Sunday, May 03, 2009

Responses To Historian’s Churchill/Torture Comments

In response to historian Carlo D’Este’s comments in yesterday’s Times of London two readers commented.

Readers are in italics; I’m in plain text.

Expat (ish) said - - -

He lost me when he compared Dick Cheney, a man with 20+ years of honorable political service to his country and 15+ years growing high paying blue collar jobs as a "Vietnam draft dodger."

Cheney had, famously, five draft deferments.

I cannot comment historically on "did Churchill know" or "was it rogue elements" but I would bet a LOT of money that Churchill was very aware that some of the intel he received came from captured officers who were seriously maltreated.

I thought D’Este’s remark about former VP Chaney was a way out of bounds cheap shot and almost didn’t use his commentary because of it. But everything he said about Churchill’s military experiences, including his revulsion at the torturing and killing of some wounded at Omdurman, was spot on.

D’Este was, of course, extrapolating when he concluded Churchill would not have approved waterboarding post 9/11.

I’ll say more about that later today and tomorrow.

I’ve missed your comments. It was good hearing from you.

Tarheel Hawkeye said ...

The firebombing of Hamburg and Dresden by US/UK bombers was planned by Air Marshal "Bomber" Harris (in the RAF, known as "Butcher" Harris). Churchill and Roosevelt were completely knowledgeable and approved of these raids.

Churchill very reluctantly agreed to those raids and other fire bombings. I doubt Roosevelt knew in advance of Hamburg and Dresden but he certainly supported strategic bombing with its inevitable mass civilian casualties.

One of the counts against Goering was of ordering the bombing of Coventry (nowhere near as horrifying as Hamburg or Dresden).Of course, because the Germans were the losing party, there were no US or UK defendants in the dock at Nurenberg.

If the victorious allies were of a similar mindset as our esteemed Commander-in-Chief, (aka: the "Reader of the Free World") Churchill and Harris and possibly Eisenhower would have been prosecuted along with Himmler, Goering, et al.

You draw a very reasonable parallel which our MSM should be pointing out in major stories.

It is damnably difficult to conduct a war these days with the ACLU and looking over your shoulder.

It’s terrible also for innocent civilians in peaceful pursuits who are the deliberate targets of the terrorists for whom the ACLU, and assorted “human rights” organizations demand the protections of the Geneva Conventions.

Incidentally, may I call your attention to these provisions of the Geneva Conventions:

Article 2 specifies which parties are bound, and under what circumstances.
• That any armed conflict between two or more "High Contracting Parties" is covered;

• That the relationship between the "High Contracting Parties" and a non-signatory, the party will remain bound until the non-signatory no longer acts under the strictures of the convention. "...Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof."

Just to make it clear, the U.S. is a "High Contracting Party" and al Qaeda is a "non-signatory." Thus, since al Qaeda does not act under the strictures of the conventions, they are not entitled to its protections.

I know BHO is a lawyer and allegedly a constitutional scholar, but apparently he can't read and understand what the Geneva Conventions say.

It sure looks that way

I have no doubt in my mind that none of the terrorists we scoop up are entitled to the protection of our constitution, either.

I don’t know on this one.

Thank you both for commenting.



Anonymous said...

John: Let me make a clarification. I do not believe the raggies we scoop up (in foreign countries) are entitled to the protection of our constitution. Those who commit terrorist acts in the U.S. would, unfortunately, be entitled to same. I guess we have to give the Miranda warning to the dirtbags who flew the airliners into the WTC. LOL
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Leave aside the question of whether torture illegal, immoral, or unconstitutional. Focus attention on the question of whether it's:
A) Stupid. People being tortured will tell you anything you want to hear. As a source of intelligence it's worse than useless. It's a source of confirmation for your own mistaken intelligence.
B) Counter-productive. The world is full of people who we would like to have on our side. They will be on our side if we are rich, generous, powerful, glamorous, confident,and smart. If we are devious, over-bearing, brutal, and fearful those people will not align with us. We don't have the money or the military power to conquer the whole world, and we don't have the overbearing force to make other people change their minds. We can only persuade them, and be practicing torture we present ourselves as just one more link in the chain of history that binds empires together.