15 May 2009

Torture: the truth must come out

I haven't said much so far about the issue of torture of detainees under the Bush administration. A lot of internet discussion has focused on whether torture in the abstract can ever be justified, as with "ticking bomb" scenarios (an atom bomb hidden in Manhattan will detonate in an hour, a captured terrorist knows where it is but won't talk, so what do you do, etc.). This is not very enlightening -- for almost any evil, one could imagine a scenario in which a case could be made that it is justified to avoid an even greater evil. I haven't seen a clear answer to the question of whether torture ever actually produced information which prevented a terrorist attack, nor can I comfortably answer "yes" or "no", as some people apparently can, to the question of whether the torture of known terrorists could be justified in such a case. Also, there are serious practical issues to consider: for example, information gained by torture is notoriously inaccurate (Jesse Ventura, who actually experienced waterboarding as part of his Navy SEAL training, recently said that given an hour with Dick Cheney he could get him to confess to the Tate murders).

But the real question here isn't whether torture in the abstract can be justified in this or that hypothetical scenario; it's whether the actual Bush administration did immoral things or not. And on that question, things are a lot clearer.

It's being credibly reported that much of the torture was intended not to get information that might prevent future terrorist attacks, but rather to create "evidence" for (actually non-existent) links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qâ'idah, in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. McClatchy reports here (read this too).

Let me say that again in case it didn't sink in. If these reports are true, the President of the United States had people tortured in order to fabricate a justification for a decision he had made. Not to make America safer from terrorism, but to cover himself.

If this is true, then there are simply no words to describe the depth of depravity involved -- or the harm that has been done to what America is supposed to represent.

We already know enough that there can be no turning back. We cannot simply "move forward" and put this behind us. A problem that everyone knows about never just goes away because people don't talk about it. It festers in the dark and corrupts everything around it. The government must investigate, establish the truth for all to see, and -- if these claims are true -- try those responsible and punish the guilty, including the very highest. Until we do that, it will never be "behind us".


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Wow ... what a scenario! About the atom bomb in Manhattan and you got an hour to try to stop it (make a kick ass movie ... well ... at least to me). But that is a real mind boggler for me, and a sure "tight"and"intense" scenario at that! One hour aint much time guy ....But I dont think the torture would be my first approach or thought, I wouldnt care about the legalities in that particular situation...I would only focus on the situation...and not let popular thought get in the way...or my emotion's...because it is no game. Damn! ...that's a tuff one Bubba! First... I must have an understanding of the suspect's grievance...no matter what I may personally think...and clearly too. And understand how they feel justified. I am not sure of the torture part... especially at first... because I dont want to get the suspect any more boiled... they seem to have this suicidal attitude... kind of a martyrdom thing ... so I feel ...possibly to just come out and torture, especially in such tight timing... the suspect may just get more fired up to resist psychologically and to deprive me of any worthwhile info, and be more gung-ho from the adrenaline to die and suffer, plus I can understand the grievance part, after all... America isnt exactly "saint's" ... but to be frank ... I would try to side with the suspect and try to talk it out, I dont want to get the suspect any more angry in that state of mind... but to just listen for a moment. I am not saying that torture may not be justified... what I am saying is... the timing is tight...and the situation is grave ... I just dont think to start torturing would be the best first reaction. I would go with the way I said above... and try to work out some communication of sort, actually. Maybe I'm wrong ... I dont know, but that's just how I see it.

Thank You Mr.Infidel ... damn good post!

15 May, 2009 05:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The only reason I even mentioned that scenario is to point out that (even though everybody is talking about it) it's irrelevant to the real issue.

15 May, 2009 06:01  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

It's a stupid scenario anyway, since it is well known that the tortured will say whatever they think will get you off their backs, rather than anything that resembles the truth. There's a reason police agencies have rejected the use of torture as an interrogation tactic for about 100 years now.

Someone willing to blow up nine million people probably already has a pack of lies prepared for whatever might come his way.

15 May, 2009 07:08  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Even though as you say Mr.Infidel, that it is irrelevant to this issue, I dont think the scenario is stupid at all, not even slightly. I think it's exactly one of the type's of exercise that should be taken by those who deal with those situation's.Expect the unexpected ... something that I have used as a survival quote, then you wont be too disoriented or just standing "thinking" with yur dick in your hand when your ball's are against the wall. As far as for the other statement of JollyRoger, about law enforcement not using torture, that's silly, and far from reality....torture goes on everyday in this country from law enforcement,especially in the penal institution's, in every manner, from physical from teasing pressure point's, to dangling dope in front of a jonesing hogtied drug addict ... I could go on and on...with this subject, but I'll leave it at that. But one more thing before I go... if you wonder why most of the torture isnt reported... it's just because those who are mostly tortured are the lower class's, and they are damn near born with the mentality that you cant win in any situation, then the law's and proceedures,then the pressure that is to come of it out in the world, or the next time your shook down and temporarily in custody, those who do this can make your existence miserable.That's the reality. This is why I personally despite what the law say's dont like it either, I have seen alot of it first hand.

15 May, 2009 13:55  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

No, it is not silly, or far from reality.... law enforcement has a measurable number of sadists within, but north of Dixie they know how quickly a torture-induced confession will get tossed out of court. I've known, and worked with, a lot of cops, so I'm not wearing any blinders. You shouldn't either. The Bubbas that beat people up don't do it for evidence.

16 May, 2009 00:58  

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