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"The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by KontradictioN, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Just to start everyone off, I am taking a Critical Thinking class for extra credit in my college program. It doesn't really help me get my Bachelor's or my Master's but instead gives me a better understanding of what the other side of a debate is thinking. Anyway, there are a couple of subjects being raised in this class that are up for debate amongst myself and my fellow classmates. The use of torture is the one that we are touching on this week. My professor issued us two write-ups on torture. The first advocating it and the second denouncing it. Both are extremely insightful. So much so that I thought it would create a great debate in this political wonderland we have here. Heh, the only difference is that here I will probably see a lot more mud-slinging in name calling than I'm used to in class as my professor is quick to shut down "personal attacks" that derail the debate within the classroom.

    Anyway, the first that I'll publish on here to get the debate started is the view in which I primarily agree with (as do others on here). It's Michael Levin's "The Case for Torture" in which he argues for the use of torture in certain circumstances. Again, this is the argument that I primarily agree with and will defend in my rebuttals. Everyone else is more than welcomed to chime in with their views.

    After the debate kicks off, I will publish the magazine article that my professor sent us which argues against the use of torture and brings up just as many valid arguing points. As of right now though, I want to get a true feeling for those who are against the use of torture's arguing points and not just have a rehash of the article. This isn't to put anybody who is against it at a disadvantage as you can just as easily look up other articles on Google. However, it's so that I and others can get a reading on how you all TRULY feel about torture... a hot topic around these parts.

    Here is the write up: Michael Levin: The Case for Torture

    Here are some key points made by Levin...

    Torturing the terrorist is unconstitutional? Probably. But millions of lives surely outweigh constitutionality. Torture is barbaric? Mass murder is far more barbaric. Indeed, letting millions of innocents die in deference to one who flaunts his guilt is moral cowardice, an unwillingness to dirty one's hands. If you caught the terrorist, could you sleep nights knowing that millions died because you couldn't bring yourself to apply the electrodes?

    Here are the results of an informal poll about a third, hypothetical, case. Suppose a terrorist group kidnapped a newborn baby from a hospital. I asked four mothers if they would approve of torturing kidnappers if that were necessary to get their own newborns back. All said yes, the most "liberal" adding that she would like to administer it herself.

    If life is so valuable that it must never be taken, the lives of the innocents must be saved even at the price of hurting the one who endangers them.

    I hope I get as many bites back on this as my opinion did within the classroom. :cool:
  2. PressCoverage

    PressCoverage Banned

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    what's new here? the same tired Con man talking points over and over... playing on fears and irrational connections that don't necessarily go together... from wacko-right icon Michael Levin, even!!!! Hooray! The guy who hates gays and feminists, and attends white supremecist conferences!!!!!

    there's no way to prove what "terrorists" gave would have otherwise resulted in an alternate reality that would have cost any lives... let alone the pretentious "millions" claim...

    nor does it atone for the fact that a torture-first policy also killed innocent cab drivers and countless others who were never guilty of anything...

    FBI, CIA: cookies earn same intel...

    cookies.

    It is funny, however, seeing bomb'em all types taking time out of their anti-Obama hysteria to continue defending un-Constitutional acts of the Idiot King regime.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
  3. DarrylS

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    Not sure what college you are going to, but biased articles on either side are ok.. but the real sources of information US law and the Constitution...

    Everything else is conjecture and opinion, my choice would be to look at it from a legal point of view and critique each articles point of view... there is too much bias in this argument and not enough constitutional common sense...
  4. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Keep in mind here that we're attacking the idea of torture and not Michael Levin or me. If you want to attack Michael Levin you can make a thread about it. As of right now, however, you've stated absolutely nothing to back up your claim about why torture in these instances is a bad thing and have instead punted to the personal attack method of going at Michael Levin's character instead of his argument.
  5. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Based on what I've read in this forum torture only ever worked once.......ever. When John McCain was campaigning for president torure reportedly worked quite well on him when he was a POW...but that's the only time. I'm sure that absolutely no partisan political bias ever entered in that conclusion.:cool:
  6. PressCoverage

    PressCoverage Banned

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    this is pathetic, ... not only did i offer relevant perspective on Levin's white supremacist background, but I also went RIGHT AT your claim that torture is a good thing. ... In fact, the entirety of my post is about why it's a bad thing. What post were you reading? LOL...

    you continue to use my material, though. I'm flattered.

    "punting" ... :cool:
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  7. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Rookie

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    #95 Jersey


    Actually there is a lot of constitutional common sense and the courts have recognized 'exigent circumstances' such as circumstance when a search warrant isn't necessary such as rescuing a kidnapped person, preventing destruction of evidence, etc as mentioned below.. I wonder if they wouldn't carve out some limited exception in cases of imminent mass murder???I'm not arguing for or against just raising the possibility.
    >>>>EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES - Emergency conditions. 'Those circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of a suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts.' United States v. McConney, 728 F.2d 1195, 1199 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 824 (1984).<<<<


    It is further covered here....

