On air: Is it time for Americans to stop questioning their response to 9/11?

So we’ve learned a little more about how the CIA went about extracting information from al-Qaeda suspects.
The declassified document released by the justice department says that one agent told 9/11 suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that “we’re going to kill your children” if there were further attacks on the US. We’ve also heard other interrogations also relating to the threat al-Qaeda posed to America. Looking at reaction online most of you seem to fall into three clear camps – which one do you belong to?…

1. NOT THE BIGGEST DEAL. The response was understandable considering the threat, and that there are mome important matters for the Obama administration to be concerning itself with.

2. IT WAS WRONG, BUT IT’S GONE. The techniques used weren’t justifiable, but Pres Obama’s new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group is evidence that America has learned and moved on. Let bygones be bygones, express regret but leave it at that.

3. THE TRUTH MUST OUT, AND PROSECUTIONS SHOULD BE SOUGHT. AMERICA SHOULD BE What happened was outrageous, further disclosure from the CIA is necessary and those involved should face the law.

Where do you stand?

Is it time Americans accepted their country’s response to 9/11 occurred in a time of great fear, of great threats and where security was more important than anything else?

Even if you’d rather it had been different, is it in everyone’s interests to move on and concentrate on how America and the rest of the world combats Islamist extremism?

129 Responses to “On air: Is it time for Americans to stop questioning their response to 9/11?”

  1. 1 Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH
    August 25, 2009 at 14:04

    It is far from time to stop questioning. What the CIA did, and does, is in our name. We are either a nation of laws, or we are not. Those laws are enforced, or they are not. Either way it is the people of the United States who are the final arbiters.

  2. 2 Tony from Singapura
    August 25, 2009 at 14:15

    I think that dragging this information out into the public arena will be damaging for US security because potential terrorists will take it that America will serve them icecream and cookies if detained as a POW, they may become emboldened.

    If an American soldier was captured they could not expect to be served the same flavours of icecream and diverse range of cookies.

    War is dirty business – many of the things that go on are generally unpalletable to us normal people and that is why we may be outraged.

    I think that when it comes to interogation, we should do unto others as they would do unto us.

    Some things that military people need to do should remain the business of the military.

  3. 3 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    August 25, 2009 at 14:23

    It should be investigated, prosecutions should be sought. That sort of behavior should be held to account; people should learn that it is not acceptable.

  4. 4 Whitney in Texas
    August 25, 2009 at 14:26

    I say prosecute to the full extent of the law. A lot of what happened in the Bush administration was wrong, and we need to show politicians that they are not above the law. They need to see that their actions have consequences just like ours do.

  5. 5 Robz
    August 25, 2009 at 14:29

    The CIA did it’s job,within the guidelines at the time;under a leadership still heavily influenced by the COLD WAR.
    There is a new group of leaders in the White House,the Pres. has said he is not intrested in goin after any body.
    So let’s move on,and get something done with our health care system(or lack there of)and putting people back to work.
    Rob in Florida.

  6. 6 James Turner
    August 25, 2009 at 14:33

    It is pass time to move pass the tragedy of 9/11. The response to it must never be forgotten! It was such a lie! This has been said time and time again. If we forget we are domed to repeat it. Well we continue to make the same mistakes down through time. So I guess we have no choice be to keep remembering! Until a better world comes to pass?

  7. 7 Elizabeth C from Ohio
    August 25, 2009 at 14:42

    I think I belong to the first group. It happened, it is regretable, time to move on. There are other things that are more important now than disscussing/debateing what happened then. The government has recognized the problem and has taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The focus should be on the now. It’s time to move on.

  8. 8 Roseann In Houston
    August 25, 2009 at 14:52

    I agree with Jerry Cordaro – the US claims to be a nation of laws, and those that break the law should be held accountable. That said, I also admit that just the thought of a trial fills me with dread, not because of the trial itself but because I am sure BBC will interview high-ranking officials from the Bush administation who will rant about how the Obama administration is destroying America, putting us at high risk, threatening our future and the very lives of our babies and grandmothers, and on and on. And that will be just a tiny fraction of what will be blasted on the far-right 24 hour TV news program here in the US. I am so sick of the Bush era fear-mongering, I thought it would be finally over when his party was voted out, but a trial would just give the Bush fear-mongerers fuel to further divide this country. However, fear over the reprecussions must not stand in the way of the law – the accused must be tried, and the guilty must pay the penalty for their crimes, no matter who they are, no matter how high-ranking.

  9. 9 Elias
    August 25, 2009 at 14:54

    America has to do everything that is necessary to combat terrorism, al-Qaeda spares no quarter in their extreme terrorists acts, America must fight fire with fire and do everthing that is necessary in fighting this organisation. This is one time that a nation must not be governed or influenced as to what is legal or illegal, as the terrorists do their acts which is both illegal and downright diabolical and they rejoice at their success. Any and every means should be taken to destroy al-Quaeda the sooner the better.

    • August 25, 2009 at 18:55

      Legal or illegal? Then why do we even have the Geneva Convention? If it is okay for America to ignore the law because of “extraordinary conditions” then any war or situation could be so defined. America is not the only country in the world that has been attacked. Torture is illegal, plain and simple. Like any other crime it should be prosecuted.

  10. 11 Michael in Ft Myers, Florida
    August 25, 2009 at 15:05

    If the world knew the dirty, often downright evil tactics that every government is and has been guilty of, we’d know that there is as much to fear from our own governments as there is from outside attacks. The fact is that America and all others have long used far worse tactics than are now in the media, which will never be brought to light, mostly by shadowy unnamed “groups”, and as deplorable as they seem, I have learned through familial experience that they are also often necessary.

  11. 12 John in Salem
    August 25, 2009 at 15:06

    As much as I would like to see some feet held to the fire on this I have to say we need to let it go. There is nothing to be gained by investigations and prosecutions except a deeper polarization that this country cannot afford. All we would get are the guys who are willing to fall on their swords for their boss – those who were truly responsible will never have to answer for it.

  12. 13 Gary Paudler
    August 25, 2009 at 15:07

    If the US does not uphold international laws to which we are signatories, then we
    cannot expect other nations to do so. Laws were broken and the perpetrators must
    be prosecuted, that should include their superiors and their superiors too. If the US military and the CIA are such finely-honed machines then it would be nonsense for
    only some downstream fall-guy to take the hit; where was the chain of command? Incidences of abuse were under Medal of Freedom recipient George Tenet; let’s see him before congress again.

  13. 14 anu_D
    August 25, 2009 at 15:09


    Given the enormity of what happened and the enormity of risks to US and rest of the world….some degree of emotionalism and paranoia of those responsible to protect the world was required and understandable.

    The extreme reaction in such situatuons were the gas-chambers, the holocausts, the biological and chemical eradication of entire suspected nations…….and no-body came close to even thinking on these lines.

    The culprits and suspects were treted too lineanintly….let’s move on

  14. 15 Julia in Portland
    August 25, 2009 at 15:13

    I think you might find that some (not all) of the same people who think we should “just move on” are the people who likely support ‘security at any cost’ even at the loss of civil liberties, in essence becoming exactly what we despise in others.

    If we ‘move on’ from atrocious behavior without investigating, charging and prosecuting infractions or adjusting rules to prevent such behaviors when need be – we lose the very core of our free existence. We turn lose of a government of the people, for the people and by the people, we become a country governed by tyranny.

    I know there are people who want to ‘move on’ just out of shear lack of interest and boredom with the subject matter. But be wary of that condition, people – apathy is a very very dangerous thing.

    Krishnamurti said ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society’

  15. 16 Roy, Washington DC
    August 25, 2009 at 15:13

    We need to lead by example and show the world that we won’t stoop to torture. Prosecuting those responsible is the only way to go.

