We Tortured People Just to Be Sure


I'm at about 200 pages into the Senate's torture report, skimming and taking quick screencaps of information that might help illuminate what was going on with the torture and interrogation. With a couple dozen screencaps, I figured it's a good time to share. Of course, journalists will continue to be combing through this report for info.

One of the well-known narratives about the failure of "enhanced interrogation" is that it failed to actually get useful information, or that the information the CIA learned from torture duplicated what they had already gotten through less violent forms of interrogation or through other intelligence channels. The Senate report heavily emphasizes this narrative (as you'll see in some of these screencaps). But what I also find notable is how frequently torture was justified for interrogators to make certain and to be confident that the man they tortured actually did not have information about a pending terrorist attack. According to the report, sometimes interrogators believed their detainee did not have information, but tortured them just to be sure.

So with that, here's some screencaps from the report that you may find disquieting. CIA recordkeeping was awful:

The CIA tortured the hell out of Abu Zubaydah, waterboarding him dozens of times, for the reason I mentioned above: to make sure he didn't have important information. The next few caps will be about him.

The Senate report describes the CIA exaggerating the results of torture/enhanced interrogation

Gul Rahman died in a CIA prison in Afghanistan in 2002.

Government accountability in action!

Government oversight in action!

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. He was captured in 2002.

Forced rectal feeding. Also, again, "no actionable information":

Ramzi bin al-Shibh is accused of helping organize the Sept. 11 attacks. His military trial at Guantanamo Bay has been delayed as psychiatrists attempt to determine if he's mentally competent to stand trial.

The CIA already had the information he provided, but they apparently didn't realize it.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, generally referred to as KSM in the report, is the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks and has confessed to many, many things (Wikipedia has a list) during exposure to enhanced interrogations.

Information he provided from enhanced interrogation was unreliable.

Some other bad things:

And this:

These things happen:

Maybe this will help!

Again, an example of the CIA essentially torturing folks to make sure they don't know something:

Like the difference between a detainee and a contact. Sometimes they don't know that.

Keep trying! And remember the below segment if or when the CIA tries to throw field interrogators under the bus. Sometimes the interrogators wanted to stop, but leadership pushed them on:

Well, that's enough for now. As I said, there will probably be more to come.

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  1. Wait, I thought enhanced interrogation wasn’t torture, that it was just fun and games, like a fraternity initiation ritual!

    But here we have one suspect killed, another who begged for death, and another who was locked in coffin-like boxes.

    Maybe Rolling Stone was right about fraternity initiations!

  2. RWNJs kept saying that torture prevented terrorist attacks and led to the capture of OBL. We all knew they were lying. And Cheney lied more than the other scumbags.

    1. 8% of the torture was effective

    2. Glad Obama closed Gitmo…oh, wait….

      But I guess if you use extraordinary rendition, the blood isn’t technically on your hands…

      1. What kind of sick partisan jerkoff feels it necessary to blame Obama no matter the subject, and to make Obama’s responsibility more of an issue than the actual issue?

        1. Right, why does everybody always pin stuff that the executive branch does on the president? It’s not like he’s in charge of them or anything.

          1. And they just facilitated the release of this report…

            1. …by claiming executive privilege on 9800 pages of documents the Senate requested?

              How did they “facilitate” this? They opposed it for years, and only after it was a fait accompli they claimed it was what they wanted all along (just like the withdrawal from Iraq, the failure of SOPA in the Senate, gay marriage, etc).

              1. Oh stop, Tony isn’t going to let facts get in his way. Why shoukd you?

                It’s also worth doing some reading about the opposing view to this report. I’m not justifying torture, but I am of the opinion that is suspicious this was written by majority staff. Bottom line for me is this is no 9/11 Commision.

        2. I blame Obama for failing to do what he promised to do during his campaign. That is exactly the issue. Obama’s failure to deliver can’t just explained by incompetence; as a senator, he must have known what he could and could deliver: Obama flat out lied during his campaign in order to get elected. He promised things he never intended to deliver.

          Yeah, and as someone who voted for the jerk in 2008, I think I’m entitled to being angry about being lied to. Of course, Obama accomplished one useful thing: he caused me to leave the Democratic party.

          1. The smoking gun on your point, for me, is his behavior the day after the election was over.

            He immediately started lowering his supporters expectations.

            Nov 4th “We are going to transform society”

            Nov 6th “It’s going to be a hard time and we may experience some setbacks”

            To me this is clear proof he intentionally willfully misled voters.

  3. This is valuable work you’re doing, Mr. Shackford, please keep it up. Disturbing as much of this is to read–it’s important that the truth be laid bare if we hope to ever put a close to this national disgrace.

