Torture

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by KnightWriter, Apr 3, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    I think you might have misunderstood what I was trying to get at with my post.

    You claimed that it is impossible to dehumanize anyone. I ventured to show that this was false. I then went on to contextualize the discussion on torture, situating it in a public debate with a certain kind of atmosphere. In my opinion, to fully understand what's going on, we have to see the torture debate as part of a larger process.

    Now, I've never claimed that the US government have labelled terrorists as vermin. The kind of propaganda campaigns that went on in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia or genocidal Rwanda have not happened there. But it could be argued that Islamophobia is on the rise in the US, since 9/11, making the suspects that we are now talking about part of an increasingly racialized category of people. Add to that the right wing sneers against the notion that these people should have any rights, any rights at all, and you have a very dangerous mix, particularly when the administration goes out of its way to deny these suspects any rights as defendants! We're talking about a government that thinks that the rule of law is IMPEDING national security and is actively trying to undermine it!! I mean, that's the slippery slope towards authoritarianism right there.

    Taken in that context, the minutiae of exactly what "harsh techniques" (interesting Orwellian language right there) becomes something of a hair-splitting exercise. What matters is that a category of people have been arbitrarily denied any rights whatsoever and deemed ok to be treated "harshly" in a way that would never be considered acceptable to any other category of people by that same government.

    claiming that these persons apprehended are "illegal combatants", specifically for the purpose of putting them outside all regular justice channels and to thus deny them basic legal rights to defense, as if due process somehow makes America unsafe.


    I propose you treat them either as civilians (there are plenty of charges applicable - murder, conspiracy to commit, etc, etc), or as prisoners of war, in which case they deserve the same treatment given to any pows in any war, in accordance to the Geneva convention.

    Ah, yes. In the above quote, you claim that these people aren't innocent. But now, you seem prepared to even deny them the benefit of a free and fair trial because....you think they might be bad guys? How are we to know without a trial? You are aware that even the Nazis gained the benefit of a trial f
  2. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Well first of all you would have to take this up with the writers of the article and/or the book itself or it's publishers as to the authenticity of its source.

    Which is exactly why I loathe anonymous sources in general- no matter the slant. The only thing certain here is that Richard Clarke is certain to put out a book detailing "Alexander's" thoughts and internal struggles, even though the name is completely made up.

    Secondly even to those that do, it would be incorrect to say that they would have nothing to lose because TPD could still well apply. Even for those who desire still to cause large amounts of casualties, an interrogation could be conducted where the prisoner is presented the premise that his interrogators have caught someone ELSE who talked and that the matter now is simply who is going to get off easier, themselves or the other person... probably fictional... who has supposedly spilled the beans.

    And you just summed up my point as well- That it depends on the situation...

    If there is a partner available, great. The tactic may work. But what if there is no other co-conspirator, or the individual cells are intentionally kept fractured and unaware of the identities of the others, as al Qaeda has actually done in the past?(and I mean the real world organization, not the media-created spectre.) The simple fact that an organization may be non-linear completely foils TPD. What then? Realities like that is why there are degrees of methods in the first place.

    You really didn't do so in your post, so I'm not referring specifically to your reply, but it never ceases to amazes me when people promote their near total binary mindset-like the person above who stated "anything beyond putting someone in a cell is torture"- but then supply all sorts of exceptions in order to support their statement.
  3. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    To AnakinsGirl:

    Specifically in the case of Guantanamo Bay, my limited knowledge of firsthand accounts suggests that there is a population of prisoners who have no hard evidence against them being "terrorists"--in fact, many of the individuals gleaned by the US military to interrogate were simply taken from their homes in the middle of the night and had done nothing prior to suggest any terrorist involvement--that is, except be a male of a certain age.


    What sources tell you that the ONLY reason they were picked up was because they were males of a certain age? I would have to question those sources as either not knowing the whole reasoning behind the pickup or knowing yet concealing the fullness of the reason behind the pickup. Now, men were detained and later released -- most times before even reaching Guantanamo -- when it was determined that they were not the threats originally thought to be. How many of the 245 men still detained in G are just innocent guys who happened to be wrong place, wrong time? What good would it do us to keep them behind bars? There's no logical reason to continue to detain them if we know they are not part of terrorist cells. Also, do not forget: there are two groups we are talking about in G. Those taken within the U.S. and those taken from overseas locations. The U.S. military didn't "glean" who to take . . . they captured men known to be power players in the hierarchy and more often than not, ratted out by fellow Iraqis. The exact composition in G, I don't know.

