May 14, 2011

Saturday 110514

Rest Day


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"Second place in the single speed 25 event, sixth out of all 604 in the 25 mile length. I'm pleased I PR'd by 7 minutes!"
- Dan Hight, Prescott, Arizona.

"Longevity With CrossFit" with Jeff Tincher, CrossFit Journal preview video [wmv] [mov]

"The Man Test: Aspen Wall Ball Game" - video [wmv] [mov]

Sergei Rachmaninoff, Prelude Op. 23 No. 5.

Emily Bronte - Anticipation.

"The Waterboarding Trail to bin Laden" by Michael Mukasey, The Wall Street Journal.

Post thoughts to comments.

Posted by lauren at May 14, 2011 5:00 PM

"The Water-boarding Trail to OBL."

-Wow, very good! I guess it just goes to show that if liberals had it there way, we would be sending OBL apologies instead of SEALs. I am very thankful for the policies of the GW Bush administration that were put in place to keep America safe, and bring justice to those of us that have been affected by Islamic terrorism.

Comment #1 - Posted by: Gar at May 13, 2011 5:20 PM

Good article by Judge Mukasey.

Comment #2 - Posted by: JB at May 13, 2011 5:32 PM

Sweet rigid front fork Dan! Is that a White Bros?

Comment #3 - Posted by: Andy at May 13, 2011 6:02 PM

Damn it a, rest day. Alright then I'll just catch up on some homework tomorrow then.

Comment #4 - Posted by: Aaron at May 13, 2011 6:06 PM

Damn it, a rest day. Alright then I'll just catch up on some homework tomorrow then.

Comment #5 - Posted by: Aaron at May 13, 2011 6:06 PM

Another interesting article, well worth the read. I guess I disagree, in part, with the good Judge. The Justice Department didn't provide "rigorous analysis" of the law. I don't think John Yoo analyzed anything; he simply gave Bush a blank slate, limiting torture to action that causes organ failure. I enjoyed watching Yoo criticize the 'assassination' of bin Laden on Fox news, if it were up to him Bin Laden would be in a cell in guantanamo bay right now. It's entertaining when those 'liberals' attack Republican policy. Its truly priceless when 'conservatives' attack themselves from the right (see also Jack Goldsmith, Terror Presidency for several eloquent diatribe against George II) It's like watching a bomb implode. Ironically, Obama doesn't mess with torture. He's too smart to get into the business of trying to legalize drowning people. Instead he just takes them out with a predator drone, or SEAL death squad.

At the end of the day I'm sure the world is a better place without Bin Laden, but what about the, I don't know 80% of people we torture wrongly... talk about 'fruit of a poisonous tree.' In all seriousness, is this America?

Comment #6 - Posted by: gramathorn at May 13, 2011 6:09 PM

@Gar post 01,

Hmm, Senator McCain seems to disagree with the subject of Mukasey's article. Both in spirit and facts. (wfs).

Sounds that if the "crushing testicles" crowd had their way, we'd just have a water soaked Khalid Sheikh Mohammed instead of a water soaked Usama bin Laden.

Just as I'm thinkful for the policies of the Clinton administration which helped develop a military that had a quick victory early in Afghanistan (a victory later squandered) and an Obama administration bringing an adult approach to these foreign conflicts.

Comment #7 - Posted by: Nukemarine at May 13, 2011 6:30 PM

Wasn't this article discredited recently. McCain just came out and said that it was false and Osama was killed with intelligence gather through means other than torture. Not saying I'm against torture, under the appropriate context, just thought that this article posting was strange in light of more recent news.

Comment #8 - Posted by: McCainSays at May 13, 2011 6:45 PM

Counterpoint for fellow believers in a Judeo-Christian Faith:

"Dismissing as naïve the teachings of our religions when we are faced with danger reflects a very shallow faith."

Comment #9 - Posted by: Chris at May 13, 2011 6:58 PM

I bet Crossfit would be 10 times as big if they didn't endorse right wing talking points every week. As a friend of mine commented "What's the deal with the Crossfit site - it's like, after your pullups, check out this article about how Muslims are evil."