    1. Sad but true.

  4. But a lawyer said it was ok.

  5. The CIA tortured the hell out of Abu Zubaydah, waterboarding him dozens of times, for the reason I mentioned above: to make sure he didn’t have important information. The next few caps will be about him.

    So would the people who think torture is ‘just a tool’ which we ought to be able to use to extract information at least agree that using torture for a fucking fishing expedition goes too far?

    I mean, by this logic we should just torture everyone we come across. How do we know they don’t have important information?

    1. I’m sure the idea has crossed their minds

    2. Judge Posner agrees with you. After all, what is torture *for* if not to invade privacy – and privacy is only good for hiding the bad things you’re planning on doing.

      1. I’ll agree to sharing all my secrets when the government and all of the bureaucrats share theirs.

    3. yeah I pretty much said that in the last article

  6. I missed the earlier torture thread with all the fireworks, but I have two thoughts about it:

    1. Cytotoxic’s insistence that blowback does not exist confuses me. Blowback is basically just a newspeak buzzword for ‘retaliation.’ Does Cytotoxic really believe that when one country bombs the shit out of another country, the denizens country B won’t get angry and potentially try to retaliate? That’s all blowback is.

    Furthermore, our attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq were actually examples of blowback. We were attacked on 9/11, Americans got incredibly angry, military enrollment temporarily spiked, and we proceeded to kill the people we deemed responsible. That’s blowback. Therefore, the very war Cytotoxic endorses is evidence of a concept he claims does not exist.

    1. 2. From people who were in favor of torture, I kept hearing things like ‘well, torture is just a tool. If you’re morally opposed to torture, you’re just being emotional.’

      Okay, quick question. If we decided a woman had information and proceeded to have army personnel rape her until she talked, would that be justified? How about if we threatened to castrate a man, and then cut the balls off a terrorist in order to scare the rest enough to talk?

      The reason I ask is because I would assume that none of the people saying ‘don’t be emotional’ when people expressed moral compunctions are not big enough monsters to endorse torturous rape and castration. Why not? If it’s a legitimate tool and anyone who says ‘I oppose this morally’ is just being emotional, then you have no rational basis to oppose rape and castration as torture.

      Since there’s a threshold you personally would not be willing to see us cross due to moral considerations, your argument that our moral qualms about torture are somehow ’emotional’ is obviously baseless. Your line you would not be willing to cross is just a bit farther down the road from mine. So don’t pretend that those of us who oppose these actions are being ’emotional’ and you’re being rational and intellectual, when in truth the only difference is that we have slightly different points at which we view torture as so immoral as to be unjustified.

      1. You’re talking to sociopaths. Nothing you say will make any difference, because you’re just a parrot squawking at them. If someone is so depraved that they cannot empathize with someone being tortured, they are too depraved to respond to reason as you are attempting to do. They’ve already decided that “the other” (in this case, whoever is being tortured as chosen by TOP MEN, who as we know are never, ever wrong) isn’t human.

        1. // They’ve already decided that “the other” (in this case, whoever is being tortured as chosen by TOP MEN, who as we know are never, ever wrong) isn’t human.

          But are they? If you enjoy stoning women for getting an education, or reallly no reason at all, or try to blow up tons of people for no good reason, haven’t you set yourself outside the realm of humanity, based on current global morals?

          Is humanity not an earned trait? Are you really going to tell me no amount of evil acts put oneself outside of humanity?

          1. First of all, yes, evil humans are still humans. We all have the capacity for good or evil, and in fact that capacity is itself an integral part of being human.

            But more importantly, even if I were to accept the premise that one can “put oneself outside of humanity,” I sure as hell do not trust the US government (or its fallible, sometimes evil agents) to judge when that has occurred.

      2. Why did you create strawman hypotheticals?

        Rape is not a valid form of torture.

        3rd party punishment is not a valid form of torture.

        If you are a bad guy who kidnapped my daughter and I trap you in my basement (and I know it was you, and I know you know the location of my daughter), I cannot bring in your own children and inflict harm upon them as motivation against your criminal behavior because they didn’t kidnap my daughter.

        Torture must be done against those who CAUSED the conditions to exist where the information needed extracting.

        It also cannot involve the creation/destruction of life, so no rape and no killing.

        1. So as long as you fuck and kill the victim, you can’t be accused of torture. Got it.

    2. . . . the denizens country B won’t get angry and potentially try to retaliate? That’s all blowback is.

      Like, I don’t know, cut the heads off a couple of American journalists? I mean, that was totally on ISIS and the good old USA has never, in its history, ever done anything that might give these fucks the idea that they have some moral cover for retribution.

