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Author Topic: Is it acceptable for the US government to torture people?  (Read 38799 times)
Bill Peckham
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« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2007, 07:30:07 PM »

Just a comment, for which I fully expect to get pounded: 

Let's keep to the subject, which is interesting in and of itself, and limit the snarky ad hominem comments.  Slights and digs aimed at the person being addressed serve only to make the author of those comments sound unreasonable, and detract from the arguments being put forth.

And now, I'm going out to Sunny's Surplus to find a World War II helmet for myself!  And let the good times roll!

I find it comforting if this is the best Bush supporters can do.

I'm actually a divided government guy, I much prefer the Bush #41 construct or the Clinton second term (minus the circus sideshow) dynamic. My concern is that the pendulum will swing too far and we'll see a Democrat in the White House, and a Democratic majority in the House of 300 to 135 and a Democratic Senate majority in the 60s - all during the 2010 census year.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 10:23:25 PM by Bill Peckham » Logged

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BigSky
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« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2007, 02:20:43 PM »

Are you seriously saying that you think Jefferson would condone torture?

More likely than not when desperate actions like 9/11 occurred, especially considering that Jefferson went to war to protect US merchants who refused to pay tribute to Tripoli to use their waters at the time.


Hamilton was a Federalist. I would have guessed that you were a state rights guy. oh wait that's right you have that whole Federal Reserve is evil POV.

The Constitution is very clear.

As to the federal reserve, it is nothing more than a scam on America and did nothing but put this country into debt.

The very fact that the federal reserve makes "loans" to the US without actually giving the US any money ought to tell you something.

Jefferson would be very much against the federal reserve if he were here today.

After 75 months of Republican hegemony it's a bit incredible to fret that 75 days of Congressional oversight threatens the Republic. This isn't even a top five most threatening situation. Stalin had nukes pointed at us. Mao had nukes pointed at us. We didn't torture our enemies then.

Maybe that post dialysis fatigue has got to you.  The question was never about Congressional oversight.  I see you are trying the old liberal tactic of trying to cloud the issue up with something that has nothing to due with the question asked.

It is amazing you do not comprehend the basic differences between somewhat civilized countries making threats who at the very basis of their being still have self preservation to that of a fundamental religious terrorist group who biggest wish is to kill the "infidels" by any and all means possible with no regard to life at all so that they may go to heaven and get their 72 virgins.

You might also note that  Stalin and Mao never came to the US and killed innocent men, women or most of all children nor did they vow that they were going to kill Americans anywhere and everywhere they meet them across the world.


Do you answer for the group that protests at military funerals?
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Anti-gay_church_protests_U.S._military_funerals

You might note we changed the law here and that bs wont be going on anymore.

« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 02:40:21 PM by BigSky » Logged
George Jung
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« Reply #52 on: March 23, 2007, 09:07:14 AM »

This is a great debate.  I'm not 100% left or right but I think I would have to agree more with Bill, rather than BigSky.  I don't see where torture has ever gotton us.  We should have great intelligence without lowering ourselves to primitive means of discovery.
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« Reply #53 on: March 23, 2007, 09:18:48 AM »

OUCH to those pictures!   It amazes me what the human body can endure and what people will do to other people!
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« Reply #54 on: March 23, 2007, 09:56:33 AM »

First of all what the US  is doing is hardly torture.

Considering we put our own CIA through waterboarding before terrorists one can hardly consider it torture.

You want true torture, look to what saddam did.

By the lefts idea of torture,next  they will claim that keeping terrorists in jail at all without trial will be torture.
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George Jung
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« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2007, 11:08:15 AM »

First of all what the US is doing is hardly torture.

Then why are you condoning it?
You say "First of all....."? 
You should have just defended that in the first place if you don't think we are/should do it.

Are you proud of the CIA?  Corrupt bastards.  I would not use them to back anything.
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Bill Peckham
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« Reply #56 on: March 23, 2007, 04:08:56 PM »

First of all what the US  is doing is hardly torture.

Considering we put our own CIA through waterboarding before terrorists one can hardly consider it torture.

You want true torture, look to what saddam did.