  16. 17 Tom K in Mpls
    August 25, 2009 at 15:22

    It is not the response, the devil is in the details. The problem was not the arrests or interrogations, it was how they were conducted. There can be no doubt that there were wrong doings. Start at the bottom and work up. Lay the ground work to support imprisoning Bush, and Blair.

    We can never let those in the future think that if they can keep it quite a couple of years, that they will be free of responsibility.

  17. 18 Neal in NorCal
    August 25, 2009 at 15:25

    Again, why is torture wrong? The abuses and torture must be investigated and repudiated. Although it is highly unlikely that any of the intellectual authors of U.S. torture policies (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, etc.) will ever be called to answer in a legal forum, and any prosecutions will be directed at underlings, it is still important to reestablish that legal and humanitarian principles must apply. American rebels under George Washington led in fair and humane treatment of enemy captives. Let’s return to that legacy.

  18. August 25, 2009 at 15:26

    I believe that the truth must be revealed. People have come up with ll sorts of horror stories regarding the interrogation techniques its time to hear the truth. The fact the western media and the western authorities are digging this up and bringing facts up, means a lot. Specially in my Part of the world (Pakistan) where anti american sentiments are on the rise. If truth is told and prosecutions are sought a lot will change. It will reflect that the US is serious about strengthening its ties with the Muslim world in particular and also concerned about its global image.
    This could be a significant step forward towards the Muslim world , which currently feel ‘threatens’ by the existence of such techniques,provided that these could (and have) lead to innocent people admitting to crime under torture.

  19. 20 Nigel
    August 25, 2009 at 15:35

    The view that their are different levels or grades of right or wrong is worrying because it means that the dividing line can be changed from circumstance to circumstance and be manipulated by world leaders as Bush appears to have done to seek their narrow interest. There should be no question that torture is wrong. There is already a whole host of international conventions that define what is and isn’t torture and they must be adheared to. Where torture has been applied the facts must come out and the perpetrators dealt with. This includes those on the fringes like Britain and the proxies used in things like renditions.

  20. 21 mountain adam in portland
    August 25, 2009 at 15:48

    I believe that signators of the Geneva Convention should comply with it. The US Government should ensure that it adheres to that treaty and review all cases past, present and future to maintain compliance. If we do not we slide down a slippery slope of moral ambiguity that only fuels our enemies fires.

  21. 22 Roseann In Houston
    August 25, 2009 at 15:49

    To those that say that the CIA was justified in breaking the law and offer as proof the fact that there have been no further attacks on American soil – are you that superstitious about the rest of your life or only about politics? Because it is truly just superstition – there is absolutely NO proof that any of the actions taken by the CIA did anything at all to protect us.
    Superstition is a belief not based on reason or knowledge. If I believe that I can prevent another hurricane (like the one that hit Houston last year) by burning incense and chanting, and every night I burn incense and chant – does it mean that I prevented a hurricane if we get through this season without one? NO! It means that a hurricane wasn’t going to come anyway, and I spent a lot of money on incense for a stupid superstition!

      August 25, 2009 at 18:50

      Quite right because we were told shortly after the attacks that the intelligence community had some information prior to attacks that the US was going to be attacked if I remember correctly. Why did they not act to prevent it?

      Do you know that there are a lot of Americans living and working outside outside US? I doubt this information is known to most Americans at home. Frankly I doubt that it is CIA or homeland security that is protecting them. We mingle freely apart from when the US embassy issues secret advisories and snicks them into some hotels in the city for reasons I shall never know. One thing I have learned from them is that, they are very patriotic people about the US when abroad and most are very friendly people. We go to the pubs together, share drinks without all this fuss.

  22. 24 Anthony
    August 25, 2009 at 15:53

    Well, if no one will get in trouble/take the blame, then WHO CARES? Unless we are going to prosecute someone over this, who cares? We can say “yes, they were tourtured”, but thats about as far as it will go unless we are willing to but the Bush administration on trial.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  23. 25 T
    August 25, 2009 at 15:54

    No. Just the opposite. Politicians continue to manpulate people’s fear of “terrorists” purely for political gain. Has Obama done anything to show real change re: stopping torture? No. The Democrats will only act if there’s some political benefit out of it.

  24. August 25, 2009 at 15:58

    Is it time for America to stop questioning their response to 9/11?
    No,it is good to analyse their response and learn from the experience so the next time there is a terrorist attack by actors domestic(OKLAHOMA CITY) or foreign(Al-queda) they are ready with the most effective response.

  25. August 25, 2009 at 16:12

    By disclosing what happened,it could actually deter potential terrorists from even starting their “career”.It lets the otherside know you can get dirty when no one is looking or if there is an imminent threat.The more gross the revelations, the longer the investigative hearings and lurid media coverage lasts the better the deterrent effect will be on potential terrorists.

  26. 28 gary
    August 25, 2009 at 16:15

    No. The immediate US response to the 9/11 attacks telegraphed fear and lack of adequate preparation. Later actions reinforced this impression and implied a willingness to respond at least down to, or perhaps even below, the morality level of the terrorists. The World Trade Center was an emotional, cultural, and economic symbol of the power of United States. Clearly, Osama bin Ladin thought it so. The correct response would have been to begin its reconstruction while the rubble was yet being removed, and to have asked the questions: Why? Who? How? and Where? I believe any military response should have awaited the answers to these questions and that upon their answering should have been swift, focused, and brutal beyond the enemy’s comprehension. If war has any purpose, it should be to persuade people away from its casual use. I would not have used torture firstly because a nation’s constitution must be followed to have meaning and secondly because it is not particularly effective. Patience and human nature are the keys. In time, every enemy would have been discovered and every gap in defenses plugged, and all without creating two new enemies for every one eliminated. If current questioning addresses these issues as I have outlined, then I am all for it.

    • 29 Keith- Ohio
      August 25, 2009 at 17:38

      I think “below the morality level of the terrorists” is a ridiculous thing to say about a CIA operative. Pinching a vein in a suspected terrorist’s neck compared to the indiscriminate killing of several thousand people…? WOW.

      I’m not sure that what you describe is particularly different from how we reacted…there is no way to have a swift military reaction to an unknown threat.

      I do, mostly, agree with this one passage in your response: “I would not have used torture firstly because a nation’s constitution must be followed to have meaning and secondly because [torture] is not particularly effective. Patience and human nature are the keys.”

      However, I don’t think that all the people responsible for the 9/11 attacks would be brought to justice with patience. They would be living out their lives in their home countries with most likely no repercussions.

      I would lump myself in with either the second or third group.

      • 30 gary
        August 25, 2009 at 18:33

        The correct solution to a past problem is indeed impossible to know; but analysis of actions taken may provide insights into solving similar, future problems. I did not advocate military action, swift or not, to an unknown threat; but to a correctly ascertained threat. I advocate patience because human nature always works. No organization is leak proof. Pride and time loosen braggarts’ lips. I continue to believe torture is both ineffective and fundamental immoral; The actions of individual CIA agents are relatively minor moral issues when viewed in comparison to the example they gave. Torture condoned in any particular instance is condoned in every like instance. As I certainly object to the idea of any US military personnel being tortured so must I object to any military personnel being tortured. I do agree that comparison of immoralities is always problematic.

  27. August 25, 2009 at 16:17

    the bottom line here is that our methods were called for and justified in the light of 9/11. What the bed wetting cry babies who are questioning our actions fail to remember is that the extremists who committed the attacks against US assets and interests on September 11 do not respect sweetness and reason. When national security is at stake and you have one of these terrorists in custody information which could avert another attack should be extracted by any means necessary up to and including threats against the families. Once the terrorist has committed the attack, his family are no longer to be considered innocent. These are not members of a recognized uniform force as such they are not and should not be entitled to constitutional or Geneva considerations.

