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Two Administrations, Torture, and National Security

This week, the JOURNAL presented portions of TORTURING DEMOCRACY, a documentary film tracing the decisions of the Bush Administration leading to the ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques that many have called torture.

Last week, President Obama and former Vice President Cheney delivered speeches about ‘enhanced interrogation’ and national security that were widely seen as an indirect debate between the two men.

Obama said that he ended ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods because they undermine America’s national security objectives and standing in the world:

“Time and again, our values have been our best national security asset – in war and peace, in times of ease and in eras of upheaval... Where terrorists offer only the injustice of disorder and destruction, America must demonstrate that our values and our institutions are more resilient than a hateful ideology... I banned the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by the United States of America. I know some have argued that brutal methods like waterboarding were necessary to keep this country safe. And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What’s more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counterterrorism efforts – they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all.”

Cheney said that the events of 9/11 necessitated extreme actions to keep America safe and that interrogation methods were legal and effective:

“In the years after 9/11, our government also understood that the safety of the country required collecting information known only to the worst of the terrorists. And in a few cases, that information could be gained only through tough interrogations... The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do... Personnel were carefully chosen from within the CIA and were especially prepared to apply techniques within the boundaries of their training and the limits of the law. Torture was never permitted. And the methods were given careful legal review before they were approved. Interrogators had authoritative guidance on the line between toughness and torture... To call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe.”

What do you think?

  • Is torture -- what some prefer to call ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques -- ever morally justified? Explain.

  • Do you think torture has helped keep America safe? Why or why not?

  • In the event of another terrorist attack, do you think Obama would suffer politically for his decision to end ‘enhanced interrogation?’

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    Is the Presidency above the law? If so, then every four years we vote a dictator into office.

    Your show was no doubt in production when Colin Powell’s chief-of-staff Whittaker(?) claimed that Cheney was principally responsible for the torture initiative. The torture was for the purpose of producing evidence of a connection between al Qaeda and Iraq to support the Administration’s push for a war with Iraq. The torture was done before the approval of the Congress, and official torture had ceased by 2004. This, if true, is blockbuster news that seemed to escape mainstream media. The story discredits Cheney’s claim that torture prevented future attacks, if torture was not used after 2004. It deepens the fraudulent nature of the war with Iraq and emphasizes the illegality of the whole affair.

    Naomi Wolf’s writings show how the actions by the Bush administration over the last eight years parallel the ten steps taken by tyrants to produce dictatorships. If such actions were accidental on the part of the previous administration, the actions were brilliant in their naivete. Obama wants to ignore all these crimes, I assume, for pragmatic reasons. He wants to move his agenda forward without distraction. So despite his pretty talk, that is all we have. The rhetoric has changed, which is a good thing. But the dismantling of our democracy stands. No doubt the present shambles could be useful for his administration too. Or, maybe, he is intimidated by the profiteers in the Military-Industrial-Congress complex.

    Hopefully civics class in school will be made much more engaging with case studies showing how easily democracy is (and has been) lost to dictatorship. The last eight years was a real nail biter. And it is not clear how the next administration will fare.

    Come on you liberal pantie waists I think that the Patriot Act Is a useful tool! and water boarding well.
    I think Rush Limbaugh is advocating the over throw of the duly elected government and as such should be detained as an enemy combatant with no access to the courts
    In ten or twenty years we could decide if a trial is required based on what ever confession we can obtain.

    GITMO sounds like a good place for this as he seems to have an affinity for this place. I might suggest enhanced interrogation to help him see the error of his ways.

    Yes the Patriot Act is the way to go as long as me and mine are on the choosing side. As an after thought we should punish those companies that promoted this kind of treason. A boycott might be in order. Hit them in the pocket book! Force Fox News into bankruptcy.

    For the purposes of this post I will address the implications of interrogation methods that are legal under federal law.

    Under the Bush presidency the Attorney General’s office repeatedly issued legal opinions (memos) declaring the interrogation methods used on the prisoners at Gauntanamo as legal under United States federal law.

    Federal law trumps state and local law.

    Can I expect my local police department to expand their interrogation facility to include a totally bare concrete refrigerated room equipped with strobe lights and massive sound system, a room with a chair equipped with shackles and bolted to the floor, a room for hanging prisoners by the hands, and not least a room equipped for water torture (defines the equipment)?

    Do not scoff. Gauntanamo is an American prison. Those prisoners are awaiting trial. Besides information they are being interrogated to establish guilt for the purposes of trial. If the interrogation methods applied to those prisoners are legal then “they are legal any where”. If it is legal then it can and will be used.

    Any arrested/ captured (military) US citizen can be interrogated with any of these methods because it is legal under US federal law. I am not just talking about foreign governments.

    Your teenage daughter gets arrested (misdemeanor level) for a bag of marijuana. In the limited interrogation time before bail, the local detective wants the name of the drug dealer. So she is stripped naked (her cloths could get wet), strapped to a board, and subjected to the repeated torment of simulated drowning. Of course she is not really drowning. The mind knows but the body does not. So the body reacts normally in its usual violent way brutally traumatizing the mind. This method was used because it can be applied in minutes and at worse completed in a couple of hours. The other methods can take days.

    When the word comes that bail has been met, she is dried, dressed, processed out, and handed over to her parents. Other than bruising from the straps and utter exhaustion she is physically intact. We all know that the mental damage and total utter fear of the police is permanent. The parents are angry and horrified at what the detective did to their daughter.

    Of course what was done to their daughter was a legal interrogation method. So under the law the police did not brutalize her. Now, the police have a new enemy. As time passes it becomes the whole community.

    Until the Bush reign, interrogation of a prisoner (civilian or military) was limited to those methods local police could subject the arrested too. The American people in consensus applied these limited methods to all local/state/federal interrogators. Our military (they are part of the American people) wrote them into their rules and regulations. They are imbedded in treaties and foreign policy statements.

    The problem we are faced with is not about torture.

    Prior to the Bush reign, the allowed methods of interrogation were so far removed from torture that it wasn’t even on the horizon. We did that to protect “our” prisoners of war and citizens wherever they may be. They insured that our communities and the police worked together.

    We as a people and a society need to use our laws to codify those limits again. To set them in concrete so there is no ambiguity for the future.

    According to implications of the Nuremburg Conventions Dick Cheney is an informally charged war criminal defending himself (and his cohort) in the media in anticipation of a formal indictment in a world court.
    #5 motive?

    Dick Cheney is being joined by his daughter Liz on the "We Used Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Because They Worked" tour. Rachel Maddow this week on her MSNBC talk show, asked Dan Rather what he believes is motivating Cheney in his whirlwind torture tour. Rather cited four reasons, saying they were in no particular order. First, he cited Cheney's concern for the Bush Administration's legacy: "He knows the outlook as to how the Bush-Cheney Administration will be seen in history books is not good." Rather said the second thing was that "Cheney seeks to solidify and play to the Republican base, what some might call the most right-wing part of the Republican Party that stuck with him and President Bush all the way through." Rather continued: "Number three, I think he really believes what he's saying. I don't think he's posturing." Then Rather let out what is probably the most accurate assessment of the situation. "The fourth thing, and I could be wrong about this - I think he really detests President Obama, his policies, and everything he stands for." No, Dan, you've been wrong before, but this time you're not.

    Faith in Christ and faith in the power of love is indivisible.

    Would someone kindly tell the American people what kind of health coverage the President and Congress of the United States have? Do they pay private health insurance agencies (like the people must)
    or do they have Federal government coverage (paid by American taxpayers)
    or what could be called "single-payer"
    government health care?
    Thank you.

    A rose by any other name is still a rose. To say that these so called techniques were useful is nothing short of a thin front to reveal how little the Predecessor Administration new about the Arab extremists, The Middle East and teh long and sad history that Western Civilisation shares with that region. Our nation culturally and politically has a lot to anwser for. In that we fail for remember the spoils of real politik and the consequences it set in motion during the British Colonial years and the aftermath of policy during World War I and onwards. Us as Americans have taken on the banner of the elite Western power, and we have proven less wise and doubly stubborn than our British cousins. Oil is at the bottom of it and at the top, before it was traderoutes and waterways, who knows what next. But teh Middle Eastern Cultures know that since the days of the first Traders out of the west set out. They understand on an instinctual level that we will always be back for something, and we will leave a garrison behind for good measure.

    Ok Mom (Linda), I did it.

    Just for you, the other day I wrote a message to Obama, telling him to more or less pull his head out of..., but your daughter-in-law said you can’t tell the President that. So I finally wrote a filtered version:

    Tell us. If a member of Congress has created a roadblock for you, tell us. If you cannot compete with the money of a special interest group, tell us. If there is anything (the Saudis or the Bush’s) that is keeping you from helping America, tell us.

    We are still waiting for legislation to bring our jobs back home; to create a viable healthcare plan for the masses and individuals; to stop this phony war in Iraq and Afghanistan; and to generally standup for minority groups and our misfortunate. Did I forget to mention bringing back our jobs? You may also want to address the news media problem. The special interest choir needs to be separated from factual news (fines would be a great start).

    I do not know, maybe you have an ace up your sleeve, but if you do not, please tell us.

    Oops, I just noticed, it says nothing about torture (another one of my bonehead maneuvers). Does this mean I don’t get an allowance this week?

    We became what we hated ! To say " if it( torture) worked " would make a difference is ludicrous. You do not torture anyone , certainly not to see if it " works ". Obama has inherited many problems and I believe he is doing his utmost to solve them at this point.

    I realize that Obama's job as a wartime President is to protect those who serve and the office. I assume that is why he is backpedaling on Gitmo prisoners. Obama is a political pragmatist. Those are his main concerns. Our concern should be in protecting democratic institutions and human rights. Lately I am reminded of the Arthur Miller play The Crucible. Right now across the world democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi is fighting for her life in a Burmese court. The Chinese-backed junta that persecutes her believes that she represents a danger to their society. Everyone agrees that Suu Kyi is a great person. That alone is probably the reason she is not executed or whisked away to disappear in a Chinese detainee communist organ bank. Nevertheless, it is also undeniable that Suu Kyi is a real danger to the institutions of Burma's dictatorship. Does that danger alone justify her solitary confinement? Does it justify denying Suu Kyi spousal visits or medical treatments? According to the former Vice President and Bush legal counsels, that potential danger is more than enough justification for the horrors and indefinite detention of Al Qaeda suspects at Gitmo. What the authorities refuse to acknowledge is that we are all dwellers in the crucible that they have forged at Gitmo. I would rather live in a world where everyone could live free from injustice. For that hope alone I would set them all free to find their own penances or damnation. I hope the new Supreme court in the fall can find it in their hearts to end this tyranny and close Gitmo forever.

    Is this true? I just heard the FBI has found the missing CIA torture videos. They found them between Cheeney's homemovies with Jeff Gannon. hehehehehe :oP

    What? Don't you get it? They were found in his porn collection. Ahhh, forget it.

    Loved your program Tourtured Democracy. As an American child I was taught that evil people over the world and thourout history tortured people. Espically people who diagreed with them. Hitler tortured people, the inquisition tortured people, the Communist tortured people. The bad guys tortued people. American's were the good guys? American's did not break the law? Whether internation of domestic law? America would not break the rules of the Geneva convention? Law breakers are arested and tried in America? Torture at best is unreliable. Civilized people don't tortured? America is a leader in in proscecuting Human right violaters. You documentory really made me feel good about being an American? I like being one of the good guys. I like sticking up for your human rights. You friend, a proud American.