By the lefts idea of torture,next  they will claim that keeping terrorists in jail at all without trial will be torture.

You can call it whatever word you choose but there is a well documented legal structure which I've pointed out to you called the Just War Theory. This framework is what has guided US military policy since Washington and actually originated with Augustine 1,500 years ago. You wrote that the threat we face today is categorically different; far worse then any other threat we have ever faced. That is obviously false since this Muslim reform movement started with Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab and his followers  - the Wahhabi - who sought the restoration of Islamic purity and declared violent jihad on all who opposed them in the eighteenth century. This threat has been building since the founding of our country 1. It is egocentric hubris to imagine that we are uniquely threatened and need to disregard centuries of military tradition.

Gathering of military intelligence has always been a top priority for belligerents, and captured enemy soldiers could be expected to have at least some knowledge pertinent to military operations.2 As a consequence, prisoners of war (POWs) can expect to be questioned by their captors, who can be expected to employ whatever means are available to them for extracting such information. Possibly due in part to the inherent interest of belligerents both in procuring intelligence information and in protecting their own information and soldiers, ground rules developed for fair play in exploiting the intelligence value of captives. The emergence of “total war” in the twentieth century increased the military utility of economic data, industrial secrets, and other information about the enemy that in centuries past might have been of little interest to warriors, increasing the intelligence value detainees might have, but not necessarily improving their treatment.3

The ill-treatment of prisoners of war, even for the purpose of eliciting information deemed vital to self-defense, has long been considered a violation of the law of war, albeit one that is frequently honored in the breach.4

The practice was understood to be banned prior to the American Civil War. The Lieber Code,5 adopted by the Union Army to codify the law of war as it then existed, explained:
“Honorable men, when captured, will abstain from giving to the enemy, information concerning their own army, and the modern law of war permits no longer the use of any violence against prisoners in order to extort the desired information or to punish them for having given false information” (Art. 80).

The Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (GPW)6 Article 17, paragraph 4 provides the general rule for interrogation of prisoners of war:
No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.

This language replaced a provision in the 1929 Geneva Convention that stated “[n]o pressure shall be exerted on prisoners to obtain information regarding the situation in their armed forces or their country.”7 According to the ICRC Commentary,8 the many violations that occurred during World War II led drafters of the 1949 Convention to expand the provision to cover “information of any kind whatever,” and by “prohibiting not only ‘coercion’ but also ‘physical or mental torture.’”9 The provision does not prohibit the detaining power from seeking any particular kind of information, but prohibits only the methods mentioned.10 Coercion is also prohibited to elicit confessions from prisoners of war to be used against them at trial.11

Other articles that apply at all times during captivity are also relevant. They suggest that prisoners of war may not be singled out for special treatment based on the suspicion that they may have valuable information. Article 13 provides, in part, that “[p]risoners of war must at all times be humanely treated”12 and they “must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation...”

Furthermore, it describes as a “serious breach” of the GPW “[a]ny unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody.” Article 14 states that “[p]risoners of war are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their persons and their honor.”13

Reprisal against prisoners of war is explicitly prohibited in Article 13. Article16 requires that all prisoners of war must be treated equally:
Taking into consideration the provisions of the present Convention relating to rank and sex, and subject to any privileged treatment which may be accorded to them by reason of their state of health, age or professional qualifications, all prisoners of war shall be treated alike by the Detaining Power, without any adverse distinction based on race, nationality, religious belief or political opinions, or any other distinction founded on similar criteria.

Article 16 does not prohibit more favorable treatment based on these criteria.14

Article 25 provides for a minimum level of living conditions, suggesting that the manipulation of environmental conditions below these standards is not permitted:
Prisoners of war shall be quartered under conditions as favorable as those for the forces of the Detaining Power who are billeted in the same area. The said conditions shall make allowance for the habits and customs of the prisoners and shall in no case be prejudicial to their health. .... The premises provided for the use of prisoners of war individually or collectively, shall be entirely protected from dampness and adequately heated and lighted, in particular between dusk and lights out.

