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Mashu
09-26-2005, 04:10 PM
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/09/25/usint11776.htm

Neil Mick
09-27-2005, 03:14 AM
Yep, it's all just a part of the "cakewalk." Democracy is a messy business, after all...gotta break a few eggs...creating a front against the war on terror...a long, hard slog; etc, etc, ad Rumsfeldeum... :crazy: :disgust:

Hogan
09-27-2005, 11:53 AM
Yep, it's all just a part of the "cakewalk." Democracy is a messy business, after all...gotta break a few eggs...creating a front against the war on terror...a long, hard slog; etc, etc, ad Rumsfeldeum... :crazy: :disgust:


NOW you're getting it, Neil !
:D

Adam Alexander
09-27-2005, 12:38 PM
That's the result of trusting the government and thinking people are made of sugar and spice...

Mashu
09-27-2005, 03:22 PM
So what sort of people will be returning after their tour of duty is over in Iraq? Can you torture/abuse people freely, be rewarded for it and then come back and be normal? I know that some people can probably handle that sort of thing but what kind of circus freaks are the military growing over there and what will happen when they come back to plod along with the sheep?

Adam Alexander
09-27-2005, 06:11 PM
The same kind that left and tortured people.

aikido funky monkey
09-27-2005, 06:56 PM
are yuo guys anti war people.????

Neil Mick
09-27-2005, 08:40 PM
So what sort of people will be returning after their tour of duty is over in Iraq? Can you torture/abuse people freely, be rewarded for it and then come back and be normal?


No. Consider this:

"We've Been Taken Over by a Cult" (http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/012705C.shtml)


They wouldn't shoot into the ditch. They collected people in three ditches and just began to shoot them. The Blacks and Hispanics shot up in the air, but the mostly White, lower middle class, the kids who join the Army Reserve today and National Guard looking for extra dollars, those kind of kids did the killing. One of them was a man named Paul Medlow, who did an awful lot of shooting. The next day, there was a moment - one of the things that everybody remembered, the kids who were there, one of the mothers at the bottom of a ditch had taken a child, a boy, about two, and got him under her stomach in such a way that he wasn't killed. When they were sitting having the K rations - that's what they called them - MRE's now - the kid somehow crawled up through the [inaudible] screaming louder and he began - and Calley, the famous Lieutenant Calley, the Lynndie England of that tragedy, told Medlow: Kill him, "Plug him," he said. And Medlow somehow, who had done an awful lot as I say, 200 bullets, couldn't do it so Calley ran up as everybody watched, with his carbine. Officers had a smaller weapon, a rifle, and shot him in the back of the head. The next morning, Medlow stepped on a mine and he had his foot blown off. He was being medevac'd out. As he was being medevac'd out, he cursed and everybody remembered, one of the chilling lines, he said, "God has punished me, and he's going to punish you, too."

So a year-and-a-half later, I'm doing this story. And I hear about Medlow. I called his mother up. He lived in New Goshen, Indiana. I said, "I'm coming to see you. I don't remember where I was, I think it was Washington State. I flew over there and to get there, you had to go to ­ I think Indianapolis and then to Terre Haute, rent a car and drive down into the Southern Indiana, this little farm. It was a scene out of Norman Rockwell's. Some of you remember the Norman Rockwell paintings. It's a chicken farm. The mother is 50, but she looks 80. Gristled, old. Way old ­ hard scrabble life, no man around. I said I'm here to see your son, and she said, okay. He's in there. He knows you're coming. Then she said, one of these great - she said to me, "I gave them a good boy. And they sent me back a murderer." So you go on 35 years. I'm doing in The New Yorker, the Abu Ghraib stories. I think I did three in three weeks. If some of you know about The New Yorker, that's unbelievable. But in the middle of all of this, I get a call from a mother in the East coast, Northeast, working class, lower middle class, very religious, Catholic family. She said, I have to talk to you. I go see her. I drive somewhere, fly somewhere, and her story is simply this. She had a daughter that was in the military police unit that was at Abu Ghraib. And the whole unit had come back in March, of - The sequence is: they get there in the fall of 2003. Their reported after doing their games in the January of 2004. In March she is sent home. Nothing is public yet. The daughter is sent home. The whole unit is sent home. She comes home a different person. She had been married. She was young. She went into the Reserves, I think it was the Army Reserves to get money, not for college or for - you know, these - some of these people worked as night clerks in pizza shops in West Virginia. This not - this is not very sophisticated. She came back and she left her husband. She just had been married before. She left her husband, moved out of the house, moved out of the city, moved out to another home, another apartment in another city and began working a different job. And moved away from everybody. Then over - as the spring went on, she would go every weekend, this daughter, and every weekend she would go to a tattoo shop and get large black tattoos put on her, over increasingly - over her body, the back, the arms, the legs, and her mother was frantic. What's going on? Comes Abu Ghraib, and she reads the stories, and she sees it. And she says to her daughter, "Were you there?" She goes to the apartment. The daughter slams the door. The mother then goes - the daughter had come home - before she had gone to Iraq, the mother had given her a portable computer. One of the computers that had a DVD in it, with the idea being that when she was there, she could watch movies, you know, while she was overseas, sort of a - I hadn't thought about it, a great idea. Turns out a lot of people do it. She had given her a portable computer, and when the kid came back she had returned it, one of the things, and the mother then said I went and looked at the computer. She knows - she doesn't know about depression. She doesn't know about Freud. She just said, I was just - I was just going to clean it up, she said. I had decided to use it again. She wouldn't say anything more why she went to look at it after Abu Ghraib. She opened it up, and sure enough there was a file marked "Iraq". She hit the button. Out came 100 photographs. They were photographs that became - one of them was published. We published one, just one in The New Yorker. It was about an Arab. This is something no mother should see and daughter should see too. It was the Arab man leaning against bars, the prisoner naked, two dogs, two shepherds, remember, on each side of him. The New Yorker published it, a pretty large photograph. What we didn't publish was the sequence showed the dogs did bite the man - pretty hard. A lot of blood. So she saw that and she called me, and away we go.


I know that some people can probably handle that sort of thing but what kind of circus freaks are the military growing over there and what will happen when they come back to plod along with the sheep?

A good lot of them will come physically and psychically scarred...circus freaks they are not.

Neil Mick
09-27-2005, 08:42 PM
are yuo guys anti war people.????

Why is this important? Is it necessary to find labels to more easily dismiss (or accept) their ideas?

Kevin Leavitt
09-28-2005, 01:39 PM
So what sort of people will be returning after their tour of duty is over in Iraq? Can you torture/abuse people freely, be rewarded for it and then come back and be normal? I know that some people can probably handle that sort of thing but what kind of circus freaks are the military growing over there and what will happen when they come back to plod along with the sheep?


