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Torture: What it Means To OUR Guys

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There has been a body of information and debate out there for years about the "pros and cons" of torture.

    Typically they are pooh-poohed by "Grrr I'm a realist" tough-guy types, so long as we are discussing instances in which people we like use torture. But the real point of "pros and cons" is that they allow one to truly be a realist, rather than simply upbraid your opponent for thinking too much or otherwise diplaying pussitude.

    The current crop of discussions on the subject brings that decades-old debate into the forefront.

    My special favorite revolves around what's long been argued against torture from a realpolitik version of the Golden Rule, where liberal and conservative meet.

    First the setup, from the long history of the debate on torture, the basics if you will, that the U.S. has long upheld:

    Premise: If you torture the guys you capture, your enemy will torture your guys, when they capture them.

    Bush's Theorem: Then don't tell anybody... how would they ever find out?

    Right Wing corollary: There is no sin of commission. There is only the sin of admission. The closer one gets to torture, the less important one's behavior or decisions are, and the more "justifiable."

    The closer one gets to the disclosure of that behavior, the more responsible one is for the results of that behavior; the press is to blame for making Abu Ghraib known to the world. The Obama administration has put us in danger by releasing the memos and photos of American torture practices. This has endangered our own nationals (because the bad guys will retaliate.)

    Two interesting aspects to this argument are as follows:

    1) The right wing does not dispute that the U.S. embraced the use of torture during the Bush administration, although they play the usual semantic games.

    2) They do not dispute the outcome of the old debate, that the knowledge by an enemy that you torture, makes it more likely your people will be tortured. Rather, they embrace the premise -- and place the blame on the messenger(s).

    2 (a) This approach gives the lie to the premise that whatever we did to "them" would already be done to "us," and that you are dealing with terrorists who would torture Americans anyway.

    This is easily conflated with a variety of subjects from the U.S. point of view:

    - That the pain felt by subjects of terror attacks justifies the pain felt by enemies;

    - That the non-combatant status of victims of terror cancels out the non-combatant/uninvolved status of many US torture victims; and most importantly that

    - "They deserve it."

    None of the above are forward-looking. All of the above are at odds with discussions of the impact of disclosure on the future safety of Americans.

    Again, the initial argument is that disclosure of turture endangers the safety of Americans.

    There are two problems with trying to avoid the outcome of the premise with these arguments:

    - These same pundits have already said that disclosure of torture endangers Americans (whether military or civilian)... so however bad terrorists are, it is possible to make them worse from a US point of view; and

    - The fact that disclosure of torture is only possible after commission of torture.

    Is it not, then, logical to assume that the problem is really the commission of torture in the first place (whatever our new naming convention?)

    PFnV
  2. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    (Same explanation made simple.)

    Your kid goes to school, beats the crap out of another kid, and steals his lunch.

    He tells a lie to cover it up, gets semi-caught, tells another lie to cover up that one, gets semi-caught, and tells one more lie that seamlessly wraps up the process. The only person still accusing him is the guy whose lunch he stole, and that kid smells bad anyway so nobody believes him.

    Then your kid's best friend, beset with juvenile guilt, busts your kid. When the 2 kids are questioned it is indisputeable that your kid did in fact beat up the kid and take his lunch.

    Choose between these two:

    a) Your kid should do a week's detention because he beat up a kid and took his lunch, or
    b) The other kid should do a week's detention because he effed up a perfectly good cover story.

    Okay that should provoke lots of truly useless side-discussions about how guilty the lunchless kid was in the first place, etc. Try to focus on the assignment, class.

    This is not about the hypothetical kid who lost his lunch. This is about who effed up in the hypothetical: The one who beat up the kid and stole the lunch, or the one who told the truth about it.

    PFnV
  3. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    Our men were tortured during the Vietnam war. I just don't buy the payback thing. Brutal and/or desperate people will torture for pleasure or for info. Muslim's were torturing each other for information Shia vs Sunni as an example. You can bet torture is rampant in northern Pakistan ... the lawless region. My point here is our opinion in this country means nothing outside of this country. What we do or don't do will have little to no effect on how we will be treated ... how our military will be treated IMO. So Obama and the military double their efforts to ensure no torture ever again ... how exactly will that effect people outside of America?
  4. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Icy, although I disagree with your viewpoint, I only confine this particular thread to the fact that one has to choose one or another. Either:

    1) Your position is correct, and our use of torture will not influence its use by our adversaries, or

    2) That position is incorrect, and our use of torture will influence its use by our adversaries.

    In the case of (2), some of the current rhetoric is that it is the disclosure of torture that endangers Americans, not the torture itself.

    PFnV
  5. Stokes

    Stokes Rookie

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    1.) Many would still dispute that the methods outlined by the administration amount to torture. You brush that aside as a semantic argument, but to me it is very much still valid. My problem was not with the methods outlined by the Bush admin (waterboarding, temperature change, nudity, etc). I do not think these reach the level of torture. At some point you have to cause discomfort in your interrogations to extract information, and as long as that discomfort does not cause lasting physical or mental harm it is not torture. My argument against the methods is that allowing interrogators/guards to break the established rules of conduct gave rise to further abuse of prisoners. Clearly there was a need to end the practice of "its not illegal because we say its not illegal," but to me that wasn't because of the severity of the methods outlined.

    2.) On to the argument that you present about torture and risk for our civilians and military. Don't we already know that other countries do use these same methods against our soldiers? Otherwise we wouldn't be training our special ops troops by waterboarding them. To me, this makes any arguments about disclosure moot (so I would disagree with those that argue our troops are less safe because of the Obama admin's disclosures). In other words, our guys are already unsafe!

    3.) Where I DO agree with opponents of the disclosure is that I don't think we need to broadcast exactly what we do to detainees publicly. The change back to using only the field manual could have been handled internally without comment, and would leave detainees guessing. We already know that Al Qaeda prepared for interrogations and were instructed to lie about their conditions while captured, why do we need to lay out a blueprint for them to follow where they can say "if I can just get through this, there's nothing else they're going to do to me."

    So I guess to summarize I agree with ending the Bush era program (but for different reasons), and I agree that the disclosure argument is silly (though I have problems with disclosure for other reasons).
  6. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    1) How do you know waterboarding is not psychologically damaging? What I've seen suggests that it has to be. Also, the degree of damage might be different, not only from person to person, but from culture to culture - and might even be related to geography.

    2) They are inherently unsafe when in a war zone. They become even more unsafe when captured. The idea is to reduce the danger as much as possible. Not all captors torture. Why make it a given that if you're captured you will be tortured? You would be increasing the likelihood if you were torturing their guys and they knew it.

    3) I agree with that generally. But if we never tortured, then we wouldn't have to worry about it.
  7. Stokes

    Stokes Rookie

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    1) Unfortunately basically any type of interrogation is going to be psychologically damaging. You are captured by the enemy and they want to extract information from you that you don't want to give them. I would disagree about the lasting impact of waterboarding over something more conventional such as sleep depravation, but I understand your point that it is possible it has lasting effects.

    2) Well, my point was that if US troops or civilians were captured by the people we've been using these methods on, they are going to be tortured anyway, so there's no reduced risk for them whether we do it or not. We still go by the book with regular military from other nations, and thus would continue to expect the same treatment of our men by them. So the risk is not lessened, but let me clarify that I 100% disagree with any arguments that they deserve it, or it is OK because they do it to us. That's not the point I want to make at all.

    3) That is true. It is tough because I understand the need to shine light on past abuses of the system to ensure they don't happen again, I just wish there wasn't literally a book captured terrorists could follow to prepare for and withstand interrogation.
  8. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    True Liberalsim immediately will shift the blame to the kid who's lunch was stolen (he shouldn't have been there)

    The little scumbag that stole the lunch will have excuse after excuse piled up to eventually make him look like the victim of what is now called "The Bad Bush Days"

    If a person is Beaten & Robbed in Central Park at 2 AM the Conservative says "Punish The Robber" the Liberal says "You Shouldn't Be Out At 2 AM" (this is why I am a Neo Con"

    The United States Of America is now being run by these "Goofy Liberals"

    As Barack Hussein Obama's preacher of 20 years recently said "NO, NOT GOD BLESS AMERICA, GOD DAMN AMERICA"
  9. godef

    godef Rookie

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    Hmm... can you explain how you came to that conclusion? I always thought the stereotype was that liberals defend the weak too much. :confused:
  10. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    We have millions of right-wing sheep convinced torture is okay and justifiable, that 3 disclosed US torture bases are not a big deal, and that keeping thousands of people captive without many basic rights or liberties to defend from unfair imprisonment is okay. They're also okay with spying on all Americans in secret.

    These sheep have basically been conditioned the same way the Nazis were. The Nazis weren't all crazy people; many were normal people brainwashed the same way Americans are now. Don't think the situations are that different.
  11. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah well why don't you do the left a favor and argue cases on their merits, if you're capable, rather than fall back on the universal argument that the other guy is "brainwashed" by "them". Or at least bring it up in context of discussion of "how" rather than the subject matter at hand.

    It's hard to discuss issues. It's easy to say "they" are "brainwashed." It's incredibly easy to spout "sheep" in relation to people who disagree with you, while considering the ones who agree with you rational individuals who naturally came to their conclusions through intelligent reflection.

    It's not a matter of whether most people are sheep, it's a matter of who branded their backsides. Or -- it's not a matter of whether we all accept socialization, it's a matter of which aspects of life we consider vital enough to reject socialization [i.e., peer group substituting for insight,] and form our own positions.

    The "sheep" and the "sheeple" are just the loosely confederated ranks of "those who disagree with us ideologically."

    Stop using shorthand and considering yourself a firebreathing rebel. Start presenting cogent argumentation.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  12. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    The politically correct answer to this question, about "who effed up", depends on whether we're talking about American torture, or Israel/Palestine.
  13. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's like a "Mav's Greatest Hits" CD.

    Since the torture memos were released by one American administration, and issued by another American administration, and affect the conduct of Americans, how is the "real" question whether we're talking about American or Israeli policy?

    Is this something your particular "flock" likes to bandy about? Baaa.

    The "real" question isn't whether we're talking about Israel (or Syria, or for that matter Zimbabwe.) The question is whether we, the United States of America, have considered the treatment of our own nationals.

    The interesting answer, supplied by the ideologues who support American use of torture, is that the disclosure of torture endangers our nationals.

    The interesting omission in this answer is that if there is no torture to disclose, the disclosure of torture is impossible. However, in making the argument that disclosing torture is what is dangerous, they have effectively argued that there is a danger to one's own nationals, in torturing one's adversaries.

    Your "binky" doesn't really come into play here, Mav.

    PFnV
  14. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Phillipines threathened to turn 1 terrorist over to the Mossad if he didn't give then useful info, he confessed and stopped a plane bombing plot this was during the 90's. Perhaps the Israeli's aren't as squeamish about questioning as we are...
  15. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That would be a very good bit of information for the next time you vote in an Israeli election. It is not exculpatory for the Bush regime's practices.
  16. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    IMO nothing done according the the rules they estaablished in the memos needs to be apologized for...;)
  17. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    The simple example you just gave is basically a good synopsis of what has happened to the Palestinians (the 'smelly kid'). Your kid should do a week's detention because he beat up a kid, took his lunch, and lied and had amazingly good PR and lobbyists. The other kid (whether it be Jimmy Carter or Walt) should not be punished for revealing the truth.
  18. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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  19. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    So? They also stone women for minor offenses, does that make it okay for us to do that too?
  20. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    nope.....regarding the weak, the liberal goal is to keep them weak and buy their vote

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