Comment #11 - Posted by: Wistful at May 13, 2011 7:10 PM

Dan-from a Prescottonian: "Niiiice"

Comment #12 - Posted by: Jon at May 13, 2011 7:13 PM

Why does Mukasey make it a point to mention that only "a small number" of combatants were water-boarded? If you believe it's torture and immoral, then it's wrong, period. The number doesn't matter, genius.

Comment #13 - Posted by: Sean at May 13, 2011 7:43 PM

Whether water-boarding brought us Osama or not is irrelevant. The only way we can lose the war on terrorism is by enacting policies that surrender what we have always stood for. Terrorists will never "defeat" America by killing us. They'll defeat us by scaring us into sacrificing the principles that have make America such a great place to live.

"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."
-- President Thomas Jefferson. 1743-1826

Comment #14 - Posted by: Scott C at May 13, 2011 7:44 PM

Dang almost famous.Its a DT swiss full carbon.

Comment #15 - Posted by: Dan of Prescott at May 13, 2011 7:54 PM

Ahhh, lub me some Rachmaninoff!

Comment #16 - Posted by: Greg Fairbanks at May 13, 2011 8:11 PM

There's another one. CFHQ needs to check there facts before posting a blantantly discredited article like that. Even McCain, a trusted right-winger, disagrees.

#9 I agree with you that CF posts right-wing articles irritatingly often. #7, "not saying I'm against torture"?! Are you afraid the pro-torture Cfers are gonna go after you? Torture is not right and it is not effective. If you were being tortured and know nothing would you let them continue or make stuff up to get it to stop?

Comment #17 - Posted by: Jim at May 13, 2011 8:13 PM

I agree. It's getting to the point that whenever the main site posts something political, it's just easier to ignore it and get the workout specs. It's a shame that there's such a distinction between the WOD and "there goes the site going all neo-conservative again."

Comment #18 - Posted by: DB at May 13, 2011 8:26 PM

Nice work Dan! That has become a tough race...congrats!!! Way to represent

Comment #19 - Posted by: Tony B at May 13, 2011 8:28 PM

The Wall Street Journal had a similair editorial written by John Yoo justifying use of torture to get to Bin Laden. The use of propoganda to promote anti terror policies that are counter productive is silly and the crossfit main page is better than that.

Comment #20 - Posted by: William Piper at May 13, 2011 9:04 PM

Digging the 29er rigid single speed love on the crossfit main page. Congrats on the second place finish

Comment #21 - Posted by: Brennan at May 13, 2011 9:15 PM

Waterboarding. . . Coming to a terrorist cell near you!

Comment #22 - Posted by: Joe at May 13, 2011 9:18 PM

it appears we've begun the "let's lie to make 8 years of failed foriegn policy look serviceable" portion of the preformance, time for a bathroom break.

Comment #23 - Posted by: eze at May 13, 2011 9:19 PM

Posting discredited nonsense is harmful to the CF community as a whole. Leave the politics off the site.

Comment #24 - Posted by: Mike at May 13, 2011 9:43 PM

Why the fark are we talking polotics on main site??
Seriously, why post up this garbage.

Comment #25 - Posted by: Tim. at May 13, 2011 9:47 PM

where can i get that jersey?

Comment #26 - Posted by: david at May 13, 2011 11:33 PM

I think there's a number of issues I don't associate with fitness... torture is, oddly, one of them. Abortion, religion, and the death penalty are also on the list of things I'd prefer Main Site to avoid (politics, you know).

Having said that, Mukasey is full of it.

Comment #27 - Posted by: Travis at May 13, 2011 11:35 PM

My brother was an officer in the Navy. He said torturing our captives makes it difficult for our servicemen and women, because it makes it o.k. for the enemy to torture our people. Is the moral high ground important in battle? I think so. The Geneva convention, which the U.S. is supposed to support, says not to torture. Sounds to me like the article is apologizing for the Bush administration (eight years of failed leadership, in my opinion.)

