Can We All Agree That Torture Is Wrong?

Some of you make the arguement that torture is necessary at times. But working towards a common ground of understanding, do we all agree that torture is wrong?


Anonymous said...

wrong, and inefficient.

Erik said...

I don't countenance even a discussion of the utility of torture (and I can't conceive of an argument that waterboarding isn't torture--has any reader of this blog undergone it?). The "effectiveness" of torture isn't the question, it's the morality of it. For decades our culture, in books and movies, has depicted torture as what the "bad guys" do. The Nazis and North Koreans do it to our G.I.'s; the KGB does it to our spies; Goldfinger does it to 007. You get the drift.

So, we--the US--doesn't do it, just doesn't do it, that's all. Not because it doesn't work, but because we're the good guys.

Aren't we?

TWM said...

Must be nice to not "contenance" even a discussion of the utility of torture - makes it so much easier to win the debate that way.

Anyway, first you have to define it. Are we talking just physical actions or psychological as well? Is waterboarding really torture? We do it to our own in training after all.

Jason said...

Yes, torture is wrong in all cases. Yet, at the same time, there may be cases where it could be less wrong than the alternative.

But it would only be less wrong, never right.

NotPhil said...

Of course it's wrong. But it's also really stupid.

Organizations that use torture make it clear to everyone that they're genuinely dangerous and psychotic. Victims also lie far more often than usual when being tortured.


The practitioners of torture know it doesn't work. The real question is why do some people want to believe that it does?

Anonymous said...

The practitioners of torture DO IN FACT know it works. The question really seems to be "In order to save innocent lives and to hasten an end to conflict, why would anyone have reservations about using whatever means available to obtain information from those who think nothing of commiting reprehensible acts?

We are, after all, talking about waterboarding - not beheading.

Anonymous said...

(sarcasm on) Torture? It's just like terrorism--it's only wrong when the 'bad guys' do it.
(sarcasm off)
When a veteran of the Bay of Pigs blows up a plane and Venezuela wants his extradition we are silent on the evils of terrorism. When our contra henchment torture captured Sandinistas, we are silent on the evils of torture. We belong to a nation that thinks there is a fundamental difference between an Israeli using a missle to deliver a bomb to a civilian area and a suicide bomber delivering a bomb to a civilian area. It is a distinction without a difference and until we can see that we will never understand "Why they hate us". And, of course, we will never have peace or deserve it.

Nano Guru said...

If we (the U. S.) do it, then it is NOT AT ALL torture. However, if our enemy does it, then it is taboo of unimaginable heights! Talk about hypocrisy and double-standards! In my humble opinion, regardless of who does it, it is totally unacceptable and wrong. If one must employ torture as an instrument of "extracting" information, then we must be prepared to face the same treatment from others. Are we?

Anonymous said...

Since our government has publically announced that we don't torture. Congress has even passed a law against torture. So, why should you not contend that water-boarding is torture. I suggest asking for volunteers among those who think water-boarding isn't torture to let it be demonstrated on them.

Anonymous said...

" You will sleep safely in your bed tonight only because rough men stand ready to do violence on your behalf"

Oh the hypocrisy. Anybody remember the Congressional hearings where Barbara Boxer railed against Bush? " You dropped the Ball, Mr. President. " The US had in custody a prisoner who had prior knowlege of the 9-11 attack and the very liberal Senator was outraged that we didn't get it out of him. How? By asking? Every liberal Bush basher in Congress lined up to insist that we could have gotten the info if we REALLY wanted it.

Intelligence is like making sausage, people want the end product but not the details.

Tate said...

I remember seeing part of a TV program about John Gacy, the notorious torture/serial killer and one of the pyschiatrists spoke about Gacy's waterboarding his victims stating that killing someone ten times gives you an incredible feeling of power.

Gacy is now with Ken Lay having failed to convince God that waterboarding isn't torture and was turned over to satan to be tortured eternally until he "has paid the uttermost farthing."

Who was the military interrogator who had an interview in which he stated that torture is utterly ineffective and he was contemptuous of those who need to resort to it and stated plainly that it was ineffective because the victim will say anything to get it to stop. This professional interrogator left the military because he refused to be involved in it.