    "The government that tortures others will not hesitate in torturing its own."

    And the government that exposes its own CIA agent will not hesitate in using its power against ANY of its citizens.

    I give up all hope for America, until this Cheney-Bush-Rice-Rumsfeld-Powell insult to all decency gang is tried at The Hague for their war crimes.

    I don't think it is an incomplete argument until we find out what if any information was gathered by enhanced interrogation techniques. If relevant info came from it, then we can debate it further.

    Thank you for airing portions of the film on America's recent acts of torture. I must admit, it takes a while to let the visceral reaction subside before any "rational" reaction can be made.
    Of course, one first wants to prosecute (or at least "pardon" them to indicate some level of guilt) Cheney, Yoo, Rice, and Rumsfeld and the others who made this practice possible.
    The absolute worst is, that this practice puts a shroud on the memory of the victims of 9/11. Our practice of torture, proscribed at the top levels of government, opens the door for further attacks on our soil.

    Why is Cheeney leading the media around by a leash? First torture, now 9/11 (Clarke and Tenet). Let's put it another way, why is the media allowing Cheeney to dictate the news? Is he just planting seeds or is he distracting us from something? I smell a rat (pun intended).

    Bill Moyers,
    I am impressed with your courage to present such an illuminating documentary that covers the extent of the torture problem.
    At the present time there is an effort to undermine our economy, eliminate the middle class,
    And protect those who have created the present crisis.
    We need a positive concept of the future or we are faced with a failed society. The present "dark side" fixation is undermining the stability of our reality.
    Uncertainty and deviant coping are becoming normal ways of life.
    We need a "light side" progressive plan for the improvement of people's lives and then work that plan to support our needs and desires.
    Our technology far exceeds our civilized behavior. We need civilized behavior to prevent us from using our technology to self-destruct.

    "Being misunderstood by someone is vexation. Being misunderstood by everyone is tragedy."
    Liu Shahe

    This army soldier should be giving this speech to us americans also.This is why we need to do what we do.Watch langauge but it is what needs to happen there.Also here.Go to

    Please see the most excellant academic review of CIA torture history etc.


    Thanks Bill for this documentary.
    Torture is a shame that America should deal with -- and won't.
    Humanity towards fellow men and a sense of superiority visavis them are both key -- though contradictory -- components of American culture and I fear the latter -- in the form of jingoism, militarism, of an idiotic macho culture -- has had the upper hand over the former for quite some time now.
    So yes: torture, a useless invasion of Iraq, the blind support for Middle Eastern dictatorships and for Israel should wake up a feeling of shame among Americans, but they are unlikely to.

    But I am very sorry to have to say this. When I was a boy America was what I dreamed of. I would not live in the USA now if I were paid to.

    Bill, I have always respected you, believed you are a good person, even as your work has become more troubling to me. After watching "Torturing Democracy", I have lost much of that respect. You are producing a show which will provide comfort to our enemies, those that distort the truth and would do us all serious harm, given the chance. Producing an unbalanced presentation is vile and dangerous. It supports those who are evil, and would do more evil things. I know you believe you are protecting us from evils within, and I do not support torture AT ALL, but I have spoken to people who were waterboarded, as is standard in flight crew SERE training, so my information was provided by those who had actally been strapped down and put through this. They say this is frightening, but not harmful, and do not consider it torture. The terror attacks of 9/11 were clearly harmful and deadly – acts of mass murder. It has been disclosed by the former VP that this waterboarding was only used on 3 people, known to be key people and masterminds of 9/11. I have a hard time feeling sorry for mistreating these poor mass murderers. And this was done to protect us from further attacks. And they were successful. If you could go back in time and prevent this, would you be willing to be responsible for the potential loss of thousands of other innocent workers? It is easy to place blame in hindsight, but there are evil people intent on doing us harm, and I will not take a cheap shot at those working to protect us. The US did not initiate this chain of action, it was initiated by the mass murders of 9/11, and your show has provided ammunition to our enemies, making us less safe. You can count on it getting massive air time on Al Jazerra. This is an unbalanced, yellow journalism, and dangerous, because people trust you. This does NOT mean I agree with most of the “approved” tactics – I do not. I do not feel they fit within our ideals, and I would like them to stop, along with a lot of the other measures put in place and making us a far less open society. But two wrongs do not make a right, and I feel that BOTH you and the interrogators are making us LESS safe. Please present more balanced presentation, instead of promoting the idea that the major evil is on the US side; clearly it is not. I also notice that someone has apparently deleted most posts critical of your position. Will you delete or censor this one as well?

    Bill, thank you for the courageous presentation on torture. Without looking squarely at it, there is no way for citizens to understand what torture really is. How else will people know that the statement that it was "only a few bad apples" was a ridiculous lie? Without being told and shown, people would not know that treatment that does not appear to be torture actually is extremely painful and destructive.

    Pat Kennedy
    Wethersfield, CT

    Now if we could just find some competent legislator to propose a bill declaring a conspiracy to commit extraordinary rendition, torture and murder by torture as acts of terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security would have these guys locked down for trial in no time.

    Come to think of it, if kidnapping, detention without representation, trial or communication, and murder by torture perpetrated by trained professional paramilitary units isn't a good definition of terrorism, what is? It's all a matter of definition, as John Yoo might say.

    Make no mistake: As long as we allow torture and death camps authorized by lawyers at the top of the command chain in our government, we live under fascism and tyranny. If you believe there is any law or regulation that protects you I or even Bill Moyers (especially journalists) from this kind of kidnapping (extrordinary rendition) torture and murder, you are fatally mistaken. Please show me the law that protects anybody on the streets of America from just the kind of situations that these "enemy combatants" received. The vast majority of them have not been convicted, tried, or even formally charged with anything.

    Foreign courts and jurisdictions (Spain for example) may be the most likely venues for prosecuting these American war criminals. Unless these proceedings are instigated and brought to conclusion IN AMERICA, however, we will never regain the rule of law or more importantly, the moral high ground that has given America the reputation that it has until recently enjoyed.

    We MUST clean up our own mess. This situation is most important as a national security issue. In real terms, our national security is under severe threat today, NOT because we didn't torture or kidnap the right terrorists, but because our recklessness has opened the door to justification for others to attack us here and abroad. Look at what happened to Nazi Germany: the US and our allies were justified in destroying the Nazi regime because of the exact behavior that we now are now promoting: imperialism (nation building) and unlawful rendition, torture and death camps.

    Even if you believe that the prisoners were dangerous criminals who had secret information that we needed to solve the 911 mystery, experts have testified that confessions under duress are virtually worthless anyway. On the other hand, we might say, what the heck, the country was under extreme pressure to get the perps, and can be forgiven their indiscretions.

    Now that we've calmed down, however, why don't we begin to investigat the recently published reports that explosive nano thermate has been detected in every known sample of dust from the WTC buildings. Maybe we should be watching the watchers.

    Come on Bill, put Stephen Jones on the air. If you believe that he's a "nutjob" and deserved to be fired from the University of Utah; they said the same thing about Stephen Hatfill when he was fired from LSU. That is until he succesfully sued the US Government for $5.8 million for ruining his career.

    ProblemL The government has been ripping off healthcare providers for YEARS. Single payer may be the easiest solution to understand and therefore, sell, but it is worst possible idea! We need REAL UNIVERSAL healthcare, not single-payer!

    Hi, Bill
    I trust you and I respect you.
    That is why I want to share with you some my concerns about fighting terrorism.
    To do this I believe we must answer two questions:
    1.Why this people attacked us on 9.11? As far as I know this fundamental question which should be asked first was never asked and seriously discussed.
    2. Do we really think that all people are equal?

    Now, please tell me, can we honestly answer those questions? No, right?
    This is our problem. That makes me very pessimistic.
    I wish every person, every nation and every country had a mirror,
    I wish that everybody always asked himself: what would you do?

    What dream?. I have lived and worked hard for 26 years in this country, and what do I get!!. There is no equal justice when it should be my right. Now I have to face a judge and prominent lawyers in my Civil Case. Because no-lawyer has the courage to defend me. I am Daniel in the lions den on 6th July 09 in the District court. Why???.

    Thank you, Bill for the Torturing Democracy documentary. It is so sad that we get into this. No one is above the law and this should be applicable to everyone. Why should we treat human being like that? Don’t they have any right? Someone should be held accountable for those crimes.

    samuel beau, moyers is another subject, what about bush and pelosi? you're dancing

    after watching the Torturing Democracy documentary,someone should be held accountable for war crimes.
    although not a religious person, i believe that, george bush, dick cheney, donald rumsfeld and condolizza rice are the four horsemen that the "Bible" foretells of the coming apocylypse.thats what i would believe if i was religious.

    Thank you very much, Bill, for your May 31 presentation of Gitmo and the Supreme Court ruling on the Geneva Convention. It had pictures. As you know, Bill, television is a vedio media. Radio is an audio media. If I want to listen to two smucks have a round-table conversation I can listen to radio(or listen to Charlie Rose. which I seldom do). Keep up the good work, Bill, and lean more toward pictures.

    Do any of you people remember the prison guards(military) serving in IRAQ? I seem to remember those guards taking pictures of naked prisoners and having guard dogs snapping at them.They were naked in front of female prison guards.Did not those soldiers all end up in prison and being booted out of the U.S. MILITARY? I mean of course that was serious and they would pay.Not the people in high office.Same old song played to the poor/middleclass

    David F., it’s Mr. Moyers who can’t be trusted. He ended the segment with “… and his death was ruled a suicide, or so they tell us.” “or so they tell us?”
    That’s not journalism, that’s two old perfumed hens, talking gossip after church. (PROPAGANDA!!!)

    samuel beau,

    You and I are lucky PBS has a comment area so we can voice our opinions. Why don’t you ask Daryn Kagan why CNN shutdown their community pages during the Florida recount?

    BTW, PBS probably deleted your reply to my question, so could you post it again. If I agreed with you and said Pelosi cannot be trusted, would you agree to the same about Bush?

    Pelosi = war criminal
    Pelosi, then the ranking Democrat on the committee.
    40 briefings for members of Congress from September 2002 to March 2009. The first briefing on the list -- on September 4, 2002 --
    The subject of the briefing is listed as EITs, or enhanced interrogation techniques, "including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed."
    Pelosi = war criminal

    WOW! Can't believe it! All my posts, deleted. WHAT DOES PBS HAVE TO FEAR?

    WOW! I've been censored by PBS!

    I don't like to call out people but, I must this time.

    John B. I have started a program with the Salvation Army in my area...Ft. Myers, provide haircuts and image consulting for their clients who are going out and job searching since that is my business. I have also volunteered with Hope Hospice and a few other agencies here in SW Florida. Since I cannot offer a lot of monetary support because I am self employed and have bills that I MUST PAY BY MYSELF, I came up with this plan. I do what I can and realize everyone is entitled to their own opinions. However, I try not to denigrate anyone for their views because opinions are like you know what...and you should due to the fact you acted like one on this blog.