Comment #28 - Posted by: billcorno at May 14, 2011 2:32 AM

I have renewed confidence that the people aren't quite as nuts as I thought after reading that first post. The Cheney administration, I mean Bush, well no maybe I don't, was as evil as any other regime with an agenda. Well thankfully they weren't able to complete their agendas, and other people had to come in and get the real job done. And for those thinking I don't support our fighting folks, I support the fight when the fight is right, both my parents are laid to rest at Gettysburg National Military Cemetery with full military honors. Kudos to the team that took out one of many of the world's evil residents and thanks to all those that fight the fight everyday. And to Gar, it worries me you are so happy and excited about the use of torture, wonder if you would be so gung ho if it was one of your kids, friends, spouse, that was the one being tortured by a regime feeling justified in doing so to fight off what they feel is evil. Remember just as we feel our cause is right and just, there are others that feel theirs is as well.

Comment #29 - Posted by: Mark F at May 14, 2011 3:09 AM

Main site needs to stay out of what it doesn't know (foreign policy) and keep working with what it does--fitness.

Comment #30 - Posted by: Micah at May 14, 2011 3:33 AM

CrossFit Prescott kicks ass,,Job well done Dan!

Comment #31 - Posted by: Jim R at May 14, 2011 5:33 AM

Completely agreed, Micah.

Comment #32 - Posted by: Sean at May 14, 2011 6:03 AM

Love Crossfit
Hate terrorism.
Disappointed with the Main-site article today.

Even if this deserves debate I don't think this is the right forum or the way to do it. I love how the crossfit community and main-page pushes me to be a better person, or broaden my interests.

Is condoning waterboarding going to make us better people, or is it the easy way out?

Comment #33 - Posted by: A concerned Aussie Ally at May 14, 2011 6:36 AM

Some are sheep, very few are sheep dogs. Although the sheepdog looks mean, has fangs and actually scares the sheep, he still will guard the sheep and hurt those that will attack the sheep. Sheep or sheepdog? You cannot be both.

Comment #34 - Posted by: Bill/51/72/210 at May 14, 2011 6:38 AM

Where can we pick up a crossfit jersey ?

Comment #35 - Posted by: jojo528 at May 14, 2011 6:41 AM

Not agreed. Posting articles whether political, philosophical, or spiritual is one of the many things that separate CF from other fitness programs. That, along with the music posts, reminds us that life is about more that physical fitness; We must engage our minds. Otherwise we would just be another group of meat-heads flexing in the mirrors.

Comment #36 - Posted by: Tim at May 14, 2011 6:45 AM

How is posting a discredited article advocating torturing people engaging the mind? I'm glad to see that most of the people who have responded today feel the same way.

Comment #37 - Posted by: Quinn McCutchen M/41/150/5'10" at May 14, 2011 7:04 AM

That sheepdog analogy needs to be put to pasture. I'm a civilian, not a sheep that needs protecting.

Additionally, if you unpack the analogy, the sheepdog is actually much closer biologically to the wolf (from whom the sheepdog descends) than to the kept sheep. And the sheepdog eats the meat of the sheep. Sheepdogs protect the sheep so that they can be consumed by the sheepherder.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for our fellow first-responders, military, and law enforcement brethren, but it's insulting to have anyone call me a domesticated animal.

Sheep are property. Civilians are the living, breathing body politic. The sheep analogy is antithetical to idea that we are a nation of free people.

Comment #38 - Posted by: David Zugman at May 14, 2011 7:22 AM

Admittedly, I have not read the article. It doesn't interest me. But I find it odd that no one that has called it a discredited article has sited the discrediting. Some of those people have sited John McCain as being conservative. That alone makes me wonder about their sources.

I would say that any controversial article that causes someone to research the validity of said article is mentally engaging.

Comment #39 - Posted by: Tim at May 14, 2011 8:07 AM

Article debate- I think ts good to post something that has people debating. Although I agree with #37 in that none of those posting supposedly discrediting articles are actually discrediting. They are just opinions of the other side. McCain claims waterboarding didnt help, others claim it did. So McCain is not actually discrediting the CF article at all.

#28 Mark F- Busch was as evil as any other regime....really? Admit you hate Bush and are a bit biased here. You may not agree with waterboarding but he authorized it to help keep you safe from people who would slit your throat if they had the chance. Keep it in perspective.

Comment #40 - Posted by: Jim at May 14, 2011 8:24 AM

For all of you that say CF should stay out of the politics check the archives of rest day posts. They have been posting articles similar to this for years. Don't try and change CF's characteristics because you are new to the site. If you don't like what they are posting, don't read it!

