No President in memory has been so immune to the consequences of being caught blatantly lying to the American people as President Barack Obama. There have been uses for this fact, of course, for those willing to use it. It has provided a valuable tool for those interested in knowing what politicians, pundits and journalists have at least fumes of integrity and trustworthiness in their professional character, a useful litmus test, as when Susan Rice dutifully went on five Sunday morning talking-head TV shows and spread a version of the CIA’s talking points on the Benghazi attack that was intentionally misleading. That incident exposed the untrustworthy character of Rice, now National Security advisor; White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer, virtually the entire crew at MSNBC (naturally), official White House liar Jay Carney, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the President himself, among others. Meanwhile, some unlikely figures, like old-lib CBS “Fave the Nation” host Bob Schieffer, shined by refusing to abet the cover-up.
The unfolding IRS scandal—yes, it is still unfolding— has similarly been an excellent test, as those we should never trust again have adopted the administration’s official lie—a contradiction of its own statements and testimony—that there is in fact no scandal, and that a few inept and rogue agents screwed up, though the evidence of systemic corruption, illegal political use of IRS power and an ongoing cover-up is persuasive and becoming more so.
Neither of these sagas, however, as well as others like the NSA spying scandal and the various excesses and incompetencies of Eric Holder’s disgraceful Justice Department, have managed to permeate the awareness of the average members of the public, especially those who have been supporters of the President or his party. Benghazi is still obscure to most of the public, and is too far away; the fact that the I.R.S. targeted tea party groups doesn’t alarm those who aren’t Republicans or ethicists as much as it should; and the news media, which is almost entirely run by members of the political left, has continued to soft-pedal facts and revelations that would have had all of them imitating Woodward and Bernstein were a President of another party, or shamefully, another race, involved. Such integrity tests are not helpful to observers who don’t want to use them, who don’t know enough about the subjects involved to know they exist, who don’t mind being lied to, or are happy to be led by those who lie, as long as they do it with style and inspiring speeches.
I wonder if the now undeniable lie about the Affordable Care Act will be different.
The most likely outcome is that it won’t be, but there is hope. For example, at least some of the news media is reporting this one without the soft-pedal. From NBC News, sister of MSNBC and of the major news networks the most shameless and loyal Obama protector, comes yesterday’s report by reporter Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye:
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years. Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them. Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”
“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today….
To nobody’s surprise, the usual White House acolytes are attempting to deny the undeniable, which is that when the American public’s support of the efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act hinged on whether it would adversely affect the choices and health care insurance options of those who already had affordable insurance, the President of the United States looked them in the eye, insisted that it would only affect those who couldn’t afford insurance, and said, in essence, “Trust me, and trust us.”
Jay Carney, to take the most predictable example, is in full tap-dance mode: “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage, minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide,” Carney said, when asked to reconcile the oft-repeated promise by Obama with the now dawning reality. “So it’s true that there are existing healthcare plans on the individual market that don’t meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act.”
No, Jay, what the President said for more than three years was that nothing in the Affordable Care Act would interfere with a citizen’s ability to keep their current plan if they liked it. “Period.” After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate provision, for example, he said this in his official post-decision remarks (recall that his re-election was heating up, and Mitt Romney was among those saying that the ACA would result in many Americans losing their health care insurance plans):
“If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable.”
This is stated in unequivocal terms, and, as NBC reports, well after Obama and the administration knew it couldn’t possibly be true. Buy hey, there was an electorate to fool…*
Now that the cancellation notices are arriving in the hundreds of thousands and sticker shock is beginning to look like it will be epidemic, some loyalists still think they can spin the whole fiasco and relieve the President of accountability, which has been the unofficial theme of the Obama years. Liberal columnist Clarence Page, for example, admitted that the President 1) lied and 2) knew he was lying, but brushed it off as just forgivable hype: “But that’s one of those political lies, you know.” Oh. Then it’s OK: “Everybody does it,” right, Clarence? Page failed to add the unofficial left-biased media coda, “… but when Republicans do it, it’s a scandal.”
