The Torturers Among Us

I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Danner here:

Torture, as the former vice-president's [recent] words suggest, is a critical issue in the present of our politics—and not only because of ongoing investigations by Senate committees, or because of calls for an independent inquiry by congressional leaders, or for a "truth commission" by a leading Senate Democrat, or because of demands for a criminal investigation by the ACLU and other human rights organizations, and now undertaken in Spain, the United Kingdom, and Poland. For many in the United States, torture still stands as a marker of political commitment—of a willingness to "do anything to protect the American people," a manly readiness to know when to abstain from "coddling terrorists" and do what needs to be done. Torture's powerful symbolic role, like many ugly, shameful facts, is left unacknowledged and undiscussed. But that doesn't make it any less real. On the contrary.

Don't know about you, but the revelation that the United States of America was actively torturing people, and that there was a built-in cheering/apologia section for the project (including some self-styled libertarians), was my very own private National Pants-Shitting Moment (NPSM). To extend the bad metaphor a bit too far, from those days forward nothing ever really smelled the same, particularly the hot air (and Hot Air) emanating from those sections of the polity who either downplayed or defended the practice. As Cathy Young once put it around these parts, "It is a shocking sign of the times that we are having a debate about the appropriateness of torture."

Partly because of that shocking fact, coupled with the happier development that the two major-party candidates for president were both at least rhetorically anti-torture, at some point, after an early head start, I stopped having that debate altogether. A pervasive Bush-fatigue also contributed, as did the NPSM of the economic crisis, which is ongoing and massive.

But as much as that latter crisis places me in daily opposition to Barack Hussein Obama, I am glad indeed that the new guy is dumping these documents into the public domain, and reminding us afresh of Mark Danner's point: That there is a large and active contingent in the population who thinks that torture is an acceptable price to pay for the national defense. A stance that, among many other more serious flaws, takes as granted that the stuff works with anything approaching regularity. I don't know if our long national nightmare is over just yet, but I'm certainly more optimistic about this particular toxic asset than I have been in a long time.

Reason on torture here. Link via Andrew Sullivan.

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  • ||

    Maybe I'm only a self-styled libertarian then, cuz I'm torn. If I believe torture works, I would be willing to use it in a heartbeat, to say, find out where some pedophile is holding my kid hostage. If it doesn't work, then I wouldn't bother. But I don't give a crap about the feelings of or pain felt by someone who is willing to let that happen. While I care less about national defense than my own kid, others care more, I suppose.

    Ask yourself this. Would you be willing to torture Dick Cheney if he had raped your kid?

  • ||

    Would you be willing to torture Dick Cheney if he had raped your kid?

    (nods)

  • ||

    Would you be willing to torture Dick Cheney if he had raped your kid?

    Aye.

  • ||

    Would you be willing to torture Dick Cheney if he had raped your kid?

    Hell yeah. (flips Cheney burger)

  • Spoonman||

    Torture is one thing if you start with the assumption that the victim is guilty of something. But I don't trust the State to know that, and neither should you.

  • ||

    How about if the person in question is a government official?

    At that point, you *KNOW* they're guilty of *SOMETHING*.

    For example: authorizing the creation of room 101.

    Would it be acceptable to waterboard the guy who authorized room 101? How about rats?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    If the case is so important that torture is justified, than the torturer and his bosses should be willing to pay the price for violating the law.
    So throw those noble sons of bitches in jail for a long time.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    then/than.

  • Brett Stevens||

    Torture is only useful for extracting information from hardline opposition. Rank and file probably do not require torture for you to extract the information you need.

    I'm not against torture. In fact, I'm for all the brutality in war, because our enemies will use it and we must compete. However, I think the real issue here is that our government is completely incompetent in who it tortures.

  • ||

    Hmm. While I agree torture would be a cruel and unusual punishment, I have no problem using it to find a missing child if the person who knows where that kid is doesn't say. I can still sleep OK at night with this possible contradiction in my head.

  • thoreau||

    One problem is that government employees often find out that the suspect that they were SURE must be guilty is in fact innocent. So why would anybody trust them to only use torture on the guilty?

    The most common use of torture in most times and places has been to extract false confessions. Why should we expect that our government employees are any better?

