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On “Down in the Dungeon with the Torture Trolls (warning: rated J for Japanese graphic violence)

Whatever it takes.

what it takes is that you need to overcome your irrational fear of the enemy. more torture doesn't mean more success. we don't have to take revenge on them in the interrogation room either. we'll win the "war" by not torturing.

"

I admire the earnestness of your go-around with the other commenters but in the end it really comes off as so much blah blah blah yada yada yada. These dialogues should take place just to advance

If you recognize the fact that we are in a war then you must recognize that there is only one operative objective: to win the war. And this necessitates that you do whatever needs to be done in order to win, whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.
Under a state of war it is incumbent upon the militay leadership to assign a higher value to your troops then you do the troops of the enemy. That all men are created equal, while a basic truth, is a non sequitur in times of war. The warrior would dispatch one million enemies for the life of one of his own. Yet your troops are expendable if the objective is important enough.
There has never been any type of battle or war that hasn't seen the most high minded human ideals trampled on the field of battle. And it will be a long, long time before the Marquess of Queensbury rules will be observed in the conflicts of men.

Whatever it takes.

"

hmmm a return to corporal punishment. Sounds like something that would really shake up a few sensibilities. I think I would agree with that “under open democratic oversight “.

Fighton03 on April 24, 2009 at 9:48 PM

I desire society to be as happy as possible. However, there are difficulties we face that are not due to human ignorance and human malice, but due to the face we live in a universe which doesn't correspond to the fantasies of the politically correct moralist. For instance, if we want better medicine we have to do animal research. It's simply ignorant to argue that computer models from the information we have now will do the job--as the smelly anarchist animal rights protesters two blocks from my house tried to tell me yesterday. (I actually respect the fact that they smell. Hygiene is way overrated by mainstream society.)

We live in a complex world and some cruelty and killing is justified. I'm pro-gun, pro-death penalty, pro-abortion, pro-animal research, pro-occasional-torture-of-terrorist because I feel the killing or cruelty is justified. On the other hand, I object to eating pork because pigs are treated so inhumanely. Of course, I'm also a Jew which may bias me here, but I only buy eggs from chickens who are raised cage free, because of animal welfare considerations.

It's useful to consider jointly all the cruelty/killing issues together so that we can have a rational framework for considering each individual issue. This approach gets us out of the impasse of the mindless spewing of denunciations of opposition views.

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Sleep well tonight, secure in the knowledge that your hands will never be soiled because others will do the dirty work on your behalf.

walkingboss on April 24, 2009 at 10:13 PM

I said before...I'm Alyosha.
I neither expect others to be Ivan on my behalf, or judge them if they are.
It is a matter of freewill, and what it means to be human.

"

CK (Sir MacLeod?),

It is The MacLeod, of Clann MacLeod.

"

Somehow the idea of a process is more disturbing to her than a society that would excuse someone going “Jack Bauer” on a detainee.

Fighton03 on April 24, 2009 at 9:54 PM

Yes, because it is normallized. The MaCleod touched on this....torture is awful, horrific....normalizing it, making it banal takes its power.
And this is another thing you don't understand, Highlander..... Saw and Hostel are about revenge. Everyone in the Saw movies deserves what they get because of something they did. In Hostel I beautiful teenagers get what they derserve for being beautiful teenagers. Hostel II is one of the best revenge movies of all time. The neuro-receptors for revenge are co-located in the small neocortical area also responsible for opiate addiction and sexual pleasure.
That is why Americans approve torturing KSM in polls.
Revenge.

"

Wow, a troll thread!

Strangelet must loooove the attention. Now she can brag to her friends about how she fought the good fight against the right wing extremists.

Sleep well tonight, secure in the knowledge that your hands will never be soiled because others will do the dirty work on your behalf.

