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the USA executed Japanese torturers for waterboarding





handfleisch
The next time you hear someone spouting the latest talking point about how waterboarding isn't torture, set them straight. The fact is, waterboarding has always been treated by the US as torture, as a war crime abroad and a felony at home. John McCain himself has pointed out that the US tried and convicted Japanese for waterboarding US soldiers during WW2; some of these Japanese were executed. Also, a sheriff in Texas was sentenced to ten years in prison for waterboarding prisoners in 1983.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/29/politics/main3554687.shtml
Quote:
McCain: Japanese Hanged For Waterboarding
GOP Candidate Says There Should Be "Little Doubt" It Is Torture

"There should be little doubt from American history that we consider that as torture otherwise we wouldn't have tried and convicted Japanese for doing that same thing to Americans," McCain said during a news conference.
...
"I would also hope that he would not want to be associated with a technique which was invented in the Spanish Inquisition, was used by Pol Pot in one of the great eras of genocide in history and is being used on Burmese monks as we speak," the Arizona senator said. "America is a better nation than that."


America is a better nation? Let's hope so.

The fact that we now even debate use of torture is, in terms of recent developments, the worst single instance of moral collapse in the US public realm. The negative repercussions for society will last for a long, long time.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201170.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
Quote:

Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime

By Evan Wallach
Sunday, November 4, 2007; Page B01

As a JAG in the Nevada National Guard, I used to lecture the soldiers of the 72nd Military Police Company every year about their legal obligations when they guarded prisoners.
...
After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: "I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure." He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. "Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning," he replied, "just gasping between life and death."

Nielsen's experience was not unique. Nor was the prosecution of his captors. After Japan surrendered, the United States organized and participated in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, generally called the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Leading members of Japan's military and government elite were charged, among their many other crimes, with torturing Allied military personnel and civilians.

The principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding.
...

In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners' civil rights by forcing confessions. The complaint alleged that the officers conspired to
"subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning."

The four defendants were convicted, and the sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison.


The non-partisan Politifact has also verified McCain's words.

link added on edit http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2007/dec/18/john-mccain/history-supports-mccains-stance-on-waterboarding/:
Quote:
McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as "water cure," "water torture" and "waterboarding," according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.

R. John Pritchard, a historian and lawyer who is a top scholar on the trials, said the Japanese felt the ends justified the means. "The rapid and effective collection of intelligence then, as now, was seen as vital to a successful struggle, and in addition, those who were engaged in torture often felt that whatever pain and anguish was suffered by the victims of torture was nothing less than the just deserts of the victims or people close to them," he said.

In a recent journal essay, Judge Evan Wallach, a member of the U.S. Court of International Trade and an adjunct professor in the law of war, writes that the testimony from American soldiers about this form of torture was gruesome and convincing. A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps.
ocalhoun

Wow! You actually made a good point.

Congratulations handfliesch, you're still simply repeating what you hear elsewhere, but you found a good one to repeat, and you've actually managed to change my mind on something.
lagoon
Yes me too. But I was against it anyway.

Confused
Solon_Poledourus
ocalhoun wrote:
Congratulations handfliesch, you're still simply repeating what you hear elsewhere, but you found a good one to repeat, and you've actually managed to change my mind on something.

To be fair, he could have just mentioned on his own that we executed Japanese for waterboarding, etc. But then he would have been lambasted for not citing sources. I thought it was a great post, yet the most interesting thing is that I really thought more people knew that waterboarding wasn't something new, and has been a war crime since the 1800's. Not assuming you guys here didn't know, but the public debate over it's legality is a shocking no-brainer, given the historical facts of it's use.
I would think that once someone pulled up the execution paperwork for the Japanese guys who did it, that there would be a huge, resounding, collective GASP in America, and waterboarding and other forms of torture would be immediately decried in the public realm.
Instead, we still seem to be having a public debate over it.
The irony is that this was brought to light by a Republican McCain, whos' party is defending it's use, while the uber-Dem Obama, whos' party is denouncing it's use, is doing his best to block any prosecution for it's use.
I suddenly feel dizzy...
liljp617
Could be wrong, but I was under the impression that they were convicted and/or executed for numerous crimes, one of the many being waterboarding?
ocalhoun
Solon_Poledourus wrote:

The irony is that this was brought to light by a Republican McCain, whos' party is defending it's use, while the uber-Dem Obama, whos' party is denouncing it's use, is doing his best to block any prosecution for it's use.

Which just goes to show you that playing party-oriented politics can be pointless sometimes.

liljp617 wrote:
Could be wrong, but I was under the impression that they were convicted and/or executed for numerous crimes, one of the many being waterboarding?

Oh yes, there were many other charges, including everything from other forms of torture and war crimes, to cannibalism.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
... yet the most interesting thing is that I really thought more people knew that waterboarding wasn't something new, and has been a war crime since the 1800's. Not assuming you guys here didn't know, but the public debate over it's legality is a shocking no-brainer, given the historical facts of it's use.
Totally agreed. If US citizens did not know that, it would be a much greater worry. I seem to recall they did lots of that in Argentina as well. I can't help but wonder what is happening in the prisons in Iraq, especially the ones where there are no US involvement. There has also been a recent case in the UAE, one of the most above board countries in the Middle East, so perhaps outside the US waterboarding is being used in many countries of the world, without even thinking about it. From that point of view it is probably good to remind the world that it is a crime.
Solon_Poledourus
ocalhoun wrote:
Which just goes to show you that playing party-oriented politics can be pointless sometimes.

I agree. Comedian Chris Rock once pointed out that no one person can be strictly Democrat or Republican with any kind of logic(he used different words, but basically the same point). Most normal, intelligent people are conservative on some things, and liberal on others. Playing for "the team" is a dangerous game in politics, especially when "the team" ceases to be the general populace.
ocalhoun wrote:
Oh yes, there were many other charges, including everything from other forms of torture and war crimes, to cannibalism.

Let's just hope we don't start eating the GITMO prisoners then. Although, that would get them out of there a bit quicker, I suppose.
deanhills wrote:
Totally agreed. If US citizens did not know that, it would be a much greater worry. I seem to recall they did lots of that in Argentina as well. I can't help but wonder what is happening in the prisons in Iraq, especially the ones where there are no US involvement. There has also been a recent case in the UAE, one of the most above board countries in the Middle East, so perhaps outside the US waterboarding is being used in many countries of the world, without even thinking about it. From that point of view it is probably good to remind the world that it is a crime.

