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Old 02-05-2008, 01:45 AM   #181
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:54 AM   #182
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I think A_W's arguments have a lot of wisdom to them.

I don't think giving the state extensive powers to torture is a good idea, but I do agree that arguing that torturing never produces results is a bit extreme.

I guess what disturbs me is the zeal that some people have to torture. It's the same thing that bother's me about the pro-death penalty. Their enthusiasm for it; their eagerness to put it in to practice is in poor taste at the very least. It seems that in the hypothetical situation in which torture is deemed to be the "only option" the approach would be one of grim duty with a solemn understanding of what this is going to do not just to the suspect but to the interrogator as well. Torture, like war, is dehumanizing by nature. It's occasional necessity makes it no less dehumanizing. Perhaps it's necessary but the costs of it will be great. We would do well to regcognize that and perhaps not be so hasty to do it. (One of the things I loved about the series of Band of Brothers, is how it captured how war can literally destroy a human being without them ever being physically wounded. Is it necessary? Yes, sometimes. But the cost is high, for those who kill as much as for those who are killed).

As for the Christian perspective. . . I think it DOES matter to those posters who are Christians. I know A_Wanderer is not a Christian so arguments from that perspective would have no meaning for him. I get that. He can IGNORE that aspect of the discussion as it doesn't pertain to him and argue the issue on strictly secular merits (which, he has in fact, done). But just because the religious argument is invalid to him doesn't mean it needs to be invalid and ignored for everyone.

So, if you're not interested in theological arguments, READ NO FURTHER!

So, that said--to whom it may concern i.e. my fellow believers. No one was has yet made a credible case for torturing as representative of Jesus Christ. I think we all know that there is nothing in his life or teachings that would provide grounds for torturing another human being. What the state does, yes, shouldn't necessarily be guided by what choices we might make as individual human beings, but surely you must recognize that someone engaged in torturing another human being is going to damage themselves spiritually, regardless of the reason.

There is, however, an argument that could win the Christian case for torture quite easily. But no one has made it--I suspect because it is such an ugly argument.

Would God ever torture? Sure He would. In fact He's doing it right now, with the lost souls in hell, who suffer torment not just for 35 seconds but for ETERNITY!

So, yes, most Christians do have "justification" for torture.

And it's sick.

(full disclosure: I don't believe in eternal hell. For obvious reasons. It makes ludicrous the concept of a loving God.)
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:45 AM   #183
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I can't believe there has to be a debate about waterboarding and torture. It's sad.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:40 AM   #184
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1) Who is defining "torture"? Calling every aggressive interrogation technique "torture" as some here do is simply ridiculous. And it smacks less of moral outrage and more of political opposition to everything Bush. Everything Bush, from the Patriot Act, to Gitmo to the NSA to the surge. It's all BAD, BAD, BAD -- it's shredding the constitution, ignoring human rights -- or so we're told.

2 ) If a complete ban on torture would be a good thing, wouldn't a complete ban on killing be better? Why is it sometimes justified to go to war, launch missiles or even set entire cities aflame, but "torture," oh no, can't have any of that? How do you draw the line there?

3) I'll say it again, not all "torture" is created equal. Motive. Your moral GPS must be stuck on "relative," or "hate Bush" if you confuse the supervised, restrained albeit tough interrogation of a few high-value detainees suspected of having names, details or other information that could save the lives of American troops or innocent civilians -- with the sadistic murders, forced confessions, intimidation, or cowardly acts of terrorism seen all too from those we seek to....I almost said kill.
But if we can't slap someone around why would we ever think killing them was justified?

