Skip to comments.When Push Comes to Torture
Posted on 09/27/2006 6:52:58 AM PDT by rellimpank
Its time to discuss torture, and just what exactly isnt.
When confronted with the assertion that the Soviet Union and the United States were moral equivalents, William F. Buckley responded that if one man pushes an old lady into an oncoming bus and another man pushes an old lady out of the way of a bus, we should not denounce them both as men who push old ladies around.
In other words, context matters
(Excerpt) Read more at article.nationalreview.com ...
Next time out and being sent to bed without dinner will be considered torture.
"Context matters". And so does survival vs. moral high ground.
If we can't both survive and remain the good guys, I'll just pack it in, thanks.
Just another way of saying it's all relative.
Funny you should post that - I was just coming here to make a similar observation about the difference between spanking and beating, just two other things that liberals seem to be incapable of distinguishing between...
We can both survive and remaing the good guys, but not if the notion of 'good' is changed so that fighting a war becomes impossible and our means of dealing with enemies is to seek to be loved rather than feared.
In a democratic republic, we are all, collectively and individually, 'the prince', and reading Machiavelli's work (and maybe some Clausewitz and SunTzu) would do us all good.
1. We simply have no choice: considering the legal environment soon there will be no people willing to do this work anyway.
2. The lack of language skills and the lack cultural context knowledge severely diminishes our ability to extract valuable information.
3. Even if we are able to extract intelligence we are very seldom able to use it.
4. If "no prisoners except people considered legal combatants in the strictest possible interpretation of Geneva Conventions" is our officially stated policy, we may find a lot of volunteers ready to spill their guts in exchange for a more relaxed interpretation of their legal status.
Personally I don't care what kind of torture they have to use to get info out of these terrorists. These animals behead innocent people. They do not treat our people with respect they kill them. How do you deal with people who want us dead?
That's an interesting moral position, and as someone with a passing interest in history, I often wonder about.
You are here because the vast majority of your ancestors will willing to slit and many throats as they had to in order to ensure that they, their families, and their tribe (of whatever size) survived to make it to the next round. Some people, even in relatively modern and liberal societies, did some very unsavvory things on the battlefield, then came home and lived quiet, moral lives.
I certainly appreciate the courage of your convictions, but I wonder what it says about the human race overall.
Cheaper notwithstanding, there's two very good reasons to take fewer prisoners.
1. Fighting out of uniform puts civilians in danger. Under the Geneva Conventions, those who fight out of uniform in order to hide among civilians are a threat to those civilians, and may be executed on the spot. We choose not to do so, under our rules of engagement, but it is legal under the Geneva Conventions.
2. Those captured, except for the very senior leaders that are subject to harsh treatment, admit nothing and deny everything. Then, we're stuck with either throwing them back into the wild, or putting them in prison at our own expense.
That's very true.
My perspective may make more sense to you if you also understand that I believe that I will one day be held accountable for my actions. If you don't buy into the Christian point of view on such matters, feel free to call it a sense of absolute metaphysical accountability.
If I believe that one day I will have to stand before God and be called to account for what I did in this life, then my reluctance to torture becomes more comprehensible; to me, the ultimate disposition of whatever remains of me in some metaphysical afterlife trumps even such a great concern as the survival of Western civilization.
However, one need not be concerned with heaven or hell in order to conclude that torture is a bad idea. I personally believe that terrorists ought not to be allowed to continue their lives' work unmolested specifically because they purposely inflict pain, injury, terror, and death on the helpless in order to advance their cause.
If I have to become what I oppose in order to more effectively oppose it, then I have in effect handed victory willingly to my enemy--without a fight.
The trouble is letting the enemy define the moral high ground by using deceitful moral equivalency. Sleep deprivation becomes "torture". Opposing ideologies become "phobias". Executing convicted killers becomes "judicial murder". Common sense screening becomes "racial profiling".
If you are willing to "pack it in" rather than to be ill thought of by people who cannot distinguish between distasteful necessity and true evil, then get on with it. Your tender sensibilities are in the way of the defense of civilization.
That isn't my criterion in the least. When I say "torture," I mean the break-out-the-red-hot-pincers treatment. I mean thumbscrews and boiling oil and the boot.
Generally speaking, there are rules to waging war, and if we want to think of ourselves as the good guys we should follow them. Simple survival is the goal of animals and DUers, and we are better than that. We are civilized.
It says that what we do, is relative.
Of course the problem becomes, when does extracting information become torture? Answer that question and then you can make a decision on whether you are a good guy or not.
But that isn't what the present argument is about. It's about the enemies of this country and this administration trying to put anything that is coercive into the same category as the rack and hot irons. It's about making sleep deprivation and panties on the head into moral equality with Hussein's wood chipper and rape rooms.
More importantly, it is a cynical political ploy for short term advantage, using the safety of citizens as a game piece. With their short sightedness, even if it wins the next presidency for them, they will have fatally compromised their own ability to act against terrorists. After decrying Bush's WMD criteria and demand for UN sanction, what will they do when it becomes necessary to do something about Korea or Iran or one of the former Soviet Crapistans with nukes? After undermining and compromising his electronic intelligence policy, how will they keep tabs on plotters? After using operatives in the CIA and State Dept. to leak and run partisan attacks, how will they be able to demand secrecy and loyalty? After banning all practical interrogation techniques and demanding the scum get 2 pro-bono lawyers apiece, how will they stop the next Islamowhacko from killing you for Allah?
Yes, it would effect a large number of innocents...but people here on visas are by definition our guests, and we can un-invite them any time we like.
Yes, it's racial profiling (or, more accurately, religious profiling), and yes, it'll never happen. Sorry about that. Not much I can do about it.
Exactly my point.
Our pilots that were shot down over North Vietnam endured incredible torture. The North Vietnamese could break any of them and did. The code of the pilots was to resist up to the point they thought they would be killed. Some of our brave men resisted past that point and were tortured to death. They were able to break them and get information. They were not able to "turn them" against out great nation.
Torture applied correctly does work.
I agree, taking the moral high ground and remaining the good guys is extremely important.
When you reach an absurd conclusion like the one you've just come to, you know one of two things is true:
1. The topic you're considering really is absurd, or:
2. Your reasoning is flawed.
Be that as it may, be assured that "...these people care more about terrorists then the lives of their fellow human beings" really is an absurd conclusion. Personally, I doubt that those you speak of are really quite that insane.
My mistake. They really ARE absurd!
No doubt, to a certain extent. But, what the CIA and other US intelligence use isn't torture, ala the Vietnamese. It is non damaging coercion, and it works also. It is stupid to remove these techniques from use when the stakes are so high.
these people are falling all over themselves whining about gitmo, fawning over al quida,and saying we should play nice.
Having the moral high ground is not going to bring back 3000,14000,or 25000 dead due to a terrorist attack and neither are McCain,pelosi, and everyone else trying to make the USA fight with both hands tied
But one can't "debate" policy issues any more. Because one side of the argument stands for mere obstruction and is, thus, incapable of arguing for an alternative.
Moreover, the minority "always knows best". Therefore, further argument is unnecessary.
I agree with your assessment with regard to the lefty-libs you mention. They're not interested in moral high ground anyway...all they want to do is snipe at the current administration.
I am in total agreement with you. The use of means that are considered classical torture should not be used with this one caveat, only if all else fails and it is a matter of extreme national security. I would suspect with professional interrogation it would never go to that extreme. However, the individual being interrogated must think that any extreme can be used. This is part of the psychology of the interrogation.