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Torture complex found in Iraq

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I would have no moral qualms about it at all. The bastard "would" talk. It would just be a matter of how much pain they could endure before doing so.
Would I torture someone if it was the only way to get information that would save the life of someone close to me? I think so.

Re: Finding the nuclear device...

And thus others have to do what American Woman could not do. There's always someone in society that is willing to do the Jack Bauer-like dirty work so that others can be above it all. And no...I'm not refering to some sadist who enjoys torture (like our al-Qaeda examples above).

Just sometimes, yah gotta do what yah gotta do. This is an exteme example, sure. But I'm sure it could apply to much less extreme situations.

---------------------------------------------------

In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.

---Marquis de Sade

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Just sometimes, yah gotta do what yah gotta do.

I can't stand the sight of blood so I would probably opt for the waterboarding method. Amazing what you can learn when you follow American politics. ;)

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I can't stand the sight of blood so I would probably opt for the waterboarding method. Amazing what you can learn when you follow American politics. ;)
Isn't waterboarding a sport common on WaiKiKi beach?

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I hate when I have to agree with something a conservative says, but if I needed information that would save someone close to me and I had a captive that had the info but wouldn't give it to me, I would stop at nothing to make him/her talk.

I would have no moral qualms about it at all. The bastard "would" talk. It would just be a matter of how much pain they could endure before doing so. I would immediately stop torturing them when they told me what they knew.

...or told you what you want to hear

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I think most countries DO torture and some countries torture is worse than others. What makes me angry is when countries that come out and say, "WE don't torture" knowing very well that they out source it to other countries and therefore, they ARE guilty just the same. Anyone being torture would say anything to stop the procedure from going on. So how does torture really help with info.?

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Fair enough...but I don't think the two can really be compared. If I had to make a choice...either 'tortured' by Americans or really tortured by Islamofascists...I'd take the US version.

Perhaps you'd prefer the US method since it's unlikely you'd be found on the receiving end of that torture, whereas it's just slightly more likely that you (and people of your kind) could find yourself on the receiving end of an Islamist's electric cattle prod?

Edited by Liam

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Re: Finding the nuclear device...

And thus others have to do what American Woman could not do. There's always someone in society that is willing to do the Jack Bauer-like dirty work so that others can be above it all. And no...I'm not refering to some sadist who enjoys torture (like our al-Qaeda examples above).

Just sometimes, yah gotta do what yah gotta do. This is an exteme example, sure. But I'm sure it could apply to much less extreme situations.

No one disputes the rightful application of torture in the dirty bomb scenario, but that situation is so incredibly unlikely to ever occur that it's not even worth weighing. Not because there will never be a dirty bomb attack, but because it stretches the imagination to think that we could *know* there is a dirty bomb somewhere *and* we *know* a person in our custody knows so much about the plot that we could knowingly apply torture successfully.

I have two problems with torture. First, it reduces the torturing party to sadism -- it becomes the method of preference in terms of info gathering and ultimately corrupts the torturer. Second, torture is perhaps the least reliable method of gathering good information. Someone being tortured will say anything to make the pain stop. Anything. Not necessarily the truth, just anything the torturer wants to hear. When Khalid Sheik Mohammed was tortured, he mentioned dozens and dozens of plots around the world and the CIA went on a wild goose chase looking for evidence of those plots. All turned up empty. The time and energy KSM's torture occupied could have been spent much more wisely by boots-on-the-ground investigating.

I have no doubt the US has tortured in the past (and that it will do so in the future), but it ought to be reserved for the most dire of situations and applied to the most select few of known terrorists (NOT to suspects) -- Osama bin Laden and his inner circle, for example. To embrace it as national policy and/or to apply it to routine "enemy combatants" is not only damaging from an international reputation perspective (thereby making our GWOT less winnable) and damaging from an intelligence gathering perspective, but damaging and corrupting from a moral and ethical standpoint.

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Interesting posts.

The nicest people in the world can do the most horrible things and be quite comfportable about it.

Once it is over those who were the worst can yet again become the nicest neighbours.

That "skin deep" mantle of manners is easy to discard under the correct circumstance. Anyone denying this has never (and hopefully will never) had the opportunity to see or participate.

Borg

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I have no doubt the US has tortured in the past (and that it will do so in the future), but it ought to be reserved for the most dire of situations and applied to the most select few of known terrorists (NOT to suspects) -- Osama bin Laden and his inner circle, for example. To embrace it as national policy and/or to apply it to routine "enemy combatants" is not only damaging from an international reputation perspective (thereby making our GWOT less winnable) and damaging from an intelligence gathering perspective, but damaging and corrupting from a moral and ethical standpoint.
How about the immediate family of someone like Osama, or one of his lieutenants? They might be willing to give up information that could save lives.