      If the hornet stings your dick, its the hornet’s fault and not yours for trying to fuck the nest.

      1. yeah but they want to kill us anyway

        this line of thinking has always seemed the most stupid nonsense to me

        what do you suggest, that if we give our enemies blowjobs instead, that they’ll love us?

        You have an enemy, you kill him. He’s gonna hate you either way

        1. To answer your question, what has been suggested is that we criminals as criminals (i.e. track down and try in open court according to our accepted police the responsible parties) and then look at the root causes and solve those.

          If we hadn’t gotten caught up in Gulf War I, and then stayed on in Saudi Arabia to prop up the house of Saud one particular clown would not have been using the family wealth to rally his followers. If we had simply clobbered al queada and the taliban after 9/11 and then handed Afghanistan over to the UN, we would have far greater standing in the world now and not be caught up in this self perpetuating war on terror.

          No, I don’t want to give them a blowjob, but I get them being annoyed when we’re continually pissing in their sandbox.

          1. And before you go off on me, re-read my first sentence.

            If it had been up to me, I would have turned the al queada training area, and about 20 miles in all directions around it, into radioactive glass on 9/12 and then given the taliban elders about 24 hours to decide if they wanted the same treatment for downtown kabul.

            1. Yeah, I’m sure killing a bunch of innocents would have made us safe. You’re almost as bad as the bedwetters with the glass fetish.

              1. so we should have sent a stern memo after the attack?

                1. No, we should have done what we did at first: destroy the training camps (no hyalinization necessary, just wreck everything they need to operate), drive the Taliban from power, and kill as many of the fighters as possible. Where we went wrong is in sticking around and trying to make AFG a neocon democracy.

                  It’s possible the Taliban would have eventually regained power (probably slower than they have with our idiotic anti-poppy policy in AFG) but they would be much weaker and probably more wary of pissing us off. You don’t have to kill your enemy, just make it really difficult and painful to recover. And if they didn’t learn their lesson we could just swoop back in. We could have invaded AFG 50 times with the money and blood we spent on the occupation so far.

                  1. we didn’t stick around to create a democracy, at least not in Afghanistan. We tried to instill some measure of stability among warlords and the idiot installed in Kabul, and it went about as one could predict. Innocents died anyway. And no one is arguing for the occupation, least of all the guy who wanted to nuke the place.

                    1. we didn’t stick around to create a democracy, at least not in Afghanistan.

                      Really? Really? You really shouldn’t try revisionist history on stuff that happened in the past decade. Making AFG a democracy was #1 on the neocon agenda in 2002, before the IRQ boner became fully erect. The reverse mission creep that has occurred since does not change the silly policy with which the occupation was begun.

        2. In many cases killing your enemies just creates more enemies; particularly if in the process of killing your enemies you also kill a bunch of innocents. Like small stupid children, the neocons seem to have trouble looking beyond immediate effects of what they do. Maybe that explains their other common attribute of bedwetting.

          Right now the bedwetters are claiming that the CIA torture enabled us to kill OBL. Even assuming that’s true, I’m not sure how that helps their case; the 3.5 years since OBL’s death has seen far more terrorism than the previous 9 years did.

          1. terrorists tend to kill innocents as if that was the purpose. Oh, wait; usually, it is. By your reckoning, anyone not within the terrorist sphere should be an enemy of people engage in such tactics.

            Fine by me if the US cuts off all ties to the Middle East, though the Israel factor precludes that. Even so, that would not cause the AQ types to leave us be and tend to their own issues.

            1. It’s a lot easier to deal with the tiny AQ/ISIS core that “hates us for our freedom” and wants to reestablish the Caliphate and all that, than it is to deal with the bumper crop of recruits they get when we invade and bomb Muslim countries for specious reasons, incinerate women and children in their homes in drone oopsies, and perpetrate atrocities such as those described in this Senate report.

              They got lucky one time, on 9/11, largely because of our incredibly stupid policies (boxcutters allowed on planes, cockpit doors made of thin plastic, etc). I’d take a 9/11 every ten years or so compared to the damage our overreaction has done to this country in the past ten years.

              1. TI wasn’t allowing box cutters on planes that was stupid – it was disallowing others to carry firearms.

                1. Because people who want to blow up and/or crash planes would be averse to starting gunfights in a crowded fusilage at 35,000 ft?

                  I’m totally pro 2nd Amendment but guns are NOT the solution to all problems.

  7. “It’s difficult to image [sic] what anyone has to gain from the public release of this information other than the political gain of demonizing George W. Bush who was president at the time.” – Sean Hannity

    If you have difficulty imagining (or imaging) why anybody might want to see the release of a report that shows just what our government is capable of doing when you give them authority without responsibility, what they do when they think nobody’s looking or when they just don’t give a damn if anybody’s looking, I’m guessing you have either had your imagination surgically removed or a room temperature IQ.

