Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Thread: Billsco v Alan Ryan - Use of Torture in War on Terrorism

  1. #1
    JPSartre12 Guest

    Billsco v Alan Ryan - Use of Torture in War on Terrorism

    Alan Ryan and billsco have agreed to a formal debate on the use of torture in the War on Terrorism.

    Resolved: The use of torture should be a tool used in the war on terrorism.

    They will use the traditional 5/4 post; billsco will argue the affirmative, thus get the beginning and end post and Alan Ryan will argue the negative with 4 posts.

    The debate will start with billsco's opening post, which will be posted within 7 days of this thread's starting point. Each subsequent reply will be posted within 7 days of the opponent's previous post.
    Both participants have allowed for possible extensions to the 7 day reply limit to allow for holiday commitments. I would ask any party needing an extension to PM me, if necessary.

    The judges that have graciously agreed to score the debate are Eddie, Big_Bear_Scot, and daewoo.
    Good luck gentlemen. The clock starts now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Minnesota--10,000 lakes
    Posts
    2,013

    1. Our Unexamined Notion of Terrorism

    I would like to thank my accommodating opponent, Alan Ryan, for agreeing to debate an issue that we Americans and British--indeed the entire international community--find staring us straight-away in the face, the subject of torture, and whether its use is ever justified. Alan and I have agreed to debate this so we both may learn. It is my hope the thoughtful reader will as well. Thank you also to Eddie, Big_Bear_Scot, and daewoo for making the time commitment to serve as judges. Special thanks to JPSartre12 for moderating.

    Let me begin by saying the idea of torture is as abhorrent to me as I’m sure it is to you. It conjures up images of unspeakable human suffering and evil practitioners; of dark, damp dungeons where forced confessions are wrought from broken spirits only to gain relief from excruciating anguish. It is small wonder the practice horrifies much of the civilized world, with Israel perhaps being the only democracy admitting to a policy which sanctions the use of torture in specific instances.

    Yet, the practice is still quietly used by many of these nations, including the U.S. Why? Because torture has sometimes proven to be an effective way of gathering life-saving, time-sensitive intelligence where no other viable alternative is available.

    We are justified in using it in this unprecedented war on terrorism. The enemy’s tactics demand it.

    I am simply advocating a realistic policy.

    We in America have a quaint notion of torture. Our current policy is something like this: We believe in, indeed champion, human rights. Torturing is not conducive to human rights, therefore we cannot condone torture.

    But may I state the obvious: We have and we should continue using coercive techniques against certain captured terrorists in limited, well-defined circumstances. We must admit to it, we must examine why we do it, and when we do it, or else we will remain hypocrites awaiting the next scandal to erupt. I intend to spell out exactly what those limited, well-defined circumstances are during the course of this debate.

    Sadly, what the world’s perception of this practice is will be immortalized by the picture of the hooded Iraqi prisoner standing atop a crate, electrical wires connected to his limbs and genitals. Our reaction here at home to that image and others was one of combined shock and horror, that a few out-of-control, sado-masochistic MP’s could disgrace and dishonor our country. Yet those in the intelligence-gathering community instantly recognized that the picture was a “smoking gun” that implicated much more than a couple low-level MPs. This was a well-known torture tactic (The Vietnam) obviously implemented by experienced superiors knowledgeable in coercive techniques. How far up the chain of command? It can likely be traced to the memo from then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales in which he countenanced certain tactics for obtaining information from al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners suspected of possessing crucial knowledge about terrorist plans and/or secret cells.

    The Abu Ghraib episode is indicative of two things: first, physical and psychological coercion spilled over into Iraqi POW’s because of the effectiveness of the intelligence being obtained at Guantanamo Bay; but second, an absence of a reasoned, coherent policy from the highest levels led to poorly-supervised abuses.

    Let me repeat this point. The abuses at Abu Ghraib were due to our inability or unwillingness to consider a reasoned policy even when the moral calculus demands that torture be allowed to protect innocents.

    In response to the Abu Ghraib scandal, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduced an amendment to a military appropriations bill which would ban “cruel, inhuman, or denigrating” treatment of any and all prisoners by any agent of the US. The stampede was on. It overwhelmingly passed the Senate, with little debate. Members of the House began clamoring to be the first to go on record as being against torture, and proudly and loudly passed the Senate’s version. The White House caved in to the reality. It appears the U.S. now has an anti-torture bill--a case study in the farcical world of absolutism--with nary a voice raised to address the reality.

    The effect of the anti-torture amendment has been to allow our politicians a moment of self-sanctification, of public piety, while hog-tying our hands against criminals of the most deplorable kind.

    The job of our government, from what we can surmise from our representative’s actions, is not first and foremost to protect its citizenry, but to teach morality lessons.

    But in another case study--this one from speaking out of both sides of one's mouth--the very person responsible for this amendment, Senator McCain, was very recently quoted as saying that in some cases of suspected terrorists, “You do what you have to do. But you take responsibility for it.”* This will not do. His amendment has expressly forbidden any and all torture, by any and all persons, under any and all circumstances!

    Since Abu Ghraib happened because we refuse to adopt, let alone discuss, a realistic policy, further scandals await us. The issue is staring us straight-away in the face, and we are blinking. It is no way to run a democracy. It is no way to run a war on terrorism.

    It is my contention that we must have this discussion that our political leaders will not.

    In this debate I wish to examine when the use of torture is appropriate, to whom coercive physical and psychological practices should be applied and (as importantly) who must never be subjected to it, and who should be ultimately responsible for administering it. In doing so I hope to successfully argue the affirmative to the following:

    Resolved: The use of torture should be a tool in the war on terrorism.

    But before that examination I will first pause and allow my worthy opponent an opportunity to make his opening remarks.



    * Newsweek magazine. November 21, 2005. [I]The Debate Over Torture[I] by Evan Thomas and Michael Hirsch
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lincoln : England
    Posts
    1,876

    Opening remarks:

    First a couple of paragraphs reminding ourselves of the context in which we are debating the use of torture by a civilised state in the 21st century. From what I say in those two paragraphs, I hope it will be inferred that I shall not take the absolute stand of a religious character on this issue. If it was asserted it is better that a whole city be destroyed than one man should be subjected to inhuman torments, I should have to ask, "Better for whom?"