Comment #41 - Posted by: Rob G at May 14, 2011 8:34 AM

To those wanting to know about the jersey.They where commisioned by Coach Glassman & designed by
me and the only ones made.Maybe we should look into getting more made ,the art work is done & the where made by Hot shoppe.

Comment #42 - Posted by: Dan of prescott at May 14, 2011 8:40 AM

Tim #35, articles that engage the mind are fine. However, the articles posted present a consistent, far right wing viewpoint, where all Muslims are inherently evil and torture is effective and morally acceptable. That's fine, if they are trying be a poor man's version of the Wall Street Journal oped page. My argument is that it drives away a large number of people who otherwise would embrace this workout methodology.

So you can say "good riddance" - but, you are waving off folks who would be positive members of the community. You are waving off people who don't appreciate bigotry along with their workouts. These are exactly the type of open minded, positive people who would be a great asset to Crossfit.

Comment #43 - Posted by: Wistful at May 14, 2011 8:48 AM

the jerseys & shorts where designed by me and commissioned by coach Glassman .If any body has any interest in putting a CF cycling team together
please let me know This has been discussed with Coach.Just send me some bio info ,results ,races you want to do and some contact

Comment #44 - Posted by: dan of prescott at May 14, 2011 9:06 AM

I find it difficult to believe that your real problem with the article is a heartfelt concern for the CF business model.

Comment #45 - Posted by: Tim at May 14, 2011 9:06 AM

Good Job Dan. Mods: he trains with us at CrossFit Prescott if you wanted to link to the place Dan learned about and does CrossFit.

Comment #46 - Posted by: CCTJOEY at May 14, 2011 9:36 AM

One of the best-known right wingers (John McCain) published a wonderful op-ed about how torture does not work (

The bottom line is that torture undermines our moral position on the global stage. If the war against al-Qaeda is a war of ideas (Sharia/global caliphate vs democratic Western ideals), then endorsing torture diminishes our position as possessing the moral high-ground. Young Muslims around the globe are more likely to hate the U.S. if we torture prisoners. No matter how much you may "hate" terrorists, we are a nation governed by laws founded on morals. So, strategically torture is what is giving the U.S. a black eye (Abu Graib, rendition, etc.)

Perhaps we should return to another insurgency fought over 200 years ago: The American Revolution. As this article ( points out, "systematic British atrocities served only to mobilize the American insurgency and harden U.S. resistance. It was a moral Rubicon. Once the British had crossed it, there could be 'no compromise, no turning back' in the fight for independence." One wonders how many Muslim extremists join the fight against America in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere after learning of American mistreatment of prisoners.

"When the atrocities against Iraqi detainees by our troops at Abu Ghraib were discovered and the interrogation methods at Guantanamo exposed . . . every POW friend I spoke with about this felt as indignant and as ashamed as I did."

We must ensure that our conduct does not fall short of our ideals. Furthermore, I have seen no conclusive empiric evidence that illustrates how torture "works." Often, linguistic and cultural knowledge along with the ability to build rapport with a detainee are the best ways to gain valuable information. The accounts of interrogators in the military and the intelligence community confirm this. Yet, neo-con republicans and pundits continue to return to the torture debate in an effort to illustrate how they are "tough on terror."

Honestly, I'm somewhat disgusted that this is even up for debate in our country. I am all for killing bad guys, yet war is as much about killing the enemy as it is about morals.

Comment #47 - Posted by: AndrewE at May 14, 2011 9:37 AM

ALWAYS love the articles ... but today that Rchmaninoff Prelude was amazing. Thanks!!!

Comment #48 - Posted by: Jo at May 14, 2011 10:53 AM

2 observations:

1) At this point it seems that the only sure things in this world are death, taxes, and people whining about the articles posted on rest days. First of all, the articles are posted to start a discussion, not necessarily as an endorsement of the article itself. Second, I'm pretty sure that rest days are somewhat, every 4th day, right? Those who are grievously offended by the rest day articles on a FREE website that provides FREE workout programming, FREE technique instruction and FREE nutrition advice might be advised to avoid the site every 4th day. Just a thought....

2) Waterboarding is unpleasant, but it is not torture. And yes I've been waterboarded, so I say that advisedly.