Sadly, it's done all over the world, and it's probably among the least harmful forms of torture. Unfortunately, a nation can't call themselves the "good guys", or the "shining city on the hill", or a bastion of hope for all other nations, unless that nation does the right thing every time, with no exception. One of the reasons that America was for so long considered to be one of the greatest nations is because we chose to do the right thing every time, even when it meant getting ourselves hurt. Torturing prisoners may very well save lives(depending who you ask), but it's never, ever the right thing to do. Some would ask, "are you willing to sacrifice American lives because you didn't want to waterboard one of the bad guys?". However, that's the wrong question to ask. We should be asking ourselves "how can we save those American lives without sacrificing that which makes us Americans in the first place?"
We are a crafty and innovative people, and we can find the answers we need without losing our moral path. Torture is only one of two things, really; a shortcut to unreliable results, and/or revenge. If we choose either one of those, then we have no right to consider ourselves decent on any level. And if we tolerate it within our ranks, while criminalizing it internationally, then we have become not merely hypocrites, but also have become the enemy of what we are all taught to stand for.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Sadly, it's done all over the world, and it's probably among the least harmful forms of torture.
I'm not an expert, but from what I've seen in the movies and read on the Internet, waterboarding is never used on its own, but always in conjunction with other torture methods. So if there is waterboarding, you can be pretty sure that everything else that is much worse is being used and all of it together collectively brutal punishment for the person undergoing it.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
I'm not an expert, but from what I've seen in the movies and read on the Internet, waterboarding is never used on its own, but always in conjunction with other torture methods. So if there is waterboarding, you can be pretty sure that everything else that is much worse is being used and all of it together collectively brutal punishment for the person undergoing it.

I tend to agree. Waterboarding, in my opinion, is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem. That problem being how far are we willing to go, once we allow this kind of treatment?
A hypothetical scenario:
2013, Arlington, Virginia. A bomb explodes in front of a Government building, killing hundreds of Government employees and dozens of civilians. Three men are caught red handed at the scene, and they turn out to be American citizens, born here from parents who were born here. They are part of a sleeper cell made up of people who are all at least third generation American citizens born of Turkish descent. They went to public school here, went to college, worked regular jobs, all while secretly training as agents of a foreign terrorist organization.
Would we allow the use of waterboarding on the three men who were caught, in order to catch their co-conspirators? What if they had made friends at college or in the work place? Do we sweep those people up for investigation as well(as they might have been privy to information about future attacks), and justify the use of torture in their cases? If so, then we have just made it perfectly legal, by means of setting precedent, to torture American citizens. Would we then begin to allow this method to be used on gang members? Political activists who incite riots? Drug dealers? Where would the line be drawn? Or does being an American citizen exempt someone from this treatment, regardless of their crime?
If so, then are we saying it's OK to torture someone, as long as they aren't "one of our own"? How far would we take it?
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I'm not an expert, but from what I've seen in the movies and read on the Internet, waterboarding is never used on its own, but always in conjunction with other torture methods. So if there is waterboarding, you can be pretty sure that everything else that is much worse is being used and all of it together collectively brutal punishment for the person undergoing it.

I tend to agree. Waterboarding, in my opinion, is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem. That problem being how far are we willing to go, once we allow this kind of treatment?
A hypothetical scenario:
2013, Arlington, Virginia. A bomb explodes in front of a Government building, killing hundreds of Government employees and dozens of civilians. Three men are caught red handed at the scene, and they turn out to be American citizens, born here from parents who were born here. They are part of a sleeper cell made up of people who are all at least third generation American citizens born of Turkish descent. They went to public school here, went to college, worked regular jobs, all while secretly training as agents of a foreign terrorist organization.
Would we allow the use of waterboarding on the three men who were caught, in order to catch their co-conspirators? What if they had made friends at college or in the work place? Do we sweep those people up for investigation as well(as they might have been privy to information about future attacks), and justify the use of torture in their cases? If so, then we have just made it perfectly legal, by means of setting precedent, to torture American citizens. Would we then begin to allow this method to be used on gang members? Political activists who incite riots? Drug dealers? Where would the line be drawn? Or does being an American citizen exempt someone from this treatment, regardless of their crime?
If so, then are we saying it's OK to torture someone, as long as they aren't "one of our own"? How far would we take it?
Well at least we know that waterboarding is illegal, so in your example it will not be allowed. But yes, it is a very big problem. They have had the exact same in Ontario, Canada. They were put through due process though.
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080613/terror_trial_080613?s_name=&no_ads=

Probably easier to get evidence from locally grown cells as people in it would have histories in the country when they have been around for as long as they have been, in comparison with cells that have individuals who are very short-livid in duration and perhaps also with stronger ties with the terrorist groups in the Middle East, better trained and with less Western values. I.e. if you look at the above example of characters associated in the trial, their Western background obviously creates a softer terrorist than the hard ones with lethal histories.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Probably easier to get evidence from locally grown cells as people in it would have histories in the country when they have been around for as long as they have been, in comparison with cells that have individuals who are very short-livid in duration and perhaps also with stronger ties with the terrorist groups in the Middle East, better trained and with less Western values. I.e. if you look at the above example of characters associated in the trial, their Western background obviously creates a softer terrorist than the hard ones with lethal histories.

Better trained is debatable. Having western values is too, there are plenty of people living in the US who share the same value system of their ancestral nations. So I don't think being born and raised here makes them any less of a threat. But that's beside the point.
I was really just wondering how far the American public would allow this kind of treatment to go. If our own citizens are immune to harsh interrogation by the military, etc. I mean, once they caught Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, would they have used this kind of interrogation on them if they suspected them of being part of a larger organization? These guys were convicted pretty quick, and McVeigh was executed faster than most people in this country. I'm really just wondering why we don't treat the GITMO prisoners as normal criminals, as it seems to be a much faster process, and human rights don't seem to be abused in criminal cases nearly as often or to such an extent.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Better trained is debatable. Having western values is too, there are plenty of people living in the US who share the same value system of their ancestral nations. So I don't think being born and raised here makes them any less of a threat. But that's beside the point.
That is not what I meant, I was comparing them with those "harder to track" direct from the Middle East and tougher terrorists, obviously what the locally grown cell had planned in Canada was pretty brutal, but possibly easier to discover. Because they were Western it was easier to "know" them. They had gone to school, had track records, people knew them.

