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    View Poll Results: Do You Feel the U.S. Tortures Enemy Combatants?

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    1. #1
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      "The US Does Not Torture"

      Torture:

      Torture is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he ...
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture

      the deliberate, systematic, or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons in an attempt to force another person to yield information or to make a confession or for any other reason; "it required unnatural torturing to extract a confession"
      wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn


      Waterboarding, subjection to freezing temperatures, prolonged periods without food, the (occasional, and not officially promoted) stripping down of detainees. These are a few techniques that have been declared as having been used in getting information from detainees, many times in combination with one another. The entire list of techniques has not been disclosed.

      Is it right that the President steadfastly claims, time and time again, that the "U.S. Does not torture," and that, whenever speaking about it publicly, he will never mention the techniques, even though some of them are public information (which the public must read about, themselves), simply referring to it as the "questioning and interrogation" of detainees? Do you see this as misleading the public?

      [Edit: This is not really to raise the discussion on whether or not torturing detainees is justified - simply on whether or not telling the public that torture is not being used is ethical.]
      Last edited by Oneironaut Zero; 10-05-2007 at 04:32 PM.
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    2. #2
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      I think those techniques are more about creating the fear of what's coming next than they are about creating actual pain. Waterboarding makes detainees think they are going to drown if they don't give up information about terrorist attacks in the making. Prolonged periods without food makes them think they will never eat again if they don't give up necessary information. It's about deterring silence by causing worry about what's around the corner. I don't think it falls under the definition of torture. However, if the government is using torture against terrorists and keeping it a secret to minimize backlash, I understand.

      I see arguments for and against the use of torture, but the terrorists will never have my sympathy, no matter what terrible things are done to them. Caring about how terrorists feel will never be a deciding factor for me on the issue.
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    3. #3
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      UM, please re-read the definitions of torture that I posted in my OP. Torture is a much broader term than one exclusive to physical pain. That is a very large part of my point. Saying someone is not being tortured, while only referring to a part of the definition of the term, while making no distinction apparent, is a misrepresentation.

      And, as I said, this has nothing to do with sympathy or hatred for the terrorists. That is a non-issue, on this one. It is about the throwing around of the simplified statement "The US does not torture." Nothing more.
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    4. #4
      Dreaming up music skysaw's Avatar
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      By the accepted definition, the US tortures. There is no other way to interpret the information.
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    5. #5
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Oneironaut View Post
      UM, please re-read the definitions of torture that I posted in my OP. Torture is a much broader term than one exclusive to physical pain. That is a very large part of my point. Saying someone is not being tortured, while only referring to a part of the definition of the term, while making no distinction apparent, is a misrepresentation.
      I read the definition, and I already knew it. The word "severe" is part of it, and that word is severely subjective. It does not say that the inducement of physical or mental pain at all qualifies as torture. I am saying that the terrorist detainees are given just enough physical or mental pain to speak because they fear what is around the corner. Preventing what could happen in the mysterious turn of events is what is used to induce the giving of information, not the avoidance of the mental or physical pain at a present moment. Being subjected to cold temperatures, for example, is not so bad right at first. It gets worse and worse the longer you are exposed to it. What gets the terrorists talking is the fear that they are going to be left in the cold. That example illustrates what I am talking about. It is not severe pain that is getting them to talk. It is the avoidance of future severe pain that does the trick.

      Quote Originally Posted by Oneironaut View Post
      And, as I said, this has nothing to do with sympathy or hatred for the terrorists. That is a non-issue, on this one.
      I was just adding side commentary when I addressed that.
      Last edited by Universal Mind; 10-05-2007 at 06:03 PM.
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    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      I read the definition, and I already knew it. The word "severe" is part of it, and that word is severely subjective. It does not say that the inducement of physical or mental pain at all qualifies as torture. I am saying that the terrorist detainees are given just enough physical or mental pain to speak because they fear what is around the corner. Preventing what could happen in the mysterious turn of events is what is used to induce the giving of information, not the avoidance of the mental or physical pain at a present moment. Being subjected to cold temperatures, for example, is not so bad right at first. It gets worse and worse the longer you are exposed to it. What gets the terrorists talking is the fear that they are going to be left in the cold. That example illustrates what I am talking about.
      I understand what you're saying, but I think you're giving an arbitrary pardon on just how bad those situations can be, one that also has not been clarified in the declaration that "We do not torture." In short, I think that's a stretch of faith for you to assume that the techniques are somehow stopped before the detainee feels (at the very least) severe mental suffering.

      If I'm being interrogated by someone, and they employ techniques to make me feel like I am going to be left in a freezer until I get hypothermia and/or die, I would be in a state of severe mental suffering. Likewise, if they dunk my head over and over, for long periods of time, and make me feel the possibility that if I don't say something, anything, they are going to drown me, I would be in a state of severe mental suffering.


      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      I was just adding side commentary when I addressed that.
      Fair enough.

      But, to add to that, how many of the wrongly accused do you think they put through these techniques, trying to get information that the detainee just doesn't have? Do you have sympathy for them, when they 'crack' and admit to being an Al Qaeda operative, when it's not true, to avoid any more "intense interrogation," or do you think it's just a justified liability, in the name of the war on terror?
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    7. #7
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      Well the government has pretty much admited to using torture, and they have done so more than a few times. The real question is have they gone to far in the torturing of people or are they doing just enough to get their answers and not enough to do a lot of harm to the person.

      For that question I would say, yes they have gone to far. Making someone feel like they are going to die is horrible. Not only that but its a long drawn out process. Making someone think they will drown is cruel. Infact things like that are far worse than simply beating them up.

    8. #8
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Oneironaut View Post
      I understand what you're saying, but I think you're giving an arbitrary pardon on just how bad those situations can be, one that also has not been clarified in the declaration that "We do not torture." In short, I think that's a stretch of faith for you to assume that the techniques are somehow stopped before the detainee feels (at the very least) severe mental suffering.

      If I'm being interrogated by someone, and they employ techniques to make me feel like I am going to be left in a freezer until I get hypothermia and/or die, I would be in a state of severe mental suffering. Likewise, if they dunk my head over and over, for long periods of time, and make me feel the possibility that if I don't say something, anything, they are going to drown me, I would be in a state of severe mental suffering.
      The level of severe mental suffering resulting from worry about what is about to happen would be within their grasp to control, so it could not get more extreme than they allow it. If they are capable of allowing it to happen, it cannot be too severe. I don't think the worry of what is coming next when they can call off what would be coming next qualifies as severe mental pain. If it were, then all police interrogations could be considered torture, and so could all criminal trials.

      Quote Originally Posted by Oneironaut View Post
      But, to add to that, how many of the wrongly accused do you think they put through these techniques, trying to get information that the detainee just doesn't have? Do you have sympathy for them, when they 'crack' and admit to being an Al Qaeda operative, when it's not true, to avoid any more "intense interrogation," or do you think it's just a justified liability, in the name of the war on terror?
      You really have a point on that. What I am saying is based on the assumption that the government is only using its interrogation resources on people whom they really have great reason to interrogate, such as people who shot at them and people who were found in Al Qaeda training camps and groups of fighters, as well as people that sufficient intelligence says are members of Al Qaeda or other enemy combatants. The other extreme, which I am not saying you think is the case, would be picking random people off the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan and scaring the Bejesus out of them to find out what they know. That would be torture, and it would be an atrocity. There is a grey area between the two extremes, and in that grey area is what I would consider recklessness with the possibility with severe pain. The law considers recklessness to be as serious as actual intent, and so do I. I would consider that torture.

      This issue reminds me of the scene in Pulp Fiction when Marseilles says, "We don't want to think. We want to know. Get the dogs on his ass and find out exactly what he knows." Doing that based on what ifs and probably's would be torture. But using strong intelligence to find enemy combatants and then putting controllable fear in them so they will avoid the perceived coming of torture does not qualify as torture, in my opinion. If a person is falsely detained once in a while and has "the dogs on his ass" and he has no idea what to say and is therefore horrified, that is absolutely terrible, but it would still be the case that the government was not trying to induce that state and was not using torture as a policy. The government would, to the best of its knowledge, not even be using torture accidentally. But the issue of how strong the intelligence on those detainees is does create a fuzzy area.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
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    9. #9
      On the woad to wuin R.D.735's Avatar
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      In terms of the definitions accepted by most civil societies and explicitly stated in the Geneva Conventions, I think the act of torture has been used by the administration.

      It is very difficult, however, to argue that the U.S. does not torture. As has been mentioned, most of the interrogation methods used are secret, and by Executive Privilege(as nebulous a legal principle as any), are completely shielded from congressional or judicial review.

      One can only argue that the common definitions of torture are too strict, and there isn't a lot of room to argue on that point without getting into meaningless hypothetical cases.

      I think torture should be strictly defined for just this reason. It is far better to quench the temptation to use violent or abusive interrogation techniques than to deal with the grave consequences of not doing so.

    10. #10
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      Like you said torture is clearly defined. The only people argueing that the common definitions of torture is to strict, are the ones who wish to use torture. Even if it may only just be a bit, and for good reason.

      Even if you have no plans on killing someone, if you abuse them to the point where they think you will kill them, that is torture. If you yell at someone and say, "Tell us what you know or we will kill you!" That might be a grey area. If you stick a gun into their mouth and yell, "Tell us what you know or we will kill you!" That is torture, even if the gun is not loaded and you have no plans on killing them.

    11. #11
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      Like you said torture is clearly defined. The only people argueing that the common definitions of torture is to strict, are the ones who wish to use torture. Even if it may only just be a bit, and for good reason.
      That is not true. Many people support the current techniques but are against smashing their testicles with hammers and putting their faces in fire ant beds.

      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      Even if you have no plans on killing someone, if you abuse them to the point where they think you will kill them, that is torture. If you yell at someone and say, "Tell us what you know or we will kill you!" That might be a grey area. If you stick a gun into their mouth and yell, "Tell us what you know or we will kill you!" That is torture, even if the gun is not loaded and you have no plans on killing them.
      As I said, that would be torturous for a person that has no way out of it. It is not torture for somebody who only has to stop being evil for a moment and reveal the very important information he has no right to hide. If he refuses to stop being evil and deals with horror, he is responsible for it. What we do is legitimate. From there, it is a matter of what he does to himself. It is not like he has no choice but to withhold the information about mass killings.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
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    12. #12
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      Thats when people start lying just to have it stop. Which doesn't really help anyone and a big reason some people don't support torture even though they have no problems with harming others. Of course the other way of thinking is that no matter what they did they are still human and do to that stuff to any human is wrong.

      Either way torture is torture. Which is what this topic is about. There is no trying to spin it, that they are doing it to themself or they deserve it. Its about what we do and they should be upfront with it. If they think they are right, they have nothing to hide.

    13. #13
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      Torture will happen with or without our (citizens) consent. Torture will continue with or without us knowing how much, or to what extent.
      That is my opinion.
      disclaimer <-- No jack ass was harmed with this emoticon!

    14. #14
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      Thats when people start lying just to have it stop. Which doesn't really help anyone and a big reason some people don't support torture even though they have no problems with harming others.
      That's why part of the process is to tell them that what they are saying is going to be checked out.

      But Howie is probably right. For all we know, the government has butcher knives up their asses and is following Medieval instruction manuals and we will never know.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      But Howie is probably right. For all we know, the government has butcher knives up their asses and is following Medieval instruction manuals and we will never know.
      I wouldn't be surprised, and I'm sure they could find a way to justify it.

    16. #16
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      In other words the eye is falling
      I have no idea what you're talking about, but if you're saying this country is going fascist right before our eyes, I agree.

      (Mystic 7--how did you do that? Now it looks like I have precognition, cool.)

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      This is not really to raise the discussion on whether or not torturing detainees is justified - simply on whether or not telling the public that torture is not being used is ethical.
      Well basically torture is unpleasant. Once you allow people to be tortured legally then you open the gate for torture to be an acceptable thing to do to another human being. Which is just silly.

      Second it's not so much that the public is not being told. It's more because they don't know what to do about the control of corporations and government and are just memorized by the empire building enslaving them while they try to keep their head above water, and are fairly ignorant of what the policies crafted are actually suggesting. But since torture is being legalized people are beginning to realize things are changing around them and that this cannot sustain itself for long.

      This is all part of the exposure and failure of the old system. What is carefully designed in terms of empire building over many years, is now in the process of collapse. In other words the eye is falling.

      If bush wants to say your an enemy combatant. He can legally take any American, have their citizenship and rights taken, detained and tortured. Under the recent terrorism laws. They are designed more for dictatorship of the American people rather than for terrorism.

      This is a fairly bad move and it's in the process of collapsing as a result. As the corruption is getting obvious and what use to work as a control mechanism is failing. Eventually this is going to get rid of the corruption as people will not be interested in sustaining something so fear based and obviously unfair.
      Last edited by Mystic7; 10-06-2007 at 04:37 AM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Moonbeam
      I have no idea what you're talking about, but if you're saying this country is going fascist right before our eyes, I agree.
      Once again it's not that it's going fascist, so much as changing conditions, one of them namely the internet, exposes the fascism present as it begins to struggle over the people to maintain the control. In the meantime it is failing more and more every day. Youtube is a devastating blow to television. And they bleed funds in a desperate struggle to attempt to hide this problem as a horrific drop in viewers and loss of revenue, threatens the very source they used to perpetrate their content.