    Exigent circumstance in US law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  8. DarrylS

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    Supreme court decisions may also lend some sight, but Wikipedia is not a great source except to point you in the right direction... my choice would be to look at some type of case law.
  9. alvinnf

    alvinnf Rookie

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    It is not a question of law, only in the literal sense. Critical thinking is a cross between math and ethics. In some senses rhetorical due to subjectiveness. You could use law to back up your argument but it still might not cover the higher tenants of the argument.
  10. DarrylS

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    If I were to argue for or against torture, would want to start with the Constitution, US history and any cases that has been argued before the Supreme Court..the would proceed to international standards if they exist and international law all the rest is just textbook and BS...

    Critical thinking begins with facts, and some biased view of torture is not fact based.. it is someone's opinion.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  11. alvinnf

    alvinnf Rookie

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    The problem is "the greater good". Your talking about torture and how it pertains to the U.S. government. Facts and bi-laws become important. However, torture on it's own in a vacuum is argued on a different level, it becomes a question of ethics and it's usefulness. That is a fact based argument. It depends on what the conclusion is they are trying to draw.
  12. DarrylS

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    When you seek the truth, it is best not to have a conclusion prior to starting... there is only one level, not several and it ain't all that complicated.. either it is right based on our nation of laws or it is wrong based on the same...
  13. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Levin's white supremacist background and his hate for gays and blacks is in no way relevant to the debate about torture. It's a red herring.

    As for you taking on Levin's talking points "head on", you've hardly done that. There's no way to prove that such an act would save millions of lives because a person preparing to execute such an act has not been caught. If he has, and torture gave the CIA and FBI intel that they could use against terrorist units either in the United States or abroad, do you seriously think that it would be on the news?
  14. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    By the way, I was going to North Florida (UNF) but, unfortunately, got laid off from my job and could no longer support myself up there. I'm taking classes at the local state college down south until I can find a good job in Jacksonville within the year to support myself. If not, I'm looking at possibly going into the military.

    Anyway, the assignment presented to us was to take the two biased articles and form talking points based on the points brought up in both of them. Personally, while I think Levin's article is insightful on what COULD happen, he doesn't seem to use a whole lot (and by a whole lot, I mean ANY) of facts in it. This article is just a bunch of "what ifs". However, these "what ifs" could happen which is why I think it's interesting.

    For your reading pleasure, here is the other article that attempts to make a case against torture, citing the Iraq War as a prime example of course. The case against torture
  15. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Rookie

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    #95 Jersey

    If you clicked on the link, you'd see why I linked to it. It has the case law that is the basis for the court's decisions. I recognize wiki's obvious limitations but in this case, it was the quickest and cleanest reference available....

    as
    >>>United States v. McConney, 728 F.2d 1195, 1199 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 824 (1984):

    "Those circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence, the escape of a suspect, or some other consequence improperly frustrating legitimate law enforcement efforts." <<<
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  16. DarrylS

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    Wiki can or cannot be a good beginning, but there are so many other great sources that are not self edited.... some folks go there and find comfort as to what is posted,without researching the issue in toto..

    The whole thing has been about drawing conclusions from articles that are biased, and my preference is to find out the basis of the article...
  17. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Neither article is based on any form of law, either national or international, both make compelling points.. my preference is to start with the constitution, and applicable case law and not what might happen.
  18. PressCoverage

    PressCoverage Banned

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    unreal. ...

    his moral compass is 'no way relevant' perspective when considering his OPINION regarding torture of Muslims? that's amazingly convenient guidelines for your thread to have to follow.

    that's kinda like saying Michael Jackson's stuffed animals and private theme park are in no way relevant to his propensity to be attracted to young boys.

    What does whether or not it ended up on the news have anything to do with what we're discussing here? Oh, that's right. Nothing whatsoever.

    My point was clear. You can't torture, period. And, not just because it's un-Constitutional and essentially an end-around avoiding the underlying merits of the Geneva Convention -- but because, without a conviction, you have no idea of whether or not the person you're holding is even guilty of anything. Thus, your killing innocent people... slowly and painfully.

    I'll ask again. What did Dilawar do? Or the countless others who've been tortured to death, especially when a former Bush official has flatly admitted "most are innocent.".... ?

    "It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance," Wilkerson wrote in the blog.

    He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather "sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified."

    Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said vetting on the battlefield during the early stages of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was incompetent with no meaningful attempt to discriminate "who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation."

    Some of you guys just don't get it, do you? Either you don't get it, you don't want to get it, and/or you don't give a schyt.

    Ultimately, it rationalizes this way: "Many are innocent? ... Bah... They're dirty, savage, and they pray funny anyway. I don't care."
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  19. Fogbuster

    Fogbuster Rookie

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    Michael Levin is an ethnic Jew, is he not? If so, how does a Jewish guy get to be a "white supremacist"???? I didn't know the KKK was accepting applications from Jewish folks.




    //
  20. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not all white supremists belong to the KKK... he has some interesting views on race...

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