This is not condoning the torture of humans. But let's get real. If you can think of no scenario (ticking bomb, kidnapped child, etc) in which you'd never, ever condone force to get vital information out of someone suspected of having it;

frankly,
you're not trying.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:26 AM   #185
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Originally posted by INDY500

This is not condoning the torture of humans.
Then what the fuck is it condoning.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:39 AM   #186
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Feel free to revise and extend your remarks.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:55 AM   #187
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
[B]1) Who is defining "torture"? Calling every aggressive interrogation technique "torture" as some here do is simply ridiculous. And it smacks less of moral outrage and more of political opposition to everything Bush. Everything Bush, from the Patriot Act, to Gitmo to the NSA to the surge. It's all BAD, BAD, BAD -- it's shredding the constitution, ignoring human rights -- or so we're told.

no one is saying this. what we are objecting to is the legalization of certain torture techniques that have been used for centuries that have only now become part of the CIA's "arsenal" of investigative techniques. waterboarding is the big one, and it is a big one because it is so well know, it was used so extensively in the Soviet Union and by the Viet Cong, and because we know that the simulation of drowning is indeed torture.

it is you who is making the assumption that this is some kind of knee-jerk reaction to everything Bush, when there are very real, very practical, very utilitarian reasons why we should not torture, and i've spelled those out for you. it is you who's guilty of the wishful thinking that all those who oppose something are thinking the same thing, are all opposed to the same things, and do so out of blindness rather than out of judgment.

for me, it is moral outrage. if i had to sum it up in one sentence, it is that i don't see the point in defending a way of life that requires you to destroy it's ideals in it's defense.

we are better, right? we are the good guys here, right? so why not act like it.



[q]2 ) If a complete ban on torture would be a good thing, wouldn't a complete ban on killing be better? Why is it sometimes justified to go to war, launch missiles or even set entire cities aflame, but "torture," oh no, can't have any of that? How do you draw the line there?[/q]

i'd argue, firstly, that it does take a certain fanatical mindset to see mass destruction and violence as the correct solutions to morally repugnant institutions. there are some morally repugnant institutions -- slavery, Nazi Germany -- that may have required violence. but these are rare, and they come at a high cost, and i reject the mentality that says that the ends justify the means, and that the slaughter of other people is acceptable for the sake of ideology and centralizing power.

now, as for violence vs. torture, this seems a bit apples to oranges to me. i would wager that precisely targeted bombing, for example, would be perhaps somewhat analogous to, say, actual interrogation, whereas the intentional firebombing of a civilian population would be analogous to torture.

and so, let's get to the issue of Dresden. 250,000 Germans died, mostly civilians. was this a necessity? it was the end of the war, it was after the discovery of the concentration camps, and some point to the need to literally snap the spine of Germany in order to get them to eventually surrender. is this, then, an appropriate analogy to torture? that we need to use it as a last resort, when the stakes are high, when we've just got to do what needs to be done in order to prevent more death down the road?

no. these are not similar situations. again, i reject the "24" example where the clock is ticking, and we've just got to snap the electrodes on the guy's scrotum to get him to give up the location of the bomb. things simply don't happen that way anywhere but the movies. what torture does is it degrades intelligence gathering capabilities as a whole and it invites in sadists as it pushes out good, effective people. it's the overall health of the institution that i'm concerned about, not hypothetical one-on-one situation. the permission of even a little bit of torture is what leads to Abu Ghraib situations.



[q]3) I'll say it again, not all "torture" is created equal. Motive. Your moral GPS must be stuck on "relative," or "hate Bush" if you confuse the supervised, restrained albeit tough interrogation of a few high-value detainees suspected of having names, details or other information that could save the lives of American troops or innocent civilians -- with the sadistic murders, forced confessions, intimidation, or cowardly acts of terrorism seen all too from those we seek to....I almost said kill.
But if we can't slap someone around why would we ever think killing them was justified?[/q]


you are really throwing this discussion into neutral if you continue to pain anyone who objects to torture as knee-jerk anti-bush. and, no, it would be YOUR "moral compass" that's stuck on "relative" or "defend Bush at all costs" if you think that sometimes torture is okay, and sometimes it is not.

do you know how many CIA interrogations have resulted in death?

well over 100.

do you know how many cataclysmic plots were foiled by these interrogations?

none. the intelligence that was gathered was operational information to attacks that may or may not have gone forth overseas.