Comment #49 - Posted by: Quiet Pro at May 14, 2011 12:14 PM

I'm not sure why my comments don't ever seem to get posted... maybe this one will?

I'm aware that CrossFit HQ and I aren't on the same ideological plateau, but the common ground is (and will continue to be) fitness. It would be nice if HQ would step back from things like torture, abortion, religion, or really anything that smacks of political discourse.

When I'm doing 95# thrusters, I don't care if the guy next to me thinks Jesus is God or wants to overthrow the tyranny of capitalism... I'm just trying to keep up my reps.

Please HQ... you are on the right wing on the political spectrum. We get it, but can you please keep your political opinions out of what is, otherwise, a brilliant and well-devised fitness program? If I want political discourse and incendiary rhetoric there are other, more appropriate places to get it.

Thank you ~

Comment #50 - Posted by: Travis at May 14, 2011 12:20 PM

down with straight laced gyms and there rules you think a gym on a military instillation would let you do just about anything you wanted as long as you weren't endangering any one but that is not the case

Comment #51 - Posted by: Roy m/25/5" 4"/120lb at May 14, 2011 1:19 PM

Re: Both torture & "taking out OBL": Those who do not know God may be forced to justify their means to an end, but those who claim to be children of God have no reason whatsoever to break one of God’s commandments, deny His sovereign purpose, or bring reproach upon His Name. Even if you are agnostic or atheistic common decency, civility and accepted ethical behavior in civilised society affirm that "Two wrongs never make a right" nor do "the ends jusify the means". Unless of course your name is Joseph Stalin, Iddi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan....etcetera...hopefully you all get the idea?

Comment #52 - Posted by: ian at May 14, 2011 1:20 PM


Crossfit Total 635# (PR)

Then 40 pullups. They are getting better!

Comment #53 - Posted by: JuliePlatt at May 14, 2011 2:50 PM

I don't know about you but I would much rather be waterboarded than beheaded. Please crossfitters everytime you do a HERO workout read about him, what he gave up to give us what we have. I don't know about the article, I didn't read it why, I don't want to... I have my own feelings about what has happend with this and past administrations but I will keep them to myself, some of you should also. CFHQ keep on doing what your doing.

Comment #54 - Posted by: Brad at May 14, 2011 2:58 PM

I don't know about you but I would much rather be waterboarded than beheaded. Please crossfitters everytime you do a HERO workout read about him, what he gave up to give us what we have. I don't know about the article, I didn't read it why, I don't want to... I have my own feelings about what has happend with this and past administrations but I will keep them to myself, some of you should also. CFHQ keep on doing what your doing.

Comment #55 - Posted by: Brad at May 14, 2011 3:00 PM


Row 2km
C2 Rower
damper #5

Ugh...every time I do the 2km row, during the first 300 meters, I'm falling in love with the pace display and thinking of cute comments for my blog concerning the inevitable PR. However, during the final 300 meters, I'm fighting for my life to prevent my worst row time ever.

Every time.

Comment #56 - Posted by: J.T. at May 14, 2011 3:29 PM

I've been coming to as a lurker for a good while now. I am thankful for the wealth of fitness knowledge learned from the site. I've enjoyed the wide ranging articles, information and opinions and looked forward to the daily quotes. However I cannot support anything with a pro torture view. Best of luck to everyone and to the pro torture crowd I urge you to read the Sermon on the Mount and reconsider your position.

Comment #57 - Posted by: Al Done at May 14, 2011 3:59 PM

People, if u don't like the articles don't read them. No need to post complaints about them from a free website that is providing the best fitness information and workouts available. Remember this is a free access site. Thanks for all u do HQ.

Comment #58 - Posted by: LWF at May 14, 2011 4:31 PM

Crossfit Total


Back Squat 270F-255-260
Shoulder Press 135-145-150F
Deadlift 345-355-370F

Comment #59 - Posted by: Quinn McCutchen M/41/150/5'10" at May 14, 2011 4:39 PM

#37...don't need protecting? That's good! If you and/or your family is directly confronted by an evil, corrupt, felon wishing to do you harm, can you protect yourself and your loved ones? Think it cannot happen to you? This is not an anology of people to animals. It's an analogy of those that are willing to risk all to protect themselves and/or their loved ones in any situation from whatever danger comes their way to those who prefer to let someone else protect them. It's a mindset....sheep or can't be both.