Certainly anybody that is exposed to violence of this type is affected for the rest of their life, what they choose to do with what they see and learn once they return is what matters.

Certainly their are people that make bad decisions and choices that violate ethics, morality, and the laws. In my 20 years in the military I have never been asked to do anything that is unlawful or immoral nor have I asked any of my subordinates to.

I have prosecuted under UCMJ, or had several soldiers removed from the military for doing so. Believe it or not, we do have a strict code of honor and law that 99% of us follow and hold sacred.

In the heat of battle and in times of trial and tribulation, some people will choose to make wrong decisions and yes some get away with them.

Not dismissing the actions of those that do horrendus or unlawful actions, but I believe you will find them the exception. If it were the norm you'd see huge morale problems and people by the thousands literally deserting.

The military is not growing circus freaks nor openly rewarding them. Things are not quite as simple as that.

Mashu
09-28-2005, 04:01 PM
I'd like to believe what you wrote but the stories of prisoner abuse, the many photos of soldiers posing with dead insurgents and their body parts, and all the other weirdness that keeps appearing makes it hard to believe that it's just a few bad apples here and there.

Neil Mick
09-28-2005, 04:30 PM
I'd like to believe what you wrote but the stories of prisoner abuse, the many photos of soldiers posing with dead insurgents and their body parts, and all the other weirdness that keeps appearing makes it hard to believe that it's just a few bad apples here and there.

I'd have to agree. There is documented evidence suggesting a chain-of-command decison to "remove the velvet gloves."

Yes, the rot is more inclusive than a "few bad apples."

dan guthrie
09-28-2005, 05:33 PM
Certainly anybody that is exposed to violence of this type is affected for the rest of their life, what they choose to do with what they see and learn once they return is what matters.

Certainly their are people that make bad decisions and choices that violate ethics, morality, and the laws. In my 20 years in the military I have never been asked to do anything that is unlawful or immoral nor have I asked any of my subordinates to.

I have prosecuted under UCMJ, or had several soldiers removed from the military for doing so. Believe it or not, we do have a strict code of honor and law that 99% of us follow and hold sacred.

In the heat of battle and in times of trial and tribulation, some people will choose to make wrong decisions and yes some get away with them.

Not dismissing the actions of those that do horrendus or unlawful actions, but I believe you will find them the exception. If it were the norm you'd see huge morale problems and people by the thousands literally deserting.

The military is not growing circus freaks nor openly rewarding them. Things are not quite as simple as that.


I was only in the Air Force for six years but this squares with my service. I know of several people who were punished for being five minutes late to work. My supervisor at Minot was given a 6 month probation for calling one female subordinate "babe." I only know of one person who was ever found innocent in a court martial, and he was prosecuted for claiming $200 worth of clothes stolen on a plane flight.
The last tally I heard for these and other associated acts of torture was around 10 courts martial, not counting Lynde England and her boyfriend. Does anyone have a more up to date number?


Edit: I just remembered another innocent court martial: rather sordid rape/wife-swapping kind of affair ( you don't want to know any more). One was convicted one was set free. Did you know infidelity is punishable under the UCMJ?

Hogan
09-29-2005, 08:17 AM
... Did you know infidelity is punishable under the UCMJ?

Too bad the Commander in Chief is exempt.

mj
09-29-2005, 05:02 PM
In the heat of battle and in times of trial and tribulation, some people will choose to make wrong decisions and yes some get away with them...
As to your first point I agree, however torture is not done in the heat of battle.

As to your second point about about people getting away with it, one has to ask if your feeling is peculiar only to your own country, or do you think that Uzbekistan torturers, Pakistan torturers, Nazi torturers, Chinese Torturers and ...oh let's say Japanese torturers...

...do you think that they also should get the benefit of the doubt, after all it's trial and tribulation for them too?

I hope that doesn't sound too strong Kevin, you are asking for a lot from your post though. It's alright for you, they are all in your army. It's not as easy for people who have always been against torture. As opposed to those who are only sometimes against it ;)

Well the judge has said they should be released but the govt has 20 days to appeal.

Mashu
09-29-2005, 05:35 PM
I was only in the Air Force for six years but this squares with my service. I know of several people who were punished for being five minutes late to work. My supervisor at Minot was given a 6 month probation for calling one female subordinate "babe." I only know of one person who was ever found innocent in a court martial, and he was prosecuted for claiming $200 worth of clothes stolen on a plane flight.
The last tally I heard for these and other associated acts of torture was around 10 courts martial, not counting Lynde England and her boyfriend. Does anyone have a more up to date number?


Edit: I just remembered another innocent court martial: rather sordid rape/wife-swapping kind of affair ( you don't want to know any more). One was convicted one was set free. Did you know infidelity is punishable under the UCMJ?

Even the military organizations with the worst records of war crimes had strict discipline and harshly punished their soldiers for things that would be considered trivial. I fail to see your point.

Neil Mick
09-29-2005, 06:28 PM
What I fail to understand from the "few bad apples" argument is, what about this lifting of Geneva Conventions restrictions at Gitmo?

And, consider this latest bit of public sensitivity that some of Our Boys are displaying, to the Iraqi's:

War Pornography
US soldiers trade grisly photos of dead and mutilated Iraqis for access to amateur porn. The press is strangely silent. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/2005-09-21/news/news.html)

Soldiers Posted Photographs of Iraqi Corpses on Web
The Army is investigating complaints that soldiers posted photographs of Iraqi corpses on an Internet site in exchange for access to pornographic images on the site. Many of the photos depict dismembered Iraqi corpses and body parts. Some also were submitted by soldiers in Afghanistan.

I know: this truly IS representative of a few bad apples. But, why is the press not covering this?

And, it's not just the overt use of torture that's disturbing of soldier's behavior, either.

What about their less-than-courteous treatment, of the media? Consider: (http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/09/29/1348204)

Reuters Protests 'Long Parade' of Media Deaths in Iraq
The Reuters News Agency says the conduct of U.S. troops in Iraq, including increasing detention and accidental shootings of journalists, is preventing full coverage of the war from reaching the American public. In a letter to Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Reuters said U.S. forces were limiting the ability of independent journalists to operate. The letter from the agency's Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger called on Warner to raise these issues with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee on Thursday. Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq." At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed in Iraq since March 2003. U.S. forces acknowledge killing three Reuters journalists, most recently soundman Waleed Khaled who was shot by American soldiers on Aug. 28 while on assignment in Baghdad. The Pentagon says the soldiers were justified in opening fire. Reuters believes a fourth Reuters journalist, who died in Ramadi last year, was killed by a U.S. sniper. Schlesinger said the Pentagon has refused to conduct independent and transparent investigations into the deaths of the journalists, relying instead on inquiries by officers from the units responsible, who had exonerated their soldiers.

dan guthrie
09-30-2005, 12:51 AM
Even the military organizations with the worst records of war crimes had strict discipline and harshly punished their soldiers for things that would be considered trivial. I fail to see your point.

I'm just skeptical, that's all. The military people I knew were, on average, smarter, more honest, less bigoted, funnier, more polite, tougher and harder working than the average civilian. From what I know about the army you can double up on the "tougher than" and remove some of the "smarter than" :D .
I don't doubt that torture has occurred in military-run prisons. I hope the torturers are stopped, prosecuted and punished.


OTOH: What Neil Mick says about grotesque photos and winging a few rounds toward journalists . . . I'm not so skeptical. I knew guys in the Air Force who might do stupid crap like that and get away with it.

Kevin Leavitt
09-30-2005, 01:32 PM
No doubt they did and will Dan. (fire shots at media). In fact one of my soldiers about ran me off the road today on the way home from work. He will pay for it on Monday!

Point is, people will do things that are not right. I cannot speak for the situations that Neil and others site above for I do not have the information or understand the situation enough to argue either way. Nor is it my place to do so.

I can only speak from what I have witnessed in my own experiences as limited as they may be and say people choose to do wrong things. It may go up several echelons, it may be a individual act.


I have not seen nor have I or any of my soliders ever been told to do such things, if they were then I'd fall on my sword to protect them and the law that I am sworn to obey and up hold. No one has ever asked me to do otherwise.

mj
09-30-2005, 10:53 PM
Kevin...apart from the mea culpas...do you expressly condemn torture by any person?

Do you swear by your heart to fight against those who would torture?

Do you call torturers the enemy?

This is not a call out thread so I am not challenging you. this is a thread on torture.

Do you utterly condemn torture and torturers, do you stand up to fight against them?

Do you say no or yes?

Kevin Leavitt
10-01-2005, 11:36 AM
Mark, I would think the answers to those questions would be obvious. May be not.

Of course I don't support torture or suffering by any stretch of the imagination.

What do you mean by standing up and fighting against them?

I think "fighting" is a very complex issue. We all fight or are involved in fighting in many ways, some more direct than others. Each has their own way of doing so.

My point, which I suppose I am not doing a very good job of vocalizing, is that the reasons for torture and suffering are very complex. Also, they are not right, and are not condoned by many (most) in the military. Our code of justice and the Geneva Convention does not allow for it, and I believe, and hope that those that are responsible for such action are brought to justice.

Did I miss something?

makuchg
12-21-2005, 09:54 AM
I've been away for a bit, but I think I'll chime in on this. First, torture is a complex term because no one agrees on what is torture. For example, death penalty opponents argue the use of the death penalty constitutes torture. As for the argument at hand, does the US torture prisoners? I think we would be living in a world wearing rose colored glasses if we didn't think some US soldiers and civilian acting on behalf of the US tortured prisoners. As sad as it is, I believe this is more linked to a feeling of inadequacy than commitment to "getting the information." Fact is torture rarely gets reliable information and interrogations alone rarely provide a comprehensive intelligence picture. To get a complete intelligence picture multiple sources including human sources, interrogations, satellites, etc are used to confirm or deny information. Relying on one source is extremely unreliable. Additionally the information gained through torture is often unreliable because the torturee will say whatever they need to so the pain will stop.

So physical torture is not an effective tool for interrogations, but can be an outlet of frustration for months of heavy fighting and casualties suffered by combat stressed men and women. You see it in police departments also. Abuse is used as retribution for crimes which are often perceived as going unpunished. When we look at the torturers in question, these are not skilled interrogators, they are other combatants taking matters into their own hands. I have worked beside some of the most skilled interrogators in the US military. These men and women operated JIDCs (Joint Interrogations and Debriefings Centers) in Iraq and Afghanistan and did not use torture to elicit information. Interrogations is not about one session but developing a continued flow of reliable information.

Here is a pretty balanced report: http://www.fcnl.org/civil_liberties/torture.htm

Now the bad apple theory. Sorry I don't buy it. The "above reproach" military is a myth. The comments by Dan are off the mark. The military is a micro-society and the problems in society are mirrored in the military. If anything I find a less educated, more racist, clearer defined class system existing in today's military. Gangs, violence, domestic abuse, theft, drugs, etc-they all exist on military installations and are often the cause of these occurrences in cities that house military bases.

The reality of torture is people torture because they can, not because they need to.

Joe Bowen
12-21-2005, 11:49 PM
"There, but for the grace of God, go I"

I agree with Gregory, torture is not acceptable, and when used rarely brings about reliable information. His assertion that torture and prisoner abuse typically results from a feeling of inadequacy or powerlessness seems about right.

Study of soldiers' actions in war would indicate that torture and abuse are more prevalent in conflicts where there are insurgent activities than in more conventional conflicts.

When soldiers cannot find the enemy, they seek other methods to exact retribution for watching their fellow soldiers (or brothers if you will) die. The motivation for soldiers in combat is not typically some ideological goal, or nationalistic fervor. It is more the love and compassion they have for their fellow soldiers. Heroic deeds by soldiers in combat are not done in the name of the motherland, or to defend democracy, they are done to protect, and save the lives of those around them. SGT York in WWI was awarded the Medal of Honor for taking out several German Machine gun nests and single handedly capturing 20-30 Germans, not because he felt the war was just (he initially tried to avoid service by claiming conscience objector status and was denied), but because his guys were pinned down and were in danger of being killed.

Torture, misguided though it is, stems from this same desire. Those "circus freaks" that the Army is "growing" over there, are you're normal everyday people put into a very abnormal situation, and they are trying to cope as best they can. The example of Calley at My Lai is a good example of this at its extreme.

The link that Gregory posted is very good and interesting. It mentions the question of the "ticking time-bomb" scenario, which is a good moral and ethical Koan for us to ponder as we sit back and pass judgment on the soldiers acting in our name in Iraq.

If you captured a person who knows where and when a bomb will explode that will kill all of your family (mother, wife, children or whomever you love most), to what extent would you be willing to go in order to get that person to tell you the information you require to save their lives? Would saving the lives of the people you care about most in the world and rely upon for your own life justify causing physical or mental discomfort to the person who knows when and where their lives will be taken? Would it justify causing extreme pain and mental anguish?

Most of us have the luxury of never being in a situation that calls us to ask this question, and hopefully, we never will have to ask this question. But, this is the dilemma that those soldiers face.

So, before we pass judgment on them, who are probably more like us than we would want to believe, think, "There but for the grace of god....."

This is not a justification of torture, nor a rationalization of it. The article cites the time-bomb scenario example of when torture might be likely to occur and states there was an attempt to establish a precedent allowing for this type of situation to justify extracting information through torture. Thankfully, it did not pass. Those that conduct torture even when the end use of the knowledge gained accomplishes some good must still face the lawful consequences of their actions.

joe

James Davis
12-22-2005, 11:33 AM
Nice post, Joe. ;)

Too often, people that we can't see or don't know are treated differently because they aren't close to us. :(

aikigirl10
12-22-2005, 01:50 PM
are yuo guys anti war people.????

Listen to these guys go on long enough and u'll find out. The down side is that u have to listen to them.

James Davis
12-22-2005, 04:36 PM
Listen to these guys go on long enough and u'll find out. The down side is that u have to listen to them.
Oh my! :eek:

What a mean thing to say! :(



(Nice one. ;) )

mj
12-24-2005, 10:13 AM
Listen to these guys go on long enough and u'll find out. The down side is that u have to listen to them.
Imagine if you'd listened to us in the first place?

Then you would have been right, too :)

aikigirl10
12-24-2005, 12:16 PM
Haha.. i was waiting around to see if Neil Mick was going to give me some sort of ... erm... witty response.. crap.

lol j/k

*Paige :p

makuchg
12-26-2005, 07:36 AM
Why participate in a discussion you seem to have no idea about or only want to ridicule the people who are intelligently contributing?

As for the anti-war question, I know I am!

aikigirl10
12-26-2005, 10:34 AM
Why participate in a discussion you seem to have no idea about or only want to ridicule the people who are intelligently contributing?


Geez... SORRY Its called a joke i dont know if u've heard of it.
I knew there'd be that one person...

But...my mistake i'll look next time to make sure ur not on the thread first.

*Paige :crazy:

Lorien Lowe
12-26-2005, 12:49 PM
If you captured a person who knows where and when a bomb will explode that will kill all of your family (mother, wife, children or whomever you love most), to what extent would you be willing to go in order to get that person to tell you the information you require to save their lives? Would saving the lives of the people you care about most in the world and rely upon for your own life justify [torture]?

It's very important to recognize some of the assumptions here.

1)The person you have captured really does have the information you need. Presumably, you don't have time to give him/her a trial and allow evidence to be presented in his/her defence, so we have to give the interrogaters the benefit of the doubt on this one.

2)Torture really will gain the accurate information that you need in a short enough time to stop the bomb. This assumes that the prisoner will break very quickly, and that the prisoner will not attempt to give the interrogaters a plausible lie. I heard once that only 5% of American war prisoners (some held for years) in either Korea or Japan broke under torture, but I don't know how accurate that is.

3)You have a torturer who knows how to successfully torture. Torture is not a 'skill' that arises spontaneously. Some people cannot committ torture at all; others will become uncontrollable and kill or damage prisoners before they can talk. Furthermore, the techniques of successfull, accurate torture (if it exists) are probably something of an art. For the time-bomb information to be extracted quickly and accurately, there has to have been an institution of torture already in place where the torturer learned his or her trade.

-L

Neil Mick
12-26-2005, 03:59 PM
I've been lurking in the background here, and I thought I'd chime in. Some very good points have been brought up in this thread. Gregory makes the point that torture and its application is not well-defined.

But, a lot of the discussion seems bent toward whether this or that case merits torture, which IMO seems a little off. If torture is so ill-defined: shouldn't we be setting about defining it, ASAP?

From the original article:

One sergeant told Human Rights Watch: “Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport… One day [a sergeant] shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy’s leg with a mini Louisville Slugger, a metal bat.”

The officer who spoke to Human Rights Watch made persistent efforts over 17 months to raise concerns about detainee abuse with his chain of command and to obtain clearer rules on the proper treatment of detainees, but was consistently told to ignore abuses and to “consider your career.” He believes he was not taken seriously until he approached members of Congress to raise his concerns. When the officer made an appointment this month with Senate staff members of Senators John McCain and John Warner, he says his commanding officer denied him a pass to leave his base. The officer was interviewed several days later by investigators with the Army Criminal Investigative Division and Inspector General’s office, and there were reports that the military has launched a formal investigation. Repeated efforts by Human Rights Watch to contact the 82nd Airborne Division regarding the major allegations in the report received no response.

So, what we have are the usual efforts to stonewall proper investigation and a clear sense of oversight. The article also makes clear (as have sources elsewhere) that the soldiers are not being given a clear understanding of the applications of the Geneva Conventions. This seems to be the major problem...making a clear definition of policy.

But, Our Beloved Leaders seem less interested in addressing the problem, than they are in engaging in damage-control and media sound-biting.

Joe Bowen
12-26-2005, 09:11 PM
It's very important to recognize some of the assumptions here.
1) The person you have captured really does have the information you need. Presumably, you don't have time to give him/her a trial and allow evidence to be presented in his/her defense, so we have to give the interrogators the benefit of the doubt on this one.
2) Torture really will gain the accurate information that you need in a short enough time to stop the bomb. This assumes that the prisoner will break very quickly, and that the prisoner will not attempt to give the interrogators a plausible lie. I heard once that only 5% of American war prisoners (some held for years) in either Korea or Japan broke under torture, but I don't know how accurate that is.
3) You have a torturer who knows how to successfully torture. Torture is not a 'skill' that arises spontaneously. Some people cannot commit torture at all; others will become uncontrollable and kill or damage prisoners before they can talk. Furthermore, the techniques of successful, accurate torture (if it exists) are probably something of an art. For the time-bomb information to be extracted quickly and accurately, there has to have been an institution of torture already in place where the torturer learned his or her trade.-L

All good points Lorien, but you miss the beauty of the Koan. It presupposes none of this. Part of the ethical dilemma that torture (and for the purpose of this discussion, let's define "torture" as the infliction of physical and mental pain, anguish and discomfort for the express purpose of eliciting information) presents is that you really don't know what the tortured person knows or doesn't know. You might have the wrong person, but the only way to find out is to try to get the information you need. Is it ok to become a monster to kill a monster? Even if you got the wrong guy, by eliminating him from the list (even if we violated his civil liberties and possibly cost him is life) we're one step closer to the "real" bad guy.

Neil Mick
12-26-2005, 10:21 PM
Is it ok to become a monster to kill a monster?

Doesn't even pondering the question, change the definition of "ok?"

