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Does defense justify torture?

Does defense justify torture?


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tacomancer

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Amnesty International wants Bush prosecuted for his roll in waterboarding. One of the defenses of Bush I have come across is that torture is when used to defend innocent lives. I will admit, it is an interesting question for me to explore.

What is your opinion?
 

digsbe

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I do believe that national defense justifies forms of torture. Saving lives should be the priority and not the comfort or rights of terrorists and suspects.
 

Diogenes

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I disagree that waterboarding is torture, but if you care to call it that then my answer is "Yes"
 

Fiddytree

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I quite honestly do not know. I do not like torture, but in concrete examples where it has helped defend a people from an attack, it is hard to argue with the results except if it has changed us as a people.
 

Coronado

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I do believe that national defense justifies forms of torture. Saving lives should be the priority and not the comfort or rights of terrorists and suspects.
I agree with everything but the bolded portion.
 

OscarB63

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torture to get information used to save lives :thumbs:

torture to get some dirtbag to admit he stole some ****..... no
 

winston53660

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Sometimes laws should be broken.
 

cpwill

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I quite honestly do not know. I do not like torture, but in concrete examples where it has helped defend a people from an attack, it is hard to argue with the results except if it has changed us as a people.
exactly. i speak as someone who has probably had his life saved as a result of the IP's torturing a prisoner they had captured. the biggest problem with torture is that it does break people, and it can be used to get quality information.





my opinion on torture is, it should be generally illegal. and allowed. in a ticking bomb type scenario, we should have some kind of automatic trial process which allows for the kind of interrogation necessary to save lives, while still allowing for punative action to be taken against those who make that decision, should they prove to have abused the standards. frankly, if you're willing to risk your life for your country, you should also be willing to risk 15 years in jail.





that being said; we waterboard our own troops and interogators. those who participated in the Enhanced Interrogation program under Bush had all those techniques performed on them before they performed them on others (you have to understand exactly what the effects are in order to make use of them). i'm thinking the method in which we went about it isn't torture (at least, that's what the DOJ said), and if it was, then in the cases where it was used, then it was justified.
 

digsbe

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I agree with everything but the bolded portion.
By suspects I mean people who are suspected to know information or those within terrorist organizations/ties that haven't committed acts of terror. I do feel that they should still be interrogated as I put safety above their rights. I wouldn't support this for someone we have no evidence of conspiring with terrorists or terrorism.
 

digsbe

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Good guys don't torture. And good guys wouldn't have to in the first place.
Good guys protect the innocent at all costs. Good guys wound't put lives at risk because they don't feel like doing something uncomfortable. I would say the bad guys care more about formalities and protecting the rights of murderous criminals than they do about thwarting terrorism and saving innocent lives.
 

OscarB63

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Good guys don't torture. And good guys wouldn't have to in the first place.
and the bad guys always wear black.... :shrug:
 

Lord Tammerlain

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Sure torture them, but then hang those that ordered the torture and committed the torture.


Then you will be sure only those that need to be tortured will be tortured, rather then being tortured for fun by a bunch of sadists
 

tacomancer

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I quite honestly do not know. I do not like torture, but in concrete examples where it has helped defend a people from an attack, it is hard to argue with the results except if it has changed us as a people.
One of my biggest obstacles is that I have trouble finding a universal standard. We prosecuted the Japanese for waterboarding in WW2 for example and if (big if, but lets go with it for the sake of argument) we had lost in Iraq or Afghanistan, would they have the right to prosecute us?
 

Simon W. Moon

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Fiddytree

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One of my biggest obstacles is that I have trouble finding a universal standard. We prosecuted the Japanese for waterboarding in WW2 for example and if (big if, but lets go with it for the sake of argument) we had lost in Iraq or Afghanistan, would they have the right to prosecute us?
The best thing I have come to a conclusion is that there is likely an impossibility of developing universal doctrines for most of the human experience. That being said, I would agree that the pursuit of standards, or at the very least, denial of the virtues of nihilism is what is needed. It gives us no incredibly tangible way of dealing with the world, but it gives us a good perspective.

That being said, yes, much of the discussion has revolved around the assumption that it is useful for gathering information, when in fact, it can do quite the opposite, as has been seen throughout history.
 

tacomancer

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The best thing I have come to a conclusion is that there is likely an impossibility of developing universal doctrines for most of the human experience. That being said, I would agree that the pursuit of standards, or at the very least, denial of the virtues of nihilism is what is needed. It gives us no incredibly tangible way of dealing with the world, but it gives us a good perspective.

That being said, yes, much of the discussion has revolved around the assumption that it is useful for gathering information, when in fact, it can do quite the opposite, as has been seen throughout history.
A standard is a good starting point, than one should look at the circumstance as that is equally important. Ultimately though, I cannot see moral justification in any action if one is applying a different basic standard on different groups. The desire to defend one's country is admirable, however a person in Iraq has just as much right as I do to try and defend what they hold dear. To say that one standard applies to Americans while another applies to another is to say that people are not created equal, which does against our traditional principals.

Another view on this is the harm/help perspective. It does more harm to let a catastrophe happen than it does to torture an individual, but is this sufficient justification? If so, than does that give a Canadian the right to torture an American who wants to poison a city's water supply? (as a hypothetical)
 
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Cephus

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If torture were proven to be an effective means of getting information, maybe, but since in most instances, the individual being tortured will tell you anything to make you stop, whether it's true or not, torture really isn't that useful to begin with. Besides, I'd rather not be associated with a government that resorts to base torture to get what it wants. Two wrongs do not make a right.
 