Comment #60 - Posted by: bill/52 yo/211/6' at May 14, 2011 8:57 PM

#59 Bill,

You missed the point, we as a people are interdependent on each other. Just like a body needs lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, arms, legs, etc to function properly so too should a society have butchers, bakers, tinkers, tailors, soldiers, sailors, etc to function. A soldier without support is a useless as a businessman or baker or farmer without support. It's a wide ranging support structure. In the sheep/sheepdog mentality both are property of the sheepherder that intends to eat one and uses the other to ensure nothing else eats it ahead of time. You're no slave and you're not food. You protect society because it in return protects you.

PS: One can be a citizen soldier.

Comment #61 - Posted by: Nukemarine at May 14, 2011 11:36 PM

For anyone interested in the subject of the Bush Administration's approach to the post 9/11 world, read "The Torture Papers". It's a very detailed analysis through source documents.

I've posted on here since 2008 on Rest Days disagreeing with the inherent bias of article selection where for a fitness website there would be a legitimate expectation of ideological neutrality. The implied purpose of the articles is to promote "mental fitness", yeah? So you might think you'd be directed to different sides of the political spectrum now and again, yeah? Wrong. There remains an unrelenting pushing of several key agendas. A steering pf thousands of minds to dogma from one side.

Over the last 3 years, the posters change but "the song remains the same". "It's a free website". "Coach can post what he wants". "You don't have to read the articles".

Today, we have an article seeking to justify torture on behalf of the American nation. A proud, noble nation. A nation that knows better. The abuses that took place under Bush and the lexicon bestowed to the world - extraordinary rendition, water-boarding, unlawful combatant, Gitmoise etc. - are being rolled back, reversed and stand in shameful isolation from the American ideal. Saying this is not in-American. It's American.

Comment #62 - Posted by: J1 at May 15, 2011 1:45 AM

The capture and death of Osama bin Laden as a justification for torture under any circumstance ignores the fact that torture is illegal.

Calls for the United States to return to torture and award those engaged in torture sends the wrong message around the world to all dictators who wish to reinforce the status quo by using their brand of torture to maintain power.

Comment #63 - Posted by: Matt at May 15, 2011 11:35 AM

@ Scott C

Totally agreed. When will people realize that we are fighting for our freedoms. Even within our own country. How many freedoms have been stolen from us since our current terrorist ... I mean president took office.

Thank you CF for posting what you believe in. I as a conservative and Christian say if you wanted to post a liberal article, feel free. I'm not opposed to someone expressing their beliefs and values whether I agree with them or not. That's a freedom we still have and should greatly value.

Comment #64 - Posted by: Ben at May 15, 2011 12:50 PM

A lot of nonsense on this thread.

1. The word "torture" appears 42 times before this post. It appears zero times in Mukasey's article.What the article actually said is this: "The Bush administration put these techniques in place only after rigorous analysis by the Justice Department, which concluded that they were lawful." Torture is prohibited by US criminal law, and it has a specific legal definition - a subject on which Mukasey is a very high level expert. But all the holier than thou people on this thread go instantly to branding the techniques as "torture" without an iota of actual analysis or critical thinking, because they prefer cheap moral superiority to actually confronting what is in fact a very, very difficult problem.

2. Laying to one side the claim that it was torture, for the many folks claiming that the "torture" did not work, perhaps some remedial reading lessons are in order. Here is what the article actually says about that: "Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has said that, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations." The article also says, in plain English, that KSM, Zubaydeh, and Abu Faraj al-Libi all gave copious and critical information under harsh techniques that contributed to the ultimate success of the mission. Nothing John McCain says or thinks about it changes any of that except to show that our interrogators were more effective than the North Vietnamese interrogators.

3. For those of you luxuriating in the glow of your moral superiority, what do you do in the nuclear bomb scenario? Do you use the techniques to try and save the city, or are your principles so sacrosanct that 100,000 innocent lives must be sacrificed to preserve them? Would you have used them to prevent 9/11 and all that ensued? Now, there's a dilemma for a liberal! This ticking bomb scenario is not far from the dilemma that confronted the government, having already suffered the 9/11 attack, and having knowledge that Al Qaeda sought nukes for an attack on a US population center.

