View Poll Results: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Family Member?

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  • Yes

    61 80.26%
  • No

    15 19.74%
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Thread: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

  1. #381
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    The previous discussions concerning "torture" would suggest said truism is anything but obvious. Many people made absolutist statements regarding the morality of torture and I sought to challenge such absolutism.
    I don't recall anyone making a statment that would have clashed with a scenario so extreme as the one in the OP.



    Because it provides insight into the moral justifications for violence; it also gives us a window into the psyche.



    As I said, it permits us to analyze the moral justifications for torture specifically and violence in general; it also provides a window into the human psyche. If you cannot accept this then there is nothing else to be said.
    Yes but it seems to be a very implausible scenario, exactly what about moral justifications and the psyche can be gathered for us in real-life, more complex situations?
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  2. #382
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    I don't recall anyone making a statment that would have clashed with a scenario so extreme as the one in the OP.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lightdemon View Post
    I can at the very least acknowledge that it is wrong to torture.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Torture is never moral.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devil505 View Post
    Paint me a picture where torture is moral...
    Quote Originally Posted by Decker View Post
    We don't torture b/c we are the good guys.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Obama Campaign
    End the Use of Torture and Extraordinary Rendition: Military and intelligence experts agree that torture is not an effective means of interrogation, and our using it threatens American troops serving abroad. From both a moral standpoint and a practical standpoint, torture is wrong. Barack Obama will end the use of torture without exception. He also will eliminate the practice of extraordinary rendition, where we outsource our torture to other countries.
    Organizing for America | Where Barack Stands
    Yes but it seems to be a very implausible scenario, exactly what about moral justifications and the psyche can be gathered for us in real-life, more complex situations?
    This conversation has nowhere to go.

  3. #383
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    How does this apply to my argument? Where have I justified violence against a nonagressor?
    Once you have subdued a person enough for him to no longer be a threat to you, i.e. tied him/her to a chair, that person has become a nonagressor. Therefore, based on your self proclaimed politcal philosophy you should not have raised this argument.

    I suggest you;

    A. Cede from this debate and admit that you are wrong.

    B. Reevaluate your political beliefs in order to avoid further misrepresentation of yourself and reestablish your credibility.
    Last edited by Saboteur; 05-13-09 at 08:10 AM.
    “We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

  4. #384
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    This conversation has nowhere to go.
    Yes, but those people were not necessarily suggesting it was not to be used ever. Several of them are talking only about real-life terrorist situations, or implying it(ie Decker and Obama campaign.), and I'm pretty sure some of the others said they would use torture but it is not moral.

    You still haven't answered what real-life complex situations we can help to understand with this scenario's help, particularly more than without simply having realised it was a truism that most people would torture in such an unlikely situation anyway.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

  5. #385
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saboteur View Post
    Once you have subdued a person enough for him to no longer be a threat to you, i.e. tied him/her to a chair, that person has become a nonagressor.
    You have a lot to learn about the nature of aggression and threatening.

    A man with vital information on the safety of my family is an aggressor and a threat to their security so long as he withholds that information.

  6. #386
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glinda View Post
    It doesn't matter what "category" the torturee falls under. We signed the GCs; we're obligated to adhere to them, even if others don't.
    What does matter is that it is clear that an al Qaeda operative doesn't fall under any of the categories.

    There isn't any question about that. They clearly aren't any of the following things:

    (1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
    Al Qaeda isn't an official armed force.

    (2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[
    (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
    (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
    (c) that of carrying arms openly;
    (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
    They clearly don't fulfill conditions a, b, and d.

    (3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
    Not regular armed forces so they don't qualify

    (4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.
    Clearly not the case.

    (5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.
    Again, clearly not the case.

    (6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
    Not the case. Most actually do the exact opposite. Come into a region that they are not inhabitants of and fight.

    (1) Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.
    Nope.

    (2) The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.
    Again, no.


    The wording at the end of article five is clear.

    Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.
    Thus, you must prove that there is a doubt that they may fit inot one of the categories of article four.

    Unfortunately, there is usually little doubt. In most cases they clearly do not fit the above criteria.

    This has made the Geneva conventions a moot point when discussing al Qaeda detainees.

    The best approach I've found so far is the bill of rights, and arguing that it places limitations of the federal government as enumerated by the preamble of the bill of rights.

    A combination of the fifth and the eighth amendments. The fifth states that detainment without due process is perfectly legal in these cases. Thus, all detainment and subsequent actions that occur while detained may be viewed as a from of punishment (although it hasn't been ascertained if "punishment" is the correct term for an interrogation yet, which leave the second portion of my argument open for criticism).

