Torture Reactions

The day before Christmas I posted an editorial cartoon which basically asked consideration of whether one would use torture if one could stop a 9/11.

I had one reply from my posting here:

Jared said…

I find it ironic that the United States claims it does not torture, but prosecuted Japanese military personnel for the same methods that they used.

As if the information that they get from detainees is worth anything. Hmmmm…..coercing people who have been locked up for 5 years to find “new information.” It’s moronic to think that any viable information is still in these detainees. Al Qaeda already has changed their tactics and plans, so the people incarcerated are out of the loop.

Never mind the fact that the United States circumvents international law by deeming people captured as supposed terrorists as “enemy combatants,” places them in prison complexes outside of the country (to go around the Geneva Conventions), and then denies them the right to have formal charges placed against them. I mean, I don’t support people who attack our country, but America is not being the beacon of freedom it claims to be.

And as for the editorial, I think that if the US had stayed out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia during Gulf War One we would not have been attacked. Obviously if Christians had some Muslims or pagans establish military bases in their sacred land, they would resort to guerrilla warfare. Better American foreign policy would have prevented 9/11, not treating other human beings as if they were animals.

On Illinois Review, there was more reaction:

Posted by Swimmer

Cute, but in waterboarding they put a towel over your face so the water only gets in your nose if you breath.

Posted by Hascat

Torture doesn’t guarantee results.

Posted by TheReallyRightGuy

If you knew about 9/11 and its victims ahead of time, what more do you need?

Posted by Mark Rhoads

There are many moving targets in this debate. It is complicated and there are not easy answers when U.S. intelligence agents think a prisoner has knowledge that could save innocent lives. No one deserves to be tortured but there is no unilateral constitutional or treaty guarantee for battlefield combatants that they may never be exposed to very aggressive questioning techniques.

  1. As Hascat said, torture doesn’t guarantee results. But sometimes very aggressive interrogation can yield information that can help save US lives.
  2. There are not common definitions about what torture is and there are degrees of mistreatment and interrogation techniques that are much rougher than others.
  3. I hate to see any the U.S. agency responsible for any interrogation technique that could even be described as torture on the margins. But I also have to concede this is a new kind of war where the prisoners of war did not wear uniforms and were not employed directly by any government.
  4. The difference between aggressive interrogation and “torture” is a very subjective one. My biggest concern was the breakdown in the normal chain of command when poorly trained National Guard enlisted people without officer supervision had access to prisoners when they had no business being in the area. The CIA does not belong inside the Army chain of command relating to the supervision of prisoners.
  5. Without come state authority that can guarantee that Americans taken prisoner will not be beheaded ot tortued to death, the U.S. cannot unilaterally treat all battlefield terrorists as they would treaty-protected prisoners of war wearing the uniform of a country. If we say we will never aggressively interrogate a terrorist just so we can feel good about ourselves, we are not doing the job of protecting future victims of terrorism. Start with current rules on prisoners but a new set of rules needs to be carefully thought about and written.

Posted by Pete Speer

Nitty Pick —

“Pease on Earth Good Will Towards Men” is a corruption of the original: Peace on Earth to Men of Good Will” in the Bible.

There is a huge difference.

However that original is now been soft soaped down so the last one is translated now as “…to men on whom God has shown his favor…” whatever the heck that means.
Anyway — to me the purpose of the tactic is what to me defines the difference between interrogation tactics and torture.

The former is related to the extraction of information, for which the interrogator wants the subject to be kept in good condition. The latter, describes a method during which the torturer has no interest in keeping the subject alive — in fact, death may be the desired result.

Anyone up for some serious debate?

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