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Thread: Torturers R US?

  1. #1
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    Torturers R US?

    This is not the first thread I have initiated on this subject but now that there is a new presidential election on the horizon, it has resurfaced. Of course the "conservatives", Republicans, the Tea Partisans (the Kochs brothers’ Storm Troopers) are all for it. It would be a dismaying situation except that reading the readers responses to this article raise my hopes in humankind. Not everybody in the USA is a gun totter, rabid potential torturer.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/op...lism.html?_r=1
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    If we truly believe ourselves to be exceptional, a model for all the world and an example for all of history, then why would we practice torture?
    That’s what waterboarding is, and that’s why President Obama banned it — rightly. When you pour water onto someone until he gasps for air and feels as if he’s drowning, you’re not merely enhancing your interrogation. You’re putting him through a hell as physical as it is psychological. You’re torturing him, by any sane definition of the term.

    And yet waterboarding was back up for discussion and even back in a kind of perverse vogue on Saturday night, at the same Republican presidential debate where Mitt Romney, pivoting to a favorite melody, sang the song of American greatness and singularity — American exceptionalism. That juxtaposition was odd in the extreme.

    I came away from the debate, which was devoted to foreign policy, with all sorts of qualms and questions, including why Newt Gingrich has submitted to an electoral process he feels such palpable condescension toward.

    But mostly I came away thinking that a great deal of what the candidates propose flies squarely in the face of the particular stripe of national pride they simultaneously trumpet.

    This is a crowd that’s big on exceptionalism, and not according to its onetime definition: as a reference to the peculiar and advantageous circumstances of our country’s genesis. They’re asserting that we have a unique global standing, our eminence essential and our values worthy of export.

    “This century must be an American century,” Romney said, and he digressed widely from the specific topic at hand to say it.

    “We have a president right now who thinks America is just another nation,” he added, not representing Obama’s past remarks entirely fairly. “America is an exceptional nation.”

    Romney didn’t get a chance to weigh in on waterboarding, so we don’t know whether he actually favors its restored use, as Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain said they did, and as Rick Perry seemed to signal as well.

    But we know Romney doesn’t consider it torture, because one of his senior aides, Eric Fehrnstrom, sent out a Twitter message after the debate saying flatly that it isn’t, and a campaign spokeswoman on Monday confirmed that that was indeed Romney’s own view. The spokeswoman added: “At the same time, he’s not going to specify the enhanced interrogation techniques he would use against terrorists.”

    From the debate stage in South Carolina came not only calls for waterboarding — which Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, to their credit, rejected — but also the churlish suggestion that the United States withhold even the first dollar of foreign aid to a country until it proved itself wholly deserving. This came courtesy of Perry and Gingrich.

    From Rick Santorum there were warm thoughts of clandestine missions to kill Iranian scientists. Immigration wasn’t discussed this time around, but when it has been in recent months, Cain has mentioned the digging of a moat along the Mexican border — filled with alligators, no less! — and Bachmann has been all about the ludicrously impractical construction of a fence, which Cain at one point suggested electrifying as an extra deterrent to anyone with thoughts of scaling it. Then he said he was joking. A belly laugh rose up from all seven continents.

    Of course the candidates talk tough in large part as a way to accuse Obama of being soft. It’s typical political posturing, inevitable political pandering.

    But their oft-lofted notion that he has raised a white flag in the war on terror is absurd. While his presidency has had considerable flaws and disappointments, that’s not one of them.

    Yes, he ended waterboarding — which is also what John McCain, who has real moral authority on the issue, said he would do. (On Monday McCain said he was “very disappointed” by the discussion at the debate.)

    But Obama has dispatched more drones than Dick Cheney likely ever fantasized about, including the one that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen never given any trial. He ordered the mission that ended the life of Osama bin Laden. These aren’t the actions of a commander in chief apologetic about the use of force. And they’re proof that you can be plenty fearsome without whipping out the instruments of torture.