      People may not understand what is happening or how good it is and what change is coming. But I can say that the crumbling of the old fascist empire is now certain. You are seeing a stable systematic destruction of fascism.

      While this may appear as an increase in fascism to some. It is only because where it was not seen before. Now it becomes obvious.
      Last edited by Mystic7; 10-06-2007 at 04:47 AM.

    19. #19
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      Quote Originally Posted by Mystic7 View Post
      While this may appear as an increase in fascism to some. It is only because where it was not seen before. Now it becomes obvious.
      That is a very optimistic way of looking at it and I hope you're right.

    20. #20
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      What would be the best way to get terrorists to reveal terrorist attacks in the making?
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    21. #21
      On the woad to wuin R.D.735's Avatar
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      Although I'm no expert, I've read several accounts from interrogators, both current and former, that the most effective method is to gain the favor of the potential informant, by such ordinary means as conversation, having lunch with him, and interrogating him non-aggressively every day.

      If one wants to get information quickly, to prevent an imminent attack, torture can provide information quickly, but it's a huge gamble that it will be accurate. If it isn't, the prisoner isn't likely to provide any reliable intelligence all, no matter what else is attempted.

      The best information for preventing imminent attacks does not come from prisoners, but from civilians and informants sympathetic to us, who can provide reliable information and provide it quickly.

    22. #22
      now what bitches shark!'s Avatar
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      yeah of course they torture. there are fucking pictures of it.


    23. #23
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by R.D.735 View Post
      Although I'm no expert, I've read several accounts from interrogators, both current and former, that the most effective method is to gain the favor of the potential informant, by such ordinary means as conversation, having lunch with him, and interrogating him non-aggressively every day.
      I don't think that is the majority view of interrogators. It seems like it would be really bizarre if somebody who wants to commit suicide in order to kill you would tell you about his plans just because you had lunch with him and did a lot of hanging out with him. I don't think Saddam Hussein was found in a hole in the desert because some investigators buddied up with somebody close to Hussein. I see a significant possibility that when that information was revealed, the person talking had a butcher knife up his ass.

      I think I pretty much agree with the other stuff you wrote.

      Quote Originally Posted by shark! View Post
      yeah of course they torture. there are fucking pictures of it.

      Wow, you can even see Bush and Petraeus in that photograph. Okay, I'm sold. The U.S. government obviously has a torture policy.
      Last edited by Universal Mind; 10-07-2007 at 04:24 AM.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
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    24. #24
      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      What would be the best way to get terrorists to reveal terrorist attacks in the making?
      lets imagine that you are a terrorist. except in your perspective, you're a hero and a martyr. you believe you are in a holy war, and you're on the side of heaven, everyone else, on the side of hell. death means nothing to you because life on all ends has lost its value.

      you're not afraid to die and you probably hate life to begin with

      do you think threatening a terrorist with death is how you win information?

      violence does not lead to solutions. torment a terrorist and in the long run you get, more terrorists. kill a terrorist and you get, another terrorist ready to die and kill for revenge. its a never ending cycle when hatred is involved, and when hatred is involved - such as in terrorism *extreme hate for a perceived enemy* - violence never solves the issue. it may only temporarily weaken the terrorists, but in the long run the ordeal will just leave a bitter resentment in the area which breeds a new generation of terrorists years later

      the hard part, and the moral choice would be - to show this terrorist why it is beneficial to him to release information. thats the hard part, but the only way to beat terrorism.

      using torture, regardless of how much you might hate a person, is something a terrorist would do.

      currently, Bush's idea is you blow up terrorists and they magically disappear. some how over looking that using brute force pisses people off, and that all terrorists have one thing in common - they are pissed off people.

      a better way to defeat terrorism is to remove what created it. and thats a cultural situation, not a leader. not saying the leader isn't dangerous, but simply saying that in the long run terrorism will remain regardless of what leader is killed

    25. #25
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Juroara, I was asking what is the best way to get a terrorist (who is already a terrorist) to talk, not what isn't.

      Also, the threat of death and the threat of suffering are two different things.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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