    And so I've fallen short and gotten somewhat personal but, I 'm not a coward who doesn't use his full name.

    So, how do you participate- besides being a bore?

    I watched this episode last night and it has had a profound affect on me...
    It makes me wonder why there hasn't been an uprising about this. I've never been one to raise a flag and stand on a soap box but last night made me think that it's time to get off my ass and DO something. We just can't do this to one another. This goes beyond what's legal or illegal. This is a matter of right and wrong. No matter how you spin this - IT"S WRONG!!

    I am ashamed to live under the protection of this country after watching this documentary. The laws of karma will haunt us one day, if it has not started to yet.

    What bothers me the most is that there is no way to rectify the harm we have done to the human race; the wheels have started to turn and it's heading downhill fast. Truth is the only way out of the freefall; we must demand to know what happened and hold ourselves accountable for our complicity.

    "During my military service, I knew many Navy service people who underwent waterboarding as a part of the SERE program. None of them described it as 'torture' in any mainstream sense of the word."

    SERE training is NOT the same as torture. There is a huge mental difference between training, which is limited in time and scope and which will not kill, and real torture which is unlimited in time and scope and can kill.

    This has been verified by people who have undergone SERE training.

    In any event, this is all blather. Torture is not something civilized nations do. As long as we torture, we are not a civilized nation.

    Hey Bill,
    You know what the real shame is here?
    All of the people commenting here would step over the body of a homeless person in thier own town, Just so they can stand by your side and point the finger of shame!

    Other than talk what did you do?

    Shell-shocked is a real condition. The moral and ethical crash was so extreme, basically a free fall where even time and space were not involved because "perception" was "reality", that people haven't had a chance yet to reassemble themselves.

    This blog proves that as more and more energy is spent on "selling" depravity to USA citizens, more and more people are pushing back against the marketing of iniquity.

    To the very last, the defendants at Nuerenberg did not admit to wrongdoing. It's highly probable that the same will happen again.

    We're making progress. Psychotics and sociopaths and all sundry "personality" disorders are no longer being mistaken for "leadership".

    We The People do NOT have the proper number of representatives in D.C.

    As for the hew and cry for releasing photos...? Indeed "education" has many gaps. Court cases do not publish "evidence" on the internet before a trial because a jury needs to be selected that is "untainted".

    Indeed, bloviators are not lawyers or elected representatives. But you have to question why they are "selling" iniquity?

    Would the same elite class of confused, ambitious sociopathic "commentators" do the CORRECT thing for the same amount of money that they get for "selling" depravity...after all it's a "free" marketplace, right? Why not pay them to shut up for a while? :-)

    I think torture has and will continue to benefit Americans.

    American ingenuity has always been first to lead the world in advanced technologies from the automobile to space ships, cell phones and the PC but it has always been some other country that perfected American ingenuity.

    That PoS g. w. bush has provided the world with a legal document that gives all countries the legal right to kidnap and torture anyone!

    Those that give praise to that PoS g. w. bush on their knees today shall find themselves on their knees tomorrow.

    Jesus Christ was tortured to death. The countless sects of ersatz Christianity attest to the confusion as to the definition of Christianity, but the truth is quite simple and you can read it for yourself. Jesus never killed anyone, neither did he advocate killing anyone, nor did he sanction killing anyone. As he made perfectly clear to Peter, he possessed the power to annihilate all of mankind, but he laid down his life rather than kill and commanded his disciples to follow his example. "Yet will I show you a more excellent way." Christians by definition obey the commandments of Jesus and follow his teachings and example. They do not kill, torture, or engage in war (so-called "just" wars). Liars have contradicted this fact, and fools have believed them. This is the depth of depravity of the modern era of mindless militarism.

    One would hope any rational person would realize torturing any prisoner is an affront to human standards of dignity. With that said, I muddled through Convention III of the Geneva Conventions. In doing so, it appears to me that it is not torture, per se, that is the issue but, its definition. Semantics plays a huge role in legalese; this is the crux.

    Nonetheless, it does certainly seem some articles of Convention III were blatantly manipulated to espouse the willful use of enhanced interrogation techniques, i.e., torture. The context of this situation and its execution put it squarely in direct opposition of several articles of this international agreement which the United States government signed in good faith.

    As an aside, one posting stated that these techniques have been used for millennia, and that we should grow up. In response to that, again, one would hope we have matured to a point and realize not only specific interrogation methods are humanely, morally wrong but, internationally, contractually illegal.

    Again, the interpretation and manipulation of the verbiage contained therein Convention III is really being questioned. Some get the concept and practical application of torture is wrong, some don't. However, rationalization as to the used of less than humane treatment is subjective.

    What is apparent is that the intrinsic value of life on this planet is diminishing.

    I watched with horror the antics of the Bush administration while Chaney, behind the scenes, was steering the administration to allow these unspeakable acts. Those who think the documentary wasn't real have their head in the sand.

    "Posted by: Gray Clarke, I suspect that Mr. Moyers got a kick-back from the terrorists."
    As a result of "going to war on falls pretense" did you ever asked the type of
    "kick-back" the parents, the brothers, the sisters and the Nation got for the lost
    of LIFE? "5000 love ones DEATH and over 35000 wounded"!

    I usually am very proud to call myself an American, but after watching this on PBS I am now ashamed to call myself an American. I would like to see former President Bush brought up a charges for being a war criminal. That is exactly what he is a long with his Vice President. I am proud of those that would take no part in this horrific act. I am so glad this was aired! Thank You for letting he public know. This should also be aired on network TV.

    I love the way so many neocon commenters claim to be ex-military. They usually don’t have much to say except for the simple catch-phrases they’ve learned from the TV or radio. “Rrrrock, waterboarding is not torture, waterboarding is not torture, Polly wanna cracker.”

    Here’s a couple of tough talking neocons who used to parrot the same mantra:

    After being waterboarded, Christopher Hitchens of Vanity Fair now has panic attacks and nightmares. His new mantra: “Believe me, it’s torture.”

    Mancow Muller, a conservative radio host in Chicago, thought he could easily last 30 seconds, but he only lasted a whole 6 seconds. His new mantra: “absolutely torture.”

    I wish Hannity from FauxNews would take Olbermann up on his offer. You know why this will never happen? Hannity is just a conman who happens to be a wuss. Oh wait, Hannity doesn’t wear fatigues and he isn’t ex-military, so it wouldn’t count anyways. What a joke.

    Having served with Malcolm Nance in the mid-90s in Spain, I can tell you that he isn't the most...credible expert (to put it kindly). The idea that waterboarding will somehow empower our enemies to treat our soliders more harshly than they otherwise would is laughable: when our soldiers have been captured over the past six years, they have been tortured--I mean actually tortured--and executed. During my military service, I knew many Navy service people who underwent waterboarding as a part of the SERE program. None of them described it as 'torture' in any mainstream sense of the word. You goodly liberals should turn a bit of your righteous ire on the Democrats who approved of these techniques, and call for an honest appraisal of waterboarding's efficacy in producing viable intellegence.

    Finally! After all these years, someone in the third estate has waken up and assembled the readily available info to show the public what has been happening in the name of the people. Poor Sari! She obviously has drunken too much of the republican kool-aid to realize what the documentary shows republicans willingly admitting their roles while completely ignoring the rules, laws and treaties that govern the US, its' people and those elected and selected to run the government. It's truly a sad day in American when the GOP's sole strategy is revealed - to pit citizen against citizen so as to avoid having to answer for their crimes, both national and international.

    I still say there is good reason to have the Bush gang tried internationally, not in the US by us. We need a more objective and judicially rigorous look at these people and their twisting of laws. Can we risk some 5 star long weekend resort "lockup" for these criminals if they just got their hands slapped here? Obama is wise NOT to de-rail this int'l process, as long as international authorities WILL indeed bring Cheney and Co. to justice.... They have orchestrated crimes against humanity, pure and simple. Thanks to Bill for keeping a bright light shinning into this dark chapter.

    I believe that ANY kind of torture is wrong. I also believe that not all torture is the same. I wonder... did anyone die from torture in Gitmo? Was anyone at Gitmo given the choice to jump out of a 90 story window or be burned alive? I believe that the punishment should fit the crime, and an investigation should and probably will be forthcoming. But this "thing" that Mr. Moyers produced was NOT a documentary, but propaganda. It did nothing but provide fuel for the cause of terrorism. I suspect that Mr. Moyers got a kick-back from the terrorists. I he didn't, he missed a good chance! Osama himself could not have done any better than this! Give me a break! Eliciting simpathy by interviewing a known terrorist who would lie in an instant for the chance that it would kill more Americans? This documentary? will certainly kill many more people than the ones who died in Gitmo. Let the ones in power clean their own house. That's why there is a limit of 8 years.. to limit corruption. Obama will see it through when it is safe to do so. Please, Mr. Moyers, don't endanger us any more than you already have! There is a time and place for everything. This is not the time for fueling terrorism. Do you think that maybe President Obama realizes that also?

    I haven't gotten to see this week's show yet Bill. But I did watch Torturing Documentary after a friend saw it on your show & shared the link on Facebook. I stayed up until 5:30am watching it & being disgusted at what's being done. It has motivated me to organize an action in Charlotte NC on June 25 National Torture Accountability Action Day

    I don't think torture is ever morally justifiable. What I saw in the documentary was inhuman. The people doing it have lost their humanity and need some serious psychiatric help & time behind bars. Those that authorized it should also be held accountable.

    I think torturing people has made America less safe because it makes people hate us. I think it makes those that were tortured and /or their family members understandably dislike us. It gives so called extremists a way to recruit people that would want to attack us. It puts our soldiers in harms way & at risk of being in tortured in return.

    I am afraid the Obama administration is not really going to stop using these torture techniques. It will just be better hidden from the public & they'll call it something else.

    I do think Cheney, Limbaugh, the Republican Party, & the like would blame Obama if we were attacked.

    Thank you for reporting on this & providing all the other information about it on your website.

    I don't understand Bill's request for a Truth Commission. We know something about what these men (for the most part) did. A criminal prosecution is what is required.

    Torture (besides the moral hazards) does not work to supply information. It is basically a way to degrade another human being and make the torturer feel powerful.

    Shame on all of us for sitting by while this happened. Pres. Obama has not the spine apparently to prosecute his predecessors.

    The military guys in the movie are correct. Any U.S. soldiers taken into custody in the so-called war on terror can be treated badly now.

    Thank you for airing Torturing Democracy. I found it hard to sleep after watching this show. I believe that anyone involved in this program from the Bush administration should be prosecuted. Too bad Congress doesn't seem to have to stomach to do so.

    Hi Linda (mom), I hope you know I was trying to be funny with my "Geez Louise" remark. I'm always forgetting a ;o)

    Take care.

    Bill, I watched your program on friday May 29 and it left me unmoved due to the fact that i realize like Samuel Beau that it is a PROPAGANDA against the republicans now that we have a tzar for President. During the whole program all i thought about were the people who died on 9/11 and Daniel Pearl who was beheaded by the savages that now the democratic party is protecting. Yes some punishment was administered and some of you forgot that people were tried and are in prison. Tough times calls for harsh measures to protect a nation specially from resilient murderers who will do anything for their bizarre beliefs. Lets move on because you never know what will happen under this Presidents watch and if he makes the wrong decision it will come to bite him.