    We face difficult decisions and a tricky balancing act when it comes to keeping this country safe, whether from terrorists abroad or criminals coming across the southern border. And there’s no doubt we can’t be as high-minded as we’d sometimes like. I for one am not losing any sleep over Awlaki.

    But we have to be careful about how far we go — how merciless our strategies, how self-serving our positions — because the rightful burden of the leadership we insist on is behavior that’s better than everybody else’s, not the same or worse. Exceptionalism doesn’t mean picking and choosing when to be big and when to be small.

  2. #2
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    If you are against water boarding then don't do it. Should this technique be used on our own troops?

    Let's get more basic. What is torture? Is being put in a dark small room with no human contact for months at a time torture? What about sleep depredation? Is that torture? What about loud and physically abusive interrogations? Torture?

    Obama banned torture but did he ban un-announced death from above? Is that torture for the families of the dead?

    If you are going to have a discussion on torture, I would opine you first need to define your terms. so, please, define torture for us. Then maybe we can have a rational debate...........or not.

  3. #3
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    Torture: To be or not to be

    I concur with the previous posting that in order to have a discussion we have to first define what is considered torture. And I pose another question to the discussion, do we have to follow the rules of engagement when we are fighting a non-conventional enemy?

    The rules of engagement and the adherence to international treaties such as the Geneva convention were done on the premise that countries would be fighting with regular standing armies, therefore we should agree to the same terms in order to force the 'enemy' to follow the same rules.

    Unfortunately since the Vietnam war, conflicts have been fought by unconventional armies, very difficult to identify and to adhere to the same rules we follow. I an armed conflict, survival comes into place and then the lines become blurry. We're not fighting the 'gentlemen's wars' of older times, we fight with a new dynamic, therefore we need to adapt to the circumstances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justiceforall View Post
    I concur with the previous posting that in order to have a discussion we have to first define what is considered torture. And I pose another question to the discussion, do we have to follow the rules of engagement when we are fighting a non-conventional enemy?

    The rules of engagement and the adherence to international treaties such as the Geneva convention were done on the premise that countries would be fighting with regular standing armies, therefore we should agree to the same terms in order to force the 'enemy' to follow the same rules.

    Unfortunately since the Vietnam war, conflicts have been fought by unconventional armies, very difficult to identify and to adhere to the same rules we follow. I an armed conflict, survival comes into place and then the lines become blurry. We're not fighting the 'gentlemen's wars' of older times, we fight with a new dynamic, therefore we need to adapt to the circumstances.
    Wars with rules was a concept bound to fall by the way side, it is in contradiction to the idea of war. Feudal lords can follow rules because they see it as some kind of giant game. For most of human history war only comes about when all common respect is gone and there is no veneer of civility (rules) between two parties, total war.

    In Vietnam, and now here you've got people fighting for ideals. You can't expect people who fight for ideals to sacrifice their chances of victory because of some idea of fairness implied by the giant game perspective; and the American revolutionaries certainly didn't.

    This is clearly distinct from the idea of cold-blooded senseless violence but the revolution would have been lost without irregulars french or no french.

    I again agree with a777, the idea that it's alright to XXXX some people to smithereens but not to hurt them for information seems contradictory especially when the only defense most people would give for their possible destruction is that it is necessary to keep them from hurting others.
    Morals are a religious Myth.. - Xcaliber
    How is Evil Immoral? - Xcaliber
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    Obviously ethics and moral principles play no part in the “ to torture or not to torture?” question for the posters above. How different they are from the readers of The New York Times. But, we are here not there so:
    I think that the best way to answer what is torture and what is not is a to give hands on definition:
    In other words I would if I could take all of you guys to Guantánamo, or is it Gitmo? And subject you to water boarding. In order to make the experiment more real I would ask the Air Force Pilot if he shot J.F.K. for instance. I bet you after a few immersions or buckets of water poured down his throat he would give us an answer to the question of : is water boarding torture or not ? No bets for what the answer would be to this question and the other one: who shot J.F.K.

