples both time, to do it again is pointless. Take your “Geneva Convention straw man” attack elsewhere.

Where have I a claimed a leftist conspiracy? I’ve been talking about the mindset/worldview of those typically on the left. This is an issue at the individual level usually due to a lack of knowledge or logic and its application. I never concider a conspiracy where stupidity will do.

As for calling people “hippies” as a joke, yes I did that, but it is in no way integral to my argument. Remove it and the statements still stand. Adults can be both humorous and serious. Only children, zo, think that those things are mutually exclusive. If anything I said above that lefties/liberals CAN’T take offense at name calling because the left’s believe in of moral equivalency.

zo again, “In my opinion, that’s the sign of a weak mind, of someone with no originality that they throw out "joke insults" yet at the same time write things like "let the adults talk."”

You are so sad, seriously. You take how much of your reply (read diatribe) to blast me about diatribes and name calling then you end with name calling?

Again thank you for proving my point. Like most leftists it hasn’t taken long to turn you into what you claim to be against. You’ve sold your own point, or any that might have developed, down the river by being a hypocrite.

Left or right, a proper consistent rational worldview is important.

Comment #203 - Posted by: penty at May 30, 2008 8:50 AM

It was definitely worth fighting. We had an increasingly well funded, totalitarian enemy with a clear agenda to take over the world.

My complaint is that there are two clear junctures where we could and should have won. The first, obvious one would have been to use Linebacker 2 style bombing before they developed effective air defenses. This would have been roughly the mid-60's. We literally watched them put in the SAM batteries without hitting them, since it was reasoned that they wouldn't use them. Whose reasoning that was, I don't know, but I heard that from a career Air Force Officer.

After they put the SAM's in, and internal subversion of the South by infiltrating NVA communists created an indigenous terrorist group ,the Vietcong. It is worth remembering in this regard that they were literal terrorists. They would strap bombs on kids, and have them run into a group of soldiers, or even other students, and set themselves off. The whole intent was destabilization.

Yet, as happened in Iraq, this backfired. They instead lost the support of the South's population--particuarly after the 1968 Tet offensive they thought would lead to a mass uprising, and which instead led to a mass enlistment in the South Vietnamese army.

This opened the way for effective pacification of the villages, through arming and training local militias to defend themselves, as we are doing in Iraq. The question was never that the population didn't know who the bad guys were, and where they were, but rather that they feared for the lives of themselves and their families if they cooperated. Trust takes time and committment to build.

And we built it. Then we stabbed them in the back, as many leftists want us to do now in Iraq.

The second lost opportunity was in 1974-1975.

Comment #204 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 9:03 AM

The second lost opportunity was in 1974-1975.

(Note actually in this regard that sustained bombing of strategically valuable targets, combined with the mining of Haiphong Harbor, and elimination of overland routes from Cambodian ports would at any point of the war shut the North down logistically, and forced at least a cessation of hostilities)

In 1973 the South signed a peace treaty with the North, in effect at the point of American guns. It left NVA infiltrators--armed and trained North Vietnamese regular soldiers living in caves and deep jungle within the actual boundaries of South Vietnam--in place.

The North always claimed they weren't there. The Left here and abroad always believed them. It was always a farce no serious people on our side believed, and which no serious people in the North expected us to believe. Yet there they were.

We promised in that treaty we would continue economic support, logistical support in terms of military gear, and keep several aircraft carriers close for needed air support, which made all the difference in the 1972 offensive by the North. B-52's were to be kept available as well. We also promised we would provide naval support for troop movements, as needed.

(Little fun fact: the North sent more tanks into South Vietnam in 1972 than Patton sent into Germany in WW2).

All of that ended with the resignation of Nixon--who the Left had hated ever since he uncovered Alger Hiss as the spy and traitor he was--and the ascendancy of what should be termed the Imperial Congress.

It was precisely the possibility of that sort of nonsense that most worried our Founders, who felt a strong Executive was imperative to balance the shifting populist vagaries of mood. You want flexibility, but you can't complete anything without continuity, and the Executive was intended to provide that.

Bottom line, the Congress cut all funding to the region; refused to support the South Vietnamese when they attacked militarily (which would have included B-52 strikes and tactical strikes by naval aircraft); and they did all but root for the North to win.

The North won. Our abandonment of the region led in short order to Communist victories in Cambodia and Laos as well. Hundreds of thousands died in South Vietnam alone, and millions in Cambodia.

One is forced to ask: by what rational assessment could this be called a good thing? By what possible criterion could the following be considered "good", in any way, shape or form: abandoning an ally who had won victory after much bloodshed; abandoning a valid strategic objective for strategically invalid reasons; and enabling the wholesale murder of millions--with enslavement for many of those who survived?

It is no wonder that reason has to be jettisoned to remain in the leftist camp. It is the only possibility. The ideas cannot be defended rationally, and continue to exist solely in the domain of emotion, which is not subject to the domain of principle, or debate on any objective level oriented around dispassionate assessment of facts.

(Little known fun fact that didn't quite fit anywhere else: Ho Chi Minh spent the 30's in Stalinist Russia, and the 40's executing political rivals in open imitation of what he had learned.)

Comment #205 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 9:05 AM

Barry Cooper standard of evidence- because Obama is an outgrowth of 60s leftist ideology ; its manifest that their fundamental stance is wrong... Im sure I must have read that wrong.

And CCTJoey as a vanguard of intellectual integrity.

Truly all notions ARE created equal.

Liberals hold as sacred the primacy of feelings.They believe that people will excel given resources- at their best they can solve multi faceted social problems because they have the natural urge to field as many variables at once to create complex but effective solutions.
At their worst they are victims of their sense of the provisional because of this strength, and they lose sight of first principles in the quest to be inclusive- causing not only diminishing but sometimes counter productive results.

Conservatives hold as sacred the primacy of idea. At their best they create a culture of accountability, An example of this is Bushs reorganization of the Fed - Czars abound- much to the chagrin of Liberal functionarys- but because power is centralised according to task. Duplication of efforts and resources is lessened and many aspect of govt function more smoothly with respect to the bottom lines- not outcomes- bottom lines theres a slight difference-
At their worst Cons are slow to accept the possiblity of change in their need to reconcile actions to a central value/concept. They are dismissive of outcomes that cannot be quantified - thereby failing to recognize the intangibles that contribute to progress in solving a given problem. Additionally , because the qualitative component of problem solving is de-emphasized;Conservatives are usually less concerned with the peripheral or exceptional components of any given problem- adopting solutions that can err on the side of being too facile- something which fortunately liberals can fix when they regain power.

Mileage may vary- but most moderates take a stab at voting for which side is currently less enamored with confusing their implicit weakness with being a strength.

For example- Ill vote for Obama knowing full well that he'll be a mediocre president 1) McCain is too old 2) Republicans have streamlined the federal system enough to allow for some more refinement of the system 3) We need to get preachers out of cozy relationship with government- they are the hippies of the right.

In the Biblical sense- Left- New Testament- intention roughly equals action sometimes supplanting it as the measure of success - Right- Old Testament objective standard as measure of progress- results not excuses.

And that describes the irony of the religious right in a nutshell.
Remember John the porn guy- he was pornographic in his use of the bible- defiling the very principle he supposedly espoused. They arent so much into Jesus (Jeremiah Wright, Hagy, Falwell et al) as into power and law- two components Jesus repeatdely tried to balance with an emphasis on sentiment, intention- the heart, You dont let Jesus in your mind- you let him in your heart. Conservatives have trouble with that one- but they have better ethics- in my business my favorite clients are conservatives.

The Right and Left are no better or worse than each other really but its the civility of the dynamic between them that determines everyones success. Either without the other would lead to excess. My hope is that America will grow in that direction (in answer to 'who we are question posed earlier)

Then there is; as Prole alludes - the tax issues which boil down to ordinary avarice on all sides.
The Wall Street Journal ' soak the rich' article was perfect in that respect- they posit that if' you dont have enough money then you wont be motivated to work harder ( go look, I swear they say that) But they are the same mileu that generally argues that giving poor people welfare/food stamps or more resources generally causes them to work less. Thats an example of the cognative dissonance that afflicts either side of the argument-Liberals do it with beauacracy- spending huge moneys on salaries for themselves when they could be outsourcing more to the constiuencies they are supposedly serving.
(I cant spell today sorri)

greed is the thing that sweeps through the whole intellectual process and dirties up the dialogue for everyone- those are the "memes" to pick up on in any discourse. Any grown up will tell you- follow the money.

One thing that the anti govt types fail to see is that government itself can often be an economic driver as well- take Health Care in Southern New Mexico for rural communites as an excellent example. People love to talk of Non Profit Organisations- I say switch the title (and the thinking) to Postive Outcome Orgs- because profits and costs nearly always have a hidden component. Our charitable sector- be it Govt private or the two in partnership probably ( a feeling here) save us as much money in hidden costs- in most any arena.

On the whole US has a great government- I define Patriotism as a love of our land and a respect for our principles. Id love to see our government grow in certain areas for sure. There are indeed pacifist cultures thriving- particularly in Northern Europe ( I could be misdefining- most have militaries I guess)

I define tortue as anything that hurts the body- pretty basic Ill admit . Torture is with us and always has been- at best we should always be content to fight about it and what it is- knowing full well that its a game we are playing in order to have to do it less. Yoo is not a monster- but Padilla is an American and no matter what he did, a break down in due process needs to be addressed- or we will be down a slippery path. Again- you slap me and call my mom a whore and I cant get away - thats torture I can take it but its like calling someone nigger if you did it your being racist-no nooses or sheet neccesary- you crossed the line- it begets itself and grows from the practice of it- basic disrespect of humanity is all it takes to grow it. So the question is how judicious and effective - Yoo tried, people died... wait, that one is taken.. Arguing about torture is harm reduction - a liberal concept- and is useful in and of itself to prevent and make more effective use of it.

Comparing Bush to Hitler is dumb. Their historical familial partnership - in the form of Prescott Bush and the German Industrialists speaks for itself. Bush is not genocidal- but he represents a group of people characterized by unmitigated greed- and that is the toxin that masquerades as ideology (libertarianism) - the only thing that ever roused Jesus to violence.Hitler had a chip on his shoulder- but boy he sure showed them didnt he? Bush helped cure AIDs and Hitler invented the Interstate Highway. everything else pretty much sucks about both of them.

Comment #206 - Posted by: james at May 30, 2008 9:27 AM

Prole, sure, I'll bite. And you are right - I am failing my own standard of striving for dialogue over combative discourse. One of the reasons I'm posting less is my level of frustration is higher than any sense I get that I'm advocating effectively for the liberty I think should never have to be defended - those who advocate for violation of liberty should be the ones having to defend their intentions and supposed better outcomes. Perhaps that day will come.

“Paul (the “Consensus-Builder”?),
“More likely, for the present, we will just kid ourselves that ‘if only my candidate were elected, govt would function as we imagine it should.’ ” – I hope this is an olive-branch and not just a chink in the armour.

You used the phrase “standard liberals argue” and it leads to me to pose a few rhetorical questions to you:
What does the standard conservative argue? Is there such a thing as a standard conservative? Are you one? Would like to be addressed as one? “
--I don’t know what the standard conservative argues any longer. I used to see it as the fundamental desire for Federalist principles to include lower tax rates (because taxes are a direct affront on the purpose of govt, defense of individual liberty), and a priority on national defense.

I would have claimed being a conservative until relatively recent – but in general, conservatives believe that govt in general and the Federal Govt in particular should be the agent of all kinds of impositions on the rights of free citizens which I don’t support. (Supposedly) Protecting us from our own appetites for drugs, porn, and asserting state control over marriage as a means of supporting a specific religious interpretation/tradition (marriage is a religious institution which should be left to religious organizations to regulate or not). You could address me as a conservative, it appears most posters assume that I am one, but using that title implies a blindness to an obvious (to me) truth that there are positions not covered by either the liberal or conservative labels.
Perhaps you could return the favor and tell me if you are a liberal, and if so or if not, what that means to you.

Your other statement/question: Yes, the govt should torture as little as possible or not at all. It is a serious issue. The critical issue, when not bound by law which I assume govt should/will respect, is how far to go and how to think about self defense or national defense. Who would I kill to save my child from a death not earned by my foolishness? Who would I kill to save myself from a death not earned by foolishness? Who would I kill to save my fellow citizens from a death not earned by foolishness? Anybody willing to agree these are the kinds of questions that are highlighted by the article and its underlying issues?

“I like your analogy between the cross-fit idea that maximum effort requires a break-down in form at some point, and the tasks of Yoo and the Commander in Chief. The difference is, however, that when I go too hard on my thrusters I end up dumping the bar on the floor, not on someone else’s head. “
-OK, but the point is that if you don’t go hard enough in Crossfit, you lose some marginal level of training benefit. If you don’t go hard enough in self-defense or national defense, folks die that you (as President) exist to defend. Please do not pretend that you think this would be an easy issue for you or anyone else to resolve – how close to the limits of legality will you press in order to execute your job as President to defend Americans? What standard of good/bad, right/wrong will you apply to guide your choice in those matters for which the law is not constricting? This is the crux which the analogy was intended to illuminate.

Prole, I appreciate the invitation by way of your questions to get closer to the heart of these things. Whatever my fear and loathing of what I see as "leftist" doctrine may be, I know, love and admire many who proclaim the position liberal (many of whom are as repulsed by liberal leaders as Barry or I am), who don't claim the ideology that Barry accurately identifies, and don't believe they support it (even if they do).


