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Thread: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    You got my quote mostly right; however, I don't agree that you've shown quite what you think you have. People accused of crimes have due process. The have rights. They can appeal. A wrong can even be righted. When we take someone and motor true them, there is no due process, no trial, no conviction, no appeal, no rights. It isn't punishment nor rehabilitation. It is brutality, and often ineffective brutality. Guards who brutalize convicted prisoners in our system break he law and in turn can be punished. When prisoners do so o other prisoners, they too can and should be held accountable. The behavior is defended by the system or those who govern prisons, not openly. And good people can take legal action. None if that describes what we have done with torture. Even in the face of learning we tortured or allowed others to torture innocent people, we still have people defending the indefensible.

    No, I don't buy that there is any comparison to those convicted of crimes.

    I'll tell you this as well, something I learned from an old first Sargent that I think has proven true. We do those who torture an injustice. Solders have to home and live with what thy do. I was discussing this recently with a vet who told me he participated in such acts, and felt they were right. We discussed the effect on him. He listen, talked, and eventually admitted he didn't sleep well, and that his wife worried about him. We do them no favors, and there are more effective ways.

    Btw, I'd worry more about those who felt nothing while brutalizing another human being.
    The concept of due process itself is subjective. Let's just say for a moment that we bring Taliban POWs back to American soil to be tried in American courts. Well, who gives us the right to remove them from their homeland? And what if they don't recognize the authority of the American courts? "Due Process" is a construct of law that is supposed to equally apply the law to all... but what if the laws themselves are unjust, or the treatment received after receiving due process? And what about the glaring fact that, even in our own country, some get more due process than others? The entire system that is the basis of your argument crumbles under scrutiny, because human beings are imperfect. Prison guards get away with breaking their own rules every single hour of every single day, because the only witnesses to their actions are deemed "uncredible". And to really drive the point home, every single law enforcement officer in this country is imbued with a certain amount of discretionary authority - they can choose to bring someone in or let them go, based on whatever information the officer has (or doesn't have) at that time. You can be arrested for noncompliance with a police command, or for a minor infraction that carries no jail time with it, or even over a case of mistaken identity(!), and your only recourse is to go with the officer and sort it out later... because, if you do resist that "unjust" and unlawful arrest, THAT is actually a crime, for which you can be punished! It's a crazy world we live in.

    But once someone has gone through this due process of law, what then? Is solitary confinement suddenly not emotionally scarring, because that person got there through due process? Actually, now that I mention it, solitary confinement is at the discretion of the Warden... which means there is no due process for that specific sentence. Due process can land someone in prison, but what happens to them once they are there is largely discretionary. But I digress. What about due process on the battlefield? If egalitarian practice is the cornerstone of due process, why can't the Rules Of Engagement be used as "law", and satisfy the code of due process if equally applied to all?

    I'll say again, I think the fact that some of the less savory techniques we have are so effective is very unfortunate. I cannot condone their use... but I also cannot condone time-sensitive intelligence to rot in an enemy combatant's brain if people are going to die. I'm glad I've never been in the situation where I had to perform such acts, but a part of me, however small, is grateful for the fact that someone is there to commit such acts if necessary.

    Now we can argue what constitutes "necessary" all day long!
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    The concept of due process itself is subjective. Let's just say for a moment that we bring Taliban POWs back to American soil to be tried in American courts. Well, who gives us the right to remove them from their homeland? And what if they don't recognize the authority of the American courts? "Due Process" is a construct of law that is supposed to equally apply the law to all... but what if the laws themselves are unjust, or the treatment received after receiving due process? And what about the glaring fact that, even in our own country, some get more due process than others? The entire system that is the basis of your argument crumbles under scrutiny, because human beings are imperfect. Prison guards get away with breaking their own rules every single hour of every single day, because the only witnesses to their actions are deemed "uncredible". And to really drive the point home, every single law enforcement officer in this country is imbued with a certain amount of discretionary authority - they can choose to bring someone in or let them go, based on whatever information the officer has (or doesn't have) at that time. You can be arrested for noncompliance with a police command, or for a minor infraction that carries no jail time with it, or even over a case of mistaken identity(!), and your only recourse is to go with the officer and sort it out later... because, if you do resist that "unjust" and unlawful arrest, THAT is actually a crime, for which you can be punished! It's a crazy world we live in.