    • 32 Nigel
      August 25, 2009 at 17:18

      @ Ray Mahoney

      Why is it that some posters always resort to name calling for those with different views. Time to accept that the whole nature of war has changed and you have to decide if you want to fight the terrorist’s war by behaving like them. Your attempt to intimidate by insult says more about you than it does about us “bed wetting cry babies”.

      • 33 patti in cape coral
        August 25, 2009 at 17:45

        Torture is not acceptable. I’m pretty sure if I was tortured, I would say anything, truth or lies, to make it stop, so I feel it not only unacceptable, but ineffective. If that makes me a bed-wetting crybaby, so be it. There are worse things to be, and we were all bedwetting crybabies once.

  28. 34 Allan
    August 25, 2009 at 16:21

    I find it very interesting that people have such strong views on this subject and can’t understand the difference between an Extremist group and a Government. If the US and England were at war, such prisoners of war would be falling under the Geneva Convention. Since it is an Islamic Extremist Group that is attacking their citizens and those trying to help build a better life for their citizens, we are on a different playing field. Saying “I’m going to murder your children” and actually doing it are two completely different things.

    These Islamic Extremist Groups should start fighting as an organized militia or Army, rather than this pathetic Guerrilla Warfare type tactics and making “terrorism” a possibility. Then, perhaps we can talk about humanity and what are tactics are a better solution as opposed to theirs. We aren’t sinking to their level by “torture” we are getting inside their minds to make them have more humility.

    I feel this discussion on Torture is dead and gone. You can’t change the past only a better future.

  29. 35 Sophia Magdalena Scholl
    August 25, 2009 at 16:39

    We owe it to mostly ‘ourselves’ to uphold the law – to remind us of past atrocities and as a debt of gratitude to those who fought the good fight and paid with their lives. It is an imperative.

  30. 36 Whitney from Texas
    August 25, 2009 at 16:46

    There are a lot of us who believe that turning the other cheek is the correct method. In some cases it may be. There is no black or white answer. I wonder though what about the people that we tortured who comitted no crime? We’ve heard stories time and time again about people who were arrested on very shaky grounds. What about those people whos lives have been ruined? They have no where to go. Some of those people cannot even go home to their own countries. Aren’t we giving some innocent people good reason to do the things to us that we hope to avoid? Don’t mistake me I know not everyone of those people are innocent, but isn’t it reasonable to think that a government that was willing to spy on it’s own citizens had no qualms about victimizing, sometimes wrongly, those it saw as potential enemies? There is no more sure way to end an argument than to simply say you’re right and I’m sorry. What are people supposed to say to that?

  31. 37 Julia in Portland
    August 25, 2009 at 16:49

    @ Ray T Mahorney

    I do not see anyone saying anything about treating suspects with ‘sweetness’ and I am NOT a ‘bed wetting cry baby’ as you would like to suggest. It also does not bode well for your argument that you think ‘reason’ is a bad thing, since when is ‘reasoning a negative.

    It is a PROVEN fact that torture does not work – when you advocate torture for the prisoners we take, you are advocating the torture of our men and women who are taken into custody by other countries. Tit-for-tat makes you, me and every US citizen as bad the terrorists.

    I prefer to use knowledge, integrity and ,YES, reason to protect our country.

  32. 38 Julia in Portland
    August 25, 2009 at 16:52

    @ Gary

    Well said.

  33. August 25, 2009 at 17:13

    Move on to what? The US is still torturing people. It labels some one a terrorist, on the basis of “secret” evidence, and then torture is allowed.

    Yes, we should find out the truth about every aspect of 9-11. There is evidence that the Bush people allowed 9-11 to happen. There is evidence that they helped it to happen. The official inquiry was a whitewash. We need an inquiry that people can believe in.

    Here’s one question to get people started: Where was the Air Force? Why did the Air Force wait 40 minutes after the hijack before it responded?

  34. August 25, 2009 at 17:14

    I just wanna say that CIA or not, you are not supposed to torture anyone. And if you do, you must be on a trial like everybody else.

    It’s that simple!

  35. 41 John in Salem
    August 25, 2009 at 17:23

    It feels good to take the moral high ground, and especially when you know there is little chance that it will be tested. Words like justice, rule of law, accountability – all lofty aspirations that sound good until you see the price tag:
    All progress toward healthcare reform, environmental concerns, trade, immigration reform, equal rights – everything stops.
    The polarization between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, rural and urban voters – we would hand our media over to the pundits who will slash and burn with no thought of consequences and create a divide that will take generations to heal, to say nothing of the right wing bloc that would use the backlash to secure control (along with all the corporate interests they represent).
    The end result – some lackeys and minor officials are given slaps on the wrist while those who called the shots walk free, and the chance offered by Obama to change direction evaporates.
    Do you really want accountability, or is this just a way of dodging responsibility for allowing Bush to be elected?

  36. 42 Rodger Kasule
    August 25, 2009 at 17:26

    you know, Americans are an amusing bunch, they really don’t care for the risks going on with interrogations will pose to their country. we all know how what was done was wrong, but it would be best to forget it and just move on. the world will not be any safer by showing terrorists that their counter parts were brutally treated. if we are to go by the words of the officials, yesterday i heard one of the ex-CIA bosses say that it was only 3terror suspects that were subjected to water boarding and it was done because all other avenues of extracting information from them had failed, i believed him.

  37. 43 Mike in Seattle
    August 25, 2009 at 17:33

    The only people who feel we as Americans need to stop questioning are either blind patriots or partisans who are afraid for getting in trouble or becoming even more unpopular than they already are.

    The Declaration of Independence pointed squarely at the concept of “a more perfect union”. We as Americans or human beings in general are not perfect, and the only way to become more perfect is to constantly question and examine our own actions and policies.

  38. 44 Jeff in Cleveland Heights
    August 25, 2009 at 17:37

    I think that it’s imperative that we examine our response to the 9/11 attacks. The previous administration ran roughshod over our Constitutional rights – everything from abandoning the principle of habeas corpus for imprisoned terrorist suspects , warrantless wiretapping of private communications to torture. It is only through the investigation and prosecution of these crimes that we can get back to the principles on which our country was founded so that we can once again be what we once were, a free and democratic country.

  39. 45 Theodore - USA
    August 25, 2009 at 17:41

    Obama needs to realise there is no” moving on” until justice has been served.

    It may well prove to be the most important action he takes in his presidency. It will define the future of America and its ideals.

    Criminals MUST always pay the price – past, present and for all time.

  40. 46 Lino from Malta
    August 25, 2009 at 17:47

    I cringe every time I hear a report like this one. When are Americans and other wooly-headed liberals going to realise that terrorists are a completely different breed of enemy?
    When is the West going to open its eyes and understand that you cannot use kid gloves when dealing with animals capable of planning and executing massacres like 9/11 and Lockerbie?
    Americans (and all civilised people) should not simply put 9/11 behind them; they should keep it in mind every day of their lives becuase 9/11 epitomised the hate these people have for the freedom that America and the West stand for. We should all remember 9/11, Lockerbie, the USS Cole, the US Embassy in Beirut etc. becuase we need to remember these atrocities to protect our way of life and our freedoms which these animals are dead set on destroying.
    A clear example of this is the State of Israel. Israelis do NOT forget – they have suffered too much to allow themselves the luxury of forgetting all that they have suffered. Although America & the West has not sufferred to the same extent, it is important that we do not forget so that we shall not suffer another outrage like 9/11 or Lockerbie!