    So you seem to have limited qualms for using torture against evildoers and terrorists, but I would like you or the government or SOMEONE to prove that half the men currently being detained have real, solid links to terrorist networks. Many of them have done absolutely nothing, but they are accused of involvement based on where they live, what age they are, etc. That to me is not solid evidence to deem someone a terrorist, or evil.


    First of all, when trying to crack terrorist networks, not I nor the government have any obligation whatsoever to inform the public of everything we do. That would be undermining the entire intelligence network. If the Obama government were to come out and say, "Yes, we have determined that every single one of the detainees has been involved in terrorist activities and has useful information", would you then demand to know what that involvement was, even if it gives away hard-obtained secrets that enabled our agents to infiltrate certain organizations or gave them the ability to track communications they didn't even know existed prior? Or would you trust Obama was telling the truth? How do you know "most of them have done absolutely nothing." Do you have access to prisoner background checks? Do you know what they have and have not admitted to during interrogation?

    Your moral reasoning would have us assume that since these men were fighting against the US troops that they are evil.


    Not at all. My moral reasoning says that ANYONE who wants to kill someone else for reasons other than immediate self-defense is evil. If our soldiers were over there indiscriminately killing people just for kicks, then they would be guilty of great evil. If they killed someone who had surrendered, great evil. I consider the death penalty to be a great evil. Abortion -- great evil. Euthansia (assisted suicide) - great evil. It has nothing to do with the nationality or race or religion of the combatants. It has to do with the intent behind the action.

    But an all-knowing and infinitely just God could plainly see that many individuals involved in the insurgency did so out of desperation and necessity. With hundreds of thousands of Iraqi military employees laid off, these men had no way of feeding their families--in their culture an extremely embarrassing and shameful experience. With a void of political and bureaucratic structure in the months after the invasion of Iraq, the insurgent leaders had thei
  4. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    I think your interpretation of dehumanizing is still off. See, the valuing of the human condition is a social construction. The idea that because someone is human, that person in and of itself, have rights, or a certain value or dignity, is a very, very new one, in a historical perspective. The US, I'm happy to say, was one of the first nations on earth who started talking about innate human rights - it's right there in the Declaration of Independence. The French took inspiration from you with their Declaration de Droits des Hommes. Historically, humans lives have rarely been valued just because they were human. Humans have owned other humans (i.e. treated them as livestock/commodities rather than equals). Aristocrats have had serfs with absolutely no rights whatsoever (part of land, not equals). It is this modern notion that because someone is human, others do not have the right to do whatever to this person that is new.

    What I'm trying to say is that it has not always been self-evident who was a human and who wasn't. In the 19th century, there was a great scientific debate going on as to whether African people (the "black race", in those days labelled with the N word) actually were human at all. Eugenics and racial hygene, were regarded as perfectly serious disciplines of science. So even when people were acknowledged as humans, they were still seen as less important such, since they were treated as "less developed", which legitimized treating them in very paternalistic fashion. A clear expression of this was how some colonial powers treated locals.

    And in the case of the genocidal regimes, it all comes down to the power of mass suggestion, mass hysteria. So what if everyone, someone deep down, knows that Jews are humans. If they have been indoctrinated into believing that they are subhuman, they will act on that. Thus, what we - or at least I - mean by dehumanizing entails a perception of the "other" as "not worthy of being treated as human", objectified, perceived as a creature other than human, less than human, and therefore possible to abuse in all sorts of ways. And it has worked frighteningly efficiently throughout history. Maybe you should check how the propaganda went in those cases - it's all about rooting out the vermin, dogs, etc. And when the perception that some people aren't actually people at all, but vermin, is established, killing is so much easier.

    So dehumanizing, in the sense of removing the dignity and value of the human condition from a person, is patently possible, biological facts to the contrary notwithstanding. It's all about perception.
  5. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    Well, Danaan, I think, from a philosophical standpoint, your points are interesting. But they are not, in my opinion, vital to this discussion, because when speaking of the U.S. "torturing" its prisoners, we are not using your concept of dehumanization in the process.
  6. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    BoC: If it was shown that all pertinent information could be gotten from prisoners via methods that didn't involve torture, or even any physical contact, would that be acceptable to you? Or are you so attached to the value of torture that you believe in it regardless of whether or not other methods are as effective or more so?