Similarly, Fox News’ resident house liberal Juan Williams still holds tight to his loyal African-American card whenever criticism of President Obama is involved, so he too has joined the spin brigade, even less honorably than Page, by arguing that since “they’re going to get better coverage at potentially lower cost,” the fact that people would be forced out of the plan they were satisfied with is not a problem, and thus criticism of the President is unfair. He was ridiculous, and Brit Hume and Chris Wallace were not shy in pointing this out. “These hundreds of thousands of people evidently like the policies they had, because they kept paying for it,” said Hume. “They’re now being told they can’t have those policies any more…that they must have policies that involve coverage for things they may feel they don’t need.” Wallace added that “we had, a couple of weeks ago, a letter that a 62-year-old couple who have their own business in Oregon — under the ObamaCare, they were losing their policy, the new policy, the cheapest policy they were being offered, the deductible was going to double to 5,000 a person. Visits to specialists, if one of them had to see a specialist, were going up from $35 a visit to $100 a visit, and their premium was going up. So, the idea that they are going to get more for less. You know what — there is no free lunch.”
The Affordable Care Act was sold as a free lunch from the start. Now the bill is being revealed. We can expect Williams’ tactic to become more widespread, since it has been surprisingly effective with the I.R.S.. scandal: just deny everything. With Americans all over the country being confronted with higher costs and cancelled plans, however, this does not seem to be a promising approach. Nonetheless, Democrats have already begun to try it.
Euphemisms sometimes work too, at least for the true believers and the ethically shameless. Thus the Bush Administration and conservatives were nauseatingly successful with many Americans when they denied that water-boarding was torture, and insisted that it was something entirely different called “enhanced interrogation.” This was the Orwellian tactic adopted by Florida Blue CEO Patrick Geraghty on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, who flatly denied that his company was throwing customers off the plans they wanted to keep. “We’re not cutting people” he said “We’re actually transitioning people. What we’ve been doing is informing folks that their plan doesn’t meet the test of the essential health benefits, therefore they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange. This really is a transition.”
No, this is really being forced off the plan the customers were satisfied with, and losing the choice they were assured by the President of the United States that they would have, “period,” under Obamacare.
Isn’t “transitioning” a wonderfully sinister cover-word for being forced out of a situation you chose and wanted to maintain, for different situation someone else chose and is forcing you to accept?
“No, you aren’t being evicted! You’re just transitioning into a new living arrangement.”
“Why, you aren’t losing your scholarship! You’re just transitioning into a different educational environment.”
“Heavens no, I’m not divorcing you and running off with my secretary! You’re transitioning into a different relationship.”
And, naturally, because this has been the default defense used to deflect any Presidential criticism no matter how well-justified and legitimate, many of the President’s defenders will cry racism. That, however, has been an integrity test from the beginning.
Admitting the President’s lie and what it tells us about the character of this President and the trustworthiness of his allies will be very difficult for those who have invested so much of their passion, time, and credibility in supporting him. The worst part for die-hard partisans will be accepting that opponents of the bill, many of whom screamed to the heavens that the President’s promise that American could keep their current plans was a calculated deception, were right. Juan Williams betrayed this reaction, a symptom of cognitive dissonance interfering with the acceptance of a harsh reality, when he told colleagues Wallace and Hume, “You know, I get this sense, that people — on the Republican side are enjoying this moment.” In this he was echoing the futile protest of Larry Vaughn, the Mayor of Amity in “Jaws” and master of denial, whose response to ocean biologist Matt Hooper’s assertion that a huge shark is eating vacationers is a mocking, “Love to prove that, wouldn’t ya? Get your name into the National Geographic?”
Yes, in a sense, maybe the President’s critics are enjoying this moment, but that does not and will not excuse his indefensible lie of long standing, or those who resist holding him accountable for it.
Let’s see who we can trust, now that we know, sadly, who we can’t.
More: Bloomberg, CBS, New York Post
* Incredibly, the White House website STILL makes this false claim!