    • 47 Kotera
      August 28, 2009 at 19:48

      I totally agree with you. Most Americans who want to crucify the CIA and the Bush administration for this incident do not understand the hardened, extreme outlook of these Islamic militants. This kind of media coverage for the incident will only result in adding fuel to the fire. It is an open invitation for the terrorists to blow up few more buildings and vehicles in retaliation. I wonder if these liberal Americans will have the same soft views on terrorism if they have to leave the comfort of their safe homes and streets in USA and live in the militant infested countries of Asia and Africa, where one cannot take it for granted that if you see the sun rise in the morning you might live to see the setting sun. Considering the gravity of the situation I think the CIA was justified in its action.

  41. August 25, 2009 at 17:47

    America must stand up for the principles that make it great. If it does not, then the terrorists will have won. Dick Cheney and others of his ilk just don’t get this. We must find out the truth of what happened. And if laws were broken, justice must be served to the law breakers, even Dick Cheney himself, if needed. To me, an America that tortures, or an American that wages unjustified wars (Iraq), is simply not worth the cloth that makes up the American flag.

  42. 49 Keith- Ohio
    August 25, 2009 at 17:51

    One last point: Instead of being worried about how the US looks by torturing suspected terrorists, let’s worry about how the US looks when its unmanned air drones kill significantly more civilians than terrorists.

  43. 50 Mike in Seattle
    August 25, 2009 at 17:54

    @Theodore –

    Remember that the Dept. of Justice is supposed to have a good bit of independence from the White House. When Obama says he wants to move on, he means that he himself isn’t going to be investigating, because that isn’t his role.

    If he were to directly advocate for the investigation of these issues, there would be worries that the White House was prosecuting for political rather than legal reasons.

    I do agree with your sentiments however, and though it will always take longer than it should I think the world will see justice.

  44. August 25, 2009 at 17:55

    NOT THE BIGGEST DEAL – C’mon! The CIA has been torturing terrorists for years! Grow up! This is a world where you better know what you enemies are doing or you are going to pay for it – BIG TIME!

    There is a reason why we haven’t had an attack like the one in Mumbai or the train bombing in Spain or any number of attacks in countries that don’t have a diligent, dedicated anti-terrorism agency aimed at keeping their county safe.

    Obama should move on to other things like Health Care, the economy and taxing the rich to pay for it.

    • 52 Tom K in Mpls
      August 25, 2009 at 19:48

      You need to wake up to a few things. The CIA has officially declared they have had no effective contacts in the middle east for at least 15 years. Operation Racetrack and others were a total failure. We gained little knowledge from torture, and that was acquired by other means first. As far as no successful large attacks since Sept 11 2001, that was due entirely to conventional attacks by our military in Afghanistan. There may be a good argument to keep the CIA if they are not allowed to engage in subversive actions, to simply stick to covert intelligence gathering.

  45. 53 Bert - USA
    August 25, 2009 at 17:59

    I don’t think that the techniques described most recently in the press were all that outrageous, but I’m sure we didn’t get the complete story. Seems to me that Americans should not let illegal practices go unpunished, if such occurred and can be proved.

    Mind you, those responsible are not, in my view, the likes of Pvt Lynndie England. It is those who establish the policy, and those who give the orders to carry it out, that should be prosecuted, IF the policy goes against the law.

    I think it would be very, very detrimental in the long run if we sweep alleged abuses under the rug. What the enemy practices is beside the point. They would be called “enemy” if they were nor worse than we are, now would they.

  46. 54 Anthony
    August 25, 2009 at 18:01

    @ Keith – Ohio


    Sad story:

    I was at a barber shop (which I don’t go to anymore) and I told the barber a statistic that 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens, including women and children, were killed because of us (the USA). He told me he would rather have 100,000 innocent Iraqi’s die than 1 US soldier. That’s why I don’t get my hair cut there anymore. It’s amazing how some people give no value to Middle Eastern lives.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  47. 55 Jitan C (NYC)
    August 25, 2009 at 18:05

    It is ludicrous how a bunch of mountain farmers have been able to keep the one of the most intelligent organization in the world go in circles, and keep embarrassing itself to newer levels.
    Probably the CIA should hire an ex-militant and learn their intelligence gathering ways.

  48. 56 Eric (USA)
    August 25, 2009 at 18:10

    “we” can both look at past errors AND move on and learn from the past. What my country did gives us a permanent black-eye, but so be it- let the truth come out.

  49. 57 Tom D Ford
    August 25, 2009 at 18:11

    I posted this in the wrong thread so I am moving it to here:

    Our interrogators were very well trained in the US and International interrogation techniques and the US and International Laws about Torture well before Cheney and Bush got into office, so any changes and or orders to violate the Law and Torture or abuse prisoners had to come down from above and would have raised very serious questions in the minds of our interrogators about the radical changes in legality and violations in the US and International Laws.

    It is clear that Cheney and Bush and their Administration Ordered Crimes and they ought to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted for those Orders.

    Our security institutions should have remained within the law and those who gave the Orders to commit Crimes ought to be held to account.

    We need to return to being a Nation of Laws. We need to take out our trash.

  50. 58 Bruce - Texas
    August 25, 2009 at 18:12

    I think that an investigation most certainly needs to be had. The USA is not immune to international laws.

  51. August 25, 2009 at 18:13

    Now is the time for cool reflection. Intelligence is crucial but humane ways must be used to extract vital information. Physical, mental or psychological torture should not be used. The Obama Administration will have to close this sordid chapter of the torture methods cleared by the. Bush Administration. and take America on a new course i.e. follow proper measures and raise America’s standing in the world. Terrorists can be made to talk but sensible clever methods should be used.

  52. 60 Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH
    August 25, 2009 at 18:16

    Your guests keep saying, “We have to remember the emotions of the time,” and that is why laws are written without emotion and need to be followed.

  53. 61 steve
    August 25, 2009 at 18:18

    @ Anthony

    So the US is conducting the daily suicide bombings there? Perhaps Americans would start valuing middle eastern lives more when people in the middle east value middle eastern lives more. Right now they’re killing each other over the succession of someone who has been dead since the 8th century.

  54. 62 Mike in Seattle
    August 25, 2009 at 18:18

    Oh good, now we’re talking about “the mindset after 9/11”. I love how just because something novel happened it gives everyone the excuse to lose their heads and abandon their morals all in the name of “safety”.

    Also, I’d like to ask for the guest disscussing how waterboarding isn’t a big deal to subject himself to it before speaking about it.

  55. 63 John From San Francisco
    August 25, 2009 at 18:20

    Look. People did die in custody at Bagram and elsewhere. Torture was committed. It is against the laws of this nation and international agreements. It doesn’t matter to me how our enemies act. If we want to be set apart from our enemies then we need to act in accordance with our principles and not chuck them and the law (like habeus corpus) when it is inconvenient.

  56. 64 Tom D Ford
    August 25, 2009 at 18:22

    Our interrogators knew darned well that what Cheney ordered was against well established US and International Law, because they had been previously thoroughly well trained in the Law.

    I question whether they should have obeyed the new Orders from Cheney, but Cheney really ought to be brought to Justice fro giving those Orders.

  57. 65 Shannon in Ohio
    August 25, 2009 at 18:22

    I am and am not a part of all three groups. There is no right or easy choice here.

    It is clear that the U.S. was in a very different emotional place post 9/11 than it is now. I am, more a less, an American pacifist. With that said, I admit I wanted nothing more than to see Bin Ladin and his buddies dead in late September of 2001.