Articles 21 and 22 address physical conditions of confinement, and do not appear to allow the placement of prisoners in solitary confinement in order to prepare them for interrogation.
Article 21 provides:
Subject to the provisions of the present Convention relative to penal and disciplinary sanctions, prisoners of war may not be held in close confinement except where necessary to safeguard their health and then only during the continuation of the circumstances which make such confinement necessary.
Article 22 provides:
Prisoners of war interned in unhealthy areas, or where the climate is injurious for them, shall be removed as soon as possible to a more favorable climate. The Detaining Power shall assemble prisoners of war in camps or camp compounds according to their nationality, language and customs, provided that such prisoners shall not be separated from prisoners of war belonging to the armed forces with which they were serving at the time of their capture, except with their consent.

1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_ibn_Abd_al_Wahhab

2 See A. J. BARKER, PRISONERS OF WAR 59 (1975)(noting that during the Napoleonic wars, the U.S. Civil War, and in the Crimea, “all belligerents staged raids for the express purpose of capturing prisoners for interrogation”).

3 Former Nuremberg prosecutor Telford Taylor commented that Today the value of prisoner interrogation for intelligence purposes and the fear of  reprisals have ensured among the major powers (though by no means universally) observance of the obligation to accept surrender and grant humane treatment to prisoners of war. Telford Taylor in WAR CRIMES, 49 (Henry Kim, ed. 2004).

4 See Sanford Levinson, “Precommitment” and “Postcommitment”: The Ban on Torture inthe Wake of September 11, 81 TEX. L. REV. 2013, 2017-18 (2003).

5 General Order No. 100, Instructions of the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field (1863) [hereinafter “Lieber Code”].

6 August 12, 1949, 6 U.S.T. 3317 (hereinafter “GPW”).

7 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War art. 5 para 3, 47 Stat. 2021 (July 27, 1929)[hereinafter “1929 Geneva Convention”].

8 INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS, 3 COMMENTARY ON THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS OF 12 AUGUST 1949 (Jean Pictet, ed. 1960) [hereinafter “ICRC COMMENTARY III”].

9 Id. at 163 (citing in particular the “great hardship” inflicted on prisoners at “interrogation camps” to secure information ). Interestingly, the ICRC Commentary seems to have viewed ‘coercion’ and ‘pressure’ to be the same thing, distinct from physical or mental torture.

10 Id. The ICRC Commentary interprets the provision to prohibit the Detaining Power from exert[ing] any pressure on prisoners,” even with respect to the personal identification information the prisoner is required to give under the first paragraph. Id. at 164. In other words, “It’s not what you ask but how you ask it.” See U.S. ARMY JUDGE ADVOCATE SCHOOL, LAW OF WAR WORKSHOP DESKBOOK 83 (CDR Brian J. Bill, ed. 2000) [hereinafter “LOW DESKBOOK” ] , available at
[https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/JAGCNETInternet/Homepages/AC/ CLAMO-Public.nsf.].

11 GPW art. 99 (“No moral or physical coercion may be exerted on a prisoner of war in order to induce him to admit himself guilty of the act of which he is accused.”).

12 GPW art. 13, para. 1. The ICRC Commentary regarded this requirement as absolute,describing “humane” as follows:
With regard to the concept of humanity, the purpose of the Convention is none other than to define the correct way to behave towards a human being; each individual is desirous of the treatment corresponding to his status and can therefore judge how he should, in turn, treat his fellow human beings.
ICRC COMMENTARY III at 140. According to the ICRC Commentary, the elements of “humane” are set forth in the remainder of Article 13. Id. (noting that it includes not only a prohibition against corporal punishment but also a positive duty to protect the detainee from harm and provide assistance as necessary).

13 GPW art. 14, para. 1; see ICRC COMMENTARY III at 143 (describing the article as encompassing both the “physical and the moral aspects of the individual”). Offenses against the physical person, according to the ICRC Commentary, include the killing, wounding or even endangering prisoners of war, or allowing these acts at the hands of others. Id. Protection of the “moral person” prohibits adverse propaganda and requires the detaining power to provide for the prisoners’ intellectual, educational and recreational pursuits, according to their individual preferences. Id. at 145. Respect for “honor” requires the protection of prisoners from “libel, slander, insult and any violation of secrets of a personal nature” (even if the source is another prisoner) and humiliating circumstances involving clothing and work. Id.

