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Thread: torture

  1. #11
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    I don't think anyone actually learns from torture (except to maybe tell lies to escape the pain) so it's pointless as well as being completely immoral in any circumstance.

  2. #12
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    I think it's important to distinguish what kind of situations we're talking about here. Torture for the purpose of extracting information (where it could save lives/prevent destruction)? Fine by me. Random torture in prisons? What's the point exactly? Doesn't seem to do any good, so I'm going to say no.

    So yeah, I think torture can be justified.
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  3. #13
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    No Common Law country has ordered torture from the highest levels of Government since 1642, except one.

    And not one person at the highest levels had been brought before the Common Law Courts.

    This is unfortunate as the Common Law rests on Precedent.

  4. #14
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    I saw a program about a British man who was tortured in a Saudi prison. He swore he did all kinds of things he never did.
    Torture and Survival in a Saudi Prison: William Sampson Recounts his 2 1/2 Year Ordeal, Calls Torture "Morally Wrong, a Political Mistake" and Useless for Intelligence Gathering

    People being tortured will say anything you want, sign anything you want. It's not reliable information. That's the dispassionate reason. The passionate reason is because it's wrong.

    But, Take Five, what are your ideas on the subject, anyway? I'd be interested to hear them.

  5. #15

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    I think it can be justified in certain cases. Of course, that all depends on who is determining when it's justified. For that reason, I think an official ban is probably a good idea as a government policy. That said, on a personal level I couldn't value one person's rights over the safety of many if I believed that the person in question had information that could save lives. Whether that would help and in how many cases that would help is open to debate.

    The point is, I can envision a situation in which I'd approve, even though I hold a conflicting belief that an official ban is good. Sometimes a vigilante is needed to do things the government can't condone.
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I think it can be justified in certain cases. Of course, that all depends on who is determining when it's justified. For that reason, I think an official ban is probably a good idea as a government policy. That said, on a personal level I couldn't value one person's rights over the safety of many if I believed that the person in question had information that could save lives. Whether that would help and in how many cases that would help is open to debate.

    The point is, I can envision a situation in which I'd approve, even though I hold a conflicting belief that an official ban is good. Sometimes a vigilante is needed to do things the government can't condone.
    (cue Batman theme)

    But honestly I agree with you.
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I think it can be justified in certain cases.
    The purpose of torture is torture.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    I don't think anyone actually learns from torture (except to maybe tell lies to escape the pain) so it's pointless as well as being completely immoral in any circumstance.
    That's why its combined with so-called "truth-serum" drugs, to prevent people who are being tortured from being able to maintain a consistent lie. Eventually, most people will end up telling the truth, often quite by accident (they are made too groggy and impulsively talkative to remember keep up the lie).

    Torture often DOES work; what is debatable is whether the benefits are worth the huge costs (either moral, or practical, or both). Then there's the matter of what constitutes torture; is it only torture if it causes intense pain or lasting physical/psychological damage, or is any sort of coercive environment that one would not impose on ordinary criminals the same as torture (constant bright lights, loud Britney Spears music constantly being played over the intercom, etc)? And if there are different levels of torture, should there be different degrees of prohibition, so long as everything is strictly regulated?

    The terrorist issue is made even more complicated because its a decades-long problem with no clear delineation, unlike states of emergency or conventional wars; things that might be tolerated under the latter instances are also not necessarily appropriate for long-term situations, even if such policies are subject to periodic renewal or cancellation (and here, we're delving into other issues related to counter-terrorism efforts).

    To put it succinctly, I have some seriously mixed feelings about the gray areas in this debate, and am for more concerned about such practices taking place without any adequate oversight or appeal than I am about the (borderline) policies in question. As for the hypothetical "ticking nuclear bomb" scenario, I wouldn't want unambiguous tortures legalized for such conditions, but I would want the President to pardon somebody who took extralegal measures under such circumstances.

  9. #19
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    Experts in the field of interrogating suspects overwhelmingly agree that torture not only DOES NOT work, but results in no reliable, useful information ever being transmitted. They have found more effective methods to involve developing rapport and treating people humanely.

    The idea of sensory deprivation not being a form of torture is highly debated, but the program of limiting a person's input from their own body (covering eyes, ears, etc.) often results in some form of psychosis in a relatively short amount of time. Research was conducted in the 1950s by a psychiatrist, Dr. Ewen Cameron, under contract with the US and Canadian governments, and results showed severe regression and loss of self-care abilities. The studies were stopped because they were found to be unethical, the Canadian government paid former patients for their suffering, and this information has now been integrated into strategies currently being used at Guantanamo.

    Waterboarding was used in the Spanish Inquisition. It was considered illegal in the US during the Spanish-American War, Japanese soldiers were convicted of waterboarding during WWII, and later an American soldier was court martialed during the Vietnam War for the same crime. Why is the morality and legality of this act still being questioned?
    Last edited by statuesquechica; 08-12-2009 at 04:51 PM.
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  10. #20
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    Default Common Law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and torture

    Torture is not a practical issue. It is a moral issue.

    It is an issue if who we are.

    Most of us here are citizens or subjects of Common Law countries. And under Common Law torture is a crime.

    And also for most of us here, our morality and sense of self is solemnly encoded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And torture is a violation of the Declaration.

    So at heart torture is an attack on our sense of self, of who we are.

    And for the most powerful Common Law country to condone torture does us far more harm than our enemies can hope to do.

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