    I am also horrified as an American by the Wild West Show that was the G.W. Bush presidency. Many of the former president’s cronies, including the former vice president, should be investigated….but President Obama is so weakened by the health care debate right now I think such an action would only fan the flames, both foreign and domestic—and the culture war here in the U.S. is on the high boil right now.

    America is my country….any torture committed was, in a sense, committed in MY name, without my knowledge. As an American voter I have the right to know, but what, in the end, will it cost my country and its people?

    In other words, I don’t know what to think……

  58. 66 Taka
    August 25, 2009 at 18:22

    The US secretary of State stood up and pointed out a tiny speck in the Scottish government’s eye but when it comes to US credibility and consistency she chooses to force her eyelids shut. Maybe there should be a Secretary of State who focuses actively domestic affairs and not just a committe like the United States Domestic Policy Council. The problems with councils and committees is that they only sit every so often.

  59. 67 Philip Greene/Ohio/US
    August 25, 2009 at 18:22

    Does anybody but me see the irony in the fact that we (the U.S.) felt that it was okay for us to torture and mistreat people who were not even charged with a crime and yet we condemn Scotland for releasing a man dying of cancer to go home when he was convicted on the thinnest of evidence with a great deal of reasonable doubt?

    What country am I living in? Certainly not the Land of Liberty!

  60. 68 Douglas Patton
    August 25, 2009 at 18:24

    I think the real tragedy here is not the legality of the interrogations, but the fact that all available evidence shows that these techniques do not provide good intelligence. They wasted opportunities for achieving reliable and usable intelligence, and I think these people should be prosecuted for failing in their duty. They reacted in fear and anger instead of with intelligent response.

  61. 69 Edward Craig
    August 25, 2009 at 18:25

    Thw US government should prosecute torturers as was done after World War Two and the Spanish-American war especially for water boarding (as we now call it) or the water treatment as we prosecuted and convicted US sevicemen for in the past.

  62. 70 steve
    August 25, 2009 at 18:25

    Laws are often written with emotion, hence you can be on a sex offender’s list for asking a woman out at your job. Too much emotion behind laws can lead to terrible consequences as the result of the application of those laws.

  63. 71 Julia in Portland
    August 25, 2009 at 18:29


  64. 72 Tom D Ford
    August 25, 2009 at 18:32

    I note that Conservatives always default to justifying the worst behaviors of humanity because they want to do those things but non-Conservatives want to create and live by Laws that encourage the best behaviors of humanity and minimize the worst.

  65. 73 margaret
    August 25, 2009 at 18:34

    The US and other countries have been blundering about this issue for decades, starting with the rather haphazard chop up of the Ottoman Empire post WWI. The US particularly with it’s lopsided support and villification of various countries and their governments in the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa over the years–sometimes supporting one side one decade and their opposition the next. We unfortunately contributed to what lead up to 9-11 by our own Mideast policies in the past and currently. We had Bin Laden where we could get him and didn’t. And the US did not prosecute the war properly in Afghanistan initially; and then didn’t finish the job in Afghanistan and instead started a second war in Iraq. Shedding the WWII tanks across Europe warfighting mentality to switch over to counterinsurgency tactics has been slow to happen. So here we are nearly a decade later with the 3 trillion dollar wars and Johnny can’t get health care. 9-11 took decades to develop and it will take a major paradigm shift in American politics and policies and decades reverse the trends. We could start with not kicking our Arabic, Farsi, and Pashtu speakers out of the military because they are “gay”.

    Margaret Tacoma, WA

  66. 74 Bruno
    August 25, 2009 at 18:34

    I don’t buy at all this argument that Waterboarding is not torture just because interrogators try it on themselves.
    When they do they can have it stop anytime. It’s nothing compared to the real thing.

    Waterboarding IS torture, no matter how you look at it, and was commonly used by the Khmer rouges and Spanish Inquisition.

    • 75 Chris in NC
      August 25, 2009 at 18:58

      Agreed, Bruno. We’ve even prosecuted Japanese soldiers post-WWII for waterboarding American POWs. I guess it’s different somehow when we do it.

      It saddens me immensely to hear people like Mike can use grand appeals to emotion in order sidestep US law and the Geneva Conventions. Is America a “shining city on a hill”- a beacon to the rest of the world, or is it not?

  67. August 25, 2009 at 18:36

    I think they are dragging it over the Obama’s presidency. We went through it with Brush and it is time to wash your hands.

  68. 77 steve
    August 25, 2009 at 18:37

    I really take issue the issue that laws are written without emotion. That’s absolutley untrue. Look up the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport women accross state lines for “immoral purposes”… Why was marijuana made illegal? For any medical reasons? Nope, look to the history of Marijuana Act of 1937, it would passed because of fear of black men and mexican men having influence over white women.. Prohibition? You don’t think there was emotion behind the passage of that?

    Emotion always gets in the way of making laws, and that’s when you have crazy results, because there is too much emotion involved in the lawmaking process.

    • 78 Tom K in Mpls
      August 25, 2009 at 19:58

      Actually steve, ‘the fear of black and mexican men’ was the excuse presented by Hearst. He had just bought an enormous amount of pulp wood land to supply his publishing corporation. Then it was discovered that better paper could be made cheaper with hemp. He then applied his ownership of the press to use the popular ‘morality’ issue to stop the use of hemp for anything. We are still limited in many industries by this.

  69. 79 Pirabee
    August 25, 2009 at 18:39

    If I were a terrorist reading through this blog or following the squirming,hand-wringing,yammering going on in the west presently,would I have a change of heart about blowing up westerners at every whim?Why,I wouldnt.I’d actually have a laughter fit.I’d hasten my kids to join the fight against such weak-kneed,self-immolating,self-hating worms.My recruiting poster would say:”At them,men,the west is done,they havent the will to fight!”
    Someday you’ll learn that saving your necks involves more than obeying rules and laws.If I was one of Jack the Ripper’s victims in the early stages of being attacked,do you think I’ll obey my self-made rule not to use teeth in a fight or gorge out eyes?Certainly not.
    A little something else.This BBCblog has taught me that the west isnt as puritan as it thinks.I posted a comment that was struck out by the administrators.I cant remember breaking any house rules,but I wasnt published because I said what BBC did not like to hear.Yet BBC speaks down on countries they claim do not allow press freedom.Who are we fooling?We’re all the same.The terrorist is no different from the most pink-skinned liberal in the west.Just you wait until push comes to shove.

  70. 80 Theodore - USA
    August 25, 2009 at 18:40


    You wouldn’t have an emotional parent interrogating a kidnapper, would you?
    Which police force would allow that?

  71. 81 Tom D Ford
    August 25, 2009 at 18:41

    So Mike, the Conservative fear monger, dreams up a wild hypothetical instead of dealing with reality.

    Let’s return to talking about and dealing with reality, OK? Enough of Conservative fear-mongering.

  72. 82 nora
    August 25, 2009 at 18:41

    9/11 was manipulated to scare people and get us to go along with poorly thought out wars. In the process, the Constitution and the Geneva Convention were used like toilet paper. Without prosecutions, we will not have restored the rule of law and treaties.

    Rationalizations about extraordinary circumstances do not restore my sense of confidence and distract from justice and transparency.

  73. 83 Tony G Birmingham UK
    August 25, 2009 at 18:44

    I am appalled by what I have just heard, “There’s no a jury in the world would convict.” The statement was about exceptional circumstances excusing exceptional and unlawful behaviour. The terrorists appear to have won and turned Americans into terrorists. What an ugly picture is being portrayed tonight.