Comment #207 - Posted by: Apolloswabbie 6'2" 210 44 at May 30, 2008 9:48 AM

Barry 204 & 205,

I agree with your primary complaint. The most consistent form of failure in American foreign policy is missed opportunities. We could have unequivocally won in Vietnam but lacked the will to do so.

America is relatively new to the role of being a world power (what, 60 years of it?). Our situation is unique in world history; a global power with hegemonic military and economic might, relatively remote from the rest of the world. Despite what our critics like to say, we've treated the the world with a remarkably light touch. I'm not convinced that History won't see most of our failures as the result of erring on the side of caution, an infant giant trying to avoid stepping on everyone else.

Still, you didn't come right out and answer my question... admittedly, I didn't come right out and ask it. Was Vietnam a geopolitical victory for us?


I'd like to hear from you on this as well.

Comment #208 - Posted by: RifRafRob at May 30, 2008 9:59 AM


I have never accused leftists of an inability to use big words, or string them together into a superficially coherent narrative. On the contrary, that is the only way patent nonsense gets replicated and passed on down the ideological road.

Let's simplify this. Pick any issue whatsoever where you think the left has an advantage over the Right. Abortion Rights, Iraq, or--to take the most obvious example--torture. Articulate a clear position. Don't make generalized statements, but articulate a clear position, then defend it. We can do that later. You pick the battlefield.

For now, let's start with the topic at hand. At what point would you be willing to advocate the torture of a child?

(I will note that Yoo did not use that example; rather that it was presented by the author as a logical extension of the basic concept, presumably for shock effect, and to make people disgusted with Yoo.)

Be that as it may, would you countenance the torture of a child to save 1,000 lives? A million?

The only possible position from which the outrage Yoo generated makes any sense is that torture would be unacceptable even if the fate of the world hung on it. Anything short of that, we need to have rules, and rules are what he created.

Which is it? Is there a point where it is acceptable, or is there not a point ever, in any situation or context, where it is acceptable?

This is called logic, in the likely event this process is something unfamiliar to you.

Comment #209 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 10:01 AM

#208: No. I don't think it was. It did force the Soviets and Chinese to invest heavily, and it did possibly slow them down, but the fallout from our failure arguably led to any number of foreign policy disasters, such as the fall of the Shah, the civil war in Angola, and the overall lengthening of the Cold War.

Moreover, in a more subtle cultural sense, it led to the mainstreaming of radical political opinions which continue to act this day as unnecessary perturbations of what should be rational discussions.

It was a noble effort, but can almost entirely be classified as failure. This need not have been, and that is why I get angry.

Comment #210 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 10:07 AM

Barry #208,

"the fallout from our failure arguably led to any number of foreign policy disasters, such as the fall of the Shah, the civil war in Angola, and the overall lengthening of the Cold War."

Fair enough assessment... I'm doubtful about the contribution to the fall of the Shah but I'm not historian enough to argue the point so I'll concede it. The next question would be, given the eventual outcome, would we have been better off staying out of Vietnam altogether?

Comment #211 - Posted by: RifRafRob at May 30, 2008 10:38 AM

Oops, 210

Comment #212 - Posted by: RifRafRob at May 30, 2008 10:39 AM

Given the outcome, yes, although it's hard to gauge the effect our willingness to stand and fight for roughly 10 years had on the aggressiveness of our enemies. Maybe they checked their greed for land and power somewhat because of it. Maybe the high cost of the war also checked their imperialistic tendencies as well. Hard to say.

In any event, the eventual outcome was not a necessary outcome, so the point is moot.

Comment #213 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 10:57 AM


In regards to one issue that I think the "left" does better then the "right" (although I am more on the "right" on several different issues) would be stem cell research. I think the benefits outweight the costs. I don't know how many debilitating diseases are out there, and most research would suggest that stem cells can have an enormous impact on many of them. In my opinion, putting a sperm and an egg in a petri dish doesnt have the moral implications that some of the religious groups and more conservatives would suggest. If I had to choose between providing a chance at a lifesaving procedure (such as a troop with a severe brain injury) or not mixing together a sperm and an egg, I would hands down choose one of my troops. However, any group that wants to go down the path and research this will lose all federal funding (if they recieved it), despite the amazing advances the private sector has shown. I know that is a very simplistic way of looking at it, and some have argued that we should find alternatives to stem cell research (although the last technique from skin cells is in the beginning phases, and though it might be promising it will be several years before we can figure out whether it is as effective as stem cells). So you asked, that is one instance where I am more on the left then the right. Also, I think there are good points to be made on torture as well, such as the need to work with the international community. Most of our intel comes from countries that abhor torture, especially in Europe. What are the implications if we ignore the concerns of the rest of the world and lose our intellegence gathering capability. Many countries wont extradite prisoners knowing they might be executed or end up in Guantanamo, and there is growing concern that other agents will not work with Americans because of the stigma associated with it. Plus, it is hypocritical that we pushed for warcrimes against Japanese generals that waterboarded, yet do it ourselves. I personally think that our techniques should not be broadcast, and that situations should be met on a case by case basis. However, I do think there are things we can do to work better with the international community, and reclaim our position of being "moral." So you asked for an instance where the "left" has a case, those are two instances where I think there is.

James, Appoloswabbie
very good posts, thanks..

Comment #214 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at May 30, 2008 11:06 AM

Barry- poor syntax spelling and 5 dollar words notwithstanding I thought my post articulated a position clearly if not in rambling ad nausem. Glad to break it down in one easy value that you can hold:

I value neither Right nor Left over one another- rather the struggle. I only hope that the two sides can learn to fight fair. I am moderate with no political affiliation. They are effective only in cycles of influence- were either to gain real primacy our entire system would soon fail.

Its called seperating your ideology from your logic- in the likely event this process is unfamiliar to you.
I think most idealogical posturing is just that- and at some point neccesitates a disrespect for truth. So I refrain.

Torture of a child? Oh Barry I cant begin to answer that- my point was the asking ( again a liberal value- intangible, process driven) is what is perpetually neccesary. Ironically, Right now I have a 4 year old standing on my shoulders that is about to serve as a test case.

Comment #215 - Posted by: james at May 30, 2008 11:33 AM

Re: Is John Yoo a Monster?

Jose Padilla was convicted of “terrorism-conspiracy”. He now claims NOT that he was innocent of the charges, but that while detained he was subjected to torture - an undefined term, at least before Yoo.

Richardson says, “After a few years of this intentional effort to break his will and destroy his mind, Padilla was given to 'involuntary twitching and self-inflicted scratch wounds' and his jailers often observed him weeping in his cell, so broken and passive that he had become 'like a piece of furniture.'” Padilla makes no assertion that he was not prone to such behavior, or worse, before his detention.

What was the behavior of terrorists whose “associates killed three thousand people in New York City”? Did the others leave him behind on 9/11 because he was already too unstable even for suicide?

Isn't all interrogation intended to break the interrogatee's will? Richardson would have us ban interrogation.

Richardson adds, “Padilla's claims have not been proven.” Regardless, he asserts “they remind us of what we have done and [in italics] what we will continue to do”. Only in radical logic do scurrilous claims establish facts and predict the future.

The article raises the question, what is war, as the ultimate issue, but without answering it. A primary attribute of war is that it is extra-legal dispute resolution. It arises after the legal niceties, e.g., diplomacy, have failed. It is, and should be, beyond the reaches of civil legal systems. What Yoo attempted to prescribe is the boundary between civil jurisdiction and the conduct of war.

Re the odor of Berkeley. What are the effects of marijuana on mental faculties? On academic faculties? Do people still use the revealing phrase, “pot heads”?

Berkeley law professor Robert H. Cole gets credit for “Torture violates the very premise of the legal system itself, that there is something irreducible and inviolable about every person”. So now, at last, we have a definition. Anything that “violates the very premise of the legal system itself”, or exceeds some “irreducible and inviolable” threshold must be torture. It's tragic how groups can prattle on and get righteous over undefined concepts.

War is undefined, and so too must be a “state of war” and a “declaration of war”. Torture is defined, but in vague, undefined terms: “severe pain”, “prolonged mental harm”, “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment”. An infinite chain of subjective concepts are, in the end, subjective. The process is doomed at the outset. None of this is measurable.

In law, measurable things are not compared with standards, which would create a scientific fact, but instead are compared to vague subjective standards. One chance in a billion that someone other than OJ left his blood at the murder scene apparently did not rise “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Law is jurisdictionally objective, but substantively subjective.

Yoo tried to answer the question objectively, i.e., jurisdictionally. Richardson abrades him on irrelevant, subjective grounds.

Richardson: Yoo “said that the president could crush the testicles of a child to make his father talk” then referred to “Yoo's shocking language”. Richardson puts words in Yoo's mouth. The origin of the charge appears to be the following from a bebate:

>>Doug Cassel: If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?

>>Yoo: No treaty

>>Cassel: Also no law by Congress -- that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo...

>>Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

First, the extreme language is Doug Cassel's, not Yoo's. Yoo confirmed the legal fact that no law happened to proscribe the act. Richardson does not contest that fact. Did anyone else?

Richardson condemns Yoo as a monster, all the while ignoring what he has actually written or said.

Richardson: “War crimes of Abu Ghraib”! Abu Ghraid was hazing, a prank! It was an unauthorized stunt, over which the administration folded in the face of the left wing media blitz. The left has a long history of falsely portraying soldiers' crimes as US policy, ignoring the actual policy and the ensuing criminal proceedings.

Richardson: “'Congress may no more regulate the President's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements in the field.' This is the section that drives people crazy.” Not people, lefties. It's a problem of inadequacy and lack of control.

Richardson: “Yoo never should have tried to make presidential lawbreaking legal”. This is precisely the opposite of the Yoo's assignment. The comment is fallacious; it begs the question. Yoo was charged with and attempted to define the boundaries of law and the limits of presidential power.

In the second paragraph of page 8 of 10, Richardson abruptly switches from the charges of protagonist Frieman to the first person. It's almost as if another writer finished the article. Richardson appears to be a second inquisitor of Yoo.

Richardson: “a president so reckless and extreme, the worst combination of cowboy machismo with this radical theory of executive power”. He plays to his audience. Richardons is not objecting to “harsh interrogation”, but to George W. Bush.

Richardson: “The White House launched an elective war against a country based on false premises.” Congress, not the White House, authorized the War on Terror. It did so once wherever the President might choose, and the second time in Iraq. What does Richardson imagine were the false premises? Twenty three reasons are set forth in the second public law, and none has proved false or even challenged.

Certainly Bush believed, as did most of the Western world, that Saddam had stockpiles of WMDs. Saddam gave every indication he did, even to his own military, and repeatedly refused lawful inspection to which he had agreed. However, Bush was unsuccessful in convincing the UN (of course) or even Congress of the stockpiles, but Congress found a sufficiency of reasons anyway.

“Elective”? How many times must we have been attacked? When were we to become fed up? And we targeted no countries. We attacked terrorists, and their despotic sponsors. We have conducted the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq, unfortunately stopping at the borders. Consequently we have prime targets, arms and terrorist leaders, safely housed in Syria, Iran, and Jordan.

Richardson: “national anger about every excess in the war on terrorism”. Richardson should enlighten his readers on the excesses in the WOT. It has been under-engaged, not over. We still give sanctuaries -- borders, religion, sponsors. Support for the war has been deflated by the media, abetted by the failure to prosecute vigorously. Popular support must be nurtured. Even FDR was aware of that. Instead, Bush allowed the war languish.

Polls routinely report, and the left repeats, that the majority of Americans are opposed to the war. Of course, we don't get to see the particulars of the polls. Why isn't every American opposed to war? Eleanor hated war; even Fala hated war. How many Americans were opposed to overthrowing Saddam? Or opposed to killing terrorists? What percentage of Americans want us to surrender to the terrorists?

Everyone in the West is opposed to torture, whatever it means.

Should a Democrat become president, the war will most likely still be prosecuted, but the problem will go away. The left has no policy left but to sow hate, and the target du jour is George W. Bush.

Richardson: “the sound of leaves blowing across graves.” Here is the ultimate, emotional anti-war dogma. No sacrifice is ever warranted. The left debases and dishonors sacrifice, and with neither justification nor rational alternatives.

Richardson's writing is offensive to the intellect. He is a print version of Keith Olbermann.

Comment #216 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 30, 2008 11:41 AM

Barry 213,

A point is rarely moot when you're trying to use history to inform current policy. Your line of reasoning on Vietnam is consistent with the notion that pulling out of Iraq now would be disastrous. I know it's way off today's topic but when Vietnam comes up I can't resist making the comparison.

My view is that we are better off for having been involved in Vietnam. I see it as two steps forward, one back. We had a chance to come out better but missed it. Similar for Iraq. We have achieved numerous, though subtle, geopolitical objectives through our involvement and continue to achieve them. We've already won that war in terms of achieving our original objectives. The best reason to stay now is to clean up the mess, leave the place better than we found it and create a new ally.

This relates back to torture obliquely. It's likely that the issue would never have reached the level of prominence that it has if not for our continued involvement in Iraq. If we can resolve the issue adequately, it'll be another positive outcome.

For anyone who cares,
My opinions on Iraq are heavily informed by the information in this article, note the date. They got most of it right, but missed the boat (so far) on Turkey.

Sorry it's no longer available without signing up but it's really old.

Comment #217 - Posted by: RifRafRob at May 30, 2008 11:51 AM

206#James, That is so cute. You think of me even when I am not posting...



Comment #218 - Posted by: CCTJOEY at May 30, 2008 11:55 AM

"[W]ould you countenance the torture of a child to save 1,000 lives? A million?"


