The Stench of Lying Desperation from Torture Defenders

The Stench of Lying Desperation from Torture Defenders December 12, 2014

The Definition Game–“Sure I agree that torture is wrong.  But golly gee willikers who even *knows* what torture *is* anyway?  It’s all sooooooo confusing!”–has been absolutely gutted as the principal strategy of Catholic Torture Defenders for maintaining a fake commitment to Catholic teaching while ardently defending mortal sin.  When the CIA itself calls what it is doing “torture”, it’s torture.  And when we are talking about ramming food up a man’s butt, standing on his broken leg, forcing him to stand on broken feet, drowning him till he is non-responsive, freezing him, beating him, refusing to treat bullet wounds, neglecting him till he loses an eye, playing Russian Roulette, and threatening to kill his children and cut his wife’s throat in front of him, it is no longer tenable to feign confusion.  Torture Defenders don’t even have the dignity of being a hyper-scrupulous moral idiot trying to be “fair” to torturers.  They are simply liars now if they say they are not sure what torture is.  If those horrors are not torture, there is not such thing as torture.

So, having lost their central prop for trying to square Torture Defense with the circle of the clear teaching of the Church, torture defenders now have two choices: repent their defense of mortal sin or dig into the Lie more deeply.  A number are repenting, if my comboxes and mail are any indication.  The angels in heaven rejoice over that and I thank God for it through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Others, alas most, are digging into the Lie more deeply.  There are only a few (seeming) escape routes left.

The first is the genetic fallacy.  This report was written by Democrats, ergo false! To back up this lie, the claim is made that the Report did not include the testimony of various CIA spooks.  What is overlooked is that the spooks refused to cooperate with the investigation, stonewalled, and lied:

(This, by the way, is why I support the call for Franciscan University to rescind Hayden’s honorary degree.)

Also, bear in mind that the same spooks who lied and stonewalled are now (with the willing help of the  Right Wing Noise Machine) *blaming* the investigators for not including testimony that they adamantly refused to give.  And, for a cherry on top, they also compromised Senate staffer’s computers and monitored all their communications and findings.

So the genetic fallacy, in addition to being stupid, is also a wilful lie once we are in possession of these facts.  The question is not “Who wrote the report?”  The question is “Are the facts in there copiously documented?”

Answer: yes.

Another lie Torture Defenders are desperately promoting is consequentialism: “It worked!”  Bearing in mind that “It worked!” is also the lie consequentialists tell to justify abortion as a crime-fighting measure and that the Church says “You may not do evil that good may come of it”, the secondary question is why Catholic Torture Defenders are so eager to embrace and repeat this lie.  After all, the only “reason” we are given to believe it is that the people most desperate to lie to cover their asses–the people we have just seen are lying to us–are the sole source for the vague, undocumented claim that it worked.  What the Report documents is CIA staffers themselves constantly reporting that it didn’t work and was counter-productive: that there was no intel gained that would not have been gained by conventional means.

Catholics who are eager believe and repeat the undocumented lies of documented liars in order to justify mortal sin are not in a healthy spiritual place. They should repent.

Beyond these two main pillars of the Lie are subsidiary lies.  The most heinous of them (because those to whom much is given, much will be required) is the constant attempt of “prolife” Torture Defenders to use the unborn as human shields by ringing the changes on some variation of “If you are critical of torture, you are giving aid and comfort to abortion support.”  This is also a blatant lie.  Opposition to torture is not support for abortion.  It is consistent adherence to the Church’s teaching which tells us that both abortion and torture are mortal sins.

Another popular lie is the naked and transparent attempt by the Party of Personal Responsibility to shift the blame from Torture Defenders to the *real* villains: pacifists.  The stench of such desperate lies is best lampooned this way:

First Things out-Clintons Clinton with this shameless and embarrassing lie.

Other lies include the “eye for eye/they did it first/there are worse tortures than the ones we inflicted”.  Here is Master Theologian for Torture Defenders, Rush Limbaugh, summarizing these marching orders for Catholics who get their teaching from the curdled dregs of “conservatism” and not the Church:

You know what torture is to me? Can I tell you what torture is to me? Torture to me is not all this waterboarding stuff. You know what torture is? Torture is trying to go to sleep every night with pictures in your head that your wife, your husband, your son, your daughter jumped from a top floor at the World Trade Center to his or her death rather than burn alive. That’s torture.