    Thank you, David. I am your Mom:-) And I'm Obama's Mom too:-) Do you remember "We are coming Father Abraham, 300,000 strong?" How about: We are coming Brother Barack, 300.000,000 strong? We are his best angels. How else is he to know how to save this Union if we don't tell him?

    Well put Julia Hammett. I think the CIA agents and soldiers should be punished, but their punishment should not be as harsh as if they had gone rogue and acted on their own. They had a chain-of-command and they were just following orders. I know this is no excuse, but I can see how loyalty could blind someone to become ignorant to what they are doing.

    As for the legal advisors and the people who were pulling their strings, they are the real perpetrators, and in true fashion, a liberal, Obama this time, has sat back and ENABLED them to commit crimes in the future.

    I truly want to believe in Obama, but how can my hopes compete with a lobbyist? Let’s face it, “money talks, bullshit walks.” He’s been in office for about 130 days now, and I still haven’t seen any meaningful legislation. He has not only let the Bush admin off the hook for torture, Iraq and 9/11, he still hasn’t started taking jobs back from China, India or S. America.

    If you ask me, Obama is making it easy for Jeb to win in 2012, but then again, isn’t that what he’s being paid to do?

    And Linda, ok, ok, I'll try. Geez Louise, you sound like my mom.

    You're all right. So talk where it counts:
    You think that doesn't count? We're it! Tell Obama. I sincerely hope you are passing these remarks on to him. Respectfully.

    You're all right. So talk where it counts:
    You think that doesn't count? We're it! Tell Obama. I sincerely hope you are passing these remarks on to him. Respectfully.

    You're all right. So talk where it counts:
    You think that doesn't count? We're it! Tell Obama. I sincerely hope you are passing these remarks on to him. Respectfully.

    It is frustrating, but somewhat understandable, that the Obama administration has decided not to prosecute CIA agents, their contractual associates, and their legal advisers regarding their use of torture. However, I have not heard President Obama or the Justice Department say they are not or will not investigate the role of Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rumsfeld and other leaders in the decision making chain that circumvented the Constitution, various federal laws and even international crimes against humanity. The Cold War mindset of the Bush/Cheney administration has brought us to the greatest moral precipice in our young nation’s history. Mr. Cheney's recent frontal attack appears to be based on the premise that the best defense is a good offense. I imagine that President Obama will wait until he has in place one, perhaps two Supreme Court Justices that will not be swayed by the “old boy” group of buddies that have plagued our court in recent years. Republican apologists are trying to shift the conversation away from violations of law to whether or not it kept us safe. This lack of moral compass is so far over the ethical and legal “chalk line” that is no longer American. They say no to democracy, liberty and justice and yes to whatever it takes (including torture) to keep their personal interests alive and their tails out of jail. They sure didn’t keep Katrina victims safe. Nor or their policies safe for Americans, especially those overseas. Any American that feels safer because we tortured detainees should surrender their citizenship because at the point we condone torture to “keep us safe,” the terrorists HAVE won. On any level, we are all less safe because torture is a ticking time bomb. Whose side is Mr. Cheney on? Has he even read the Constitution? Two Sundays ago he misquoted his oath of office on “Face the Nation” when he said he swore to "preserve, protect and defend the people and territory of the United States” instead of what he really swore: "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." I hope that in time President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress will do the right thing, the Constitutional thing, and legally bring these rogues to justice, or Mr. Obama, too, will be liable before God and our nation’s history.

    The USA now ranks amongst those great nations which will be historically classified as having resorted to, performed and condoned "torture" on their enemies. Coming to mind is the Good Company of China, Japan, Cambodia, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Argentine, ah of course Germany and Russia and possibly many more... .
    Every defender of these measures says that these people were "most dangerous creeps" outside of international law, undermining authority and threatening their nation's safety. We will hear this and also watch snippets of gruesome evidence till the grandkids grow up and ask us about it. The media will never give up leaking more juicy stories and photos about these misdeeds and the world will never forgive us for "keeping it under the rug".
    And yes, a future troubled world will be looking at us with very different eyes, incredulously. It will take several decades until this "nation of torturers" subject will get out of the conversation and the worst would be, not to bring up the truth and admit our own wrongdoings. The US has demanded this of other nations and the Nuernberg Trials set the laws for handling war crimes for all nations. Now, how about us? WE actually are lucky to have a functioning democracy and yet freely elected these horrible people. We - the citizens are guilty by association and encouragement. Electing a bunch of insane people and looking the other way when we knew about what had happened, not even came to asking for impeachment. Now, let's take the time to put them into jail, stop the conversation, in hopefully thirty years and to keep ourselves safe from new recruits.

    Of course Cheney, Rumsfeld, Salazar, Yoo, BushII, et al, should be prosecuted. But I think legal bodies outside the US are the only ones that can credibly do it.

    Cheney's crazy PR biltz of late claiming that using torture has kept us safe is even more alarmingly bogus if we realize this: The economic meltdown,and our eroding public morale are the back door terrorist "attacks" that are doing far more damage to this country than the horrors of 9/11. And we had fair warning about this tactic, too.

    We must be reminded of this: Demian McLean of Bloomberg News reported this quote from bin Laden's message on 11/1/2004: "...every dollar of al-Qaeda defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs. The Bush policy of mounting a global war on terror has made it easy for al-Qaeda to ``bait'' the U.S. government, bin Laden said." and, "All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies," bin Laden said, according to the al-Jazeera transcript.

    This point-blank information was a NEWS RELEASE in 2004 to the media--no torture needed. Cheney and his tortured logic HAS NOT kept this country safe! It has just fueled the fire of hatred of the West and blackened our souls. By keeping the focus on physical attacks, Cheney, et al have played right into the hands of the chief terrorist and their larger mission: TO DESTROY THE US (and the West) FROM THE INSIDE VIA THIS ECONOMIC MELTDOWN. THE FRENZY OF GREED SPARKED BY MILITARY SPENDING AND BY RESULTING PROFITEERING HAS FUELED THIS COLLAPSE. (And, of course, Cheney IS one of the profiteers...) As bin Laden intended, this economic meltdown cripples our entire way of life in a way no 9/11 could.

    BushII, Cheney and their bunch have a world of hurt to answer for, and it is not the US that can address this, but the global authorities that should ACT, and ACT ASAP.

    Why are we having this interesting discussion among ourselves?
    Go to
    and make a difference.
    It's not spitting in the wind. If enough of us passionately decry Obama's do nothing policies, he will listen. He has to.

    One would think a leader of a sovereign nation would know the definition of “tribal sovereignty.” This would make it easier to take his minions more seriously when they throw around the word “treason.”

    If I were President of the U. S., I’d evacuate all the Liberals out of Texas, and then fill this wasteland with Conservative Christians, Conservative Jews, Conservative Muslims, and any other nutjobs. This way they could take out all their built-up aggression on each other, and no one of intelligence would have to get hurt. Then after one side had won, we would place the survivors in an insane asylum. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.

    I don't believe for a moment Bush was going to be the education president. He would have had to have been educated...a daddy's money diploma just doesn't count. But with Cheney by his side as a running mate, I told everyone I knew if Bush won we would invade Iraq. I stated this before he was even elected. I grew up with Halliburton and the oil business as my home state was very dependent upon it.

    I am firmly convinced that the current Iraqi situation was retaliation for GHWB's failed presidency and oil production that benefits the US. I mean if broccoli and green beans were the major exports of the Middle East would the West even care about anything that happened there? I think not.

    Sabrina, you are correct, this was not like any war the world had experienced until 9/11 2001, just 8 months after Bush took office. This war was in the planning stages during the Clinton administration and he allowed it to fester and come to fruition. Bush took office to be the education president, but had to spend his entire administration cleaning up the mess that Clinton is responsible for. Clinton's advisors knew Osama was planning this, and he had the chance to stop it, but said “no.” He even revealed to Osama, how the U.S. was gathering info on this plan by tracking Osama’s cell phone, so Osama changed his mode of operation (TREASON!)

    It is encouraging that the Journal had a full evening devoted to the evils of torture spread upon the world by our nation.

    It is inexcusable, however, that President Obama is not diligently seeking punishment under international law for those most responsible, EX-President George W. Bush and EX-Vice President Dick Cheney.

    As long as those two go unpunished it appears America condones what they did and, therefore, are likely to continue their horrid abuses.

    It is time they received "rendition" to the Hague.

    My father fought and was captured at Bataan, and thereafter spent three and a half years in Japanese prison camps, while my mother lived in Manila under Japanese occupation. My uncle, whose name I proudly share, died as a gunner in a B-24. Our torturing has tarnished their sacrifices and the sacrifices of countless others. I take some small comfort in the principled stand of The Judge Advocates General and their military lawyers during the past eight years, but we need this out and to apologize as a nation to the international community for our failure to uphold the ideals for which so many before us sacrificed so much.

    Posted by: Gene Studer, LTC, JAGC (Ret)


    I share your philosophical, moral and ethical horror when I reflect upon why those who went to war in the past did so and why they also could claim a clear victory. You can only have a real victory when it was a real reason. This is a "perception is reality" war.

    The pre-emptive strike against Iraq was NOT a "war" that was started to uphold the "ideals" that people died for in the past. We all know this.

    We the People are under-represented in Congress and the Senate. That needs to change immediately if not sooner. Three hundred million official USA citizens are not properly represented with 100 senators and under 500 congressmen/women.

    Applying psychoanalysis to the current body politic in D.C. would provide a mountain of evidence that psychotics, sociopaths, perverts, and your "classic" S and M aficionados have gravitated together in one place. This should make the job easier for the 50 million economically displaced citizens created over the past 30 years to accomplish the first "public works" project successfully - round 'em up and lock 'em up.

    If the 20th century taught us nothing else, it certainly should have taught us that an ego with a megaphone and a love of money will stop at nothing.

    This ongoing "torture" discussion the propaganda machine is forcing on us is pure depravity of mind and spirit. Enough.

    I feel half crazy with grief and outrage. I sent the following letter to President Obama at

    Our laws define us as a nation and as a people. The hideous treatment and torture of our prisoners during the Bush Administration
    violated our laws and international laws. Bush lied and lied and lied - had human beings - many innocent - tortured sometimes to death to lead us into an unjust and unspeakably stupid and wantonly destructive war. The world rightly finds us contemptible not to mention untrustworthy. Are we simply to sweep this under the rug because to clean it up would be "too disruptive"? Please, Mr. President.. The foundation of our democracy is crumbling. We must have the truth or we fall into ruin. Those responsible for
    these crimes against humanity and our own democracy must be held accountable. Period.

    Please read and view:


    Thank you.

    I feel half crazy with grief and outrage. I sent the following letter to President Obama at

    Our laws define us as a nation and as a people. The hideous treatment and torture of our prisoners during the Bush Administration
    violated our laws and international laws. Bush lied and lied and lied - had human beings - many innocent - tortured sometimes to death to lead us into an unjust and unspeakably stupid and wantonly destructive war. The world rightly finds us contemptible not to mention untrustworthy. Are we simply to sweep this under the rug because to clean it up would be "too disruptive"? Please, Mr. President.. The foundation of our democracy is crumbling. We must have the truth or we fall into ruin. Those responsible for
    these crimes against humanity and our own democracy must be held accountable. Period.

    Please read and view:


    Thank you.

    I watched Torturing Democracy,for the second time on 5/29/09. Thanks for having the courage to play it once more. Put mildly,the contents were more disgusting the second time around. I notice the Whitehouse,is very much on the defensive,via their Press Sectetary. A British newspaper published an article,based on an interview with a senior army officer. He confirmed that the photographs,Obama is blocking,are more explicit,than those already released. The Whitehouse immediately got on the defensive,stating the newspaper in question [ The Daily Telegraph] was typical 'Tabloid' fodder. Big mistake! The Daily Telegraph is one of the most revered British newspapers - been around since the 1800 hundreds. I should know - I am an ex Captain in the British military. The word TORTURE permeates the very air we breath. It can be compaired to the Cancer that slowly eats away

    at the body of a sick individual. How long more must we wait. The latest talk from Obama is to relocate some terror suspects to State prisons,with the intention of holding them indefinately. People are innocent until proven guilty - since when has that changed? As for indefinate imprisionment,surely that's against out Constitution. It is time for Obama to act -take Cheney off the airwaves -put him in prison,where he rightly belongs.

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be convicted of "War Crimes" and sent to prison for at least 20 years. Not only for the Guantanamo torture, but for causing millions of innocent people to be killed and/or displaced, then screwing up the world's economy with their "no regulations" on corporations when doing their business (stealing from the people).

    This will send a message to future officials to not punich the world for the personal gain.

    America, WAKE UP!

    Sadly we as American citizens have not been given the help we need to interpret what we see much of the time on television. This observation pertains to the goings on in the Muslim world but also to our own soldiers’ comportment on the battle field, where ‘gloves-off and kick-the-doors-in’ policy is considered all too appropriate if not heroic.

    We have seen the film clips of the Guantanamo prisoners arriving in the open air facility that it once was, the iconic transfer of an unnamed prisoner strapped to a gurney being wheeled to an unidentified location. This image is a particularly confusing as it evokes the utter helplessness in the restrained body of the transferee, the security of distance from a criminal person thought to be the worst of the worst by accompanying military personnel, and finally a kind of reassuring medicalization of events, suggested by the straps confining the prisoner destined perhaps for therapy and therapeutic action in an off screen medical facility. Little did we know.

    But the British saw these thing differently as evidenced in a recent article written in the May 14 issue of the London Review of Books which reads:

    Seven years ago now, …. came the first shocking images of human beings in rows in aircraft, hooded and shackled for transportation across the Atlantic, much as other human beings had been carried in slave ships four hundred years earlier. The captor’s humiliation of these anonymous beings – unloaded at Guantánamo Bay, crouched in open cages in orange jumpsuits – was deliberately displayed. The watching world needed no knowledge of international humanitarian conventions to understand that what it was seeing was unlawful, since what is in fact the law precisely mirrors instinctive moral revulsion…..

    Gareth Pierce, the article’s author goes o to say,

    What the world could instantly see for itself in those images was that this was the trafficking of human beings. It was not a manifestation of the Geneva Conventions at work; it was neither deportation nor extradition: far worse, it was transportation from a world and to a world outside the reach of the law, and intended to remain so. In those two worlds, crimes against humanity were to be perpetrated, but, unlike the images of transportation, they were intended to remain for ever secret.

    Sadly, it took We the People a very long time to see things in this light, and many of us, including some of our leading polititians still don’t.

    From the perspective of US interest a clear message was being sent, "If you f**k with the USA and murder innocent people; then you will suffer" which explains why some innocent men were classified as terrorists and tortured. This also explains the utter destruction and consequential chaos of the nation of Iraq. Don't kid yourselves that "President" Cheney didn't know what would happen. He is one savy man.

    First they said we need to torture to find the ticking time bomb. I said nothing because the catastrophic danger to us would be clear and imminent.

    Then they tortured Al Qaeda detainees who had high-value information. I said nothing because they had attacked us and we needed to know what the enemy was planning in order to save lives.

    Then they tortured Iraqi prisoners of war. Despite the horrific photos, I said little because it was war and in war there are always a few excesses. And, well, I really didn't want to think about it.

    Now we find out they tortured prisoners to try to fabricate a link between Al Qaeda's attack on Sept. 11, 2001, and Saddam Hussein. Without that link our war on Iraq and the thousands of American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives lost was meaningless. Do I say something?

    How do I say something?

    Perhaps someday they will come to torture me. Maybe I will be in the wrong place at the wrong time and will be arrested. And no one will say anything, because sometimes its just better to let things pass and move on.

    Quoting Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson: “Death, Mr. Chairman, seems to me to be the ultimate torture, indisputable and final.”

    Wilkerson made this appropriate comment in a June 18, 2008 testimony to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties House Committee on Judiciary Affairs United States House of Representatives.

    Rewind to the Torture of 9/11 when 3,000 innocents were murdered. Then consider the ongoing torture of thousands of family members who continue to be denied the justice of a criminal investigation into the biggest crime of mass murder in American History. After all, the torture of 9/11 was the pretext to all the torture that followed.

    If death by mass murder is the ultimate torture, Moyer's "Journal" is obligated to expose the truth about 9/11 including the hard evidence that concludes the Twin Towers and WTC 7 were planted with high-tech, nano-thermitic explosives days before the terrorizing event of 9/11/2001.

    Why has exposing the torture of 9/11 remained "off the table" at PBS for so long? Not only do we need to know where the torture stops, we need to know where it began.

    The Citizens in New York City ( have gathered more than enough signatures for a ballot initiative to demand a new investigation into the events of 9/11 in Manhattan. These patriots are looking for answers even while the media refuses to discuss the topic.

    Mr. Moyers, please tell us about the "torture" which was the mass murder of 9/11/2001.

    Quoting Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson: “Death, Mr. Chairman, seems to me to be the ultimate torture, indisputable and final.”

    Wilkerson made this appropriate comment in a June 18, 2008 testimony to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties House Committee on Judiciary Affairs United States House of Representatives.

    Rewind to the Torture of 9/11 when 3,000 innocents were murdered. Then consider the ongoing torture of thousands of family members who continue to be denied the justice of a criminal investigation into the biggest crime of mass murder in American History. After all, the torture of 9/11 was the pretext to all the torture that followed.

    If death by mass murder is the ultimate torture, Moyer's "Journal" is obligated to expose the truth about 9/11 including the hard evidence that concludes the Twin Towers and WTC 7 were planted with high-tech, nano-thermitic explosives days before the terrorizing event of 9/11/2001.

    Why has exposing the torture of 9/11 remained "off the table" at PBS for so long? Not only do we need to know where the torture stops, we need to know where it began.

    The Citizens in New York City ( have gathered more than enough signatures for a ballot initiative to demand a new investigation into the events of 9/11 in Manhattan. These patriots are looking for answers even while the media refuses to discuss the topic.

    Mr. Moyers, please tell us about the "torture" which was the mass murder of 9/11/2001.

    Harold Saive, Gainesville, Fl

    Interesting program. I kept wondering when the soldiers and cia were going to torture these animals. Thank GOD we had Bush and Cheney watching over this country for the last seven years. Seems as if Obama also gets it. Didn't Obama reserved the right to order enhanced interrogation. This type of program is anti American verging on treason. It exposes a foolish mind set that will give our enemies more motivation to kill innocent Americans. Maybe you can make a documentary on how the enhanced interrogations saved American lives.

    I hope the EVANGELICALS, the so called CHURCH, that ensured Bush/Cheney's 8 years are happy.
    I believe this show will help open the national perspective, and help bring about the possibility for "political will" to have an effect on the issue of torture.
    Will those CHRISTIANS who made "value judgements" to elect these scumbags apologize?
    We know where Pat Robertson stands, in the psycho section, but I haven't heard anything about right wing Christians who have been standing behind anti abortion, while touting bombings, and now to the light of day, torture and murder.
    Go figure

    Thank you for the good work that you do. My feeling is that if we allow those who perpetrated these crimes to walk away without answering for them, then shame on us. The attitude of "Well, we've got too many other pressing issues to deal with right now" isn't any excuse, and frankly the program shown made me sad, ashamed, and seeth with anger. No one should be (or is) above the law of the land.

    Dear Mr. Moyers
    You show us videos of human torture on Friday night television and then ask us to debate it's rightiousness on your Blog? You made me sick Bill or is it Just mankind?




    Anton Grambihler, you forgot the last requirement:

    3. Must never have served as a CIA Director and befriended the House of Saud. This would include any of your offspring (retarded or intelligent).

    Samuel Beau, if I agreed with you and said Pelosi cannot be trusted, would you agree to the same about Bush?

    I appreciate what DC Eddy said 5/29 about the "deterioration of respect for human life." Sadly he's right, and it doesn't stop there. That same lack of respect is evident in the way we treat nature, and the planet that sustains us. Not much is sacred anymore, clearly reflected in our popular culture, or as some call it "our way of life." We just don't seem to know where to draw the line on many things, and now our leaders have muddied the water on torture. If protecting us or our way of life includes or requires debauched, cruel, dispicable, anti-Christian treatment of human beings then count me out. That's not the America I grew up in or love, and none of the out of touch, incompetent losers that created this shameful blight on our country speak for me. Based on the many thoughtful, concerned comments posted here I'm not alone, and I join each and every one of you expecting the perpetrators of torture and war crimes to be held accountable. It doesn't take a saint to recognize inhumanity. Some of the images of detainees at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo looked like Holocaust victims, or, our POW's at Bataan. It's plain evil, and flat ignorant militarily. Sure, you have to deal w/the "worst of the worst", but abide by international law, not Cheney's. And fine, I get not prosecuting errand boys just doing their job (a horrible job unless your a sadist or monster). But topdown? Absolutely. There's a place called The Hague that's perfectly suited to try war criminals, unless they're too busy lecturing, or selling books. That's the place, in fact Sadaam Hussein should have been delivered to had the previous administration had the wisdom, but we got Shock and Awe. The rest is history, but we're still paying for it, along w/millions on two fronts including refugees, and our children to come. Bush and his pals may be out of the White House, but they're not gone. Their legacy in the War on Terror permeates our lives, and hovers like a dark cloud over our future. Like Climate Change, which they also bungled and denied, it can't be swept under the carpet. I can only hope out of respect for our fallen troops, America's good name, and our Founding Fathers justice, not revenge will be served up to anyone in the Bush Administration who authorized war crimes. They know who they are. Now who are we? I agree w/DC. We need to move away from the "dark side" into the light, and truth will set us free. President Obama is wise to avoid being sidetracked by Bush's follies, but this isn't the good ol' boys club either. We can't expect human rights reform from Cuba, China, Russia, or anywhere in the world if we let war criminals skate. For the record, any Republican who wants to cry foul if their former leaders are investigated, or accuse Democrats of looking backwards cares more about their political hide than real patriotism or honor. And they don't tell us when the honeymoon's over w/Obama. We're still waking up from an 8 year nightmare. We the people decide when and if it's over, and have the power to decide what to do w/war criminals, too. Just because we want to support our President doesn't mean we have to forsake core values, or our humanity. But there is clearly as big a rush to exonerate potential culprits as there was to the war that brought us here. Don't be fooled Americans. A few dead enders and the ones who colluded w/them, desperate to regain control, would love to keep the focus on torture, national security, or Nancy Pelosi. It's a ploy. That way we won't remember about the possible war profiteering to go along w/those war crimes. And of course we're all so distracted by the economy. So they sail into the sunset, unfazed or affected by their actions, actually capitalizing on them, leaving us in choppy waters, waiting hopefully for Obama to fail? This is simply immoral, and unpatriotic. The world's waiting to see who we are now. We need to ask ourselves, what do we profit if we lose our souls? It's up to the Justice Dept., a handful of truthseekers in Congress, and our voices to hold the line on torture, and past and future war crimes. It is high time to fight the good fight. Thank you Bill Moyers for all your excellent work, if only there were a 1000 of you. And please forgive me for running long. This "issue" is so mind boggling, beneath us as a country, and particularly disgusting when we're losing the War on Climate Change. So many distractions, not enough resolve and action. When trying to find our moral compass on torture and the broader implications I'm reminded of a quote by you in '04. "What we need is what the ancient Israelites called 'hotchma', the science of the heart, the capacity to see, to feel, and then act as if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does."

