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    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008
     (736.21)
    To me, it doesn't matter if their is information to be gathered. Causing a human being, no matter what that human has done, extreme emotional and physical pain simply to reach some kind of goal is just plain disgusting. I don't understand how some people are willing to do it.

    Also, as many have pointed out, torture probably will lead to bad info anyway, so it isn't really worth it, in any sense.

    Then again, I wouldn't switch the train to the other track where it would only kill one person rather then five, or fifty or 5000. I just don't see placing a numerical value on a person's life as being ethical in any way. That's not to say that I wouldn't push those 5 people out of the way, risking my own life, or something of that sort, but consciously deciding that one person's life is worth more then another's is not a choice I'm willing to make. Unless, of course, I know the people involved, in which case all bets are off.
    • CommentAuthorGuy
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008 edited
     (736.22)
    @unsub
    "Even the Nazis followed the rules of Geneva with the countries that had also signed it."

    No they didn't- remember the Commando Order (All Commando's, Agents and Special Forces can be executed on sight even if wearing uniforms). Technically they also used chemical weapons but not in a manner that could really hurt anyone (they had them in AT rifle ammunition). And of course they broke every damn rule about civilians in the book.

    It's a little known area of WW2 but many Allied soldiers were sent to concentration camps. And of course POW's were treated fairly appallingly in many POW camps, partly due to lack of resources, partly due to sadism.

    @sacredchao
    "Causing a human being, no matter what that human has done, extreme emotional and physical pain simply to reach some kind of goal is just plain disgusting. I don't understand how some people are willing to do it."

    Really? Because a piece of shrapnel in the guts will produce "extreme emotional and physical pain". As will getting shot, standing on mines and being bombed. Not that I feel that is an arguement for torture. Torture has been proven many times to give bad information. More importantly it provides an important propaganda weapon to enemy forces and makes dealing with third parties more difficult.

    I feel incidentally that there is one point missing on 24- torture looks gritty. If you can have a character stand up and say, "I will torture if I think it will save lives" is a bold moral statement. It adds to the character of Jack Bauer, regardless of real life concerns.
  1.  (736.23)
    For me torture is something inherently tied up with the ideology of the current conflict.

    For better or worse the USA and UK have declared war on terror. Leaving aside the bizarreness of declaring war on an abstract concept I don't see how you can win a war on something as ephemeral as terror by adopting terror tactics. The whole way in which the conflict is phrased precludes the use of torture. Otherwise you end up with a strange situation where terror wins the war by switching sides. The hypocrisy of using terror tactics against terrorists is also an admission that actually, underneath all the rhetoric, you believe that they work.

    I'm pretty sure that a little imagination and a shit load of money would allow the development of interrogation tools that relied on mental and chemical manipulation rather than naked fear and pain. I'd love to see someone like Derren Brown devise a method of debriefing enemy soldiers for instance.
    •  
      CommentAuthorliquidcow
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008
     (736.24)
    The Nazi's did not sign the Geneva convention, this was actually part of their argument during the Nuremberg trial, that they couldn't be tried for breaking an agreement which they had not participated in - although one aspect of these agreements that was being pushed for was that it would apply even to those nations that had not signed it, this was quite a controversial move to some.

    olivertwisted - interesting point about using terror tactics to 'fight terror', although to me it seems like torture and terrorism are both reactionary - people want to go to torture or execute others because they hate or are afraid of them and what they represent, despite whether it's the rational or moral thing to do. Although on the other hand, let's face it, it's not a 'war on terror', it's a front for the Republicans to go and sort out the nations that aren't doing what they like, terrorism just provides a convenient excuse and a way to get the public on their side through fear with promises of 'getting the bad guys'.
  2.  (736.25)
    liquidcow - You're right. It ain't a war on terror except in the propaganda sense that this is how it has been pitched to the world. It would be nice to think though, that in a developed western democracy, the powers that be should be accountable for their own sales pitch and forced to follow through on their promises. I had vaguely hoped that the Troubles in Northern Ireland might serve as a model for how to successfully fight terrorism and demonstrate that a long haul approach is needed in which communication lines remain open. Apparently not.
  3.  (736.26)
    This is sort of in line with the topic, but maybe a bit out of context? The charity i run employs a woman in India called Ama Adhe, she was a political prisoner in china for 27 years and beaten, tortured and raped for most of those years. The chinese were trying to crush her will, she's written extensively about how they tried to do it, including shooting her brother in law infront of her, taking away her children and starving her to the point that she ate her shoes. out of thousands of women in one particular lead mine only 3 of them survived, the other two by eating the flesh from their dead friends. but her will never cracked, and she never gave in, torture was useless and it only made her more vigilant that she would get out and tell her stories.

    i guess what i'm trying to say is, if someone believes in something strong enough, torture can only reinforce someone's beliefs.

    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008
     (736.27)
    Really? Because a piece of shrapnel in the guts will produce "extreme emotional and physical pain". As will getting shot, standing on mines and being bombed. Not that I feel that is an arguement for torture. Torture has been proven many times to give bad information. More importantly it provides an important propaganda weapon to enemy forces and makes dealing with third parties more difficult.


    I'm not particularly fond of gut-shrapnel, guns, bombs, or mines, so I'm not really sure what you're getting at.
    • CommentAuthorGuy
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008
     (736.28)
    Just that torture itself is one of thousands of ways to harm a human being.
    •  
      CommentAuthorjohnjones
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2008
     (736.29)
    Just that torture itself is one of thousands of ways to harm a human being.


    Which was my point above. I'm feeling that the "no torture" argument isn't so much morality as squeamishness.
    •  
      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2008
     (736.30)
    the "no torture" argument isn't so much morality as squeamishness

    are the two entirely unrelated?

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