14 ICRC COMMENTARY III, supra note 8, at 154 (explaining that differentiation is prohibited only when it is of an adverse nature).

« Last Edit: March 23, 2007, 04:12:08 PM by Bill Peckham » Logged

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« Reply #57 on: March 23, 2007, 05:38:00 PM »

Hate to tell you this but that was then, this is now!

Military war strategy CHANGES with the times, the threat, and the enemy.


When the terrorists sign onto the GC, then I will worry about what our Government may or may not do.

They are lucky as it is that we dont execute them at our whim for being spies.
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« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2007, 07:35:14 PM »

Hate to tell you this but that was then, this is now!

Military war strategy CHANGES with the times, the threat, and the enemy.

When the terrorists sign onto the GC, then I will worry about what our Government may or may not do.

They are lucky as it is that we dont execute them at our whim for being spies.

What's the strategy behind abandoning 200+ years of military doctrine? Do you understand the inconsistencies of your argument? On the one hand you tout the Filipino example as how to interrogate a suspect, yet you maintain we don't use those tactics. Why not? You maintain that the water boarding/standing naked doused in cold water/solitary/sensory deprivation/use of dogs is allowed because the Geneva Conventions do not apply to people labeled as a terrorists, yet you acknowledge that the Geneva Conventions are merely the latest legal codification of 1500 years of military and political traditions. You must know that these political and legal traditions have served us well, after all  they got us here to our unipower, world hegemony. You'd have to acknowledge that these political and legal traditions have served as the underpinnings of America's exceptionalism.  Clearly these political and legal traditions have allowed America to lead the world into a brighter, healthier international order.

It has always been in America's self interest to be the World's standard setter. We set the standard by example. And we continue to set this example today. Today are we the model that we want to see in other countries? Where does this road lead? Should we fund a research effort into how to inflict pain without causing major organ failure? Those devices in the photos George posted are so crude. I'm sure a few billion dollars in research could develop devices more intimidating and painful.
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« Reply #59 on: March 24, 2007, 11:08:38 AM »


What's the strategy behind abandoning 200+ years of military doctrine? Do you understand the inconsistencies of your argument? On the one hand you tout the Filipino example as how to interrogate a suspect, yet you maintain we don't use those tactics. Why not?

One must change with the times or fall victim to stagnation.  History is full of societies that fell because they refused to change with the times.   Really now, is that too hard to actually understand?  Change with the times?

I said they tortured, I didn't say just what they did, nor was it released the exact method.  We may very well do what they do but its never released, just because you didn't hear of before doesnt mean it isnt done.

Do you really think terrorists just fess up plans without some pressure?


You maintain that the water boarding/standing naked doused in cold water/solitary/sensory deprivation/use of dogs is allowed because the Geneva Conventions do not apply to people labeled as a terrorists, yet you acknowledge that the Geneva Conventions are merely the latest legal codification of 1500 years of military and political traditions. You must know that these political and legal traditions have served us well, after all  they got us here to our unipower, world hegemony. You'd have to acknowledge that these political and legal traditions have served as the underpinnings of America's exceptionalism.  Clearly these political and legal traditions have allowed America to lead the world into a brighter, healthier international order.

Ohh the big bad dog barked at the poor terrorists and intimidated them.  ::)  Wonder where they got the gumption to cut heads off and commit bombings if they are scared by a doggy. ::)


Also of note is that these enemy combatants are not entitled to GC's as they are not signed onto them.  It was only the generosity of the USSC that gave these enemy combatants GC's.  However the ink wasn't even dry before the left claimed we should give these people trials, despite the fact that they do not get trials until the conflict is over as per GC's.

It has always been in America's self interest to be the World's standard setter. We set the standard by example. And we continue to set this example today. Today are we the model that we want to see in other countries? Where does this road lead? Should we fund a research effort into how to inflict pain without causing major organ failure? Those devices in the photos George posted are so crude. I'm sure a few billion dollars in research could develop devices more intimidating and painful.