Even if you got the wrong guy, by eliminating him from the list (even if we violated his civil liberties and possibly cost him is life) we're one step closer to the "real" bad guy.

Unless, of course: you were on the wrong track, in the first place.

mj
12-27-2005, 12:12 PM
The assumption being, of course, that you are torturing another 'bad guy'.

You are torturing one 'bad guy' to stop another 'bad guy' doing 'something bad'. Utter nonsense of course.

Because you have already crossed the line, you are now a torturer so any excuse you use is merely that - an excuse.

Let's put it more simply...isn't it true that the US is only torturing non-white foreign people? I seem to recall anal rape of young boys being acceptable in the (aikiweb loved) abu graib, civilian 'contractors' in charge of a so-called military prison. I'd call that torture. Of course he wasn't white and he wasn't from the US, so no worries there.

The US is currently running Gulags around the world. Something else they can no doubt justify by screaming about 'democracy'.

The sleekitness of the way it is being done, however, infers much more than happenstance. It's cultural.

Joe Bowen
12-27-2005, 07:07 PM
Doesn't even pondering the question, change the definition of "ok?"

I don't see how pondering an ethical dilemma would change the definition of "ok". Unless you are choosing to see my "ethical Koan" as some type of justification or rationalization of the torturing of prisoners. If that is the case, you should go back and reread the posts with a more open mind.

Neil Mick
12-28-2005, 05:31 AM
I don't see how pondering an ethical dilemma would change the definition of "ok". Unless you are choosing to see my "ethical Koan" as some type of justification or rationalization of the torturing of prisoners. If that is the case, you should go back and reread the posts with a more open mind.

You see? You had me, until the last sentence.

Why should I apply an open mind, when you aren't extending the same courtesy?

The second you start pondering the ethics of doing something monstrous is the second your overall societal morals drop.

The often-used ticking bomb scenario to justify torture is an extreme case, that will never manifest (I like the reference to it being a koan, btw. Nice imagery).

But, the trouble is, it's more than just a koan.

It's a rationale. Perhaps not meant by you: but I have argued with ppl using this metaphor as a rationale.

And that's why I answered your koan, with a koan. :cool:

James Davis
12-28-2005, 11:38 AM
Why should I apply an open mind, when you aren't extending the same courtesy?

It's not so much a courtesy as a way to see something you might have missed. It's for your benefit. :)

Let us all hope that the "ticking timebomb" scenario doesn't manifest itself. They seldom do in the present. The trouble is that, hindsight being 20/20, we realize who's done something horrible and see that if we'd just grilled them enough we might have saved innocent lives. When we fail to get the information we need and something terrible happens, monday morning quarterbacks come out of the woodwork pointing out every mistake that was made!

Meanwhile, any attempt made to keep the same from happening again is stifled and viewed with contempt.

I'm not saying that torture is okay. War sucks. Bad. I want everybody to come home. Should we abandon Iraq? I don't think so. When we capture a member of a terrorist cell, should we try to reason with them about an attack that's about to take place? Should we talk quietly with them about the defenseless people that they intend to kill? :confused:

Becoming a monster to kill a monster is unacceptable.

Attempting to assign our moral code to terrorists will end in failure.

Why is the U.S.A. in Iraq? Why were we there before? Why do we have to stick our noses into the problems of the world?

U.N. resolutions, when not enforced, mean nothing.

The U.N. must be busy bullying a slum in Haiti. :rolleyes:

Or maybe stealing food from the mouths of Iraqi kids through the "Oil For Food" program. :disgust:

Neil Mick
12-28-2005, 04:46 PM
Becoming a monster to kill a monster is unacceptable.

Attempting to assign our moral code to terrorists will end in failure.

Why is the U.S.A. in Iraq? Why were we there before? Why do we have to stick our noses into the problems of the world?

At this point, we seem to be the biggest problem in the world.

Or maybe stealing food from the mouths of Iraqi kids through the "Oil For Food" program. :disgust:

Yeah, when the IMF isn't sticking it to some 3rd World country, mandating privatized programs while piling on huge, crushing debts.

Ahh, globalism: isn't it what makes this oiligarchy great?

Lorien Lowe
12-29-2005, 06:48 PM
Even if you got the wrong guy, by eliminating him from the list (even if we violated his civil liberties and possibly cost him is life) we're one step closer to the "real" bad guy.
If you have time to move from one guy to another, then the issue wasn't that urgent in the first place. Or maybe the interrogator just drags in everybody at once, tortures them all, and hopes that they get a good answer from one of them?

Of course, that requires more skilled torturers.

-L

Joe Bowen
01-03-2006, 01:58 AM
You see? You had me, until the last sentence. Why should I apply an open mind, when you aren't extending the same courtesy?

You almost lost me with your first sentence.... :D Your logic is flawed on this one. If I'm not extending you the courtesy of an open mind, why should that affect your open mind? This is similar to the logic used to justify not applying the Geneva Convention standards to our POWs in Iraq or Afghanistan; if they won't apply that standard to their prisoners (who are routinely beheaded) why should we apply it to ours?

The second you start pondering the ethics of doing something monstrous is the second your overall societal morals drop.

Still disagree with this statement. In order to evaluate our "ethics" and the practice of our ethical standards requires that we ponder the application of those standards in various situations to include the most extreme. The question is whether or not the standard remains unchanged, but it does not presuppose a drop in the standard. Just because I ponder whether or not I'd be willing to torture someone to save my wife's life does not mean that I am willing to do so tomorrow.

The often-used ticking bomb scenario to justify torture is an extreme case, (I like the reference to it being a koan, btw. Nice imagery). But, the trouble is, it's more than just a koan. It's a rationale. Perhaps not meant by you: but I have argued with ppl using this metaphor as a rationale.

One man's Koan is another man's rationale... ;) Anything can be used or exploited to justify the ends that we hope to achieve. But, the question of the ends justifying the means still remains, and in addition, we still have to agree on what exactly the ends are......

And that's why I answered your koan, with a koan. :cool:

Clever, answer a Koan with a Koan, that'll get you a slap from the head abbot at the Zen Monastery.... :D

Becoming a monster to kill a monster is unacceptable. Attempting to assign our moral code to terrorists will end in failure.

Correct. Our mores and ethical standard we must bear thru the pain it may bring. We cannot impose it upon others, but perhaps we can convince them by maintaining our ideals that there is a way to be emulated. This is not an easy road, and requires us to give up much that as a nation we may not be willing to do. This would bring us full circle to pondering our standards again, and weighing them against the ends we hope to accomplish.
In the end of course, we ourselves have a difficulty in agreeing and assigning the best way to achieve our ends. What are our ends? Can we even agree on those? Were they even designated in the beginning? Can the mores and ethical standards of a single individual supersede the "Rule of Law" in our society? Or is the "Rule of Law" based on a commonality of the mores and ethical standards? I would like to believe the later, but it is still open for debate.

As we are a world full of flawed individuals, we are doomed to live in a world rife with flawed politics.... :crazy:

joe

Neil Mick
01-03-2006, 04:29 PM
You almost lost me with your first sentence.... :D Your logic is flawed on this one. If I'm not extending you the courtesy of an open mind, why should that affect your open mind?

It helps, in the exchange of ideas: for all participants to attempt an open mind. When one side "hardens" his position: the other is "drawn" to follow suit.

Much like Aikido practice.

This is similar to the logic used to justify not applying the Geneva Convention standards to our POWs in Iraq or Afghanistan; if they won't apply that standard to their prisoners (who are routinely beheaded) why should we apply it to ours?

A disagreement and inflexible stance, doth not a desire to behead, make. But, moving right along...

Still disagree with this statement. In order to evaluate our "ethics" and the practice of our ethical standards requires that we ponder the application of those standards in various situations to include the most extreme. The question is whether or not the standard remains unchanged, but it does not presuppose a drop in the standard.

Sorry, but empirical evidence proves you wrong. This is not simply a philosophical question: it is also a rationale. It may not be the way you intend, but ppl often use this "ticking bomb" scenario as a rationale to relax our moral standards.

Try googling "Ticking bomb" to see what I mean (I particularly enjoyed this article (http://www.slate.com/id/2132195/#ContinueArticle)).

Just because I ponder whether or not I'd be willing to torture someone to save my wife's life does not mean that I am willing to do so tomorrow.

But, you see: your country already IS torturing. This is already happening.

Here, take an example. Suppose we started a thread on forced extradition of all lawbreakers, as a means to fight crime.

Suppose we used the metaphor of a project as a powderkeg with the wrongful perps as matches being tossed into the armory. There's no harm in pondering this because this country doesn't deport criminals.

However, suppose Bush passed a law that did, in fact: use deportation to fight crime. Well, in that case: any discussions of deportation under that context IS either a rationale for, against, or as an alternative to deportation, because that is the reality, on the ground.

Context is everything, Joe.

One man's Koan is another man's rationale... ;)

Exactly. And your koan IS being used as a rationale. And for that reason, we should consider both aspects.

Anything can be used or exploited to justify the ends that we hope to achieve. But, the question of the ends justifying the means still remains, and in addition, we still have to agree on what exactly the ends are......

The ends NEVER justify the means. Otherwise, the rationale's of all mass-murdering dictators still in power, must be true. After all, they're "preserving the peace," aren't they?

Clever, answer a Koan with a Koan, that'll get you a slap from the head abbot at the Zen Monastery.... :D

Lucky I'm not in a Zen monastary. Now, if he tried to grab my wrist... :p

makuchg
01-03-2006, 08:48 PM
The ends NEVER justify the means. Otherwise, the rationale's of all mass-murdering dictators still in power, must be true. After all, they're "preserving the peace," aren't they?


Funny Neil, I believe this is the whole premise behind our judicial system. The ends NEVER justify the means. That is why evidence, even though it is implicating is thrown out if the means to obtain it is flawed. I think our whole government needs to take a step back and examine just how far and at what cost we are willing to go to accomplish Bush's "agenda." :hypno:

Neil Mick
01-04-2006, 12:48 PM
Funny Neil, I believe this is the whole premise behind our judicial system. The ends NEVER justify the means. That is why evidence, even though it is implicating is thrown out if the means to obtain it is flawed.

Yes, exactly.

I think our whole government needs to take a step back and examine just how far and at what cost we are willing to go to accomplish Bush's "agenda." :hypno:

+1

Joe Bowen
01-05-2006, 02:40 AM
Let me start, Neil, by saying that is perhaps the best post of yours that I have read, very well articulated, and almost free of personal digs. Well done. ;)

It helps, in the exchange of ideas: for all participants to attempt an open mind. When one side "hardens" his position: the other is "drawn" to follow suit. Much like Aikido practice.

I'm not sure what style of Aikido you practice nor am I aware of you experience level in Aikido, but while I will concede the point that is seems an instinctive response to be "drawn to follow suit" when one person "hardens" their position, we should find that as our Aikido progresses beyond the instinctive, that we may not "follow suit", and may actually soften in response to the "hardening" which will result in more efficient technique. By focusing on our own ideal behavior we can transcend our instinctual "if you harden, I'll harden" response and progress to a plane of mutually beneficial coexistence. By retaining my own flexible mind, I'm able to see your point of view or your energy (since we're referencing Aikido) and potentially redirect or change it without giving up my own. If I harden in response to your hardening, I lose the ability to see your point of view or feel your energy. Aikido is a great place to put this into physical practice as our own bodies provide the perfect feedback through the ability to execute the technique. When we discuss philosophy, politics and or ethics, this becomes much harder to do, since we are so vested in our own positions, we are less likely to be willing to change...Nevertheless, it is engaging to "discuss" things with intelligent people even if you don't agree with their position, provided the discussion remains civil.

A disagreement and inflexible stance, doth not a desire to behead, make. But, moving right along...

Great phrase (nice use of the "ole English"), but I was not inferring that you were more apt to behead folks (except maybe verbally) merely drawing a parallel through the escalation of "hardening" positions as a rationale to becoming uncivilized.

This is not simply a philosophical question: it is also a rationale... Try googling "Ticking bomb" to see what I mean (I particularly enjoyed this article (http://www.slate.com/id/2132195/#ContinueArticle)).

I actually had time to do this and got a whole lot of hits that referenced computer programming as well as torture. The article you suggested was nice though. Well written and thoughtful. I also liked the following article from the same site: "Bush vs. Camus What Albert Camus and the "little-ease" say about U.S. torture policies." By Peter Brooks http://www.slate.com/id/2133669/

But, you see: your country already IS torturing. This is already happening.

It's "Our" country, Neil, "our" country, unless Santa Cruz has ceded from the nation and it hasn't made the news yet.

Here, take an example. Suppose we started a thread on forced extradition of all lawbreakers, as a means to fight crime. Suppose we used the metaphor of a project as a powderkeg with the wrongful perps as matches being tossed into the armory. There's no harm in pondering this because this country doesn't deport criminals. However, suppose Bush passed a law that did, in fact: use deportation to fight crime. Well, in that case: any discussions of deportation under that context ARE either a rationale for, against, or as an alternative to deportation, because that is the reality, on the ground.

Not sure the analogy actually works, since extradition is "the surrender of an alleged criminal usually under the provisions of a treaty or statute by one authority (as a state) to another having jurisdiction to try the charge" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary), and the US has extradition treaties with multiple nations and has actually sued to get criminals back that have fled the US jurisdiction as well as held over criminals that have fled from other nations' jurisdictions. But, I'm not trying to pull apart the gist of your argument.
I personally do not condone torture, nor have I ever had the misfortune of having been in a situation where I had to chose whether to torture someone of not. Like a good number of people on this board, it is only a mental consideration because we are not in a situation anywhere near those in Iraq or Afghanistan nor are we in a position to directly mandate or otherwise affect the policy. Like you said...

Context is everything, Joe.

So, going back to the original context where I posed the Koan in the first place, we might all be a sight closer to the ideal if before we judged the poor folks who happen to find themselves in the precarious situation where they might actually consider the illusory "necessity" of torturing suspected terrorists in order to save the lives of their comrades, and label them as "monsters", we ponder the Koan, put ourselves in their shoes, and wonder.

And your koan IS being used as a rationale. And for that reason, we should consider both aspects.

Not arguing that point, just asking folks to ponder the Koan to plum the depths of their own ethical position. Hopefully the voice of reason in the form of Senator McCain's amendment banning torture means that the common aversion to the practice is being heard and applied.

The ends NEVER justify the means. Otherwise, the rationale's of all mass-murdering dictators still in power, must be true. After all, they're "preserving the peace," aren't they?

I try to stay away from absolute ideological statements like this. Ideally, I agree with you 100%, but...we just never know what trials will appear in our future. I do believe that when all is said and done those responsible for the torture of others need be held accountable for their actions. Proving it in the court of law and the court of US popular opinion will be a difficult thing, but it should be done.

Lucky I'm not in a Zen monastary. Now, if he tried to grab my wrist... :p

You got a smile out of me on this one.... :D

Neil Mick
01-07-2006, 02:21 PM
Let me start, Neil, by saying that is perhaps the best post of yours that I have read, very well articulated, and almost free of personal digs. Well done. ;)

Thank you: I liked your response, as well.

It's "Our" country, Neil, "our" country, unless Santa Cruz has ceded from the nation and it hasn't made the news yet.

Yes, I know it's "our" country (as embarassing as that fact sometimes is: I'd never deny my citizenship). I was using the pronoun "your" to continue on with case of your previous sentence:

Just because I ponder whether or not I would be willing to torture someone to save my wife's life does not mean that I am willing to do so tomorrow.

I personally do not condone torture, nor have I ever had the misfortune of having been in a situation where I had to chose whether to torture someone of not.

No, I didn't think that you did. But, as I mentioned, the "ticking bomb" scenario IS used as a rationale, elsewhere.


So, going back to the original context where I posed the Koan in the first place, we might all be a sight closer to the ideal if before we judged the poor folks who happen to find themselves in the precarious situation where they might actually consider the illusory "necessity" of torturing suspected terrorists in order to save the lives of their comrades, and label them as "monsters", we ponder the Koan, put ourselves in their shoes, and wonder.

But the point is: a koan is not really relative of reality. It is a logical perspective that attempts to short-circuit the logical centers, allowing one to make a deductive leap.

In reality, the ticking bomb scenario would be highly unlikely to ever materialize. And, as some of the google'd articles pointed out: once you go down that slippery slope, it is very, very difficult to return.

But you are right: merely pondering the koan is, in itself: harmless.

Hopefully the voice of reason in the form of Senator McCain's amendment banning torture means that the common aversion to the practice is being heard and applied.

Sadly, I fear that this may not be the case. I have recently heard that Bush's signing statement declared his intention to go around the law, when it suits him. :(

I try to stay away from absolute ideological statements like this. Ideally, I agree with you 100%, but...we just never know what trials will appear in our future.

See, I view torture as an incredibly poor choice of policy, that will create more problems than it solves. Whatever "trials" we encounter in the future would be best approached without torture, IMO.

You got a smile out of me on this one.... :D

Excellent. ;)

Joe Bowen
01-09-2006, 02:36 AM
Funny.., I believe this is the whole premise behind our judicial system. The ends NEVER justify the means. That is why evidence, even though it is implicating is thrown out if the means to obtain it is flawed.

I'm not sure that "ends" justifying "means" is a premise behind our judicial system, but I'm neither a lawyer nor a law-student (although I've watched a lot of Law & Order) ;) . While I agree with the back half of the statement, that has more to do with protecting the rights of the individual against invasive overzealous prosecution than "ends" justifying "means".

In fact, if you take a legal case of self-defense, you have ends justifying means. If we're walking down a dark alley and someone attacks us with the aim of taking our money, and we beat the ever-loving crap out of them with the "end" of protecting our worldly possessions, most courts of law would rule that our "means" were justified. The "end" of defending our own life or loss of limb through the "means" of taking another's life is often times judged in the court of law as "justified" and even in some cases may not even go to a jury or grand-jury in order to make that determination. So, depending upon how we approach the situation, define our "end" and then execute our "means" determines whether or not we are justified.

The idea behind our judicial system, if I remember back to my high school social studies classes, has more to do with a fair and impartial trial by a jury of our peers. In a system like this, matters of extenuation and mitigation have a greater impact in determining guilt or innocence. This is why in the long run historians have the final judgment.


I think our whole government needs to take a step back and examine just how far and at what cost we are willing to go to accomplish Bush's "agenda." :hypno:

No real argument with this statement. We kind of know where we are now, but have no clear goal as to how to get where we want to be. And, in order to reach our goal we need the help and support of not only the Iraqi people, but that of the rest of the Islamic nations as well. I'm not an expert on that region on the world so I will not speak to how we can accomplish the goal. But, I'm open to suggestions....

In reality, the ticking bomb scenario would be highly unlikely to ever materialize.

This is where I believe our past experiences lead us to different conclusions. While in Santa Cruz the ticking time bomb scenario may seem highly unlikely, on the highways and byways of Iraq where most military casualties are caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), it probably seems much more likely to those soldiers that live there.

...merely pondering the koan is, in itself: harmless.

So, I believe that it becomes important that while we sit in our position of relative safety away from the IEDs we can engage in the mental examination of the Koan, and while we do so we can attempt to imagine the situation for those soldiers in Iraq most of whom are not thinking beyond the range of saving the lives of their comrades and their own by trying to dismantle the infrastructure that places these devices into operation.

And, as some of the google'd articles pointed out: once you go down that slippery slope, it is very, very difficult to return. See, I view torture as an incredibly poor choice of policy that will create more problems than it solves. Whatever "trials" we encounter in the future would be best approached without torture, IMO.

I'm not arguing this point. Once we open the door on "legitimate application of torture", there'll be a great abuse of the justifications for it. But to paraphrase a great speech I recently heard freedom is hard. It requires a great deal of hard work and ingenuity in order to maintain our ideal standards that all people are created equal and possess the same fundamental rights. In order to these rights to apply to any set of peoples they must equally be applied to all peoples, whether they are US citizens or not. This in turn mandates that those who would trample the rights of others in any endeavor be called upon to justify both their "means" and their "ends".

Reality however, has a way of short-circuiting our ideal. Often our leaders of nations are forced to precariously balance our ideal with the reality of achieving our ends. I do not envy anyone in those positions as that is among the hardest thing to do....

Neil Mick
01-13-2006, 02:49 PM
This is where I believe our past experiences lead us to different conclusions. While in Santa Cruz the ticking time bomb scenario may seem highly unlikely, on the highways and byways of Iraq where most military casualties are caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), it probably seems much more likely to those soldiers that live there.

I am referring to the basic given's of your koan: "Suppose you had a man detained who knew of a hidden bomb that would kill millions,,,etc" I'm sure that, even over in Iraq/S. Korea/etc, you don't often detain guys who know of such plots; all the while the authorities are aware of them.

In its basic form (detained terrorist/accomplice who knows of a bomb-plot; a bomb that will kill millions; a time-limit; the authorities know all about the plot except where/when; etc) this koan is nearly impossible to manifest...a "one-in-a-million" deal.

So, you have to "fudge" the factors to make the equation. OK, if the bomb WON'T kill millions, what about thousands? And, suppose you're NOT 100% sure that this is the guy who knows all,,,torture, or no? You see? The fact that this koan has little chance of manifesting in its absolute form, creates the slippery slope of justifying torture.

to paraphrase a great speech I recently heard freedom is hard. It requires a great deal of hard work and ingenuity in order to maintain our ideal standards that all people are created equal and possess the same fundamental rights.

Hard work, does not mean that we should consider the wrong work! I was listening to a radio-show yesterday: wherein the guest was pointing out (in response to W's claim that these are "extroadinary times") that ALL gov't's who use torture rationalize it in this way: "these are 'extroadinary times.'"

In order to these rights to apply to any set of peoples they must equally be applied to all peoples, whether they are US citizens or not. This in turn mandates that those who would trample the rights of others in any endeavor be called upon to justify both their "means" and their "ends".

Yes, I think that we agree on several points, of this issue.

Reality however, has a way of short-circuiting our ideal. Often our leaders of nations are forced to precariously balance our ideal with the reality of achieving our ends.

Again: the ends NEVER justify the means. Now, why do I say that? I'm generally not an absolutist (believe it or not). I say this because any other suggestion is to allow apology and determinism to run rampant.

Hussein, for instance, could argue that his horrible tortures and policies were justified, because it kept extremists and daily suicide-bombings out of Iraq. Bush could argue that however many die from this conflict, + $10 TRILLION dollars :eek: , will be justified by a "peaceful, free, democratic" Iraq,,,,as if, all we have to do is follow that tasty little sound-bite-carrot ("free, peaceful, democratic Iraq"), and all will be well, at the end of the road.

No, the ends NEVER "justify" the means. Wrong is wrong, and we are mostly defined by what we do, rather than what rhetoric we offer.

Neil Mick
01-13-2006, 03:27 PM
I missed this example, so:

If we're walking down a dark alley and someone attacks us with the aim of taking our money, and we beat the ever-loving crap out of them with the "end" of protecting our worldly possessions, most courts of law would rule that our "means" were justified. The "end" of defending our own life or loss of limb through the "means" of taking another's life is often times judged in the court of law as "justified" and even in some cases may not even go to a jury or grand-jury in order to make that determination. So, depending upon how we approach the situation, define our "end" and then execute our "means" determines whether or not we are justified.

Again, an extreme example. How do you KNOW that this guy wants to take your money?? OK, let's just call this a "given." Should this mean that ANYONE who attacks us with the "aim of taking our money" in a dark alley should have the "ever-loving crap" beaten out of them?? Children playing; the insane-but-otherwise-harmless-guy? A confidence-man, who doesn't want to physically hurt you, but DEFINITELY wants to trick you...?

You see? Change a few parameters, and the formula of "ends justifying the means," becomes progressively fuzzier.

Mark Freeman
01-14-2006, 10:00 AM
Interesting thread guys, and as far as I can see luckily most people are against the concept of torture, phew!

IMHO the hypocricy demonstrated by the "Regime Changers" is jaw dropping in the extreme. It seems that lying to your own population to justify support for a badly run attempt at imposing democracy by force, and trampling all over your/our own often quoted high ideals, will not go down well in history.

When news of the torture of a 'prisoner of war?'/ victim held in Guantanamo Bay reaches their brothers at home, and the indignation felt moves some of them towards the extremism that perpetrates the terrorist acts against the US. Then surely the act of torture is self defeating, even more so when the justification used to carry out the torture is to prevent acts of terrorism against your own citizens?

I am aware that the official line from the White House is that there is no torture carried out in Guantanamo, but that in itself only makes matters worse in the countries that the 'victims' return to with their own personal stories. We've had a few come home here (UK) and we've had our own home grown terrorist attacks. I'm not saying that there is a direct link, but there could be.

There are men in history that are commonly held in high esteem by people of all faiths/creeds/nationalities etc, I'm thinking of Ghandi and Mandela, they were men of high ideals that lived as best they could by the principles they espoused. Their integrity is intact for eternity. I don't think that George W will be so kindly looked upon.

I hope for the Iraqi people's sake that they can somehow find a path through to some stable form of government (by the people for the people or otherwise ) and I hope that torture is seen by them as an abhorent tool of the past.

I somehow doubt that this will be the case, as the level of animosity felt between the different factions within the countries borders is deep and historically very long. Once the occupying forces have left and the Mullahs start flexing their vocal cords, I think a few indiscretions may slip into the proceedings

As regards torture it has already been suggested the only idealistic but sensible way forward is to have an International agreement to ban all forms of torture, signed up to by all nations. Of course the US must be allowed to disregard this as and when they see fit.

I am optimistic that if enough of us worldwide come to our senses and realise that if we want a peacefull world we must stop electing men who will choose war as an option. If we want a world without torture, we cant use or justify it for any reason. If we want others to do our thinking for us, that is exactly what will happen.

Only my opinion guys and I cannot provide written evidence to back any of it up, but this is a forum and I just felt like putting my 'two penneth' worth in.

....but what about when I apply Nikkyo?? :rolleyes: