The truth about torture

Jul 2011
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Memphis, Tn.
I do not mean to sound cliched, but if a bomb, missle, or other weapon is imminent (guaranteed to result in death upon detonation/impact), at that point the one percent chance of getting relevent information is worth it. imo.
I can guarantee you absolutely that that someone here in my city will illegally use a firearm in such a manner as to result in the death of an innocent. In fact it will happen this weekend in EVERY LARGE CITY in the U.S! Should be adandon the 2nd amendent to prevent that? Torture of prisoners is NOT an American principle.
 

Vortex

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The question is not whether you can make them talk, but whether the things they say are true, relevant, and timely. The problem with torture is that a certain percentage of the population will say ANYTHING to make it stop. I think the percentage is 99%
Exactly - the time wasted on the 99% that is not reliable impedes the effort -
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The use of torture at GITMO impeded our efforts and cost us millions as we ran around chasing false leads and overlooking what was right under our nose.
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Let me further point out that we first learned about the facilitator/courier’s nom de guerre from a detainee not in CIA custody in 2002. It is also important to note that some detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques attempted to provide false or misleading information about the facilitator/courier. These attempts to falsify the facilitator/courier’s role were alerting.

In the end, no detainee in CIA custody revealed the facilitator/courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts. This information was discovered through other intelligence means.
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The information obtained through torture is not reliable - torture is illegal, immoral and it doesn't work.
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By contrast, it is easy to find experienced U.S. officers who argue precisely the opposite. Meet, for example, retired Air Force Col. John Rothrock, who, as a young captain, headed a combat interrogation team in Vietnam. More than once he was faced with a ticking time-bomb scenario: a captured Vietcong guerrilla who knew of plans to kill Americans. What was done in such cases was "not nice," he says. "But we did not physically abuse them." Rothrock used psychology, the shock of capture and of the unexpected. Once, he let a prisoner see a wounded comrade die. Yet -- as he remembers saying to the "desperate and honorable officers" who wanted him to move faster -- "if I take a Bunsen burner to the guy's genitals, he's going to tell you just about anything," which would be pointless. Rothrock, who is no squishy liberal, says that he doesn't know "any professional intelligence officers of my generation who would think this is a good idea."

Or listen to Army Col. Stuart Herrington, a military intelligence specialist who conducted interrogations in Vietnam, Panama and Iraq during Desert Storm, and who was sent by the Pentagon in 2003 -- long before Abu Ghraib -- to assess interrogations in Iraq. Aside from its immorality and its illegality, says Herrington, torture is simply "not a good way to get information." In his experience, nine out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk with no "stress methods" at all, let alone cruel and unusual ones. Asked whether that would be true of religiously motivated fanatics, he says that the "batting average" might be lower: "perhaps six out of ten." And if you beat up the remaining four? "They'll just tell you anything to get you to stop."

Worse, you'll have the other side effects of torture. It "endangers our soldiers on the battlefield by encouraging reciprocity." It does "damage to our country's image" and undermines our credibility in Iraq. That, in the long run, outweighs any theoretical benefit. Herrington's confidential Pentagon report, which he won't discuss but which was leaked to The Post a month ago, goes farther. In that document, he warned that members of an elite military and CIA task force were abusing detainees in Iraq, that their activities could be "making gratuitous enemies" and that prisoner abuse "is counterproductive to the Coalition's efforts to win the cooperation of the Iraqi citizenry." Far from rescuing Americans, in other words, the use of "special methods" might help explain why the war is going so badly.

An up-to-date illustration of the colonel's point appeared in recently released FBI documents from the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. These show, among other things, that some military intelligence officers wanted to use harsher interrogation methods than the FBI did. As a result, complained one inspector, "every time the FBI established a rapport with a detainee, the military would step in and the detainee would stop being cooperative." So much for the utility of torture.

Given the overwhelmingly negative evidence, the really interesting question is not whether torture works but why so many people in our society want to believe that it works. At the moment, there is a myth in circulation, a fable that goes something like this: Radical terrorists will take advantage of our fussy legality, so we may have to suspend it to beat them. Radical terrorists mock our namby-pamby prisons, so we must make them tougher. Radical terrorists are nasty, so to defeat them we have to be nastier.

Perhaps it's reassuring to tell ourselves tales about the new forms of "toughness" we need, or to talk about the special rules we will create to defeat this special enemy. Unfortunately, that toughness is self-deceptive and self-destructive. Ultimately it will be self-defeating as well.

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What the OP missed from the source article written to justify torture is the language which flies in the face of his morality argument:

A sense of moral righteousness also eases the path to torture. Mr Nieuwoudt claims he was following God's orders by using torture to maintain the apartheid regime.

Most torturers justify their abuse - justify immoral and inhumane and illegal behavior. Most people in support of torture, like Jets, can argue that it is moral to torture and we know that Yoo and Bybee tried to make it legal to torture.
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Jets

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I can guarantee you absolutely that that someone here in my city will illegally use a firearm in such a manner as to result in the death of an innocent. In fact it will happen this weekend in EVERY LARGE CITY in the U.S! Should be adandon the 2nd amendent to prevent that? Torture of prisoners is NOT an American principle.
I agree with you regarding the firearm analogy. No, the 2nd amendment should not be abandoned.


However, if we knew that planes were going to hit the WTC, and the person in custody has information regarding this attack and information is not forthcoming, I'am not going to stand on principle sacrificing almost three thousand lives. As I stated in another post I see it as the lesser of two evils. I'am not saying you are wrong I just disagree.
 
Jul 2011
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Memphis, Tn.
I agree with you regarding the firearm analogy. No, the 2nd amendment should not be abandoned.