I challenge your premise. You can't know how many lives might be saved by an act of torture. I refer you to the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario enty in Wikipedia. (Which I apparently can't link to because the blog strips the HTML)

"The distorting and misleading nature of the scenario is in part due to the fact that it is most often presented in a manner that keeps many of its assumptions hidden. Once exposed, it becomes clear that the scenario is either wildly unrealistic or that any exception to the prohibition of torture would be much more widespread than the proponent of the scenario originally suggested. The scenario thereby manipulates moral and ethical judgment by obscuring the true moral cost of tolerating any act of torture. Critics emphasize the similarities between the absolute prohibition and taboo of torture, and those that apply to other international crimes such as slavery and genocide. Critics also emphasize that international law is unequivocal: the prohibition of torture is subject to no exception of any kind. Every act of torture is an international crime. In the words of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, quoting a leading US case, "the torturer has become, like the pirate and the slave trader before him, hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind.""

Comment #219 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 30, 2008 12:17 PM

#215, #219: you ducked the question, which is what I expected you to do. That's why I asked it. You do understand, don't you, that nuclear weapons in some cases can fit in the trunk of cars? You do understand that a well engineered virus could destroy most, if not all, of mankind? Certainly both types of weapons could radically change life as we know it, and kill many millions of children in the process.

This is the reality: you don't want to face the unpleasantness, and moral ambiguity that go with any war. That is why you make up fairy tales about how 9/11 was an "inside job" so you can go on avoiding facing these issues like men, and doing the best you can, like Yoo did.

You act like diplomacy can be effective with unreasonable people absent the potential use of coercive force. It didn't work with Hitler, and it didn't work with Saddam Hussein. The differenc here is that Bush acted roughly in 1936--say after the occupation of the Rhineland, when France should have acted--instead of waiting for an explosion somewhere.

Logically, if we are unwilling to use force against an inferior conventional army, why would we be willing to use force against a nuclear equipped army? Bush's action delayed Iran's nuclear program a number of years, and may yet result in a shake-up of that regime that could lead to the potential for actually productive diplomacy. But if that happens, it happened because we carried a big stick, and used it. It does you no good if you never use it.


I've discussed the torture issue, and the reality is that there is no discussion on the left. They invoke law, yes, but since they have no system for making moral judgments, they cannot move from there to any sort of moral gray area. This is why they would countenance the destruction of the world prior to considering violating their legal positions.

They pretend to have discussed this intelligently by pretending that these scenarios could not occur. Bravo Sierra. This is an evasion, pure and simple, designed to cloak the fact that they have no underlying pattern of thought.

With respect to stem cells, I will agree this is a moral issue, and my past position on that has been that the States should make their own decisions. The Federal government should stay out of it.

With that caveat, let me say simply that in my understanding of the situation, the need for embryonic stem cells is unclear at best. Adult stem cells do essentially everything embryonic stem cells do, and have the advantage that they don't necessiate taking the life of a child.

Here is a link, with an admittedly strong pro-life bias:

Comment #220 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 12:44 PM

Apollo -

I don't want to go into too much detail about Nazism and Hitler here because I see that emotions run high and for obvious reasons Nazism is an emotional subject.

However, I think that even in the depths of Hitler's reign Nazism was a not as cartoonish has been made out in this thread. At its worst it was nationalism taken to extremes. When anything justified the survival and advancement of the Aryan people.

Are we skating close to this when anything justifys the prevention of a terrorist attack. Perhaps, perhaps not but it is not as simple as "Hitler was crazy and we are not"

Nor is it as simple as "People who torture have lost all morals"

The notion that any mass ideology, Nazism, Communism, Democratic-Capitalism, Social Democracy, etc is predicated on madness, deep irrationality or loss of moral directon is to suggest that very intelligent and well-meaning people devoting their lives to an issue missed something that is completely obvious to all of us. This is highly unlikely.

Comment #221 - Posted by: Karl Smith at May 30, 2008 12:46 PM

I'll let Paul address Karl (good posts by the way, Paul).

For now, let me ask a question. It is stated from within my paradigm (that of rational analysis, which admittedly is not the paradigm of committed leftists), so I will point out that serious students of George Lakoff will need to avoid answering this one. Chomskyists please just start your responses mid-sentence, so we can recognize you.

Many children have been raped and murdered by Al Quedists in Iraq. There are sociopathic, vicious people in every society, and wars bring out the worst in everyone.

Michael Yon, for example, was present at the exhumation of the bodies of essentially an entire village. Many of the children had been decapitated.

Here is the question: if the likelihood of this increases with an inappropriately precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, by what stretch of logic do you defend your position on torture? If you allow it to happen through inaction, is that any different morally than committing those acts within a legal framework and with the intention of preventing further unnecessary deaths?

We do what we do to protect lives. Sometimes that means taking lives. This is the reality.

What do you say? Does the head in the sand work well enough for you that you could watch renewed atrocities break out and assuage your conscience by blaming Bush?

These are foundational questions.

Comment #222 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 1:08 PM

355 S
150 P
405 DL
@ globo gym in BC, had to lower weights, not grunt, not use stopped DL at 405

Comment #223 - Posted by: OPT at May 30, 2008 1:12 PM

This is interesting, very interesting. This is a new way of framing this for me.

I well remember the first time I watched Apocalypse Now. It was dubbed in German, since I saw it in Switerzerland. "The horror, the horror", was "Das Grauen, das Grauen".

You watch that movie, and you watch Marlon Brando describe their unit immunizing children--to help develop rapport--and Vietcong coming in and cutting off their arms. And he says it struck him like a "crystal bullet" (if memory serves) the impeccable logic of it. How perfectly they understood violence, and the uses of it.

And so his methods became "unsound", and an assassin was sent to kill him. He welcomed that death, because he was tired of living as he did, imprisoned by an evil logic he could not escape.

Yet, what lesson is learned here? In actual fact, the people who cut the arms off of children won the war. They executed tens of thousands of people, and ran half of the remaining populace off into the jungles--separating families in the process both from one another, and every shred of their old lives (pictures, homes, sentimental objects. Many, many died, and those who lived, lived on the verge of starvation, and death from exhaustion for years afterwards.

Do we conclude that war is bad intrinsically? If it had been won, those awful things would not have happened. They happened because the bad guys were winning. We used determined, principled, and disciplined force to repel them. We succeeded. We drove off the people who cut the arms off of children.

Then we let them back in. This is what the inability to countenance any use of violence forces you in to. More evil is done, not less.

Jane Fonda has a lot of blood on her hands. She knew what she was doing, on some level, and she did it anyway.

Ted Kennedy has much more blood on his hands. John Kerry had blood on his hands.

Until we process the reality of what happened in Vietnam, we cannot move forward into a truly peaceful world. We cannot move past destructive ideas which lead to more violence, not less. We cannot support the troops by giving them mandates which allow them to use appropriate levels of force consistently.

We cannot protect children from the horrors that this world can contain, if good men and women do not do their jobs and instead shirk their responsibilities.

Comment #224 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 2:17 PM

Barry, that was disingenuous and intellectually lazy. I said it was an invalid question and pointed to a lengthy article that explains why, and you called it a dodge. After Vietnam, I thought we had something.

I'll try again:

No. I would not torture to save any number of lives. The confluence of events that would make torture a rational decision is so wildly unlikely that I have no problem relegating it to "never okay."

First, lets (wrongly) assume that torture is 100% effective, with zero percent false negative, zero percent false positive, and no halting problem.

You have to know there's a ticking bomb.
You have to know someone who has enough information to allow us to defuse it.
You have enough time to obtain the answers, but not so much time that other methods would suffice.

It's not gonna happen. If it does, and someone tortures someone and thereby saves the world? I'll take back all the mean things I said about torture. If, on the other hand, people get tortured but there was no ticking time bomb, what will you do? Oh, wait. That already happens.

Comment #225 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 30, 2008 2:47 PM


So in your view torture has not been used once in the history of humanity to gain information that was used to save a life? Never, not once. Ever. Since before Caveman days.

That is the clear implication. You have merely now to agree to it.

Please do so, then we can proceed to examine the evidence. I haven't yet. Presumably you have, so there will be no examples anywhere in the record, as you are arguing.

Of course, if there are examples, will you still take back all the mean things you said about torture, or does the past not apply to the future?

Comment #226 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 2:56 PM

Actually, I'm able to forgive the past its indiscretions. Lets talk about the last twenty years in torture.

I'll skip proving the negative. Show me a case where those three criteria were met.

Comment #227 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 30, 2008 3:10 PM

The last twenty years, obviously, is not sufficient. Human nature has not changed in the last twenty years, nor have the fundamental elements of coercion through pain.

You are making the argument that torture never works. This is different from the argument that torture doesn't work most of the time, and should only be used "in extremis", as Yoo argued.

If you want to make the argument that torture never works, you have to submit the whole of human history to scrutiny, or admit that you are contradicting yourself.

If you don't want to make that argument, then the question becomes at what point and for what reasons it should be used.

If you want to make both arguments simultaneously, they will make a place of honor for you at the Daily Cause convention, and I will write you off as an ignorant leftist.

Make your choice.

Comment #228 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 5:15 PM

Barry & Paul,

Remember this and you will never be disappointed.

In an US vs THEM conflict. Liberals will always side with THEM. ALWAYS!

Even though they enjoy the benefits of US they will always support THEM.

And when ever someone says can't we just put our Left/Right, Torture/Pacificst differences behind us what they are really saying is I don't have a leg to stand on in this debate but how about we sing Kumbaya and you agree with me any way. It's never a conservative/Libertarian that says this.

Comment #229 - Posted by: jakers at May 30, 2008 6:09 PM

Barry- I answered your question a couple of times- you dont like the answer obviously- but it is an answer.

Ill say it again- the question of whether or when to torture doesnt interest me so much as the active debate of it leads to a better place for the country.
Your view on the subject is tenable, sensible even- many views contrary to yours are tenable. I hate to make a rightist cry- but there isnt "an answer" and the process is the solution.
My view is that ( for the third time) the dialogue will never be definitive- nor should it be- neither side should win that debate.

The only problem I have with your general view on torture war and their utility is that you are so busy defending it and romanticizing its neccesity. that you are prone to omit hard facts - like your assessment awhile back that the Iraq war "is not so bad" ( yes you said that Mr Cooper) based solely on the number of military deaths - just neatly sidestepping millions of deaths and lots of collateral damage- in order to make a flimsy argument- youre going to strut around diminishing other peoples "manhood" you better cover your ass- the soap is on the floor and reality can be so much bigger than youll allow.

Im not sure how the rest of what you say regarding Iran pertains to anything Ive said- my dad was a Nuclear/Bio/Chem weapons teacher so dinner conversation revolved alot around the subject youre claiming I have no knowledge- some of my first toys were from NBC school at Bragg. Iran is a different story.

I dont know a thing abut Vietnam really- and am following that with interest.

The poster who made the Stratfor link- I wonder if you read the Rand report from about that time?

CCTV - hey man- Im just busting- sorry for that one- Barry left it wide open -as a fellow smartass I know you understand-its my duty.
for the record- your gym is totally bad ass and I love the way you present it and would workout there if you let me wear my tie dye and bring my bong and sitar.

Comment #230 - Posted by: james at May 30, 2008 6:52 PM


So, to be clear, you have no position, but you believe in principle that people should have positions, provided they are ones you agree with?

And, to extend the case people like you make (yes, I am generalizing, but in general I am right) you fully support immediate withdrawal from Iraq (if Obama, your candidate, wins), even if it means an immediate upsurge in violence, renewed death of children, and a strategic loss for the United States?

And, to make this fully clear, even if it means the renewed rape of children, provided the major networks don't cover it, as we can be sure they won't (since they haven't thus far)?

Comment #231 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 30, 2008 7:36 PM


Tie-dye Shirt: Yes

Bong: No, it stays in your clunky VW Bus with the hitch-hikers you picked up. You will not park that bus within 200ft of The Chaos Compound and a penalty of 200ft per "peace" sign or ANY form of a rainbow painted on it, will be added.

Sitar: Yes, It will be used for a wall ball target and then a slam ball.

For you, there will be a fire hose and delousing powder involved just for my kid's sake. I will also have a cattle prod available if you start in with the chants, sit-ins, or if you ask "Can I Crash on your couch, man?"

So of course you are welcome at CrossFit Chaos. We would love to have you. Smartasses are who we cater too and recruit.

Comment #232 - Posted by: Joey at May 30, 2008 8:59 PM

Barry the first sentance of your last post is absurd. You are clearly letting your emotions interfere with your ability to comprehend simple sentances- so thats it for this one.
Get some rest- we can talk later when your myopia settles down.. like most forms of tortue- this dialogue has gone on far enough for me with dubious results. But, like Ive said umpteen times..ah.. never mind.

CCTV- if you Delouse me how will you feed your Family? Destroying expensive and beautiful instruments- thats class.

Comment #233 - Posted by: james at May 30, 2008 10:11 PM

Several excellent posts James.
It's easier for people to argue from the extremes of the political spectrum because they often have a ready made echo-chamber of ideas for which the opposite end has no satisfactory answers. Both sides can make reasonable points, most likely because the answers fall somewhere between the two extremes. Nuance is tricky.

So where do I fall? First, I would rather loosely define torture as any interrogation technique that leads to permanent physical or psychological harm. Recently I have become much less concerned with the idea of water-boarding and much more concerned with the impact of isolation and other more insidious and long-term treatments etc. As with many conservatives, Barry loves toss out the “ticking time-bomb” scenario, which by all accounts never actually happened, nor are they likely to happen. So far I have yet to see the case made with data to back it up supporting the effectiveness of certain forms of controversial interrogation (i.e., waterboarding) in the “ticking time-bomb” scenario.