    As mentioned in The Daily Dish today, one of the great British interrogators of World War II did not lay a hand on his prisoners, but used masterful psychological tactics to gain the information he wanted.
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    one of the great British interrogators of World War II did not lay a hand on his prisoners, but used masterful psychological tactics to gain the information he wanted.

    I read Agent Zigzag last year. It includes a description of this style of interrogation, perhaps conducted by the same interrogator. It's a great read.
  8. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7

    It wasn't? That's the whole purpose behind torture. And I love that you don't actually call it torture you say 'torture' as if there's any question as to what waterboarding is.
  9. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    Who was the British interrogator? And are you equating WWII with what's going on now?

    But to answer your question, I am always for the least forceful manner of obtaining information. But when there is a timeline against an attack, and the person is withholding information . . . I would want more aggressive methods to be used.

    Now, perhaps you will be so good as to answer my question: if you know there's a plot to hijack planes and crash them into various locations in L.A., and your prisoner knows the details . . . how patient are you willing to be? Until after the plane crashes? What about the Obama assassination scenario? You'll let your president by murdered rather than put the prisoner in a cage with insects, cause he has an insect phobia?
  10. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Is there a reason you insist on presenting a series of false dilemmas?
  11. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    The LA situation was not false. It was a massive attack that was averted. Through the use of aggressive interrogation.

    Using insects as "torture" is not false. It is there in the memos.

    As for the Obama scenario, I want an honest answer. What would people do? We deal in hypotheticals all the time. It's how plans are developed -- by proposing possible situations. Surely, if people here have such strong and informed opinions on the use of aggressive interrogation techniques, then they must have some idea of what they consider acceptable or what they would recommend if put in the situation of deciding what to do. The fact that NOT ONE person answers shows me unequivocally that people here do not take this issue seriously except to say, "It's torture! It's wrong! Safety be damned! Security be damned! Moral highground!" Okay, that's great. But what do you propose we do instead? I'm not even asking for the official methods. I'm asking for opinion -- and no one has the courage to say what they think.

    I presented a lot of "is this torture" questions. Where are the bold answers?

    And with that . . . off to work again.
  12. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    You have misunderstood what false dilemmas are. They are scenarios that are presented as having only two options, when more than one option exists. The examples you provided in the post to which I was responding presented the cases as if it were a choice between using torture or allowing the attacks to occur, which is a false dilemma.
  13. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Well, my problem with the use of "harsh" interrogation techniques, as it is discussed in conjunction with the War on Terror, is that there is a connection, as it seems to me. Now, I clearly will not make the claim that there have been anything close to the magnitude of hate speech propaganda going on in the US as was present in Nazi Germany, the USSR or Rwanda. That said, let's put the torture debate into a larger context, shall we:

    So, we have an adminstration advocating the use of "harsh"/"agressive" interrogation techniques against a particular category of people in its control.
    +
    The same administration is taking steps explicitly towards denying that same category of people the legal rights that would ordinarily apply to people under its control, whether they are American citizens, foreign civilians or pows, on the grounds of "national security" (interestingly, other categories of people who constitute a threat to the American people are not treated the same way, apparently. Say, people involved in Mexican drug cartels, who directly contribute to the death of many Americans, do not end up in Gitmo).
    +
    A very vocal right wing that sneers at anyone speaking out for the rights of this category of people, because these "evil people have no rights", in a context of increasing Islamophobia among the public.

    This is a very, very dangerous mix, I have to say. It might not be as explicit as what genocidal regimes have done, but it's implicitly there, and Abu Ghraib was a remarkably scary example of that - the harsh techniques was used against just about anyone, regardless of the plausibility that they might have been terrorists. Clearly degrading. Probably experienced as dehumanizing by those subjected to the treatment.

    All I see is a very dangerous mix.
  14. AnakinsGirl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2001
    star 4
    Friends who have served in Iraq, soldiers that participated in night time roundups that came to speak at my university, and soldiers who were interviewed for various documentaries. First-hand accounts of people on the ground of varying ranks are my sources for making that claim. There are many, many stories told by soldiers who described going into villages and indiscriminately rounding up all males within a certain age range. Some of these men were returned to their villages, others underwent great cruelty and abuse before the US military returned them, maimed and injured, back to their villages. "Our Mistake". Others never returned. Maybe a few of them had actual involvement in terrorist networks and I won't deny that, but most of them did not.