    This show is a good example of why all people hired, appointed, or elected to any office or position in the United States Government must be:

    1. Born as citizens of the United States to parents that are 100% Citizens of the United States.

    2. Must have always remained 100% citizens of the United States.

    pure treason is what this video is these are our enemy they would do far worse to us

    this is the most blatant form of crap and bleeding hear propaganda

    The other news outlets are owned by corporations, corporation that now own and control the government for their own benefit. Not for the good of the people or even for the good of the country, but to satisfy their own greed. they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Any reporter that would dare tell the truth would soon find him or herself blacklisted from the profession. The press is not the independent entity that the founders knew. It is now wholly owned by the same corporations that hold greater power to choose and finance whoever will do their bidding for public office to such a degree that the people no longer have a voice. Until the constitution is amended or the Supreme court reverses it's own decision that corporation no longer are considered persons and only those eligible to actually cast a vote are allowed to influence the outcome of the electoral process we are stuck with a few CEO and board members running the country. As long as corporation can buy and pay for putting people like Bush into power and and that only a few corporation control the entire media we will never get any better than we got during the last administration. It will always be in these corporation best financial interest that the people never know the truth. In this cases their financial interest outweighed the death and torture of so many. Check to see how Shell and Chevron are still fighting lawsuit over murder and torture when people got in the way of their profits. It is another interesting story that includes our own government cooperation to increase their bottom line.

    Sadly, Torturing Democracy and all this dialogue are merely singing to the choir. Cathartic perhaps, but pointless. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush et al will never be held accountable. Presidential pardon was their back up plan all along. "American Justice" is an oxymoron. The Constitution is, at best, whatever the Supreme Court says it is & the rule of law is a lie!

    It's so refreshing & encouraging to see a program like Bill Moyer's Journal with the courage to expose this most sinister & corrupt administration and their violation of the Geneva Convention with their authorization of these most brutal tortue methods.
    Where are the other news programs and talk shows, and why are they not screaming bloody murder about this. International law has been violated - why is there no enforcement?
    Thank you for once again making this most important programming available to the public. I have been a regular contributer to PBS and every time I see such important programming such as "Tortuing Democracy", I feel obligated to again make a very generous donation to support this most wonderful station. I only wish more people would turn off the "garbage" TV programs and watch this very educational programing.

    Excellent, excellent show. MSNBC might show something like this, but CNN and FauxNews would never do it.

    The show only touched on psy-ops, so it would have been great to have seen an interview with someone in their chain-of-command (some say psy-ops used Berg as a distraction from the Gitmo photos). Right after the Gitmo photos were released, Lynndie England blames her actions on psy-ops, but ever since then, I haven't heard her say psy-ops once.

    Carl Martin and others assume that those imprisoned in Gitmo are enemy soldiers. In fact, most of the men were guilty of nothing more than being at the wrong place at the wrong time. For starters, they weren't soldiers. Remember the line about many of them simply being shepherds? And remember that a large number have been released without charges being laid against them or, if laid, proven. Note, also, that the FBI refused to be involved in these torture-based interrogations because they know, and said, that torture does not produce solid, true or useful information.

    Well, this documentary, "Torturing Democracy," begins to bring us closer to speaking and thinking clearly about what the Cheney/Bush Administration and the US Congress have done to our Constitution over the past eight years--and the damage hasn't stopped yet, though Obama seems to be winding some of it down.

    Here's the very clear bottom line, for me:

    The US War Crimes statute, 18 USCode §2441 et sequitur, makes it a felony to torture prisoners taken under color of "war", violating our own laws and the Geneva conventions ratified as our own laws--which makes them equally "the supreme law of the land," as the Constitution puts it.

    Further, the same statute permits the application of the death sentence in cases were torture results in the death of the prisoner. There have been, so far, about 110, 120 deaths of prisoners in our prisoner of war camps, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Baghram Air Base, wherever else.

    Of that number, according to a couple of the folks in the video, like Wilkerson, about 24 of those deaths have been ruled homicides already by government (US-type) investigators.

    So here is the possibility: former President Bush II, Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenent, Yoo, etc., have qualified themselves to stand trial for violation of the US War Crimes Act. Several members of Congress are also quite likely complicit in these crimes, to the extent they participated in or forwarded the conspiracy to commit or cover up these crimes.

    Of course, we need a team of special prosecutors appointed to bring on these criminal actions against former and current government officials.

    And if tried and convicted, some could be sentenced to death. The likelihood remains great that President Obama would pardon some or all of the convicts, or commute their death sentences, if any, to life in prison, or, heck, maybe just house arrest for a couple of weeks.

    For my own part, I would be very proud of this country and its citizens and officials if we all demanded that the Constitution be followed and our laws enforced, that we continue to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

    And execute Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Yoo, Addington, Frasier, etc., should they be convicted and sentenced to death. And that's even before we have an independent investigation of the events before, during and after 9/11/2001, in which many of these same officials were very likely involved. Surely this documentary should begin to give us all a hint as to how far above the law these folks think/thought they are/were, how willing to lie about crimes having been and still being committed, how willing to cover up those crimes they have been and still are, particularly in Cheney's case, to this very day.

    I think no other outcome would do more for the United States, its citizens and our standing in the world than to demonstrate in this manner that no man or woman is above the law, to its fullest and most majestic extent, even to execution. I don't support execution, but neither do I condone murder, torture, wars of aggression, slaughter of non-combatants in illegal wars, etc.

    If we had the videotapes of the 83, or 183 waterboardings we subjected our prisoners of war to, following the orders of the President, Vice President and so on down the line, I doubt a jury would take more than an hour to deliberate its verdict.

    (And isn't it nice to finally hear people in high places call torture "torture," and waterboarding "drowning"? High time we enforced our laws and stopped using lies, propaganda and euphemism in our daily reporting of the activities of people in high places, no?)

    My father fought and was captured at Bataan, and thereafter spent three and a half years in Japanese prison camps, while my mother lived in Manila under Japanese occupation. My uncle, whose name I proudly share, died as a gunner in a B-24. Our torturing has tarnished their sacrifices and the sacrifices of countless others. I take some small comfort in the principled stand of The Judge Advocates General and their military lawyers during the past eight years, but we need this out and to apologize as a nation to the international community for our failure to uphold the ideals for which so many before us sacrificed so much.

    Torture is never justified. The fact that we are even having this debate shows just how sick our society has become.

    Of course torture doesn't keep us safe from terrorism. Torture is itself a form of terrorism.
    Torture is a political tool. The goal is to get a confession. It is irrelevant whether the confession is true or not. The confession is then used as a justification for war, spying, imprisonment, more torture, etc.

    If there is another false flag staged terror attack, they would likely strengthen Obama. Support the troops and all that drivel. Terror incidents are also a political tool. 9/11 was carried out to lead America in a certain direction. And America has for the most part been very willing to follow along. We are willing to trash the Constitution and really everything that this country is supposed to stand for because our leaders claim that's what we need to do if we want to be safe. And yet so many still do not realize that it is these leaders who are the greatest danger to this country.

    Jaycie, I too have seem reports on other sources that unlimited punishment for the slightest infraction (read torture) continues as does rendition, 600 detainee at Bagram, warrant less domestic wiretapping without a hitch, ETC. And amrita he does give such good speeches that at time it is for just a moment forget that his action have been to adopt wholesale the practices put in place by the Bush Administration as his own. Above all he intends to shield from prosecution those that came up with them lest he be stopped form continuing them himself. From what he has done so far it would seem we are in for four years of Bush 44. But that is the problem we have been considering. What happen if Bush is just given a pass after what he did. As I see it if they are allowed to do it to them it will next be done to us.

    One thing I forgot in my previous post: In case you thought that torture was no longer going on at Gitmo, think again. There is a very good article by Jeremy Scahill, Torture Continues at Guantanamo Bay, on the Truthout.Org website. This very important article has not gotten nearly the exposure it should have.

    It seems that someone has forgotten what the Geneva Convention signees expected from the nations that signed with the intent of halting certain practices. However, the dumb seem to think that all: nations, terrorists, and especially those who live via the work of others

    I am very, very angry about the torture that has been done in our name, and the effect that this is going to have on all of us for decades. I wish that one of the human rights organizations like ACLU would file a class action lawsuit against the Bush Administration on our behalf (I would certainly sign a petition to do so!)and force everything pertinent to be revealed and for those responsible to be held accountable. Otherwise, how can we ever begin to regain our once good name? I also wish that those musicians who own the rights to the music used in our torture program would sue for copyright violation of their rights over their property. If we don't come to terms with what has been done in our name, this will continue to fester and poison our whole society. What would have happened if we had just let the Nazis go free after WW II? This may be different in size, but not in the scope of its horror. We were once considered the moral leader of the world, but we have lost that and will not ever regain our good name unless and until we deal with this and demand justice on behalf of those tortured.

    U.S. Law makes it clear torture of those held by the military is a clear violation of said Law. In my opinion Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are guilty of ordering torture and violationg the Geneva Convention, Artile 3.

    All three of said persond should be tried for these crimes in a US Court of Law.

    I voted for him and so far I'm very disappointed in Obama as a leader on this and many other issues. I've already forgotten his campaign slogan....I think it was something about "change"....

    After watching the excerpts of Torturing Democracy, I sent the following to
    If President Obama has not viewed the documentary Torturing Democracy at least twice, then called in the heroes who spoke out about the immorality and illegality of the treatment of prisoners by agents of the U.S., then he needs to. If, after viewing, he can still say that we should move beyond the terrible decisions and actions of the prior administration and The Pentagon, then he needs to explain to the American people what he will do to be sure nothing remotely similar to what was done from 2001-'06 could ever, ever happen again. Any American who knows anything about rendition to places like Thailand, where I served in the Peace Corps, for which we need to apologize to the Thai people, any American who has learned about the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, any American who knows what rape of the Constitution has occurred in the name of protecting the nation has to be profoundly scarred, humiliated, and embarrassed. People need to be held accountable, no matter who they are or how many there are. That's the only way this country will get its conscience and good name back.
    As I've said before, if America doesn't deal with this black mark, somewhere someone else will - and I am sure that there are many Americans who know what occurred who will relish the chance to testify - not against their country, but on its behalf.
    Respectfully, watch that documentary!!