Facts: NBC News, National Center Blog
Sources: Mediaite 1, Mediaite 2 ,The Blaze
56 thoughts on “Integrity And Trustworthiness Litmus Test: The Obamacare Lie That Can’t Be Spun”
Can you be sure that it wasn’t just incompetence arising from, or manifesting via, buying into his own hype and propaganda, rather than a calculated deception? You know, hype and propaganda asserting that, if the president promises it, it must be coming to pass.
Don’t remember who said it, but this seems to apply…”Never attribute to malice what can be easily explained by incompetence”.
I’m young and in pretty good health, the target market that has to buy into the ACA in large numbers to support the aging and extremely sick population that will jump at it. What could happen to my premiums and how that would affect my limited income seriously worries me.
Not only that, but I repeatedly hear how much deductibles and copays are being jacked up to, and I can only pray those aren’t standard rates. I’m prone to enough weird injuries in my life, the idea of copays going from “ouch” to “Well, time to stock up on Ramen this month” is a killer.
Then again, there’s enough entitlement programs that I should already be used to a huge chunk of the population riding squarely on the backs of my demographic. After all, the government says they’re entitled to it.
The mathematics is undeniable. Regardless of where the higher costs are hidden or obfuscated or where the service is reduced, it must happen.
In any system where a price is arbitrarily held down for some people compared to what ought to be paid by those people then other people HAVE to pay more to accommodate it, or people as a whole will receive less satisfactory service, or service providers will be compelled to render service for less than they are valued. In reality it will be a combination of all those. If you see someone crowing about how awesome their premiums are, I bet they haven’t checked those deductibles or copays (part of the places that higher costs are hidden).
But the economics of it is not why Obamacare is wrong (it certain is part of it, but not the main reason). The main reason is that the Federal government has no right to be in controlled of the medical industry nor does the Federal government have a right to be in that much control of your personal life (because the infrastructure exists now to do such), nor does the Federal government have a right to all the information you are compelled to provide. Additionally no right exists to compel people to ensure another person owns a product.
Thank you,Tex. Finally someone has stated the fundamental fault of the system. The economics fail in this, as is every socialist model, because it is based on an immoral premise–the sacrifice of one individual for another. Politicians make a living selling ‘something for nothing’ and people continuously buy it. We repeatedly fail to learn what most people who actually have had to work for something recognize: ‘nothing is free.’
Is this the experience we have with auto insurance?
Seriously? Ablative demonstrated this to you.
It’s bad form to try and bring up a counter-argument that has been shown not to be a counter argument.
In auto-insurance, people do pay more when they engage in riskier conduct, people do pay more when they’ve shown themselves to be a liability.
Maybe health insurance should be reformed that it is this way as well.
The Buddhists say that craving (i.e. greed) is responsible for much of the suffering that humans experience. So when you have a large percentage of the population who feel that “they’re entitled” to freebies because of supposed past injustices, they willingly set themselves up to be conned. It’s pretty obvious that the con artists are in charge, at least for now.
I am personally loving it. This entire debacle (or, dare I say boondoggle) gives me the biggest and hardest shadenboner I have ever had.
The bitter tears of the President’s supporters – the average moron in America – finding out that they are going to get soaked is a sweet, sweet elixer to me.
I find myself quoting Eric Cartman…
We fucking told you people. We told you over and over again. Every. Single prediction we made before and after the passing of the ACA has come true.
And I am enjoying the ignorant surprise of those who are just now starting to learn that.
A total 16 million people have lost their insurance because of a bill they were told would let them keep their insurance, and the vast majority of people getting coverage (a number still in the 6-digit range) are going onto the “are going to do nothing bust cost more” list.
Told you so, fuckers.
I’m trying to contain a lot of anger, because anger isn’t conducive to ethics.
I’m angry at the President for being so arrogant and unable to learn on the job. He’s not stupid. But he was completely unprepared for this job, and instead of preparing for it and having the sense to learn from his mistakes, he put himself in the hands of cold-blooded ideological handlers.
