Torture of US Citizens - Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Spider-Who?, Apr 23, 2013.

?

Should we torture US terrorists if needed?

  1. Yes - Saving innocent lives is worth it

  2. No - Torture is a moral line we cannot cross

  3. I'm not sure

  4. Only in the most dire of circumstances

  5. I don't want to know about it!

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  1. Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/22/new-york-lawmaker-i-would-torture-an-american-citizen/

    This isn't a Right or Left issue. This isn't a big government versus small government issue. This is a question asking, what are we prepared to do in order to save innocent lives.

    Should having a piece of paper stating one is a US citizen save a domestic terrorist from torture if it's deemed necessary in the retrieval of life-saving information?
     
  2. Victarion Iron Captain

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    Only if it is guaranteed to get accurate information. That's a big "if". As it is, I don't know if it has been proven to get accurate information. Another "if": IF torture were an option, it should never be used as anything except a last resort.

    For me, "saving innocent lives is worth it"/"Only in the most dire of circumstances" overlap.
     
    #2 Victarion, Apr 23, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
  3. enterthemadness The Triumvirate

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    Depends on my mood, what the accused person did, and if the person did it to anyone I know.

    But most likely a ''no'', no torture.
     
  4. Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    For the sake of the argument - let's say we capture a domestic terrorist (US citizen). He's killed several people, and the safety of countless others are dependent on him giving us information, which he steadfastly refuses to give. Time is running out, and he's not talking. Someone needs to do something or several more innocent people will be killed.

    Do you still consider torture an invalid option there?


    This isn't about torture for the sake of torture, or a misuse use of it (WHERE WERE THE OTHER DRUGS GOING?!?!?!). I'm not talking about torture scenes you see in movies where the villain laughs manically as the hero is beaten. This is about using "aggressive" techniques that have a high likelihood of success, in situations where vital information MUST be retrieved from a suspect who would otherwise refuse to talk. It's for the safety of the US population and of national security. Absolutely, you don't immediately grab the bucket of water and towel - you try as much as you can first. It's a necessary evil in my mind.

    And in the case of US citizens....if you plan to, or have committed acts of terror against your fellow countrymen, you are no longer a US citizen in my mind, and any rights and protections citizenship would otherwise grant you from torture is null and void. The world is not a pretty place; we were reminded of this last week. There are people out there that want to kill us. I think it's far more immoral to risk the safety of innocence out of a romanticized notion that we must be "better than them"***, than it is to inflict pain on an unrepentant murderer in order to save lives.

    This is my own personal opinion, however. I'm pretty passionate about this topic, so please don't confuse my earnestness with a dismissal of differing views.

    ***The "them" so many refer to are people who torture and kill for the hell of it. It's not about protecting innocents or stopping mad men. It's simply about causing pain and destruction. On the other hand, we recognize that torture is vile and is something we should not use lightly. We are already better than them for that alone.
     
    #4 Spider-Who?, Apr 23, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
  5. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    The question almost suggests that the answer should be different if the suspect wasn't American.
     
  6. Victarion Iron Captain

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    I agree with you entirely, then, Spider-Who.
     
  7. Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    That's because of the argument being made in the media (addressed in the original post). It's not a xenophobic concept, but a topic coming from the viewpoint that citizenship grants certain expectations of what the government can and cannot do. Similar to the idea of using drone attacks on US soil, or to reach far back, Rome not allowing any standing army within or near it's walls.

    Torture is flat out banned in the US and it's territories, regardless of the person's citizenship, or the situation one finds themselves in (of course, the MCA of 2006 kind of circumvents that in a way, and "advanced interrogation techniques", which I mean when I say "torture", can be considered a different concept). Let's face it, it happens anyway. Whether its a soldier in Afghanistan trying to retrieve information during a firefight, or a CIA agent in an interrogation room in Guantanamo, there are situations where it happens regardless of the law.

    Again, I'm not talking about the "prance around naked with bags on your head" style torture born out of boredom or hostility or hateful people like we hear about on the news. That's an entirely different thing altogether.
     
  8. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    I think this shows how much the US is still shellshocked by 9/11.

    The US should be against torture period. Regardless of who the person is or where they are.

    The lack of faith displayed by Americans in their own legal system is very distressing. Not to mention the international laws they once championed.
     
  9. Victarion Iron Captain

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    It isn't a lack of faith in a legal system; its getting the answers that will save lives.
     