    Besides, the logic of torturing a guy is self-fulfilling. You inflict pain, and if he says what you want then he must be guilty (even if he's only lying to you so you'll stop hurting him). Sure, you could ask for verifiable information, but interrogators (with and without torture) are good at feeding information to suspects, sometimes without even intending to do so. A desperate person will say whatever he thinks will help him.

    And if he doesn't talk? Or if his info isn't verified? Well, then, he must be a really tough guy, so he needs more torture until he's willing to play ball.

    Either way, whether he says what you want or doesn't say what you want, you can conclude that torture was the right approach. It's completely non-falsifiable.

  • ||

    That is precisely why past generations have explicitly forbade torture. For a lot of people is has a certain appeal.

  • ||

    So the practices described in this report all constitute torture?
    Putting a caterpillar inside a box with a known terrorist - that is beyond the pale?

    Guess the word torture has become pretty much meaningless...If you believe an open-handed smack to be torture, what do you call eye-gouging or electrical shocks to the genitals?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    As with capital punishment, we can all think up theoretical cases where torture might be appropriate.
    But do you trust your (or any) government to decide which prisoner to put to death, which to torture?
    For libertarians (drink!), a lot of ya'll seem to be mighty trusting of The Man.

    If you think you know that your neighbor kidnapped your kid and you want to beat him until he confesses and leads you to the body, go ahead. But also know that you might have to pay a penalty for your act. (Would it be totally worth it? Probably.)
    If you're some CIA dude and you think you know that the guy in custody has the code to shut off the nuclear bomb and you can waterboard it out of him -- man up, get the info and then do the time. Maybe you'll get a pardon.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    If you think electrical shocks to the genitals to be torture, what do you call ripping the entrails from a man, burning before his dimming eyes, then drawing and quartering the body?

  • ||

    The ongoing popularity of 24 is an indicator of many people's attitudes towards torture. Personally, I think if you put them in a room with real torture they'd get sick instantly--and that's a good thing.

    Would you be willing to torture Dick Cheney if he had raped your kid?

    That's about punishment, not information gathering. No offense, but I think you'd lose your stomach for torture after engaging in it for about 5 minutes, even for someone who raped your kid.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the kind of people who become torturers are rare and are chosen for the job because of their sadism.

  • ||

    CN, do you know about the Blood Eagle?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    But often low-level thugs rise into the job, only to be shown to be incompentent torturers: the Severed Peter Principle.

    Epi - I think I learned about the Blood Eagle at this very site. I was actually thinking of the sentence against Sir Walter Raleigh who was lucky enough, in the end, to be quickly beheaded.

  • ||

    CN, I can live with your conditions. I agree the Bush administration should have to deal with the consequences. Make them prove it worked to stop a terrorist attack, rather than just punish the one that couldn't be undone. I'm with you there.

    I don't like torture, but I asked myself what I would do in a given situation before ruling it out completely. I could not say "I think it is NEVER justified." I'd nuke Ohio to save my kid, though, so maybe I'm the wrong person to discuss this topic rationally.

  • kinnath||

    The ongoing popularity of 24 is an indicator of many people's attitudes towards torture.

    Of course, the part everyone ignores is that Jack knows that he is breaking the law and is willing to bear the consequences when the dust has settled.

  • ||

    There is a no place for torture in the judgement/interogation phase. But if he is convicted, then if the law allows for flogging, quartering then it is OK. Of course the laws are available for review and if they are not appropriate for the crime then that has to be considered.

    Now if it is an immediate danger situation, I think the law of : skin for skin a man will do anything to save his own skin would be formost in play. But I see this being an easily abused clause if it were to be encoded as a get-out-of-jail-free clause in a regulation. Then suddenly everything would be cast in that urgency light.

  • ||

    Epi, I am always disturbed when Jack tortures someone and I know that's just a TV show. I felt bad when I put a dying mouse out of his misery when he was stuck to the glue trap. But I know how much I love my kid and I can't say I would or would not do X.

    These agents who torture for a living, I don't know how they can justify it since it's not really personal for them. It's work.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "I'd nuke Ohio..."
    See, so now I've got to launch a first strike against Nick to save my own kids.

  • Warty||

    felt bad when I put a dying mouse out of his misery when he was stuck to the glue trap.

    Protip: do not try to drown them. The glue is water soluble.

  • ||

    I think I learned about the Blood Eagle at this very site.

    I've mentioned it here before, so maybe from me. Who was the English prince who was killed by having a red-hot poker shoved up his ass?