Water boarding, sleep deprivation, cold or hot temps, rock music etc. etc.  are hardly torture. 

Why spend money, we could throw these terrorists into the GP of a prison and let prison justice do its job.  The fact we dont ought to tell you something, right?

You want to see true torture look to what Saddam did.  Cutting hands, fingers, arm, throwing people off of buildings, shooting them, butchering family members in front of each other.

There are shades of gray.  Not everything is black and white as you think.



« Last Edit: March 24, 2007, 11:27:44 AM by BigSky » Logged
Bill Peckham
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« Reply #60 on: March 24, 2007, 12:17:43 PM »

Very interesting OpEd in the NYT today by Slavoj Zizek:
"SINCE the release of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s dramatic confessions, moral outrage at the extent of his crimes has been mixed with doubts. Can his claims be trusted? What if he confessed to more than he really did, either because of a vain desire to be remembered as the big terrorist mastermind, or because he was ready to confess anything in order to stop the water boarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques"?

If there was one surprising aspect to this situation it has less to do with the confessions themselves than with the fact that for the first time in a great many years, torture was normalized — presented as something acceptable. The ethical consequences of it should worry us all. ...

This is why, in the end, the greatest victims of torture-as-usual are the rest of us, the informed public. A precious part of our collective identity has been irretrievably lost. We are in the middle of a process of moral corruption: those in power are literally trying to break a part of our ethical backbone, to dampen and undo what is arguably our civilization's greatest achievement, the growth of our spontaneous moral sensitivity,"

Read the rest here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/24/opinion/24zizek.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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« Reply #61 on: March 25, 2007, 05:56:55 PM »

Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago that sleep deprivation was perhaps the worst torture inflicted on the prisoners. Interestingly, torture was also illegal in the Soviet Union, and sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures, and stress positions were merely considered coercive methods (so if not Jefferson at least Stalin would agree with Bigsky). At the end of interrogation, prisoners had to sign a statement affirming that they had not been tortured and that they had given their confessions in full awareness of their rights.

Here's an account of a Rumsfeld and Bush approved interrogation of one detained enemy combatant:

In one of the few actual logs we have of a high-level interrogation, that of Mohammed al-Qhatani (first reported in TIME http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1207633,00.html), doctors were present during the long process of constant sleep deprivation over 55 days, and they induced hypothermia and the use of threatening dogs, among other techniques. According to Miles, Medics had to administer three bags of medical saline to Qhatani — while he was strapped to a chair — and aggressively treat him for hypothermia in the hospital. They then returned him to his interrogators.

Imagine being deprived of sleep for the better part of a month (or nearly two months) - in solitary confinement, and often in shackles and stress positions, as the Bush administration has done to prisoners at Gitmo. And think of the quality of intelligence we're getting at the end of it. The point of torture is now and always has been only torture. It is a simple, indisputable fact that this administration has legalized, authorized and enforced torture. American doctors now use their skills to keep people alive in order that they can be further tortured. As Slavoj Zizek wrote "We are in the middle of a process of moral corruption: those in power are literally trying to break a part of our ethical backbone, to dampen and undo what is arguably our civilization's greatest achievement, the growth of our spontaneous moral sensitivity."

(h/t http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/
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« Reply #62 on: March 27, 2007, 08:17:12 PM »

Imagine being deprived of sleep for the better part of a month (or nearly two months) - in solitary confinement, and often in shackles and stress positions, as the Bush administration has done to prisoners at Gitmo. And think of the quality of intelligence we're getting at the end of it. The point of torture is now and always has been only torture. It is a simple, indisputable fact that this administration has legalized, authorized and enforced torture. American doctors now use their skills to keep people alive in order that they can be further tortured. As Slavoj Zizek wrote "We are in the middle of a process of moral corruption: those in power are literally trying to break a part of our ethical backbone, to dampen and undo what is arguably our civilization's greatest achievement, the growth of our spontaneous moral sensitivity."

Sleep deprivation= torture?  HA I say.

I am sure this is what you think we should use there Bill.