    But once someone has gone through this due process of law, what then? Is solitary confinement suddenly not emotionally scarring, because that person got there through due process? Actually, now that I mention it, solitary confinement is at the discretion of the Warden... which means there is no due process for that specific sentence. Due process can land someone in prison, but what happens to them once they are there is largely discretionary. But I digress. What about due process on the battlefield? If egalitarian practice is the cornerstone of due process, why can't the Rules Of Engagement be used as "law", and satisfy the code of due process if equally applied to all?

    I'll say again, I think the fact that some of the less savory techniques we have are so effective is very unfortunate. I cannot condone their use... but I also cannot condone time-sensitive intelligence to rot in an enemy combatant's brain if people are going to die. I'm glad I've never been in the situation where I had to perform such acts, but a part of me, however small, is grateful for the fact that someone is there to commit such acts if necessary.

    Now we can argue what constitutes "necessary" all day long!
    Not sure we have any right at all to mess with the Taliban, having not properly declared war.

    Due process is not quite as arbitrary as you make out. It gives the accused opportunity to defend him or herself. This concept is important and essential to our justice system. I don't know how to convince you of his, but the difference is significant.

    Secondly, the scarring of solitary is significantly less than found with torture, not to mention most are not in solitary. Prison, though far from perfect, is not in anyway equal or comparable to torturing people.

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    [QUOTE=Boo Radley;1061278108]Not sure we have any right at all to mess with the Taliban, having not properly declared war. [quote]

    In that case, we had no right to intervene in Libya. We killed people there, you know.

    Due process is not quite as arbitrary as you make out. It gives the accused opportunity to defend him or herself. This concept is important and essential to our justice system. I don't know how to convince you of his, but the difference is significant.

    Secondly, the scarring of solitary is significantly less than found with torture, not to mention most are not in solitary. Prison, though far from perfect, is not in anyway equal or comparable to torturing people.
    Due Process as a concept is not arbitrary, that is true. But it is not carried out when something as simple as wealth can avert it. Don't even pretend that the wealthy don't have an easier time in court than the poor. And again, we were talking about certain acts that are defined as "torture". Well guess what, solitary confinement was considered torture when the Abu Ghraib scandal was going on, as well as national attention on GitMo. What about shame... is that torturous? Stripped naked and subjected to ridicule? That happens every time you process into a jail or prison. Loud rock music and dogs were also considered torture. So, while the concept of due process may not be arbitrary, the definition of torture most definitely is, as well as what actions in what settings are defined as torture.

    Torture needs not be physical. We have already established that. And when we talk about things like waterboarding, there is no element of physical harm; it is psychologically traumatic. Well, so is isolated confinement!
    "Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. . . . Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness."
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    [QUOTE=Gonzo Rodeo;1061278186][QUOTE=Boo Radley;1061278108]Not sure we have any right at all to mess with the Taliban, having not properly declared war.

    In that case, we had no right to intervene in Libya. We killed people there, you know.



    Due Process as a concept is not arbitrary, that is true. But it is not carried out when something as simple as wealth can avert it. Don't even pretend that the wealthy don't have an easier time in court than the poor. And again, we were talking about certain acts that are defined as "torture". Well guess what, solitary confinement was considered torture when the Abu Ghraib scandal was going on, as well as national attention on GitMo. What about shame... is that torturous? Stripped naked and subjected to ridicule? That happens every time you process into a jail or prison. Loud rock music and dogs were also considered torture. So, while the concept of due process may not be arbitrary, the definition of torture most definitely is, as well as what actions in what settings are defined as torture.

    Torture needs not be physical. We have already established that. And when we talk about things like waterboarding, there is no element of physical harm; it is psychologically traumatic. Well, so is isolated confinement!
    Not a big fan of Libya, but we had more legal right than either Afghanistan or Iraq. But we'd be better off as a country if we returned to cut ally declaring war, and stop with the imperialism.

    Even wealth isn't arbitrary, nor talent. But we account for as much as a free country can. Still, it is this process that makes a major difference.

    Now, the more important point, not all mental anguish is equal. What the prisoner experiences in comparison the the torture victim as as different as lightening and a lightening bug. They are not comparable.

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    Not sure we have any right at all to mess with the Taliban, having not properly declared war.

    Not a big fan of Libya, but we had more legal right than either Afghanistan or Iraq. But we'd be better off as a country if we returned to cut ally declaring war, and stop with the imperialism.