I have to wonder what is derived from men after years of complete isolation, sensory derivation, and general neglect lasting periods that are probably well beyond the shelf-life of any of the information ultimately provided by a detainee. There is a line between practical interrogation to efficiently glean essential information and wanton cruelty. This coupled with the fact that the detention of many of the men in Guantanamo remains on shaky grounds reflects poorly on the policy-makers and by extension, us. I would define these practices as torture and find them particularly troubling due to the questionable justification for the detainment of some of the men.

I agree with James that the argument between the “anything goes” and the “nothing goes” camps should provide some satisfactory checks and balances for the selection and use of interrogation techniques. Importantly, it is the often opposing priorities of the left and the right that seems to bring the most important information (i.e., though leaks, whistleblowers etc) to the forefront for discussion. If people do things in my name, I want to know what they’re doing. Keep them coming I say.

Comment #234 - Posted by: RJ at May 31, 2008 12:41 AM


I understand it is difficult to maintain any sort of standard, personal or otherwise, in this sort of arena. I haven’t posted in several weeks for similar reasons. I didn’t think you were a ‘standard conservative’, that’s why I used ‘modern conservative’ – there are so many important differences between Bill Kristol on one hand and Hayek on the other, that what it means to be a ‘conservative’ is, at least, in these times, unstable.

Broadly speaking, I am a liberal. My liberalism seeks to be generous with the ideas of the liberal Enlightenment, extending them to ever wider classes of persons, putting them to work to enlighten the lives of an ever greater number of human beings, changing these ideas when that is what is required. Honesty, courage, justice, industriousness, honour, helpfulness, generosity – to my mind, these are among the most important virtues a liberal should strive for. Because sometimes the pursuit of these virtues may present the prospect of inconsistent actions, a liberal must be pragmatic (I. Berlin’s essay on Vico and Herder is excellent on this point). How does this play out in specific policies…?...that depends…but it involves some sort of welfare state, no doubt.

I don’t think torture is ever ok. That said, if my wife’s life depended on information that might possibly be gained from torture, I imagine I would have you or Bush or myself do it in a heartbeat. But, the damage that would be done to my society if it permitted torture cannot be justified by my wife’s life. Torture is worse than murder for what it says about the moral composition of the torturer. What is left of a man who tortures? It is he who should be hooded, like the hangmen of old, because he is no longer one of us, no longer a human, but is part machine and part brute. We have a duty keep torture illegal. By making it legal we say: “this is our best considered judgment, this is the product of our collective moral judgment, our development – this is the best the world and humankind has to offer.” It is a tragedy for the American people that this has happened. When a collection of men enforce a law that women must be entombed in their Burkas, it says about those men that they are, in their hearts, jailers, slave-drivers, cowards. When a nation makes torture legal it corrupts itself in such a way as to make each of its citizens a sadist, a brute, a bag of chemicals. When I want to torture for my wife’s life, the state needs to step in, my fellow citizens need to step in and say: “No, you cannot do this, after this none of us will be the same, nothing is worth the price.”


What is torture?

Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person, for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity (this is the definition in the UN Convention on Torture and the Criminal Code of Canada – the nation of which I am a citizen).

In his memo, Yoo anchors his definition of torture on 18 U.S.c. §§ 234G-2340A. That statue defines ‘torture’ as an,

“…act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control.”

So what is ‘severe physical or mental pain or suffering’? Yoo focuses on the “ordinary or natural meaning” of these words as a technique of statutory interpretation [p. 19], and consults several dictionaries for ordinary meanings. This is basically a synonym-finding exercise, not useless, but not great. Then he looks to other statues that contain the phrase “severe physical or mental pain or suffering”. Within a statute concerned with awarding or withholding health benefits, he finds a provision defining “emergency condition” that contains the relevant phrase. The health benefits statue has a very different object from the statue defining war crimes. The health statute is concerned with defining what level of illness/injury warrants a benefit, and when it looks at pain sufficient to constitute a medical emergency, it says the pain must place an individual’s health “(i) in serious jeopardy, (ii) serious impairment to bodily functions, or (iii) serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.” I’m going to give the next four sentences immediately following the one I just quoted:

“Although these statutes address a substantially different subject from section 2340, they are nonetheless helpful for understanding what constitutes severe physical pain. They treat severe pain as an indicator of ailments that are, likely to result in permanent and serious physical damage in the absence of immediate medical treatment. Such damage must rise to the level of death, organ failure, or the permanent, impairment of a significant body function. These statutes suggest that to constitute torture "severe pain" must rise to a similarly high level-the level that would ordinarily be associated with a physical condition or injury sufficiently serious that it would result in death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions.”

This analogy and interpretation seems less than persuasive to me. The reason is that he is comparing apples to oranges, or at least oranges to grapefruits. He has defined the severe pain that qualifies as torture as pain reaching the level of a medical emergency, sufficient to justify the provision of medical benefits. He has failed to consider the very different purposes of the respective statues in which the phrase “severe physical or mental pain or suffering” appears. The purpose of one is to set out laws dealing with war crimes and the purpose of the other is to set out laws guiding the provision of medical benefits. I’m sure it is not lost on you that one of the differences here is that the purpose of one is to protect an individual’s rights and the purpose of the other is to confer a benefit.

Other points:
• this definition does not have room for mental suffering.
• what if the pain is not an indicator of anything other than pain? This opens up the possibility of America’s best and brightest devising ways of creating excruciating pain that could never be “an indicator of ailments that are, likely to result in permanent and serious physical damage”.
• “in the absence of immediate medical treatment”. This opens up the possibility of America’s best and brightest supervising painful interrogations to make sure they hover just around the point where medical treatment would become necessary – how could these supervisors be qualified in that sort of expertise? – again, what about mental suffering?

The whole thing makes me fearful, angry, and determined.

Chris ("Prole")

Comment #235 - Posted by: Prole at May 31, 2008 1:58 AM

Prole wrote, "The whole thing makes me fearful, angry, and determined."

Good, I know several events that have happened that made people in the line of work feel this way as well. They were acts of terrorism against the west, America, Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Israel, Philippines, Australia etc. Not thoughts or accusations. Actual innocents were attacked, purposefully. Feel free to sign up and help us out.

James, I feed my family how Conservatives tend to do. Acts of productivity, thus rewarding us with federal notes that can be exchanges for the fruits of other's productivity.

Now I know, long ago in the commune, you guys figured out that you were not getting along so well, since you spent most of the time high and borrowing each other's stuff, while coming up with reasons to be naked. After the fresh water ran out and the food was gone, you turned to the little creatures that infested your scruffy bodies for sustenance. However, I want you to remember that is not NORMAL. The rest of us do not feed our families with what we can farm or ranch from our own bodies.

Think back to when you lived with your parents in the basement. remember that freezer that just magically gave out the HOT POCKETS? Well actually that was your "lame" parents who were working for the the "man", that filled the freezer up with simple microwave food so you would not go outside as often and scare the neighbor children and lower the property values.

Comment #236 - Posted by: CCTJOEY at May 31, 2008 5:56 AM


It was not absurd. I was drunk and tired when I typed it, and now that I am sober and well rested I stand by it.

You know what? I know I am dealing with leftists the moment you start pointing to the fact that multiple opinions are possible, but not answering questions.

I asked clear questions. The "ticking time bomb" may or may not have happened. However, the exercise is useful. We could, for example, make the only acceptable use of torture--however we define it--that of preventing such a bomb from going off.

If we did that, then according to you all, we would never have recourse to torture, since such scenarios never occur. If it would never happen, then no moral degeneration would happen, and we could all live with that.

However, you know that if that perfect scenario does not happen, situations do happen where we have active terrorists on the loose who can be caught if we can get to them in time.

There are many interrogation methods short of the infliction of physical pain that work. Torture leads to a lot of false positives: people will say anything.

Yet, I think you all know that it has been used succesfully many times throughout history to get information. This is why you want to simultaneously argue it is never right, and that it would never work anyway.

If it did work, then logically it would be right in some extreme circumstances.

I will add that I was Blockbuster last night (got "The Kingdom", which was excellent--and which incidentally contained a scene of a man being beaten severely, then going on to live his life productively and bravely), and noted that they had some 100 copies of Untraceable, which is in effect a torture porn movie, masked as another "Silence of the Lambs". It was a whole section on the outside of the store. There were some 30-40 other movies which were quite obviously mainly portraying horrific deaths, and intentional and gratuitous acts of cruelty.

Here is my take, which I said as well on the p0rn day. If you remove all justification for violence, you do not get peace, you get irrational violence. You get Obama supporters calling for the invasion of Pakistan, and the cessation of efforts to win the peace in Iraq.

There are clearly notes of alienation in there brought on by the erosion of shared values, and specifically shared committments to one another.

All of this can be traced back to the Sixties, where there was a lot of loving, as I heard one person put it, but very little Love. I've done this in my own notes. I've traced the cultural and social developments we have undergone, to where countless 1000's of people in our nation are spending their free time watching acts of wanton cruelty, and simulataneously supporting a withdrawal from Iraq that would cause those very acts to reemerge from a region where they have been largely ended.

Comment #237 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 31, 2008 6:43 AM

Couple other thoughts, then I'm out for while.

Torture is not and should not be a large part of our Global War on Terror (which to answer an earlier question is not a war on a tactic, but on specific identified groups who want to blow up innocent people). It should be used within defined guidelines, and only in extreme circumstances that meet a defined set of criteria. Precisely what those circumstances will be, and how exactly it should be conducted, are matters for rational, fact based discussion.

The problem is that this issue has been politicized by people who blow the strategic importance of this tactic (which exists, I might add, alongside the generally agreed upon tactic of shooting men in their faces who are attacking you).

The inability we have seen here of leftists to address this issue head on and honestly arises directly from their profound discomfort with the idea that violence is sometimes necessary. They can't discuss things like torture rationally, and pretend that either it doesn't work, or that international laws can never be broken under any circumstances whatever. These are irrational ideas, as I have shown.

Morever, they display the generic bias of leftists that humans are in effect moldable, reactive clay which can be acted on, but which lacks agency. Which cannot choose its reaction in response to a given situation.

This is the logic of the Victim. If something is done to the Victim, only Society can undo it. The answer to racism is to implement reverse racism. The answer to injustice is to implement the opposite form of injustice.

I know for a fact that many CrossFitters have been waterboarded. It is a part of their training in the military. It seems to last an eternity while it is going on, then two minutes later, you're fine. No scars, and no lasting psychological wounds, unless you are prone to self pity, and prolonged resentment.

People recover from these things, both the people doing it--and I will note we have people who do this to Americans for a living--and the people to whom it is done.

Leftists want to act like this is a life ending event. It isn't. Shooting people in the face is a life ending event, and we have done that thousands of times in this war.

Smoke and mirrors. That's all they got.

Comment #238 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 31, 2008 7:23 AM

Barry Cooper #228,

You wrote,

>>This is different from the argument that torture doesn't work most of the time, and should only be used "in extremis", as Yoo argued.

I am skeptical. Where exactly did Yoo say this?

At #228, you asked, “Do we conclude that war is bad intrinsically?” I submit to the contrary that failure to engage in war is often intrinsically bad. This is a lesson learned the hard way in World War II, remembered more on the right and than on the left, and a lesson that has fundamentally shaped this country's foreign policy ever since.

Prole #235,

Your legal analysis left out a few points.

Under the definition you attribute to the UN and the Canada Criminal Code, is waterboarding torture?

Under the UN and Canada Code, is a soldier or a secret agent in time of war “a public official or other person acting in an official capacity”? I'd say not under the principle that every word has a meaning, unless you have a contrary code citation.

The citation to “18 USC §§234G(?)-2340A” applies “under the color of law”. What does the phrase “under color of law” mean? Under the same principle, I'd say it excludes acts of war, unless you have a contrary code citation.

What does suffering mean? Doesn't suffering depend on the strengths and weaknesses of the interrogatee? And isn't it entirely the subjective notion that leads to coddling of prisoners, and that tends to make punishment comfortable?

Karl Smith #135,

“Mussolini made the trains run on time” is a joke, Karl, a joke.

Nazi PROPAGANDA was to build of a glorious Third Reich. In all things, you must distinguish between the advertising and the realities of the product. Are you blind to the realities of the Nazis, or do you consider the following excusable: ending democratic processes, political rule by exaltation of the leader, police immunity, facilitating genocide, assaulting the property and persons of citizens, ending free press and speech and by force, sorting citizens for special treatment according to ethnicity, mock trials before party loyal judges, mass murder of noncombatants.

You say,

>> Facism in general and Nazism in particular was about building a stronger society in which each citizen could maximize his own talents and in which the relatively minor differences among citizens were put aside for the advancement of the state.

The stronger society was an aggressive war machine. It wasn't minor differences that were put aside, it was the citizens themselves. The talents permitted were solely those that suited the Nazi agenda. To “maximize his own talents” …“for the advancement of the state” is self-contradictory. The betterment of the state is always propaganda, as in the collectivism of the left (Communists, Liberals). The reality is power and control in the hands of the leaders of the movement.

Your suggestion of individualism is a fraud, a counterfeit appeal to conservative values.

The Nazi experience became the poster child for evil, now lessened only by the emergence of an equivalent: Islamic fascism. Your feeble defense of it is irrational, pitiful, and quite inexcusable in the sane.