  74. 84 jack dresser
    August 25, 2009 at 18:48

    Torture represents a facet of America’s racist violence against the Arab world, based on nonsensical demonization. As the retired CIA officer in charge of the bin Laden unit said last night on the BBC, “they” hate America not for our “freedom” or “way of life” but for what we do: our blind, uconditional support of Israel, invading Iraq and Afghanistan, and installing and maintaining puppet dictators who suppress democratic movements in Arab countries. If we stop doing this, we eliminate the motivation for terrorism as well as doing the right thing.

  75. 85 John
    August 25, 2009 at 18:48

    The excuse of alowing illegal or immoral orders to guide actions is Bogus: Nurenburg proved that. And the administration was complicit with the terrorism of 9/11 by allowing terror – and feeding terror – to guide their condoning torture and abuse. America – with real leadership – would have been confindent and unaffraid!

  76. August 25, 2009 at 18:48

    Any topic has both the ‘literal’ and the ‘symbolic’.

    ‘Symbolically’ people around the world want some country to be the beacon for safety, freedom, opportunity, welcome, kindness, acceptance and diversity. America has been that country (whether this is historically true or not) for a long time.

    When the US decides to do something that others see as ‘negative’ human behavior they literally grieve the loss of the ideal of our human positive capacity.

    As human beings, we have to decide whether to be kind to each other or continue to do harm.

    The election of Obama has much to do with many Americans wanting that ‘symbolic’ image to return and to be lived. We can only influence others by living to a high level of positive human behaviors.

  77. 87 steve
    August 25, 2009 at 18:50

    It really seems there are worse “abuses” conducted against US citizens by police here that don’t make international headlines, such as all the tazering incidents. So a false threat of killing someone’s family member is worse than electrocuting someone with a tazer? Plenty of people have died from being tazered. Pregnant women get outraged. Where was all the international outrage when that occured?

    • 88 Tom K in Mpls
      August 25, 2009 at 20:04

      You present this like it is a choice. Neither is acceptable for the same reasons. Also, each has separate groups that should act on then. Other groups have no more right or reason to react to our tazering than we have to interfere with their caning.

  78. August 25, 2009 at 18:52

    I find it incredible that Mike justified the actions with the scenario of wouldn’t you do anything if your family members were in danger? The detainees were threatened, interrogators threatened to kill their family members and even rape a mother. Therefore wouldn’t a detainee say or do anything to remove that threat? Like give incorrect intelligence?

  79. 90 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    August 25, 2009 at 18:54

    I don’t think America should have to apologize for doing what it needed to do to keep itself safe. What kind of tactics do you think those terrorists used on our men? How many military personnel and even civilians were tortured or killed at the hands of these terrorists? Our intelligence experts did what was suggested to them by psychology/psychiatry experts to get the information they needed, we didn’t just torture them for no reason as I’m sure happened to Americans captured by terrorists.

    Also, this is EXTREMELY detrimental to CIA/NSA current members. It will drive those employees away from their jobs because no one wants to be persecuted for following directions handed down to them by their bosses.

  80. August 25, 2009 at 18:54

    Steve, GOOD laws are made without emotion. It’s funny that many conservatives encouraging the emotional reasoning behind the laws are the ones who tried to block Sotomayor for taking emotions into consideration.

  81. 92 C Fry
    August 25, 2009 at 18:55

    I hope everyone around the world doesn’t think all Americans think like the guest that has his own radio show.

    There needs to be an investigation and people no matter who they are need to be held accountable. Not like Abu Ghraib and others. This is a chance for America to make up for some of our other HUGE oversights on torture.

    Portland, OR

  82. 93 bjay
    August 25, 2009 at 18:56

    I would be agnostic in such an oxymoron subject, allthougt we are succer for drama.

  83. 94 Christine in Portland
    August 25, 2009 at 18:58

    @ Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH

    My point exactly. Laws are in place to protect the highest purpose and human intention, not the basest.

  84. 95 Xena
    August 25, 2009 at 18:59

    Either the US participates in the Geneva Conventions or not. To say, as your guest does, that we are all of a sudden looking back on a time of terror with a critical eye ignores all the voices of dissent within the United States that were outraged as these practices were coming to light. We were in a time of terror and for those of us who opposed the actions of our former President and administration know that to object, to be a voice of dissent here in the US was very difficult. My only objection to President Obama is that he has not acted sooner.

  85. August 25, 2009 at 19:02

    The caller using General Sherman as a justification is on pretty shaky ground. Sherman and the soldiers under his command killed innocent Confederate citizens in his “total war” campaign. His tactics may have been successful, but it also built up anti-Union sentiment in the South after seeing how ruthless the Union could be. One wonders how much of a victory the U.S. has if it uses these types of arrogant methods that kill hundreds of civilians. I do not think you can kill civilians and end the anti-American sentiment that began this “war on terror.”

  86. 97 viola
    August 25, 2009 at 19:25

    Let’s face it. Most of us would happily endorse torture or near torture to extract information from those people guilty of the crime committed on 9/11. Where we flinch or maybe get all indignant, rightly so, is when we contemplate that same torture or near torture being applied to innocents swept up in a widely thrown net.

    The CIA clearly did whatever they did with clearance from experts on law. Anyone who used techniques not cleared in such manner should lose his job at the very least, as rogues wreak great harm.

    To the extent that dredging all this up and examining it in the hope of further demonizing the Bush administration and gaining political capital, it is pure hypocrisy. Had the Democrats been in power when 9/11 happened, the outcome would have been the same.

  87. 98 alan leonard
    August 25, 2009 at 19:31

    lets make it clear, we did what we neede to do, but in a sense we have failed our moral and legal obligations to our people and the world,so to question our response to 9/11 is a good debate, because if don’t police our actions, who would.

  88. 99 Michael
    August 25, 2009 at 19:36

    This episode had to be the most appallingly one-sided WHYS I have ever listened to. Here’s a suggestion: instead of having right-wing radio commentators on your show to field questions, why not have people who know what they’re talking about? Unchallenged went Mike McConnell’s comment that the Bush administration would not overtly seek false information because it would come out and be embarrassing.

    No one reminded him that the entire US intelligence community agreed in a report that Saddam was not an imminent threat and probably had no WMD’s, a report that came BEFORE Bush went before Congress with his false statement about Niger yellow cake, a claim that had itself been disputed and been removed from various drafts of his speech before someone from his administration decided it would be better to play the nuclear card.

    No one reminded McConnell of Ron Suskind’s revelation that the Bush administration had actively sought the CIA’s forging of a letter detailing a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, a letter later proven false and exposed as a forgery.

    No one reminded McConnell of the Downing Street memos that stated specifically that Bush wanted to change the intelligence to match the reason for war and to disguise planes as Nato planes to get Saddam to shoot at them and provoke war. Then the commentator for WHYS said he would like to have the misinformed McConnell back as a guest. Why? To spread the same lies? Lax, poorly executed programming and subpar handling of the discussion.

  89. 100 anon
    August 25, 2009 at 19:48

    We can all find justification for our actions. and that gentleman’s example of family members being kidnapped is irrelevant in this instance you can not compare the actions of an individual with those of a country. I have no doubt that americans experienced a great degree of trauma after 911 however would americans understand any other nation reacting as they have done? there so many worse situations in the world are we to allow everyone to react ’emotionally’ and disregard international laws. shall we let charles taylor go I am sure he too has justifications for his actions. i am so tired of americans being more equal than the rest of us.

  90. 101 Archibald
    August 25, 2009 at 19:52

    The only reason that there is so much controversy over the post 9/11 response is that it has never been fully clarified who was responsible for the attacks in the first place. This has paved the way for security reforms that so contradict our bill of rights and rights to privacy, that it almost seems as if there is a deeper and more disturbing motive behind the blurred events, just out of reach. I am sure that there are many who might be caught in extremely awkward positions if there was to be a renewel of investigations related to our post 9/11 policies and actions. I am all for it…. The world needs closure on this issue, this is one way to get it.