    I felt bad when I put a dying mouse out of his misery when he was stuck to the glue trap.

    Get a cat. They're nature's sadists/torturers.

  • Warty||

    Personally, I think if you put them in a room with real torture they'd get sick instantly--and that's a good thing.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0524072torture1.html

  • ||

    Tomaig brings up my point. The discussion of "torture" often reminds me of feminist discussions of "rape" and "sexual harassment" back in the '70s and '80s, when it was argued that "rape" could mean "sleeping with a woman who had been drinking but had regrets the next day."

    Personally, I think torture means severe, prolonged infliction of pain. A slap is not torture unless you slap someone repeatedly for some length of time. Waterboarding is a tougher case, but it's hard for me to see it as torture if you do it to someone, once, for 30 seconds. It's not really equivalent to bamboo splinters under the fingernails.

  • Warty||

    Epi, wasn't that King Edward III?

  • kinnath||

    One of the great scenes in Pan's Labyrinth is when the commander is preparing to torture a prizoner and he tells the prizoner it's going to take a very long time before he believes anything the prizoner says.

    In general, torture isn't reliable, and the information collected during torture isn't useful without corroboration. This make torture a very time consuming process, which invalidates its only "acceptable" use during ticking-bomb scenarios.

  • Warty||

    Waterboarding is a tougher case, but it's hard for me to see it as torture if you do it to someone, once, for 30 seconds.

    Yes it is. Watch the video of Christopher Hitchens breaking after like 7 seconds of it.

  • ||

    Watch the video of Christopher Hitchens breaking after like 7 seconds of it.

    Did he find Jesus or something?

  • ||

    Epi, wasn't that King Edward III?

    No. You lose at the internets.

    Personally, I think torture means severe, prolonged infliction of pain.

    I don't think any of us have a fucking clue what torture is (and don't want to find out). If I took you hostage and told you I was going to torture you, and then waited 24 hours before it turned out that the torture was to make you watch Oprah, those 24 hours would still have been terrible, right? Mental torture in their own right?

  • Warty||

    So it was Edward II. I was off by a I. Sue me, dickface.

    On the night of 11 October while lying in on a bed [the king] was suddenly seized and, while a great mattress... weighed him down and suffocated him, a plumber's iron, heated intensely hot, was introduced through a tube into his anus so that it burned the inner portions beyond the intestines.-Thomas de la Moore



    Sounds kinda fun.

  • ||

    A stance that, among many other more serious flaws, takes as granted that the stuff works with anything approaching regularity.

    What really gets me is the number of people who think corporations are the emodiment of banal sociopathic evil, but are willing to blithely accept government as incapable of error (either of omission, or commission). And the biggest delusion of all is the belief that the people in custody are actually guilty.

  • ||

    Would you be willing to torture Dick Cheney if he had raped your kid?

    You're confusing torture with revenge.

  • Mike in PA||

    Torture is all about where you draw the line.

    When does interrogation become torture? Yelling? Inflicting fear? Inflicting pain? Inflicting permanent damage? Humiliation?

    It's all where you personally draw the line.

    I say if it works, do what ever it takes.

    Do not limit our resources and techniques in war, limit our reasons for war.

    It's funny how each person will move their line depending on whether or not they agree with the objective.

  • kinnath||

    You're confusing torture with revenge.

    200 years ago we banned cruel and unusual punishment for people that HAD BEEN CONVICTED of crimes.

    We now want to torture people based on less than compelling evidence cause they might, maybe, like possibly, have some information that could help avert some unkown future calamity.

  • ||

    "I don't know if our long national nightmare is over just yet, but I'm certainly more optimistic about this particular toxic asset than I have been in a long time."

    I don't know why, Matt.

    Setting the rhetoric aside, the guy gave blanket immunity to the CIA for war crimes.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002441----000-.html

    George W. Bush was never so bold as to engage in, what should we call it? ..."prosecutor nullification"?

    I don't know what's in President Obama's heart, but if I wanted to keep torturing people, I'd do exactly what he did.

    I've seen botched police brutality cases handled better than this. You may grant immunity in exchange for testimony, but not beforehand.

    That is isn't the way they handled Enron.

  • kinnath||

    It's all where you personally draw the line.

    You got two clear options: US law regarding the treatment of suspected criminals or the Geneva convention regarding the treatment of prisoners of war.

  • ||

    the torturer and his bosses should be willing to pay the price for violating the law.

    I agree with Citizen Nothing.

  • kinnath||

    I say if it works, do what ever it takes.

    Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if it is or isn't when you're busy torturing someone.

  • JB||

    I still don't understand the dichotomy "it's ok to end someone's consciousness, but not ok to cause them a little bit of pain."

    That is not logical.

  • Mike in PA||

    "You got two clear options: US law regarding the treatment of suspected criminals or the Geneva convention regarding the treatment of prisoners of war."

    Since when do libertarians declare written laws as the arbitor of right vs. wrong? Laws change - right and wrong don't.

  • Xjia||

    "If you believe an open-handed smack to be torture, what do you call eye-gouging or electrical shocks to the genitals?"

    al Quada playtime.

  • ||

    "I don't know if our long national nightmare is over just yet, but I'm certainly more optimistic about this particular toxic asset than I have been in a long time."

    I don't know why, Matt.


    Me, neither. Aside from the immunity issues (which are debatable; given the memos, there is a not-ridiculous defense that any "enhanced interrogation" was done in compliance with an opinion of counsel), there is also the Obama administration's current reservation of the right to engage in such interrogation if circumstances warrant.

    In some ways, the release of these memos, combined with immunity, sets the stage for more torture in the future. Obama has now set the bar, after all, for what can be done without consequence.

  • ||

    So it was Edward II. I was off by a I. Sue me, dickface.

    Instead, I will give a demonstration of torture by doing to you what they do to the guy in the beginning of The Evil That Men Do.

  • Xjia||

    "CN, do you know about the Blood Eagle?"

    I read that and wondered.

    I've had some fairly severe trauma inflicted on my body and I gotta think that as soon as they break your ribs and pull them back, either the increased endorphin level would either block the pain or if not, you'd simply black out.

  • bubba||

    I think we should define "torture" before we argue about whether or not it's ok.

    Is it torture when a cop shines a bright light in your face and threatens to throw the book at you if you don't confess? Probably not.

    Is it torture when someone electrocutes your genitals? Yes.

    Is it torture when someone makes you think you're going to drown for 10 seconds? Yes, but it's not the same as having your genitals zapped.

  • Mike in PA||

    Yes, Bubba. It's all in the degree.

    In fact what may be torturous to one may not be so to another.

    (I'm thinking of listening to R.E.M. - some people actually ENJOY that!)

  • Mistress Anna||

    "Is it torture when someone makes you think you're going to drown for 10 seconds? Yes, but it's not the same as having your genitals zapped."

    But what if a client likes it enough that they are willing to pay?

  • Warty||

  • ||

    Honestly, are there really living breathing Americans over the age of 12 who think this torture this is new?

    British agents were tarred and feathered, which was followed by days of excruciating agony and then death.

    Oh, and the pic of Abu G. above is disingenuous, and you know it, Welch. The 'torture' debate centers around what's going in at Gitmo. No one is defending Abu Ghraib.

  • Fluffy||

    I still don't understand the dichotomy "it's ok to end someone's consciousness, but not ok to cause them a little bit of pain."

    That is not logical.


    If a tiger in the jungle comes at you and tries to eat you, it's perfectly moral to shoot the tiger and kill it.

    On the other hand, if upon finding a tiger locked in a cage you say to yourself, "Hey, let's stick an electric prod through these bars and give the tiger electric shocks! It will be fun!" then you are a depraved fucking piece of shit.

    And arguing, "Hey, if it's OK to kill tigers, why can't we give them electric shocks?" would just show you to be a disingenuous douchebag.

    And to comment on the other thought experiment in this thread, I think the "nuke Ohio" tangent is very informative. If Dick Cheney raped my kid, I imagine I would have a "Kaiser Sose" reaction: I would be willing to torture not only Dick Cheney, but Lynne Cheney, the gay Cheney, the entire Cheney family tree, anyone in their address book, people who used to live on the same street as them, their maids, etc. This does not prove that doing these things would be moral - it only proves that beyond a certain level of provocation, rage would drive me insane.

  • ||

    Warty, that was their last good album.

    But I was thinking of this.

  • ||

    "British agents were tarred and feathered, which was followed by days of excruciating agony and then death."

    Washington made it a point to treat the Hessians he captured well. They were treated so well that after the war, many of the requested to stay and became enthusiastic Americans.