Fiddytree

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A standard is a good starting point, than one should look at the circumstance as that is equally important. Ultimately though, I cannot see moral justification in any action if one is applying a different basic standard on different groups. The desire to defend one's country is admirable, however a person in Iraq has just as much right as I do to try and defend what they hold dear. To say that one standard applies to Americans while another applies to another is to say that people are not created equal, which does against our traditional principals.

Another view on this is the harm/help perspective. It does more harm to let a catastrophe happen than it does to torture an individual, but is this sufficient justification? If so, than does that give a Canadian the right to torture an American who wants to poison a city's water supply? (as a hypothetical)
But then again, we have to accept the political reality that dictates that one group must do his best to improve his current standing and diminish that of his enemies or competition. Whoever wins the rhetorical, political, or military competition gets to dictate terms.

All of this is messy. I think what I have myself reverted to is, of course, a deeply flawed resolution (though, which way is not incredibly flawed?) from first response onward.
1) Rhetorical beauty
2) Self-preservation
3) Dominate the message abroad
 
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Fiddytree

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Not necessarily. Otherwise, we could have all agreed that the Soviet Union's treatment of various demographics was completely justified. But deep down, there is something in us to revert to us vs. them. Our reliance upon our rhetoric of human rights and our democratic principles perhaps helps prevents the likelihood of extreme measures. The problem is identifying when we have gone to the extreme.

My problem with this is that it does violate the principal that all men are created equal, meaning that we are essentially going against out traditions and our culture in the effort to preserve those things.
But that is the issue. You are right..in a way it can be considered contrary to our principles. On the other hand, were we always to act in accordance with our principles, we would have lost out on some excellent opportunities which likewise also benefited us greatly to the point of national and international celebration.
 
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tacomancer

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But then again, we have to accept the political reality that dictates that one group must do his best to improve his current standing and diminish that of his enemies or competition. Whoever wins the rhetorical, political, or military competition gets to dictate terms.

All of this is messy. I think what I have myself reverted to is, of course, a deeply flawed resolution (though, which way is not incredibly flawed?) from first response onward.
1) Rhetorical beauty
2) Self-preservation
3) Dominate the message abroad
I guess my biggest problem with this is that it goes against our traditions (all men are created equal) and applies different standard to different groups in an effort to preserve our traditions. Its like a fiscal conservative's complaint against Bush who started the bailouts in an effort to preserve capitalism.

Not necessarily. Otherwise, we could have all agreed that the Soviet Union's treatment of various demographics was completely justified. But deep down, there is something in us to revert to us vs. them. Our reliance upon our rhetoric of human rights and our democratic principles perhaps helps prevents the likelihood of extreme measures. The problem is identifying when we have gone to the extreme.
Sorry, I deleted my comment when I saw that you updated yours in order to expand it in accordance with your update. The same thoughts are expressed in response to the previous quote though.

So, there is a balance to be struck? It is ok to have some different standards as long as they are not too extreme? Is that a correct understanding of your stance?

What would you say to me as someone who does not have an us vs them instinct, except when it comes to my family and friends and only in dangerous circumstances? (I have no problem telling my friends when they are being idiots for example). My personal opinion here is that you are right, but some people feel that instinct much more strongly than others do for whatever reason.
 
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Fiddytree

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That's what happens to me, as I have said before. I go "oh, I should put this in", and then by that time, someone responds to portions of the post but not others and it just gets confusing thereafter. I'm messed up that way.

Anyways, I always liked the notion of the balance, but just what that balance is is difficult to arrive at. I have accepted that some issues just are not fun to deal with, and thus may require a less than savory response-so long as we do maintain a great deal of consistency elsewhere. This is why I have a problem listening to people espouse logical fallacies verbatim to refute someone's response as if it really approaches the issue in a meaningful manner. The human experience is not consistent with logic, but it can sashay in its direction.
 

tacomancer

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That's what happens to me, as I have said before. I go "oh, I should put this in", and then by that time, someone responds to portions of the post but not others and it just gets confusing thereafter. I'm messed up that way.
I think we are both slow and deep thinkers, so its going to happen.

Anyways, I always liked the notion of the balance, but just what that balance is is difficult to arrive at. I have accepted that some issues just are not fun to deal with, and thus may require a less than savory response-so long as we do maintain a great deal of consistency elsewhere. This is why I have a problem listening to people espouse logical fallacies verbatim to refute someone's response as if it really approaches the issue in a meaningful manner. The human experience is not consistent with logic, but it can sashay in its direction.
I will admit, I have some thinking to do. I tend to derive my principals solely from logic, however, as you have brought human nature into the equation, I need to reflect on that as it is something I had not considered.
 

Fiddytree

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What would you say to me as someone who does not have an us vs them instinct, except when it comes to my family and friends and only in dangerous circumstances? (I have no problem telling my friends when they are being idiots for example). My personal opinion here is that you are right, but some people feel that instinct much more strongly than others do for whatever reason.
I would say that that person might be incredibly rare, indeed. If they feel it with their friends and family, but not with their nation, and have trouble seeing that...I would ask that they use their conceptual imagination to expand it to that so as to better identify with the perspectives of our leaders as well as a great many of our citizens.
 

tacomancer

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I would say that that person might be incredibly rare, indeed. If they feel it with their friends and family, but not with their nation, and have trouble seeing that...I would ask that they use their conceptual imagination to expand it to that so as to better identify with the perspectives of our leaders as well as a great many of our citizens.
Ultimately, I believe nationalism comes out of our primitive desire to protect the tribe. That instinct is more strongly expressed in some than others. This is a stereotype, but I think it generally applies, liberals tend to express that instinct less strongly than conservatives.
 
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