All of these are, for Catholics, an attempt spit right in the eye of Jesus Christ when he says:

38 ¶“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 ¶ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; 41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

43 ¶“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 ¶ You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:38–41; 43-48).

It is also, by the way, an invitation to use torture on American citizens too.  After all, not every heinous murder and crime is committed by Muslim terrorists.  Victim of domestic crime suffer torments too. If our criterion for decent behavior is “being as good as Osama bin Laden” and we think we can torture anybody we suspect is doing evil, then why not make it standard police procedure in all major criminal cases too? And make no mistake, with the help of the lies being pumped out by “conservatives” and Catholic Torture Defenders, it will be before you know it. Caesar, having proclaimed “it works” will soon ask “if it works abroad to ‘fight evil’ why not use it at home?”

Another hugely popular Lie is the Ticking Time Bomb scenario. It is a fantasy lifted from TV shows and used by people who think that watching 24 and playing Call of Duty qualifies them to pontificate on “realism” as they cheer for ordering somebody else to be forced into committing mortal sin on behalf of Caesar. The Ticking Time Bomb (“There’s a bomb under an orphanage and the hairy thug you have in custody knows where it is! Are you telling me you will let all those children *die* you liberal pansy? Some of us are not afraid to get our hands a little dirty to do the greater good!”) is a lie. TTBs virtually never happen in real life. They are constructed to keep our minds on fantasies of torture as heroic and to keep them off the reality of the cowardly filth Torture Defenders have been defending for ten years. They are designed to emotionally manipulate, not to teach virtue. The manipulation is easily exposed if you simply tweak the parameters of the carefully designed scenario:

A terrorist has vowed to detonate a bomb on 150 airplanes in flight unless 119 children are waterboarded 183 times in the next 10 hours. Are you telling me you are going to let all those people *die* you liberal pansy? Some of us are not afraid to get our hands a little dirty to do the greater good!

“Prolife” Torture Defenders always reply to this scenario with “That’s different! Children are innocent! They don’t deserve to be punished with such horrors” All that rejoinder does is expose two more huge lies of torture: that waterboarding (the only form of torture Torture Defenders want to discuss) is not torture and that the purpose of torture is “saving lives” and “gathering intel”. Baloney.  It is punishing the victim in our rage and fear. After all, if our tortures are, as Torture Defenders insist, not torture and all we *really* want is efficient intelligence-gathering, then the quickest route is to waterboard, not terrorists, but their children. The Communists, from whom we stole many of our techniques, figured that out a long time ago. Catholic Torture Defenders have not quite reached the point of defending that. But they have taken, as Chairman Mao might say, a Great Leap Forward toward it by defending the threats we made to kill the children of terrorists and to cut the throats of their wives in front of them. That is what “prolife” Catholic Torture Defenders now stand for in their flop sweat desperate lying to keep sanctifying torture. How hard it must be to kick against the goads.

Finally, the Lie persists in insisting, some way or other, that War justifies this and that We Face An Enemy Like No Other.  Bunk.

2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. “The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties.”109

2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.

If Torture Defenders could exit their fantasy world, logout of Call of Duty”, unplug from the Right Wing Lie Machine, stop getting all their talking points from liars who ordered and defended this filth for ten years and listen, not only to Holy Church, but to people who actually do interrogations, they would learn that human nature has not changed and that conventional means of interrogation are not only ethical and right, but also smart.

In conclusion, let us be plain spoken. If any Catholic continues to defend torture, he serves the father of lies and is an enemy of God. If he does not repent his lies in defense of mortal sin, he risks the everlasting fires of hell. And his condemnation will be all the more severe if he boasts of himself as a Faithful Conservative Prolife Catholic while doing this.

Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 ¶ Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. (Jn 9:40–41).

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  • Cypressclimber

    The one reasonable response to the problem of this being a partisan project, and being one-sided, is to refute the factual claims. I’ve been eagerly looking for that.

    Instead, the responses are as you say.

  • Mixed-up Chemist

    As a conservative Catholic, I want to thank you for the confident, clear voice of pointed moral challenge that I never seem to find from those on my left, within the Church or without. I have many reservations about the quality of this Committee’s report, but your barbs to the heart of the matter speak truth to my wavering Pontius-Pilate-heart nonetheless.

    I would encourage you to revisit the First Things post: pacifism – or elements of it – has replaced a real, robust Just War mentality. And we are the poorer for it.

    • pavel chichikov

      As a Russian acquaintance of mine used to say: Booolsheeet.

      Name a single war that’s been operationally fought recently using Just War theology. Or for that matter, ever.

      • Benjamin2.0

        Is this the “nobody ever follows it, so it isn’t a true principle” argument? I don’t really need a diagram to point out the gaping hole in that one. There’s more hole than argument.

        • pavel chichikov

          No, it’s not.

          In principle you should be a saint, and I support your right to be one.

          • Benjamin2.0

            Ah, I was hoping I misunderstood.

        • David W

          I think the maxim of abusus non toilet usum (abuse does not take away use) fits here.

          • chezami

            “abusus non toilet usum” was a much needed autocorrect laugh. Thanks!

            • David W

              D’oh. I thought I undid that autocorrect.
              The dangers of using a Mac I guess.

    • pavel chichikov

      Sorry, I got carried away. But still….

  • ImTim


  • HokiePundit

    As much as you want to read “or even under a ticking time bomb scenario” into CCC 2297, it’s just not there. They could easily have put it there, but they didn’t. Torture may be ineffective, it may lead to false results, it may pose a serious risk of harm to the soul of the torturer, but it’s clearly not forbidden in such a scenario.

    It also doesn’t matter how common the ticking time bomb scenario is (literal or on a lesser scale). Unless you’re prepared to say that it could never happen on any level and that even considering the range of options in such a situation is a near occasion of sin (or worse), then it’s relevant.

    I think I posted something similar to this a few years ago, and your response wasn’t to answer it but to say something like “all the cool kids talked about this back in 2003; try to keep up.”

    • Cypressclimber

      The Church calls torture intrinsically evil, yes?

      Can you cite any example where the Church allows for an intrinsic evil, that some good may come of it? Please offer quotations or citations, thanks.

      • HokiePundit

        Does it? Please cite, because CCC 2297 needs some serious unpacking if it’s your basis.

        • Cypressclimber

          Here’s Veritatis Splendor, by Pope John Paul II, with emphasis added:

          80. Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature “incapable of being ordered” to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed “intrinsically evil” (intrinsece malum): they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that “there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object”.131 The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: “Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator”.132

          FYI, the Vatican II document cited is Gaudium et Spes, n. 23.

    • chezami

      “The prohibition against torture may never be contravened.” – Pope Benedict XVI.

      The strained attempt to torture the Catechism you are attempting to put forward has been renounced by Fr. Brian Harrison, who abandoned the attempt to say what you are saying here:

      • HokiePundit

        I read Fr. Harrison’s statement from 2010 on your blog, but (and maybe this is my being an American lawyer getting in the way), it doesn’t address my argument. I’ll try to contact him, though; maybe he’ll be able to unpack what he said so as to answer my concern.

      • CatholicJames##Scott+~

        Are you sure about that Mark? That is not the full story.

        QUOTE”Nobody disputes that the CIA-approved waterboarding was a thoroughly nasty and frightening experience. However, I submit that whether or not it reached the point of torture does remain a seriously disputed question among reasonable and well-informed people. I think anyone who carefully studies with an open mind the available documentation and arguments on both sides, in regard to both the CIA and Navy SERE versions of waterboarding, will admit that ths is true, regardless of which side they personally come down on.”

        Fr. Harrison did a 180 on the idea torture would be allowed in the ticking time bomb senaro based on the ordinary teaching of Pope Benedict. But he didn’t exactly endorce the idea waterboarding was always torture in all circumstances.

        Question: Not that I am accusing anybody but is it moral to mislead others on Fr. Harrison’s true position just so one can score points against those with whom they have been having a bitter fight over this issue for almost a decade?

        St Paul himself said he who preached to others could himself be cast away. It is one thing to strongly oppose something you believe to be evil. It’s another thing to give into the very consequentalism you dispise & loose your soul over it.

        I do not intend this as a gotcha post. I am sincere here & I hope you will take this in the spirit of charity in which it was intended.

        Peace to you brother and thanks for letting me continue to post.

        I hope we can put the past behind us.

        • chezami

          Yes. The lie that drowning somebody is not torture remains immensely popular among people who are now lying that the Torture Report chronicles no tortures either.

          • Tom Sea

            Unconfirmed allegations, I admit, the worse is probably the man put into a coffin type of cell for 11 days. Still, one sided report, so like the word Mark Shea uses so much, there can be many lies in the report.

            • antigon

              Absolutely. Like the shoah, it never happened, & besides they deserved it.

        • IRVCath

          Yes, but after the reversal by Harrison, the position in that piece is that the only place where it MIGHT (might, not is) be justified is as punishment after being convicted at trial (which man’s law declares to be illegal). I sincerely doubt these men received a hearing before being sodomized, or induced to worship an idol as repugnant to any Catholic as it would be to a Muslim.

          Even if we took Fr. Harrison’s position on the matter, what our government did would still be completely, intrinsically evil. No matter how you approach it, what was done in our name contravenes God’s law and man’s law.

    • Cypressclimber

      The trouble with the “ticking time-bomb” justification is this: if it applies to torture, why doesn’t it apply to anything else that otherwise would be forbidden?

      “Unless my cheating ex-wife gets an abortion, I’m going to blow up this building”…

      “Unless you let me rape that person there, I’m going to blow up this building”…


      • Cypressclimber

        And, really, why does it have to be a whole city? How about a ticking time bomb under a school?

        Or inside a bus?

        Or an elevator with four people?

        What’s the number at which the ticking-time-bomb scenario becomes relevant?

        • HokiePundit

          I think “urgent information” is better than “ticking time bomb.” Some things, like rape, are never okay. The Church, in the prohibition on torture in CCC 2297 could have easily said “torture is always wrong,” but it chose to list times when it’s wrong, excluding one of the most common reasons.

          • Heather

            As I said in another comment, it also failed to list “for fun” as a circumstance when torture is wrong. The list is not exhaustive.

            I also don’t get how obtaining confessions is suddenly restricted to confessing “yes, I did it” only. Confessing the details of a plot or information leading to co-conspirators is still confessing.

          • chezami

            Gravely and intrinsically immoral means “always wrong”.

  • David Naas

    Mark, I am with you on this.

    (Spent/wasted yesterday on NRO trying to convince “conservatives” that this is evil, got about as far as one might expect. I don’t care about their insults — other than their lack of imagination — but their arguments are so vapid, and they simply keep iterating them, like they all have been well-catechized by Uncle Screwtape.)

    However, you might want to ‘splain “mortal sin” for the non-Catholics who browse here, and how it contrasts with “venal sin”, especially in both consequences and remedy.

    Carry on the good work here.

  • Sophia Sadek

    Mike Hayden is also famous for being at the head of NSA when it started its campaign of snooping on American citizens.

    What is your position on the torture that was committed for the Church in the dungeons of the Castel Sant’Angelo?

    • pavel chichikov

      Oh, we Catholics are all for it. We watch reenactments of it when we can take time off from heretic burnings in the parking lot after Mass.

    • pavel chichikov

      Any number can play that game. What were your ancestors up to in the 16th century?

      • Sophia Sadek

        I would not be surprised to learn that one of my ancestors had been shackled to a wall in that famous structure.

        • pavel chichikov

          As soon as I repair the time machine I’m working on, I promise to return to the 16th century and remonstrate with those torturers. That is my position.

          They will be astonished to see me there.

        • pavel chichikov

          And all of your ancestors? You know what all of them were doing four hundred years ago? You know who all of them were? That’s a lot of people to keep track of.

          Would you be surprised to find out that some of your ancestors were torturing others of your ancestors?

          • Sophia Sadek

            We are all related and there are some nasty characters in that collective family tree. Given the intellectual and economic traditions of both sides of my family, however, the likelihood of a torturer in that time frame is pretty slim.

            • pavel chichikov

              How lucky you are to have such a tradition to look back on. My maternal great grandfather was an illiterate fur trapper, and his daughter, my grandmother, started field work at the age of six. She never learned to read either.

              I pray for her almost every day.

              They say great grandfather was a jolly soul who liked a drink.

    • Dan13

      The general position is that it was immoral and wrong. You can refer to paragraph 2298 of the Catechism:

      “In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.”

    • chezami

      It was gravely and intrinsically evil. Culpability for grave sin can be mitigated by things like ignorance or lack of freedom, but the nature of the act does not change. It is always gravely and intrinsically evil.