    Since the 9/11 atrocity - the public memory of which now seems to be fading into a vague mood of bereavement - the American people have been in the front line in the "war against Islamic terrorism" which their government has been brave enough or rash enough to declare. I see the intervention in Iraq not as a quixotic attempt to "spread democracy and freedom" in the Middle East, but as a perfectly understandable retaliatory expedition. It may be that no factual evidence linking Saddam to the 9/11 attack exists, but that is not necessarily going to assuage collective emotions or quench the thirst for revenge in the USA.

    Theoretically, of course, we are all at risk from extremists who have long-standing political grievances and are motivated by an established superstition to use the most brutal violence in pursuit of their ends. But I wish to confine my observations to the particulars of the American response and not get lost in generalities about how other nations might handle the problem of preventing acts of terrorism.

    It seems to me that there are three obvious lines of reasoning that could refute Bill's arguments in support of torture as a policy of expedience in the war against terrorism - no matter how he chooses to limit or to qualify its application.

    1). Legal objections: there are a number of international conventions, to which the United States has assented, which outlaw the use of torture. In the last resort, there is probably the most compelling prohibition of all in the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the Eighth Amendment. But I do not intend to use any argument that depends on legal citations. My reason for relinquishing what seems to be a very powerful weapon against the use of torture, is because I recognise that in a state of emergency where national security is threatened by a "calamity of great magnitude", then ANY government could justify taking ANY measure to prevent that threat materialising. No accord however solemnly entered into at Geneva or anywhere else would deter a state from using every means of intimidation within its power if national survival were at stake: such is the imperative of self preservation. What's more we can't have a sliding scale of torture that allows or disallows its use by arbitrary legal definitions; it's either absolutely lawful or unlawful, or the whole legal basis for its prohibition has been suspended under emergency powers.

    2). Moral objections: these will constitute the infantry in my main attack against the use of torture, and I shall deploy them tactically as I see my opponent's defensive strategy unfold.

    3). Effectiveness: this is my backup position - that torture fails to produce the reliable information that it is supposed to elicit. In my view this is not a strong argument but I shall not reveal my reasons for admitting this unless cornered by the logical necessity of Bill's case.

    Well, my preamble ends here and I've revealed a few of my cards, I now await the detailed submission that I've no doubt will seriously test my ability to equivocate.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Minnesota--10,000 lakes
    Posts
    2,013

    2. A terrorist's rights?

    Surveying the devastation caused to civilian populations by WWII, the Allied victors committed to re-energize and reconstitute the Geneva Conventions (GC). These agreements had grown from the earlier Hague Conventions near the turn of the 20th century in direct response to the horrors spilling beyond the battlefields, brought on by an increasingly technological world. One of the GC’s main purposes was to better protect civilian populations in times of war and upheaval. The political urgency to act reached critical mass after WWII.

    Though, as I said, one of the primary thrusts of the GC was to better protect civilians, another well-known provision of the GC dealt with prisoners of war and their proper treatment, including a ban on the use of torture.

    In this debate, we have agreed on the definition of torture to be limited to a clause found in the GC:

    "For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession…”

    I completely agree with the GC in regard to prisoners’ rights. I fully recognize and support the humane treatment of POW’s, soldiers who are legal combatants of belligerent nations. What I hope to accomplish in this post is to clearly differentiate between soldiers and terrorists.

    To help make that distinction, let’s consider the White House’s recent categorization of three primary groups being encountered in Iraq today. They are rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists.

    As a general rule, the first two meet legal requirements of combatants who should be accorded protection under the GC. They target the Coalition forces through open combat or by various guerrilla tactics, and thus meet the legal definition of ‘soldier’. That they are mistaken or misguided IMO does not alter the fact that humane treatment is in order for them once in our custody.

    Terrorists, however, target civilian populations and seek to murder as many innocent people as possible, with the purported aim being to submit the targeted to the organization’s political will. They were never meant to be accorded any protection. Why would they be covered by GC rules when, as I pointed out, the primary purpose of the GC is to protect innocent persons? Why would anyone seek to accord terrorists GC protections?

    To reiterate, the moment one plies the trade of terrorism, he loses his right to fair treatment under the Geneva Conventions. A terrorist has no rights. It is unthinkable on the one hand to consider a terrorist, dressed in civilian clothes to mask his hideous intentions, plotting and carrying out a remote car bombing in a public square, while on the other hand insisting on his safety and comfort in detention. A terrorist who participates in or plans such actions loses his right to be treated fairly or humanely, and should be made aware that we intend to use whatever means necessary to learn what he knows. Does it not make sense to aggressively question where he received his materials for murder, for instance?

    But since revenge must play no part in our motivation, we need to make a further distinction with terrorists we capture: Those with crucial information and those without.

    As for the latter, I stress again that torture for the sake of revenge serves no purpose. If we are confident the detainee possesses no useful information, we should tend to his needs. We can make provisions to give him a Qur’an (which oddly provides him with much of his hatred) and three square meals a day, along with umbrella drinks and fluffed pillows while awaiting justice. I really don’t care. This is what we in the West do well. If doing so tends to our moral character somehow, fair enough. Because he is in our custody, he can no longer harm us.

    As for the former, terrorists suspected of possessing crucial information which can help authorities thwart future attacks and to infiltrate secret cells need our special attention. Such information has led us to the capture of upper-echelon al Qaeda operatives who possess extremely useful information, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), known 9/11 mastermind.

    In fact, KSM provides us with a good case-study in the effectiveness of using coercive techniques, so I think a brief foray into his stay at our fine facilities is warranted.

    KSM is a veritable living library of al Qaeda information and, according to various news agencies, has been reportedly cooperating with authorities after partaking in the exhilarating experience of waterboarding. He is said to have lasted a record two and one half minutes before begging to talk.

    And what sobering talk it is. KSM has provided details, which are being verified by others, of Operation “American Hiroshima”, the plan to detonate nuclear bombs in major American cities.
    Quote Originally Posted by News article
    Another requirement dictated from the top at al-Qaida is that the [nuclear] attacks take place in daylight, so that the whole world will be able to see the images of a mushroom cloud over an American city.
    One of the sources for the information is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, who is now in U.S. custody.
    Alan, is the information obtained from KSM truthful and reliable? Or is it the talk of a desperate man eager to please his captors and stop the anguish? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you or I could definitively answer those questions? But if we are allowed to err on one side or the other, what side of the line would you be found on?