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« Reply #63 on: March 27, 2007, 10:06:56 PM »

Again, the fundamental point is what is the point? What sort of information are you suppose to get from someone after they've gone weeks without sleep? Sleep deprivation is just cruelty. People are people, don't you think we'd know if sleep deprivation worked? It's easy to do. Ha ha we played Ice T's Body Count tonight. Wow is that dude ever tired.

Here is a first hand report from 5 days without sleep: http://www.totse.com/en/fringe/fringe_science/effectsofsleep173704.html Imagine 5 weeks. What would this tactic accomplish exactly?

664.5 days to go
« Last Edit: March 27, 2007, 10:10:59 PM by Bill Peckham » Logged

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« Reply #64 on: March 27, 2007, 11:09:29 PM »

I would rather die from being hit by a bus than to go 1 week without sleep.  I couldn't do it.

I think you have a point Bill.  Why do it.
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« Reply #65 on: March 28, 2007, 06:47:57 AM »

Again, the fundamental point is what is the point? What sort of information are you suppose to get from someone after they've gone weeks without sleep? Sleep deprivation is just cruelty. People are people, don't you think we'd know if sleep deprivation worked? It's easy to do. Ha ha we played Ice T's Body Count tonight. Wow is that dude ever tired.

Here is a first hand report from 5 days without sleep: http://www.totse.com/en/fringe/fringe_science/effectsofsleep173704.html Imagine 5 weeks. What would this tactic accomplish exactly?



No cruelty is coming at someone with a knife and letting them kick and scream while their throat is slit. .  Cruelty is doing the same and cutting ones head off and then showing the person their headless body the last few moments they are alive.

Now after all Bill,  do you think those terrorists really think that being deprived of sleep is torture to them?  Come on now.  They cut heads off and slit throats of the innocent.  If they freely and openly do this and  they do not consider it torture, there is no way they think being deprived of sleep, water boarding, listening to rap music, is torture to them.

 

« Last Edit: March 28, 2007, 08:02:51 AM by BigSky » Logged
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« Reply #66 on: March 28, 2007, 12:35:20 PM »

Cruelty is a preception and comes in many forms for many different people.  What is cruel to one may not be to another.  But, we are talking about torture, an act of putting someone/something through a process that strains them in some mental or physical manner.  Sleep deprivation, without argument, would defiantly qualify.  Torture is an intent, an act with a purpose.  They cut heads off, yes, but i don't think that makes them an exception to being human.  I think they don't perceive the act of beheading some as torture due to how it fits their cause.  Those people believe they are doing the right thing and that they will be rewarded somehow in the after life or something.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruelty
Cruelty can be described as indifference to suffering and even positive pleasure in inflicting it.

Cruel ways of inflicting suffering may involve violence, but violence is not necessary for an act to be cruel. For example, if another person is drowning and begging for help, and another person is able to help, but merely watches with disinterested amusement or pleasure, that person is being cruel — not violent.

Cruelty usually carries connotations of supremacy over a submissive or weaker force.

The term cruelty is often used with regard to the treatment of animals, children and prisoners

Torture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture
Torture is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as "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, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity." In addition to state sponsored torture, individuals or groups may also inflict torture on others for similar reasons, however, the motive for torture can also be for the sadistic gratification of the torturer, as was the case in the Moors Murders.

Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of effecting religious conversion[citation needed] or political (see "re-education"). Nevertheless in the 21st Century torture is almost universally considered to be an extreme violation of human rights, as stated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Signatories of the UN Convention Against Torture agree not to intentionally inflict severe pain or suffering on anyone, to obtain information or a confession, to punish them, or to coerce them or a third person. In times of war signatories of the Third Geneva Convention and Fourth Geneva Convention agree not to torture protected persons (POWs and enemy civilians) in armed conflicts.