[q]This is not condoning the torture of humans. But let's get real. If you can think of no scenario (ticking bomb, kidnapped child, etc) in which you'd never, ever condone force to get vital information out of someone suspected of having it;[/q]


let me toss a relativist bone here.

could there be a specific instance where the torture of someone might result in actionable information that, if acted upon, might result in reduced death? yes, i will say that, it is possible. might someone be justified in disobeying orders? yes. but this in no way means that torture should be POLICY or that it is practiced on a regular basis, or that it's permission is written into law. these are top-down issues -- when you get permission to maybe, sometimes, sort of torture, you enter the slippery slope, you let the sadists in, you degrade everyone and everything and you destroy what you were trying to defend.

let's be clear on a few things.

GWB has explicitly broken both US law and the Geneva Conventions by authorizing the torture of a prisoner -- Joh nKiriakou tortured Abu Zubaydah -- and he did so in the absence of any knowledge of any real, direct threat to the United States. it wasn't done because we knew something and needed to stop it. it was done because we knew nothing and wanted more.

thus, it is the *authorization* of torture that is so dangerous, that is so corrosive, that is so antithetical to everything the United States stands for that i must object to in EVERY SINGLE circumstance. if we do not, then our future is Abu Ghraib.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:18 AM   #188
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
Feel free to revise and extend your remarks.
You posted so very much supporting and excusing the use of torture, then said you weren't condoning it.

It's either yes or no. You either think it's appropriate conduct or you don't. No excuses, no hypotheticals, no "everybody else does it," no nothing.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:20 AM   #189
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Thanks, that kind of back and forth I enjoy Irvine. I do think this is a very important discussion to have. I'm not sure if this relates but,

I was watching the news and the report of the bomber in Israel today. Total mayhem, and as the police arrive they see that one of the victims is in actuality, a barely conscience 2nd bomber that has failed to detonate his explosions. Many police yell "bomb" and "run" but another policeman is noticing the man beginning to move...although still stunned he still appears to be fumbling for his detonation device. Without hesitation, the cop draws his gun and shots the man several times where he lay. The man stops moving. The 2nd bomb does not detonate.
The first step down a slippery slope of rogue cops shooting first and asking questions later? Or an action of brutality necessitated by the circumstances, to prevent more brutality and loss of life?
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:30 AM   #190
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Or an action of brutality necessitated by the circumstances, to prevent more brutality and loss of life?


i vote for this answer.

and i'm not sure how it relates to torture. but i'm willing to hear more.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:32 AM   #191
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Originally posted by INDY500
Without hesitation, the cop draws his gun and shots the man several times where he lay. The man stops moving. The 2nd bomb does not detonate.
The first step down a slippery slope of rogue cops shooting first and asking questions later? Or an action of brutality necessitated by the circumstances, to prevent more brutality and loss of life?
Yes, it worked well for the Brazilian electrician who was shot by police on the London subway as well .
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:41 AM   #192
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You posted so very much supporting and excusing the use of torture, then said you weren't condoning it.

It's either yes or no. You either think it's appropriate conduct or you don't. No excuses, no hypotheticals, no "everybody else does it," no nothing.
Torture no, no battery cables on the scrotum, no racks or thumbscrews. No Abu ghraib crap. But sleep, food, light depravation, maybe a little. I happen to feel that most information in captivity is passed on calmly, after they know their captors and have been away from their brainwashing propaganda for awhile.
But unfortunately, some rare situations are time sensitive and we can't wait to gain their confidence.