    I think authorities have no choice but to consider KSM’s confessions probable, and take the necessary steps to protect the public. It is incumbent on the authorities to learn as much as possible from detainees such as KSM. The moral calculus demands it. Information in such cases can save countless lives and needless suffering. To do anything less is reprehensible.

    Thus torture is morally justifiable, and confirms the positive resolution of this debate. Torture should be a tool in the war on terrorism, used sparingly and judiciously. The above example proves it must be in the toolkit. We cannot afford to be hobbled by pious politicians.
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lincoln : England
    Posts
    1,876

    Torture and Morals : Post 2 :

    Before scrutinising the distinction between civilians and prisoners of war which the Geneva Conventions are supposed to protect in times of war both foreign and civil, and the terrorists to whom, according to Bill, the restraints in these accords do not apply, let's just briefly examine why anyone at all should be protected by international law, solemn covenant, or convention.

    The fundamental point here is that any law or convention that criminalises any behaviour is a moral document. It may not explicitly say so, but a prohibition of torture, whether in domestic or international law, is based on a theory of human (or natural) rights that apply to everyone.

    These rights belong to everyone not just because of the contingent military or civil status that some individuals have acquired, but because of their humanity. Recognition of fundamental principles that define human rights has been achieved in the form of assent to them by all nations who want to be described as "civilised".

    The Geneva Conventions are thus a series of moral obligations freely entered into by many countries - including the United States. Any exception to the protection offered by the GC could only be justified on the grounds that the people excluded are not fully human. It is almost superfluous to add that such a "justification" would be impossible to affirm this side of barbarism.

    At this juncture we should remind ourselves and emphasise, that the American people are not merely inhabitants of the United States; they are collectivity of citizens who believe, or say they believe, in the "rights of man". America, by its own rhetoric of identity, could almost be described as the spiritual home of such sentiments. This places a particularly heavy moral responsibility on the USA in the matter at issue.

    With this moral context in mind, we can explore whether a terrorist, by reason of his profession, can ever lose his right to humane treatment. We do not need to cite the Geneva Convention one way or the other: I think (or hope) I have shown that in the war against terrorism, the treatment of terrorist prisoners is not a legal but a moral issue.

    Bill contends that a terrorist has no rights, so what we do to him in order to "make him talk" etc., is of no moral consequence. Or perhaps, to be fair, he means that the moral consequence is insignificant when weighed in the balance of utilitarian advantage. This means the moral obligation that would be respected in the case of civilians or prisoners of war is evaded only by silently denying that terrorists are fully human.

    But on what authority could a human being ever be deprived of his right to humane treatment? (To repeat: doing this reduces a person to the status of a subhuman object). It can only be on the authority of an expediency. Doing what is merely expedient rather than what is right in such a very serious matter, is completely at odds with the ethos of American values, or indeed the values of any civilised society. By applying torture to its captives for whatever reason, America is in effect using a form of state terrorism in the name of extirpating it. The use of torture puts the United States on the same moral level as a tinpot brutal despotism.

    We come now to the case of KSM and the worst possible scenario - the "ticking nuclear bomb" hypothesis.

    Suppose KSM and his associates have planted a nuclear bomb in Manhattan, they are in custody and can, in theory, reveal its locality before it detonates. Millions of lives and a great city are at risk. What should we do? Do we get the information that could prevent such a catastrophe by ANY means available?

    Well, there's no dodging and weaving that will extricate me from this one, and it must be faced head on. All I can say for now is that where the measure of harm caused by torture is overwhelmed by considerations of preventing mischief of a much greater magnitude, the moral force of an argument against torture dwindles into claims about its alleged effectiveness.

    The question of whether torture is an effective/efficient means of gathering reliable information must be left until I see the direction of Bill's next move.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Minnesota--10,000 lakes
    Posts
    2,013

    3. John McCain and Nachshon

    My perspicacious opponent has introduced the ticking time bomb scenario in his last post and has rightfully concluded that this certainly is one example of justifiable torture, thus confirming the positive disposition of the resolution. He has essentially agreed with me that torture should indeed be in the toolkit in the war on terrorism. But much like picking up a Phillips and contemplating how well it works in driving a screw, he asks for a demonstration of its effectiveness.

    To that end, let’s consider the cases of John McCain and Nachshon Waxman. But first, some comments on Alan’s last post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    The Geneva Conventions are thus a series of moral obligations freely entered into by many countries - including the United States. Any exception to the protection offered by the GC could only be justified on the grounds that the people excluded are not fully human.
    This is a non sequitur. It does not follow that my position must relegate terrorists to non-human status. I fully recognize their inclusion into the family, but simply demand their behavior improve--insist they act human. I support aggressive methods which are designed to marginalize the impact of their behavior.

    As for the GC it is, above all, a social contract entered into between volunteer parties. If one party declines to abide by the rules, the other is under no obligation to honor the contract, as universally understood in contract law. What then should we make of individuals who refuse to recognize the most basic of human rights, such as the right not to be murdered?

    In fact, GC 1: Chapter1, Article 3 spells out what both combatants and non- must be free from:

    (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, …

    It reads, as we can readily see, more like a page from a terrorist’s operational handbook, a to-do list, rather than a list of illegal practices.

    Our obligations--moral or legal--to fanatical mass murderers are few. Yet we do accord them rights because we aren’t like them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    …the American people are not merely inhabitants of the United States; they are collectivity of citizens who believe, or say they believe, in the “rights of man”. America, by its own rhetoric of identity, could almost be described as the spiritual home of such sentiments. This places a particularly heavy moral responsibility on the USA in the matter at issue.
    This could be called the “Shining Example Myth”. This was our mantra in the 1990’s, the wonderful decade in which we placed our humanity on display, dressed in its Sunday-best, felt everyone’s pain, and talked of how we were an enlightened, shining human right’s beacon for the whole world to emulate. Concomitantly, it was the same decade of the explosive, unchecked growth of al Qaeda. We can’t afford to subscribe to the Shining Example Myth anymore. It doesn’t work, creates a pipe-dream paradigm, and is in fact a dangerous idea.