Comment #239 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 31, 2008 9:18 AM


In many cases, including Guantanamo Bay and Abu Grahib, the actions of soldiers and ‘secret agents’ would be covered by the CAT definition of ‘torture’ (Congress ratified the CAT, with reservations, not relevant to the question of ‘public official’ in 1990). That is because the meaning of ‘acquiescence’ in the defintion includes: “In terms of state action, torture requires only that government officials know of or remain willfully blind to an act and thereafter breach their legal responsibility to prevent it” (Khouzam, 361 F.3d 161.) Pleas also see, Zheng v. Ashcroft, 332 F.3d 1186, where the Ninth Circuit court found that in holding that torture does not require that acts be “willfully accept[ed]” by government officials, the Ninth Circuit concluded that Congress had spoken clearly on this subject. Really, have a look at the Khouzam decision, espcially paras. 40-42 – gives a nice history of the CAT drafting history its ratification by congressional in addition to a statement of the law.

I really don’t know what waterboarding is. From what I think I know I would call it torture.

The CAT makes it clear that the torture definition applies to acts in war.

Is your way of arguing morally defensible?

Comment #240 - Posted by: Prole at May 31, 2008 11:51 AM


I was thinking of this quote: "He says he thought he was writing a memo for exceptional cases, for the highly trained specialists of the CIA. “I never thought it would be a good idea for the Army to do it, to put it in the hands of eighteen-year-old kids. But it would be inappropriate if I had that worry and it changed the way I interpreted the law.”

This is not unambiguous, but it could be inferred both from his cautious language here, and his stated strong aversion to torture that he does not endorse its wholesale use.

Certainly, that would be my own opinion, that if it is used, that the circumstances clearly be such that deaths can likely be prevented. This situation is unlikely to occur often, if at all.

In reality, my own opinions are likely quite close to the people I am labelling leftists. I consider torture a moral abomination, and as such a consideration of last resort and last choice.

I also consider war a moral abomination, and a resort of last choice. War is certainly needed at times, and torture might be. We have plans for thermonuclear war. Why wouldn't we have plans to use pain to extract needed information?

Comment #241 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 31, 2008 12:14 PM


I see you are debating the legal details of torture. Does this mean your position is that if it were legal--which you oppose--then it would be OK in some circumstances? Do we need to take a legalistic approach to it? If Congress OK'd it, you would support our President, from a legal perspective, in its use?

In fact, if it can be successfully argued in front of a Court that actions taken to this point were fully legal, would that change your opinion? The Patriot Act--which reversed a handful of harmful restrictions imposed on the Executive by an Imperial Congress in the post-Watergate era--has passed muster. It is legal. It is constitutional. It has not been abused. There have been abuses, but they were illegal.

The way I see it, you are using legalism to cloak your inability to make difficult moral judgements in an imperfect and often brutal world. That is obviously a two edged sword.

Comment #242 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 31, 2008 12:25 PM


My moral judgment is that torture is wrong!!!!!

The reason I addressed anything legal in my post is that today's reading focussed on a legal memo by Yoo. I was also asked to make some clarifications by Jeff. I wonder if has read the memo.

Give your head a shake. Torture is wrong, always wrong. How you define it is difficult. I definitely am not worried about "coddling prisoners" like Jeff is. Inalienable rights/universal human rights aren't about coddling.

Comment #243 - Posted by: Prole at May 31, 2008 12:50 PM

of course my last post was held for approval.

So much for free speech.

Comment #244 - Posted by: james at May 31, 2008 12:54 PM

Prole #240

Khouzam does not apply to our discussion or your argument. The Second Circuit had jurisdiction to apply CAT in a case involving the Attorney General and the Board of Immigration Appeals expressly because Congress instructed the Attorney General to implement CAT, and because the BIA was under the direction of the AG. You have not established that CAT applies to the Department of Defense or the CIA.

Secondly, “public officials or other person acting in an official capacity” does not include a combatant or intelligence agent. Article 10 of CAT says,

>> 1. Each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.

A soldier or intelligence agent would fall under the article for education, not enforcement. However, they are not public officials. Nor are military police or civil police. If they were public officials, then the other terms in the list of paragraph 1, Article 11, would be redundant, which is an impermissible statutory interpretation.

This leaves “other person acting in an official capacity” of ¶1, Article 1, subject to interpretation. We need an instruction to cover such persons, and that might include an instruction from Congress that DoD is to implement CAT.

I don't see your basis for claiming, “The CAT makes it clear that the torture definition applies to acts in war.” Nor can I determine whether waterboarding, for example, is torture.

You asked, “Is your way of arguing morally defensible?” Since I'm employing a legal style, I suppose it is not. I don't think half truths are morally defensible, but that is the essence of advocacy law. Half truths are unethical in science. But in court, witnesses, but not the lawyers, are sworn to tell the whole truth, and the lawyers will interrupt full testimony from a witness with the support of the court.

And I responded in full with respect to all my authorities - no half truths from this quarter.

Torture is not adequately defined anywhere. You, Chris aka Prole, relied on legal definitions in an attempt to define it. I responded (not as an attorney) in that domain.

Comment #245 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 31, 2008 2:04 PM


Please ignore my injunction to "give your head a shake" in my last post - I grew frustrated. My moral objections to torture were plainly set out in the first half of my post at 235. My summary objections to Yoo's legal treatment of tortue were set out in the second half of 235, and in 240.

Comment #246 - Posted by: Prole at May 31, 2008 2:06 PM

James, #244,

Speech is not free, nor do you have a right to free speech.

The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. It handcuffs Congress!

It's OK for selected individuals to be barred from speaking on public campuses. It's not OK to violate the rules politically correct speech. On some blogs, it's OK to listen to pornographic audio, but it's not OK to quote the words in a comment.

Speech comes at the price of the sacrifices the left would dishonor.

Comment #247 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 31, 2008 2:21 PM

"I will write you off as an ignorant leftist."

I will write you off as a right-wing thug. Or we could have a civil discussion, in which case, I respectfully ask you to can it.

"The last twenty years, obviously, is not sufficient."

Yeah, I didn't find anything either. You'd think that the last few years would be, as they say, a target rich environment; rife with examples. On one hand the current administration does have a pathological fixation with secrecy, but on the other, it doesn't hesitate to grandstand. So if a major incident was averted (even through the use of torture), we'd hear about it.

"You are making the argument that torture never works."

No. Maybe that's where you're confused. My argument is that torture is never necessary. I am quite certain that it can produce useful results. It's just abhorrent. Since it's abhorrent, and it's not necessary, we shouldn't do it.

"you have to submit the whole of human history to scrutiny"

No, I don't. Civilization is not static. Slavery used to be okay. Aggressive xenophobia (and attendant racism) helped cultures survive and expand. At one time, torture was useful despite its flaws. Now it is beyond the pale. I don't understand why the right is afraid to defend the moral high ground, for America.

Comment #248 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 31, 2008 2:24 PM


Would you agree that there is a gulf between endorsing a policy and saying that the law does not prohibit it?

Yoo appears to have done a faultless job in defining the legal boundaries on torture. He did so notwithstanding his personal compunctions, and the two should not be conflated.

What Yoo did is vital on two fronts. First, it helped the administration know its limits. No one seems to have noticed that it also should help Congress fill any gaps in the law, should it deem gaps to exist.

Yoo is being castigated as a monster and a Nazi not because of anything he did or said, or failed to do or say, but because of groundless characterizations by some who are as far beyond civil discourse as was Goëbbels. It is gauche Goëbbel garble, hardly worth our time but warranting defense.

Yoo is under attack because he was a member of the Bush administration, and we all must blindly hate Bush. The symbol for the Democratic party should be the Ant.

Comment #249 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 31, 2008 2:48 PM

#243, Prole, writes,

"My moral judgment is that torture is wrong [five exclamation points] . . . Torture is wrong, always wrong. How you define it is difficult."

Assume that:

(1) Actions that fall within the Set "X" are always wrong, by definition.

(2) Defining what constitutes the set of "X" is "difficult."

(3) I have committed action "Y"

Have I done something wrong?

Condemning me for committing Action Y by arguing that all X are wrong is inadequate.

Similarly, claiming that the question is moot because X is not wrong is also inadequate,

Comment #250 - Posted by: Hari at May 31, 2008 2:51 PM

Maurkov #248,

So should we assume your position is that if the Bush administration does something to an interrogatee beyond asking him questions it is torture, but that if an Obama (or McGovern, or Clinton, or Carter) administration did the same thing, it would not be torture?

Or, is it your position that the Administration must ask Maurkov for a determination that any particular extra tactic is not torture before employing it?

Is it your position that the limitations on tactics that can be used with interrogation should be known to the interrogatee before questioning?

Comment #251 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at May 31, 2008 3:12 PM

Needed an extra WO day before rest tomorrow, so did OHS form work.

95lbs x 10 reps x 5 sets
burpee pullups 30 reps @ 5:01
45 min elliptical trainer


Normally I avoid the rest day political discussions, but did want to toss this in:

Barry #238:

I'm one of those guys who has been waterboarded. I served with SF in Iraq and am politically conservative. I consider waterboarding to be torture. It's not torture when done in training for the simple reason that you know the guys doing it ultimately will not hurt you. It is quite different when done by hostile hands. My 2 cents.

Comment #252 - Posted by: Ed H 43/M/5'11/205 at May 31, 2008 4:05 PM


How do you know you did 'y'?
I'll be the judge of that, or someone judging under 'colour of law'.
I'd like to thank you for responding to that post, it was, admittedly my best this rest day.

Comment #253 - Posted by: Prole at May 31, 2008 4:53 PM


I missed your response at 245, thanks, - I usually ctrl-find-search on 'leftist' for a response to my posts so I nearly missed your last one :)

If the soldier does the bad thing in a situation in which his superior (who at some point will be a 'public official') knows, or ought to know, it is torture, and 'public official' acquiesces, its a candidate for torture (the ultimate determination may depend on a trial).

Actually , Khouzam and Zheng v. Ashcroft are helpful for conming to a definition of torture. They are at least as helpful as the health benefits statute Yoo consulted, becaue they deal with the prospect of deportaiton to torture, not the prospect of getting some pogey for booboo. They are not controlling or binding authority on the DoJ (they might be, I don't know), but they do provide some judicial interpretation of the relevant "pain and suffering [sic]" language in a torture context.

We're not discussing whether and which US departments and branches of government are subject to CAT, we're talking about coming to a defintion of torture.

Comment #254 - Posted by: Prole at May 31, 2008 5:23 PM

As you wish- its your perogative. I stand by what I wrote.

Regardless- I will continue to enjoy the resources here and respectfully- accept your authority to censor views contrary to accepted norms.

I would be interested to learn (in private) exactly why that post was censored if you care to share.

thanks for the website.

Comment #255 - Posted by: james at May 31, 2008 6:19 PM

This was all worth the read. Most of you know I am a JAG, private civilian military defense lawyer, and was a Marine for 17 or so years after ROTC in college. Like Jeff Glassman, my thoughts and opinions are also formed by time as a Naval Aviator - which included, for the lucky ones who attended SERE school, the likelihood of being waterboarded as part of the training. (N.B. because of deployment schedules, I missed SERE, but I'm well aware of its high points.)

For those who say the ticking time bomb scenario doesn't exist, let's assume that precise one doesn't - but how about a myriad of ones that are close? I have one that may get us closer to an answer to the torture question, or at least sharpen the point and prevent some ducking.

A reliable intelligence source relays a conversation with his friend Ahmed who talked about another guy (name unknown) who was going to do "something big" at the American base in three weeks time. By happenstance, Ahmed is detained in an unrelated raid and his name pops in a searchable intel database. You now have in your hands a guy who has talked to a reliable intel source and admitted he knows about "something big" happening in the coming days at the Base.

Please do not duck this - I was there for this one.

What should you do to him legally and morally?

Now, after seriously considering it, let me ask you this - suppose you are located VEEERRY far from the flagpole - almost in a state of "law-lessness" (try to use your imagination to its limits if you are a person who has not been shot at or rocketed by others).

What would YOU do if after very "vanilla" questioning the guy gave you fake names, lies about his family, birthplace, etc, and you pointed this out. What would YOU do when he looked at you and laughed and said "I know I have nothing to fear from you because you will release me in three days time as long as I admit nothing. You will also feed me better than I eat at my home and let me pray at every call to prayer. I even have a new Koran from you. Thank you. I will rejoice at your death."

Now try to tell yourself this scenario hasn't repeated itself interminably in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here's the punchline - the guy blew himself and his mother up a few days later when the explosives that didn't really exist detonated in his house. Tragedy averted because of bad guy stupidity.

Now, let's narrow some things down. Torture does work. Those who say it doesn't are fools or ideologues. I don't say it works 100% effectively or 100% of the time - but generally, as a tool, it will work if done well and with other means at the interrogator's disposal - to have corroborating and ancillary information, as just one example. We all know and learn this in little ways at an early age - the bully who can beat your lights out - how does he keep getting extra lunch money? How did my older sister extort promises from me as a kid merely by promising to tell Mom and Dad on me? How does blackmail even exist or work?

So, let's set that foolishness aside. If I want info you have and I have you physically in my control - I can get it with enough time and patience and cunning.

So, let's return to the above scenario - and Barry's question to Maurkov and his continued duck and Prole's answer that torture is "never" justified - you are therefore asserting the primacy of the individual life - the primacy of the individual being held. What about the value of the lives of those men standing inside the wire? What about the lives of the innocents who will be snuffed by the truck bomb headed for the front gate? Why is the "mental well-being" of the man holding the information desired paramount over the lives I have listed?