    Having listened to Hannity once or twice, I’m guessing that Hannity and Bill O’Reilly combined would have a hard time reaching triple digits in the IQ department. But if you claim to be opposed to big government on philosophical grounds and don’t see anything wrong with the War On Terror!!! (at least as long as the wight people are in charge of it) then you might need to re-calibrate your philosophy.

    1. They don’t have a philosophy, at least not any coherent one that I can perceive.

      1. I don’t think that’s true. Conservatives have a philosophy which is that they favor ‘tradition’ in the same way that progressives have a philosophy in that they favor ‘fairness.’

        The problem is that neither of these concepts have any objective meaning. Fairness is entirely subjective, and as for tradition the United States has gone through so many wildly different cultural phases that any attempt at ‘traditionalism’ basically means you just pick and choose the things you like throughout our history.

        The pro-war aspects of conservatism come from conservatives’ adoration of America’s martial tradition, when we liberated concentration camps, kept South Korea from being constrained by the Communist yoke, and basically kept Europe free for 45 years against a threat the Europeans were too impotent and weak to face on their own.

        That’s where the philosophy comes from.

        Within the Republican party there was also an influx of neo-conservatives in the 70’s and 80’s. That’s a completely different intellectual tradition than grass roots conservatives, and is much more based on spreading democracy/projecting force.

        1. America’s martial tradition is about genocide and mass murder.

          1. It’s hard to have a martial tradition without killing a lot of people. Unless you’re the French, I suppose.

            As for the genucide, the cavalry really didn’t give a rat’s ass if the Sioux etc. continued as an ethnicity. They just wanted the land.

    2. That’s not fair – if you summed their IQs you’d get at least 150.

      Unfortunately group IQs are *averaged*, not summed.

    3. I’ve never heard O’Reilly call for a smaller government. He’s pretty upfront and honest about being a statist asshole.

    4. “It’s difficult to image [sic] what anyone has to gain from the public release of this information other than the political gain of demonizing George W. Bush who was president at the time.” – Sean Hannity

      I predict Hannity is going to talk himself into a corner this week. He’s claimed for years that we didn’t torture people, we just used “enhanced interrogation techniques.” In denigrating the release of this report, he’s going to slip and say that we did use torture. He can’t have it both ways.

    5. “It’s difficult to image [sic] what anyone has to gain from the public release of this information other than the political gain of demonizing George W. Bush who was president at the time.” – Sean Hannity

      Conservatives and progressives are united in their belief that government should be able to mess with people’s lives without checks or limits. They just differ on which hairy cult leader they worship: Marx or Jesus.

  8. That’s enough crappy news for the day. Time to Netflix.

  9. That’s enough crappy news for the day. Time to Netflix.

  10. These people are sadists ,human scum,and paid with taxpayer money.

    1. … and not “just for fun” sadists who like kinky sex, but “in it for keeps” sadists who believe in what they are doing.

  11. There is a guy that knows what time it is. Wow.

  12. Apparently a couple of psychologists who specialized in research on stress techniques (aka ‘torture’) made lots of Good Government Coin advising Interrogators on what sorts of techniques might be most productive

    1. And like most government consultants, at least 50 percent of their work was BS and the rest sub-par and going through the motions.

  13. Sounds like the perpetrators are certifiable sociopaths on par with the best of them and should be locked up, either in an insane asylum or a prison (take your pick, I don’t care).

  14. //Forced rectal feeding

    i read this and can’t stop thinking about the South Park episode where Cartman teaches the world to eat through their butts and crap out their mouths

    1. holy shit I’m reading this again and it says they really put food up his butt?

      Can you really gain any nutrients like that? My understanding is you can only get electrolytes, and maybe some sugar. You can’t eat from your butt, right?

      1. If you get it into the small intestine and its sufficiently ‘watery’, then yes.

      2. That’s what people used to do before IV feeding. But it only really works with specially prepared liquids, and even then not very well.

        The use described in these documents is not “feeding”, it’s just “stuffing food up someone’s butt”, i.e., rape.

  15. I can’t help but smile with smug satisfaction that these fucking monsters got what’s coming to them finally (KSM, the Cole bombing guy and the other baddies)

    We can pay this Arsala and his family for screwing up,
    But giving our monstrous enemies what for, as the mastercard commercial says, is priceless

    1. Let’s see now if the monsters who perpetrated the torture get what’s coming to them.


        They won’t.

  16. Being a libertarian means taxes are evil theft but torture’s wrongness is debatable.

    1. How bout covering up torture, as the Obama administration has done for 6 years?

      1. What kind of mindless partisan zombie does it take to ignore the issue and find a way to blame Obama as his first thought?

        1. The problem has been that the CIA and NSA are out of control. Bush obviously was too incompetent and weak to rein them in. Obama stood up and ran on “I will stop them”, only to kowtow to those institutions just as much as Bush. And why Bush was merely weak, Obama broke his campaign promises and arguably simply lied to get elected. That is exactly the issue.

          And as someone who voted for Obama because he promised to restore constitutionality, human rights, and the rule of law, I am entitled to being pissed off at him for lying. That is not partisanship.

          1. What was covered up? If torture is still going on at “black sites,” then that’s wrong and evidence of continued incompetence. But surely things have improved at the Agency since the Bush years? Perhaps if you spelled out the specific complaint, I might agree.

    2. Which libertarian thinks torture’s wrongness is debateable?

      (Except Cytotoxic, the immoral monster)

    3. Being you means everything the democrats do is great, everything the republicans do is evil, and libertarianism is a great, incomprehensible mystery.

    4. and being a liberal means falsely over-generalizing people you disagree with, like claiming all libertarians think taxes are evil, instead of actually engaging in the actual arguments.

  17. I’ve seen some things in this thread that annoy me. You are sociopath if you can’t empathize with some of these ‘victims?’ The government shouldn’t torture people because that’s not a power I want the government to have. I don’t trust them (or any human being) to have that discretion. No one deserves it. But I can hold that notion, reject torture, and still loathe the ‘victims.’ Those two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    I also don’t think it takes a sociopath to torture the likes of Abu Zubaydah. Nor do I pass moral judgments on those who did it. The guy is absolute scum. Again, the distinction is it’s simply not something our or any other government should do for a plethora of reasons.

    These are dudes who throw acid in the faces of little girls, rape sheep and little boys. Look at the ISIS freedom fighters in Iraq who go on random shooting sprees.

    So, spare me the moral outrage and calls for prosecution of CIA operatives in this case.

    I also find it most repugnant that politicians pretend they were in the dark on all of this. From the Bush admin on down these cowards are going to claim they didn’t know, it was downplayed, and that the CIA lied to them about the value of the information obtained (an argument that undermines their other excuses).

    1. Bottom line is, Repubs and Dems got together to pass the Patriot Act. They authorized this stuff. This Senate report is a joke to me because it only points the finger one way. Good that some of this stuff is seeing the light of the day, but screw the media and screw the politicians who are going to turn those following the orders into scapegoats while they walk away with zero culpability.

      1. Well said.

      2. The Patriot Act did not authorize anything like this.

        The media had no involvement in these atrocities and Congress very little.

        Will you join me in calling for Bush, Cheney, John Yoo, and the various CIA directors who ordered this stuff to be put on trial and locked up for life?

        1. 1. The media is ignoring the fact that this same stuff is still going on, and it’s simply been outsourced. Obama decreed an end to torture, and they obeyed like the good little sycophants that they are.

          2. Congress didn’t know? The Patriot Act didn’t allow for indefinite confinement? Abu Zubaydah is held under the AUMF passed by CONGRESS. Congress gave the executive and the bureaucracies the power to do this.

          Congress gets briefed on far more of this stuff than they like to pretend. They don’t get all the details, but they get enough to where if torture really bothered most of them, they would have been far more vocal all of these years under both administrations.

          Join you in calls to lock up politicians and bureaucrats? Hey, I’m always for incarcerating crooks. I mean, this would actually rank lower on my scale of reasons than yours, but sure, I’ll join your call.

          I’m angrier about the fact that Bush and Cheney committed this country to two fruitless wars than that they allowed and ordered the waterboarding of SOME of these suspects.

          It’s power they shouldn’t have. No one should have. That’s my issue.

    2. I also don’t think it takes a sociopath to torture the likes of Abu Zubaydah.

      Depends on the circumstances. Ordinarily moral people can certainly be driven to uncharacteristic acts of cruelty in emotionally charged and stressful situations.

      However, to systematically torture people over a long period of time, as happened at the CIA, requires a sociopath. I don’t care how bad the people are.

      And that’s leaving aside the possibility that many of the people they tortured were not guilty of any major crimes. All we have to dispute that possibility is government bureaucrats’ say-so, which conservatives are rightly suspicious of whenever the bureaucrats in question don’t have “defense” or “intelligence” in their title.

      1. That’s just patently untrue. First off, how frequent in society do you think sociopaths actually are? Most estimates peg them at less than 1% of the population. That word gets thrown around a lot in topics like this. People have done really horrible shit to each other throughout history. Soldiers of all different kinds. They weren’t all sociopaths; people just don’t have as much empathy as you think.

        Second, plenty of people tasked with things like this end up with their own issues after (that isn’t a woe is them statement, just a fact). Nazi concentration camp guards used to have go get off work and drink themselves stupid in large numbers. They did horrible things, but that doesn’t mean there was something chemical missing from their brain.

        It’s very easy to talk yourself into thinking you’re doing the right thing. You can even still even end up suffering PTSD type symptoms of your own despite those rationalizations.

        1. People have done really horrible shit to each other throughout history. Soldiers of all different kinds.

          Which is why I said, “Ordinarily moral people can certainly be driven to uncharacteristic acts of cruelty in emotionally charged and stressful situations.” Try to read the comment you’re replying to next time.

          Sociopathy is at its heart a pattern of behavior, not a neurochemical phenomenon. There may be some correlation with brain chemistry imbalances but that is not what sociopathy is.

          1. Only, you then added that there is a distinction to be made when those acts are repetitive. Only, there isn’t. Despite your childish logic and world outlook, people who do really bad things in one context, even over a long period of time, are not inherently sociopaths.

            As awful as it is to your sensibilities, the camp guards in concentration camps were not all sociopaths. Your average Nazi soldier on the Eastern front who slaughtered civilians and threw them into mass graves, even those who were part of the SS, were not across the board sociopaths.

            You’ve also just bastardized and stretched the meaning of the word sociopath. There is a clinical definition, and the recognized causes of it aren’t as simple as does this person do really bad things. That’s what you’ve reduced it to. There’s biological and environmental (ie experiences, usually in formative years) that lead to sociopathy as the word is defined.

            1. Agreed. This is why the Nazis used racist propaganda – to help others to dehumanize a group of people into nothing more than a collective to be defined by racial slurs.

              The same happens in just wars with normal soldiers. They begin to deeply hate their enemy and use newly invented recital slurs to describe them all.

              This is a built in defense mechanism as it’s easier to kill “Japs” or whatever than it is to kill people with families and lives and…

      2. It’s not cruel to inflict pain as a crime deterrent against someone who is committing an ongoing violation of you or anther person.

        Their silence (when they have carnal actionable knowledge) is an immoral act. Pain is applied in response to their immediate and ongoing immorality (silence), and depending on the crime can morally be justified past maim and disfigurement all the way to execution (if you have sure knowledge they are both guilty and posses such knowledge).

        In this case, torture is not immoral.

        The motive behind justifiable torture (done for actionable intel to prevent a crime or other immoral act) is purpose-driven, and falls precisely with the felony murder rule doctrine. They caused situation which necessitates intel they possess to restore potential or currently suffering victims to their original condition.

        Torture for the ‘fun of it’ is only done for its own sake. This type is cruel while the other is not.

        If you kill an animal to eat it, its hunting. If you kill an animal by skinning it alive and delay its death its cruel, and the act serves no purpose except suffering for sufferings’ sake. It would be unjustifiable torture to continue torturing a terrorist after you knew he gave up all the intel because it would have no ethically driven purpose.

        1. When you ask for a hypothetical justifying torture you need to look at cases where the perps are guilty. Most of you on this board are looking for examples of when torture is NOT justifiable. No one is going to argue on those points. Its like a pro-choice person talking about the morning after pill, or a pro-life talking about partial-birth. It’s not an honest attempt to represent what the other side thinks.

          Using rape or 3rd party punishment is bad faith. Those would be relevant points to prove there are cases when torture is immoral. What this board is asking is for cases when its moral. We all know there are cases when its immoral; it doesn’t need proving.

          If a cyborg-reanimated-Adolf Hitler was ass raping you and the cops bust into the room, and pulled him off, and the danger was instantly over, and the cops kept beating him for 5 seconds, would you call that police brutality? Could that be construed as torture to inflict pain on someone who wasn’t a threat? This is an example of torture that pretty much no one would bat an eye at. I could pretend this straw man represents the anti-torture position, just like others brought up rape and 3rd party punishment, as though those were the strong cases in favor of torture.

          1. The bottom line for me is

            are you punishing the right person (deservance)?

            is there a viable payoff (moral good)?

          2. Moral rhetoric aside, the problem with your argument is that you are leaving the decision on guilt solely in the hands of government bureaucrats, and despite the claims of the national security hawks and others, a lot of these guys aren’t clearly guilty. It’s ambiguous. My posts only made vague references to it, but I am not defending torture as a legitimate instrument of the state.

            1. 100% agreement on state.

              I was never arguing for the state to use this tool. I was saying its not inherently immoral.

              My argument on state torture is that the state is too irresponsible to be trusted with it.

        2. In this case, torture is not immoral.

          Morality and sociopathy are separate issue. Sociopathic acts are not automatically immoral, and immoral acts are not automatically sociopathic. Morality is about right and wrong, about values, utility, and reason; sociopathy is about lack of feeling and lack of empathy.

          An executioner or torturer may be performing a moral act on behalf of society, but he is also a sociopath.

          1. Imagine you discipline your child. The bleeding heart liberal would say you aren’t showing empathy. But is it empathetic to your child to allow them to run wild? I would argue that empathy for the individual will often result in punishing them. Tough love is a real thing.

            Of course you might need a metaphysical belief system to think execution is ‘for their own good’. Otherwise you are looking at ‘putting them out of misery’ as the empathetic motivation. None of which precludes empathetic perspectives of society as motivation.

            Punishing does not logically exclude empathy, but it often creates discomfort in the punisher, which is why many prefer to silence feelings of empathy when they carry out punishment. Not that it matters, but pop culture is fond of having empathetic ppl revel in their empathy while carrying out a sentence (not killing it). In Old Yeller this is when a boy cries while shooting his dog.

            (using your meaning of sociopath) The only advantage a sociopath would have in wearing a hood and chopping off heads is that he doesn’t have to kill his empathy to do his job in comfort. Being a sociopath is not a requirement to do a stomach-wrenching act, it just makes it easier. EVERYONE is capable of ‘othering’, and depleting personal empathy for ‘others’.

            1. Personally I find your linguistics unpersuasive and prefer other definitions for sociopathy and psychopathy, but you seem to be passionate. Maybe you will control the debate and these words will conform to your vision. If the words have no distinctly valid terrain to map to, then etymology should be the guide. Meaning sociopathy should somehow comport to society and psychopathy should comport to psychology/psychic issues. One violates social norms because of ideology, one violates social norms from neurology.

              This makes scumbags who join the 3rd reich for ideology sociopaths, and those who join cuz they are incapable of empathy psychopaths.

              What is the basis of your definitions?

    3. No one deserves it. But I can hold that notion, reject torture, and still loathe the ‘victims.’ Those two aren’t mutually exclusive.

      Feeling that it’s OK to torture someone because you loathe them is what makes you a sociopath. It doesn’t matter whether you can construct an intellectual reason to justify your loathing.

      (Furthermore, some of those victims weren’t guilty of anything; they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.)

      1. 1. In none of my posts did I say it’s ‘OK” to torture someone. I specifically say, repeatedly, that it’s power no one should have.

        2. Being a sociopath doesn’t make me wrong. The constant use of that word is NOTHING more than an appeal to emotion being made by libertarians of all people.

      2. Feeling that it’s OK to torture someone because you loathe them is what makes you a sociopath.

        No. It doesn’t.

        I think you’re conflating sociopathy and psychopathy, though as psychopaths have no emotions, they don’t really feel nor loathe.

        But that’s just a guess. All I know is that whatever you’re trying define isn’t sociopathic behavior by definition.

        To wit:

        It doesn’t matter whether you can construct an intellectual reason to justify your loathing.

        Sociopaths don’t need justification other than “wanted to”.

        Humans asked to do things they naturally find abhorrent, such as killing people in war, do require intellectual justification.

  18. The Israelis say physical torture is pointless and they’ve been weighing this issue far longer than we have.

    But assuming there is an argument to waterboarding KSM in order to save 1000 lives.

    Isn’t this no different from killing 170 kids in Pakistan with drone strikes to get bad guys? Why is torturing one person with a name worse than killing dozens of anonymous kids?

    1. The answer to this is feelings. That’s it. One is simply more personal, intimate, and presumably deliberate.

      But, spare me your Israel bashing until you can find a way to fight wars without there being collateral damage.

    2. So your argument is based on assuming something you admit is false, then torching a strawman. Just to be clear.

      1. First off, let’s be clear here. Your argument was so poorly framed that most people who actually support torture could have very easily taken your comment and ran with it. You just showed that, in moral terms, there is little difference between collateral damage on the battlefield and torture.

        So, your argument? Most people you are trying to argue against would take the exact opposite of what you intended.

        Second, there was absolutely no need to use Israel as an example. So, if you want to call it a strawman, be my guest. The fact is, you were taking a snide shot at them. You meant to call them hypocrites even though you conflated two different issues (morality versus a pragmatic position on torture as the Israelis hold).

        But there is a pragmatic reality. All but complete anarchist libertarians admit that there are just wars, and anyone not detached from reality recognizes that very often collateral damage of some kind is unavoidable in a conflict no matter how moral it is or isn’t.

        Your argument just sucks.

        1. Agreed on all but:

          All but complete anarchist libertarians admit that there are just wars

          I would think only pacifists deny just war, as I would think even anarchist libertarians would allow for the necessity of self defense.


  19. Oh look, a bunch of people with unpronounceable names that all love torture and post at the same time. Hmm.

    1. 1. I’ve been posting here for quite some time. I didn’t just show up. I’m sorry that my argument contradicts your childish logic.
      2. I’ve repeatedly stated in unequivocal terms that torture is unacceptable and that no person or authority should have that power. Period. I personally find it morally repugnant, I wouldn’t engage in it, and there’s no one I would enjoy doing that to or advocate it being done to.

      None of that is the same as asking me to bastardize words or getting myself worked up into a tizzy about the ground level operatives who carried it out.

    2. Oh look, a bunch of people with unpronounceable names that all love torture and post at the same time.

      Solid rebuttal

  20. Are we the baddies?

    1. We’re sure not angels.

  21. Ugh. So disgusting I had to stop half way through. I haven’t sat down and started reading the torture report yet, but thanks for the warning. I’m in for some GRRM level shit. Murica!

  22. If you think I ‘bashed’ Israel you probably need to go back to school learn to read properly.

    1. Actually, YOU need to learn how to construct an argument for the reasons I said above.

  23. At least us enlightened folk aren’t chopping heads off like those vile barbarians…….well surely our enlightened government wouldnt condone such behavior under the executive oversight of light bringer Obama, i mean hes a nobel peace prize winner…….
    meanwhile on DEC 4th our government started the proceedings for declaring war on Russia (H res. 758) only 10 congress critters stood against the madness
    those who voted no on H Res. 758
    1) Justin Amash (R-MI)
    2) John Duncan (R-TN)
    3) Alan Grayson, (D-FL)
    4) Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
    5) Walter Jones (R-NC)
    6) Thomas Massie (R-KY)
    7) Jim McDermott (D-WA)
    8 George Miller (D-CA)
    9) Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
    10 Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

  24. I have a feeling I will be “pinned to the wall” but…

    First, to be put on the water board is not torture. Oh one feels they would rather be elsewhere when the procedure is applied but it does not leave scars, burises and does not damage the mind (long term).

    How do I know? I was a “victim” during my survival training. Nope, the trainers are not “nice” when they go about it. The intent of the training is to prepare one for the actual event. I thought “Surely I will drown”. But I didn’t.

    In the end, it is more “humane” than, say, castration (as the Nazis would do), having your skin peeled by a razor-sharp knife while hanging from your thumbs (Apache, Viet Cong, Japanese), have glass tubes inserted into your urethrea and then shattering them so when one urinates the shards cut the inner walls of the penis (Japanese), etc.

    I think a better “torture” would be to drop leaflets telling the baby killers (Muslims) that we are going to wrap them in pig skins before they die. Or that we will let puppy dogs lick their faces (they hate dogs). That will put a great fear in them!

    Anyway, the bottom line is that getting information about your “enemy” is part of war (whether it’s a real war or this stupid war on terror).

    “They”, at least, don’t torture.
    To save time and money, they simply behead their enemy.

    1. Once your defense of a policy reaches the level of “at least it wasn’t as bad as the Nazis or the Japanese”, you’ve already lost the argument.

      And the bottom line is that torture doesn’t seem to be effective and that there are easier ways of getting the same information. Regardless of what you think of the morality of these actions, they are a testament to the incompetence of these agencies.

      You yourself reveal that it isn’t about getting information because you yourself draw this equivalence: “They”, at least, don’t torture. To save time and money, they simply behead their enemy. That tells us that you know that these actions are not about getting information, they are about wanting to hurt people.

      1. Forgive me if I don’t take the word of the Congressional aides seriously on the effectiveness of any of this.

        Bottom line is, the outcome of this report was predetermined. They were going to ‘debunk’ those claims no matter what they found.

      2. For purely deductive reasons, I seriously doubt this:

        And the bottom line is that torture doesn’t seem to be effective and that there are easier ways of getting the same information.

        But even if it were true, it’s not the best argument against torture. To paraphrase:

        Once your objection to torture reaches the level of “it doesn’t really work”, you’ve already lost the argument.

        As what happens if they’re able to make it effective?

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  26. Sigh.

    Haven’t we done this already?

    We’ve already been through the lengthy denunciations of torture. We’ve already done the required screaming of ‘Buuuuushhhh’.

    What is this except a last chance for Harry Reid and his cronies to get a dig in before they’re sent home for the holidays and removed from control?

    Why are you all falling for it?

  27. I hear that every country in the middle east is about to release their torture reports too.

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