  • linda daily

    Reading Patheos Catholic blogs is like watching immigrants arrive on Ellis Island – we get to observe Evangelical fundamentalists slowly assimilate into Catholicism, struggle with new customs, never quite leaving their native lands behind. Strange that any disciple of a torture victim would support torture in any form.

    • W. Randolph Steele

      Well put Linda. From MY perspective as a 62 year old “cradle” Catholic, they strike me as Fundamentalist’s in Catholic clothing. Another better way to put it is this: “For converts it’s about dogma. For cradles it’s about family”.
      BTW, my pedigree includes my ancestors helping to found 2 parishes in Southern Indiana, an uncle who became a founding pastor, Monsignor and adviser to our Archbishop, 2 aunts and 6 cousins who were nuns, a stint in the seminary for me and my of youngest brother, a wife who is the first African-american pastoral associate in the history of our Archdiocese, a couiple of buddies who are priests and some friends who work in the Chancelry Office. So when I read some of the comments here, I have to laugh

      • linda daily

        Hi Randolph, I agree that it can be funny to watch all the arguing over jots and tittles, with little attention paid to human torture. I’m glad Mr. Shea is championing this issue here with so many readers who are recent converts. My Ellis Island observation was actually a positive in the here-comes-everybody tradition. God in his providence knows how to bring us together and make all things work, if only we stay connected. It is about being and becoming family, as you said.

        I’m also a cradle, 51, with priests and religious in the family, and was a Trappestine novice years ago. You get a different view of things from the inside! God is good. Blessings.

        • W. Randolph Steele

          Linda, you are certainly right about getting a different view from the inside. A close friend who works downtown once said”If you want to keep your faith DON’T WORK FOR THE CHURCH” .So does my wife. I know about the fools, drunks,careerists and down right jerks(one threw a coffee cup at a staff member of his who was a friend of mine. Another was so obnoxious that he had to be removed as pastor before his entire parish left).HEN there was the very popular pastor who secretly married and killed in a traffic accident coming from her house. His parish council knew and asked him to stay instead of being being laicized. Not to mention the nearly openly gay priests that I know. Still, a couple of my closest friends are priests and they pretty good guys. They sure don’t sound like posters here especially the converts(they’re fond of calling them “The 101 percenters). Yes, we are family,but I’m afraid that some of the newer members of the family should listen to some of the stories of “how it used to be” to get a real sense of how and why things have developed the way they have and other family members feel the way they do.

          • linda daily

            Hi Randolph, I worked in a large urban parish and have many “strange but true” stories, too. Parish work is certainly a crucible to test and refine your faith! I was also a RCIA catechist and have a special love for those who enter the Church as adults. I facilitate a small Christian community group for the newly received to continue the process of growth and conversion. So many enter the Church with personal agendas and anger, it’s important to extend mystagogia and mentor healthy adult faith.

            • W. Randolph Steele

              Boy, you hit the nail on the head big time i.e persobnal agenda’s and anger.
              BTW, short after my wife began her service at the parish where she works, she over heard 2 women talking about her. One said to the other(looking around to see if anyone else was around)”You know that the new pastoral associate is COLORED”. My wife who was around the corner and out of sight, suddenly appeared and said” Hi my name is—– AND I’M AFRICAN-AMERICAN” and walked away.

  • W. Randolph Steele

    While I agree with Mark, NOTHING will change because the American people are for it or so the polling says and the CIA knows this. As long there apologists on the other side like Cheney et al ad nauseam, many will feel it it was/is justified. So all this moral outrage is just wasted verbage because those who could change this won’t.

    • chezami

      I’m not especially hoping to change the United States. I’m hoping to call Catholics to be Catholic.

      • linda daily

        Sadly, many “conservative” cradle Catholics see the Church as a religious Rotary Club. Salt-of-the-earth Fox News devotees on a local level but little attention paid to social sin or moral imperatives of discipleship. Lenten fish fries get more attention.