    The 8th limits the power and authority of the government so that it may not use "cruel and unusual forms of punishment". thus, if one views the torture as a punishment, which I do, it is something that the government is prevented from doing to anyone, be they citizen or non-citizen. (this argument also is based on the belief that the bill of rights is not a granting of rights, it is a purely defining document designed for limiting the authority of the US government in all instances).

    The only thing that requires a legal interpretation is the word "punishment" in cases where due process is suspended because of public danger.

    If it is legally decided that without due process, no actions can be construed as "punishment" then the argument will fail.

    If it is legally determined that punishment can be something independent of due process, then it would succeed.

    If anything, this is the approach that is best suited towards ending torture techniques for combatants that clearly do not fit into the geneva convention guidleines, such as Al Qaeda.

    My problem with our government using torture to interrogate detainees is not based on morality or the geneva conventions. It is entirely based on the Governemnt using powers that it has been prohibitted from using.

    This argument is most effective I've come up with thus far because:

    1. The veracity of any one morality is unprovable. Claims of something being universally immoral are entirely subjective opinion-based claims, and therefore irrelevant to a logical and legal debate.

    2. The Geneva conventions don't apply because although they prevent the use of torture on certain individuals that meet certain criteria, Insurgents, terrorists, and other sub-national belligerents that transplant themselves into a situation clearly do not fit these criteria and therefore there is no legitimate doubts that can be cast on their status that would render the conventions as being applicable.

    3. It makes an argument based on small-government conservatism. Since a large portion of the supporters of torture are small-government conservatives, it is the perfect argument because it strikes at their currently beliefs. In fact, being an anti-federalist is the primary reason I've always been against torture carried out by the government. I don't like the government having that power.

    4. Arguing that torture is a form of punishment is not inherently difficult. The issue could be resolved for good far more quickly using this approach than any other.


    I'm making my comments to you because I agree that the government should not be torturing detainees. But I disagree with the approach you are taking to make that argument.

    I've looked through that approach in great depth, even using it myself, and have come to realize it's flaws completely by doing that.

  7. #387
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    Yes, but those people were not necessarily suggesting it was not to be used ever. Several of them are talking only about real-life terrorist situations, or implying it(ie Decker and Obama campaign.), and I'm pretty sure some of the others said they would use torture but it is not moral.

    You still haven't answered what real-life complex situations we can help to understand with this scenario's help, particularly more than without simply having realised it was a truism that most people would torture in such an unlikely situation anyway.
    I'm uninterested in the progression of this dialogue. I knew from the very beginning you would not, under any circumstances, cede to me one inch, no matter how thoroughly and meticulously I deconstructed my argument. Your obsession with this hypothetical and your need to undermine it is apparent, for it represents a fatal flaw in your argument about maintaining "principle", "honor", and "morality".

    You know that despite its implausible nature there is only but a few degrees of separation between my hypothetical and the justifications for water-boarding; that is why you continually seek to undermine its applicability; not because you're genuinely incapable of seeing its worth but because it undermines your position. This has been your modus operandi from the onset of the discussion and I will not be held hostage by your desire to retain leverage in this debate.

    I will not discuss this issue with you any further because nothing worthwhile can come of it; neither of us will be convinced of the other's position. This thread has become terribly uninteresting and I'd like to return to the topic at hand.

  8. #388
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    You have a lot to learn about the nature of aggression and threatening.

    A man with vital information on the safety of my family is an aggressor and a threat to their security so long as he withholds that information.
    In your opinion, though the fact is that if you have a person as your prisoner they are not commiting the actual violence to you or your family member. The violence you then inflict on your captive while depriving them their right to self defense is then immoral, my assesment stands.

    The proper way to handle this situation (the one in the OP) is;

    If you have captured someone whom you suspect is involved with regard to knowledge of the kidnapping of and subsiquent violence toward a family member, you call the police for assistance. Perhaps this perpetrator also has prior offenses and is an accomplice to other known criminals, or "murderous thugs".
    “We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

  9. #389
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saboteur View Post
    If you have captured someone whom you suspect is involved with regard to knowledge of the kidnapping of and subsiquent violence toward a family member, you call the police for assistance. Perhaps this perpetrator also has prior offenses and is an accomplice to other known criminals, or "murderous thugs".
    He gets a lawyer, clams up, doesn't give away anything and your family dies.

    Anyone with half a brain who has ever been arrested knows better than to say anything to the police, even if you are innocent.

  10. #390
    You kids get off my lawn!
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    Re: Would You Utilize Torture to Save a Life?

    *snicker* You just blew your "Let's just torture 'em till they give us what we want" position right out of the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Anyone with half a brain who has ever been arrested knows better than to say anything to the police, even if you are innocent.
    Doesn't this apply to Gitmo detainees as well? And since it of course does, torturing those detainees will produce NOTHING.


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