"

i sort of feel addressed here. i'm not going to make the moral argument anymore, because it's pointless.

the problem with this debate is that it focuses too much on an unlikely, hypothetical, TV show-inspired scenario where you don't have the option to take the time and use traditional methods. i have little doubt that cheney's memos will not reveal anything comparable.

in any other situations, where the information might be extremely important, but not as urgent, the unreliability of what the subjects will say under extreme physical and mental pain - torture - simply outweigh all the associated costs. whatever we learn from the memos, there's little chance they'll conclusively prove that traditional methods would not have been effective.

the more expert or otherwise informed opinions surface, including tonight's BREAKING NEWS according to msnbc, and others, convinces me more and more that EITs were uncalled for, needlessly and irresponsibly applied, often in pursuit of false leads. soon we'll learn much more about this, and i'm afraid that what we're going to find out will be to nobody's liking.

remember the surge. what won us the tactical victory was not just more troops, but also a different approach. iraqis would be treated better, deals would be cut with insurgents and generally the goal was to protect the population. it was successful because finally we began to treat the iraqis as normal human beings - no more hadithas. american commanders began to learn arabic as they spread out to smaller outposts, living among the people, showing a human face. that's how al qaeda lost iraq. nobody mistreated anyone without reprimand under petraeus, wonder why.

whatever you think, for most of the world, and especially the arab world, the interrogation methods and conditions of the our prisoners are seen as torture. and when it's about its implications abroad, that's what matters, so there's no point debating it. and it goes against the entire mindset of the surge, and what really made it work. strategically, it's a grave mistake, it cannot be kept secret for long, and it's incredibly damaging our long-term interests. it's time that we stop giving scumbags around the world legitimate reasons to demonize us. it's time to return to being the shining city on the hill again. (i hope this doesn't remind you of dostoyevsky. he's good but in a different way.)

so let's disabuse ourselves of these sophomoric imaginary scenarios where you're lucky enough to just have somebody in your hands who happens to have the key info to stop some horrible, horrible impending event. i'll send you a self-flagellating postcard if it happens and somebody has to go all jack bauer on the dude to stop the annihilation of manhattan topeka, KS.

as for whether it's torture, CK (Sir MacLeod?), i linked several quotes about the effects of their treatment on some of the prisoners. for example, we've clearly turned padilla into an anthropomorph lettuce, "docile as piece of furniture," according to his guards, over the years. nothing he's ever said can be used at court against anyone because he suffers from extreme PTSD combined with the effects of years of solitary confinement (expert's words, not mine). to every normal person, he shows the signs of having gone through extended periods of severe mental and physical pain.

and the polls you cite - they're meaningless when it's a moral issue. in 1967, 72% of Americans opposed interracial marriage.

also, thanks for exposing my most intemperate comments, bastard ;)

"

strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 9:36 PM

well, I realized that it might seem unfairly to tar you, and I suppose there might have been a more elegant way to have phrased it, but 1) the link goes to the actual comment, 2) and my text goes on to describe sesqui as the writer, 3) on other threads you have, in my opinion, gone on disdain jags among whose objects were undoubtedly (your fellow) gun nuts, and 4) the immediate context was rather figurative - in truth I'm not actually wearing a cup or helmet or steel-toed boots, and my snickersnee is in the other room.

So, ATC, I figgered I could let it stand. Your protest has been noted, and, by the time we put together the jubilee edition, if not sooner, we'll try to come up with something more precise, I guess.

"

Three (3) subjects equals standard operating procedure?

I think not.

hillbillyjim on April 24, 2009 at 9:47 PM

Her whole argument so far is that the US had a documented and approved process by which we determine who would receive serious physical discomfort. Somehow the idea of a process is more disturbing to her than a society that would excuse someone going "Jack Bauer" on a detainee.

"

and your point is?

To be clear, my point is that corporal punishment for many reason including information extraction was accepted by good people in the past. And I’m not saying that we should restrict torture only for the purpose of information extraction. I think we should consider looking the other way when terrorists are tortured–as every single society in the world would have done before 1940.

thuja on April 24, 2009 at 9:30 PM

hmmm a return to corporal punishment. Sounds like something that would really shake up a few sensibilities. I think I would agree with that "under open democratic oversight ".

"

Three (3) subjects equals standard operating procedure?

I think not.