      • W. Randolph Steele

        Good luck with that. Catholic’s in the United States are no different that other Americans. They are AMERICAN Catholics, NOT CATHOLIC Americans.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Thus the need for the new evangelisation. Some African bishops already see North America as the missionary field…

          • W. Randolph Steele

            And good luck with THAT, too. Our diocese has had Nigerian priests and it hasn’t gone well. Because they were from different tribes, they wouldn’t even sit on the same of the room. I know this from a couple of my white priest buddies. One of the Nigerian pastored one of 2 traditionally African-american parishes and was essentially run out of it. His English was so bad , he could barely be understood and he so was so culturally different that the parishioners simply rejected him. Another was at the other parish that is now pastored by a good friend of mine who is African-American shortly before he took over. That went south pretty quickly as well for mostly the same reasons. My friend has spent the last couple of years undoing the damage he did. Plus he’s now pastoring the other parish as well.
            BTW, my wife is the first African-American pastoral Associate in the history of Archdiocese and HER views of African’s are extremely negative as are many of her African-American friends. So much so, that I was personally shocked.
            The parish my wife serves has an Indian priest who we both like a lot, but the parishioners at this parish(which is the wealthiest in the diocese)don’t. Once again, he is culturally to different for them.
            American is balkanized and getting more so every day. We are self segregating and Catholics are no different than other Americans. The parishes in our far northern suburbs are wealthy and politically and religiously conservative as is the parish my wife serves. The one we attend is near a local university and it is politically and religiously liberal. So good luck because sides like it that way.

      • Hallejulah and Amen! First Things sometimes will not pass my comments that might offend conservative supporters, but they pass through that hideous pretzel logic as a scholarly article?!! Certainly if pacifism was heeded in any small measure, one could wonder if we were letting imperial forces build up against common humanity. The sad fact is, we are now those imperial forces, and our use of remote control warfare and torture is only casting the jihadists as heroes. Moreover, our military-industrial complex is part of an internal imperialism, on the backs of our very own common people.

        Not a single American was displaced on 9-11, and we are using it as a pretext to invade, to bomb, to torture, to preach Western reforms against Islamic law? With these tactics few Arabs, Persians, Turks, Bangladeshis, Indonesians, Pakistanis etc etc, are interested in our reforms. To assign blame for destruction in Iraq and Syria and power of ISIS, look no further than your friendly President and Congressional representatives. It is time to get our own house in order, and let the rest of world take care of itself.

        P.S. Long live our Glorious Pope!

    • Heather

      It’s not wasted verbiage if Mark can convince at least one person to reconsider their position and repent of supporting mortal sin. And I know that multiple people in multiple threads, here and on the Register and on Facebook, have posted that Mark’s consistent witness against torture figured prominently in their change of heart. So no, it’s not likely to change policy, at least not any time soon. But it’s not wasted at all.

      • W. Randolph Steele

        I’m all for people not supporting this,but IF the policy doesn’t change, then what is the point? Remember the Epistle of James? “Faith without works is dead”. THAT’S my point. And guarantee you, the CIA will continue to do what it has always done because it’s what the American people really want done BY ANY MEANS NECCESSARY.

        • Heather

          It doesn’t stop being a spiritual work of mercy if you can’t call ALL the sinners to repentance. That’s like saying that soup kitchens or Out Of The Cold programs are pointless because you can’t feed ALL the hungry or shelter ALL the homeless.

          • W. Randolph Steele

            You’re right. However, in the case of soup kitchens etc you ARE saving SOME. My point here, is that simply because you get some to change their mind on torture, nothing is saving potential victims AND THAT must always be the point. I guess I’m just too much of a “bricks and mortar ” kind of guy. I’m think here of Oscar Shindler. He couldn’t save all, but he saved some, as many as he could. Now, if all this produces someone like him, then I’ll think that this was all worth it.

            • Marthe Lépine

              It is not impossible, even quite possible, that with the help of the Holy Spirit, the heart of one or two people in positions of authority can be changed to the point that they may begin having some doubts and/or begin to express some opposition to torture and other abuses and start a fight from the inside… They may not win right away, but they might start spreading some doubts about the value of such policies, and that is a first step.

        • If you believe then you should not talk like a Presbyterian e.g. consigned to man’s fallen nature, predeterminations, and the end of days regardless of our actions.

          • W. Randolph Steele

            I AM NOT a Presbyterian. I am, however, pretty cynical and the postings here do nothing to make me any LESS cynical. I simply go by what I see and what my experience has shown me. Could this all end tomorrow? Sure, but it won’t because so many Americans believe in it.
            BTW, it’s my belief that IF America has a “state religion” it IT IS Calvinism because of it economic implications and Catholics are part of it.

            • Ok, thanks… The minute we counterattacked other countries in wake of 9-11, the terrorists won. And the minute your heart is overwhelmed by the forces of darkness, and you lose faith in the tide turning and surrender faith, then those forces have won too.

