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Thread: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

  1. #131
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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    We're at war, the so called torture is to obtain intelligence, which is a standard part of any war.
    It's not "so-called torture", it is torture - plain and simple. That's why i'm against it. I don't believe torture should become policy and used against enemy combatants on the grounds that it's gravely immoral.

    Perhaps you think America is something different, but I believe we should be above things like this. We don't need to adopt torture, or genocide, or any other terribly immoral policy simply on the basis that "this is war".

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    It's not "so-called torture", it is torture - plain and simple. That's why i'm against it. I don't believe torture should become policy and used against enemy combatants on the grounds that it's gravely immoral.
    Why is it torture "plain and simple"?

    And why is torture itself immoral?

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    How quaint to post this quote when the end result of that war was allowing the North Vietnamese to not only get away with their war crimes and illegal torture and abuse of their prisoners, but allow them to break their treaty with us and our ally and re-invade an ally we promised to aid in that event and instead abandoned; which resulted in the subsequent deaths of untold millions.
    And that has what to do with the fact that torture is immoral and should not be policy in the US, exactly?

    Perhaps you may want to tie your little story in with something that makes an argument for your position rather than enumerating reasons you disagreed with Nixon getting us out of Vietnam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    How trite for Liberals to argue about morality but who think NOTHING about the sanctity of life for an unborn child or a family pleading to keep their daughter alive through artificial means, and not blink an eye at the efforts and crimes committed by those the previous Administration tried to protect us from using humane forms to extract critical information.
    As a geneticist, i've never understood why people mistakenly assume that an embryo is a rational, autonomous human life, but that's an argument for another thread. Suffice to say i'm assuming that you recognize your own error in labelling waterboarding as a "humane form to extract critical information"? I can think of absolutely nothing humane about this practice, and neither can you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    This issue is almost as hypocritical and offensive as their idiotic rants about the tiny deficits during the same administration they claim are war criminals yet now think NOTHING of $1.8 trillion deficits without any debate about how to pay for them.

    It is as specious as suggesting that the 3,000 plus men and women of our military died not because of the actions of despicable terrorists who want to kill even greater numbers of our citizens, but rather would blame the previous administration; you cannot fabricate the level of ignorance it takes to make such asinine arguments.

    The only thing MORE amazing than these patently partisan political asinine attempts is that MORE Americans haven't been saying enough is enough!

    We ought to impeach the entire Democrat House and Senate leaders and this President for rabid ignorance, naiveté and stupidity.
    I'm assuming in your heated argument against all things Democrat that you recognize the numerous failures of the Republicans on many issues of their own, no? Prohibition of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, for example, as well as the Abu Ghraib prison torture fiasco, the causes and prelude to the Iraqi War, Hurricane Katrina, etc.

    Those are topics for other threads, of course, but nowhere in your post did I see any moral justification for the topic in which I assume you disagree with me over, namely that torture is/is not acceptable policy.

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Supporters of torture think it is worth it to torture terrorists to get info that prevents an attack and thus spares lives (they seem mostly concerned about their own).

    Yes, IF we tortured and IF that person knew and IF we got info and IF it prevented an attack, great! But the odds of that are something like 0.0001%. To take a long shot like that and destroy the reputation of the US as a result is nuts. If you're that worried about dying, don't ever get in an automobile.

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    And that has what to do with the fact that torture is immoral and should not be policy in the US, exactly?
    "Torture is immoral" is not a fact but an assertion.

    Has anyone here demonstrated precisely how it is immoral?

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by EricTaylor View Post
    Supporters of torture think it is worth it to torture terrorists to get info that prevents an attack and thus spares lives (they seem mostly concerned about their own).

    Yes, IF we tortured and IF that person knew and IF we got info and IF it prevented an attack, great! But the odds of that are something like 0.0001%. To take a long shot like that and destroy the reputation of the US as a result is nuts. If you're that worried about dying, don't ever get in an automobile.
    Please provide a link to your calculations.
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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Why is it torture "plain and simple"?
    I'm assuming that your argument is that it is not torture, yes?

    In that case, let me explain my statement to you, then see if you agree. First, it stands to mention the standard textbook definition of torture, "the act of causing great physical or mental pain in order to persuade someone to do something or to give information, or as an act of cruelty to a person or animal." (Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press). It stands to reason that almost everyone would agree that horrible physical acts constitute torture, no? Actions like we have heard about taking place throughout history - the old "bamboo shoots under the fingernails", or the iron maiden, for instance - the average person up to the most noted scholar would say that these things are most definitely torture.

    By definition, mental actions upon the agent being tortured fulfills this definition as well. A study done a few years ago by a team of scientists demonstrated that "...mental and physical torture cause the same amount of harm and are indistinguishable in their long term impact on psychological health." (Archives of General Psychiatry, article found online at Mental And Physical Torture Do The Same Psychological Harm Say Researchers).

    Now, is waterboarding torture? Let's put aside the fact that many politicians, legal experts, war veterans, intelligence officials, military judges, and human rights organizations claim it as such. Let's ask ourselves if the act of waterboarding itself is torture by observing the behavior of those being waterboarded.

    Watching these videos, would you say that these actions are examples of torture given the textbook definition? Again, let's ignore ALL bias or context and take the act of waterboarding at face value.