  91. August 25, 2009 at 20:01

    G.W.Bush jr was quoted :” No human being should be subjected to Torture and
    Terrorism.For your information When worldwide papers were littered with Osama Bin Ladin Photo in Front Page I used replica dress with turban and beard I walked passed more than hundred Security and Marine Guards and talked to Security Staff Boss in US Embassy without being even arrested or harrassed .This was followed by visit from US and UK Security Officer at home who told me to carry on what I do!

  92. 103 Jennifer
    August 25, 2009 at 20:36

    Re: The only reason that there is so much controversy over the post 9/11 response is that it has never been fully clarified who was responsible for the attacks in the first place.

    Oh; I love a conspiracy! 😛 That’s the silliest thing I have ever heard. Who was responsible for the attacks in the first place.

    The appropriate authorities must be able to do their jobs without fear of reprisal. If they are not allowed to do that then they will be hesitant to do what they have to do.

    There are some things that, as civilians, we do not need to know. I have military friends; I ask them questions. They only tell on a need to know basis because some things, while necessary, it just ain’t necessary throw around.

  93. 104 nova
    August 25, 2009 at 20:48

    It is strange to here people talk about how “unjust” the US has been. Did anyone see the Daniel Pearl video? Countries hosting these brutal men, who would behead someone bound and gagged for shock value, often cite sovereignty and national interest as a reason for not pursuing justice locally. The countries then ask for US dollars to “help” or provide “support” all the while undermining what is right.

    I agree that the US was wrong, our response was wrong, our methods were wrong. The US lashed out at a world that both envies and hates it trying to navigate through corrupt countries, the politics of dealing with has-been nations, failed states with the goal of making things better. The US actually did something and is one of the few countries to be introspective about what it has done.

    The rest of the world would be so lucky as to live in a nation full of leaders, free thinkers, open discussion, and honest people trying to do the right thing in a world full of very, very bad people.

  94. 105 John LaGrua/New York
    August 25, 2009 at 21:01

    Torture is repugnant to any civilized person .Those who ordered it and those who carried out must be brought to book.From Bush and his wrecthed crowd to all those who encouraged it should be exposed and if possible prosecuted .The Congressional leadership is complicit and should not escape unscathed Obama was elected on the promise that he would regain America’s honor and respect .If he fails to deliver his credibility will rapidly evaporate.the US will be scorned and further acts of revenge for our misguided Mid-East policy will occur.Moral rectitude is our strongest defense ,decency and fairness are not outdated as they are the bed rock of America.We must disassociate from those who would drag the US into the slime of oppression and once again become a beacon of freedom and justice.Heads must roll and US complicity in the Isreal suppression of the Palestinains which is the root of all this horror must end.The politicians are only now seeing the rising anger and disgust of the people .Tthey would be wise to heed the warning signs of impending political upheaval.before the tumbrels appear.!

  95. 106 Tom D Ford
    August 25, 2009 at 21:13

    You know, when you think about it, that Conservative radio host that dreamed up that wild hypothetical scenario just frightened himself into giving up his humanity, his own human rights, and his protection of our longstanding laws, he is his own worst enemy! He is like that old fable of “Chicken Little”.

    But what is really weird is that so many Conservatives do that to themselves, they day-dream up wild hypothetical situations and frighten themselves with their dreams, they are their own worst enemies and even while they are attacking themselves their fears have bad effects on the rest of us.


  96. 107 Dieko Gilbert
    August 25, 2009 at 21:27

    these terrorists have caused pain and disrupt peoples lives…they should be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to other terrorists from following their footsteps ,though some school of taught may say the deed and harm have done,but i believe they shld be punishd

  97. August 25, 2009 at 22:00

    Some people are figuring it out, we have created a monster.
    The bad part is we are no longer in control, and our lives and that of our children lay in the faith we may have misplaced, although not intentionally. However that will be our historical saga. Why even take over Iraq? We asked for justice so we begged for blood for blood, or at least that is what we got.
    What is done already, by the ones who took our patriotism and sense of justice, (and used it even at a moment of our collective grief) turned it into an opportunity to violate our rights,appropriate money into huge war funds. They earmarked still other money to spy on citizens(their choice) and desired this law to remain permanent. Do I believe some were mistreated who are terrorist? Perhaps not enough!!!

  98. 109 Nigel
    August 25, 2009 at 22:26

    Not one of your better shows. The panel was awful.

  99. August 25, 2009 at 22:46

    Roseann in Houston, you have an opinion about former president bush and so do I, and I was never thrilled with his maneuvering of America, I was never surprised by him, I on the other hand have been dramatically impacted by Obama and the relentless distortion of language particularly in the health reform arena. All told I hope the senate,congress,democrats,republicans and all involved think things thoroughly through. The issue? A way of life. Whose? Ours. I will not ! implicate nor be in favor of prosecuting anyone involved in extracting vital information from known terrorists. If our president wishes to send that signal out to others so be it. Next time there is a massacre lets hope we don’t trade any living terrorists for oil or anything else.

  100. August 26, 2009 at 00:57

    2 Tony from Singapura August 25, 2009 at 14:15
    ” I think that dragging this information out into the public arena will be damaging for US security because potential terrorists will take it that America will serve them icecream and cookies if detained as a POW, they may become emboldened – – –
    Some things that military people need to do should remain the business of the military. ”
    I agree totally with the above post of Tony from Singapura.
    Further digging into past would give out information to future potential terrorists. And security matters need not be opened out to common folk and should be confined to military people.

    We will take a well established institution as an example. The Catholic Church. It had its infamous ”Inquisition”. And walked away from it, later on, so much so, the last Polish Pope John-Paul 2nd apologised publicly, 400 years after the fact, for the wrongs done to the famous scientist, Galileo Galilei.
    Likewise, CIA of USA should walk away from the Bush-Cheney approved directions for harsh interrogation of terrorist suspects.
    However, harsh interrogation brought disrepute to USA in the eyes of the Muslim World. Obama Administration is making good the wrongs done. But instead of digging for ‘who did what’ should go after those that initiated and approved the ‘harsh interrogation methods’ in the first place.
    Remember Richard Nixon’s Watergate Probe and his subsequent abdication in tears !

  101. 112 Justin Durueke
    August 26, 2009 at 01:46

    On 9/11, 2001 the world witnessed the horrific images and videos of the world trade centre and pentagon being attacked. I remember vividly everything I saw on the television that day. This attack was not just on the United States of America but all peace loving people of the world irrespective of nationality, creed, color or ethnicity. The war on terror has come a long way and I would say the previous US administration got it all wrong by linking Iraq to the terrorist attacks. Remember after 9/11, the world was solidly behind the United States and this coalition continued to crumble after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq started.

    I am happy that the current United States commander in Chief is re-evaluating the strategies and tactics being use in the execution of this war. “America is not your enemy…” as the President has often stated in his messages to the Muslim world. I would advise that the United States to share intelligence with countries like Pakistan, some countries of the West, countries in Africa and the Middle East. Military action alone cannot stop terrorism, diplomacy should be given a chance once more.

  102. 113 Selah
    August 26, 2009 at 05:06

    This is just so American…they try something and when it does not work or they are unhappy about the results they sue the bejesus out of each other!!! Well let’s see how far this will go, isn’t the reason Health care is so expensive partly because practitioners are afraid to be sued? So what will the people who are mandated to protect the beloved US of A put their tolls down??? Come on now..really?? You would have looked the other way and upheld your beloved constitution if your loved one’s life was in danger!! Geez it’s so shameless how we seek to re-write history!