              How wonderful to hear, that you recognize the errancy of US Catholics into quasi-Calvinism, I thought I was the only one! It is shocking to hear the way they speak of our Holy Father… They cannot even distinguish between his words from Christ and the idea that somehow he represents liberalism taking over even the Church, just because he speaks against capitalism and war, two specialties of US conservatives…. As for Calvinists, they will have a lot to answer for, because even an Eskimo who has never heard of the Lord, lives a life closer to Jesus, than that bunch. E.g. you have the benefit of the Word, yet you twist it around into superstitions to achieve earthly ends… Woe is them! So. sorry to call you that… 🙂

      • Do you believe the hopelessness sometimes…. a man of our faith, should not talk like a Presbyterian e.g. consigned to man’s fallen nature, predeterminations, and the end of days regardless of our actions.

  • JohnE_o

    Mark, I truly and sincerely commend you for what you have written on this topic.

    • chezami

      Thank you, John. God bless you.

      • antigon

        Yup, got to say, Shea, you’ve been on a real rip for the glory of truth these days, & this one’s your best yet. But watch out, the devil’s got to be p-ssed, an’ll be out to getcha for it.

  • David Dickey

    Mark, you have never served in the military, or the intelligence agencies, or the foreign service, or been an engineer designing combat aircraft and ballistic missile submarines. You made a deliberate decision, as an able bodied adult, to never defend this country and it’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

    So, what gives you the moral right to criticize those who have served, and thus defended and provided you with your freedom of speech and religion? If you don’t like what the CIA did, then volunteer for the defense agencies.

    Instead of now whining and bellyaching, if you and others like you had volunteered to serve and pay the monies necessary, our defenses would have never been so weak that anyone would have attacked us. You and those of your ilk, along with the terrorists, caused the use of EIT.

    • chezami

      A quadrifecta of lies.

      1. The insulting lie that the military approves of torture (false, the Pentagon refused to let Cheney railroad them into changes in the Field Manual to let the Administration order torture).

      2. The lie that a civilian has no right to say that an elected draft-dodger like Cheney can order torture (ever hear of democracy?)

      3. The lie that the only person who has a right to condemn torture is a CIA torturer.

      4. The blameshifting lie that opponents of torture are somehow to blame for it (Denial: It’s not just a river in Egypt).

      The lies just get more transparent and desperate.

      • Tom Sea

        Thank you for standing up for Khalid Shiek Mohamed, master mind of 911 that killed 3000 persons from around the world and ordered the beheading of Daniel Pearl, that’s who was waterboarded. Mark should be very proud of himself.

        Say, since the SERES training had nearly 27000 students undergo waterboarding , do you seriously call all of those cases torture as well?

        • Tom Sea

          I’ll eagerly watch Mark Shea’s article on the high number of drone strikes by the Obama administration vaporizing innocents.

          • Quite a Small Person
            • Tom Sea

              I read one column, seemed 1. President orders a drone strike grudgingly stated, then the rest of the article was about the CIA. Something tells me we may not have consistency here, seeing how a lot of this, the good Father Harris was put under attack for his “change of heart”, really reads like bullying but where is fair discourse now? Likewise, Mark Shea seems to love to talk about Cheney, the CIA but will we see this same attitude about President Obama? Sounds like Massachusetts to me.

              Hence, perhaps it is the stench of hypocrisy.

              Fast and Furious guns too, have killed innocents in Mexico, that should be addressed as well, didn’t see where the guns just “tortured” people.

              • Quite a Small Person

                If reading one column is the extent of the research you are willing to do before leveling such accusations, it explains a lot about your other posts here.

              • Marthe Lépine

                I see you can write, but can you read at all? Mark has often written about Obama. Go back to read some previous posts for a while before you make any more asinine accusations.

              • antigon

                But one prize is beyond his reach
                The Ogre cannot master speech.
                Or thought.
                One sees that Mr. Sea did give himself an ‘up’ vote, however, but there are doubts this constitutes progress.

              • chezami

                If you Google my archives you will see that I’ve been very critical of Obama’s unilateral self-granted 007. However, nobody here disagrees with that, so there’s not much point beating that horse. There is a point in getting Catholics who should know better to stop arguing for mortal sin.