The techniques I could support, I can do so because I don't feel they are "torture." And I refuse to allow "torture" to be defined by the same people who dress in pink and run up to Condi Rice with blood smeared on their hands or chant "Bush is the World's Greatest Terrorist."
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:55 AM   #193
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The techniques I could support, I can do so because I don't feel they are "torture." And I refuse to allow "torture" to be defined by the same people who dress in pink and run up to Condi Rice with blood smeared on their hands or chant "Bush is the World's Greatest Terrorist."


[q]Calling every aggressive interrogation technique "torture" as some here do is simply ridiculous. And it smacks less of moral outrage and more of political opposition to everything Bush. Everything Bush, from the Patriot Act, to Gitmo to the NSA to the surge. It's all BAD, BAD, BAD -- it's shredding the constitution, ignoring human rights -- or so we're told.
[/q]



how are you and the Code Pink ladies any different?
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:55 AM   #194
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Originally posted by INDY500

And I refuse to allow "torture" to be defined by the same people who dress in pink and run up to Condi Rice with blood smeared on their hands or chant "Bush is the World's Greatest Terrorist."
And I refuse to allow it to be defined by people whose motto is "shoot first, ask questions later."
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:07 AM   #195
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I guess what disturbs me is the zeal that some people have to torture. It's the same thing that bother's me about the pro-death penalty. Their enthusiasm for it; their eagerness to put it in to practice is in poor taste at the very least. It seems that in the hypothetical situation in which torture is deemed to be the "only option" the approach would be one of grim duty with a solemn understanding of what this is going to do not just to the suspect but to the interrogator as well. Torture, like war, is dehumanizing by nature. It's occasional necessity makes it no less dehumanizing. Perhaps it's necessary but the costs of it will be great. We would do well to regcognize that and perhaps not be so hasty to do it. (One of the things I loved about the series of Band of Brothers, is how it captured how war can literally destroy a human being without them ever being physically wounded. Is it necessary? Yes, sometimes. But the cost is high, for those who kill as much as for those who are killed).
Thank you.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:33 PM   #196
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If anyone is hasty to torture, then you have the wrong person interogating.

If there are 10 minutes left for a nuclear bomb to detonate, and you have a terrorist before you who you know has the answers and this bomb could kill thousands of innocent men women and children and you've exhausted your interrogation techinques, and haven't used waterbording yet-then I think that would be a useful tool that could be applied at that time.

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Old 02-05-2008, 01:10 PM   #197
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If anyone is hasty to torture, then you have the wrong person interogating.



and when you have the authorization to torture, then you're guaranteed to get the wrong people torturing.


Quote:
If there are 10 minutes left for a nuclear bomb to detonate, and you have a terrorist before you who you know has the answers and this bomb could kill thousands of innocent men women and children and you've exhausted your interrogation techinques, and haven't used waterbording yet-then I think that would be a useful tool that could be applied at that time.

life isn't like this. there has not been a single instance of some kind of ticking bomb where waterboarding has been used by the US. it has all been to get information, not to ascertain information about any sort of plot that was already in motion and had lives in the balance.

it's already come true. once it's authorized, it's practitioners become lazy.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:19 PM   #198
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511









life isn't like this. .
We need to have the right interogators, and life can become like this if a certain ppl are in charge.

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Old 02-05-2008, 01:24 PM   #199
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We need to have the right interogators, and life can become like this if a certain ppl are in charge.



and the way you get the WRONG interrogators is when you authorize torture.

but it seems to me that you're saying that so long as Bush/Romney are in charge, they're going to be "on offense" in the GWOT, and we're never going to have the ticking bomb scenario.

so why, then, would you need to authorize them to torture? by your logic, we should only let Hillary or Obama torture, since their policies will lead us to the ticking time bomb scenario.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:26 PM   #200
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and life can become like this if a certain ppl are in charge.

What kind of sense does this make? Life can become like a ticking bomb scenario? Do you read what you post?

Plus your scenario doesn't make any sense, "and you have a terrorist before you who you know has the answers", how do you know he has the answers? If you KNEW he had the answers then you would have the answers.
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