    Now, the other issue: is torture justified ? Morally not, and as a practical way to obtain information also not. I won’t enter into a debate about this. Once at the height of the reign of King George a.k.a. Dubya, a couple of Canadian philosophers wrote a detailed well thought, well documented essay on the evils of torture throughout the centuries and referred often to the thoughts of Voltaire (who witnessed torture as practiced publicly and in private dungeons in the enlightened countries of Europe).

    “Who the hell is Voltaire” you ask, “a terrorist ?” Oh well, let’s leave at that then.

    That “justice for all” endorses torture and to do away with rules of engagement in war is to say at the very least: ironic. I wonder what his definition of justice is: hang’em high ?

    I like ‘freedom” posting he is the funniest of the lot: people fighting for ideals cannot risk losing a war waging war in accordance to their ideals. I love it. Kinda I am all for peace so in order to keep the peace I wage war. Fantastic, I see no contradiction there.

    The other beauty is : “I again agree with a777, the idea that it's alright to XXXX some people to smithereens but not to hurt them for information seems contradictory especially when the only defence most people would give for their possible destruction is that it is necessary to keep them from hurting others.” So to be rid of the contradiction let’s torture and XXXX people to smithereens. Simple solution: two wrongs a right make.

    Oh! I almost forgot the other fallacy: this is/was (Osama bin Lade is dead, I presume) a ‘war’ on America. There was no war, when those i-d-i-o-t-s bombed the car park of the Twin Towers before the 11th of September attack, they were tried in a civil court, and rightly so.

    No country is at war with America or was at war with America. A bunch of fanatics does not constitute an army or a camp of fanatics constitute a country. We also have ‘war on drugs”.
    The word “war’ was just an euphemism used to help justify invading Afghanistan and Iraq. “War on terrorism” is an invention of Dubya and company. You swallowed it in one gulp, suckers.

    Well, it was fun reading your posts.

  6. #6
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    The problem(s) with torture is that it does not give you reliable information. You can torture my kids for information on the "Iranian nuclear program" and they WILL tell you something. Obviously, they are making something up so you'll stop torturing them.
    I was in the invasion and first year of Iraq as Military Police. I can say that a vast majority of people we locked up - was based on some other Iraqi pointing and yelling at him. Of course we had no idea what was being said, so we'd ask an interpreter... which usually bull$hitted us anyways. I can only imagine how many innocent people America has arrested or imprisoned since the 'war on terror'.
    Obama has not stopped any torture. All he has really done is support it under a different name of "enhanced interrogation techniques". However, I really don't want to get into an Obama discussion.
    I do agree with Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman that America should lead by example. I believe that America should be and is better than that (torture).
    "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security." - Ben Franklin
    “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy” - James Madison
    "Those who believe absurdities can be made to commit atrocities" - Voltaire
    "What if the people wake up?" - Ron Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    Obviously ethics and moral principles play no part in the “ to torture or not to torture?” question for the posters above. How different they are from the readers of The New York Times. But, we are here not there so:
    I hope you're not referring to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    I think that the best way to answer what is torture and what is not is a to give hands on definition:
    In other words I would if I could take all of you guys to Guantánamo, or is it Gitmo? And subject you to water boarding. In order to make the experiment more real I would ask the Air Force Pilot if he shot J.F.K. for instance. I bet you after a few immersions or buckets of water poured down his throat he would give us an answer to the question of : is water boarding torture or not ? No bets for what the answer would be to this question and the other
    one: who shot J.F.K.
    That's not a definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    Now, the other issue: is torture justified ? Morally not
    Could you explain why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    and as a practical way to obtain information also not.
    Then why has every secret police and spy network relied on it as the bread and butter of interrogation for most of history?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    I won’t enter into a debate about this.
    If that means you aren't going to respond; fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    “Who the hell is Voltaire” you ask, “a terrorist ?” Oh well, let’s leave at that then.
    A litany of impressive names is only impressive if you actually use their thoughts.