However, if we knew that planes were going to hit the WTC, and the person in custody has information regarding this attack and information is not forthcoming, I'am not going to stand on principle sacrificing almost three thousand lives. As I stated in another post I see it as the lesser of two evils. I'am not saying you are wrong I just disagree.
Dead is pretty much dead. So, you are willing to abandon a principle depending on WHO does the killing of innocents and WHY? Or is it the number of people killed?
Approx. 100,000 Americans are injured or killed by firearms each and every year. And i STILL support the 2nd amendment.
 

Vortex

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I agree with you regarding the firearm analogy. No, the 2nd amendment should not be abandoned.


However, if we knew that planes were going to hit the WTC, and the person in custody has information regarding this attack and information is not forthcoming, I'am not going to stand on principle sacrificing almost three thousand lives. As I stated in another post I see it as the lesser of two evils. I'am not saying you are wrong I just disagree.
You cannot fall back on "if I knew the planes were going to hit the WTC" - the August 2001 PDB was clear - our intelligence community knew that OBL was determined to strike the USA using planes - they knew that suspected terrorists had been surveiling buildings in NYC, specifically buildings that housed federal offices. We knew that the WTC was the target before and that it was the easiest target in the city given its size - attacking it would yield the most impact given its location and the number of people who used it daily.

No steps were taken to secure the city of NYC, the PDB was basically ignored as was OBL. We could have had him in February of 2001 if we wanted him.

Hell, NYC is still not as secure as it should be - they still don't have functioning, shared radio system which could support some mass disaster.

And there are tons of soft targets throughout the nation that could be attacked and cause just as much damage to the nation's pysche as the WTC.

Why is it people will not trade their freedom for secuity but are willing to sell their souls for security?

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Dead is pretty much dead. So, you are willing to abandon a principle depending on WHO does the killing of innocents and WHY? Or is it the number of people killed?
Approx. 100,000 Americans are injured or killed by firearms each and every year. And i STILL support the 2nd amendment.
About 17000 people are killed by drunk drivers every year and we don't torture alcoholics.
 
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The discussion of torture in this country has been in progress since 2001. There is no doubt in my mind that it is both immoral and goes against the very foundation of American principles. There is also no doubt that it's effective is very limited for the reasons mentioned in this BBC article. Yes, it can produce results, but those results are not worth destroying the very principles which founded this nation:

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | The truth about torture
Especially if it helps undermine a republican President. This whole thing was more about hurting G W Bush than it was about being mean to evil people.

Proof...remember the constant count of the deaths during Bush terms? No such fervor under Pres Obama, remember all the crying about Gitmo, no such fervor under Obama...

Killing on site is a much better principle, than capturing and interrogating, according to the left.
 
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Jets

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Dead is pretty much dead. So, you are willing to abandon a principle depending on WHO does the killing of innocents and WHY? Or is it the number of people killed?
Approx. 100,000 Americans are injured or killed by firearms each and every year. And i STILL support the 2nd amendment.
Let me clear up a couple of things. I'am not saying torture is a great idea or one that should be encouraged. What I'am saying is that it should not be taken off the table as an option given the scenario I described earlier. If you are asking me who it should apply to ;the answer is terrorists. The amount of potential deaths is arbitrary. Again it is a lesser of two evils: torture on one side, massive deaths on the other.
 

Vortex

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Especially if it helps undermine a republican President. This whole thing was more about hurting G W Bush than it was about being mean to evil people.

Proof...remember tthe constant count of the deaths during Bush terms? No such fervor under Pres Obama, remember all te crying about Gitmo, no such fervor under Obama...

Killing on site is a much better principle, than capturing and interrogating.
Do you read the posts here or do you just have a mindset and the rest be damned?

Plenty of us "liberals" and more than one of the indies/libertariarns have criticized Obama. michaelr has posted tons of threads on GITMO, Inky thinks Obama is just like Bush, I cannot stand all the Bush policies that remain in place.

We post against Obama - hell the Wall Street marches are as much against Obama as they are the greedy corps.

Killing on site? Do you mean taking out OBL? I have moral issues with it but at the same time I understand how it was legal and why it happened. After 10 years you think they could have got him without having to resort to such a killing - hell all that torture should have made it easier, don't you think?

Will I vote for Obama - over anything and everything the GOP offers, yes. If you guys offered a better candidate I would consider him/her. But what you have out there right now ain't going to cut it.

Of course I look at it this way, if the GOP wins the office and cannot fix the economy then that will mean an easy win for a Dem in 2016 and maybe then Dean will run or Kucinich and both of those men have liberal values and are not as moderate or Bushlike as Obama.
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Jets

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Feb 2011
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New York
You cannot fall back on "if I knew the planes were going to hit the WTC" - the August 2001 PDB was clear - our intelligence community knew that OBL was determined to strike the USA - they knew that suspected terrorists had been surveiling buildings in NYC, specifically buildings that housed federal offices. We knew that the WTC was the target before and that it was the easiest target in the city given its size - attacking it would yield the most impact given its location and the number of people who used it daily.

No steps were taken to secure the city of NYC, the PDB was basically ignored as was OBL. We could have had him in February of 2001 if we wanted him.

Hell, NYC is still not as secure as it should be - they still don't have functioning, shared radio system which could support some mass disaster.

And there are tons of soft targets throughout the nation that could be attacked and cause just as much damage to the nation's pysche as the WTC.

Why is it people will not trade their freedom for secuity but are willing to sell their souls for security?

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The WTC attack was used strictly as an example for discussion purposes. Nothing more, nothing less.

I used it to decsribe a scenario where torture could be applied. Almost three thousand deaths on one hand, the principle of torture on the other. My only point is that letting the attck occur is worse than eliminating torture as an option. imo.