          • Marthe Lépine

            He has written it quite a while ago, if you were a regular reader you would be fully informed about Mark’s opinion on this. You can find it by going through previous posts, I do not have the time to do your research for you.

          • antigon

            It might temper your eagerness, Mr. Sea, to learn that honest men too appreciate Shea’s critiques of those & other crimes from the Obama side of the Empire.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          As an SERE grad, let me explain to you that when we were drown proofed it was by our cadre, fellow servicemen, who we trusted. It was done to give us some idea of what could be expected in the situations we were training for. It was meant to show us how easy it is to break a man with torture.

          We were drown proofed precisely because waterboarding is torture. For you to now excuse it because of the training I received is a slap in the face of every veteran in this nation.

          If you ever wore a uniform, which I doubt, it sickens me that we share such a bond.

          • kmk1916

            God bless you, Hezekiah! Yes, and these awful actions can NOT be blamed on the military in general. I didn’t serve to have this evil happen–or pay taxes for it, either.

        • antigon

          For the Redundantly Silly Drivel award – a year’s supply of used hummus! – Mr. Sea has with good hope got his spoon ready.

    • kmk1916

      You have GOT to be kidding me. Are you for real? I served, although never in combat. All three of my brothers served, my father served, and my husband has worked in intel. None of them would ever, ever come up with these kinds of comments.

      As a recovering talk-show listener, do you know who I hear echoing throughout your post? Rush, Sean, Mark. None of them served. I personally don’t blame them, but call them if you want to. You know who did? Les Kinsolving out of Baltimore, WBAL– ex-Marine. He would never, ever talk like this about civilians. Shame on you (although you must be kidding–please tell me you are) if you served.

      When has Mark ever criticized those who have served? He’s criticized Congress for cutting the budget for military members and their families. He is rightfully criticizing the individuals who chose to act so heinously and those who covered it up. Our tax dollars paid for this evil! When I think of it, I feel sick of heart. Lord, have mercy on all of us!

      As for never defending this country, I ask you: who is the real enemy? What does it mean to defend this country? Which battle matters eternally? Finally, which founding Father would have sanctioned this sort of evil (although to our eternal shame we took a long time condemning and halting slavery and discrimination–proving that we are a broken people just like all peoples–Mark’s point over and over…)?

      As a former (and admittedly insignificant) former intel servicemember, how can I defend what happened here? I can’t.

      I am signing off, wayyy past my bedtime, and I will keep you in my prayers, and I am truly not being facetious. Lord, have mercy on us all, sinners.

    • antigon

      ‘what gives you the moral right to criticize those who have served.’
      Dear Mr. Dick:
      Dunno, off the top of my head, how about the teaching of the Church Christ bequeathed for them?

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Really? You’re going to give the Jack Nicholson speech from “A Few Good Men”? You do realize he was the bad guy, right?

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      As a former Petty Officer in the United States Navy, honorably discharged, let me congratulate you, sir, on being a truly insufferable example of the fact that we can’t always weed out the embarrassments to our ranks, Dip$hit.

    • JohnE_o

      So, what gives you the moral right to criticize those who have served,
      and thus defended and provided you with your freedom of speech and

      Soldiers don’t provide those rights – those rights are inalienable – inherent in the human condition.

      As for defending those rights – the ACLU has done more to defend my freedom of speech than has any soldier.

      • chezami

        Amen. It is ironic that somebody who professes to be a defender of freedom is repeating the Communist notion that the rights of man come not from the hand of God, but from the generosity of the State.

    • T

      By your logic, priests should talk about marriage because they aren’t married.

    • Jonk

      This is probably the dumbest thing I’ve read on this subject yet.

      I served, in combat, and I’m disgusted with what the CIA did to these men, and angry with the way they threw away our moral authority on techniques that are worse than utterly useless.

      • chezami

        God bless you, Jonk. And thank you for your service.

  • Tom Sea

    Mark Shea, leading the Catholic Jihad to give comfort to our enemy. So seems the name callers are all on the left, perhaps they should have it tossed back at them.

    • antigon

      The Ogre does what Ogres can
      Deeds quite impossible for Man,
      But one prize is beyond his reach
      The Ogre cannot master speech.
      About a subjugated plain
      Among its desperate & its slaves
      The Ogre stalks with hands on hips
      While drivel gushes from its lips. – Auden
      Nor thought, it would appear, if Mr. Sea is representative.