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Old 06-22-2006, 03:23 PM   #61
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[q]Two, torture can be used in limited circumstances to gain necessary intelligence, but should not be used as a way of instilling fear in the general public. [/q]


my problem with the three options you've given us lies directly in this one. it seems implicit in this statement that torture can and is a successful means of gaining intelligence, especially that necessary intelligence, which, in the minds of those who are more receptive to the use of torture, would mean information about an imminent attack on civilians. that's another assumption, not just on the accuracy of information gained through torture, but on the level of importance of such information.

when you open the door to torture with the hope of meeting these two things (accurate intelligence, critical intelligence) the likelihood of yielding such information seems remote at best.

my guess is the sanctioning of torture by Cheney et al has been done to reassure themselves, the people in power, that they are doing all that can be done to protect American citizens, with little regard to the actual worth of ingelligence gained through torture.
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Old 06-22-2006, 03:25 PM   #62
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As a non-American, I tend to agree with Irvine. When governments start killing civilians and torturing people for information, it is IMO worse than terrorist activity. We know they are monsters, but we should know better and act with more restraint.

This so called "war on terror" is not conventional and changing tactics to match the enemy in this case will not lead to a positive outcome. If torture is acceptable for terror suspects to save American lives, why not torture kidnapping, child molesters or any suspect to save the life of any American. Where do you draw the line if torture is supposedly an effective method of drawing information from a suspect? Humans have rights, and unfortunately, we have to have a consistent policy for everyone and especially for those who are monsters otherwise they don't matter anymore. If you don't believe in maintaining the laws of civilization, well, the terrorists have succeeded in their job, altering our society to suit their image as a result of fear.
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Old 06-22-2006, 03:41 PM   #63
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If we show restraint, the terrorist wont care, but then people will be wanting us to get out of a mess, showing we are weak. If torturing a kidnapper to get a child back, then it's ok I guess. If he lied we still have him in custody.

You know I dont know, this is a mess
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Old 06-22-2006, 04:50 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
my question: can we blame anyone but ourselves if we find that they have been tortured?
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even if we had politicians who didn't endorse torture or a defense secretary who laughs off waterboarding as a "coercive interrogation technique," i am sure these soldiers would have been beheaded anyway.
The whole premise of this thread was that American interrogation techniques were to blame for the way our two U.S. soldiers were brutalized. But your second statement seems to be in complete conflict. Would these two young men been treated any differently had Abu Graib/Gitmo not occurred? Where do you stand?
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Old 06-22-2006, 05:08 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bluer White

The whole premise of this thread was that American interrogation techniques were to blame for the way our two U.S. soldiers were brutalized. But your second statement seems to be in complete conflict. Would these two young men been treated any differently had Abu Graib/Gitmo not occurred? Where do you stand?


no -- it was that we should not be surprised that they were tortured, thus underscoring the fact that torture makes our soldiers less safe and more likely not just to be killed but to be killed horrifically when they are captured due to Abu Graib and Gitmo -- it's a cycle of depravity and torture-reciprocity. they will do one worse to us than we have done to them. further, we can no longer unequivocally condemn what has happened to these poor soldiers. we've lost that moral high ground.

i also thought i made it fairly clear what's also at stake here -- "however, what was once a difference between civilization and barbarism has now been degraded by the present adminsitration into a mere a difference in degree" -- so it's not so much as trying to push me in a corner and make me choose between two statements, but that both statements are completley linked and totally logical.
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Old 06-22-2006, 05:56 PM   #66
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My point is, why should we in a war situation have to be humane to our enemy( Al-Qaeda, Taliban etc)
Because it's the right thing to do.

I see Irvine's point very clearly. We should not throw out our principles because our enemies prove to be unprincipled, which is what Justin24 was arguing earlier. I understand why Justin felt that way--it's a raw emotional response to what happened. But we can't make it policy.

I also have to agree with nbccrusader that we've not descended to the level of our enemies. Gitmo and Abu Gharib notwithstanding I believe our government has made a genuine effort to hew to the basic principles of democracy and human rights. There is a VERY CLEAR difference between the behavior of our troops and the insurgents/terrorists. It's just silly to claim otherwise.

However, I believe that part of the reason we haven't is because we have people in and out of the government and military saying what Irvine has said. "Hey, guys, this isnt' right. This isn't what we're about." If there were no Irvines to question and challenge the wrongs that have been done in short order we'd have a scenario similar to what Justin24 was suggesting earlier where we are right down in the dirt fighting at the same atrocious level as our enemies.

And I can see no logical reason why we have to fight them the way they fight us to win. Beheading their guys and mutiliating their bodies as they've done to us---how is that going to further us towards victory? That makes no sense!

Torture as a means of getting information is a different issue, but again, not a simple one. Torture obviously is effective if the person actually knows something. It isn't if he doesn't. Either way you get "information." The question is whether it's good information.

Here's an interesting side note. I talked with a well-known WW II veteran who was held in a Japanese prison for a couple of years and was tortured by the Japanese while there. Well the short of it is he forgave his captors and after the war eventually became close friends with the pilot who shot him down over Tokyo. And guess what his take on all this was? "Do whatever it takes to get the information." And this from a guy who'd been tortured himself. Go figure.

I just thought that was kind of interesting. Maybe he didn't hold it against his captors, what they did to him--
they're just doing their jobs and so on, so he figured we can do the same. I don't know. He didn't elaborate.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:45 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
further, we can no longer unequivocally condemn what has happened to these poor soldiers. we've lost that moral high ground.
Can Muslims "unequivocally condemn" the actions of a tiny percentage of Islamic extremists? Have Muslims lost their high moral ground?

Obviously not. Why is America any different?
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:55 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bluer White


Can Muslims "unequivocally condemn" the actions of a tiny percentage of Islamic extremists? Have Muslims lost their high moral ground?

Obviously not. Why is America any different?


i didn't realize that we were at war with a religion.

perhaps we are.

yes, most muslims do unequivocally condemn the actions of a tiny percentage of Islamic extremists, mostly because they weren't democratically elected and it isn't the written policy of Muslims Everywhere.

the analogy holds no water.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:39 PM   #69
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Actually, I think there is something to the analogy in that while we call it a War on Terror, we really have a war on a specific brand of Islam - one birthed in Iran 30 years ago.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:43 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
yes, most muslims do unequivocally condemn the actions of a tiny percentage of Islamic extremists, mostly because they weren't democratically elected and it isn't the written policy of Muslims Everywhere.

the analogy holds no water.
It absolutely does. I just took one group, singled out a few bad actors, and questioned whether the majority of the group had any moral authority. Just as you did with the United States. The alleged Haditha massacre and Abu Graib debacle was not written policy, and not unwritten policy. It was unlawful.

You asked if we should be surprised that these two specific soldiers were tortured. I asked you if American policy was to blame for the way in which these two were brutalized. You couldn't answer a simple question, because you draw a moral equivalency between the terrorists and the Bush administration. You've said as much. That is your opinion. Many do not agree with it.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:46 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

my problem with the three options you've given us lies directly in this one. it seems implicit in this statement that torture can and is a successful means of gaining intelligence, especially that necessary intelligence, which, in the minds of those who are more receptive to the use of torture, would mean information about an imminent attack on civilians. that's another assumption, not just on the accuracy of information gained through torture, but on the level of importance of such information.

when you open the door to torture with the hope of meeting these two things (accurate intelligence, critical intelligence) the likelihood of yielding such information seems remote at best.
If it unreasonable to believe that the torture used to extract information will lead to accurate, critical intelligence, the only remaining benefit would be the perverted pleasure of inflicting pain. We gain no ground in the terror aspect of torture.

Have we really arrived at that point?
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:00 PM   #72
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Actually, I think there is something to the analogy in that while we call it a War on Terror, we really have a war on a specific brand of Islam - one birthed in Iran 30 years ago.
Actually in the war in Iraq, no we DON"T have a war on a specific brand of Islam. Or if we do now, we certainly didn't have one when the war began. Saddam Hussein's government was decidely secular and the radical brand of Shia Islam that I assume you're referring to was being brutally suppressed by his government. What has unfortunately happened is that AFTER the war began we've seen Iraq become a magnet for wild-eyed jihadists from all over the world. The idea that the war in Iraq is part of the War on Terror is ludicrous. Far from moving the war on terror forward, the war in Iraq has hampered our ability to effectively deal with the terrorist threat. Unless the concept was: "Let's invade a country we don't like anyway and draw all the terrorists there so that we can tie them up there and fight them there."
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:48 PM   #73
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Originally posted by DrTeeth
It's absolutely horrible what happened to these men. Situations like these make me glad I've always been consistenly against torture.
It is horrible in a way, and I feel for their families. But they signed up for war, as did the insurgents. Who didn't sign up for the war are the innocent civilians and foreign workers being injured and killed
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:32 PM   #74
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Originally posted by Bluer White


It absolutely does. I just took one group, singled out a few bad actors, and questioned whether the majority of the group had any moral authority. Just as you did with the United States. The alleged Haditha massacre and Abu Graib debacle was not written policy, and not unwritten policy. It was unlawful.



you are correct about Haditah, you are incorrect about Abu Ghraib which was the logical conclusion of the deliberate obfuscation of the rules of conduct and military chain of command after the Gonzales memos. further, we practice torture, or outsource it, and this has been written about extensively, and all of this was independent of Abu Ghraib or Haditha. think of the secret prisons across Eastern Europe. think of the lengthy discussions about waterboarding. think of the "McCain Amendment." all of this is POLICY, new policy, implemented by Cheney and Rumsfeld, both of whom are public servants in a democracy appointed by a man whom 60 million people voted for. no one has voted for Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has no mandate to set policy for the Muslim world.

there's a huge difference between the official policy of the United States -- remember, we're thinking far beyond AG and Haditha, which is awful that we have to do so -- and the actions of a rogue terrorist group.

i'm also amazed that, with your analogy, you're saying that the United States government is both an equivalent entity to Muslims Everywhere as well as at war with them.



Quote:
You asked if we should be surprised that these two specific soldiers were tortured. I asked you if American policy was to blame for the way in which these two were brutalized. You couldn't answer a simple question, because you draw a moral equivalency between the terrorists and the Bush administration. You've said as much. That is your opinion. Many do not agree with it.


you are totally putting words in my mouth. garbage. please show me where i have said as much. in fact, i have written extensively about how bad and nihilistic Islamist terrorism is, and that's why we must defeat it by proving that we are better, that we deserve to win. i know i'd like to fufill your fantasies about everyone who dislikes Bush and his conduct of the invasion of Iraq as some kind of Michael Moore follower, but that's not the case at all. one can despise our leadership and not draw equivalence with fascists -- it's really easy to ask a question when you need a certain answer to justify whatever point you're trying to make, i'm sorry i wasn't able to do that for you.

in any event, did you read my response? blame is irrelevant here. it's totally beside the point outlined in the initial post and which i followed up to. we should not be surprised, nor can we claim the moral high ground, when our soldiers are themselves victims of torture.

can we blame Bush and Co. for degrading us as a nation and as a culture and for making our soldiers less safe? now that's a relevant question, and the answer to that is yes.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:33 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


If it unreasonable to believe that the torture used to extract information will lead to accurate, critical intelligence, the only remaining benefit would be the perverted pleasure of inflicting pain. We gain no ground in the terror aspect of torture.

Have we really arrived at that point?


i'm going to start a thread tomorrow about The One-Percent Doctrine -- i think that might explain some of what the rationalizations for torture were in the minds of some in the administration.
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