I’m angry at the endless number of hacks and fools and ideologues in charge of agencies, departments and projects, and the fact that the President has abandoned the whole concept of accountability for blind loyalty.
I’m angry at the Republicans, for being so corrupt and inept that a bag of marbles deserved to be elected President in 2008.
I’m angry at Democrats for not meeting their obligation to nominate someone trustworthy and qualified to run in such a situation.
I’m angry at the tea party, who have attached the crucial values of personal liberty and responsible fiscal policy, which desperately needed advocacy, to too many nuts, racists, idiots and fools, thus wrecking their credibility and the credibility of their political views, and allowing the likes of Harry Reid to remains in office.
I’m angry at the public, for swallowing such obvious hype and accepting an empty suit as a leaders for dewy-eyed wishes and hopes….and also for being irresponsible, ignorant and lazy.
I’m angry at both the Right and the Left for being stubborn, uncivil, foolish, incompetent and dishonest, and mutually incapable of ever admitting when they are wrong and the other side is right, and making the art of compromise extinct.
I’m angry at the news media, for completely abdicating their job of being objective, analytical and critical, and instead acting like the trained media of a totalitarian state, and perpetuating the cult of personality.
That doesn’t scratch the surface of what I’m angry about and who I’m angry at, and I have to get over it, because other than occasionally supplying motivation, anger is useless at best, and the one of the toughest biases to combat.
It’s a damn good thing the Red Sox are winning the World Series.
I and many, many others have long said that Obama was unqualified and would never actually be able to do the job. The fact that a half-term senator who had never had an actual job (or ever actually served a full term in any elected position) with close ties to a real estate fraud, an unrepentant terrorist (and his unrepentant terrorist wife), and a preacher who though we deserved 9-11 was elected to the highest office in the land proved this country was beyond saving. Nothing this administration has done has actually surprised me – I expected most of what they have done, and should have expected the rest.
That the Right would become “the party of no” was a natural result of the country being lead by a party diametricly opposed to their nominal goals and beliefs.
And with the final addition of the petitions to arrest Republicans in Congress from “crimes against the country” (all but stating that at least portions of the left now view differing political opinions to be tantamount to criminal acts) all but makes certain that the Union will not survive intact. A nation of 313+ million people where fully half is diametricly opposed to the views and ideas as to the prior role of government can not – will not – survive. One half will, eventually, tell the other one to pound sand.
It is absolutely inevitable, and frankly the left could not be doing a better job of driving us to that point if they were trying.
How do you conclude that from such petitions?
I am sure that in a country this size, a petition to require public schools to teach that the Holocaust was a hoax would gather lots of signatures.
Nomination for comment of the week, although that might be considered hubris 🙂
It might. And that would make me angry too….
Would we like you when you’re angry?
Jack wishes people to the cornfield when he gets angry. Be careful.
Bet your ass.
That’s his secret – he’s always angry…
I gather not.
Move to Belize? You’ve hit the nail right on the head, but none of this is changing anytime soon, or even anytime not so soon. The Republicans made a big, big tactical error with the recent shutdown shenanigans, when they would have been better off to sit back and let the ACA rope keep paying out to hang the Democrats as it should be now. The media isn’t about to change, why should they? It’s a nice easy ride when all they have to do is give the nod to everything the President does, and it’s going to be just as easy once they smooth the way for Hilary to walk in in 2016. There’s no need to nominate someone who is responsible and trustworthy when you can win by nominating a rock star. The public doesn’t even care, they’ve been so ingrained over the past few years that the government will take care of them that the idea of even trying to be fiscally responsible is dying. Neither the right nor the left are going to change because they’ve spent the last 20 years making political hay saying that the other side is either stupid or evil. Obama’s not going to change because he’s set for life now. He’s going to draw his presidential pension, get a no-show job at some law school fundraising, and spend the rest of his days making $100K a pop on the lecture circuit, the same for his handlers and cabinet people. I think frankly ethics is something few people care about anymore, because it’s not going to put money in their pockets or keep them entertained or provide any tangible benefit in the short run. Unfortunately, we are starting to see the long-term problems that arise from a society that lets its ethics go to pot. Empires and great nations aren’t built in a day and they don’t fall in a day either, but, if you look back at the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, and even the Soviet Union (which was a de facto empire), you will see that the collapse or dissolution of each was followed by an ethical rot, in which the Romans simply lost interest in doing anything without a personal benefit, the Ottomans let the leadership talent pool dry up and did not replace it, the British simply sold themselves out to Big Government, and the Soviets built a system that finally had to collapse on itself as unsustainable. I think ALL those ethical rot processes are in play here.