    I like ‘freedom” posting he is the funniest of the lot: people fighting for ideals cannot risk losing a war waging war in accordance to their ideals. I love it. Kinda I am all for peace so in order to keep the peace I wage war. Fantastic, I see no contradiction there.
    I did not say you should violate your moral principles in war, but wars are the fault of the aggressor and the assertion that just because it would be less violent to surrender so you must surrender if you are moral is in all cases faulty.

    Peace is the default, not war; peace is inherited and must be attacked to end. There is no contradiction in fighting for peace, and just because there are no standing armies or military movements on a large scale does not mean there is peace.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    So to be rid of the contradiction let’s torture and XXXX people to smithereens. Simple solution: two wrongs a right make.
    So you're saying their both wrong?
    Morals are a religious Myth.. - Xcaliber
    How is Evil Immoral? - Xcaliber
    I am right until you prove otherwise - Xcaliber

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    Quote Originally Posted by USAMP1980 View Post
    The problem(s) with torture is that it does not give you reliable information. You can torture my kids for information on the "Iranian nuclear program" and they WILL tell you something. Obviously, they are making something up so you'll stop torturing them.
    I was in the invasion and first year of Iraq as Military Police. I can say that a vast majority of people we locked up - was based on some other Iraqi pointing and yelling at him. Of course we had no idea what was being said, so we'd ask an interpreter... which usually bull$hitted us anyways. I can only imagine how many innocent people America has arrested or imprisoned since the 'war on terror'.
    Obama has not stopped any torture. All he has really done is support it under a different name of "enhanced interrogation techniques". However, I really don't want to get into an Obama discussion.
    I do agree with Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman that America should lead by example. I believe that America should be and is better than that (torture).

    I totally agree with you. There are two main reasons for states to use torture

    A) you show the plebe the total absolute power of the state over them. You defy US and you will be the main event in the town square on Sunday, was the way to show the absolute power of the state over its people during the life of Voltaire, for instance.
    Now if they could, the powers that be would mention "Gitmo" or "rendition" to a foreign country to any of us and we would tremble in fear. Luckily we are not there yet, but not for lack of some people trying to get us there.

    B) People will confess anything the torturers want them to confess: the shooting of JFK, the killing of the Easter Bunny, you name it, you got it.
    Give Police the power of torturing people and bingol! the solved, closed cases would spiral up to 100%.
    Once a guy confesses, why bother with a trial ? unless you want a show trial such as the mass confessions in the Soviet Union.

    I remember reading what a Police officer said about cases :"We only care about closing the case, whether we nailed the wrong guy or the right guy is irrelevant to us". Of course he said this once he had retired.

    So not only is torture morally unjustifiable it is also unjustifiable on practical grounds.

    If you even consider the use of torture it means there is something very wrong with your sense of moral right or wrong

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    @ freedom

    if you need to be 'explained' why torturing people is wrong then it means there is something very wrong with your sense of moral right or wrong.

    If just the mere thought of inflicting pain and harming another being be it human or animal doesn't make you sick then, I feel sorry for you. You and I then belong morally to different sub-species of humankind.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    if you need to be 'explained' why torturing people is wrong then it means there is something very wrong with your sense of moral right or wrong.

    If just the mere thought of inflicting pain and harming another being be it human or animal doesn't make you sick then, I feel sorry for you. You and I then belong morally to different sub-species of humankind.
    No, if you don't think you need to logically justify your 'sense of morality' there is something wrong with you. Morality is not something you sense or feel, it's something you know. Do you really think I care about inexplicable emotions? Nobody likes pain and healthy people don't like to inflict it, war and all that follows from it is not the doing or wish of the morally righteous. If hurting someone or something would make me sick I would be in the hospital at the thought of permanently ending the value that is life. Have you ever considered how terrible a thing it is for years of thought, happiness, dreams and memory to be gone in an instant because of something so trivial and meaningless as a shard of metal moving quickly? Why doesn't that sicken you Winston?