    Even wealth isn't arbitrary, nor talent. But we account for as much as a free country can. Still, it is this process that makes a major difference.

    Now, the more important point, not all mental anguish is equal. What the prisoner experiences in comparison the the torture victim as as different as lightening and a lightening bug. They are not comparable.
    My entire point this thread has been that there is no clearly drawn line in the sand. There are some pretty atrocious things we have passively given our blessing to as a society for the ends those means create, solitary confinement being one of them. Morals are always a question of the ends and the means. And can we justify something like waterboarding, if it can be deemed "necessary"?

    Look, I'm not advocating torture, anymore than I am advocating our prison system. But we as a species are very good at talking ourselves into some pretty horrible stuff, for the sake of... whatever that horrible stuff yields as a benefit. I think it's pretty naive to assume everything done in a CIA "black site" is "torture," and that "torture" is "bad," because there is a lot of grey area in the world of global politics. In a perfect world, there would be no need and therefor no reason to use enhanced interrogation techniques, because there would be no reason to interrogate in the first place. Nor sending anyone to prison, for that matter.

    But I recognize that we do not live in a perfect world.

    "Torture" itself is a loaded word. If you apply the word "torture" to something, you've already passed the debate over whether or not it is torturous. All of the definitions of "torture" involve some level of pain, often called excruciating, but none limit that definition to physical pain. In this regard, all we need is the systematic application of pain of any sort, and for any reason. I suppose people from abusive families suffer "torture" on a daily basis, as well as prisoners, menial office employees who do not like their jobs, and even kids who suffer test anxiety while taking their finals.
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    Define "due process".

    You seem to be quick to judge me, but it looks like you haven't a clue where I am coming from or what the basis of my argument is.
    Good. Please tell me where you're at and what the basis of your argument is. I'm all eyes, or ears, as the case may be. Apologies if I have misinterpreted your words.

    Due process is what it has always been in this country--requiring actions by all 3 parts of government, including the judiciary.

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Rodeo View Post
    My entire point this thread has been that there is no clearly drawn line in the sand. There are some pretty atrocious things we have passively given our blessing to as a society for the ends those means create, solitary confinement being one of them. Morals are always a question of the ends and the means. And can we justify something like waterboarding, if it can be deemed "necessary"?

    Look, I'm not advocating torture, anymore than I am advocating our prison system. But we as a species are very good at talking ourselves into some pretty horrible stuff, for the sake of... whatever that horrible stuff yields as a benefit. I think it's pretty naive to assume everything done in a CIA "black site" is "torture," and that "torture" is "bad," because there is a lot of grey area in the world of global politics. In a perfect world, there would be no need and therefor no reason to use enhanced interrogation techniques, because there would be no reason to interrogate in the first place. Nor sending anyone to prison, for that matter.

    But I recognize that we do not live in a perfect world.

    "Torture" itself is a loaded word. If you apply the word "torture" to something, you've already passed the debate over whether or not it is torturous. All of the definitions of "torture" involve some level of pain, often called excruciating, but none limit that definition to physical pain. In this regard, all we need is the systematic application of pain of any sort, and for any reason. I suppose people from abusive families suffer "torture" on a daily basis, as well as prisoners, menial office employees who do not like their jobs, and even kids who suffer test anxiety while taking their finals.
    Perfectly clear? No. But not as blury as some like to make it. We knew waterboarding was torture before Iraq and defined it as such. Definitions are not that maluable. And yes, a judgement has been passed. As I said, it wasn't new. Long before us that judgment was passed. Those who wanted to skirt around the issue tried to create doubt where there wasn't any real doubt. And much like what what you did with prisons, no one is really standing up and saying abusing family members and spouses is OK. Much of it is against the law. There are options and help. No government saying that it is OK to beat your wife or molest your children. We know it is wrong, and it has no seal of approval from the government, or even the society. I keep repeating, these differences matter.

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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Andalublue View Post
    Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    So, apparently three senators are upset that a Hollywood movie is less than 100% factually accurate. In other news, one M. Mouse is revealed to be a cartoon rodent and dinosaurs can't really be cloned from DNA locked in amber for millions of years.