    It's been a matter of national pride ever since. I'm not saying our record's perfect, but even as a little kid playing war in the woods with my friends, we knew that being on the American side meant we didn't torture our prisoners.

    I was like 8.

  • JB||

    "Hey, let's stick an electric prod through these bars and give the tiger electric shocks! It will be fun!"

    Fluffy, that's the way you portray it. How about this?

    "Hey, let's obtain some information from this person who is responsible for the deaths of 3,000 people by making him afraid and causing him some pain. We not only get info on plots already planned and in progress, but on other individuals."

    According to you it's immoral to do that, but it is completely moral to put a bullet in the guy's head. Not logical.

  • JB||

    Overall, I don't trust the government to be anything but completely incompetent.

    But do I have a problem morally or legally with KSM being harshly interrogated or tortured? No.

    If used at all, it should be reserved for people exactly like him: high-value assets who have done despicable things. Who cares about his feelings and pain when he has murdered 3,000 people? He has no rights so those aren't even under discussion.

  • kinnath||

    "Hey, let's obtain some information from this person who is responsible for the deaths of 3,000 people by making him afraid and causing him some pain. We not only get info on plots already planned and in progress, but on other individuals."

    I would not object strongly if the men responsible for 9/11 were convicted and then crucified in the public square. Sure it's one of the cruelest forms of execution invented by mankind, but those dudes pretty much deserve it.

    That being said, capturing the mastermind of 9/11 and then torturing him for an extended period of time is just plain wrong on many levels, not the least of which is that it just does not produce reliable information on a regular basis.

  • Mike in PA||

    No Fluffy,

    If you did those things in the Cheney example for fun or for no other reason, you would be insane. If you did it as an effective means to gather information about your child, you would be wise.

    (Although, I think we can all accept that torturing someone to get information out of someone else is immoral.)

  • ||

    I fear creep.

    There are those who (perhaps even in good faith) argued that the TARP was necessary to prevent TEOTWAWKI. Sure. But that led to this bailout, and that one, and discussions of how to increase demand for GM trucks, etc.

    It's so very easy to say "we can use room 101 only on really, really, really bad people".

    But then we're using it on really, really bad people. Hey, you want to object? This guy was really, really bad!

    Soon we'll using it on really bad people.

    And then on bad people.

    And then the government will put out a report on bad people and, looky there, you fit the profile.

  • Warty||

    If you tortured people to gather information about your kid, then you're a dumbass. The worst thing about torture is that it doesn't fucking work.

  • Warty||

    Jaybird, you'd better confess quickly, or you'll jeopardize your credit score!

  • Fluffy||

    According to you it's immoral to do that, but it is completely moral to put a bullet in the guy's head. Not logical.

    The moral license that comes from a state of war ceases to be when your opponent surrenders. This is not an "illogical" distinction, nor is it very difficult to understand.

    Once your opponent surrenders and you place him in bondage, your moral responsibility to him is the same as it would be to any other ward of the state. If these moral burdens are too great for you, don't be the state.

    And in any event, your original statement was that if we're willing to kill terrorists, we should be willing to cause them pain. That same statement would apply even if we didn't need any information, so your little counternarrative has no point. If you think that logic demands that we permit any treatment up to the point of death for anyone we would have been willing to kill when they were still in the field, then interrogation has nothing to do with it. Your "logic" would permit us to torture them up to the point of death for any reason at all, or for fun.

  • JB||

    Fluffy,

    If we can give them the death penalty while in custody (which we can in KSM's case), then it is stupid to say we shouldn't be able to cause them pain.

    I think most people would rather have a little pain rather than death.

  • JB||

    Warty, you are wrong; torture can work. It may not work in every case and it may not work if done improperly (like everything).

    It is most effective when used to threaten people. You hold out the promise of unspecified torture (let their imagination do your work) and they become a lot more cooperative to normal interrogation.

    Harsh interrogation of Abu Zubaydah gave info to help capture KSM:

    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZTEzMjc3YWU3ZmJiNzA3NThhNjdiMmY4MDkzNjRlMDY=

  • ||

    including some self-styled libertarians



    Donderooooooooo!

  • Fluffy||

    If we can give them the death penalty while in custody (which we can in KSM's case), then it is stupid to say we shouldn't be able to cause them pain.

    I think most people would rather have a little pain rather than death.


    Right, so like I said, you are basically now conceding that your point is that we can torture anyone we want, if the crime for which they are held carries the death penalty, because death > pain.