Solon_Poledourus wrote:
I was really just wondering how far the American public would allow this kind of treatment to go. If our own citizens are immune to harsh interrogation by the military, etc. I mean, once they caught Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, would they have used this kind of interrogation on them if they suspected them of being part of a larger organization? These guys were convicted pretty quick, and McVeigh was executed faster than most people in this country. I'm really just wondering why we don't treat the GITMO prisoners as normal criminals, as it seems to be a much faster process, and human rights don't seem to be abused in criminal cases nearly as often or to such an extent.
Maybe they are not the same? There is a difference between a detainee and a convict. I came across the following Ozzie debate somewhere else on the difference between a detainee and a convict. It was an interesting discussion too, worth reading I think:
http://commentree.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/gtmos-coming-here/
Futile
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I'm not an expert, but from what I've seen in the movies and read on the Internet, waterboarding is never used on its own, but always in conjunction with other torture methods. So if there is waterboarding, you can be pretty sure that everything else that is much worse is being used and all of it together collectively brutal punishment for the person undergoing it.

I tend to agree. Waterboarding, in my opinion, is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem. That problem being how far are we willing to go, once we allow this kind of treatment?
A hypothetical scenario:
2013, Arlington, Virginia. A bomb explodes in front of a Government building, killing hundreds of Government employees and dozens of civilians. Three men are caught red handed at the scene, and they turn out to be American citizens, born here from parents who were born here. They are part of a sleeper cell made up of people who are all at least third generation American citizens born of Turkish descent. They went to public school here, went to college, worked regular jobs, all while secretly training as agents of a foreign terrorist organization.
Would we allow the use of waterboarding on the three men who were caught, in order to catch their co-conspirators? What if they had made friends at college or in the work place? Do we sweep those people up for investigation as well(as they might have been privy to information about future attacks), and justify the use of torture in their cases? If so, then we have just made it perfectly legal, by means of setting precedent, to torture American citizens. Would we then begin to allow this method to be used on gang members? Political activists who incite riots? Drug dealers? Where the line would be drawn? Or does being an American citizen exempt someone from this treatment, regardless of their crime?
If so, then are we saying it's OK to torture someone, as long as they aren't "one of our own"? How far would we take it?


I am sure that I will be in the minority here and will get blasted, but so what if they are American? They just performed an act of terrorism that cost hundreds of lives. It should not matter what nationality, race, color or religion they are. They are just humans in my eyes and they have committed a crime against humanity as a whole and they should be treated accordingly.

First off, I do not believe in torture but I do believe that in some situations that it may be necessary to cross moral lines and boundaries in order to save lives. A lot of people do not condone spanking children but they realize that sometimes it is called for. I would not round up everyone these individuals know or associate with because that is a violation of those individuals’ constitutional rights.

I would do what is necessary in order to save lives. If crossing a moral boundary results in preventing another attack, so be it. I would rather live with the consequences of my actions then have to wake up the rest of my life and look at myself in the mirror and know that people lost their lives and I could have prevented it.

It is the government’s job to protect its citizens. If another attack happens the same people screaming about “torture” and unfair treatment of known terrorist will be the same ones screaming about why are we not being protected? To quote a monologue from A Few Good Men:
“Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and curse the Marines; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”---Col Nathan Jessep

For all actions there are consequences. For all inactions there are consequences. If it is within my power to prevent further loss of innocent lives, I will do what it takes. I would rather be held accountable for my actions than remembered and have to live with my inactions. If this makes me a monster or some inhuman beast, I will take it. I have been called way worse.
Spock: "... logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".
Kirk: "Or the one".
--- Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan

My 2 cents
deanhills
Futile wrote:
First off, I do not believe in torture but I do believe that in some situations that it may be necessary to cross moral lines and boundaries in order to save lives. A lot of people do not condone spanking children but they realize that sometimes it is called for. I would not round up everyone these individuals know or associate with because that is a violation of those individuals’ constitutional rights.
I understand where you are coming from with this, however have to wonder how effective torture really is in getting information. I'm not sure who mentioned it before, but someone has mentioned it in a thread that if you cannot get information immediately, then it is useless to detain people for long periods of time. I would also imagine that your real hardened terrorists would either give misleading information, or none at all, and the moment their compatriots learn of their having been detained, they would change their location or movements, so much so that after day 2, all information would have become almost redundant anyway. Think Gitmo has shown that to collect detainees for lack of knowing what to do with them, and fear of letting them go, can completely backfire in detrimental ways. There has to be more savvy ways of dealing with these guys. Have to agree with Solon such as in the case of the Somali pirates, it's better to shoot to kill in a combat zone, rather than to take prisoners.
Solon_Poledourus
Futile wrote:
For all actions there are consequences. For all inactions there are consequences. If it is within my power to prevent further loss of innocent lives, I will do what it takes. I would rather be held accountable for my actions than remembered and have to live with my inactions.

The mistake many people make when saying something like this is the assumption that we are only given two choices in these situations: (1) - Torture suspects and maybe save lives. (2) - Do nothing and let people die. Much more reliable information can be extracted from suspects by means other than torture. Exploring those other means is what keeps us safe, as well as morally centered. If we only see those two options, then we start to resemble our enemies. All the saving of lives won't matter when we have to teach future generations how we got where we are as a nation that condones torture.
Futile wrote:
I would not round up everyone these individuals know or associate with because that is a violation of those individuals’ constitutional rights.

What about the constitutional rights of the suspects? Even after convicting someone, they still have those same constitutional rights which defend them against "cruel and unusual punishment".
Futile wrote:
I would do what is necessary in order to save lives. If crossing a moral boundary results in preventing another attack, so be it. I would rather live with the consequences of my actions then have to wake up the rest of my life and look at myself in the mirror and know that people lost their lives and I could have prevented it.

Again, there are more options than either torturing suspects or doing nothing. As for crossing moral boundaries... How would you look yourself in the mirror knowing that you have set a precedent in this country to condone torture? Would you feel that torture is acceptable if we went to war with another country and some of our CIA agents were caught and tortured in the enemy prisons? I'm sure you wouldn't be saying, "Well, the Iranians had to get the information somehow for the safety of their people, so it's fine".
Ultimately, a nation that says torture is OK even in some circumstances, is not a nation which can claim to be the "good guys". When we torture our prisoners, it becomes a rallying cry for our enemies to fight us that much harder, and it justifies their hatred of us, creating even more enemies. Allowing this to take place in our nation even once, and then justifying it, begins a long descent into a future of which people are less safe, and morals are flushed down the toilet alongside the Constitution with which we used to wipe our collective asses.
As for your quote from that great movie, keep in mind that Col. Jessup was found guilty of ordering the use of torture.
Futile
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
The mistake many people make when saying something like this is the assumption that we are only given two choices in these situations: (1) - Torture suspects and maybe save lives. (2) - Do nothing and let people die. Much more reliable information can be extracted from suspects by means other than torture. Exploring those other means is what keeps us safe, as well as morally centered. If we only see those two options, then we start to resemble our enemies. All the saving of lives won't matter when we have to teach future generations how we got where we are as a nation that condones torture.


I opened my post by stating that I don’t condone torture and I don’t. But that does not mean that I do not see or understand that it may be a necessary evil. If it used only as a last resort thus the spanking analogy. I am not saying torture everyone and screw everyone’s rights no matter what and if you gleaned that from my post, please read it again.

The mistake that many people make is that they think there are more than two choices in every situation. Being a former Marine I have been in combat on 3 different occasions, 2 of those times under fire. I had to make decisions that could cost another person their life. Sometimes there is no gray area to play it is just black and white. I never lost anyone under me. But I have been part of the detail that goes to a Marine’s house in order to inform the family and love ones that the Marine isn’t coming home and if you personally have experienced that than you sure as hell don’t want to stand in front of someone and tell them that their love one isn’t coming home because you didn’t want to violate a self admitted terrorist and murderer (at least in your scenario) constitutional rights. Never mind the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness that these terrorist just took away from hundreds of people who did nothing wrong other than get out of bed and go to work. Oh well too bad for them, guess they should have called in sick, huh?

GITMO and the treatment of the detainees were wrong. There was no reason or just cause for the detainees to have been treated as they were. As I said and will restate again, “I don’t condone torture.” But that does not mean that I do not see or understand that it may be a necessary evil. In the case of GITMO it was unnecessary and it was an evil.

Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Again, there are more options than either torturing suspects or doing nothing. As for crossing moral boundaries... How would you look yourself in the mirror knowing that you have set a precedent in this country to condone torture? Would you feel that torture is acceptable if we went to war with another country and some of our CIA agents were caught and tortured in the enemy prisons? I'm sure you wouldn't be saying, "Well, the Iranians had to get the information somehow for the safety of their people, so it's fine".


First off no one person can set a precedent of that magnitude in this country without major political backing. Be for real. When you join the military or a government organization like the FBI or CIA you take an oath. Putting your life on the line is part of the job. They are serving their country. They knew the risk when they signed up. This is the reality that we live in. Men and women give up their Constitutional rights in order to protect ours. I was one of those individuals for more than half my adult life. Please do not insult me with an asinine statement such as that. If they got captured and tortured I would be outraged but that is a danger of the life they live. It is that reason why some people can be in the military and Federal Service and some cannot.

Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Ultimately, a nation that says torture is OK even in some circumstances, is not a nation which can claim to be the "good guys". When we torture our prisoners, it becomes a rallying cry for our enemies to fight us that much harder, and it justifies their hatred of us, creating even more enemies. Allowing this to take place in our nation even once, and then justifying it, begins a long descent into a future of which people are less safe, and morals are flushed down the toilet alongside the Constitution with which we used to wipe our collective asses.
As for your quote from that great movie, keep in mind that Col. Jessup was found guilty of ordering the use of torture.


There are no good guys or bad guys. This is not an old western. To some people we are the good guys and then to some we are the bad guys i.e., not all the people who live in Iraq want the US there and consider us friends. Americans are considered arrogant, self-centered, fat, lazy, pushy, and overbearing by most countries. It is a stereotype true but that is the perception many foreign countries have of us, like it or not, fit it or not. Col. Jessup was not found guilty of anything he was charged and arrested. And his legal situation does not lessen or dampened the truest of his statement. People always seem to scream about their constitutional rights but have no idea or turn a blind eye to what it truly costs so they can march in lines, carry signs and exercise those rights without fear persecution.

As I stated in another thread, I respect and admire your views and opinions. But the future can’t exist if we can’t make it through today. I am too much of a pragmatist to ignore the world I live in now. I live in a world where 10, 11, and 12 year olds carry AK-47’s. I live in a world where I can’t give a starving child 10 feet away from me any food or water. I live in a world where I helped over 400 people escape a country, where they either witnessed, heard or both in some cases their families, friends and neighbors being hacked to pieces by death squads. I live in a world where people fly airliners into buildings. We humans are animals. We are the only species that kill each other just because another one of us is different in color, belief or just because we can. Ants are the only other species on earth besides man that wage war, take prisoners and have slaves. All of those are innate abilities and instinctual for them. We do them because we can. We are the deadliest of animals.

I am sorry if I offended you in anyway. But the there are necessary evils in the world and unfortunately in my eyes I feel this is one. I don’t see the world through rose colored glasses. I believe in the greater good of man, but I have seen the evil of man first hand. Edmund Burke, a British Statesman, once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I would rather be found guilty of doing the wrong thing, then guilty of doing nothing. I have to live for today, because tomorrow is not promised to anyone. General George Patton stated, "A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future."

You ask me how I can look myself in the mirror. I will tell you and until you hold another individual’s life in your hands, (someone not blood related to you) I don’t expect you to understand. Bottom line, I will do whatever is in my power to insure that the life that was entrusted to my care returns the same way I received it. Life is precious and any loss of it is a tragedy. And willingly standing by and not acting when you could have done something to prevent that loss is an even worse travesty.
handfleisch
Futile wrote:

I opened my post by stating that I don’t condone torture and I don’t. But that does not mean that I do not see or understand that it may be a necessary evil. If it used ...


All respect to you and what you have been through. Just want to point out that considering torture a necessary evil is condoning it. And, as you know, torture has nothing to do with snap decisions on the battlefield or anything like that. The US's use of torture has harmed the average US soldier like you in Iraq or Afghanistan, since it was a recruiting tool for terrorists and enemies of the US. Anyway good luck with everything.
Futile
handfleisch wrote:
Futile wrote:

I opened my post by stating that I don’t condone torture and I don’t. But that does not mean that I do not see or understand that it may be a necessary evil. If it used ...


All respect to you and what you have been through. Just want to point out that considering torture a necessary evil is condoning it. And, as you know, torture has nothing to do with snap decisions on the battlefield or anything like that. The US's use of torture has harmed the average US soldier like you in Iraq or Afghanistan, since it was a recruiting tool for terrorists and enemies of the US. Anyway good luck with everything.


Point taken. Let me clarify. I don't condone torture in every situation. Given the GITMO situation that was uncalled for there was nothing to gain and there was no evidence that any of those individuals committed any crimes. In Salon’s example however, these individuals have openly admitted and confessed to the killing hundreds of people are totally a different scenario. There is no doubt or error in this case.
You are correct torture has nothing to do with the battlefield decisions. The correlation between the two is that there are not always more than 2 choices in every situation. The constant battle to be “politically correct” in all choices is our downfall. Our enemies consider us weak and spineless because we won’t stoop to their “levels”. But if we do we are the evil US. So we are damned if we do or damned if we don’t. We can always be the “bigger” man and turn the other cheek so that way they can slap us on that one too.
Solon_Poledourus
Futile wrote:
I opened my post by stating that I don’t condone torture and I don’t. But that does not mean that I do not see or understand that it may be a necessary evil.

