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Author Topic: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?  (Read 11737 times)

Scentless Apprentice

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2009, 03:41:01 PM »
I think it's hard to argue for any kind of "principles" or "dignity" when discussing torture. Our country trains a large group of people to kill others because they are from another country. That's what war is. We blow people up, stab them, shoot them, drop bombs on them, etc. To me, using harsh interrogation techniques is just a nasty side note of this unfortunate reality. It's hard to see the logic in thinking its ok to disembowel somebody on the battlefield, but it's not ok to hold a wet towel on their face. It's all equally horrible.
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Susan B. Anthony

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2009, 03:47:20 PM »
I think it's hard to argue for any kind of "principles" or "dignity" when discussing torture. Our country trains a large group of people to kill others because they are from another country. That's what war is. We blow people up, stab them, shoot them, drop bombs on them, etc. To me, using harsh interrogation techniques is just a nasty side note of this unfortunate reality. It's hard to see the logic in thinking its ok to disembowel somebody on the battlefield, but it's not ok to hold a wet towel on their face. It's all equally horrible.

There are standards governing conduct in war. Those standards reject torture. It may seem incongruous, but it remains that we can acknowledge ugly realities while doing our best to conduct ourselves in a manner congruent with our general principles.

mugatu

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2009, 03:49:24 PM »
I think it's hard to argue for any kind of "principles" or "dignity" when discussing torture. Our country trains a large group of people to kill others because they are from another country. That's what war is. We blow people up, stab them, shoot them, drop bombs on them, etc. To me, using harsh interrogation techniques is just a nasty side note of this unfortunate reality. It's hard to see the logic in thinking its ok to disembowel somebody on the battlefield, but it's not ok to hold a wet towel on their face. It's all equally horrible.

No, it isn't all equally horrible, actually.  For several reasons.

But, perhaps the most important consideration to make is that your characterization of the armed forces is incorrect.  Specifically, the part about killing "because they are from another country."  I think the worst case phrase should be "interests contrary to the United States."  

Furthermore, at least on the battlefield, you have engaged bilaterally.  Both sides are equally capable of disemboweling the other.  Torture is pure unilateral action.
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bl825

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2009, 03:53:33 PM »
I think it's hard to argue for any kind of "principles" or "dignity" when discussing torture. Our country trains a large group of people to kill others because they are from another country. That's what war is. We blow people up, stab them, shoot them, drop bombs on them, etc. To me, using harsh interrogation techniques is just a nasty side note of this unfortunate reality. It's hard to see the logic in thinking its ok to disembowel somebody on the battlefield, but it's not ok to hold a wet towel on their face. It's all equally horrible.

I'll concede that it seems somewhat incongruous.  But to be fair, war also bothers me.  :P
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mugatu

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2009, 03:54:40 PM »
I'm also actually ready to say it's totally different than war, too.
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gzl

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2009, 03:56:21 PM »
I think it's hard to argue for any kind of "principles" or "dignity" when discussing torture. Our country trains a large group of people to kill others because they are from another country. That's what war is. We blow people up, stab them, shoot them, drop bombs on them, etc. To me, using harsh interrogation techniques is just a nasty side note of this unfortunate reality. It's hard to see the logic in thinking its ok to disembowel somebody on the battlefield, but it's not ok to hold a wet towel on their face. It's all equally horrible.

No, it isn't all equally horrible, actually.  For several reasons.

But, perhaps the most important consideration to make is that your characterization of the armed forces is incorrect.  Specifically, the part about killing "because they are from another country."  I think the worst case phrase should be "interests contrary to the United States."  

Furthermore, at least on the battlefield, you have engaged bilaterally.  Both sides are equally capable of disemboweling the other.  Torture is pure unilateral action.

I would agree, and would also just emphasize what S.B. Anthony spoke of.  Even in war there are rules of engagement, legal steps taken before we enter into war (often ignored, unfortunately) etc.  For example, there are prosecutable offenses that can happen even during engagement.  Torture and extra-legal detention is a contradiction of our own legal principles.  As such, they are against state interest by definition, as they contradict the continued existence of the state as a nation of laws.

Scentless Apprentice

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2009, 03:56:41 PM »

But, perhaps the most important consideration to make is that your characterization of the armed forces is incorrect.  Specifically, the part about killing "because they are from another country."  I think the worst case phrase should be "interests contrary to the United States."  

I anticipated a comment like this as I wrote that out. Ultimately, it's because they're from another country. When you go to war, each soldier on the other side doesnt necessarily hold the capability to implement their side's ideology. They may not even fully understand why they're fighting. We ultimately kill them simply because they are from a different country. Wars happen because of the lines on maps.

I do understand your other points. They are good ones. I do see the difference between bilateral and unilateral..although I think "who cares". But I gotcha..it would be courts and conventions that care..I understand that.
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mugatu

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2009, 03:59:43 PM »

But, perhaps the most important consideration to make is that your characterization of the armed forces is incorrect.  Specifically, the part about killing "because they are from another country."  I think the worst case phrase should be "interests contrary to the United States."  

I anticipated a comment like this as I wrote that out. Ultimately, it's because they're from another country. When you go to war, each soldier on the other side doesnt necessarily hold the capability to implement their side's ideology. They may not even fully understand why they're fighting. We ultimately kill them simply because they are from a different country. Wars happen because of the lines on maps.

I do understand your other points. They are good ones. I do see the difference between bilateral and unilateral..although I think "who cares". But I gotcha..it would be courts and conventions that care..I understand that.

and, presumably, there is the offense/defense argument.  An aggressively defensive military is better than even the weakest offensive military. 

Furthermore, civil wars exist.  Just so much in the US lately, but they do other places.  Then you have only ideology fighting itself.
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cconnoll

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2009, 04:29:37 PM »
Both sides bring up almost equally compelling points. WAR= destruction of human life. And the method of torture is an inhumane act absent of ethics.

UnbiasedObserver

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Re: Why Does Torture Bother So Many People?
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2009, 06:39:15 PM »
Even at 100% effectiveness, torture contradicts our own laws and the principles that they strive to embody, and we cease to be the U.S. when we engage in it.

Amen.