    Tip: when you aren't disputing my characterization of your statement, all you have to do is say, "Yup" or "Right" or something similar.

    This means that, applying JB's moral system, it would be perfectly OK to daily torture every single prisoner held on death row. And this would be true for any torture that stopped at any point < death.

  • ||

    Go Obama! He stopped government agents inflicting state power (in the form of extreme physical and mental suffering) on people who had no access to any of the rights granted to every U.S. person, including the pesky requirement that someone be proved guilty before getting punished. Then he released unredacted government documents related to the program. Celebrate these libertarian acts!

    Oh wait spoke too soon. It's the libertarian thing to debate whether torture is good policy or not. Oh and Obama is teh fascist communist devil!

  • VM||

    Tony: A Portrait of the Troll as A Young Man...

  • ||

    He stopped government agents inflicting state power

    Really? I didn't think there was any torture going on when he took office, so how could he stop have stopped anyone from torturing?

  • ||

    """Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if it is or isn't when you're busy torturing someone."""

    Depends on how you define works. If that is defined by making someone admit to that which you desire them to admit, it does. It's a horrible method for getting the truth.

    Fear motivates people to lie, even on the most basic level. A child will lie fearing punishment. The primary element in torture is fear. Fear that something will continue. Therefore, torture is more likely to produce lies than truth.

  • JB||

    This means that, applying JB's moral system, it would be perfectly OK to daily torture every single prisoner held on death row. And this would be true for any torture that stopped at any point < death.

    Fluffy, you really are dense aren't you?

    If it is ok to kill someone, then it is ok to cause them pain if there are higher order goods involved. The higher order goods being saving others from pain and death.

    There are times for mercy and there are times for its opposite. I know there are people like you who don't understand that.

  • ||

    Warty: I am reluctant to define torture as "something that causes Hitchens (or anyone) to break in 7 seconds."

  • ||

    Here's the Vietnam era MACV Geneva card:

    Front

    Back

    Amazing how the times have changed when you find yourself thinking that Vietnam era ethics and morality were superior to today's version.

  • Fluffy||

    If it is ok to kill someone, then it is ok to cause them pain if there are higher order goods involved. The higher order goods being saving others from pain and death.

    That wasn't your original argument, and there's really no room in your original argument for this amendment to it.

    You said: If it's moral to kill someone, it would be illogical to say it would be immoral to inflict pain on them, because death is worse than pain. Full stop.

    There's no limit in there for doing so to save someone else, or because they have information, or anything else.

    If you're now trying to back away from that, fine. But there's nothing, absolutely nothing, explicit in your simple "Death > pain, so pain is OK" argument that would restrict that to situations where "higher order goods" are involved.

  • JB||

    Fluffy, it's called context. I was obviously talking about people captured as terrorists.

    Next time I will assume you are a retard and will spell everything out for you.

  • ||

    Nick, after reading your opening comment, I could barely read past the fifth. The answer to your idiotic and emotionally irresponsible questions is emphatically no. Grow up. Can't you do better than to craft an asinine strawman that gets your fellow H&R posting fools whipped up into a frenzy?

    Torture is wrong. It is antithetical to the rule of law, to the rights of individuals to be presumed innocent until proven guilty (which require due process), and no amount of feel-good you get out of seeing Dick Cheney tortured will change this fact. Let me repeat myself, so it's clear, torture is wrong, under any circumstances. Forgive me for not reading all the fool speculations that followed the first 5 posts.

  • ||

    "Don't know about you, but the revelation that the United States of America was actively torturing people,"



    You know about Supermax prisons, like ADX Florence, right? Waterboarding is the only thing in those memos that comes close to the treatment at supermax, and even then I think that supermax is worse torture. I guess waterboarding is worse because people haven't been convicted, though.

    But people don't give a crap about far worse conditions in prisons (even worse government-imposed conditions.)

  • ||

    ME: I just read the story of Jesus and his disciples.

    SOCON: Isn't it terrible? The suffering of those poor men! The people of that time were so EVIL. The things the messiah and so many Christian martyrs suffered should never be done to anyone!

    ME: By the way, I heard they just scooped up some suspicious looking Middle Eastern guys. They can't tell for sure, but they may be terrorists.

    SOCON: (dons black golves and mask) Gotta go! Time to warm up the brands and sharpen the old instruments. See ya later!

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  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

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