General discussion


Torture and Terrorism

By fluidtech ·
Where do you stand on this? First let me present two scenarios:
a.) An intelligence service has information of an upcoming terrorist attack, for which they have high confidence in the information, but need more details. They have a suspect in custody and are beginning questioning. What measure of methods are acceptable?

b.) An intelligence service has a suspect in custody whom they believe responsible for a terrorist attack which has just been committed, and they believe the suspect has more information about other accomplices in the original attack, and also general information about the infrastructure of the terrorist network of which he/she is a member of.

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Torture is reported to be unreliable

by DC Guy In reply to Torture and Terrorism

I've never heard that assertion refuted.

Highly trained agents are capable of resisting the most horrible torture without telling what they know. Conversely, the average person in the street will tell you exactly what you want to hear just to make you stop.

If anybody has reliable knowledge of the subject and would like to refute this assertion, be my guest. However, the burden of proof is on you since this seems like such a no-brainer.

Sure, I'm a big believer in situational ethics. Sometimes you have to do what needs to be done no matter how awful it is. But one hopes that governments, with their incredible reach, power, and ability to hide their actions, resort to being nasty only in cases where even Mother Teresa would stop and ponder whether the ends might justify the means just this once.

Unfortunately government as an institution is famous for having low competence and zero ethics. That's as good a reason as any for prohibiting it from doing anything remotely evil, such as practicing capital punishment or building nuclear weapons. Its error rate is way too high for my comfort level.

Aren't these the same buffoons who took out the leader of Iraq over 9/11, when it was actually the Saudis who planned, financed, and staffed it?

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I look at

by JamesRL In reply to Torture is reported to be ...

The number of instances, in Vietnam, in Gulf War, in other situations, where strong willed and trained individuals have succumbed to pressure and said whatever they thought their captors wanted to hear to end the pain. So I don't believe in the efficacy of torture.

And more importantly, I don't believe its right. If you are fighting against evil, against regimes that use torture to try and achieve their goals, aren't you debasing yourself and your country to stoop to the same thing.

If you torture, you send the signal that in your perspective its ok to torture to meet your ends. Then what moral high ground do you have when your enemy captures one of your own and tortures them?

Whats worse is when you don't torture people on your own, but happily ship them off to third parties where torture is allowed and encouraged. Thats hypocracy of the highest order.


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Dealing with fanatics

by road-dog In reply to Torture and Terrorism

I tie level of response to level of urgency. At some point, the protection of say, 3,000 lives is worth extreme measures.

To me, chemical interrogation at the very least an acceptable option. Mind games like threatening to turn them over to a foreign government that would be less compassionate than we are would be an option as well.

If there is certainty that something is IMMINENT but specifics are needed, then all bets are off.

I really cannot speak an informed opinion as to the veracity of info given under torture, but it seems to me that nobody would be still doing it if it had no value at all.

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