    Rather, let’s consider our real motto “Don’t tread on me.” IMO, this is clearly a better example some elements of the world need to see at this time. Would-be jihadists world-wide would know there may be dire consequences for joining the local hate club; that their true fate may be more than fluffed prison pillows. But thanks in part to the McCain amendment they must instead feel there is nothing to lose. Certainly, they’re not burdened by worries of territory that the enemy might seize, of their homes being pillaged, etc. However, knowing they have something we want very badly and intend to get—information—may just cause them and those who support their murderous ways a moment of reflection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    By applying torture to its captives for whatever reason, America is in effect using a form of state terrorism in the name of extirpating it. The use of torture puts the United States on the same moral level as a tinpot brutal despotism.
    The two are not synonymous. The U.S should consider using coercive techniques for a specific, narrow purpose (to gain information which may save lives and misery). It does not at all equate to stooping to the enemy’s level, whose purpose for torture or worse is to achieve political ends or extract revenge.

    Now on to examples regarding the effectiveness of torture:

    Senator McCain, in arguing for his anti-torture amendment wrote an essay for Newsweek called “Torture’s Terrible Toll”. In it he recalls how as a POW he gave his North Vietnamese interrogators the names of the Green Bay Packer’s offensive line instead of his fellow aircrew members, thus confidently positing that torture does not produce reliable information.

    Then we turn the page on McCain’s essay and then find him stating that in some cases, “you do what you have to do” to get information. Thus McCain fatally contradicts himself. Torture works or torture doesn’t work. Which is it, Senator? McCain knows it does. I know he knows. I hope you know that he knows that we know.

    As for a concrete example, Nachshon Waxman was a 19 year old Israeli corporal (with an American citizenship) who, in 1994, was off-duty and hitchhiking to his parent’s home in Gaza. Hamas militants, disguised as Jewish conservatives, picked him up and secreted him away. They demanded the release of 200 jailed terrorists and gave a non-negotiable deadline in which Waxman would be killed if their demands were not met. Israeli authorities captured the driver of the car used to kidnap Waxman. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered the use of coercive measures which went well beyond those his country then allowed. It worked. The driver talked, giving them Waxman’s location.*

    Torture, after all, does get its desired results as the Waxman case proves. It is an indisputable fact in the long sweep of history, in countless wars, and of innumerable interrogations. The screwdriver in the toolkit not only works, it works exceedingly well.




    *Waxman unfortunately was killed in the ensuing firefight between Israeli commandos and Hamas. I relate this detail only for the purposes of full disclosure, knowing that it changes nothing about the significance of the event: Coercive techniques can indeed be effective in providing timely information.
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lincoln : England
    Posts
    1,876

    The Theory and Practice of Torture : Post 3

    No matter how you cut it, this debate is about a choice of evils; so unless one adopts the perspective of unmitigated liberalism or of an absolute idealist, there can be no categorical prohibition of torture that will apply in ALL circumstances. I'm compelled to make an equivocal defense of 'civilised values' here, while agreeing (with Orwell) that a humanitarian is always a hypocrite.

    Yet, as usual, there are comparisons and degrees in moral dilemmas and I'll try to show why Bill can't be confident that his thesis is an open and shut case.

    First; I have already conceded the reasonable basis for a utilitarian argument which could justify the practice of torture when the harm it does is far outweighed by the harm it is hoped to prevent. But this does not imply that we should not distinguish between routine torture and resorting to it as a last expedient in a desperate crisis. Torturing a captive in order to prevent the destruction of a city isn't a precedent for torturing someone who may, or may not, have prior knowledge about a relatively minor outrage.

    The probability and severity of any terrorist menace has to be assessed, and preventative measures have to be proportionate.

    Next, some remarks on the intent of the GC.
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    As for the GC it is, above all, a social contract entered into between volunteer parties. If one party declines to abide by the rules, the other is under no obligation to honor the contract, as universally understood in contract law. What then should we make of individuals who refuse to recognize the most basic of human rights, such as the right not to be murdered?
    I don't see why the theory of a social contract should be invoked here, or why the argument drifts into a claim about contract law - as though the two concepts are obviously related. In my view, they are not.

    However, describing the Geneva accords as a 'social contract' makes no difference at all to the moral obligations contained in them. The commercial provisions of contract law don't apply; and even if they did, there is no escape clause in them through which we can wriggle out of the duty to treat terrorist prisoners humanely. Which leads me to observe that it's curious that Bill admits as much in the following:
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    Our obligations--moral or legal--to fanatical mass murderers are few. Yet we do accord them rights because we aren’t like them.
    No, we are not like them. I suggest that among the "few obligations moral or legal" we must not abandon, is the duty to abide by the civilised values of humane treatment and due process. Respect for the rule of law and human rights is of the essence in why "we aren't like them".
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    This could be called the “Shining Example Myth”. This was our mantra in the 1990’s.
    Yes, an appeal to the "Shining Example Myth" is sentimental rhetoric. But this mantra, if that's what it is, has a long history. And the idea that America is a beacon of hope and justice in an oppressed world is not dead. It's implicit in the continuing claim to the moral high ground that distinguishes the United States from the enemies of reason and freedom. So I must emphasise that by justifying the use of torture, America sinks to the level of its barbaric foes and gifts a propaganda victory to them.

    Brushing these moral concerns under the rug during an 'emergency' is not a sound policy: the 'war against terrorism' is not confined to a physical conflict, it is also a battle of ideas and ideals. Giving the enemy a perfect excuse to yell charges of brutality and hypocrisy at the US, is not the way to win the ideological contest.

    The 'Don't Tread on Me' ethic is not attractive of course to America's friends, and there is no evidence that such a fierce posture would be a deterrent to al Qaeda enthusiasts who have resolved to become 'martyrs' in a divine mission. It could have an opposite effect; terrorists persuading themselves that more 'spiritual merit' is gained by attacking self proclaimed 'tough guys' than a soft target chanting its slogans about tolerance, peace, democracy, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    The U.S should consider using coercive techniques for a specific, narrow purpose (to gain information which may save lives and misery). It does not at all equate to stooping to the enemy’s level, whose purpose for torture or worse is to achieve political ends or extract revenge.
    The phrase 'coercive techniques' is a typical American military euphemism. (Another popular one is 'extraordinary rendition').