    As I stated before, there are many cases of men who were indeed later returned--after sustaining abuses and undergoing what some might call torture. To use a specific example told by a soldier, there was a man who had been tied with his hands above his head to a tree branch for three days because they "suspected" his involvement with terrorist networks. He was returned to his village after the soldiers and commanding officers realized he was an innocent man. His hands were completely gangrenous and had to be amputated. For what? Mistakes and assumptions. In this specific case,I would call the methods used against this man as torture.


    Duh. But if there existed some measure of accountability within the system that could ensure that interrogation methods as well as general treatment of prisoners were acceptable to international law and the American public, the US military could keep its secrecy AND the American public could be confident that there are no atrocities being committed in THEIR names.


    Thank you for the clarification. I understand your reasoning a little more now. Without spending too much time getting off topic, I also heard many--MANY--stories about indiscriminate killing done on the part of American soldiers. Just for the record.


    This is partially true, probably particularly so for the "higher ups" in the insurgency movements. The insurgencies did indeed kill more Iraqis than American soldiers in the ensuing chaos after the occupation of the country.

    Not entirely true. When Paul Bremer passed CPA Order No. 2 to disband the Iraqi military, he took away the jobs and livlihood of over 250,000 Iraqi men. Many of these men not only supported their wives and children, but also their parents, their wives' parents, siblings, and maybe even some cousins or aunts. This decision left potentially over a million people with no way of getting food, paying ren
  15. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    What other options were there? You're avoiding answering the questions.
  16. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Traditional interrogation without torture and network analysis and exploration of known contacts come immediately to mind, which increases the options from "Torture" or "Allow attacks to occur". Hence the false dilemma.
  17. Sven_Starcrown Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2009
    star 4
    I dont know how eficient torture is.

    But if the U.S. uses that means that is perfectly legitimate for afghans and iraqis to to torture a U.S. soilder if they capture it right?
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    You sort of baited Clones there, Quix. But in a good way. :)
  19. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    Danaan,

    So, we have an adminstration advocating the use of "harsh"/"agressive" interrogation techniques against a particular category of people in its control.


    This statement needs a little more to make it accurate. The administration is not advocating action against a category of people based on anything other than those people's intent to kill Americans and their refusal to divulge information willingly. If they were willing to just tell us all the information, we wouldn't need to be aggressive. If these enemies are deserving of humane treatment, surely they should comport themselves humanely in return and just tell us what we want to know, right?

    The same administration is taking steps explicitly towards denying that same category of people the legal rights that would ordinarily apply to people under its control, whether they are American citizens, foreign civilians or pows, on the grounds of "national security" (interestingly, other categories of people who constitute a threat to the American people are not treated the same way, apparently. Say, people involved in Mexican drug cartels, who directly contribute to the death of many Americans, do not end up in Gitmo).


    Legal rights have just resulted in an ADMITTED terrorist information gatherer getting 15 years in prison through the civilian legal system, some of which may be mitigated by time he spent in a civilian prison and maybe even in the military prison, and then he walks. So, let's go ahead and put someone who wants to kill Americans right back out on the street. And when he's successful years later, we can take comfort in the fact that "At least, we gave him due process of law before he killed people." The drug cartels are different, because their intent is to sell and get rich. Their end desire certainly is not the deaths of their customers. However, that being said, I'd be all for aggresssively interrogating them in order to get information on their operations.

    All I see is a very dangerous mix.


    If that is what you see, that is what you see. The idiotic things that were done at AG by people who were doing it for kicks and not for interrogation purposes were indeed wrong, but rising to the level of torture? No. Humiliation perhaps. Degradation perhaps. But that's not torture. It's just poor judgment and wicked intent on the part of the soldiers who took part. I do not defend their actions. But I will stand by interrogators who are trying to protect the citizenry of this country without having to resort to methods that cause permanent damage or intense physical pain.


    To Anakinsgirl:

    Friends who have served in Iraq, soldiers that participated in night time roundups that came to speak at my university, and soldiers who were interviewed for various documentaries. First-hand accounts of people on the ground of varying ranks are my sources for making that claim. There are many, many stories told by soldiers who described going into villages and indiscriminately rounding up all males within a certain age range.


    I have to ask for some proof here. I've been at the front and rear process of two major deployments of the 2d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, to Iraq -- talked to and processed thousands of soldiers before and after deployments. The one or two times I happened to hear those kinds of stories were from guys who were getting kicked out or had to get out because they'd reached their retention control point without getting promoted. If these stories were true, we'd have all sorts of FOIA requests for the information, and it would have gone out in the media by now. If such instances occured, they are not the common operation that you seem to believe they are. Some of the stories that went out on the internet were later debunked and proven to be written by guys who never went to either combat theater.

    To use a specific example told by a soldier, there was a man who had been tied with his
  20. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    Traditional interrogation methods such as . . . . tell me what those methods are. Why has every single one of you refused to answer this question? Why will no one state whether putting a man in a cage with a caterpillar is torture?

    Network analysis. Tell me, how do we find out about the existence of networks? How do we accumulate our list of known contacts? Not all of it comes from computer records or tapped phone calls or traced bank records -- speaking of which, I take it then that you support all the NSA surveillance procedures that produce such information.

    So, when those surveillance methods uncover a plot to launch an attack on the NY subway system, and we apprehend one of the masterminds . . . what do you propose we do to get information from him? Or would you just assume he can't possibly have any information worth knowing, so . . . what?? What then?

    If you were in a position of authority, what would you do? There's no false dilemma here, and your continual dodging of the questions is only driving my point home more and more. You and several others here have opinions on what shouldn't be done, but no viable suggestion of what should be done. If you'd rather die and see a lot of other people die than see someone waterboarded, just say so. It's as simple as that. "Yes, I'd rather die in a terrorist attack than see a prisoner be waterboarded." If you'd rather see a downtown mall blown up with people in it than slam someone up against a wall to find out which mall and who's involved and when and where are the cells, then just SAY SO. "Yes, I would rather see the mall be blown up -- and hope my kid's not there when it happens -- than slam someone up against a wall."

    You may consider that a false dilemma -- then create for me a real dilemma. Give me what you consider to be a legitimate scenario in which you'd have to choose what to do with a prisoner who likely has high value information and you've taken an oath of office to protect and defend the people of the United States, so help you God.

  21. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Caterpillar? No, I don't think that constitutes torture. Making him think it is worse than a caterpillar, however, blurs the line and gets into long-term psychological damage. And I'll rely on my background in behavioral health to back that one up. :)

    We did allow for wiretapping of individuals when it was approved via a warrant, which I support. I don't support warrantless wiretapping. I also recognize that we all have much larger digital footprints, and I include that in my statements. Don't think I'm making these claims in ignorance. If there is sufficient initial evidence to support a warrant, then the person is fair game, and I include myself in that. If, however, the person is exhonerated, it is only just that whatever intrusions were made be rectified.

    There are also a host of other forms of surveillance that can be tapped to establish a network of contacts. The obvious ones are those that are covered by FISA, the less obvious ones involve private security footage (e.g., restaurants, public spaces, etc.), which can produce lists of potential accomplices, which warrant expansion of the investigation, questioning when appropriate, release when not, and further exploration of legal means of surveillance.

    I'm addressing you, directly, for the first time in this thread. Prior to this, I was merely commenting on the fact that you propose this as if it were a binary situation, and it clearly is not. So the "continual" dodging of the question is your perception, not reality. And that's dangerous for an analyst.

    I would rather die and see a lot of other people die than waterboard a fellow human being. I will die with a clear conscience, because that's how I have tried to live my life. If there is something transcending human experience in the great beyond, I will go to it with that. As a self-congratulatory Catholic, I'm surprised you aren't taking a similar position. Unambiguous enough for you?

    The appeal to force, appeal to emotion, and hyperbolizing you are engaging in create a cariacature of yourself. This isn't 24. And I would not torture.

  22. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    Caterpillar? No, I don't think that constitutes torture. Making him think it is worse than a caterpillar, however, blurs the line and gets into long-term psychological damage. And I'll rely on my background in behavioral health to back that one up. :)


    They weren't allowed to make him think it was worse, and it was part of the memos that warranted all the outrage. But I'm glad to see you're at least reasonable on this area. But if they were going to lie to him and cause him possbile long-term psychological damage, you'd prevent interrogators from doing that? Blurs the line? The deaths of others is preferable to long-term psychological damage of a terrorist?


    I would rather die and see a lot of other people die than waterboard a fellow human being. I will die with a clear conscience, because that's how I have tried to live my life. If there is something transcending human experience in the great beyond, I will go to it with that. As a self-congratulatory Catholic, I'm surprised you aren't taking a similar position. Unambiguous enough for you?


    At last! Well, it's a good thing you're in the business of teaching and not protecting. It's really all I wanted to know, and I do believe this is what you would do. Whether or not there is anything noble in it or deserving of a clear conscience is another matter altogether. As for me and my self-congratulatory manner . . . on what? I've made it extremely clear in several posts that I don't know if I'm going to heaven. I don't congratulate myself on being Catholic. We are not to boast in Christ. I consider myself fortunate to have been given the gift of faith.


    The appeal to force, appeal to emotion, and hyperbolizing you are engaging in create a cariacature of yourself. This isn't 24. And I would not torture.


    I have never seen 24. Caricature? I'm just trying to get honest answers, and now you've given me one -- finally. You won't torture, but you also consider tricking someone about a poisonous bug to be questionable . . . well, while you're figuring out the answer to that moral dilemma, people could die, but your conscience will be clear. I'm sorry, but I don't get that. I don't get how a person could be so glib about the lives of other people, but given our previous exchanges, it's not unexpected. At least you have the courage to own up to it.


    Which, again, shows that you don't understand what a false dilemma is. Are you *actually* saying that it is *physically* impossible to do *anything* else aside from torture or allow the attacks to continue? Are you *really* engaging in that kind of simplistic, binary thinking


    Go back and read my posts on this subject. First of all, you and I disagree on what torture is. Second of all, when other methods fail, I support the use of aggressive tactics that can be considered low-grade -- like waterboarding. I am all for using every means out there to gain information on terrorist activities -- every surveillance technique known to man, every "traditional" method under the sun. If those fail, time to up the ante. But I don't try to convince myself that I am so enlightened that I would accept death (my own and others) in order to uphold my lofty principles in order to have a clear conscience. My conscience isn't clear. I'm not perfect, so I will never have a completely clear conscience. But I don't agonize over the torture issue either, because I have weighed my positions with regard to intent, circumstances, and the object of actions I support. I would probably be at odds with my Church on this matter, but I can't pretend to think any differently than I do. There are times when we make wrong decisions for what seem to be very noble reasons. Is this one of those times? Only God will be the judge of that. If I am guilty of sin on this matter, I pray for God to help me change my mind and for mercy. In the meantime, I expect those charged with protecting us to take every rea
  23. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    The *possible* deaths of others with the *likely* harms produced. If you want to weigh options, make sure that they are comparable. These deaths are not concrete, and all of your argument is essentially counterfactual argumentation. So I don't buy it at all.

    And the kind of analysis you have consistently offered makes me concerned that you are in the protecting business. Regarding your Catholicism, I call you a self-congratulatory Catholic because you are apparently quite eager to exclude others from your particular brand of Catholicism (our earlier discussion), you repeatedly say you put Christ before country, etc. I've known many, many Catholics over the years, and there are those who quietly live their lives of faith, and those who put their faith front and center, ahead of other interests, in all cases, and who are eager to impose a litmus test on the faithful. From what I have seen of your time here, your posts are consistent with the latter. I will happily admit that I am basing this entirely on your post history here, and I could be wildly inaccurate. I *freely* admit that, and, what's more, I want to be wrong on this.

    Again, counterfactual reasoning, and assumes that I'm endorsing *no* action, which is simply inaccurate. Again, if you deny that there are alternatives to torture, you are engaging in simplistic reasoning and committing a false dilemma fallacy. There is no way around that.

    There's no courage in
  24. BandofClones Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2009
    star 3
    Wow, this came out sooner than I thought. While I would say ABC should have waited for the next "batch" to come out, we are getting closer and closer to full disclosure. Interesting info, but I wouldn't burn the guys at the stake until the NY judge releases (if he does) the reports.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=7471217&page=1
  25. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Only two problems with this.
    1) The stuff that happened at AG, did so because interrogators sent directly from the Department of Defence introduced those methods to interrogate "suspects". The testimony of the general in charge (I forget her name) was very clear on this: every single picture from AG is a direct enactment of the playbook coming straight from Rumsfeldt.

    2) Permanent [physical] damage or physical pain isn't the biggest problem with torture, at least as it seems to me (not having been tortured myself). Rather, it's the emotional scars that are the biggest problems. The physical heals. The psyche doesn't. It's a situation where a person gets traumatized for life, totally comparable to any other person who has been victimized by crime, though much more gravely so, of course. Which means that it's the feelings of exposure, of being powerless, of being at the mercy of whatever your torturer might feel like doing to you at that particular time, further aggravated by the physical pain that is being inflicted. That's why torture is who horrible. And alot of damage can be done to a person's psyche without resorting to physical pain.

    Another issue is what's going on at Gitmo. You're assuming that everybody there is there for good reason, that they somehow have been involved in these organizations on such a level that they have information and
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.