    Really? Is this what members of Congress are drawing a salary for doing?
    Update:

    Well, the CIA seems to agree with them. Some things just need saying. A film that purports to be historically accurate should be called when it's not:

    The CIA has made a rare public statement on the soon-to-be-released film about the capture of Usama bin Laden, "Zero Dark Thirty."
    "I would not normally comment on a Hollywood film, but I think it's important to put (the film,) which deals with one of the most significant achievements in our history, into some context," acting CIA Director Mike Morell said Friday.
    He said the film addresses the successful hunt for Bin Laden but in doing so"takes significant artistic license, while portraying itself as being historically accurate."


    Read more: Morell calls 'Zero Dark Thirty' not realistic in rare CIA public statement | Fox News
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
    Perfectly clear? No. But not as blury as some like to make it. We knew waterboarding was torture before Iraq and defined it as such. Definitions are not that maluable. And yes, a judgement has been passed. As I said, it wasn't new. Long before us that judgment was passed. Those who wanted to skirt around the issue tried to create doubt where there wasn't any real doubt. And much like what what you did with prisons, no one is really standing up and saying abusing family members and spouses is OK. Much of it is against the law. There are options and help. No government saying that it is OK to beat your wife or molest your children. We know it is wrong, and it has no seal of approval from the government, or even the society. I keep repeating, these differences matter.
    And those are all very good points. However, we don't find any credible reason for child or spouse abuse. There is no justification that anyone has come up with to make it "ok." We have, however, justified such things forced kidnapping and confinement, segregation and isolation, and even killing. Has it ever been impressed upon you that humanity has multiple words for "killing," that denote differences in legal status? For example, "murder" is an illegal (unjustifiable) killing, whereas "manslaughter" is used for accidental or unintentional killing, often through demonstrable negligence. Then there is "combat", the killing "enemy combatants," which is justifiable on the world's stage and even in religious texts. We also have "capital punishment," which is the sanctioned killing of a citizen by their government (sanctioned, of course, by that government). The end result is the same - a dead person - yet there are various ways to label the act that all have different connotations.

    Certain acts of "torture" are no different. Solitary confinement is torturous, yet it has the tacit approval of those not within the prison system. So, if we as a society decide that something like waterboarding isn't torture... does that mean it isn't? I sense this is the thrust of your argument, where the due process part stemmed from anyway. And it is a good thrust. But it is naive.

    Take the act of killing, for example. I am going to assume that you do not wish to kill anyone with your own hands, for any reason. But imagine someone is holding you hostage as part of a bank robbery... would you not be grateful for a resolution to that conflict, even if someone else had to kill the person holding you hostage (in order to prevent that person from killing you)? A part of you DOES support killing, on some level, if there is an immediate and direct benefit to you. You may not want to get your hands bloody, but some part of you is no doubt grateful that there are "good guys" that are willing to do it for you.

    So why would you shut the door on things you label "torture", if there is a similar benefit to you as a result? That was one of the chief arguments against waterboarding back when that controversy was blowing up - it doesn't work, so there is no reason to do it. The problem with that argument is that it is wrong. Enhanced interrogation techniques do work, or else they wouldn't be used! But there is a moral argument to be made against the use of such tactics, I readily agree. The "should" in this case is the entirety of the argument. And I can easily paint a picture where "should" can be justified. Again, this isn't support for such action, but to play devil's advocate, it is easy to concoct a situation where the efficacy of what you call "torture" can ethically justify it's use.
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    Re: Bin Laden film attacked for 'perpetuating torture myth'

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    A film that purports to be historically accurate should be called when it's not:
    Really? All of them? Because that would be, ALL of them.

    Braveheart - William Wallace seduces the future Queen Isabel of England even though said Issy was 3 when Wallace was executed.
    The Patriot - decided that the tricky bit where the British won the Battle of Guildford Court House should be ignored, so the Americans win.
    The Untouchables - who gets the credit for nailing Capone? Elliot Ness or tax inspector Franklin J. Wilson?
    U-571 - has the US capturing the first Enigma machine from a U-boat in 1944, when actually that would have been HMS Bulldog's 1941 capture of 2 machines from a German spy ship.
    Battle of the Bulge - really, where to start? Wrong landscape, wrong weapons, wrong time-line, wrong explanation.
    Pearl Harbour - everyone knows this, don't they? Virtually nothing was historically accurate.
    The Alamo - Alamo historian Timothy Todish said, "there is not a single scene in The Alamo which corresponds to a historically verifiable incident."
    Saving Private Ryan - in which the US liberated France single-handedly.

    The list goes on and on and I don't recall Senators having gotten their panties wadded over all of these.
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