    What is meant here? Can we assume that different degrees of 'coercion' would be calibrated and applied as necessary? Some suspects might co-operate after a couple of bouts of waterboarding, others might resist until connected to mains electricity, still others might hold out until racked on a wheel...........and where will it end? Perhaps some exceptionally tough nut terrorist would end up dead 'for a specific narrow purpose'. Once torture has been added to the toolkit of instruments for intimidating people, there is no limit to the cruelty with which it could be used. If inflicting a moderately painful experience can elicit a bit of information, then a more painful experience will elicit more, and so on.

    This is the 'rationale' of torture (or something like it). Should tormenting prisoners for reasons of state be permitted, where will the line be drawn?
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    Torture works or torture doesn’t work. Which is it, Senator? McCain knows it does. I know he knows. I hope you know that he knows that we know.
    Concerning the effectiveness of torture: is it a dependable instrument for extracting the truth?

    Well, the honest answer to that question is nobody knows. It's an empirical question which could be answered by observation and experiment. Different groups of suspects could be rounded up and tortured to the point where they gave information describing a situation about which the torturing authority already knew the truth. This 'scientific method' hasn't been suggested (yet) as a means of collecting data, and arriving at a plausible generalisation about the effectiveness of torture. But it's the only procedure for discovering facts (about whether torture 'works') in which we could have any confidence.

    (The case of Nachshon Waxman proves nothing - except perhaps that he was insufficiently motivated to keep his mouth shut. Nor, to be totally fair, does McCain's experience give any support to my side of the debate. Singular reactions are never solid ground on which to make predictions about human conduct.)

    We can never be sure then, that information given under torture is true. It's a cliché, but people will say anything to end terrible agony. Consider the witchcraft trials in Salem (1692); people confessed to supping with the Devil and consulting with a talking cat - and this, as far as I'm aware, was after only psychological pressure had been applied. Witches were the terrorists of 17th century Europe, and the chronicles have many accounts of witch hunts in which suspects confessed to the most conspicuous absurdities in order to escape further suffering. Many women (and men) accused of witchcraft gave false testimony against themselves and implicated others, in the full knowledge that they would, in any case, be burned to death for their own good.

    No, the theory that torture gets results is at the very least questionable, and its effectiveness in forcing ruthless zealots to give reliable information, has especially to be taken on trust. A shaky belief in the efficacy of torture has to be balanced against the moral damage it does.

    In my next and final post, I shall try to controvert any further arguments on behalf of torture which my opponent may spring. I shall then summarize my own points in 'bullet form', and conclude my discourse.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Minnesota--10,000 lakes
    Posts
    2,013

    4. Another scenario and who's responsible

    In addition to the ticking time bomb theory, I wish to introduce another instance when torture is appropriate to use, the “long fuse scenario”. Also in this post I will lay out who I believe should be ultimately responsible for administering a clearly-defined policy of torture, along with some acceptable methods and techniques.

    I will introduce no new ideas beyond this post so that in fairness my opponent has a chance to respond. My closing remarks in post 5 will consist of refutations where necessary and a recap of my position.

    Speaking of refutations:

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    First; I have already conceded the reasonable basis for a utilitarian argument which could justify the practice of torture when the harm it does is far outweighed by the harm it is hoped to prevent. But this does not imply that we should not distinguish between routine torture and resorting to it as a last expedient in a desperate crisis. Torturing a captive in order to prevent the destruction of a city isn't a precedent for torturing someone who may, or may not, have prior knowledge about a relatively minor outrage.
    I take exception to two terms used here: “Routine torture” and “a relatively minor outrage”.

    I am not advocating routine torture. I am going to lengths in this debate to define precisely when the use of torture is acceptable (establishing the principle and thus confirming the resolution in the positive). The scenarios proffered by me of when it’s justifiable do not in any way resemble a sausage-making line IMO. There is nothing in my remarks suggesting routine use; rather, I have argued it must be practiced sparingly and judiciously, with a specific purpose in mind.

    Is there such a thing as “a relatively minor outrage” perpetrated by a terrorist? Can it be quantified to, say, only murdering twenty or less civilians per episode? Of course not, and we must demand our elected officials do whatever is humanly possible to prevent these needless deaths. The fundamental obligation of our government is to protect its citizens against all terrorist outrages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    …describing the Geneva accords as a 'social contract' makes no difference at all to the moral obligations contained in them. The commercial provisions of contract law don't apply; and even if they did, there is no escape clause in them through which we can wriggle out of the duty to treat terrorist prisoners humanely.
    There’s no reason to wriggle out if one never allows terrorists to slither in. If one wants to validate terrorism it’s only necessary to accord it GC status. If one’s intent is to elevate a terrorist and all he stands for--to make him the equal of an honorable foot soldier fighting in a legitimate war--then offer him GC privileges. I reject the thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    I must emphasise that by justifying the use of torture, America sinks to the level of its barbaric foes and gifts a propaganda victory to them.
    Once again, the two actions--our judicious use of torture in a well-defined policy, and the enemy’s inexcusably barbaric actions--are not analogous. America remains morally justified by the use of torture if its purpose is designed to extract information which will protect innocent people. If one wishes to equate al Qaeda behavior such as lopping off heads with a Damascus blade to an American policy of using measures designed only to save lives, I would think a more in-depth examination of that position is in order.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    Brushing these moral concerns under the rug during an 'emergency' is not a sound policy: the 'war against terrorism' is not confined to a physical conflict, it is also a battle of ideas and ideals. Giving the enemy a perfect excuse to yell charges of brutality and hypocrisy at the US, is not the way to win the ideological contest.
    If the Arab street to whom the enemy panders cannot discern the difference between a well-defined torture policy that is used to gain useful information to protect lives with one that uses torture for sadistic or political purposes, I feel sorry for the Arab street. The ideological battle may be lost. I can say no more beyond that except to posit that it is unwise to formulate laws or actions designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, or to dumb down our policies in hopes of appeasing some segment of some society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    The 'Don't Tread on Me' ethic is not attractive of course to America's friends, and there is no evidence that such a fierce posture would be a deterrent to al Qaeda enthusiasts who have resolved to become 'martyrs' in a divine mission. It could have an opposite effect; terrorists persuading themselves that more 'spiritual merit' is gained by attacking self proclaimed 'tough guys' than a soft target chanting its slogans about tolerance, peace, democracy, etc.
    The values which we hold dear and define us are a good part of the reason for the hatred being expressed by our recalcitrant enemy. Do you want to make a terrorist fume? Talk democracy. Advocate equal rights, etc.