Please, be honest in your answers. Seriously, I want to hear your justification for that man's temporary suffering (from waterboarding, let's say - which, by the way, is devastatingly effective) over the very likely loss of life I have mentioned. There is one legal theory that might suffice - but no hints for now. Any takers?

Comment #256 - Posted by: Dale_Saran at May 31, 2008 7:33 PM


You ignored my questions. I have, I think, done a good job of mapping out here the boundaries of the discussion beyond which standard leftists will not go.

They will scream about American law violations, like Abu Ghraib, and My Lai, but they will ignore in utter silence the identical atrocities done by other nations, conducted as official, legal state policy, and applied to millions of people.

They will reject even the most basic use of force by our military, but countenance with apparently clear consciences the most stomach rending, horrific crimes done by others, without feeling any connection between their congenital anti-militarism, and the results it invariably brings.

Implicitly, James, Prole, Raskolnikov, and whoever else I'm forgetting would literally rather see the world go up in flames before they would violate their own first principles. They have the right to this opinion, and I have the right to label it pathological narcissism. I would shoot my own children if it would save a million lives. It would hurt like hell, but you have to evaluate the situation according to what is best, most honorable, most noble.

In my own view, as I have stated often, torture is a poor option. I know personally very good interrogators, and violence has nothing to do with it.

At the same time, we need to get our heads out of our butts, and stop labelling people working to plan ahead and develop protocols for extreme methods that might be needed in extreme circumstances. Look at the title of the article. This is patent nonsense.

I think I've finally realized you can't box anyone in a corner who has no form. Puddles spread across wide areas.

Comment #257 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 31, 2008 7:34 PM

I've got one in the hopper. Prole, when it comes up, I would seriously like to hear your response. Maurkov, you too if you're still around. BTW, saying "torture" is beyond the pale doesn't answer the mail. Assuming you're even right on that one (which I would likely grant). "What is it" is still a problem, even if "it" is beyond the pale.

James - posts get held and sometimes axed for a variety of reasons. I've had some that didn't make it and I'm pretty measured in my posts. It may be a filter and someone just doesn't get to clear yours or some other reason, but it is very unlikely anyone is trying to "censor" your opinion (NB - unlikely, not impossible; I don't know what you said.)

Comment #258 - Posted by: Dale_Saran at May 31, 2008 7:40 PM

#249: Jeff: yes. That is why the title of the article is ridiculous.

To take another example, one could be a pro-life judge, but rule in favor of abortion rights.

The task he was given was to explore what options existed legally. This is the sort of question an Administration that takes their democratic and legal responsibilities seriously asks. Hitler simply told his judges what the law was.

I have spilled a lot of pixels in effect to split hairs, on one level. However, on another what I am doing is probing the leftist thought process on this issue. There is what is termed in academia a meta-level to this, in that there is not just explicit content, but differing methods of forming and arranging it. That is the part that interests me.

#252, fair enough. I appreciate your input.

Pragmatically, I'm perfectly willing to place waterboarding (or other forms of induced drowning, such as holding peoples head's underwater) on the torture side of the ledger. It's the deliberate infliction of pain with the objective of obtaining information. That would be a short definition. If people carry the scars five years down the road is irrelevant.

However, I stand by my point that far worse things can happen to people. Torture is different than murder. We countenance murder in battlefields.

Within the continuum of coercion techniques, waterboarding is more benign than some. Frankly, the things they did to Padilla bother me. They did no good, and so were unnecessary. If it was intended as an added form of punishment, then it was cruel and unusual. If it was intended to extract information, it was incompetent.

Comment #259 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at May 31, 2008 7:55 PM

#253, Prole, writes,

"How do you know you did 'y'?"

For the sake of my hypothetical, I am defining the specific details of my action and referring to it as "Y." I'm asking you how you decide whether or not "Y" is a subset of "X," given that you have not defined "X."

Comment #260 - Posted by: Hari at May 31, 2008 8:13 PM

Thanks Dale- I think I just realized that Jeff Glassman wasnt speaking from "the podium" as it were.

Barry- you are erroneously lumping me with Prole- you didnt read my post- so either do that or kindly stop commenting.. you call for protocols- I believe in checks and balances and reject the possibility that there could ever be protocols that made for consistent fit- thats the big difference. EG- I think Padilla should be suing- but am not attatched to the outcome- whats important is that it is called into question and examination for as much as and as long as it is in use. I am for debate- you are for tyranny of one idea to the exclusion of opposition.

If you read the last paragraph of RJ #234 he sums my view perhaps in a form that you can address more meaningfully.

Im guessing you dont have any kids- internet bravado is a wonderful thing.
If Im wrong then your are certainly a better utilitarian than I am there- If I could save my family at the expense of a million lives - Id save my family. I would die for my family- but never kill them.

you cant box someone in who boxes better than you do.

CCTV #236- thats the first time Ive ever hear Fort Bragg referred to as a commune- nice one dude no one I grew up with had enough hair to get lice.
Im not gay so I dont know what "hot pockets" are? maybe you can hip me (so to speak)

Comment #261 - Posted by: james at May 31, 2008 8:29 PM

Jeff (251)

"So should we assume your position is that if the Bush administration does something to an interrogatee beyond asking him questions it is torture, but that if an Obama (or McGovern, or Clinton, or Carter) administration did the same thing, it would not be torture?"

Yes, that is exactly right. It's only torture when the Republicans do it. Do you say these things out loud as you type them? It sounded really stupid when I read it. If you're just trying to be insulting, that's fine. Otherwise, get a grip or a clue.

But actually, no. It doesn't matter which country is doing it. It doesn't matter which administration. I have a moral problem with torture. I think that American's rejection of torture was one of the things that made our culture better than theirs. That's it, with no partisanship and no moral relativism.

So, Jeff and Dale, we are hunting for a definition of torture? Lets try to find some common ground. I started at the wikipedia entry for torture and followed it to the United Nations Convention Against Torture. I don't have time to really dig in tonight, but I'll be back tomorrow.

To kick it off, from the latter article, "The European Convention on Human Rights (signed by the participating member states of the Council of Europe) recognized that the use of the five techniques of sensory deprivation and even the beatings of prisoners are not torture. Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights it was ruled makes such actions the lesser offense of "inhuman or degrading treatment"[2]." Ick. I may have a problem with inhuman and degrading treatment, too. More on that later.

Meanwhile, Ed (252) and Yoo (article) agree that waterboarding is torture.

It seems like there might be some overlap. Where would you like the line drawn?

Comment #262 - Posted by: Maurkov at May 31, 2008 10:15 PM


As I've indicated, that is essentially my position as well. This is a moderate position.

Why, then, is the title of the article "Is John Yoo a monster?" Is John Yoo not trying to do precisely what RJ suggested?

It is the context within which the question is asked that makes me angry. You have not addressed that, nor do I expect you to. You apparently don't even understand the question.

And yes, I have children.

Comment #263 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at June 1, 2008 5:19 AM

'But actually, no. It doesn't matter which country is doing it. It doesn't matter which administration. I have a moral problem with torture. I think that American's rejection of torture was one of the things that made our culture better than theirs. That's it, with no partisanship and no moral relativism.'

To be clear, can I assume that you support our troops staying in Iraq until we can be sure that the Al Queda atrocities our media doesn't want to report won't recur?

Are you likewise willing to label both North Korea and Iran evil since they utilize torture on a widespread basis to suppress political opposition (which I will note is an entirely different use that the one being discussed here)?

More open ended question: could terrorism not perhaps be defined as a effort at what might be termed social torture? Is the goal not the creation of precisely the cringing state it is claimed we created in Padilla? Is it not an effort at coercion through fear itself?

Comment #264 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at June 1, 2008 5:25 AM

#262 was actually responding to James.

I have never argued for the tyranny of one position versus another. I have argued for clarity. You have argued for debate, which of course is the point of free speech. The problem arises from the fact that leftists have no moral guidelines other conformity, and thus have enormous--usually insurmountable--dificulties in reaching actionable decisions where moral complexity exists. Since most everything a large nation does is morally complex, this functionally means that Democrats do something close to nothing, and whine incessantly about whatever Republicans do.

This is the process that bothers me.

Comment #265 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at June 1, 2008 5:30 AM

One last thing until late tonight.

We have apparently shifted into a discussion about the precise definition of torture. A final answer is not possible, but I will say that I personally would rather be waterboarded than put into sensory deprivation for years. Both would be awful, but one would be over quickly.

The question it is difficult to ask in the current atmosphere is what works. What tactics and techniques exist by which professionals can get information from non-compliant interrigatees? If none, then the issue rapidly becomes not just a moral one, but a pragmatic one. Why would we use tactics that make us look bad and that don't work?

It is my lingering suspicion that not all the information is out there in the public domain. How could people be honest about their experiences, when they might well be accused of crimes and arrested?

It is alleged that waterboarding was a key component in Khaled Sheikh Mohammad's decision to provide us substantial and useful information. Is this true? Nobody seems to want to comment on the record.

The issue, to me, is efficacy. If you employ tactics that are morally objectionable, and get no results, then that is wrong. Pure and simple. It is also incompetence.

If you employ tactics that are not morally objectionable, and do get results, then that is quite obviously a win-win, and would be the way to go in every case. This is presumably why John McCain, the Republican nominee to-be, supports a ban on torture. He also supports an on-going ban, through success, on renewed torture in Iraq. He differs in this from both Obama and Hillary, who seem to have no moral issues with it. This is to be expected.

Did you all read that Obama finally realized he goes to a racist church? It only took him 20 years to see the light. Maybe if he could be President for 20 years, he would likewise be able to clear the fog and do the job like the seasoned professional he is not currently.

Comment #266 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at June 1, 2008 5:55 AM


"Implicitly, James, Prole, Raskolnikov, and whoever else I'm forgetting would literally rather see the world go up in flames before they would violate their own first principles." Are you accusing us lefties of wide eyed clraity of moral vision. Now, it seems, not only do we have first principles, we will steadfastly not violate them. Why don't you quit tellings us about ourselves (or what you seem to think we are, and argue the issues). It's all implications for you.
And...the question was Yoos memo, and related to that was US torture. I mentioned burkas, I could have mentioned other hideous acts by other nations. If I said the vast majority of the world's nations are worse than the US would you ease up? If I said that no nation is in the position of the US and perhaps we need to be sympathetic to its huge foreign policy burden, would you ease up? We can't cover everything here. Yoo's memo was the question. That's what I've been discussing.


Whether 'Y' is a subset of 'X', where 'X' is as I defined it (CAT's definition) might require a trial, submissions from council, and long deliberations. If you'd like to provide me with submissions to help in this difficult task, I'd be most appreciative.

Comment #267 - Posted by: Prole at June 1, 2008 6:22 AM

Maurkov #2xx,

You wrote in #160,

>> In advising his client to take illegal and unconstitutional actions, [Yoo] engaged in malpractice, and he should be disbarred. The people who partook in the illegal and unconstitutional acts should be tried.


>> "'Waterboarding we think is torture'
>>'We've done it three times,' he repeats."
>>That you know of, you bastard.

Nowhere did Yoo advise his client here to take any action. He was asked and answered the limits of legal and constitutional provisions with respect to interrogation and detention. You, like John Richardson, disagree with Yoo, so you, like Richardson, resort to name calling. Richardson provides no cover for his hatred of Bush, so his objections arise not from what is being done, but from who is doing it. The question to you was whether you followed in Richardson's shoes to arrive at the last element of your argument.

When Yoo said, “Waterboarding we think is torture” he was speaking in a literary voice. He is not including himself or the administration. That is emphasized when he says, “We've done it three time”. And, of course, everyone in the West is against torture.

Richardson wasn't confused by this rhetoric. He still needed Yoo to answer the specific question about waterboarding:

>> I ask him the question nobody in the Bush administration wants to answer. “Is waterboarding torture?”

>>He doesn't hesitate. “It's on the line. It doesn't cause long-term or permanent pain, but it does cause intense pain. It seems to meet the requirements of the statute in some ways -- but not all. So it seems to me that in very limited circumstances, you can use it.”

He's saying its not torture, and therefore that it's not illegal.

Richardson's insertion about the Bush administration not wanting to answer the question is false. As Richardson himself acknowledge, Bush vetoed a bill that would have outlawed waterboarding. Yoo provided the legal background for that veto.

Your implication that Yoo endorsed torture by waterboarding is patently false. And your presumption at the outset of your latest post about illegal and unconstitutional acts is false and unsupported, except by the other bobbleheads at your desk.

The bobblehead analogy is excellent. The bobblehead dolls are disconnected from any mental process. You surely feel waterboarding is illegal and somehow unconstitutional, but you refuse to make the actual connection through fact and law.

Not satisfied, you go further.

>> Three years of solitary, like in Padilla's case, causes permanent psychological damage. It is torture.

How do you know Padilla was subjected to what you claim? Even Richardson says it's merely the claims of a convicted terrorist. Then, how do you know such treatment causes any psychological damage, much less permanent? Your commentary rests solely on just such bald assertions.

The John Richardsons and Keith Olbermanns and Chris Matthews and other lefties, marching in lock step, create a rocking motion, causing other wooden heads to go up and down synchronously.

Comment #268 - Posted by: Jeff Glassman at June 1, 2008 6:48 AM

Actually, being a bit compulsive, I decided to waste some time and see if I contradicted myself. I don't see any.


If I understand you, your opposition to torture stems from an understanding of human rights such that they can never be violated, for any reason, at any time, no matter the cost, at least with respect to this issue.

However, as I framed the question, the implication was that not only would you and the person you were allowing to be tortured die, so would everyone else. This would violate their rights as well. Life comes before liberty in the Declaration.