  103. 114 Anna, Palestrina, Italy
    August 26, 2009 at 07:40

    Leaving aside the ethical question, is information obtained under torture even reliable? Torture can be used to extract false confessions, or to force people to spill out lists of names, which may or may not be correct.

    Terrorist suspects by definition are people whose guilt has not been proven. Innocent people may be, and are, arrested. I heard on the BBC once about a taxi-driver who was stopped at a checkpoint in Kabul, and arrested together with his passenger, who turned out to be a high-ranking member of Al-Qaeda. The taxi-driver was held for a couple of years in Guantanamo before being released without charge. Was he tortured while he was there? When an innocent man is tortured for information he doesn’t have, what is he to do?

  104. 115 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 26, 2009 at 11:34

    August 25, 2009 at 22:26

    I agree, awful panel.

  105. 116 Martin
    August 26, 2009 at 12:28

    NO…the USA as a nation must learn from the mistakes made after 9/11 . The last administration made a total mess out of everything. Trashed the constitution and put the US in a very bad light. I was ashamed to say I was an American during the last administration.

  106. 117 Dennis Junior
    August 26, 2009 at 12:59

    I don’t think it is a bad thing, that the Americans are questioning
    the responses to the attacks on 11 September 2001….

    =Dennis Junior=

  107. 118 Mark Benner
    August 26, 2009 at 16:06

    The U.S. has plied a double standard most of its life – this is not the first time the U.S. has engaged in torture and abuse – from the school of the Americas at Fort Benning where U.S. forces trained people from other countries int he use of torture and abuse – to Viet Nam’s phoenix program the U.S. is regular abuser of human and civil rights around the world. It took huge battles to win equal rights for black people, and other minorities and it si an ongoing struggle.
    If the U.S. choose to ignore our use of torutrre and abuse we have no legitimacy in the world arena and we are essentially condoning anyone’s use of torture and abuse especially if they claim it is for national security or combatting terorism.
    Fact is the use of torture and abuse helped create the insurgencey against the U.S. occupation and cost the lives of U.S. troops.
    It si time to hold the responsible parties accountable – from Bush/Cheney to CIA agents

  108. 119 NSC London
    August 26, 2009 at 16:22

    As a yank, I’d like to see more aggressive action taken against interrogators and other government officials who do this kind of thing.

    For instance, why weren’t the Abu Graib jailers punished? I think it would have been a really great thing for the perpetrating soldiers to face a firing squad in Iraq. Instead I believe they are walking around free. Ditto for the soldiers who gang-raped that Iraqi teenager. As an American I would have supported the firing squad in both of those instances as a show of goodwill to our conquered territories.

    Our actions in the middle east are inexecusable, it’s impossible not to feel for the countries the US has ruined in its pursuit of oil and gas rights.

    • 120 benza
      August 27, 2009 at 21:50

      NSC London, wasn’t that American Woman Soldier who went about
      in Abu Graib with prisoners on dog leashs punished in usa ?
      I am with you, when you say, ” Our actions in the middle east are inexecusable, it’s impossible not to feel for the countries the US has ruined in its pursuit of oil and gas rights. ”.
      Nevertheless, I wish you would go further and demand that those who instructed and approved the harsh methods of questioning supects be enquired into and duly punished if found guilty.
      That’s how usa could redeem itself. Will Obama Administration have the guts to accomplish the task ?
      Or will it succumb to pressures brought on by the Republican and Democratic Senators who go the way ”money” pulls ?
      And money is what it was all about when Richard Cheney, the Vice President of George Bush Jr, pushed the American nation and UK through, Tony Blair, the seller of ”honours”, into war with Iraq.
      And such ill-gotten wealth could be utilized to influence greedy usa senators.

  109. August 26, 2009 at 21:55

    This was a great discussion, but I would like to get some more international opinion on America’s real or perceived wrongdoings. As an American it’s easy to fall into bitter resentment and shame of the US, blind defensive patriotism, or ignorant neutrality. Hearing from different perspectives from different countries allows us all to forget what party we’re registered with and look at the big picture of how our nation is impacting the globe.

    It’s selfish to hope that World Have Your Say focuses more on the States, but it often gives a clearer picture than the American journalistic coverage.

  110. 122 T
    August 26, 2009 at 23:34

    No. Actually, it’s time to start questioning why Obama doesn’t have the courage to investigate and prosecute all the war criminals involved.

  111. 123 T
    August 26, 2009 at 23:36

    Also, consider this. What id Sibel Edmonds is right. And 9/11 WAS an inside job? What will the public do then when it turns out that all of those nutters were actually right all along?

  112. 124 Kyubi
    August 27, 2009 at 06:08

    I just listened to the podcast of this panel, and found it ridiculous that they simply glossed over the nature of the interrogations, giving the old line of the “9/11 changed everything.” When the intelligence agency feels that threatening to “rape family members” and “kill your children” are viable techniques, it has degenerated into something monstrous. These issues were not even addressed, and remind me of the absolute sadism of the Stasi, who simply wanted to make people say what they wanted to hear. If one wants to portray oneself as better than the enemy, one should act better than the enemy. Infanticide and rape as weapons of war should be condemned from all sides, lest we lose our humanity.

  113. 125 Archibald
    August 27, 2009 at 17:50

    @ Jennifer

    I wish we lived in a world where we could so blindly trust those charged with our “safety”. Sadly, I am not foolish enough, to let someone else tell me what I, “need to know”. It is much easier to remain pleasantly deluded, than to delve a bit deeper and face some ugly truths about the world, some seem so happy to accept at face value. Wake up and smell the conspiracy, it is smoldering right under you nose.

  114. August 27, 2009 at 21:19

    9/11 is an experience that can’t be easily forgotten. For many who personally were affected, it’s a trauma they must live with for their entire life.

    But frankly, the less we talk about it today, the better it would be for many. However, 9/11 opened the eyes of all nations that terrorism could be perpetrated in any part of the world.

    I need not use the recent issue of kidnappings in Nigeria as a case in point, even when the Niger Delta- Militancy is about to be surpressed with this so called amnesty.

  115. 127 benza
    August 27, 2009 at 21:20

    Is it not possible to send us a link that would take us to the ”comment”
    and not expect us to scroll through all the comments, 123 in this case,
    and reach the comment BBC is referring to in the email sent to member.
    And in the end I couldn’t find it.
    Yet am posting my stuff for whatever it is worth.
    Thank you.

    Archibald — Hope you are positive when you say ”Sadly, I am not foolish enough, to let someone else tell me what I, “need to know”.”.
    The democratic world needs more people like you. To be involved constantly in the makings of our blessing, the democratic system.
    Millions of people are languishing in prisons and giving up their lives to have what we take for granted.
    Could we be more ungrateful than this lethargic attitude towards our system of governance ?

  116. 128 scmehta
    August 29, 2009 at 08:03

    The USA response, in retaliation to the 9/11 blatant terror-attack by the Islamic extremists, was understandable and justified; Look at the audacity and viciousness of the evil mindset of the religious fanatics. Yes, we do need to move on ever so urgently, proactively and determinedly to combat and root-out all kind of terrorism, be it Islamic-fundamentalism/radicalism/fanaticism/extremism or any other form of terror anywhere in the world. But, at the same time, we also must take care to ensure that none of our actions should hurt the feelings and interests of the moderates belonging to any communities.

  117. August 31, 2009 at 14:04

    The american people have had their say at the ballot box. They have voted for a President who is carrying on where his predecessor left off. Democracy is not a fruit salad you cannot pick and choose after you have made the decision until the next constitutional moment of choice arrives.

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