    First video:
    Journalist Waterboarded for 15 Seconds

    Second video:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LPubUCJv58"]YouTube - Watch Christopher Hitchens Get Waterboarded (VANITY FAIR)[/ame]

    Third video:

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    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Has anyone here demonstrated precisely how it is immoral?
    I assume that most people believe torture to be immoral by nature of the very act of torture - same with murder or rape. One hardly attempts to justify the latter as moral. What i've been reading on this thread is the attempted justification of torture, that it saves lives, or it is needed for victory, etc. I'm assuming no one on this thread attempted to say that torture isn't immoral, although I may have missed it as I didn't read the entire 11+ pages thusfar. Nonetheless, if you wish to debate on the morality of torture, I would be happy to oblige you.

    In any case, I would be interested in hearing your opinions after watching the videos I linked. I tried to watch them myself from an unbiased, absolute viewpoint, but I found it difficult after doing so to believe anything besides the act of waterboarding being one of torture, plain and simple. I really would like to see a more scientific (maybe documentary-style) demonstration of the exact effects of the torture, but I wasn't able to find any.
    Last edited by Singularity; 04-24-09 at 09:34 PM.

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    "Torture is immoral" is not a fact but an assertion.
    That's not true at all. Would you say that the statement "murder is immoral" is an assertion as well? No, because there is absolute reason behind murder being immoral. Same with rape. And yes, the same with torture. All three of those have the benefit of perplexing even the most hardcore moral subjectivist; after all, in no society is it possible to imagine any of the three becoming commonplace and acceptable policy.
    Last edited by Singularity; 04-24-09 at 09:30 PM.

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    That's not true at all. Would you say that the statement "murder is immoral" is an assertion as well?
    Yes, I would--because it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    No, because there is absolute reason behind murder being immoral. Same with rape. And yes, the same with torture. All three of those have the benefit of perplexing even the most hardcore moral subjectivist; after all, in no society is it possible to imagine any of the three becoming commonplace and acceptable policy.
    1. The "reasons" (which you have not enumerated) are justifications for the assertion, no more than this.
    2. The premise that torture might be immoral does not perplex me in the slightest. I merely note that, amid all the piety about torture being immoral, I can recall no reason offered in support of the assertion. If torture is to be immoral, if the acts of CIA interrogators are to be counted as torture and thus immoral, we must be able to say with certainty why it is that torture should be immoral, else we have no foundation to say that these specific acts, be they torture or no, are immoral.

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    Re: Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Yes, I would--because it is.

    1. The "reasons" (which you have not enumerated) are justifications for the assertion, no more than this.
    1. As rational, autonomous human beings, we generally determine what is moral or immoral, no? If torture weren’t considered "morally evil", then we wouldn’t find people condemning it when their enemies engage in torture. In fact, acts of torture are readily offered as proof that the enemy is barbaric and, among those who are more revenge-oriented, deserved of the same treatment, which in turn facillitates the actions of some of these same people to turn around and pretend that this justifies their using torture or other barbaric tactics against others. There is no serious disagreement that torture is a moral evil. If I were to ask you, point blank, "Mr. Celticlord, is torture morally evil?", your response would be "yes it is".

      If it is not, then I would love to hear your explanation and philosophical rationalization behind such a belief.

      Civilized society doesn’t tolerate torture, mostly because it doesn’t it doesn't always work and it utterly dehumanizes both those who inflict the torture as well as those who must suffer through it. To me, there’s no good reason to engage in something so immoral and dehumanizing. Torture is wrong, both ethically and pragmatically. It is only defended by those who don’t care that it doesn’t work or who lack the ethical skills necessary to perceive that the deliberate infliction of severe suffering or pain is evil and should not be allowed. It's a matter of ethical behavior - an individual who is okay with torturing someone who may or may not be a terrorist, who may or may not know information which will save people’s lives, and whose suffering probably won’t produce any viable intelligence, is not behaving ethically.

      There is also the argument that it would reduce America to the same ethical level as those we fight against who employ such methods. To me, this is like suggesting that America should have adopted Nazi tactics in order to defeat World War II Germany. It exhibits no confidence that ethical, moral, and democratic institutions will eventually win — but if that’s the case, then why support America over the terrorists? If anyone can be accused of giving “aid and comfort” to the enemy, it is those who encourage us to adopt the same unethical tactics or undemocratic methods as the enemy.

      Much of this is paraphrased from the philosophical link below.


      Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    2. The premise that torture might be immoral does not perplex me in the slightest. I merely note that, amid all the piety about torture being immoral, I can recall no reason offered in support of the assertion. If torture is to be immoral, if the acts of CIA interrogators are to be counted as torture and thus immoral, we must be able to say with certainty why it is that torture should be immoral, else we have no foundation to say that these specific acts, be they torture or no, are immoral.
But we do, which I summarized above. If you would like a more detailed explanation as to why torture is immoral, I think you would enjoy reading this:

Torture (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

It has a few really cool examples in there as well, and talks about the justification argument for torture, too, which i've seen on this thread. Since i'm more of a moral absolutist on the subject of torture, there are a number of reasons in the article I linked you to support an argument that torture is justified under certain circumstances; however, I saw none that justified torture for the sake of torture to be anything but immoral practice. The former argument has at least some philosophical justification, but there is none for claiming such harsh immoral acts are assertions. That is incorrect from an philosophical and ethical position.
Last edited by Singularity; 04-24-09 at 10:21 PM.
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