The universal legal prohibition is based on a universal philosophical consensus that torture and ill-treatment are repugnant, abhorrent, and immoral.[1] A further moral definition of torture proposes that the sin of torture consists in the disproportionate infliction of pain.[2]

These international conventions and philosophical propositions not withstanding, organizations such as Amnesty International that monitor abuses of human rights report that the use of torture condoned by states is widespread in many regions of the world.[3]

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« Reply #67 on: March 28, 2007, 02:42:48 PM »

No cruelty is coming at someone with a knife and letting them kick and scream while their throat is slit. .  Cruelty is doing the same and cutting ones head off and then showing the person their headless body the last few moments they are alive.

Now after all Bill,  do you think those terrorists really think that being deprived of sleep is torture to them?  Come on now.  They cut heads off and slit throats of the innocent.  If they freely and openly do this and  they do not consider it torture, there is no way they think being deprived of sleep, water boarding, listening to rap music, is torture to them.


I don't care a wit what the terrorists think. Our actions should be guided by our interests, our moral and national interests. It is in neither our moral or national interests to treat people differently based on a label.  That's the bright line, that's the slippery slope - when you differentiate among humans under your control based on an arbitrary label. Right now the US has one set of standards for group A and another secrete set of standards for those they (who exactly is they - a mercenary contractor? Someone unchecked by the rule of law?) say are beneath our contempt, beneath how we would treat the most hideous child murderer.

It's a story that has been repeated throughout history, remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

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« Reply #68 on: March 28, 2007, 02:51:17 PM »

I don't garner enough knowledge to partake in these debates, but I really do enjoy the dialogue and all the interesting arguments. Keep it coming.  :thumbup;
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« Reply #69 on: March 28, 2007, 07:35:58 PM »

I don't care a wit what the terrorists think. Our actions should be guided by our interests, our moral and national interests. It is in neither our moral or national interests to treat people differently based on a label.  That's the bright line, that's the slippery slope - when you differentiate among humans under your control based on an arbitrary label. Right now the US has one set of standards for group A and another secrete set of standards for those they (who exactly is they - a mercenary contractor? Someone unchecked by the rule of law?) say are beneath our contempt, beneath how we would treat the most hideous child murderer.

It is far more immoral for this country to not do everything it can to keep terrorists from murdering thousands of innocent civilians.

No matter how hard you try what we are doing is not torture.   If we do not think those methods when applied to our troops is torture then that gives us every moral authority to say its not torture when we use them.

How you equate making one listen to rap music, being deprived of sleep to that of slitting throats and cutting heads off is beyond me.


It's a story that has been repeated throughout history, remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Ya and I suppose next you are going to claim that it is immoral and we are violating terrorists free speech when the US military starts their program to hack and shut down terrorist websites.


« Last Edit: March 28, 2007, 07:53:16 PM by BigSky » Logged
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« Reply #70 on: March 29, 2007, 08:53:46 AM »

I think those people believe it is gods will for them to do what they do.  That being said, they're not going to give anything up.  Would you, if you thought you would not have a chance to tour the big house in the sky?  Our intelligence needs to be grater than that and compensated for in another fashion.  We need to set a standard for all of the world to follow.  Don't you think so?  Not if but WHEN I go to another country I don't want to be looked at like more and more people are viewing Americans. 

If we do not think those methods when applied to our troops is torture then that gives us every moral authority to say its not torture when we use them.


I have to disagree.  What they do matters not in this respect.  We must show the way and be the world leader that we are capable of being.


Ya and I suppose next you are going to claim that it is immoral and we are violating terrorists free speech when the US military starts their program to hack and shut down terrorist websites.


Actually, that is a very good intelligence source as well as attack method on the war.  It was a pretty sarcastic statement though. :clap;
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« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2007, 03:03:11 PM »

Whoop there it is.

"We now fail to tell the full truth about our human rights conduct, or that of our allies in the War on Terror. Increasingly, we avoid application of universal standards: whether the rules against torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. But the United States cannot lead the world with moral authority unless we hold ourselves to the same high standards that we demand from others. The U.S. has put its own human rights practices center stage by promoting double standards for our allies, and arguing in favor of 'law-free zones' (like Guantanamo), 'law-free practices' (like extraordinary rendition), 'law-free persons' (who are dubbed 'enemy combatants'), and 'law-free' courts, (like the system of military commissions, which have failed to deliver credible justice and are currently being challenged in our courts for the recent stripping of the writ of habeas corpus). Through these misguided policies, the Administration has shifted the world’s focus from the grotesque human rights abuses of the terrorists to America’s own human rights misconduct, leaving other, equally pressing issues elsewhere ignored or unaddressed," -

Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of Yale Law School
in testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Mar. 29, 2007
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« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2007, 03:11:03 PM »

No matter how hard you try what we are doing is not torture.   If we do not think those methods when applied to our troops is torture then that gives us every moral authority to say its not torture when we use them.