"

Exaggerate much?

hillbillyjim on April 24, 2009 at 9:28 PM

Not usually......release the memos and prove me wrong.
;)

"

under open democratic oversight

exactly.
Release ALL the memos and let the judiciary decide.

"

compulsively expressed disdain for “gun freaks, jesus freaks and pro-life nuts,

Also, I MUST take exception to this.
I'm well armed for a grrl, I own a browning 12 gauge and a ruger pistol.
I learned to shoot skeet when i was 8 and that browning knocked me on my butt everytime.
I would neverever diss anyone for owning a gun.

"

strangelet, what we did when we waterboarded does not compare to what the Japanese did - employ a form of waterboarding in the context of a massive cultural commitment to torture, not just for the sake of extracting information, but for the sake of demonstrating one's own virtues as a warrior, in comparison to captives who by definition were unworthy of respect. This is a canard - like most such based on a half-truth or element of truth - being bandied about.

However, you DO point to one of the main criticisms of the Dershowitze proposal, that the existence of a torture warrant mechanism might regularize the process, desensitizing us to it. We would have to put our hope and faith, as with so many other areas of human life in our society, that an engaged populace through its representatives would continually review and refine the "insitutions" in keeping with its standards of humanity.

Remember, the question isn't "no physical compulsion ever" vs "rare (potentially growing in frequency) physical compulsion," but the latter, under open democratic oversight vs. inconsistent, informal, spasmodically overcompensating, destructive, morally corrosive use of physical compulsion.

"

What you have described is corporal punishment, not designed to elicit any form of information coercion. It is administered after the act as punishment, not prior to an act to coerce compliance.

Fighton03 on April 24, 2009 at 9:16 PM

and your point is?

To be clear, my point is that corporal punishment for many reason including information extraction was accepted by good people in the past. And I'm not saying that we should restrict torture only for the purpose of information extraction. I think we should consider looking the other way when terrorists are tortured--as every single society in the world would have done before 1940.

"

It became SOP with government approved equipment, trained personnel, procedures, protocols, and funding.
Systemic, institutionalized torture.

Exaggerate much?

"

If your objective is to reduce the morall abhorrent incidence of torture

Highlander....I want torture NOT to be banal, NOT to be SOP, NOT to be cluttered with the minutiae of equipment and protocols and definintions and funding.
I want torture NOT to be normative.
For example, we ALREADY defined waterboarding as torture when the Japanese and the NK and the VietCong did it to our soldiers. The Bybee memos redefined it to be NOT-torture so we could make it SOP.

"

F**k tolerance. It way too expensive and way over rated.

Guardian on April 24, 2009 at 7:55 PM

I agree with your sentiment, but I do think we have to be careful about how say this. We need to reassure others that we believe it is awesome to be tolerant of difference that don't injure you. I tell people that I'm a gay Jew and I don't have to tolerate muslims or anyone else who wants to kill me. People understand why my intolerance is appropriate.

"

thuja on April 24, 2009 at 9:11 PM

What you have described is corporal punishment, not designed to elicit any form of information coercion. It is administered after the act as punishment, not prior to an act to coerce compliance.

"

Pardon, but that has nothing to with the topic here.

strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 9:07 PM

The treatment of latrunculi has everything to do with what we are discussing here.

"

I believe that the torture of enemies in war is always option that we should keep on the table and that it is moral to do so. I have arguments to support my belief, but they aren't relevant to my point. My point is that I'm not a despicable person, and that to argue that I'm despicable is to argue that at least 99.9% of all human beings before 1940 were despicable.

Here's one example of the real world of our Founding Fathers from the Lewis and Clark expedition:

On June 29, 1804, Lewis and Clark had two suboridinates punished by torture. Collins received 100 lashes and Hall received 50 lashes. This was because Collins was on guard duty and broke into the supplies and got drunk. Collins invited Hall to drink also.

I think Lewis and Clark were cool, not despicable.

"

donabernathy on April 24, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Pardon, but that has nothing to with the topic here.

"

sorry...that post is a cut and paste from an article by Mackubin Thomas Owens is professor of strategy and force planning at the Naval War College in Newport.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.

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