As handfleisch stated, seeing torture as a necessary evil is condoning it. I understand your point, and that you believe it may have value for getting information, but even the best interrogators can't even agree on whether or not that's true.
Futile wrote:
They knew the risk when they signed up. This is the reality that we live in. Men and women give up their Constitutional rights in order to protect ours. I was one of those individuals for more than half my adult life. Please do not insult me with an asinine statement such as that.

There was no offense meant by it, and the statement to which you refer was meant to ask the question "If we view the use of torture as a war crime by other nations, then how can you justify it as a necessary evil by your own nation?". If you choose not to hold your own country to the international laws by which you hold other countries, then you are promoting world domination, not the rule of law.
Futile wrote:
You ask me how I can look myself in the mirror. I will tell you and until you hold another individual’s life in your hands, (someone not blood related to you) I don’t expect you to understand.

As a paramedic who worked in Iraq during wartime, I understand full well the scope and magnitude of war, and what it costs. I have had to be the harbinger of of the death notice to many families, both overseas and in my own country.
Futile wrote:
Bottom line, I will do whatever is in my power to insure that the life that was entrusted to my care returns the same way I received it. Life is precious and any loss of it is a tragedy. And willingly standing by and not acting when you could have done something to prevent that loss is an even worse travesty.

An honorable position, and I respect you for it. But deciding whether or not to torture a prisoner has nothing to do with standing by and taking no action. It has to do with the rule of international law. To justify, even in rare cases, the use of torture, is to tell the international community that we are exempt from the very laws that we champion and impose upon others. Exempting ourselves from such laws, even in a few rare cases, is one step towards becoming a world dictatorship.
Solon_Poledourus
Futile wrote:
In Salon’s example however, these individuals have openly admitted and confessed to the killing hundreds of people are totally a different scenario. There is no doubt or error in this case.

The reason I made those guys admitted as guilty in the example was to find out if people thought torture was justifiable in such a case. The tragedy is that there's still no way to know if the information gleaned by such action is factual, or worthy of such action. Either way, if you make it legal in that situation, then you open a door to it's use in other situations which may be questionable.
Futile wrote:
The constant battle to be “politically correct” in all choices is our downfall. Our enemies consider us weak and spineless because we won’t stoop to their “levels”.

This really has nothing to do with being "politically correct", it has to do with obeying the law.
Futile wrote:
But if we do we are the evil US. So we are damned if we do or damned if we don’t. We can always be the “bigger” man and turn the other cheek so that way they can slap us on that one too.

Or we can use torture in some cases, and the stories of it will circulate worldwide, and the enemy will use it as justification for even more heinous acts of brutality and murder on their part. Thus, making the world, and our nation, less safe from these groups.
ocalhoun
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
The tragedy is that there's still no way to know if the information gleaned by such action is factual, or worthy of such action.

Actually, there is a quite simple way. You just have to cross reference the stories told to you by several captives. Where they disagree, you know that one or both are lying, so you continue until their stories match.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
The tragedy is that there's still no way to know if the information gleaned by such action is factual, or worthy of such action.

Actually, there is a quite simple way. You just have to cross reference the stories told to you by several captives. Where they disagree, you know that one or both are lying, so you continue until their stories match.
Perhaps this would work with detainees who are genuinely "innocent" of terrorism. The problem ones will probably not say anything, or deliberately use false information that has been pre-agreed upon. I.e. information with mostly falsehood with an element of truth in it, just enough to keep those who are interrogating them off balance.

I still wonder though whether the interrogation at Gitmo is still ongoing. There has been no release of detainees since January, and also no new inmates. "New" detainees are probably being processed completely differently these days.
Solon_Poledourus
ocalhoun wrote:
Actually, there is a quite simple way. You just have to cross reference the stories told to you by several captives. Where they disagree, you know that one or both are lying, so you continue until their stories match.

That works with regular criminals most of the time, but rarely with well trained fanatical militants who believe god is on their side. I imagine this has been tried already. Unfortunately, even high ranking individuals from these groups rarely have more than a small slice of information, not usually shared by anyone else. That's what makes their plans such a pain in the ass to foil.
handfleisch
Futile wrote:


Point taken. Let me clarify. I don't condone torture in every situation. Given the GITMO situation that was uncalled for there was nothing to gain and there was no evidence that any of those individuals committed any crimes. In Salon’s example however, these individuals have openly admitted and confessed to the killing hundreds of people are totally a different scenario. There is no doubt or error in this case.
You are correct torture has nothing to do with the battlefield decisions. The correlation between the two is that there are not always more than 2 choices in every situation. The constant battle to be “politically correct” in all choices is our downfall. Our enemies consider us weak and spineless because we won’t stoop to their “levels”. But if we do we are the evil US. So we are damned if we do or damned if we don’t. We can always be the “bigger” man and turn the other cheek so that way they can slap us on that one too.


You are motivated by your reaction to the evils in this world. With your "I live in a world where 10, 11, and 12 year olds carry AK-47’s. I live in a world where I can’t give a starving child 10 feet away from me any food or water" it might help your perspective to add "I live in a world that tortures" to the list.

About Solon's example, theoretical exercises that are far off daily reality are of little use, like watching the stilted episodes of "24".

I don't think the choice is "politically correct" or not, the choice is human rights or not. I think the argument that our enemies consider us "weak" for choosing this is false; from everything I have read, that is not what is on their mind and how they view US forces on the subject of torture. And most military strategists say that what makes an occupying military force strong --not weak-- is the old "winning the hearts and minds", which is done by maintaining levels of decency and respect for the local populace.

On the subject of viewing US forces as weak in general as far as battlefield decisions, given that the US is using extreme force pretty liberally (judging by the accidental killing of civilians), I doubt any of the enemy is viewing the US as weak in its use of force.
Bikerman
It seems to me that this whole topic of torture is best deal with in a very British way - you fudge it slightly.

Proponents of torture like to give a 'ticking bomb' scenario where they have to torture or many people will die. In reality this scenario seldom, if ever, occurs. This is, to me, the ONLY possible scenario in which torture could be morally defended. Since that is the case (ie there is one possible scenario in which one could argue a moral case, and since that scenario rarely occurs) then surely the sensible and practical thing to do is outlaw torture (ie there is always assumed to be a case to answer in any case of torture) and then leave it to a duly constituted authority (court or court-martial) to decide what, if any, punishment should follow. Clearly in the case where many lives actually WERE saved then the defence would have a strong case.
The alternative - allowing torture in some cases, or trying a weasel-word the definition of torture - will inevitably lead to systemised abuse of torture - as it did in this case.
Solon_Poledourus
I just see torture as one of those things that becomes a very slippery slope. It's like saying some forms of human sacrifice are OK, but others are not. Once you allow it in any form, it will always get abused by someone who knows how to work the system.

We don't need to "define what torture is", as some politicians keep urging us to do. We already defined it decades ago, very clearly. Then we promptly outlawed all forms of it. The definition is as follows:
Convention Against Torture 1.1 wrote:
For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means 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 or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Here is the link.
That's the definition the international community agreed upon. In Article 2, there is stated a prohibition on torture, which is non-negotiable, uncompromising, and very clear.
Convention Against Torture 2.2 wrote:
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

This ban on torture includes acts of terrorism, or the threat thereof. Whatever ones' thoughts may be on the morality or effectiveness of the use of torture, it is illegal under a set of laws which were agreed upon.
To create any exception to this prohibition, however small or rare, is to completely nullify the law aginst torture, thereby sanctioning it's use.
It does not matter if we think there is no other option. We have taken torture off the table, it is not an option. If people see this ban on torture as ineffective or naive, then they can feel free to try and change it. Frankly, it turns my stomache to think of living in an America that feels the need to justify torture in any circumstance or form.[/quote]
Futile
handfleisch wrote:

You are motivated by your reaction to the evils in this world. With your "I live in a world where 10, 11, and 12 year olds carry AK-47’s. I live in a world where I can’t give a starving child 10 feet away from me any food or water" it might help your perspective to add "I live in a world that tortures" to the list.

Please do not patronize me. Everything that I have stated I have lived and experienced firsthand. I have not watched on TV, read a newspaper or internet article and then come to a conclusion, “This is where I stand on this issue and blah, blah, blah…” I have come to find that experience is one of the best teachers. But I do thank you for the evaluation of my mental psyche. My perception of the world is so much clearer now that you have corrected it. I could have saved thousands of dollars and weeks of time not seeing that shrink when all I had to do was post a message and you would have corrected it for free. Well lesson learned. You see experience strikes again.
handfleisch wrote:

About Solon's example, theoretical exercises that are far off daily reality are of little use, like watching the stilted episodes of "24".

There is nothing wrong with Solon’s example. This is a discussion/debate. It is normal to present a scenario or analogy in order to prove or further your point. Eight out of ten times that presentation is usually extreme; if it is supporting your point and very mild if it is against your point.
handfleisch wrote:

I don't think the choice is "politically correct" or not, the choice is human rights or not. I think the argument that our enemies consider us "weak" for choosing this is false; from everything I have read, that is not what is on their mind and how they view US forces on the subject of torture. And most military strategists say that what makes an occupying military force strong --not weak-- is the old "winning the hearts and minds", which is done by maintaining levels of decency and respect for the local populace.

On the subject of viewing US forces as weak in general as far as battlefield decisions, given that the US is using extreme force pretty liberally (judging by the accidental killing of civilians), I doubt any of the enemy is viewing the US as weak in its use of force. "

I see your point on the human rights take. Let me clarify something. When I said viewed as weak and spineless I was referring to the Government and overall perception of the country and its leaders for not condoning, at least not openly, certain levels of treatment. I was not speaking of the actual US forces themselves. Being a retired Military person myself I think that would be more than a little hypocritical don’t you think? No one in their right mind anywhere in the world would say that the US forces are weak and spineless. But the US Government is a different story.
Solon_Poledourus
Futile wrote:
Please do not patronize me. sarcasm ensues....

I pride myself on my sarcasm. You have just earned 3,568 points from the Solon Sarcasm Fund. Well done.
Very Happy
handfleisch
Futile wrote:

I see your point on the human rights take. Let me clarify something. When I said viewed as weak and spineless I was referring to the Government and overall perception of the country and its leaders for not condoning, at least not openly, certain levels of treatment. I was not speaking of the actual US forces themselves. Being a retired Military person myself I think that would be more than a little hypocritical don’t you think? No one in their right mind anywhere in the world would say that the US forces are weak and spineless. But the US Government is a different story.


My point stands just the same. Most nations consider the US strong for valuing human rights and international conventions against torture, not weak, and those who might not are dealt with in various ways via diplomacy, sanctions, and international pressure. If Iran or some god-awful gov't like that thinks the US "weak" for not torturing, then who the hell cares what Iran thinks in that case anyway? Does it keep you awake at night that Iran thinks the US weak? And therefore you think the US should torture in response to what Iranian gov't thinks? You see how the logic of your argument collapses on cursory inspection.
Solon_Poledourus
So I came up with a list of ways we can save American lives from Islamic "terrorists".

Ban all people of Islamic background from entering US, kick out the ones already here.
Kill all their women and children(actually, a girl I dated briefly came up with that one, saying that after 1 generation there would be no more terrorists because "they don't breed with foreigners"... I think she was only half joking).
Use nuclear weapons on their countries, aka Genocide.

These are all pretty extreme, but I'll be damned if they wouldn't work a whole lot better than torturing a prisoner for some info that may or may not be reliable. So if it's justification we need for the preservation of American lives, and a certainty of success, I think these ideas would be much better than torture.

But there's a reason we will never do these things. Because we are the good guys. Yes, it's extremely black and white when it comes down to being good or evil. When you have to question or compromise your morals, and use the end to justify the means, you are no longer one of the good guys. Period. It doesn't matter if you think it will save lives, or if it is for a good cause. As they say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
Futile
handfleisch wrote:
Futile wrote:

I see your point on the human rights take. Let me clarify something. When I said viewed as weak and spineless I was referring to the Government and overall perception of the country and its leaders for not condoning, at least not openly, certain levels of treatment. I was not speaking of the actual US forces themselves. Being a retired Military person myself I think that would be more than a little hypocritical don’t you think? No one in their right mind anywhere in the world would say that the US forces are weak and spineless. But the US Government is a different story.


My point stands just the same. Most nations consider the US strong for valuing human rights and international conventions against torture, not weak, and those who might not are dealt with in various ways via diplomacy, sanctions, and international pressure. If Iran or some god-awful gov't like that thinks the US "weak" for not torturing, then who the hell cares what Iran thinks in that case anyway? Does it keep you awake at night that Iran thinks the US weak? And therefore you think the US should torture in response to what Iranian gov't thinks? You see how the logic of your argument collapses on cursory inspection.


Once again you have taken a statement to the extreme. I have said from my first post and as Bikerman has reiterated, only in certain circumstances do I feel that torture is allowable as in the example. Some people do not condone abortion but they will admit that in some cases it is allowable. This is the same stance and light in which I approach torture. I could give a rat’s ass about the overall opinion of a country’s opinion of the US. I said we are “perceived/viewed" as weak not that we are weak. We never have to worry about a “whole” country because of the reasons that you stated. It is usually that little pocket or cell of individuals that will treat our soldiers and military in an inhumane fashion. So you see how your normal selective reading and assumptions once again collapse under the common skill of reading comprehension. And to answer your other question, the only thing that keeps me awake at night is the snoring of the 65lbs pit bull on the floor at the foot of my bed and that is only sometimes.
handfleisch
Futile wrote:
I could give a rat’s ass about the overall opinion of a country’s opinion of the US. I said we are “perceived/viewed" as weak not that we are weak.


You're pretty much all over the map here. Bikerman's point doesn't support yours, that torture should be used to not be considered "weak", because in your words the "constant battle to be 'politically correct' in all choices is our downfall. Our enemies consider us weak and spineless because we won’t stoop to their “levels”. You're also getting personal pretty quickly, so whatever. Carry on.
Futile
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
So I came up with a list of ways we can save American lives from Islamic "terrorists".

Ban all people of Islamic background from entering US, kick out the ones already here.
Kill all their women and children(actually, a girl I dated briefly came up with that one, saying that after 1 generation there would be no more terrorists because "they don't breed with foreigners"... I think she was only half joking).
Use nuclear weapons on their countries, aka Genocide.

These are all pretty extreme, but I'll be damned if they wouldn't work a whole lot better than torturing a prisoner for some info that may or may not be reliable. So if it's justification we need for the preservation of American lives, and a certainty of success, I think these ideas would be much better than torture.

But there's a reason we will never do these things. Because we are the good guys. Yes, it's extremely black and white when it comes down to being good or evil. When you have to question or compromise your morals, and use the end to justify the means, you are no longer one of the good guys. Period. It doesn't matter if you think it will save lives, or if it is for a good cause. As they say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".


I am glad that you finally came to your senses. Why stop at Islamic terrorist, let’s throw in Jews, Blacks and Mexicans. Hell let’s throw in everyone who wasn’t born here. Wait that would mean you too, wouldn’t it? So unless you are Native American just get the hell out. …Solon you digress…no more caffeine today for you.

The end always justifies the means whether good or bad. I think that we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Good and bad are in the eyes of the beholder much like beauty is. Moral compromise to one may not be moral compromise to another and the bottom-line to that is they can both be right and they both can be wrong and still not be able to find common ground.
Solon_Poledourus
Futile wrote:
I have said from my first post and as Bikerman has reiterated, only in certain circumstances do I feel that torture is allowable as in the example.

Even in the hypothetical that I gave, there was no guarantee that the guys actually had any valuable information, which is the case in reality. We might think they know something, and they very well may. But if we torture a guy who we are sure has information, yet he doesn't, then we are actually hurting our own cause by breaking the law, wasting time torturing him, and probably getting false confessions for the sake of ending the torture. The waters of intel become very muddy when people give up information under this kind of duress.
Futile wrote:
Some people do not condone abortion but they will admit that in some cases it is allowable.

Allowing it is condoning it, even if only in rare cases. To see it as a necessity in certain circumstances is no different than seeing it as an everyday tool. Once it's use is legalized, it will be used more than just in rare cases where a decent person like yourself sees the necessity. That's why it's outlawed completely; because of the slippery slope factor.
Futile wrote:
It is usually that little pocket or cell of individuals that will treat our soldiers and military in an inhumane fashion.

Inhumane in what way? Perhaps by torturing them?
Futile wrote:
And to answer your other question, the only thing that keeps me awake at night is the snoring of the 65lbs pit bull on the floor at the foot of my bed and that is only sometimes.

I had one of those too. His name was Sampson, and I had a female English Bulldog/Pitbull mix named Dixie. God I miss them.
Bannik
actually I want torture to be used I think its genius, it has been used for all cultures in every era do you know why? cause it works.

whether we like it or not some idiot in some weird backwaters of this planet is planning for no reason but his own ignorance too attack the innocent and more then likely he has friends and those friends know where he is, if by using torture you can capture the twat and arrest him i am all for it


BUT

torture should only be used when all other methods have failed

it should only be used on people that are 100% a threat (i know its impossible too know that for sure but if you catch a guy with a bomb stuck up his arse then more then likely he was a terrorist)

and it should only be used if you know that he knows what you want too know.


also

instead of torture i would rather fund research into creating a proper working truth serum like the type they use in movies (which always work for some reason)
Solon_Poledourus
Bannik wrote:
actually I want torture to be used I think its genius, it has been used for all cultures in every era do you know why? cause it works.

It works? Interesting... I suppose you have a comprehensive study on how well it works, right?
No? I wonder why that is... Probably because there is no such study, because nobody has ever proven whether or not torture works.
As for "all cultures in every era": Until the current era, torture wasn't used to get information. It was used to punish people. Only relatively recently did torture become a real tool for the intelligence community. And the funny thing is, it usually backfires. If torture worked as well as you say it does, then every country would be doing it. There's a reason it's so taboo. Because it's deplorable, and yields almost no useful results.
Bannik wrote:
instead of torture i would rather fund research into creating a proper working truth serum like the type they use in movies (which always work for some reason)

Now we are on the same page. Or the CIA can get back into studying psychic abilities like they and the Russians did 50 years ago, now that would be cool.
deanhills
Exactly what kind of torture are we talking about here? Initially I thought it was of the doing grievious bodily harm kind and it would appear that it is not grievious from information that has been released by the CIA. The worst parts are the incarceration and isolation. Does anyone have detailed knowledge of exactly what kind of torture has been used in Gitmo?
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Exactly what kind of torture are we talking about here? Initially I thought it was of the doing grievious bodily harm kind and it would appear that it is not grievious from information that has been released by the CIA. The worst parts are the incarceration and isolation. Does anyone have detailed knowledge of exactly what kind of torture has been used in Gitmo?

Well, there's "waterboarding", which I think we covered pretty well already. Though it isn't supposed to cause any actual physical harm, people can have serious reactions to it and get injured or even die. Then there's "walling", where they slam a guy up against a wall pretty hard. This is just supposed to knock the wind out of him. There are a few others like those, but all have pretty much the same outcome; a little pain but not much physical harm.
The thing is, torture, as defined by the international law regarding it, is not limited to "grievious bodily harm". I posted the definition from the International Convention Against Torture in a post above. It includes any kind of "physical or mental pain" and "coersion" used to extract information. For the purposes of this thread and the treatment of prisoners in our modern world, that is the only definition of torture. Some would argue that mental abuse is ok, because the prisoners don't actually get hurt. Yet, 5 detainees have attempted suicide(with 3 succeeding and 1 left with brain damage). Suicide without martyrdom is a sin in the Islamic world. So why would these men rather commit suicide than just wait it out? Perhaps because even mental and emotional torture can be as "grievious" as physical torture.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Exactly what kind of torture are we talking about here? Initially I thought it was of the doing grievious bodily harm kind and it would appear that it is not grievious from information that has been released by the CIA. The worst parts are the incarceration and isolation. Does anyone have detailed knowledge of exactly what kind of torture has been used in Gitmo?