    I personally am quite beyond any hope that the dangerous enemy we face will be mollified by a more reconciling or understanding attitude. Conversely, I don’t think the enemy’s intractable hatred for us can grow any deeper. Therefore, our policies must be designed with these harsh realities in mind. Extreme realities require extreme responses. Torture is called for. I wish it weren’t true, but it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    Can we assume that different degrees of 'coercion' would be calibrated and applied as necessary? ... If inflicting a moderately painful experience can elicit a bit of information, then a more painful experience will elicit more, and so on.
    I envision a well-defined, codified policy in the hands of expert CIA interrogators who are specifically trained in applying increasing levels of psychological pressures when needed. (Physical levels are quickly exhausted IMO, and a reasoned policy should not allow organ damage, let alone death.) However, some of the techniques I believe we need to consider because of their history of effectiveness are: prolonged periods of standing/stress positions, prolonged interrogations, shaving of beards, sensory depravation and overloads (such as loud repetitive music), isolation, use of cold temperatures combined with water dousing, and waterboarding. The methods should be progressively harsher if, after an evaluation, it is determined that the suspect is lying or hiding the truth.

    (Please note that the techniques mentioned above may not even qualify for what some consider torture. I have not attempted such a feint, and do not intend to in the limited time left in our debate. I will accept that such practices fall under a definition of torture as we have agreed upon.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    Concerning the effectiveness of torture: is it a dependable instrument for extracting the truth?
    My opponent now wants dependability to be the hinge upon which way the resolution swings. From this we may infer that he has agreed in principle that torture is justified and that it is at times effective. But I don’t believe it is incumbent on me to prove how effective it is. I need only show (as the Naschon Waxman story does) that it can be valuable when no other options exist. Certainly Alan has encountered the same problem I have in researching this issue--a dearth of empirical evidence. It is, to state the obvious, a secretive business.

    Dependability simply isn’t the make or break point in our consideration. It is enough to say that in some instances it produces valuable information which would not have been obtained otherwise. That alone justifies its inclusion into our toolkit.

    As for another example of when torture is appropriate, there are “long fuse scenarios” such as presented to us by the likes of Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM). Interrogators have the luxury of time to experiment with various methods to extract information and verify accuracy. Top al Qaeda operatives such as KSM possess extremely useful and relevant information that I feel needs to be harvested. His capture could be likened to finding a rich vein of ore waiting to be mined and put to good use, in this case to save innocent lives.

    My insightful opponent wrote in post 2 ,”…where the measure of harm caused by torture is overwhelmed by considerations of preventing mischief of a much greater magnitude, the moral force of an argument dwindles…”. Thus I feel we are in near-agreement in this debate, in that torture works, and the moral calculus demands it in both scenarios described (ticking time bomb and long fuse).

    Finally, the chain of command: I don’t believe that our military should have any involvement in this practice. This is not a military matter, and I believe the honorable thing to do is to keep military personnel above the fray. Instead, I believe none other than the sitting president, acting on the advice from his cabinet, who are being advised by specially trained CIA professionals, should be the final authority in determining which suspects are candidates for coercive interrogation. Not only would the president clearly sign off on each case, he would need to approve each new escalating technique. It is in this most personable, direct way--through the office of the presidency--that a policy of torture would be endowed with an air of legitimacy.

    It’s worth noting in closing that most Americans and British believe the toolkit should be so equipped.
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lincoln : England
    Posts
    1,876

    Torture Epilogue: Post 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    I take exception to two terms used here: “Routine torture” and “a relatively minor outrage”.
    Perhaps I ought to clarify a couple of points here.

    My reference to "routine torture" anticipates that the management of torture would be delegated to low-level operatives. Guidelines which restricted its utility within a clearly defined policy (using 'acceptable' methods) would, in theory I suppose, be enforced by superior officials. But given the brutality involved in applying 'coercive techniques', it is at least probable that the torturers would be sadists who might be tempted to ignore judicious instructions and become freelance agents.

    The scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison tends to confirm my suspicion that once torture is permitted (or just given a blind eye), a carte blanche is assumed by the riff-raff who are responsible for administering it. They will seize any opportunity to make torture a routine procedure because it gives them pleasure.

    By "relatively minor outrage", I had in mind the symbolic attacks on property which figure in the history of terrorism. The 'classic' example is the bomb outrage of 1894, when anarchists tried to 'interfere' with the world clock by destroying the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. Where loss of life occurs, it would be invidious to suggest that any number of deaths is 'acceptable'. But there is a proportionate reaction to crimes planned against property which is different from what would be appropriate in preventing a massacre, and I wanted to draw attention to the difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    The fundamental obligation of our government is to protect its citizens against all terrorist outrages.
    This statement goes to the root of this debate. Is ANY policy which can be justified as necessary to national self-preservation somehow impervious to moral (or legal) censure?

    On the level of the individual, the answer seems to be Yes. A court of law recognises, for example, that murder is no crime when it can be persuaded that a plea of self defense is reasonable. So by analogy, couldn't the torture of terrorist suspects be represented as a necessary defensive measure?

    Well, there's no doubt it could - but only by limiting enquiries about what we are trying to defend. These enquiries, if pursued impartially, would consider not only the terrorist threat to human life, but also the threat to our values which might arise from our response. If our response to terrorism includes state approval of torture, the values of the civil society which we are trying to defend, must be cast away - which is a very significant consideration.

    However, I freely admit, this is a difficult point on which to make a confident judgement: it not only forces people off the fence, it wrecks the fence itself. Perhaps we should invoke the state motto of Missouri and declare, Salus populi suprema lex esto : Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law. And if we do adopt this maxim uncritically, then the debate swings Bill's way.