Those of superior virtue could perhaps extend their goodness so far as to fairly characterize the issue and the position of the Bush Administration, the success of those policies, the difficulties of the problems confronting President Bush and his team, and, most importantly, their good intentions. You could also try fairly characterizing the article you are complaining about.

Comment #65 - Posted by: Harry MacD at May 15, 2011 3:00 PM

If you define torture as physical action leading to death or organ failure, waterboarding is not torture. Sensory deprivation and stress positions are not torture. Sleep deprivation is not torture. But then we disagree on the definition. Being made to feel that you're drowning is acutely panic-inducing and psychologically damaging. This is a fact. Try it. A British actor, with total control over his water-boarding scene and an ability to stop matters at any time still said that he foun it hard to describe the panic and several months later, he was still getting flashbacks. The hard man attitude to this, couple with a myopic refusal to countenance a different interpretation of "torture" means you're not really open to a different interpretation of the facts.

Serious experts in international human rights law have reviewed the evidence and concluded that the Bush administration rode rough shod over established international norms of treatment of prisoners. To justify this, the Administration had pressure put on senior advisers to come up with concepts like "unlawful combatant", "extraordinary rendition", "enhanced interrogation techniques" etc. Experts in intelligence extraction were ignored. The interrogators used were not expert. Intel from physical menace and abuse is worthless. This is the expert view. It isn't a Jack Bauer image but it's true and verifiable.

Moral superiority in a conflict situation is not a luxury. It's a necessity. Cede that and then answer me, what are you fightin for?" When the US goes in to Iraq and The Ghan and ends up radicalising populations rather than bringing peace, these questions are even more crucial to the operations.

Comment #66 - Posted by: J1 at May 16, 2011 4:24 AM

J1 - thanks for your response - it's serious and thoughtful, and much appreciated.

People can disagree about whether the enhanced techniques constituted torture under international law, and even on whether it was torture under US criminal law - the two are not the same. People can also disagree about the wisdom of the policy of harsh techniques even if it is stipulated they fall short of the legal definition of torture under US criminal law.

The US did not invent the concept of an unlawful combatant as a pretext after 9/11. It arises under the Geneva Conventions for combatants who do not comply with the law of war in that they are not fighting for a national army, are not in a uniform, and do not meet the other criteria to qualify as a "lawful combatant." It was not until the left began waging lawfare against the Bush Administration that anyone thought to claim that it was against the law of war to treat unlawful combatants as unlawful combatants. (Now that Obama is in office, and the lawfare campaign has served its political purpose, lawfare has been abandoned and very little caterwauling on the subject is heard anymore. I guess it's not fascism when Obama does it).

I believe you are just factually incorrect on whether the enhanced techniques were worthless. The entire senior leadership of the national security establishment testified repeatedly under oath that these techniques were very productive and yielded copious useful intelligence that had been used to prevent attacks and save innocent civilian lives. You can't just ignore that to claim that in all cases the techniques are worthless.

It is a canard that enhanced interrogation techniques on the hard core al Qaeda radicalizes our enemies. Abu Ghraib is a different matter - that did radicalize and make the job much tougher, and no one in the government defended the actions - they were prosecuted instead. Where is the jihadi that was radicalized by water boarding the hardest of the hard core? Where is the jihadi who will lay down his scimitar and stop chopping off infidel heads because we've abandoned water boarding? This is a myth, on par with the notion that killing the enemy makes him stronger when in fact it makes him dead. The jihadis are radicalized by their faith, - their own suicide testaments supplying thousands of examples, and the history of their faith supplying literally millions more. Water boarding is irrelevant to radicalization. We weren't water boarding anybody on 9/11 or on the 1993 WTC attack, or the Khobar Towers bombing, or the Cole bombing, or the Beirut Marine barracks bombing, etc.

This is not an argument to go Vlad the Impaler simply because the enemy are savages. Our military operations are governed by law, and not merely by expediency. And, in counterinsurgency, expediency dictates winning over the local populace while destroying the hard core. My point is that under the circumstances of the moment, the US government acted lawfully, properly and morally to use enhanced techniques against the hard core al Qaeda leaders.


Comment #67 - Posted by: Harry MacD at May 16, 2011 10:28 AM

Harry MacD,

The arguments we're re-hashing here have been thrashed through by minds better than mine from both sides of the argument. I'm not going to Google the pertinent facts prior to posting, so I'm open to correction around the fringes, but the thrust of what I'm saying should be verifiable.

As to "unlawful combatants", the characterisation of many individuals picked up in Afghanistan and Iraq as such was questionable in the extreme. The term was originally coined in an age of conventional warfare to identify those who were engaged in sabotage behind enemy lines, out of uniform, or were perhaps disguised in the uniform of their opposing army. To be classified as such was very clearly a finding that you had breached the fundamental principles of combat being the clear identification of ones allegiance. Wearing camoflage and waging a surprise attack is a very different matter to living amongst a civilian population behind enemy lines and endeavouring to sabotage, maim and kill under cover without any clear military affiliation.

Many of those picked up in Afghanistan were not engaged in any military action when picked up, were not subsequently shown to have been involved in any military or saboteur activity and were actually released without charge. Like the individuals from Bradford in the UK who were picked up, brutalised but eventually befriended by certain of the Guards in Camp X-Ray when it became apparent that they were, in effect, dumb kids who had done nothing. We heard about them because they were UK citizens. Others may not have been so lucky.

As to intel from torture, it's immediately apparent to anyone with even a remote sense of empathy that, to stop someone putting hot pepper in your eyes, beating you and putting you in fear of your life, you will very quickly say anything. More successful forms of intelligence gathering focus on psychological manipulation, befriending, brain-washing and more "soft" methods. It might make someone charged with interrogation after an atrocity such as 9/11 feel that they're doing God's work in beating or water-boarding a suspect, but it is not effective.

Look at the miscarriages of justice in the UK. The Birmingham and Guildford Pub bombings of the 1970s were grotesque acts of mass murder when the IRA blew up pubs where they "suspected" British servicemen "tended to socialise". The convictions in both cases were subsequently found to be wholly unsound. The UK police, under intense pressure to "get a result", beat the suspects for several days, partially-drowned them in a bath, threatened to kill them and threatened to kill their families. I'm Irish. So when I hear that story, it's not difficult for me to imagine my Dad, my brother, or myself in that situation. For an American, hailing from a country that has never been invaded (barring a few Mexican incursions), the natural association is with the interrogator looking for truth in the face of animalistic barbarity.

I would very strongly argue that use of water-boarding and other such "techniques" are very much known to the enemies of the US and used by them to justify actions and as evidence in the inculcation and inveigling of young people (usually men) into action. Don't kid yourself into believing that this isn't part of the jigsaw. You might not be able to point to someone now who says, "that was it - that was the tipping point", but it's part of the weight of argument used.

Frankly, I don't believe many of the people from the security services who came out afterwards and said that water-boarding was invaluable. I think there's a lot of understandable fear around people's part in that ridiculous and obscene episode in US history. That dip down to the level of Spanish Inquisition. That brush with Crusader ideals.

The law is an ass and, like Scripture, can be cited to do the Devil's work. US military operations were driven by an Administration which shamelessly chose expediency over justice and honour. Which chose expediency over ideals. Which did a disservice to the nation it purported to serve. To the armed forces sworn to protect it.

Comment #68 - Posted by: J1 at May 16, 2011 3:06 PM

Harry, apologies - the above was a very rushed and inaccurate attempt to articulate feelings I had when Crossfit posted an article about the "Torture Canard" from June 4 2009. You can check it out if it interests you. My post was no. 299. (Rest Days were bigger and, in hindsight, better back then.)

Comment #69 - Posted by: J1 at May 16, 2011 5:39 PM

squat 275 sp 135 dl 295 tot 705

Comment #70 - Posted by: ecp2 at May 17, 2011 10:36 PM

J1 -

No apologies necessary.

We're going in circles now, so I'll leave it where its.

Best regards,

Comment #71 - Posted by: Harry MacD at May 18, 2011 8:22 PM

I agree with comment 11. There seem to be a lot of right wing postings on this site. It would be a better site without them. There's no need for left wing postings either. Keep the politics off. Leave the excellent fitness information.

Comment #72 - Posted by: Andy at May 19, 2011 4:26 PM
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