BTW, I meant PRECEDED by an ethical rot. (smacks self for not paying attention)
I think you’re a little hard on George W. Bush. True, he wasn’t a towering intellect and the war in Iraq was probably a mistake. I don’t think by any means he was nearly as unethical as the current administration and congress. Probably, the Republicans could have found somebody better but he can hardly be held responsible for 9/11. Imho, that was more due to the ineptitude of the previous administration: Please see *The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11*
I don’t think he griped directly at Bush. But the republicans got went and got big-government happy almost as bad as democrats during the presidency of Bush. Part of why we’re in this fiscal and liberty mess right now.
“I’m angry at the Republicans, for being so corrupt and inept that a bag of marbles deserved to be elected President in 2008.”
I didn’t specify Bush. He was a flawed leader, but he was dealt a tough hand, and was infinitely more competent and trustworthy than the current occupant, and he had more sound leadership instincts in his toenail than Obama has in his whole body. But he botched the Iraq war; he cut taxes while fighting on two fronts, he tolerated some utter incompetents (like his last Attorney General, who was as bad as Holder) and thugs, he ran up inexcusable deficits, his party’s cronies on Wall Street betrayed the nation, and his party in Congress was corrupt to the core. When the economy crashes at the end of your Administration and you are mired in tow unpopular wars, AND you are torturing people while making specious excuses, your party deserves to lose.
About that AG – are you referring to Michael Mukasey, who was last and who pretty much kept a low profile, or to Alberto Gonzalez, to whom all the mud seemed to stick?
Did Gonzalez finally quit? By that time I was so disgusted with the Bush administration that I quit paying attention. Alberto was the corrupt and inept hack to which I was referring.
He did indeed – Michael Mukasey finished the administration out.
I don’t recall him being all that corrupt – certainly not in the same level as Holder…
He was pretty bad, between the torture memos and the messy forcing out of several US attorneys. Not in the same league as Holder, though.
If the torture had been fingernails getting pulled or electrode to testicles, I’d agree but I still don’t consider waterboarding to be torture.
And the “forcing out” of some USAs wasn’t sketchy… They weren’t following policy, so they get fired, and replacing USAs is standard for administration… Clinton replaced what, like 90 percent?
I have no ethical problem with the torture memos—the lawyers did their job. I have big problems with the torture.
I have some problems with U.S. torturers getting caught doing torture of enemies of The People. U.S. enemies by definition are torturers of The People, and deserve torture.
Nbody deserves torture from a nation founded on the basis of intrinsic human rights and dignity.
Nobody who is a citizen of a nation founded on the basis of intrinsic human rights and dignity deserves the torture of not being free to torture the enemies of that nation who are dedicated to ideologies which are founded on utter contempt for intrinsic human rights and dignity.
He lied to Congress. http://ethicsscoreboard.com/list/gonzalez.html No, he was not as bad as Holder. Who was? Maybe Mitchell.
YES. Except for the Red Sox comment — I’m a Tigers fan…..
Your sentiments hit the spot, Jack. Plenty of blame to go around.
The bitter tears of the President’s supporters – the average moron in America – finding out that they are going to get soaked is a sweet, sweet elixer to me.
Some days I feel like that and other days I just feel blind hatred.
I’m also quite curious to see how they’re going to spin spying on 35 politcal allies. You know they will, and they’ll get away with it, too – I’m just curious which tactic they’re going to use.
OK, this is where I start disagreeing with the critics of Obama…
Spying on everyone is just good business. You don’t stop looking over the shoulder of someone just because you get along with them – all foreign powers can become hostile foreign powers very quickly. Sure, it is unlikely that the UK and the US will end up coming to blows, but would bet everything on it never happening?
Reagan said it best – trust, but verify.
If the NSA wasn’t spying on every foreign leader, I would actually be more pissed – spying on people who aren’t us is their fucking job…
Spying is a necessary tool of statecraft.
So is ethics, as is a significant amount of disregard for ethics.
But failure to spy effectively almost always precedes destruction of the failing state.
No amount of ethics or disregard for ethics can make up for failure at spying.
Boy, the Democrats are really stupid these days. Health insurance policies are written for one year. I am surprised that the Obama camp hasn’t pulled a legalistic “He spoke the 100% truth. When he said it, you WERE able to keep the policy you had, but that expired December 31 of that year. You have a new policy now and you are being allowed to keep it until it expires at the end of the year.” Bill Clinton could have knocked that one out of the park in 5 seconds. The Obama camp has had more than 3 years to come up with an explanation for this and suddenly seems caught off-guard. Are they this incompetent, or this arrogant?
Oh well, how bad could this be? We have only had to borrow $250,000,000,000 since October 17th to cover the entitlement programs we have now ($2500/family in the US). How much more could this cost? We can always just print more money or raise taxes, right?
I’m sure this will provoke another Ethics post, but it is hard from me to feel sorry for ‘people’ like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was waterboarded after 9/11 to obtain information about the attacks and the attackers. He, for one was personally responsible for selecting targets and helping arrange travel for the hijackers. I’m sure the CIA used information from him ultimately to kill Osama ben Ladin.
The ends don’t justify the means. Torture is absolutely unethical. Here are my main posts on the topic, from the Bush years and early in the Obama administration.
Waterboarding, along with sleep dep and cold cells and other such things are not torture.
Pulling finger nails, breaking bones, and stuff like that? Torture.
I don’t know how you make that distinction at all. Waterboarding simulates drowning. Inducing a fear of death or an experience that creates the fear of imminent death is the definition of torture. Sleep dep, cold cells and having to listen to Britney Spears songs are obviously in a different class. I’ve never talked to anyone who was waterboarded—I’ve spoken to a few—who was anything but adamant that it was torture.
So every navy SEAL was tortured by their government?
SERE school and/or buds is voluntary training to prepare are for rigorous and horrifying scenarios.
So if I voluntarily sign up for a program and one of the mission critical parts is being tortured, I’m not actually being tortured?
It’s not mission critical to be tortured.
It is an intrinsic skill for resilience and survival should contingencies occur and one is capture. Being captured however isn’t part of a mission.
The volunteers for the training know this and take on the sacrifice necessary to be prepared and vigilant. Some people know they must be rough so others don’t have to.
Great question..is it still torture if they don’t mean it?
Sure it is. The volunteers for the training know this and take on the sacrifice necessary to be prepared and vigilant. Some people know they must be rough so others don’t have to.
When it’s a part of your job training, you could class it as torture- the experience is torturous, surely- but it’s not torture in the sense that it is unethical. What SEALS go through is to prepare them for something that may happen as part of their jobs, just like all the other horribly unpleasant things military training entails.
If you are training to be a boxer you’ll probably get punched in the face a lot, but nobody cares because it’s training for what your job will be.
I’ll just second your comment on the torture. I was a bit on the fence before, but your post against the legality of torture swayed me greatly. (Your argument that the framers considered torture more of a violation of civil rights than execution).
It was that article that made me a loyal follower.
Here’s something to consider. This is not my original thinking but it makes sense to me: Evil sometimes requires us to do things that would otherwise be unacceptable. The end justifies the means when the situation is objectively pure evil and all other efforts to rectify the situation have been explored. Although none of us want to play God and kill another human being, for the good of mankind, it sometimes is necessary to assassinate the few evil people that cannot be stopped in any other way.