    But if we demand a definition for the 'welfare of the people', then the complexity of what we are defending (against terrorism) must be examined. The welfare of the people doesn't consist only in lives and property; it includes liberties, aspirations, ideals, moral and social values - in short, the ideological and cultural capital of a civil society. It follows that if the US tortures its enemies as a means of defending not just American citizens but the ideas which characterise American civilisation, then a cruel paradox has to be tolerated.
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    I envision a well-defined, codified policy in the hands of expert CIA interrogators who are specifically trained in applying increasing levels of psychological pressures when needed........ The methods should be progressively harsher if, after an evaluation, it is determined that the suspect is lying or hiding the truth.
    A well-defined torture policy supervised by experts from the CIA sounds quite reasonable - except that the concept denies just about every self-evident truth about the nature of American society which the United States proclaims to itself and to the world.

    "Progressively harsher" methods can only be interpreted as the use of increasing brutality. Euphemism can't disguise the moral corruption that will result from setting up torture chambers - even if staffed with 'experts'.
    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    Finally, the chain of command: I don’t believe that our military should have any involvement in this practice. This is not a military matter, and I believe the honorable thing to do is to keep military personnel above the fray. Instead, I believe none other than the sitting president, acting on the advice from his cabinet, who are being advised by specially trained CIA professionals, should be the final authority in determining which suspects are candidates for coercive interrogation. Not only would the president clearly sign off on each case, he would need to approve each new escalating technique. It is in this most personable, direct way--through the office of the presidency--that a policy of torture would be endowed with an air of legitimacy.
    There is no honour or air of legitimacy in torture - whoever authorises it. At best it's a secret and shameful expedient that must be hidden from the eyes of sanctimonious friends and ruthless enemies. If this were not so, the US would not make any effort to conceal what might be the very damaging truth about 'extraordinary rendition' flights to Poland and Roumania. The fact that President Bush and Secretary Rice vehemently deny that 'proxy torture' is taking place on instructions from the White House, shows how sensitive they are to the effect such allegations are having on America's reputation.

    Quote Originally Posted by billsco
    This is probably true. However, what the majority believe, or say they believe, makes no difference in answering the question of whether state sponsored torture is right or wrong. Moral questions are not answered by consulting majority opinion.

    To avoid repeating myself, I think it's time to sum up and conclude my argument.

    At the outset I made it clear that the mere illegality of torture would not figure among my grounds for opposing it. That torture is outlawed by the Geneva accords, by the United Nations Convention against Torture which the US signed in 1994, by Federal domestic law, and probably above all by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, has not escaped my attention. I have deliberately not tried to exploit these prohibitions because I'm not prepared to proscribe the use of torture from a position of unconditional censure. I can accept the qualification that:

    "Diseases desperate grown,
    By desperate appliances are relieved,
    Or not at all."

    Had American intelligence discovered that the 9/11 atrocity was pending, and had they arrested someone whom they believed
    was a member of the terrorist cell planning that outrage, then perhaps information that would save the lives of twenty seven hundred people could have been extracted by torture. Would any reasonable person argue that we must not resort to torture in such a case? Well, I could not number myself among the very few, if any, people who would be prepared to see those workers in the WTC incinerated rather than abandon a moral objection to torture. It is disingenuous and dishonest not to face up to this stark choice among evils.

    So I concede that in an emergency where national survival is at stake, no mere law is going to be heeded and extraordinary measures may be required to prevent overwhelming harm. There are many precedents for suspending laws during wartime: a famous instance is the suspension of habeas corpus by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. Lincoln claimed that imprisonment without trial was necessary to the successful prosecution of the war against the Confederacy. And the present crisis - which shows no sign of diminishing - could be described as a 'war' against a 'confederacy of terrorists'.

    My rejection of legal arguments left me with no alternative but to concentrate primarily on the ethics of the case against torture. I've tried to show that resorting to torture not only damages America's image abroad, but also violates the moral values with which American society is so intimately identified. Torturers objectify their victims in denying them the right to humane treatment under natural law. By descending to the barbarism of its terrorist enemies, the United States would forfeit the esteem of its friends and donate a propaganda victory to the ideologues and zealots who hate America. This is the great minus in the equation being studied.

    My secondary argument claimed that torture was ineffective as an instrument for persuading people to tell the truth. In extremis, people will confess to anything; so why should any trust be placed in the information they are compelled to reveal under vile duress?

    Finally, I must admit that my stand against torture does not have the conviction of a religious person who is fortified by a bottle of moral absolutes. My argument has been attenuated by uncomfortable doubts that an invincible case could still be made against torture, even if national self preservation is the reasoned excuse for it.
    Last edited by Alan Ryan; 01-18-2006 at 09:08 AM. Reason: An oversight.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Minnesota--10,000 lakes
    Posts
    2,013

    5. Closing remarks

    My two year old grandson came to visit me this weekend. It’s visits like those when he’s dandling on my knee that the mind tends to focus, when thoughts become clearer, when issues become more black and white. Doubts about some wrong-headed ideas I may hold disappear into a faint memory.

    I have endeavored to show in this debate a reasonable approach to an otherwise repulsive practice, and explain why in these difficult times it’s warranted.

    I know my candid opponent wants the same things as I do, to leave a better world for those we love. I chose to debate him because he has the cheerful habit of writing what he believes and believing what he writes. If his beliefs don’t quite align with some aspect of an argument in which he might be expected to defend, so much worse for the argument. It has been a pleasure debating with him, and I hope another opportunity presents itself some day.

    We merely disagree on what the best path to the future is.

    For me, it becomes simple when I watch my grandson rummaging through the toybox. We must do everything in our power to keep our families safe and secure in their homes and workplaces and public squares. If this means Khalid Sheik Mohamed’s civil rights are being violated at this very moment so that we may extract a tidbit of useful information, I suffer no anxiety. I don’t wring my hands and bewail the loss of so much as one inch of moral high ground. The loss is imaginary--we use the coercive techniques on him in an attempt to save lives. KSM is the master of his fate, and voluntarily chose to join an organization which traffics in murder, maiming, misery, and destruction. He is reaping what he has sown. We must be our own masters as well to defeat this ideology of hatred.

