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'Indisputable' that U.S. practiced torture after 9/11: panel

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The co-chair of the panel, Asa Hutchinson, a former Republican lawmaker who worked in ex-President George W Bush’s administration, said that “we have come to the regrettable, but unavoidable, conclusion that the United States did indeed engage in conduct that is clearly torture.” ... in violation of U.S. and international law.

Some people need to be charged and put on trial.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It's also indisputable that the "people" who were tortured/waterboarded by intelligence officers would torture and kill innocent people to acheive their twisted vision.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It's also indisputable that the "people" who were tortured/waterboarded by intelligence officers would torture and kill innocent people to acheive their twisted vision.

A nation and people based on laws would put criminals who torture on trial. Only the criminally-minded would justify torture.

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"A nation and people based on laws would put criminals who torture on trial"

Could the trial result in conviction and a death sentence?

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It's also indisputable that the "people" who were tortured/waterboarded by intelligence officers would torture and kill innocent people to acheive their twisted vision.

Not true, and in fact, some of the tortured were released. We can survive without torturing anyone, in any case.

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Sorry, I personally don't believe in torture, but If I were in charge( I mean, only the president can allow and give the go ahead for enhanced interrogations) and the country was in immediate danger and I had a few hours before a major attack were to take place and the person that I have in custody was a known terrorist and he is the only one that could stop thousands of dying and he wouldn't talk.... Yeah, I would do whatever it takes to keep the citizens safe. Thump me down all you want, but I'm being honest and real. I also don't care what you liberals think. If you believe Obama would NEVER use enhanced techniques to get out vital information that could kill thousands of Americans, he would give the go ahead. of course he would, now the WH would do everything in their power to make sure that doesn't get out. The last thing he wants is his constituents and other far left loons to find out about it, But Obama in a back against the wall situation would sign off and rightfully so. Yes, I said it!

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<http://detaineetaskforce.org/newsroom/multimedia/?utm_source=PR%3A+Media+Advisory+6+-+Task+Force+Report&utm_campaign=Advisory+6+-+TF+Report+Release&utm_medium=archive > (webcast)

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/globalizing-torture-20120205.pdf (pdf on "black sites" and interrogations)

WikiLeaks is the one that really blew this wide open. They still torture and run the "black sites" by the way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Torture?? Hey! If it makes these scum talk and helps us get terrorists before they kill again sorry, but if that's what it takes??? Then by all means not only torture them but get their friends and family too!!

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The last thing he wants is his constituents and other far left loons to find out about it, But Obama in a back against the wall situation would sign off and rightfully so. Yes, I said it!

Obama isn't left wing. Yes, I said it. He would most certainly sign off on torture just like he signs off on his kill list. He would be wrong to do so. Torture is immoral and UnAmerican. It lowers us, and the scenario that you describe where the person who has key info must be tortured in time to stop an explosion is a fabricated fantasy that has never happened. We have laws, and we have a civilization. If you throw away your principles when the going gets tough, you never had any principles to begin with. We don't need to be on the side of the torturers and criminals.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry, I personally don't believe in torture, but If I were in charge

Ah, the infamous "ticking time-bomb" hypothetical; a suitcase nuke is about to go off and the protagonist faces the moral dilemma of whether or not to torture the terrorist who knows where the bomb is. Hard not to weigh the human dignity of one evil man against the lives of millions of innocents and find it wanting.

The only problem is that this scenario pretty much never happens. Instead you get a bad guy who maybe knows something useful, or maybe he doesn't. So you torture him and maybe you get important information, or maybe he just tells you what you want to hear to make you stop. The next guy you get, well, you think he's a bad guy but you aren't 100% sure, so you torture him anyway, just in case... and maybe you get something useful, or maybe it just garbage that wastes your time because maybe the guy really isn't a bad guy after all or if he is one he doesn't have anything useful to say.

The truth of the matter is that, in the aggregate, torture doesn't really work. It isn't efficient or effective. Hell, even the Nazis eventually figured out that you get better quality and quantity of information by persuasion. So even if you don't have a moral problem with torturing "terrorists" (because, you know, some of them might be innocent), you shouldn't support torture because it simply doesn't work, and all you end up doing is trading away your morality and your reputation for no real benefit. Now, if the suitcase nuke scenario actually comes up, well then fine - all bets are off. But that sort of thing needs to be the desperate exception, not the rule.

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"you get a bad guy who maybe knows something useful, or maybe he doesn't. So you torture him and maybe you get important information..."

If the fate of innocent / good guys' lives were hanging in the balance, the important information could save those lives.

"...or maybe he just tells you what you want to hear to make you stop"

If his information is bogus, oh well. But he's a bad guy ( and a really bad bad guy who is highly suspected of having important information, otherwise he wouldn't be being tortured ) so he deserves some severe punishment anyway.

"you shouldn't support torture because it simply doesn't work, and all you end up doing is trading away your morality and your reputation... Now, if the suitcase nuke scenario actually comes up, well then fine - all bets are off"

What! What happened to "you shouldn't support torture because it simply doesn't work, and all you end up doing is trading away your morality and your reputation"?

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I can recall one specific "thing" that occurred in the early 1970s that, in my opinion, planted the seeds in the minds of the American public that torture is an acceptable response.

I was wondering if any other reader knows what I am referring to, and if there were any such seeds planted prior to that.

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Sorry, I personally don't believe in torture, but If I were in charge( I mean, only the president can allow and give the go ahead for enhanced interrogations) and the country was in immediate danger and I had a few hours before a major attack were to take place and the person that I have in custody was a known terrorist and he is the only one that could stop thousands of dying and he wouldn't talk.... Yeah, I would do whatever it takes to keep the citizens safe. Thump me down all you want, but I'm being honest and real. I also don't care what you liberals think. If you believe Obama would NEVER use enhanced techniques to get out vital information that could kill thousands of Americans, he would give the go ahead. of course he would, now the WH would do everything in their power to make sure that doesn't get out. The last thing he wants is his constituents and other far left loons to find out about it, But Obama in a back against the wall situation would sign off and rightfully so. Yes, I said it!

Too true Bass. There is a big difference between ideology and reality. I'm not a big advocate for torture either but when you are in a time of desperation and urgent need tied in with the responsibility of saving the lives of millions, say goodbye to ideological measures.

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I'm not a big advocate for torture either but when you are in a time of desperation and urgent need tied in with the responsibility of saving the lives of millions, say goodbye to ideological measures.

In other words, when your values are tested, say "good-bye" to your values. In other words, there's a whole other set of values operating underneath the values that people express with their mouths.

What you are saying, quite simply, is that America can't be trusted -- as long as it has people in leadership who think the way you do. This is why it is all the more important to arrest those who have enabled torture to happen and try them as criminals.

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What! What happened to "you shouldn't support torture because it simply doesn't work, and all you end up doing is trading away your morality and your reputation"?

Wasn't I clear?

It's a rather simple slippery slope argument: 99.9% percent of the time, you don't have a situation where you have a known bad guy and a known imminent threat - especially one with huge potential damage. So, what I'm saying is, if you get that sort of situation then torture makes sense from a purely practical viewpoint (whether it makes sense morally is another argument - I'll leave you to make your own judgment on that) - but only as a last resort where other, more efficient techniques have failed.

The problem, again from a practical perspective, is that those scenarios come up 0.1% of the time. The other 99.9%, you don't have such a clear cut scenario. Apparently you are cool with torturing people as long as they are "bad guys"; That ignores 2 major problems:

First, you don't always know who the bad guys are - even if you are unconscious about it, you are going to make mistakes. Worse, once the cat is out of the bag, there's no stopping it - you can make guidelines and rules about who gets tortured and who doesn't, but those rules will get broken - especially given this stuff is largely done in secret to people who don't have access to any sort of legal recourse - and it will devolve in to a policy of torturing suspected terrorists because they might have info that saves lives.

Second, as I said, its an ineffective method. You lose more useful information (and gain more false leads which waste your time) than you would with other methods. So why would you use it at all, even without the moral and reputational damage?

If the fate of innocent / good guys' lives were hanging in the balance, the important information could save those lives.

Again, the only scenario that it makes any sort of practical sense is one where there is a high level of certainty regarding the threat and the withholding of pertinent information AND you have exhausted your other - generally more effective - options. But those situations are too rare to justify the use of torture as an operational policy.

A final thought for you: it might be possible to get "life-saving information" out of potential terrorists by, say, raping them or threatening to do so. In my mind, that seems roughly equivalent, morally and practically speaking, to torture - indeed, in certain countries armies and security forces make systematic rape a tool in there interrogation processes and intimidation campaigns. So, would you endorse government sponsored rape as an element of torture, or is that somehow over the line to you? And if so, why?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ugg. Auto-correct fail. That should be "conscientious" not "unconscious"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yabits, consider the reality of human nature and the world we live in right now. "If I'm nice to those who aren't nice to me then they'll eventually be nice back..." Ideally that would be wonderful in and it does work in cases depending on the personal virtues of your enemy. But when you're dealing with people who no matter how "nice" or "kill them with kindness" you may want to be they beyond a doubt keep taking advantage after advantage of you until you're either dead or under their bootstrap because no matter what you do their "virtues" run completely yours. Such as "don't kill civilians but only target those who attack you." But your opponent thinks, "Its ok to target civilians as long as we get our enemy."

"Don't sink down to their level" true, but at what point do you think they'll start valuing human lives beyond their own when they don't even do it themselves?

I heard a statement in response to a question a while ago, "Is there any justification for war?" And the response was this, "When someone completely ignores the value of human life, then is the time to take up arms against them to protect the value of human life."

Hence, you will have to do what is necessary to protect that value.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yabits, consider the reality of human nature and the world we live in right now. "If I'm nice to those who aren't nice to me then they'll eventually be nice back..

The reality of human nature has not changed in the 230-odd years that the United States has been a nation. We live by the belief that no one is above the law. Criminals do not believe that.

If you believe you have to become a criminal in order to defeat a criminal, you have already lost. Those who attempt to uphold the laws without willfully breaking any -- aka "the good guys" -- will hunt down all criminals and subject them to trial.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think we all understand that habeus corpus went out the window with Cheney and the shrub. Unfortunately Gitmo is still open.....

We live by the belief that no one is above the law.

We also are supposed to live by the ideal that everybody has certain rights, and the right to humane treatment, a speedy trial and proper legal representation are part of that. In other words, nobody is beneath the law either.

Well, it used to be that way. If somebody sticks the label "terrorist" on you it's execution by drone no matter what your citizenship or if a state of war exists. Or, maybe, with the "war on terror" the whole world is at war? The mind boggles.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@yabits

What you are saying, quite simply, is that America can't be trusted -- as long as it has people in leadership who think the way you do. This is why it is all the more important to arrest those who have enabled torture to happen and try them as criminals.

I don't care if I'm trusted or not. My job as president is to keep my country safe against all forms of terrorism, foreign or domestic. I'm not in a popularity contest. So if I have to water board or sleep deprive them, that decision will be an easy one for me to make.

@trium

Second, as I said, its an ineffective method. You lose more useful information (and gain more false leads which waste your time) than you would with other methods. So why would you use it at all, even without the moral and reputational damage?

Not true. Because of enhanced interrogations we were able to get vital information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, don't even go there with that stupid liberal crap. These terrorists thugs go through torture training as do our special forces. These guys will not give up any information willingly. So yes, you should use it, by any means if the person refuses to divulge any information. Now it should be only used as a last resort, but usually, these guys don't talk and with good reason. I totally applaud Cheney for authorizing that call.

Obama on the other hand doesn't want his admin. To do any of that (so he says) however, he is ok with just obliterate people through drone strikes, than torture, now I'm ok with that, but it would be nice to apprehend some these people while they are alive to extract vital intel, but liberals think, dangling carrots and talking to these crazies that they will just talk willingly. What a load of BS!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't care if I'm trusted or not. My job as president is to keep my country safe against all forms of terrorism

The ruling officials of the United States of America take an oath to protect the Constitution, not to "keep the country safe." People who believe their duty is to keep the country safe by breaking the Law have just declared themselves to be domestic enemies of the country.

You have just declared yourself in bed with Satan. Enjoy the ride.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@yabits make sure you get a clear comprehension of my statement in regards to "justification of war". The US does make it a fact that they do help those in NEED. For example Sudanese genocide, Kosovo "ethnic cleansing" etc... The US still does value life, but will not value the life of people that intentionally do not hold any value to life whatsoever.

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You have just declared yourself in bed with Satan. Enjoy the ride.

I think Satan doesn't hold life sacred... so how do you prevent people that don't hold life sacred from taking life?

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make sure you get a clear comprehension of my statement in regards to "justification of war"

I see a clear distinction between "justification of war" and "justification of torture." War is not under discussion here. If torture is a criminal act, there is no justification for it.

I think Satan doesn't hold life sacred... so how do you prevent people that don't hold life sacred from taking life?

People who advocate or justify torture do not hold life sacred. Quite the opposite.

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Because of enhanced interrogations we were able to get vital information from Khalid Sheikh Muhammad

...and this anecdote proves what, exactly?

No one said that torture never produces useful information. Rather, the point was that, in aggregate, the costs - both moral and practical, are too high to justify it as a policy. I don't see any real refutation of that from your singular data point. What makes you think that, ahem, "enhanced interrogation techniques" were the only way to secure such information?

Then, you seem to view "terrorists" as all being some sort of hard-core, hyper-trained black-ops types with nerves of steel and ultra-fanatical religious zealots. What I think you'll find is an abundance of duped / brainwashed, angry young men on one end, and a lot of hypocritical, self-serving demagogues on the other. Its not at all clear to me that "these guys don't talk" and that torture is pretty much a necessity, as you seem to think.

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@Yabits and how many people would you be willing to sacrifice to maintain your "dignity"? If a leader of a country can get information out of 1 person to save 1,000 of his/her countries citizens from losing their lives, they would lose their dignity but be found justified for their actions. If a leader sacrificed 1,000 citizens because they wanted to protect their "dignity" for 1 person they would be deemed unfit for leadership because they did not do what it takes to protect those 1,000 citizens.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ah, and this pops up just in time... http://www.japantoday.com/category/world/view/iraq-executes-21-men-convicted-of-terrorism

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@yabits

The ruling officials of the United States of America take an oath to protect the Constitution, not to "keep the country safe." People who believe their duty is to keep the country safe by breaking the Law have just declared themselves to be domestic enemies of the country.

You have just declared yourself in bed with Satan. Enjoy the ride.

Quite the contrary.

That's a bunch of bull. You are taking it literally and your making a false interpretation of the constitution. Keeping the country safe, falls under the constitution. You are in NO way an enemy of the country. If you say that, then Lincoln was a criminal as well.

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@trium

...and this anecdote proves what, exactly?

Enhanced interrogations worked when properly applied as a last result, if the individual refuses to give up vital info.

No one said that torture never produces useful information. Rather, the point was that, in aggregate, the costs - both moral and practical, are too high to justify it as a policy.

I disagree, you think the rights of terrorists outweigh the rights of decent law-abiding innocent people? Of course, it's more than justified.

I don't see any real refutation of that from your singular data point. What makes you think that, ahem, "enhanced interrogation techniques" were the only way to secure such information?

Then, you seem to view "terrorists" as all being some sort of hard-core, hyper-trained black-ops types with nerves of steel and ultra-fanatical religious zealots.

Nope, I see them as ultra-fanatical religious cowardly zealots. That will do anything to bring about mayhem, death and destruction to make a point.

What I think you'll find is an abundance of duped / brainwashed, angry young men on one end, and a lot of hypocritical, self-serving demagogues on the other. Its not at all clear to me that "these guys don't talk" and that torture is pretty much a necessity, as you seem to think.

I beg to differ, 100%

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

and how many people would you be willing to sacrifice to maintain your "dignity"?

It is not my personal dignity that would be maintained, but the honor and integrity of the United States. Many thousands have already died to uphold its principles and values. It's regrettable to see so many Americans who would render all of that sacrifice in vain.

As far as your "numbers" go, consider the Cold War in which leaders of the US were willing to engage in nuclear war, which would have sacrificed many millions of Americans, in order to prevent domination by communists. And here you are willing to sell out American principles -- and turn Americans into criminals -- for a thousand.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

You are taking it literally and your making a false interpretation of the constitution. Keeping the country safe, falls under the constitution. You are in NO way an enemy of the country. If you say that, then Lincoln was a criminal as well.

Lincoln had people tortured?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The US governments choices do not turn other American's into criminals. Just the government officials that gave the order. For the loss of 3,000+ innocent US civilians, the US went to war. There is always the distinction of a government and its people.

When maintaining "honor" and "integrity" does not always reflect on the rest of the individual citizens. When one person or a small group of people put 312 million people at risk of losing their lives, guess which is always going to be the first to go?

And as Bass put up, torture isn't always necessary to get information. And not all torture methods reflect back to middle age means and Chinese water torture scenes. Any person can be easily tortured by non-lethal methods. If a person is uncomfortable for a long enough time, they'd be willing to do what it takes to relieve that extreme discomfort.

Lincoln had people tortured?

You don't know if he did now do you? In many wars you're more than likely going to have people tortured. The question is what was the reason for torture? Some people were evil enough to do it just for "fun" at making other people suffer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The US (and many other "western" nations) will do whatever it takes to prevent any further attempts on the lives of their citizens.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As far as your "numbers" go, consider the Cold War in which leaders of the US were willing to engage in nuclear war, which would have sacrificed many millions of Americans, in order to prevent domination by communists.

What a coincidence, the USSR was thinking the same thing except they were equally willing to negotiate by diplomatic means (in spite of the fact that KGB and CIA were going at it like bunnies in heat....) to avoid MAD because unlike some current religious fanatics they had some sense shared values with the US which lead to their collapse. You'd better believe there was some "interrogation" techniques used on both sides during those times.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If a person is uncomfortable for a long enough time, they'd be willing to do what it takes to relieve that extreme discomfort.

That's certainly what the Soviets wanted to achieve with their gulags. (Is it just a coincidence that the US, among all nations, now has the greatest percentage of its population locked up and subject to slave labor?)

You don't know if [Lincoln] did now do you?

There is no historical or documentary evidence of Lincoln authorizing torture of prisoners. If he did, then Bush and Cheney could claim they were just following the example of another Republican criminal. But we've seen no "Lincoln precedent" from those two.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You'd better believe there was some "interrogation" techniques used on both sides during those times.

Why would I believe anything when there is no evidence to back it up?

It would make perfect sense, however, that those who advocate torture would stoop to lies and anything else to try to justify themselves and their positions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why would I believe anything when there is no evidence to back it up?

Because things like "top secret" + "confidential" + "National security" are still pretty effective means of keeping information away from the public.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As for historical evidence, you can only get that evidence if the evidence is preserved properly for over a hundred years. For all we know papers or documents with written orders that were considered highly classified could be destroyed immediately. Fact is we don't KNOW short of a time machine...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As for historical evidence, you can only get that evidence if the evidence is preserved properly for over a hundred years. For all we know papers or documents with written orders that were considered highly classified could be destroyed immediately. Fact is we don't KNOW short of a time machine...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fact is we don't KNOW short of a time machine...

The simple fact is that those who advocate torture would stoop to lies, fantasies and anything else to try to justify themselves and their immoral, criminal position.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why so many discussions?

It is no principial difference between US and other states like Brasilia or Russia....or China...

It always was so..from Romans time....

What's a problem guys?

A lot of idealism?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The simple fact is that those who advocate torture would stoop to lies, fantasies and anything else to try to justify themselves and their immoral, criminal position.

Good luck trying to change humanity yabits. I don't have to torture anyone, and neither do you and we're not responsible for the choices of others. We can whine and complain all we want but short of being in the position of a political leader of a country with some pull we're not going to be heard. On the other hand my government and yours too most likely would not give two cents about it if they can get what they need to accomplish protecting our ability to live as we wish within reasonable freedom and they don't completely obey every single individuals moral ideology Ideally torture would never happen to begin with, .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But reality is here and now and it would take humanity as a whole to change and as long as everyone has different views on different things we're going to stay in this state as we have for millennia before.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't have to torture anyone, and neither do you and we're not responsible for the choices of others.

In a democratic/representative form of government, "the people" are responsible for holding their leaders accountable. When a leader commits a criminal act, or tolerates criminal acts performed by those under their authority, they must be arrested and placed on trial, just like any other accused criminal.

We can whine and complain all we want but short of being in the position of a political leader of a country with some pull we're not going to be heard.

I would like to thank conservatives for fostering and teaching to others that people in the United States no longer have a government that is accountable to the Law. If a government can authorize unlawful acts like torture at its whim and remain unaccountable, it is no better than a lynch mob.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

yabits Apr. 19, 2013 - 02:25AM JST In a democratic/representative form of government, "the people" are responsible for holding their leaders accountable. When a leader commits a criminal act, or tolerates criminal acts performed by those under their authority, they must be arrested and placed on trial, just like any other accused criminal.

Everybody is a general after the battle. Maybe you should probably look at the CIA report on the information that was extracted by torture. We now live in a world where relative atrocities must be weighed. Torture few terrorist vs nuke goes off at home? Torture is having to listen to or read all these biased stories. True torture is having to listen to the Democrats complain about the Republicans. The problem is sleep deprivation, simulated drowning, forced painful positioning, physical beatings and all the rest that U.S. defined as torture when you have other nations taking the same actions against U.S. soldiers captured, so if its torture to take those actions against U.S. soldiers, its torture if U.S. take those actions against an enemy?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We now live in a world where relative atrocities must be weighed

We always lived in such world

when you have other nations taking the same actions against U.S. soldiers captured, so if its torture to take those actions against U.S. soldiers, its torture if U.S. take those actions against an enemy?

Somebody have attacked US?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The "people" do hold their government accountable but only when things are done against the people. The only reason why torture is deemed acceptable by enough people (but not all) is because it is done to get imperative information if possible to protect these same people. If the US government officially went out of its way to pick up some random person in the ME in a country at war with the US public (at least the less bigoted ones) would be outraged. If the person in the ME was captured in a more than suspicious situation (if you're sitting in a war zone holding a shovel and there is nothing to dig but sand by the side of the road with some IEDs on it and nary a well or farm field/dig site in range....) then the "people" would advocate almost any interrogation method necessary to get information from that person.

You can keep thinking your way with whomever agrees with you, but its still not going to change things as they are now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Americans no longer have the right to be outraged by torture in other countries, unless they are outraged by their own country as well.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Americans no longer have the right to be outraged by torture in other countries, unless they are outraged by their own country as well.

Yes, I'm sure the examples of the Sudanese genocide where they tortured innocent people by cutting off hands and feet and raping or outright mutilating genitalia etc, for "fun" and personal pleasure totally equals interrogation torture methods that don't involve maiming, sexual assault, or outright murdering identified enemy combatants that have been captured as POWs. Better figure out the difference.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Better figure out the difference.

Yes, it's one of degree, not of kind. Every argument you have put forward to justify methods that don't involve maiming could just as easily be extended to include those methods.

You wouldn't maim someone to save a thousand people?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Honest, do you remember when Americans were so outraged when their dead soldiers were pulled around the streets in Somalia? Then just a few months ago US Marines are urinating on dead enemy soldiers. I always believed that Americans prided themselves on having the highest moral standards. Look up My Lai massacre in Vietnam, and that wasn't the only time it happened. Dozens of rapes and murders have occured in the occupation of Iraq. How do we justify our torture but condemn others. Is it because we are good and they are evil. I need a better reason than that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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