  10. TheBat812 Registered

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    does anyone ACTUALLY think that torturing this boy will 'save lives'? That's hilariously naive. Or it would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic. Just watching the reactions of people to this event was sad in its own way. Bin Laden really won with 9/11. Americans everywhere are scared ****less to the point of abandoning many morals we used to hold dear, as Thunder just mentioned. Reminds me of Joker in TDK. Now we just need a Batman figure to reinstill hope within the American people.
     
  11. The Question Objectivism doesn't work.

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    Yes, because torture doesn't work. Every expert in the field, every study ever done, even the forerunners for moral bankruptcy in US foreign policy the CIA themselves agree that torture is one of the lest effective tools for interrogation and information gathering there is. I'm not being hyperbolic, all of the hard evidence says that asking nicely is more effective than torture.

    Your initial premise is flawed. This is not "a question asking, what are we prepared to do in order to save innocent lives" because torture does not make us better able to save innocent lives. This is a question asking how far we're willing to go to rationalize a desire for vengeance. Vengeance is the only thing we'll get out of torturing suspected terrorists.
     
  12. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    Let's just throw "innocent until proven guilty" (the basis for the American legal system) and the Constitution out the window.

    Even though the veracity of information obtained through torture is spotty at best. But hey, it works on 24.
     
  13. The Question Objectivism doesn't work.

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    Ethical and legal interrogation techniques are proven to be much more effective and accurate than water boarding or any other form of torture. They just seem slower, and they they don't come with the catharsis of hurting someone who has hurt you. That's why torture seems so sexy to people. But the fact is you're more likely to save lives with standard interrogation techniques than you are with torture.
     
  14. Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    I think you miss the point. No one is crying for this kid to be tortured. One senator mentioned it in the sense that if a domestic terrorist is withholding information, torture should be allowed. No one believes that this kid is withholding anything of national importance.
     
  15. The Question Objectivism doesn't work.

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    Yes, they are. There are absolutely people who are doing that. We live in America, post 9/11, and the internet exists. Our culture has never been more xenophobic and reactionary and there's never before been such an easily accessible and widespread forum through which people can share their horrible opinions anonymously. That not happening is a total impossibility.
     
  16. Victarion Iron Captain

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    In my example, torture's effectiveness is spot-on. That is the crux of my stance on this issue. Therefore, in accordance with my example, tossing out "innocent until proven guilty" in the interest of saving lives is the more humane course of action. Allowing people to die in the interest of your principles is selfish.

    @TheBat812: These events are not in any way comparable to pulp entertainment; I would not view the real world through the lens of a comic book or comic book film.
     
  17. The Question Objectivism doesn't work.

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    But in reality it isn't. In reality it's significantly less effective than conventional methods.
     
  18. Victarion Iron Captain

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    As I implied in my first contribution to the thread.

    @TheBat: What would a Batman figure do to reinstill hope? Break a law to catch the villain?
     
  19. Midnyte_Sun Medianoche de Sol

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    Since it has been proven to be mostly ineffective , I dont see why this is even an issue.
     
  20. Bathead The Oldest Geek

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    Indeed, all the incidents of the so-called "enhanced interrogation" the Bush administration approved saved absolutely NO lives at all. Pure and simple, torture is useless as an intelligence tool. All it does I show up America as a huge hypocrite.
     
  21. The Englishman Marching On Together

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    People will say anything to stop the torture, how can you be sure any of the information is accurate?
     
  22. moviedoors Indeed (P)

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    Yup, that.
     
  23. TheBat812 Registered

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    lol, I was 100% joking about the Batman part, although the Joker analogy does hold true. What Bin Laden did to break our psyches is very comparable to what Joker was trying to do to the people and to Bruce - to compromise their values in fear and live up to his own vision of who we are.

    As has been discussed, torture has been well documented as an unproductive form of interrogation, and is really only useful as intimidation/vengeance for pain we have endured. Its not something acceptable in modern society for various reasons, most importantly its ineffectiveness.
     
  24. Bathead The Oldest Geek

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    It's well documented, look it up.
     
  25. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    No it's not. Even if I were to agree with your argument (which is made out of straw by the way), it opens a very bad can of worms both legally and ethically. Torture should never be acceptable. Once you go down that road, it's very hard to turn back.

    So to reiterate: it's unethical, shortsighted, legally dubious and, as others have stated, it usually doesn't even work.
     

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