Well, there's "waterboarding", which I think we covered pretty well already. Though it isn't supposed to cause any actual physical harm, people can have serious reactions to it and get injured or even die. Then there's "walling", where they slam a guy up against a wall pretty hard. This is just supposed to knock the wind out of him. There are a few others like those, but all have pretty much the same outcome; a little pain but not much physical harm.
The thing is, torture, as defined by the international law regarding it, is not limited to "grievious bodily harm". I posted the definition from the International Convention Against Torture in a post above. It includes any kind of "physical or mental pain" and "coersion" used to extract information. For the purposes of this thread and the treatment of prisoners in our modern world, that is the only definition of torture. Some would argue that mental abuse is ok, because the prisoners don't actually get hurt. Yet, 5 detainees have attempted suicide(with 3 succeeding and 1 left with brain damage). Suicide without martyrdom is a sin in the Islamic world. So why would these men rather commit suicide than just wait it out? Perhaps because even mental and emotional torture can be as "grievious" as physical torture.
Thanks for filling me in. I'm completely brain-washed with all those movies that come from Hollywood. Torture conjures up worst scenario grievious bodily harm stuff. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Ditto for people in other parts of the world who do not get the details of exactly what "torture" was applied in Gitmo. I can't remember what the name of the movie was, but it was one where the detainee was kidnapped and taken to a country in the Middle East and really badly tortured. The US was implicated in this. The movie on the subconscious level fixed those horrible images and after that when I heard "torture" that is what came in my mind. When the Gitmo news articles started, I associated the scenes of the torture in the movie, including the cell he was kept in with Gitmo. It was only when I started to read up more on Gitmo and learning that Gitmo may be a better facility for the current detainees than alternatives in the United States, that I understood that my picture was completely wrong. I would imagine that Obama is now trying to legalize the moving of the detainees to US prisons as a first step to create US facilities to accommodate the detainees along Gitmo lines. Can imagine this is probably going to come at a great cost, and create even more delays.

PS: I googled the movie and now remember the one that made a great impression on me. It was called Rendition with Reese Weatherspoon in it:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15406583
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Thanks for filling me in. I'm completely brain-washed with all those movies that come from Hollywood.
You aren't the only one. Most people have a greusome idea of what torture is, either because of movies or because the actual use of it is so shrouded in secrecy.

I never saw the movie Rendition, but I heard it was really good. I like that Peter Skarsgard kid, and Jake Gyllenhaal, both good actors I think. Maybe I'll put that on my list of movies to see.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Thanks for filling me in. I'm completely brain-washed with all those movies that come from Hollywood.
You aren't the only one. Most people have a greusome idea of what torture is, either because of movies or because the actual use of it is so shrouded in secrecy.

I never saw the movie Rendition, but I heard it was really good. I like that Peter Skarsgard kid, and Jake Gyllenhaal, both good actors I think. Maybe I'll put that on my list of movies to see.
It was not a bad movie to watch, but somehow it was not that very credible either. It's good to watch it as it has good actors in it, but since you've been in the war, maybe some of it will be lacking in facts. Scary though to think that bad things like that can happen to good people.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
It was not a bad movie to watch, but somehow it was not that very credible either. It's good to watch it as it has good actors in it, but since you've been in the war, maybe some of it will be lacking in facts. Scary though to think that bad things like that can happen to good people.
I've been in a war zone, but not as a soldier. I was a medic. The strange thing is, alot of what happened seemed like a movie. Many of the soldiers I know have said the same thing. Obviously, movies don't always portray war accurately, but sometimes they aren't far off the mark either. I can't attest to the accuracy of Rendition, as I have neither seen the movie nor experienced the circumstances of extraordinary rendition itself. I'm willing to bet that the movie embellishes a good deal, but I'm also willing to bet that it's got a bit of credibility and accuracy as well. Movies like that usually have a person or group of people with military backgrounds giving advice on how to make things more realistic.
Though I don't think anyone outside of some very small government circles actually know all the details of something like extraordinary rendition.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
It was not a bad movie to watch, but somehow it was not that very credible either. It's good to watch it as it has good actors in it, but since you've been in the war, maybe some of it will be lacking in facts. Scary though to think that bad things like that can happen to good people.
I've been in a war zone, but not as a soldier. I was a medic. The strange thing is, alot of what happened seemed like a movie. Many of the soldiers I know have said the same thing. Obviously, movies don't always portray war accurately, but sometimes they aren't far off the mark either. I can't attest to the accuracy of Rendition, as I have neither seen the movie nor experienced the circumstances of extraordinary rendition itself. I'm willing to bet that the movie embellishes a good deal, but I'm also willing to bet that it's got a bit of credibility and accuracy as well. Movies like that usually have a person or group of people with military backgrounds giving advice on how to make things more realistic.
Though I don't think anyone outside of some very small government circles actually know all the details of something like extraordinary rendition.
There was no war in the movie. Just a guy who was making a presentation on a trip to South Africa, got kidnapped and never arrived on his return journey. It then focussed on the bizarre chaos, specifically his torture when he was taken to a non US country (I think it was in the Middle East somewhere) and badly tortured, and then his wife's confusion initially and then determination once she started to tackle the problem right at its source in US Government in Washington DC. Like a Kafka thriller.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
There was no war in the movie. Just a guy who was making a presentation on a trip to South Africa, got kidnapped and never arrived on his return journey. It then focussed on the bizarre chaos, specifically his torture when he was taken to a non US country (I think it was in the Middle East somewhere) and badly tortured, and then his wife's confusion initially and then determination once she started to tackle the problem right at its source in US Government in Washington DC. Like a Kafka thriller.
It sounds alot like what happened to the Candaian citizen Maher Arar.
The BBC wrote:
Mr Arar was detained and questioned by US customs agents while changing planes on his way back from a holiday in Tunisia in New York's JFK airport in September 2002.

He was subsequently deported to Syria. A Canadian government inquiry supported his claims to have been tortured during his eight months of imprisonment in the country.

Here's the link.
There are actually quite a few cases of this having happened in the past 7 or 8 years. So maybe the movie isn't as fanciful as it seems.
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