And this is not a hypothetical situation. The crimes of My Lai were used as a justification to abandon the South Vietnamese, which led to crimes 1,000 times larger. The logic and moral absolutism (let's be honest, it's compulsive legalism) was the same then as you are displaying now.

Prole: do you support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq? It's a simple question.

Comment #269 - Posted by: Barry Cooper at June 1, 2008 6:48 AM

I think the problem I keep having with these crossfit discussion boards (and the reason I get fed up with them) is the constant labeling of people, rather then discussing the ideas someone has. How is this going to go anywhere, there's no real discussion or production at all, pretty much each rest day goes from

1 a simple question that is normally thought provoking (I thought this article was awesome)
2. some good points
3. devolves into the decrying of "leftism" no matter what the topic is about
4. "leftists" (who are normally just pretty moderate people that stray from normal party lines) explain why they think the way they do
5. all points are ignored, you are just grouped into whatever category you "belong" to
6. name calling begins
7. Herculenean acts of internet bravado
7. moderates realize that this pointless
9. Barry wins by default

So yeah, this is why I think I am done with these discussion boards. I think I stayed around till the end of the discussion about a month ago and was more frustrated then anything with people just ignorning whatever they want to and thinking their ignorant points are "killer". I will keep doing the daily workouts and then reading the articles on rest days when I have a chance, but thats about it.

Your post was awesome, I agree one hundred percent with you. It was clear, concise but had a lot of good points. I actually showed it to a friend of mine cause its pretty much where I stand on isses, its balance thats important.

You got a lot of good posts too, I would love to have a discussion board with you and RJ and a few other people. Thanks

See, you have an opportunity to make good points, but you get bogged down categorizing people, which is why these discussion boards get ludicrous. We already got into it once, but you didn't listen to any posts, you went off on tangents against the left and claiming you were for some reason the intellectual superior, which is why our last argument just denegrated. You use the strawman argument way too much, thinking anyone who questions you is a leftist. I never have a problem having a discussion with someone I disagree with, try to listen and understand where they are coming from and try to learn something.

whatever though, im sure this will fall on deaf ears (eyes)

Comment #270 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at June 1, 2008 6:59 AM

#266, Prole, writes,

"Whether 'Y' is a subset of 'X', where 'X' is as I defined it (CAT's definition) might require a trial, submissions from council, and long deliberations."

But this is a bit circular. The initial premise was that X is difficult to define. Of course, if you simply choose a definition (or let someone else choose it for you) then your problem is solved.

You wrote (243), "My moral judgment is that torture is wrong"

But it seems to me that you mean:

Your judgment is that any action defined by CAT after trial, submissions from council, and long deliberations is wrong.

This is not your moral judgment; it is someone else's legal judgment.

Comment #271 - Posted by: Hari at June 1, 2008 7:00 AM


My moral judgment is that torture is wrong becaue it destroys the humanity of the tortured, the torturer, and those who sanction (acquiesce to) the torture's actions. This point was clearly set out in my post 235.

I don't think I'm being circular. I'm saying that when asked the question "what is torture?", a reasonable way of responding is to say:

"that depends...on how the facts of the situation fit into an analysis of factors n1 to n2, as set out in the CAT, and in their judicial interpretations."

The best the definition can do is to set out a number of factors to be considered, the rest requires a detailed analysis depending on what the facts are. Each factor, as the analysis deepens, may in turn, be broken down into more discrete factors. The hope, often illusory, is that as you go further, you eventually get to yes/no questions, boxes you can either tick or leave empty.

This way of reasoning may not allow you to come to a quick conclusion about whether an act 'y' is a subset of category 'x' and, therefore, constitutes torture. Y's and X's are far to abstract, we need lots and lots of facts.

Zo at 269

I hear you and have been there myself. One thing you can do is to ignore those who argue in a way you don’t think is fair or constructive.

Barry 268

We’re discussing the right not to be tortured, not human rights in general, I do not think that every human right (as identified by whom?) should never be violated. Contrary to what you might believe, I do not think that every human right recognized by, say, the UN, or the EC, or the Ontario Human Rights Commission should even be recognized as a human right.

Your final ‘simple’ question (“do you support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq?”) stretches too far a-field, but I’ll give you a simple answer: No.


Excellent posting. I haven’t seen you here before, but then I haven’t been looking for a while. If you’re still looking for the CAT definition of torture I put in my post 235. Around here it’s very difficult to be seen as a thoughtful human being, concerned about the world around you, rather than a leftist. I try to have a thick skin, but it’s hard.

Comment #272 - Posted by: Prole at June 1, 2008 11:08 AM

Dale at 256,

Didn't see your post earlier.

I do not doubt that torture can provide a torturer with information. The quesiton is, does it get the truth, or just what the tortured thinks he needs to say to stop the pain?

I don't think I am privileging the well-being of the tortured. I really think that we, as a community, cannot tolerate torture for what it says about us. We must be better, we must just simply be better, play by more onerous rules, hold ourselves out to the rest of the world as peoples who walk the moral walk, who can be relied upon, who are worthy of setting an example. Torture must simply not be on the table - like cannibalism and insest. There are situations when cannibalism and insest might 'make sense' and even be excused, but they shouldn't be sanctioned ahead of time. How about this, if a ticking time-bomb scenario ever materialized, and it was justified for someone to authorize torture, then let them do it, and let them justify why they shouldn't be convicted of a crime against humanity afterward. If the person can be proven to have just saved the world (or some portion of it, the size of which we can determine later), then the facts would provide a justification for the torture. If it turns out their torture accomplished things that didn't meet a minimum threshold (to be determined later, by the drafters of the new provision), they would face conviction. The risk should be on the torturer. This would be a reverse burden of proof against the torturer. Presumed guilty - just a thought.

It's very late in the day so as the rest of my anwer to your question I'll quote myself at 235:

"I don’t think torture is ever ok. That said, if my wife’s life depended on information that might possibly be gained from torture, I imagine I would have you or Bush or myself do it in a heartbeat. But, the damage that would be done to my society if it permitted torture cannot be justified by my wife’s life. Torture is worse than murder for what it says about the moral composition of the torturer. What is left of a man who tortures? It is he who should be hooded, like the hangmen of old, because he is no longer one of us, no longer a human, but is part machine and part brute. We have a duty keep torture illegal. By making it legal we say: “this is our best considered judgment, this is the product of our collective moral judgment, our development – this is the best the world and humankind has to offer.” It is a tragedy for the American people that this has happened. When a collection of men enforce a law that women must be entombed in their Burkas, it says about those men that they are, in their hearts, jailers, slave-drivers, cowards. When a nation makes torture legal it corrupts itself in a way that brings each of its citizens closer to being a sadist, a brute, a bag of chemicals. When I want to torture for my wife’s life, the state needs to step in, my fellow citizens need to step in and say: “No, you cannot do this, after this none of us will be the same, the country we thought we had will no longer be, we must agree that nothing is worth that price.”

Comment #273 - Posted by: Prole at June 1, 2008 5:00 PM

Thanks for the advice. Dale_saran, thanks for the perspective, it was good reading. I dont think it popped up for a while, cause I hadn't seen it either till I was glancing through about to go to bed. I think this is one of those tricky situations, where you lose something on both sides in these ticking time-bomb type problems, where there is truly no set-in-stone answer that can appease everyone. On the one hand, you get your information and save the base, but you lose you moral compass in the way. Personally, I think Prole is on the right track with making sure we are better then the lowest base of society, but I think it could be beneficial if we made sure nobody knew exactly what we could do. That guy got out knowing full well what to expect in detention, and it really bugs me when I see people using our own system to their advantage. For instance, a few weeks ago the article was about 9/11 and how they were using our own system to claim that they were discriminated against, giving them room to complete their mission. Maybe a system where interrogators know torture is for the most part off limits, but those with information are nervous because they dont know what we are capable of? I know that has lots of holes in it and is not perfect, but I do think there should be some flexibility, even if its just in the mind of the suspect. Prole, do you think if we take away any avenue that the interogator could go through that would equate to torture, would he be reluctant to take actions when he is faced with a ticking time bomb situation? Putting the risk on the torturer might be tough to do, because it would be hard for him to "prove" something was about to happen, and for all intents and purposes, the person being tortured could easily manipulate the system. Almost like you save the world, but no one really knows you actually saved the world because the bomb never went off. I know its real hypothetical, just throwing stuff out there.

Comment #274 - Posted by: zo 26/m/190/5'10 at June 1, 2008 9:08 PM

Gah. This is turning into the filthy fifty of rest days. Jeff, I owe you some answers and will make good. I confess that gardening was a better use of my Sunday than reading about torture.

Thank you for the kind words, Prole.

Comment #275 - Posted by: Maurkov at June 1, 2008 10:00 PM

Prole, way back you answered questions, I didn't miss it, just playing from behind. Thanks, I'll answer to your email address.

Karl, saw your post as well, seemed to have drawn fire from otheres, I will leave it on the table for now.


Comment #276 - Posted by: Apolloswabbie 6'2" 210 44 at June 2, 2008 10:49 AM

yeah- great post by Saran- I missed it earlier.

Wish Apollo would post response to Prole- but understand.

Comment #277 - Posted by: james at June 2, 2008 12:14 PM

Jeff (268), Sorry if this is hard to read. Quoting posts that contain quotes quickly turns into a wall of text.

"Nowhere did Yoo advise his client here to take any action."

That is a keen observation. Or you're grasping at minutia. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify. He advised his client that no law, treaty, nor constitutional amendment prohibited the maltreatment of certain prisoners. I believe he is wrong; wrong enough to be considered malpractice.

"you, like Richardson, resort to name calling."

Yes. I retracted and apologized. Should I scour your post history to see if you've ever been less than decorous?

"Richardson provides no cover for his hatred of Bush, so his objections arise not from what is being done, but from who is doing it."

That is a non-sequitur. It's possible to despise a person or administration and completely independently despise something they do. I don't hate Bush. I don't know him. I am deeply unhappy with many of his choices, but, for example, I give him full props for his veto of the farm bill. When's the last time you gave Pelosi credit for, well, anything?

"When Yoo said, “Waterboarding we think is torture” he was speaking in a literary voice. He is not including himself or the administration. That is emphasized when he says, “We've done it three time”."

To me, it scans differently. Unless you're claiming telepathy, you're going to have to do more than quote the same thing I quoted and tell me it means something different.

"And, of course, everyone in the West is against torture."

Um, either you haven't been reading the same posts I have, or there are a couple of Crossfitters who aren't in the West.

"Richardson wasn't confused by this rhetoric. He still needed Yoo to answer the specific question about waterboarding:
>> I ask him the question nobody in the Bush administration wants to answer. “Is waterboarding torture?”
>>He doesn't hesitate. “It's on the line. It doesn't cause long-term or permanent pain, but it does cause intense pain. It seems to meet the requirements of the statute in some ways -- but not all. So it seems to me that in very limited circumstances, you can use it.”
He's saying its not torture, and therefore that it's not illegal."

The definition of torture from the UN CAT leads with the phrase "severe pain." Intense is greater than severe. Yoo is wrong.

Yes I notice the contradiction. Yoo's try to weasil (Or perhaps there is fault in Richardson's reporting.)

"Your implication that Yoo endorsed torture by waterboarding is patently false."

Yoo determined that the Chief Executive, within his war powers, is unconstrained by treaty (collective self defense!) or statute (unconstitutional!). The rest follows. If you're not able to connect the dots, let me know. I'll use small words.

"And your presumption at the outset of your latest post about illegal and unconstitutional acts is false and unsupported[.]"

You're right. I didn't support my assertions. Since I'm not a legal scholar, I'm going to farm that one out. Please comment on Dilan's observations, here:
I'll also point out that Yoo's memo was retracted, which suggests to me that the logic therein is not supported.

">> Three years of solitary, like in Padilla's case, causes permanent psychological damage. It is torture.

How do you know Padilla was subjected to what you claim? Even Richardson says it's merely the claims of a convicted terrorist. Then, how do you know such treatment causes any psychological damage, much less permanent? Your commentary rests solely on just such bald assertions."

Fine. I withdraw the torture accusation. The bar is a lot lower for Padilla, an American citizen on American soil. Three years without an indictment? Remind me, what were the legal contortions that made that okay?

Comment #278 - Posted by: Maurkov at June 2, 2008 4:23 PM

Prole - you at least argue the right theory. One thing we're going round and round on though (and getting no closer to an answer) is what exactly IS torture?

Suppose, as an attorney, I agree completely with you that torture is illegal and should remain so in perpetuity and be criminalized. Then I say, with equal earnest, that waterboarding is NOT torture (for argument's sake). Now what? You disagree. Okay. We now have one vote against.

Suppose I say that repeatedly choking someone unconscious and then after they wake up, doing same, is not torture. (I myself have been choked unconscious a number of times in jujitsu/MMA. It happens. No lasting harm. Bad headaches in some cases later on.)

There are a number of ways to make people utterly and completely miserable and to do so in a way that doesn't leave marks. Here's one (an actual incident that got some people in trouble). A line of 4 or 5 detainees are blindfolded and put on their knees. Dude one is questioned in hearing of others. He refuses to cooperate. Interrogator orders him shot dead but he is actually shot next to or blanks used and he is gagged so others cannot hear him. They, of course, think he has just been offed for his lack of cooperation. He has not. You could even take it a step further and have one of your own "plants" in there to act out the part of recalcitrant detainee. Then you start questioning next guy. Is that torture?

There are a thousand variations on this theme. Again, you also seem unwilling to acknowledge that "twisting" someone can give you good information. You're wrong. It does. We don't even have to use the term torture. Even getting innocuous information, like family history, biographical information, dates of birth,l can help fill in blanks in a wire diagram or "family tree" of AQ, or validate other detainee information - like how many wives someone has, number of children, etc. These do not seem to be of any operational significance and may be things people give up under some slight pressure, which can help greatly.

I respect your opinions, but you're incredibly naive about how this stuff works. Finally, I wonder how you feel about what is done to American and other prisoners and innocents who are murdered for sport. What do you feel is the proper penalty for those who do and condone such acts? And what do we do with them if we capture them? With the possibility of future attacks looming (yes, many of these people do want to kill Americans wherever they are for no reason other than that they exist), what do you suggest their legal status should be? They do not wear uniforms, they do not abide by Geneva, they were not signatories to Geneva, so how again is it that we're supposed to use THAT as the standard for trying and/or treating them?

They are, what was the Latin/legal term you quoted - I can't find it? Not a member of humanity? That seems way, way too far and probably one of the many reasons why we don't sign on to such nonsense treaties. They will be used as a means to try US Servicemembers in kangaroo courts staffed/headed by a bunch of nations that hate us.

Prole, you acknowledge that torture is REALLY hard to define, yet we have people calling Yoo a weasel for attempting the exact same thing. I think he took the most direct (and unimaginative) way out - he looked for something in some statute, ANY statute, that might give a hint about the meaning of those ambiguous terms you cited to. He's a lawyer and probably has never twisted an arm or even inflicted mild pain (forget severe) on someone in his life. No one here has come anywhere near to providing a definition for torture and Yoo was required to do so in the wake of 9/11 for his job. Criticize him if you want from the comfort of your armchair, but that was no easy task, particularly for a guy like him. My biggest critique is that the Administration has, throughout its term, ignored or underused the military JAGs available to them (including in the Commissions process) who have a great deal more experience in "Operational Law" than some DoJ former professor - I don't care how big his brain is. He has no basis of experience or legal knowledge to draw upon when it comes to hurting people, blowing things up, and deciding under what circumstances you can do either or both. JAGs do this routinely every deployment.

Enuff for now.

Comment #279 - Posted by: Dale_Saran at June 2, 2008 9:08 PM

Hey, I learned my lesson. I said "to weasel," for calling waterboarding torture during one part of the interview, but later saying it was on the line.

Please don't put words in my mouth; I've got to save room for my feet.

Comment #280 - Posted by: Maurkov at June 2, 2008 9:59 PM


If torture is defined, perhaps it is better said that it alluded to, as: "severe pain or suffering", then of course, we need to fill those terms in. My gut reaction is that mock executions are torture, or at least a war crime - i.e., beyond the pale of what is legally acceptable (I can't take the time to find a citation supporting this, but I believe mock execution has been raised in the indictments re war crimes in former Yugoslavia). I also believe that the US convicted a Japanese soldier of torture for water-boarding after WWII (I think his name was Asano). I also think some Germans were prosecuted for these types of things in Nuremberg.

I'm not so upset with Yoo. He had a job to do. After reading his memo a couple of times I thought parts of it too clearly indicated he was providing the opinion he was supposed to, rather than his best judgment.

I may be naive about how torture works (I suppose I should thank someone for that naivity) but I think you may be focussing too narrowly on what goes on between soldiers and beligerants. There is a wider context to this - the man doing the mock execution, the waterboarding, and the system that gives legal sanction to this, becomes, as morally reprehensible as the tortured.

Even if being the 'good guy' (I view it not so much as being the good guy as maintaining basic moral standards that are essential for liberal civilization) won't win the hearts and minds of the terrorists, it may win it of their neighbours, and if not them, then it may win the hearts and minds of our prospective allies (wouldn't the Canadians desparately like the French to move into Southern Afghanistan to do some of the heavy lifting?, and, if not them, then maybe the hearts ands minds of the American people. And if prohibiting torture is not sufficient to 'win' any of these people over, it may be necessary. It may be good tactics for the soldier on the ground, but it is bad strategy for the overall effort, now, and to come.

Comment #281 - Posted by: Prole at June 3, 2008 4:27 AM

Good dialogue- wish I had something substantive to add but following with interest.

I do think that Proles hearts and minds point is a little arcane.

Most people in the world are at least used to choosing between the lesser of two evils in their allegiances- so that while widespread use of gratuitous tortue ( Sadamm, Adolf, Abu Grahib ) is a grave problem; At some point its equally strategically effective to be feared.
Again- to me it seems like the image of America struggling with it's ideals over tortue (while judiciously participating in the same) is as effective a place as the country will ever get- and so Im with Barry on that one. It's sad.
I dont think the interrogator is on the same footing as the tortued automatically- only when getting info loses precedence and only when they are working on the wrong person- that is when things begin to unravel and a culture of disrespect for humans begins to flourish. In some ways, taking up a weapon and fighting invites this- all soldiers, regardless of affiliation,tacitly agree to endure tortue by choosing the life. Another sad fact.
Civilian populations would present a different scenario- and although thats a tough distinction to make in the field- it seems to me to be the biggest responsibility of the govt to deal with.
Im thinking of the Imam at Gitmo who is now suing (forgotten his name) The particulars of his case, like Padillas seem germane- I dont know.

Im curious to know from Dale or someone with similar experience how a legal scenario he envisions would look?
How would using JAGs more change the equation brought about by the Yoo memo- is there more to say on that?

Comment #282 - Posted by: james at June 4, 2008 5:37 AM

James -
I am privy to a lot of information about the Commissions process because of my time as JAG - I was asked by a colleague to go down there and be a prosecutor. I declined for my own reasons. I am also aware of the particulars of a few cases. It's a very small community in military criminal justice.

I am aware from a conversation over breakfast with a senior JAG that the Administration intentionally disregarded the advice of all of the service JAGs on the Commissions process. They did so to their detriment and got Hamdan v. Rumsfeld back in their face from the Supreme Court.

JAGs on deployment are constantly handling sticky issues and one of them is Rules of Engagement (ROE). I used to be on staff at the Naval Justice School and have a decent understanding from my colleagues of the ROE issues, that may involve, for example, how to handle captured combatants on the field of battle. This kind of institutional expertise is something that the Administration ignored in favor of guys like Yoo. No disrespect to the good professor, but I've got cammies that have more time in the spin cycle than Yoo has near these places where "torture" might occur. I think leaving the service JAGs out of some of these processes led to a disconnect from the practical, harsh rigors of these kinds of issues.

Prole - You keep citing to the WWII Commissions against the Japanese as a way of justifying that waterboarding is torture - again, you take a legalistic approach to it. You seem to hope that by citing to that prior instance (which was a very, very different circumstance legally) that somehow makes it ispo facto waterboarding is torture. I would point out that if you decry the current Commissions system (and what happened to Padilla), I'm wondering how you rely upon the precedent from a WWII commissions process for the authority that waterboarding is torture. That's "problematic" (as we say in court). You haven't yet convinced me why mock executions make a person morally reprehensible - I personally think it's pretty clever. NO physical harm done at all. You just temporarily scare the living $hit out of someone and make them think they're going to be executed if they don't cooperate. FWIW, I've been frighteningly close to dying on a few occasions - I was in a helicopter crash (as one example). I'm sure a lot of people here have been even frighteningly closer - but we're fine. We're not ruined for life. So, I'm not sure what the harm is in such an act. You haven't convinced me - you've simply tried to find some precedent that says what you want to say but can't justify. You're doing, BTW, exactly what you accuse Yoo of doing. You're looking for something written by someone else as an answer to prove what you already believe.

There's a certain irony here that I find delicious.

I appreciate your genuine concern for adherence to high ideals. But the devil is in the details. High principles are nice in poems by Byron, but the language you pick "severe pain or suffering" is exactly what Yoo was trying to define. Is having the bejeezus scared out of you (where there is no chance you're actually going to be hurt) "severe pain or suffering". I don't think so. How about making them eat pork as rations? What actual harm is there in doing that? None. It just seems like a crappy thing to do - violating someone's religious principles.

But you keep saying that somehow we become as "bad as the bad guys" whenever we engage in something YOU think is beneath us. Fighting wars is a dirty, dirty business. Good men sometimes do horrific things in war and they come back, live with it, and go back to being civilized human beings. And we call them heroes (there's a great law review article on this from last year in regards to WWII, Korea, and wars past compared to now). We cannot fight by the Marquis De Kingsbury's rules and expect to prevail. Neither should we move to Clausewitz's "Total War" unless our very survival is at stake.

Somewhere in between that is Yoo trying to make some legal "rules" to keep us civilized.

Comment #283 - Posted by: Dale_Saran at June 4, 2008 10:34 AM


We're fortunate to have your comments on these issues.

Protestations and admissions:

- I've only mentioned Japan once, and I acknowledge I know next to nothing about the case I alluded to, or its contemporary legal context

- I don't know anything about the Commissions system, and I don't even really know who Padilla is (I do know who Maher Arar and Omar Khadr are).

- If I'm doing what Yoo did, it is, among other things, because I haven't had the opportunity to research these matters at all, but have been going on the fly, and have had to rely subtantially on Yoo's own memo to become acquainted with any legal authorites on the subject whatesoever.

- I don't like Byron. I'm more of a Whitman or a Donne fan, and generally, I don't read poetry.

- I am nearing the completion of my articles of clerkship, and so will be called to the bar on June 20.

Substantive Response:

- I agree that war is a dirty business and that men and women must do horrific things due to the necessity of it. I resubmit my earlier unresearched suggestion of a conceiving of the legal status of torture as creating a type of reverse onus (puting aside, for now, what torture is).

Where there is necessity (defined on a strictly objective standard), then torture might be excused, though not sancitoned. As in a successful self-defence plea to murder, where the defendant walks out of the trial a murderer, but as a non-culpable one, acts of torture should not be sanctioned, but the extreme and immediate circumstances giving rise to it might excuse them.

Or, in terms of negligence, think of holding men and women in war time to a very strict standard of care where they are in care and control of another human being. What would be required to meet a due diligence defence in one situation might not be required in another, and what suffices in one situation might not in another. A tribunal of some sort would determine what the standard of care should be, but, by statute, or international agreement, the duty of care would be made explicit, a presumption.

But, I'm not thinking of the men and women in the field, who may more obviuosly be under the necessity of life and death. I don't have a problem with an officer mock-shooting a beligerent in an alley in order to get information that could save the life of the soldier's comrade who is in immediate danger down another alley. What I object to, is the American doctor/interrogator/soldier in Cuba or Rumania waterboarding someone who poses no immediate threat to anyone. That sort of premeditated, bureaucratized torture says terrible things about the men and women who put the system in motion, make the system work, or pretend it doesn't exist.

- I don't think Yoo's legal rules are in between total war and naivity. To me, sanctioning in advance conduct leading up to organ failure and medical emergency makes for a slippery slope toward homicide(as born out in Gitmo, Afghanistan and in locals unknown,)and it sounds like torture to me.


I don’t think it is equally strategically effective to be feared as torturers as it is to be respected as (what I define as) moral and legal (as defined by internationally agreed upon norms) ass kickers. I don’t think that torture needs to be a choice, it isn't a candidate for being the lesser of two evils.

Comment #284 - Posted by: Prole at June 4, 2008 3:02 PM

Prole - look forward to welcoming you to the Bar, notwithstanding that Barry has you firmly in the "leftist" camp. ;-)

I took international law and came away thinking that "internationally recognized norms" was a quaint way of saying "politics". I did not find "international law" to be "law" at all - at least not with a capital L, as I imagine Blackstone or Hand would view it. Maybe Holmes would have bought it, but I don't think even he was that much of a positivist.

Incidentally, I think you are right about torture - using that word in a sense we could all agree upon. It is as bad for us as it is for the guy on the business end of it.

Final thought - there is nothing worse than bureaucratic indifference and inertia. It is exactly the point Arendt was trying to make about Eichmann. He wasn't "evil", at least not in the sense of Hitler. He was simply a "fonctionnaire" as the french would say. In some ways, that's even worse.

If you think I'm wrong, try spending time at the DMV in a big city. And see what happens if you get to the front of the line and you have the wrong paperwork. It's like that Sartre play "No Exit".

That uses up my quota of allusions for the month.

Comment #285 - Posted by: Dale_Saran at June 4, 2008 7:31 PM

Prole - I would be happiest if you were correct- I hope you are.

The excuse vs sanction piece of what you say is similar to what I was hoping the wide public media/legal debate would effect- you say it better.

the 'standard of care' thought is bulky but interesting.

The idea of torturing someone who poses no immediate threat - the bureaucracy of torture- that is truly chilling- the most salient part of your view- worth focusing on I think.

It reminds me of Primo Levy's book- The Drowned and the Saved- if I remember- he talked alot about the evil of the holocaust system perpetuated itself mostly through hegemony- right down to the inmates- if you imitate the larger evil, you survive. The interesting fact about Levy- he is the only Holocaust survivor (that Im aware of) who eventually resumed his career and wrote novels and non holocaust works- I guess he healed partly through working on an understanding of 1)what enabled guards to do what they did 2) how inmates survived the conditions.
I no longer have a copy to reference- but memory tells me he touched on the bureaucratic refuge guards took in order to deal with what they were doing to the prisoners.

In my own limited experience in knowing interogators I was struck by the blanket assertion of one, that the people they worked on/with were all guilty of something. I dont bother to argue- because I have nothing to work on- but my intuition makes me skeptical.

Comment #286 - Posted by: james at June 4, 2008 9:20 PM

60 min spin

Comment #287 - Posted by: DJB at June 6, 2008 10:45 AM
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