Please help the victims of the bush nazis:


Tate said...

Read about MK-ULTRA to find out why we are torturing our soldiers supposedly to make them able to bear up under torture.

Read The Greenbaum Speech - google it to find the real reason - with Timothy McVeigh, Mancurian candidate for the bush run criminal syndicate who have infiltrated our government for the past number of decades.

suz leboeuf said...




Anonymous said...

Every civilized and uncivilized country ,nation,tribe on the face of the earth has used torture at sometime in their existance,and just not to gain information.
Mans inhumanity to man,and there is no limit to what the human mind can concive to do to another human being. The question is it ever right? For the torturer its one step back on the human chain of civilation. For the tortured its one step closer to the realization of the evil of man.

Anonymous said...

But...you know what else is wrong?
Murder, rape, roadside bombs, briefcase bombs etc etc etc. There are alot of wrongs and rights in this world...torture is obviously one of them - but the genius who wrote the post before me, in his attempt to be all deep and metaphoric, won't do a thing to change it - ever! All the blogs in the world don't emoung to squat. Econo-girl - you seem like a really bright person - and I know your likely perplexed by your firing but you know what....just let it go....and move on! After all, you can't change the spots on a leopard! Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Hi Econo-girl, i hope you are well.

on the topic, i suppose i would do anything to protect my family. but on closer inspection of many of these "justified" wars, it seems to be wallets they are fighting for. thus to torture, kill for a dollor is wrong.

i would only fight to defend.

take care hun

The Lazy Iguana said...

What gets me about the "they torture people, so we can do the same" people is that can not seem to realize what it MEANS to be America!

We are the good guys. The guy in the WHITE cowboy hat. Now the bad guy, who wears the black cowboy hat CAN rob trains, lie, cheat, steal, and leave ladies tied up on railroad tracks. That is what the bad guy does!

But the guy in the white hat can not do any of those things. He has to obey all the rules. He has to follow the law that he stands for.

So what color is America's cowboy hat? Grey? Tan? Brown? Dark navy blue?

I think it should be white. And being the "good guys", YES we are at a disadvantage in some ways. No, we can not use black hat methods.

wwwwhny said...

I had a neighbor who was a WWII prisoner from Germany. He was incamped in Texas. When he was released he decided to stay in America. I asked him why. He said he was treated better here. Is that better than torture ? Brian@wwwwhny@gmail.com

Erik said...

Look, my fellow commenters, we pay a price for being "the good guys." We have a First Amendment that allows us to speak out, a Fourth Amendment that allows us to be secure in our homes and possessions, an Eighth Amendment that forbids "cruel and unusual punishment," a separation of powers that demands that each of the three branches of federal government be constrained by the other two. You see, these "freedoms" our troops are supposedly fighting for come at a cost to us. When I hear Right-wingers screaming "freedom isn't free" I can only reply, "Yeah, my freedom to protest this damned war, for example."

So we don't torture. No waterboarding, no forced physical positions, no extended sleep deprivation. None of that stuff. We're different, we're a fine and good folk. We pay a price for that, maybe making ourselves more vulnerable, maybe not. But that's what freedom costs us. Right?

Unknown said...

Yes, Erik, the price of freedom is vulnerability, I agree. But if torture is wrong, what's with TV?

Fleming Rutledge said...

Your website is extremely important to us all and beautifully designed, as well. But it would have a greater impact if you would clear up the misspellings-- for instance, you mean "the importance of being EARNEST" and in the home page header, the right spelling is "capitalist." THere are a number of other misspellings as well that a spelling checker would catch.
You are one of my heroes (I read the article in the New York Times) so I hope you will not take offense at this.

caat said...

doug..."if torture is wrong, what's with TV"

no one is forcing you to watch

ArleneJohnson said...

The sociologist in me wants to know what people feel about torture. That's why I logged on here.


Arlene Johnson
http://www.truedemocracy.net the home of
The Journal of History (La verdad sobre la democracia en Espanol)
Blogs: http://www.livejournal.com/users/arlenejohnson/