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Perhaps you'd prefer the US method since it's unlikely you'd be found on the receiving end of that torture, whereas it's just slightly more likely that you (and people of your kind) could find yourself on the receiving end of an Islamist's electric cattle prod?

People of my kind? Canadian? Handsome? Kind to animals? Explain...

:huh:

--------------------------------------

Did ya see that hawk after those hens? He scared 'em! That Rhode Island Red turned white, then blue. Rhode Island, red white and blue! That's a joke, son, a flag-waver! You're built too low. The fast ones go over your head. Ya got a hole in your glove. I keep pitchin' 'em and you keep missin' 'em! Ya gotta keep your eye on the ball! Eye. Ball. Eyeball! I almost had a gag, son--a joke, that is!

---Foghorn Leghorn

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Guest American Woman
Re: Finding the nuclear device...

And thus others have to do what American Woman could not do. There's always someone in society that is willing to do the Jack Bauer-like dirty work so that others can be above it all. And no...I'm not refering to some sadist who enjoys torture (like our al-Qaeda examples above).

Just sometimes, yah gotta do what yah gotta do. This is an exteme example, sure. But I'm sure it could apply to much less extreme situations.

"Others" wouldn't be torturing so I "can be above it" because I do not believe in torture. It's not that I believe in it but want someone else to do it for me. I don't believe there's ever been a case where it's saved lives and I don't believe there ever will be (others have gone into all that, so I won't repeat it now). But don't think I'm leaving the torturing to others so I can be above it. I'm not leaving the dirty work to others. I don't think anyone should do it.

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How about the immediate family of someone like Osama, or one of his lieutenants? They might be willing to give up information that could save lives.

I think in my response I made it clear that Bin Laden's inner circle would fall within that very small group of people for whom torture could probably be applied, so "one of his lieutenants" as you asked would be within that group.

His family? No. I would think there would likely be ways short of torture to get bin Laden's family members to talk. I think you could start with appeals then move on to real threats of legal action if they didn't budge -- I mean, you would have to have some evidence that a certain family member knew of his whereabouts and were deliberately withholding that info. There could be any number of laws here in the US (and almost certainly dozens of them in their native Saudi Arabia) along the lines of aiding and abetting that you could threaten them with.

But even if those appeals to the Bin Laden family member did not work, I do not think it would be right to torture for a variety of reasons. First, they might not have any information to share, and second, like any torture recipient, they could lie just to make you stop even if only for an hour or two.

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People of my kind? Canadian? Handsome? Kind to animals? Explain...

:huh:

My response assumed the US would primarily be torturing those outisde their ranks (i.e., suspected al Qaeda members, Islamists and captured enemy combatants) and that Islamists would be torturing those outside their ranks (non-Islamists, captured westerners, etc). I further assumed that "your kind" (which is also my kind) falls into the latter group.

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"Others" wouldn't be torturing so I "can be above it" because I do not believe in torture. It's not that I believe in it but want someone else to do it for me. I don't believe there's ever been a case where it's saved lives and I don't believe there ever will be (others have gone into all that, so I won't repeat it now). But don't think I'm leaving the torturing to others so I can be above it. I'm not leaving the dirty work to others. I don't think anyone should do it.

I believe there have been many cases in history where it has saved lives and also many others when it has been used on the innocent. If someone is a party to the taking of innocent lives, I don't think they have much right to expect leniency when it comes to stopping them from doing so.

On a personal level. If I knew someone had information I needed to prevent the death of someone I loved and torture was the only way to get it, there would be no decision. Not to do anything I could to get that information would mean putting a higher value on that persons discomfort than my loved ones life. I don't think so.

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On a personal level. If I knew someone had information I needed to prevent the death of someone I loved and torture was the only way to get it, there would be no decision. Not to do anything I could to get that information would mean putting a higher value on that persons discomfort than my loved ones life. I don't think so.

except you don't know torture is the only way to get the information. The torturer has no idea if the torture will be successfull. Torture is an act of desperation brought on by an inability to effectivly gather information. Torture is the last resort of a loser in the game of intelligence and only serves to create the impression that the torturer is 'dong something'. To resort to torture means the game was lost a long time ago.

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except you don't know torture is the only way to get the information. The torturer has no idea if the torture will be successfull. Torture is an act of desperation brought on by an inability to effectivly gather information. Torture is the last resort of a loser in the game of intelligence and only serves to create the impression that the torturer is 'dong something'. To resort to torture means the game was lost a long time ago.

Last resorts are better than no resort at all. To bring it down to a moral question means you already lost. Simply apply a drill to the mofos knees and be done with it. If in the end the attack or lives you wished to save are still lost, you have the consolation that one mofo has knees that will never have water on them.

But i agree that torture is iffy in terms of getting the oinfo you need. Thats why you should never torture the prime suspect. Better to torture his buddy instead within earshot of the suspect and let the prime suspect meditate on what awaits him if he should remain silent.

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except you don't know torture is the only way to get the information. The torturer has no idea if the torture will be successfull. Torture is an act of desperation brought on by an inability to effectivly gather information. Torture is the last resort of a loser in the game of intelligence and only serves to create the impression that the torturer is 'dong something'. To resort to torture means the game was lost a long time ago.

Question. If you knew something like 9/11 was comming but had no specifics and someone fell into your hands who you were very sure had the information you needed to prevent it, would it be more moral not to use torture to get that information or do nothing and let those thousands die?

The fact is, torture and the threat of torture does often work, that's why methods have been continually refined and used for centuries to get information.

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Question. If you knew something like 9/11 was comming but had no specifics and someone fell into your hands who you were very sure had the information you needed to prevent it, would it be more moral not to use torture to get that information or do nothing and let those thousands die?

How would I know the information provided was accurate? The whole point of torture is to inflict pain until the tortured says something I want to hear. Torture is used to confirm what is already suspected. In fact, suppose the tortured person says something I have no knowledge of? Why would I believe what he says? The problem with torture is that its impossible to tell truth from fiction.

If the tortured tells me the truth how am I to know its the truth? Your 9/11 scenario suggests that I will have no idea what the truth is.

Anything the tortured says is meaningless until he says something I want to hear. Even if what I want to hear is wrong and useless.

Your scenario assumes that you already know what the truth is and that is how you will know the tortured is supplying accurate information.

There is no point to torture. Its useless. Wich is why only arseholes and losers resort to it - It gives them the impression that they are achieving something, making some headway of some sort. Torture has never achieved anything that couldn't have been got otherwise.

The fact is, torture and the threat of torture does often work, that's why methods have been continually refined and used for centuries to get information.

When has torture ever worked? The only thing torture has ever provided is names - lots of names. But nothing a simple telephone book couldnt provide.

Torture is a waste of time and only paints the torturing party and untrustworthy brutes. Its self-defeating.

So no, I would not use torture on anyone, even to save millions of people - for the simple reason that the only way for me to know what the victim says is true is if I already know the truth - so why waste time making someone say a bunch of crap.

Edited by Peter F

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...When has torture ever worked? The only thing torture has ever provided is names - lots of names. But nothing a simple telephone book couldnt provide.

Torture is a waste of time and only paints the torturing party and untrustworthy brutes. Its self-defeating.

No, it is not always self defeating. Interrogations conducted according to the "field manual" can and do yield actionable information, yet many would consider some of the methods to be "torture". US military personnel and other high value intel folk subject to capture and interrogation by "the enemy" are trained to resist and obfuscate because torture can be effective. Good interrogators abhor the amateurish methods of outright abuse, but these days even the forced wearing of panties on your head brings on Amnesty International.

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Guest American Woman
level. If I knew someone had information I needed to prevent the death of someone I loved and torture was the only way to get it, there would be no decision. Not to do anything I could to get that information would mean putting a higher value on that persons discomfort than my loved ones life. I don't think so.

I won't repeat everything Peter F has said, so I'll just point out that I find "discomfort" an interesting choice of words where. Torture does not cause "discomfort," it causes "unbearable pain," "agony," "torment." Link So why the use of the word "discomfort?" Could it be you're trying to downplay it even as you are saying you would engage in it?

Good interrogators abhor the amateurish methods of outright abuse, but these days even the forced wearing of panties on your head brings on Amnesty International.

Because "good interrogators" use methods like "forced wearing of panties on your head?" Just how much useful information did that bring about? Fyi, there is a difference between "abuse" and "torture." Yet everyone in your camp only brings up the panties on the head when referring to the abuse carried out by our troops. The actual torture and deaths are ommitted, and it's all about the panties. :rolleyes:

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I won't repeat everything Peter F has said, so I'll just point out that I find "discomfort" an interesting choice of words where. Torture does not cause "discomfort," it causes "unbearable pain," "agony," "torment." Link So why the use of the word "discomfort?" Could it be you're trying to downplay it even as you are saying you would engage in it?

"Unbearable pain", "agony", "torment", "discomfort". What does it matter? It will stop the moment the information is given up versus death (which is final in far different way) for that persons victim.

I'm not trying to downplay it at all. It is a last resort but one that shouldn't be disregarded out of hand. It is a tool and possibly a necessary one in extraordinary situations. The possibility of a slippery slope is always a concern. I am not in favour of torture as a means of getting information but there are times when one may forced to decide where and to whom their real duty and obligation lies. Who hasn't had to do something which was repulsive to them but necessary?

If the assassination of Benazir Bhutto could have been prevent by the use of torture on one who was a party to that assassination, who does the person making the decision to use or not to use torture owe their responsibility and duty? The perpetrator or Bhutto and the dozens who were blown to pieces and maimed by these people? How does the person making that decision justify putting their own personal morals above the lives of all those people and who knows how many others in the chaos that follows, when their duty is to protect those very people? Those are hard questions which have to be answered honestly by the people involved, not some philosophical discussion.

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Wow, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there are so many posters here who support the use of physical torture. Pretty sad, IMO. There are other ways to interrogate people.

However, I guess it's just par for the course around here. And heck, even Foxman isn't against it - as he said - it worked so well for the Nazis!! Not to mention how well it worked confirming the guilt of witches and warlocks during the inquisition!! Ah yes - brutal torture of other humans is such a necessary thing!!

tsk tsk. :angry:

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Guest American Woman
"Unbearable pain", "agony", "torment", "discomfort". What does it matter? It will stop the moment the information is given up versus death (which is final in far different way) for that persons victim.

"Uncomfortable" is a flight in coach. "Agony" is severe pain. I'm guessing it would matter a lot to you if you could chose either of those situations to be in.

I'm not trying to downplay it at all. It is a last resort but one that shouldn't be disregarded out of hand. It is a tool and possibly a necessary one in extraordinary situations. The possibility of a slippery slope is always a concern. I am not in favour of torture as a means of getting information but there are times when one may forced to decide where and to whom their real duty and obligation lies. Who hasn't had to do something which was repulsive to them but necessary?

So you've had to do something so repulsive to you, something against your moral standards? I've never had to. So I guess I, for one, would be someone who hasn't had to do something which was repulsive to me but necessary.

If the assassination of Benazir Bhutto could have been prevent by the use of torture on one who was a party to that assassination, who does the person making the decision to use or not to use torture owe their responsibility and duty? The perpetrator or Bhutto and the dozens who were blown to pieces and maimed by these people? How does the person making that decision justify putting their own personal morals above the lives of all those people and who knows how many others in the chaos that follows, when their duty is to protect those very people? Those are hard questions which have to be answered honestly by the people involved, not some philosophical discussion.

Your "if" isn't reality. A person could say "what if" for anything, but I'd rather base my principles on 'what is.' As has already been pointed out, tortured people tend to say whatever the torturer wants to hear in order to get the torture to stop. This can, and does, result in wild goose chases. Who knows if this hasn't had a negative effect? Furthermore, no one can come up with even one instance like the one you described. We aren't aware of these plots ahead of time, much less have the perpeptrators in custody beforehand.

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Your "if" isn't reality. A person could say "what if" for anything, but I'd rather base my principles on 'what is.' As has already been pointed out, tortured people tend to say whatever the torturer wants to hear in order to get the torture to stop. This can, and does, result in wild goose chases. Who knows if this hasn't had a negative effect? Furthermore, no one can come up with even one instance like the one you described. We aren't aware of these plots ahead of time, much less have the perpeptrators in custody beforehand.

This whole discussion is "what if". Only being put in that situation would force you to base your principles on "what is", not sitting comfortably behind a computer. I'm not saying torture is a good way, or an infallible way, but it may in some cases be the only way.

How do you know there has never been such an instance? We often hear of plots being thwarted because of intelligence gained from so and so, or from such and such a place. Rarely are we given detailed information on how that information was gathered. Are you naive enough to think that if one of your or my government agencies ever stopped a massacre by getting information under torture they would hold a press conference and tell everyone? If they honestly believed it was the only way they could stop a massacre of innocents, I would expect them to do it. Do you think that in all the long years of the Cold War, the Soviets were the only ones who ever resorted to it? Unlike the West they may have made it part of their normal interrogation routine but I would be knocked over with a feather if we had never used it ourselves.

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