    Agreed, Lisa Hedley. Unfortunately, evolution is a torturously slow process. We may self-destruct before the objective is attained. Thanks anyway for making the case. Meanwhile, those of such a mind have much work to do, starting with self.

    Sam, you may see this as hatred for Bush, When we refer to the need for prosecution it is no different than call for the trial to prove the guilt or innocence of anyone accused of committing a crime. They have already admitted that they tortured people and the only argument left is over whether you are going to refer to it in a euphemistic way or call it what it was and to determine whether or not it was in fact a crime.

    I think they should bring the prisoners here from gitmo and send Bush, Cheney, & Romsfield there and subject them to the same torture the inmates recieved. At the very least they should be tried for war crimes.

    Mr Beau, If Pelosi is involved, then she should also be made accounted for her actions. I guess this has to repeated again. This is not a partisan subject. If Obama did this on his charge, I'm sure Bill Moyers would have still presented this program. This is not about parties. It is the wrongs that people we put in power have done to our country. I would sincerely hope that you and everyone in our country would question our leaders, whatever party that is in power. When you agree with everything one party does,be it Democratic or Republican, then you are doing an injustice to our liberty and freedom. Our country then becomes a dictatorship. Following blindy one person or group.

    Another dramatization by humanity claiming its wrong doings and for what I feel ashamed as being part of it .Torture will always be is just one of the many ways in the plan to acquire and maintain power, by the men who thrive for it. As a nation led by our greed, we like to stick our nose where it doesn't belong.We like to want to change others culture, religion, geography, abuse of their naivete, their natural resources, stir turmoil within.. politically, support their criminals, and sell them arms to fight those criminals, use them as guinea pigs with our bad medicine.Fill their counters with crap that we don't need.. no less them, make it difficult for others to enter this country, but its ok for us to go where ever we please, with just a passport. etc. etc.And then expect for everyone to receive us we wide open arms. We are in the mouth of the dragon, and as we can see by our current state of affairs, we don' even respect our own, all in the name of the all mighty dollar,( not so mighty now.) We just love to throw this power around and set bad examples. Like they say "Don't let the door hit you in the rear. Lets not forget... the most powerful is he who never has to use his power.

    V Monheiser, are you referring to the tax evaders that “Mr. Change” appointed to office?

    Sam, I did not get that information from Moyers or any other corporate press. One source that I recall hearing it on was Democracy Now. It has no corporate allegiance.

    Our nation has done a dreadful thing but the thing that concerns me right now is that President Obama seems unwilling to do what must be done if we are ever to the rest of the world in the eye with pride and dignity. We are a nation of laws, he had said that so many times. But if that is true then how can he simply try to ignore criminal behavior by our highest officials. They must be investigated, tried, and punished. Otherwise what do we tell our children? It is OK for some (higher ups) but not for the rest of us.

    The need on my part is not to hit back or seek vengeance. It is simply a fact of history that every time something happened in the past and was just swept under the rug to be forgotten about rather than hold those responsible to account it has come back redoubled by those that learned how to do a better job of covering up even worse deeds. As with any court case a previous decision determine future cases. If Bush gets away with trashing the constitution and the bill of rights that precedent becomes our future.

    SHE’S the speaker of the house, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. There were a total of 40 briefings over a period of several years on enhanced interrogation techniques. Yeah, if you believed the propaganda from Moyer’s, you’d believe anything, as long as you can focus your hatred on Bush.

    To Mr. Beau, I'd like to suggest that one of the greatest achievements of human beings is our ability to evolve, to choose to consciously evolve into a better kind of being. That is, a being who treats others with kindness and dignity. Regardless of whether torture has been used for centuries, haven't human beings evolved enough to work towards a greater respect for life? Does history teach us nothing? If we torture others, then we are no better than those who flew planes into the World Trade Center. Because we cannot eradicate terrorism when we have terrorism in our own hearts. We lead by example and this is not the example we want to set for our children. We should know how to communicate by now, we've had plenty of time to grow into better beings. This really isn't an issue of partisan politics as it seems you are making it, it's a question of morality. It's a question of moving into a global community that's based on cooperation and collaboration and we will never get there if we harbor an "us or them" mentality.

    As a former South African, I would like to suggest that the US could learn a lot by taking a look at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that followed the end of apartheid. I believe there are some valuable insights about healing that the US could use at this point.

    These blog comments are convincing evidence for me that we Americans are hopelessly wed to a perception of current reality that requires good guys and bad guys, reds and blues, conservatives and liberals, etc., ad infinitum. For those who claim that America is a Christian nation, when do we imitate Christ and work to change the reality? Torture, however defined, is but one manifestation of our need to "play" God. Violence begets violence. Is hitting back the only workable strategy?

    And you must also keep in mind that Bush killed more american in Iraq than died on 9/11.

    I agree with Ted Markow and those who have the sense to see that becoming animals ourselves isn't in our country's best interest or the safety of our troops. I keep hoping that we learn from past mistakes and evolve into better people...but then there are those like Jane and Samuel who have to show that ignorance and hate still exist.
    Bill Moyers is a good journalist that isn't bluffed by those only in for the power and money like Chaney & the cheap sensationalists like Rush.
    By the is only an one hr. show out of hundreds. No one forgets those who suffered in New York...but excusing our own lynch mob mentality to pre-judge and treat others cruelly does not bring them back but instead tears down who we are and gives more excuse for Americans to be hated.

    Nancy Pelosi was exonerated by all but the republican when another member of congress who keeps detailed note of his daily activity. On three of four occasion the CIA claimed they briefed him on the touture he had proof he was elsewhere.

    Torture is never morally justified. Those who reserve the right to reduce the dignity of human life or to deny due process of justice, only serve to degrade their own souls by undermining the human potential for unconditional love and compassion. We are on a collision course with a global banquet of consequences and this kind of behavior only serves to reinforce the reasons human survival looks bleak.

    I am ashamed to call myself an American on the heels of the Bush administration. I am ashamed that there is even a debate about the validity of so-called "interrogation techniques." What kind of a democracy do we live in if we condone this kind of behavior in those we elect? We are responsible! We, the people, need to reclaim our democracy: the people shouldn't fear their government; government should fear the people. The only way out is awareness despite our fear and the only way to alleviate fear is to face it head on.

    C.Tomlyns, just curious, why no mention of Nancy Pelosi and interegating her?

    Samuel Beau, I did in fact live through that period. That we had Bush 43 proves we learned nothing.

    Wayne, the last time our country had your ideals in the White House, we had the Mariel Boatlift, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, an ill-fated military rescue attempt that was aborted at “Desert One,” the assassination of Anwar Sadat, high inflation, high unemployment, an energy crisis, cancellation of U.S. participation in the Summer Olympics and adultery in the President’s heart. But take heed, we learned from our mistake and elected Ronald Wilson Reagan. Pride comes before a fall. Just ask Jimmy.

    I think that Bush,Cheney and Rumsfeld should be subjected to the enhanced interrogation that they are so fond of, to find out what they knew about pre 911,911, and the anthrax scare that kept the U.S. populous unbalanced during that period. I dont buy the fact that torture is necessary under any circumstances. It disgusts me. but I also believe my country would follow the U.S. given our present government. Sow the wind and you will reap the whirlwind. We never seem to learn.

    I would suggest that Samuel Beau and those who think in the same way should consider that the next time a police officer looks your way you might be next to find out first hand whether it is torture.

    Carl, We put to death the people who tortured(waterboarded)during WW 2. Oh excuse me, throwing some water on their faces. Having your arms above your head, even when lying down, is very painful. Try it for about 15 mins. Please do not minimize these "interrogations". It was wrong for our country to be involved in this and we should just admit it. We are not perfect and we should be able to face what we have done and try and change it.

    Very good, Robert. Would you like cherry or grape? How ‘bout some nice sugar cookies.

    Thank you for the link, Robert.

    As several people who are familiar with both SERE tactics and military justice noted in the Moyers piece, torture (let's stop beating around the Bush) does nothing to get information. What it does do is show the world that our actions do not reflect how we portray our country. The other thing our use of torture does is to expose our servicepeople to the use of torture by other nations. Not a very patriotic thing to do.

    When Bush & Cheney were still in office I thought they deserved to be impeached. Now I think it would be more appropriate for them to be charged with war crimes. It's clear that the laws they have broken go way beyond the laws of our country. Their actions and those of Rumsfeld, John Woo and Alberto Gonzales have disgraced out nation and dishonored our soldiers, especially those who lost their lives to fight in an unjust war. It would be nice to be able to just look forward, unfortunately, the sins of our past are too grave to sweep under the rug.

    Just a small post script to a fine program:
    If you wonder if torture is effective or necessary, look at the New York Times item in

    It is the statement of a former FBI officer who oversaw more traditional interrogation methods.

    I was sickened and very angry over tonights program on so called torture. Its really rough that Gitmo prisioners of war, were hung up by their arms, had lights shine on them and had a little water poured on them!! Ask any veteran of WW2, Vietman, or Korea what torture is. How many times was McCains arms broken? My father was in WW2 and saw US soldiers have their fingernails pulled out, priviate parts put in a vise, bones broken, beaten daily and starved. Our soldiers in Iraq are beaten and beheaded! Learn the true meaning of torture, then shut up!! We should execute every enemy soldier at Gitmo. Period!!!!!

    Thank you Ted, I knew you would lower yourself to name calling and ASSUME I listen to Rush. (watch? … with sound up? … you mean LISTENED with the sound … HA!) You PBSers think you have a high I.Q., but you sit and listen to the Moyer Thought Regulator and don’t question him.

    If you believe that “The end justifies the means.”, which by the way is Dick Cheney’s recent TV campaign, then you must also accept that the inhumanity of torture is acceptable for our own soldiers, (your sons and daughters) as you cannot have it both ways.

    We decided and agreed that torture is not acceptable for anyone no matter what country or war. Justice in America is not based on the premise of an “eye for an eye” without any regard for law, due process or humanity.

    My own question is: How long will it take before a police department ends up before the Supreme Court for its use of "enhanced interrogation" pleading that no one in the Bush Administration was prosecuted for water boarding, why should we now be prosecuted for only a minor act of hanging this, BAD GUY' by the wrists for a few hours? It was determined during that administration that this was not torture and that they were not prosecuted proves that they were right.

    If those who authorized torture are not prosecuted the next logical step is that it is acceptable to use here on the citizens of this country simply by claiming that they are criminals and so they are 'BAD GUYS' not worthy of such luxuries like protection of their right. Because they are 'BAD GUYS' or they would not have been arrested to begin with you might as well use these techniques to get them to confess to their crime and save the cost of a trial. Never mind that such confessions are usually untrue and that for many just being interrogated for hours without let up is sufficient to get them to accuse an innocent man of a crime just to get it to stop (Troy Davis presently sets on death row for just this reason and the Georgia courts refuse to hear testimony from the witnesses who have recanted their accurization of Mister Davis citing the coercive interrogation by the police and their need to make that stop as the reason they accused who the police wanted them to accuse including one who could not read the document he was signing and all of whom were threatened with future police action because all were in one way or another vulnerable to such threats because of their own prior run in with the law and so could be manipulated to make any claim their interrogator wanted). If the members of the Bush Administration are not prosecuted the precedent has been established for anyone suspected of a crime to be subject to these techniques. After all, it has now been proven and affirmed by the lack of prosecution that what was done was not really touture after all.