    Oh I hear it now, "it does" you cry but you would send soldiers and police men to fight criminals large and small with lethal force if necessary. Explain to me why you aren't sickened by your own beliefs or are you a pure pacifist?
    Morals are a religious Myth.. - Xcaliber
    How is Evil Immoral? - Xcaliber
    I am right until you prove otherwise - Xcaliber

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    Morality is not something you sense or feel, it's something you know
    How do you "know" it? and what is it what you say you "know".

    Nobody likes pain and healthy people don't like to inflict it, war and all that follows from it is not the doing or wish of the morally righteous
    Correct, torturers and warmongers (Dubya and friends come to mind) are sickos

    Do you really think I care about inexplicable emotions?
    so you only care about explicable emotions ? such as ?

    if you only care about what you can explain there must be a lot you don't care for.

    As I said if you even consider torture there is something amiss in your moral pointer; if you need it ''explained" then even more so.

    Sorry, but your thoughts are so confused and confusing that it is useless to continue.

    Maybe, for one never knows, one day you may be given a practical on hands definition of torture with you as the object (subject?) of the demonstration. If pictures are worth thousands of words imagine how more 'informative' being the subject of waterboarding can be.

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    The funniest thing about such a laughable stupid claim is that it requires one to completely ignore the REAL definition of torture, requires one to pretend that 9-11 never occurred or that Islamic fanatics do not wish to randomly kill as many infidels/Americans as possible and that the efforts of Bush/Cheney were not attempts to protect the innocent lives of thousands of Americans.

    This patently naive and laughably stupid view can only come from the leftists whose ideology are a complete failure and in order to defend it, must lie, deflect, impugn and insult in order to defend it.

    I find such rhetoric repugnant in its ignorance of the facts and realities; but this is what we get when dealing with uber liberals and leftists.

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    Well... the difference between that and I is that I do not assume that all people which are against torture pretend 9/11 never happened. Just because some Islam terrorist want to kill me doesn't scare me. I've seen people tourtured, have you?
    I would rather be virtuous than the walking dead. "Give me liberty or give me death".

    "He who would trade liberty for security deserve neither..." -Ben Franklin

    I also don't label groups of people and assume they are stupid and in error because they don't believe the same beliefs.
    I think polarized people are wrong, not just the 'left...' or 'right'. I think anyone that would support a political party over their fellow man is "repugnant".

    "If tyranny and oppression ever come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign 'enemy" -James Madison
    Are you able to connect the dots?

    "Right-wingers" and modern Republicans call themselves "conservative". Nothing could be farther from the truth. The last Republican to make any sense was Reagan "At the very heart and soul of Republicanism should be Libertarinism".
    The founding fathers were liberal by 1776 standards. The day after the war they are suddenly conservative?
    Labeling people left or right is for the small-minded.
    "He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security." - Ben Franklin
    “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy” - James Madison
    "Those who believe absurdities can be made to commit atrocities" - Voltaire
    "What if the people wake up?" - Ron Paul

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    Opposition to torture is a mark of advanced civilization. Barbarians embrace torture.
    Brother, you can believe in stones as long as you do not hurl them at me. Wafa Sultan

    “War is an American way to teach geography,” British soldier

    War is sweet to those who have not tasted it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach. – Pindar

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    How do you "know" it? and what is it what you say you "know".
    http://www.4forums.com/political/for...ideal-one.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    Correct, torturers and warmongers (Dubya and friends come to mind) are sickos
    Why is it that if someone kills or tortures it must be because they enjoy it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    so you only care about explicable emotions ? such as ?
    Reading comprehension not one of your strong suites?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    As I said if you even consider torture there is something amiss in your moral pointer; if you need it ''explained" then even more so.
    That's not good enough. If you won't make an argument I'll just assume you haven't got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    Sorry, but your thoughts are so confused and confusing that it is useless to continue.
    That's what I thought.
    Morals are a religious Myth.. - Xcaliber
    How is Evil Immoral? - Xcaliber
    I am right until you prove otherwise - Xcaliber

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