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Old 05-21-2004, 04:06 PM   #1
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Torture is acceptable under certain circumstances

[Q]BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, a lot of our viewers will be surprised to hear that you think there are right times for torture. Is this one of those moments?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think so. This is not the ticking-bomb terrorist case, at least so far as we know. Of course, the difficult question is the chicken-egg question: We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures.

My basic point, though, is we should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture. If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice. I don't think we're in that situation in this case.

[/Q]
http://edition.cnn.com/2003/LAW/03/03/cnna.Dershowitz/
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:16 PM   #2
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I hate saying this because it makes me sick, but under a "ticking time bomb" case I think it would justified. I can't see a way around it. But that is the line for me.

The problem with this debate is when does it ever happen? Rarely.
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:32 PM   #3
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In the interview, the person oppsed to Dershowitz says the same thing. It is an interesting read.
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Old 05-21-2004, 06:49 PM   #4
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I just read the entire interview, it is excellent.

I am not sure that by opening the door everyone would go the way of Israel. We can set limits and standards for ourselves. We do it all the time. ie. abortion, it is acceptable up to a certain point.

But of course humans are prone to failure, maybe we couldn't live by the standards we set for ourselves.

I think I have to ponder this one a bit more.

I do really like the way Dershowitz talks about admiting our failures and dealing with it, it is refreshing.
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Old 05-21-2004, 08:06 PM   #5
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I like how he says the President or the Supreme court should DIRECTLY authorize it.
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:03 PM   #6
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Anything is acceptable under certain circumstances I suppose, as long as you realise that once you've crossed the line, you've crossed the line, end of story.

After that it's only a question of degree that separates you from your enemies, not a question of kind.
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Old 05-22-2004, 07:43 AM   #7
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Wouldn't you think that putting the responsibility directly onto the President or Justice of the court, puts the responsibility on the leadership. Right now, we are in a scandal because low level MP's were directed to do things by civilians and MI. (Although my issue is the people we were torturing had done noting wrong according to articles I read).

If we are going to accept torture as valid, we should put the rules in place, recognizing that it is going to happen with, or without the rules.
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Old 05-22-2004, 12:50 PM   #8
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Yes, putting the *direct* responsibility for the action on the President or similar big shot is the way to go. That way people would know exactly who ordered what instead of all of these games that are going on now.
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Old 05-22-2004, 04:18 PM   #9
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torture will make people admit to just about anything
it's completely pointless

I would confess to being the brains behind 9/11 if it would stop me being tortured
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Old 05-22-2004, 08:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Salome
torture will make people admit to just about anything
it's completely pointless

I would confess to being the brains behind 9/11 if it would stop me being tortured
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Old 05-22-2004, 08:50 PM   #11
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Well, I think the point of the ticking time bomb scenario is that you know for sure that the person is 100% connected to the plot, that person knows where the bomb is, etc. It is not just to torture to see if they could possiby know anything about something.

What you say is right Salome, but doesn't really address this scenario.
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Old 05-23-2004, 04:48 AM   #12
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even if you know that a person is 100% connected to the plot
there still will be no way of telling whether he/she is telling you the truth instead of some random crap to keep you occupied until it's too late

if you could make a deal with him/her there might be a reason for this person to tell the actual truth
if you torture him/her there's not even a reason to do this

torture is not much more than a barbaric way to try and get rid of some of your own frustrations
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Old 05-23-2004, 05:23 AM   #13
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Salome, the point of the scenario is that all other methods have been is exhausted, deal-making, etc.

What do you do?

The person may tell you crap, but would you be willing to risk that to save the lives of 200 people who are about to die in an explosion?

Yes, torture is not much more than what you describe it as.
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Old 05-23-2004, 03:17 PM   #14
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it is indeed

I would be seriously deluding myself if I would pretend that I could prevent a situation as mentioned by you by torturing someone if this person wouldn't give me the info needed because of my other efforts

all this person - who obviously doesn't want to co-operate - needs to do is tell me one lie that would keep me busy following a useless lead for a day or 2

if you are twisted enough to want to murder 200 people and you refuse to give me this info then sure enough you are smart enough to tell one more lie for your plan to work

I am not even willing to believe there is a 0.0001% possibility of this not being true
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Old 05-24-2004, 01:13 AM   #15
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I would rather break the plotters fingers and try to prevent an attack than sit on my hands and allow it to happen.
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Old 05-24-2004, 02:28 AM   #16
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you wouldn't prevent the attack that way though
so you'd just relieve your own frustrations
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Old 05-24-2004, 06:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by iacrobat
Salome, the point of the scenario is that all other methods have been is exhausted, deal-making, etc.

What do you do?

The person may tell you crap, but would you be willing to risk that to save the lives of 200 people who are about to die in an explosion?

Yes, torture is not much more than what you describe it as.
How SURE would you have to be, to be deciding on the torture route anyway? Pretty damn sure? As close to 100% sure as possible? I'd guess so anyway.
Anyone who is that sure of their suspect, already knows a shitload. If info cannot be worked out to prevent the worst case scenario like a terrorist attack then you are either an absolute crap-arsed investigator or your leads have brought you to the wrong suspect. No invesitgation goes so far down one path to lead to one person or group getting to enough certainty that torture can be considered, without so many other avenues opening up as well.
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Old 05-24-2004, 08:47 AM   #18
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Salome, THANK YOU! I've been waiting for someone to point out that most people, quite naturally, say whatever to get the torture to stop. This is why so many intel experts don't trust intel gotten under tortue. So not only have you broken the Geneva Conventions, and I would argue, compromise the very civilized values you say you're fighting for (which means they've won), you haven't gotten the info you needed to begin with. From the interviews I've read, not much can reply good old-fashioned spying for that, and it apparently takes years of training and developing relationships and contacts for that.

*cue 007 music*

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Old 05-24-2004, 10:06 AM   #19
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Basically I agree with Sherry and Salome. I think people will say *whatever* to stop torture, and it may not be true. Unfortunately they've been doing this for centuries--make that millenia--and it's always been questionable if these people are always telling the truth. I'm all for saving those 200 lives or whatever that would be foiled by a confession, but how do you know you're getting the confession? Some of these terrorists would rather *die* than spill the beans.
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Old 05-24-2004, 10:23 AM   #20
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Extracting information through torture or other means has been studies extensively. I doubt it is the Hollywood version where immense pain (or threat of pain) brings about an immediate response - this is too simplistic.

More subtle forms are likely used to get answers over time - with responses checked against previous responses. This is compared with responses of other detainees. Many of the techniques (sleep deprivation, disorientation) are designed to hinder a suspect from sticking to a false story.
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