"From the time I was arrested five years ago, they have been torturing me. It happened during interviews. One time they tortured me one way, and another time they tortured me in a different way. I just said those things to make the people happy. They were very happy when I told them those things," - Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, speaking of his time at Gitmo. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/G/GUANTANAMO_TERROR_HEARING?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-03-30-11-04-22

The transcripts have been censored to remove any details of the actual torture methods alleged. And here is the official response:

CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield wouldn't respond to al-Nashiri's allegations, but said Friday that the agency's interrogation program is conducted lawfully - "with great care and close review, producing vital information that has helped disrupt plots and save lives."

Notice that he does not deny torture. In fact, his words could be construed as justifying it. We have gone from "we do not torture" to no comment. One would like to disbelieve everything Nashiri says. But on what rational basis can we now do so? (h/t http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/ )

Bigsky haven't you gotten the Administration's new talking points? We don't deny torture any more we simply say its worth it.

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« Reply #73 on: March 31, 2007, 10:38:48 AM »

Whoop there it is.


LOL  You got to be joking,  another  guy who is a die hard leftest crying about what the US and whoop there it is?   

Who would a thunk it.



"From the time I was arrested five years ago, they have been torturing me. It happened during interviews. One time they tortured me one way, and another time they tortured me in a different way. I just said those things to make the people happy. They were very happy when I told them those things," - Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, speaking of his time at Gitmo. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/G/GUANTANAMO_TERROR_HEARING?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-03-30-11-04-22

The transcripts have been censored to remove any details of the actual torture methods alleged. And here is the official response:

CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield wouldn't respond to al-Nashiri's allegations, but said Friday that the agency's interrogation program is conducted lawfully - "with great care and close review, producing vital information that has helped disrupt plots and save lives."

Notice that he does not deny torture. In fact, his words could be construed as justifying it. We have gone from "we do not torture" to no comment. One would like to disbelieve everything Nashiri says. But on what rational basis can we now do so? (h/t http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/ )

Bigsky haven't you gotten the Administration's new talking points? We don't deny torture any more we simply say its worth it.

It really doesn't matter.   This is because the government has moved well beyond even trying to show its not torture because of the whinny left.  No different that the asinine claims of the left that Bush lied about Iraq and that we have not found WMD, despite the fact he never lied and we did find WMD in Iraq.  At a point it is useless for the government to defend its position.


Next you will claim putting them in Gitmo without a trial is torture and violates their rights.



Hmm,  worry about the worlds opinion of us and our tactics and have the longest stretch of no terrorist attacks on American civilians or worry about what the world thinks and avoid all such tactics and have a great standing with the world and numerous terrorist attacks and deaths of American civilians.

Let the world worry about their own and their own conduct when they have terrorist attacks on their civilian population from terrorists like the US has had and to the degree we have had occur.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2007, 11:34:41 AM by BigSky » Logged
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« Reply #74 on: March 31, 2007, 01:56:32 PM »

Oh yeah, another crank ... the Dean of Yale law school. What does he know?

The thing that supporters of this administration have done again and again is they fail to reckon or even acknowledge the costs of their policies. The imagined upside is touted as debate ending evidence that their choices are the right choices. Anybody who disagrees is Nevil Chamberlain incarnate. Never is there a sober reckoning of the costs of the imagined success, let alone the costs of the downside risk.

This change in policy has no rational justification and has tremendous costs associated with it. It is a classic example of the myopic decision making that is the hallmark of this administration. Every Presidential candidate, no matter which party, running to be President in January 2009 has indicated they would reverse this policy.

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