    My reading of the Constitution is that Article 1, section 9 prohibits the Congress from passing ex post facto laws except in very limited cases, none of which are to protect the highest officials of the land from prosecution.

    We decent-minded and regretful citizens must (!) insist on a Truth Commission, armed with the force of law and the expectation of due process and suitable punishment for the guilty. Torture is not and was not legal. We must see that it is punished.

    Susan, you’re drinking the Moyer’s PBS Kool-Aid.
    Posted by: Samuel Beau

    Considering that Chaney referred to 9/11 and Terror some 17 times in his recent speech, a tactic used by the Bush administration repeatedly over the past 8 years, it's not surprising that the lynch mob mentality still permeates the herd. If anyone has over dosed on Kool-Aid, it's the 28% of the population who still think Bush\ Chaney did a great job killing over 4000 additional Americans while creating endless debt !

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    I'm sorry to see that Rush's Dittoheads have found your forum. Had they watched your show with the sound up, they would have noted that many of the tortured detainees had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, nor did Iraq.

    I was aghast to see what our country is capable of, as I am aghast at reading the blather of people who have diligently trained themselves not to think critically.

    I don't seem to get this moral nonsense. Don't see anything on TV about the 3,000 plus fellow citizens incinerated on 9/11. Don't even see their names anymore, who cares only over 3,000 innocent families who's lives are changed forever just because they were Americans. Yet today none of the prisoners that were caught has been executed. We will continue to suffer the drippy faucet of terrorism because of the constant second guessing those who have the guts to do what is necessary to protect us. Want to know what torture is see if you can hold your pinky in an open flame for ten seconds then remember your fellow citizens who died burning to death. We sit hear crying over people who don't care about human life at all and don't shed any tears for are dead neighbors. Why don't we ask the living relatives how they feel that all of the terrorists responsible for planning 9/11 are still breathing fresh air.

    Well then Ted Markow, by your definition Nancy Pelosi is a war criminal. NO denying!

    Susan, you’re drinking the Moyer’s PBS Kool-Aid. “If everyone’s thinking the same thing, then nobody’s thinking!” Blame it on the White House, that’s exactly what your Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi wants you to think (She had just as much power and knowledge). Yet another great opportunity for an expose ... Pelosi and T (bend over and take it) Boone Pickens wind energy scam.

    The longer America goes without serving justice for war crimes committed by the highest officials of the Bush Administration, the longer Americans will be complicit in war crimes.

    What we saw in this story is humanity at its worst, and officials with no checks on them. They were, and are, war criminals and must be brought to justice.

    Fascism is no longer some abstract term from a world war six decades earlier, it has once again been brought to life by self-righteous leaders who ignore the rule of law as they proclaim that God is on their side. Considering that both Democrats and Republicans are involved in promoting this behavior, can we really be surprised that the current administration is packed with hold overs and following in the tracks of the previous one.

    I recently visited with an old friend who just returned from years of living and working in Germany. It seems that after their direct involvement in two world wars in the last century, they moved to implement mandatory public school instruction on recognizing elements of fascism in their culture. Not a bad idea for this country along with the return of classes on civics and the US Constitution; if we still have one !

    Thank-you Samual Beau for your great post!!

    I am amazed at all the information you aquired for this topic?? ie: the female soldier smearing blood on the face of some detainee.It makes me sick that the media is so more focussed on the treatment of terrorists then it is on 3,000 American's who died, by these terrorists. Jumping out windows to save ones life is torture. This show was nothing but an hour of bashing Bush and ignoring the fact that he did his best to keep another tradgedy in America from happening. It showed pity for terrorists and and zero praise for the military which is an everyday occurance from the left ,bias media.......

    Bush and Cheney should be tried for war crimes, because they have done more to promote terrorism than Bin Laden. Obama should release the photographs. Only by honestly owning up to our dreadful mistakes will America have even the vaguest chance of regaining its moral authority. Americans suffer because the actions of these men promote vengence, brutality and retaliatory acts. When will we learn?--the world has grown smaller. We must live together peacefully on the planet. Every human being on earth is entitled to the dignity and due process and human rights codified in our Constitution but so often ignored, overruled and violated by our own government recently. The evil Bush, Cheney and their apologists have unleashed upon the world will take decades to rectify. Shame on America! Shame! I know I sound like Jonathan Edwards, but the damage these men have wreaked has reached truly biblical proportions!

    HORRENDOUS PROPAGANDA! 20 years from now, communications students will watch this episode and look back with shame at Mr. Moyers. If you want to educate the public (PBS?) and expose a REAL “cover up,” then focus your cameras and one-sided monologue on the Democrats and the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam that caused our Economic Crisis. WHERE’S your story about Obama and the money he took and what he gave in return … then there’s Barney Frank. Lot’s of material there William that you and P?BS haven’t covered yet. "...or so they tell us!" (Some journalist. HA!)

    Torture has obviously been considered as immoral and illegal as evidenced by Article 3 of the Geneva Convention and the US laws cited in "Torturing America." One might as well ask "Is speeding, or murder or theft immoral?" Human beings may want to rationalize the wrong that they do, but rationalization is not morality.

    Interrogation techniques reverse engineered from those intended to elicit false confessions have no value to the intelligence community. The information gathered can only be used for propaganda purposes.

    Recently two American women journalists were captured by North Korea and labeled as spies. When the US inquired as to their well-being the North Koreans replied, "We are not Guantanamo." How ironic that one of the totalitarian regimes that used the techniques the US has chosen to adopt can throw Guantanamo Bay in our face.

    My concern right now is that the Obama Administration seems to have lost the drive to put an end to all "enhanced interrogation" and has said that no one would be prosecuted for what was done during the past eight years. Perhaps they fear a backlash like the one unleashed on the Clinton Administration when the smallest infraction was blown up into a "Gate." I fear that which is politic will keep us from doing that which is right according the law.

    Robert's statement about the beheadings has reinforced my belief that people are the same no matter where they live. The people who did the beheadings had the same mindset. An eye for an eye. Torture for torture. When does it stop. All these actions,beheadings and "enhanced interrogation", are attrocities. Bill Moyers is not ignoring the beheadings, he is just showing us our own inhumanity since we are always shown other nation's. We are suppose to be better than that. That's what we are told.

    So, after seeing this documentary there is no discussion of prosecution? What's missing here??
    Torture = War Crimes = The One's Who Authorized Torture Go To Jail.

    If this country does not prosecute those responsible, how can ANY U.S. citizen (or citizen of the world) trust our leaders again?

    It is simply beyond words to imagine that no one will be held accountable for what took place under the shield of the American flag.

    My children will remember -- I'll make sure of that.

    I don't like torture anymore than anyone else, nor think it particularly useful, but the plain fact is that it has been used for eons, and not just by those bearing the names of Inquisitors, Gestapo or NKVD, and, secondly it really is not possible to treat one's enemies differently from how they would treat you. The morality of warfare reached a high point in the 18th c, which it has not seen since, but even then the British left American soldiers to linger stuffed like slaves in prison ships in New York harbor where many of them died, and North and South were no better to each other in the Civil War. Many Indians routinely 'abused' captives before killing them. Africans enslaved Africans, etc, etc. Grow up.

    Torture is criminal. I find it hard to even listen to discussion on the topic. I feel badly for our soldiers, my son included, this will affect them for many years. Torture is criminal, and always wrong, 9/11 or war, or, or, or, it's always wrong.

    This has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat. Torture is about human values, moral values.

    Bush Cheney where were you in the Abu Ghraib trials,If you thought this was right?

    Why do you not mention anything about the beheadings by these terrorist? You are evidently a real true Christian man, ie turn the other cheek...this stuff has been going on for thousands of years and whom are you to tell how to do anything when your butt is on the line...have you ever been close to death Mr. Moyers?

    If they did it to your mother or your child would it be justified enhanced interrogation or would it be torture? There's always someone who will authorize what would otherwise be illegal or immoral.

    Torture is torture. Period. Hence the definition of the word. Its use might bring fear or loathing or even compliance but, not cooperation which is needed in valid intel gathering. Of course, if we allow a real investigation into this issue, we will find that we have been governed by war criminals the past several years. Admitting that would not be easy to swallow. It would be on a par with WWII crimes we were eager to point out and prosecute. It may or may not be a goose and gander thing nonetheless,
    pointing a finger at ourselves would be an admission of guilt. The egos involved in this scenario will never allow that to happen.

    As for as political repercussions of not using torture....who's to say that using torture will ensure safety? It is the diligence of securing our borders and acquiring sound, reliable intelligence that will keep us safe.

    A compromised ideal is not worth voting for.

    I would really like to see the topic(tourture) expanded to focus more on the reality of the "war on terror" in general. The enormaous cost not just financially but the cost to our young men & women.

    Bill, please... give "Winter Soldier" some air time to tell thier side of the war.

    Check U-tube for "Just another Tuesday" Winter Soldier Southwest.

    Please spread the word for these kids!!!

    Torture endangers America by inspiring more terrorists. A security policy that creates more terrorists than it catches is counterproductive. Torture is excellent if you want to get people to confess to anything you want, and of very little use when obtaining useful intelligence.

    There will always be people to whom the end justifies the means, people so fearful that they will ignore the humanity of their fellow human beings in exchange for the illusion of safety. Those people will prefer the person who takes dramatic action, even if it’s actually counterproductive, and showing moral restraint will never please them. We just have to outvote them.

    While torturing people is an indication of lack of moral behavior and human compassion; it is only a small part of the overall deterioration of respect for human life.
    Instead of fiction being a reflection of reality; reality is a reflection of fiction. Our entertainment has become the creator of our future.
    We need a positive concept of the future or we are faced with hell on earth. The present "dark side" fixation is undermining the stability of reality.
    Uncertainty and deviant coping are becoming normal ways of life.
    We need a "light side" progressive plan for the improvement of people's lives and work that plan.
    Our technology far exceeds our civilized behavior. we need civilized behavior to prevent us from using our technology to self-destruct.

    Torture can never be morally justified. If we, as a nation, claim to hold in high regard the precepts of our founding fathers, then we must 'practice what we preach' and not resort to de-humanizing tactics to maintain our national security. Furthermore, if "enhanced interrogation" is absolutely necessary, then this nation should abandon the "In God We Trust" motto because we are neither trusting in God and God does not condone such treatment of fellow human beings.
    As far as whether information gathered from torture has kept us safe: I don't really know. Since we haven't had a major attack since 9-11 and since I am not privy to any information gathered from interrogations, I don't know if any serious threat had been thwarted. I do suspect however, that if any real threat had been stopped as a result of 'enhanced interrogation', the past administration would have had a media field day trumpeting the success of that program.
    Regarding the question of whether President Obama would suffer politically if another attack is carried out: I am sorry to say that I believe it will hurt him greatly (politically) since the torture advocates will have ammunition to support their cause.

    Somewhere in the back of my mind, I can hear my mother saying, "The ends cannot justify the means."

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