    I’ve tried to explain why an open conversation about a reasoned torture policy would benefit this country. I believe what Senator McCain has done is regretful and dishonest. We deserve better. He has essentially written law making torture illegal, yet he has given the President a wink, wink, nod, nod (via a secret waiver) in allowing torture in some vague, ill-defined fashion. McCain does not shoulder all the responsibility for this fiasco; the President has been less than straight-forward in this matter. But that is another issue; what concerns me is that further Abu Ghraibs await us because our policy remains murky. Democracies require bright sunlight, not shady agreements.

    I’ve attempted to make a case why terrorists should be excluded from rights historically enjoyed by soldiers. If a man expects to be included under the Geneva Conventions umbrella, he can don a uniform, carry his weapon in the open, and report to a superior. He can stop murdering innocent men, women and children. He will then be accorded all rights and more from us. Terrorists meet none of those conditions, save one.

    I believe I’ve shown that torture can be effective in gaining useful information, as the Waxman case proves. No one knows it better than the Israelis, who have made an art of the practice, and who openly admit to a torture policy that is supported by a majority of its citizens. Their methods should be studied and copied with an eye toward developing a similar program here in the States.

    I haven’t tried to assert that the information received by coercive methods is always reliable. To suggest that it must meet some unspecified dependability standard in order to countenance its use would be analogous to a future baseball Hall of Fame batter refusing to go to the plate because he knows that 70% of the time he will be unsuccessful. Rather, torture is a last-ditch measure employed when no other avenues are available, and any percentage of useful information is better than none.

    Methods used would be primarily psychological; physical pain would be reserved for emergency purposes only (ticking time bomb scenario).

    I have no doubt that the military should not be involved in any torture program. This is CIA business, and would appear to fit hand and glove with other activities we condone with this agency.

    I believe the idea of a sitting president being ultimately responsible for signing off on all cases of torture is a good idea. It provides accountability to the American people where accountability is sorely needed. You’re not comfortable with what’s occurring in the war on terrorism or the results being achieved? Elect someone else. Perhaps my insightful opponent is right in asserting that the business of torture will never lend itself to an air of legitimacy or honor, but that isn’t what the program need aspire to. It is there in the toolkit to save innocent lives, and a president must have the temerity to use it when called for. Legalizing it would, at the very least, make any future grinning Lynndie Englands with dog collars obsolete.

    Eddie, imagine you’re the mayor of Stockholm and terrorists have just planted a nuclear device somewhere within the city. One of the suspects is in police custody. Is the idea of torture really so repulsive? Is the paramount concern of safety for 1.7 million residents not enough to swing the moral compass to an affirmative position? Is it any less imperative to employ it on a man such as KSM, mastermind behind 9/11, who has knowledge of future terrorist operations, covert cells, materiel pipelines, and the like? Wouldn’t it be a comfort to know a system is in place for moments just like these?

    Big_Bear_Scott, if the U.S. were to announce a new policy of no torture, at no time, under no circumstances (in other words, like McCain’s wink, wink amendment) would you be inclined to believe a terrorist’s heart may be softened just a bit? Would this new policy win converts to the U.S. in the world? Would a small tide in the war on terrorism turn? Do you think our terrorist would be more inclined to talk to his fellow jihadists and perhaps come to the conclusion that Americans aren’t so bad after all, and that maybe they and their merry cell should look for more constructive employment? Would the French finally admire us?

    Daewoo, is your idea of good government based on pious politicians passing laws and amendments that are designed to impart upon their constituents morality lessons? Should we ensure only the most upright pols among us get federal buildings and bridges named for them only by their lifetime moralities-written-in-law score? Or do you believe the first and foremost responsibility of our elected leaders is to pass laws and promote policies that are designed to protect citizens against any and all life-threatening dangers? Would you vote for a candidate simply because his platform contains a no torture at no time plank?

    These are really not all that difficult questions to answer. I appreciate my opponent’s spirited defense of abstract moral arguments in rejecting the inclusion of torture in our toolkit. But real life is more than an abstraction, and in order to contemplate these high-minded ideals one must first be alive to engage in them. We cannot forget we have an enemy who is intent on killing as many of us as his dark mind can imagine, using our open society and technology to assist in his murderous plans. This is an unsettling war, and requires new and different thinking to counteract his advantage. The questions raised become even easier for me to answer as I say goodbye at the end of the day to my grandson. I want him to grow up in a world safer from this scourge, and I want to gracefully grow old watching him.
    - Which is worse--ignorance or apathy? For my part, I don't know and I don't care. -

  11. #11
    JPSartre12 Guest
    Thank you, Billsco and Alan Ryan for the interesting debate. I will remind the judges: Eddie, Big_Bear_Scot, and daewoo, to begin their deliberations. I would also request that they send their opinions to me only and I will post them all together when all three are received. That way, it will eliminate the possibility of a judge being swayed by another judge's opinion when formulating his response.

  12. #12
    JPSartre12 Guest

    Judges- Render your decisions

    Since the debate ended on 1-23, I would ask the judges to send me their decisions ASAP. If they exceed the maximum allowable limit for PMs, please let me know that you are done and I'll ask all three of you to post together.
    Since I will be traveling over the next few days, I may not have computer access until Friday night.

    Thank you for your efforts,

    JP

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    8,178
    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    Since the debate ended on 1-23, I would ask the judges to send me their decisions ASAP. If they exceed the maximum allowable limit for PMs, please let me know that you are done and I'll ask all three of you to post together.
    Since I will be traveling over the next few days, I may not have computer access until Friday night.

    Thank you for your efforts,

    JP

    Sorry, guys. I didn't realize the debate had ended. I thought that Alan had one more post. I have been avoiding reading the thread too deeply until completion so have just skimmed the posts. It will take me a day or 2 to complete my portion of the judging.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    8,178
    I cannot get my response to PM, even after shortenign it considerably. It is, however, ready to go whenever the others are.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

  15. #15
    JPSartre12 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by daewoo
    I cannot get my response to PM, even after shortenign it considerably. It is, however, ready to go whenever the others are.
    Go ahead and post it while I put a mild fire under our other judges.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •