Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Marc Thiessen--prove it

In the thread below this one, Christopher writes:

His opinion SEEMS to be that:
-Waterboarding is the worst tactic "authorized"
-Waterboarding, as authorized if at all, is not torture.
-There are 6 years of misinformation out there that has led people to incorrectly identify w/b as torture.

Now, there is certainly room for disagreement there, but I think if "Clarity" is the goal, then you at least have to deal with his assertion that there is a fundamental misunderstanding as to what the U.S. authorizes as waterboarding.

And failing that and instantly casting him as "pro-torture" when he explicitly states that he does not believe it is torture, does not provide any clarity either.

I think this is the sort of objection that ought to be addressed, so I'll take it one point at a time:

A. Waterboarding is the "worst" tactic authorized.
The truth is that we don't know this. Waterboarding has been the tactic that has received, arguably, the greatest amount of media attention and discussion. But in this ABC list of enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA there are other methods that might, arguably, be as much acts of physical or moral violence as waterboarding. I think that the "cold cell" technique of making a prisoner stand naked in a 50 degree cell while being doused repeatedly with cold water is on a level with waterboarding, myself.

B. Waterboarding, as authorized if at all, is not torture. Here, from that same ABC news list, is a description of waterboarding:

Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.


And here are two videos showing conservative radio Erich "Mancow" Muller being waterboarded voluntarily. Muller, ironically enough, was trying to prove that waterboarding is not torture:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcmiami.com/video.



View more news videos at: http://www.nbcmiami.com/video.



Thiessen's assertion that waterboarding is not torture would seem to be the statement that demands factual corroboration. But that takes us to the third point:

C. There are 6 years of misinformation out there that has led people to incorrectly identify w/b as torture.

Now, the main features of waterboarding seem to be as follows: the person is restrained, the person's face is covered, the person's head is tilted back, and water is poured into the person's nose and mouth while he is kept in that position. Is Marc Thiessen claiming that whatever the CIA does, it doesn't involve restraining the prisoner, covering the prisoner's face, tilting the prisoner's head back, and pouring water into the prisoner's nose and mouth to make the prisoner experience the sensation of drowning? If what the CIA does is substantially different from that (e.g., the prisoner is not restrained, the prisoner's face is not covered and/or his head is not tilted back, or water is not poured into the prisoner's nose and mouth such that he experiences the symptoms of drowning) then in what way is it different? Is it different enough that "waterboarding" is somehow a misnomer?

If waterboarding involves the forcible restraint of a person, the covering of that person's nose and mouth and/or the simultaneous forced tilting backward of the head, and the pouring into that person's nose/mouth a sufficient quantity of water to cause the person to experience all the sensations of drowning, including the possible aspiration of water into the lungs, the panic associated with being unable to breathe, the flight reaction which is thwarted by the restraints, etc., then waterboarding is torture--that is, it involves using physical or moral violence in a way that is contrary to the respect we owe another person and that person's innate dignity.

Again, the burden of proof that waterboarding is somehow not torture is on the person making that assertion. Is the person not restrained? Is he free to leave? Is he free to raise his head and expel the water naturally? Is the flow of water stopped long before the symptoms of drowning are experienced? One would think not, in an interrogation situation--though it is interesting that the radio host, Mr. Muller, was in fact free to leave, etc., yet still (and with obvious reluctance!) labeled what he had undergone as torture.

The burden of proof of any assertion that waterboarding is somehow not torture is on those people making that assertion. There is nothing about waterboarding which magically makes it avoid using physical or moral violence in a coercive and inhumane way; in fact, in an interrogation situation where the person experiencing this particular horror is wholly in the power of those inflicting it waterboarding takes on a particularly torturous hue. If Marc Thiessen swears that despite all appearances waterboarding isn't torture, it's up to him to prove it.

39 comments:

  1. Of course they often answer with the fact that military SERE training can include waterboarding of those undergoing the training. As if training to withstand torture makes it not torture. Plus the defenders don't deal with the issue of intention at all.

    Oh and Christopher Hitchens was also waterboarded and he too called it torture after undergoing it even though he also wanted to show it was not torture.

    If waterboading is not torture than I guess these defenders would say it was also an acceptable practice for the police station or any situation involving interrogation. Funny though how they always define the circumstance first - a bit of relativism to justify it. If waterboarding is morally acceptable than the situation does not matter.

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  2. The most infuriating part of the interview for me was when Marc Thiessen said that waterboarding "didn't cross the line" because the interrogators wanted to give the terrorists something to resist. Sorry, but I'm sure the interrogators could have come up with something that wasn't torture if that was the only justification for the use of the "enhanced interrogation" techniques.

    I'm very disappointed with Raymond Arroyo for having the interview in the first place, then not challenging Thiessen on his faulty (IMHO) reading of moral theology and Just War theory.

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  3. While I don't think "Mancow" brings any authority to the table, there's no escaping the fact that an overwhelming number of people with intimate experience of waterboarding describe it as torture.

    However, I don't necessarily agree with this: "The burden of proof of any assertion that waterboarding is somehow not torture is on those people making that assertion."

    I think it is a better argument to say that the burden of proof that waterboarding is torture has been met by producing countless witnesses with intimate knowledge of it who deem it torture.

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  4. Red,

    what would you do if a terrorsist group had your children captive with the threat of being killed, and you had one of those terrorists in your possession and he knew where your children were but he wasn't telling.

    What would you do to that terrorist?

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  5. Well, Anonymous, since I'm a 5'2" tall woman who is only in shape if we consider "round" a shape, I certainly hope I'd have the good sense to hand the terrorist over to the proper authorities.

    Having done that, I would then duck out to the nearest retail department store's dressing room (since phone booths are no longer even remotely private) and change into my secret superhero costume, at which point I would apply my broad array of superpowers to rescue my children, thwart the terrorists, solve health care and save the economy before returning to my disguise as a mild-mannered and out-of-shape Catholic blogger.

    Which is about as likely as my children ever winding up in the hands of terrorists in the first place.

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  6. nice joke.
    ...

    What if there were no authorities around and the terrorist you were holding was under restraint, you had other men around to help you of course, but the decision making was under your control. Would you try to get information on where your children were? what would you do? just sit there? Come on, have some guts and answer the question.

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  7. Anonymous,

    To trot out the old slogan from the bumper stickers and wrist-bands, "What Would Jesus Do?" I'm not being flippant, and I intend the question rhetorically since Jesus did not have human children as such. But it brings up a valid point which is... what is the point of your question?

    What does it matter how Red Cardigan would respond in this situation or how the Pope himself might react? "All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Your question commits an ad hominem argumentative fallacy known as tu quoque. It says, "You too (tu quoque) would do [such and such] in these circumstances." As if that would somehow make it right. It might make your opponent a hypocrite. It might make your opponent wrong along with you. But it doesn't have any relevancy to the objective quality of the action under consideration. In this case, literally, two wrongs would not make it right.

    I think Red's jocund replies were a subtle way of inviting you to move on from the line of questioning which is irrelevant to the matter. The question is not what any of us WOULD do, but what ALL of us SHOULD do. We have criterion for that in Revelation and the natural law. That's what this blog is here to discuss.

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  8. "But it doesn't have any relevancy to the objective quality of the action under consideration. In this case, literally, two wrongs would not make it right."

    Please do not interupt the line of questioning. I would like to see where this takes us. We're living in the real world here. This is a senario that the CIA, Military or Government officials can face. This is what you are vilifying them for.

    At least have the balls to answer the questions.

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  9. We're living in the real world here.

    Exactly. So why are you interrupting the real world to ask Red fantasy questions?

    This is what you are vilifying them for.

    Do we vilify adulterers if we point out they commit adultery?

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  10. I would just like to point out that Red Cardigan is a woman so criticizing her lack of...ahem...'balls' seems unfair.

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  11. Mr. Annonymous:

    RE: "what would you do if a terrorsist group had your children captive with the threat of being killed, and you had one of those terrorists in your possession and he knew where your children were but he wasn't telling."

    OK. Real world. Not "24".

    1. When was the last time that a terrorist group kidnapped children, hid them in a secret location and then made a public threat to kill them? Can you cite just one example from the real world? (Remember Jack Bauer does not count. He is a fictional character.)

    2. When was the last time that a captured terrorist was tortured and under torture he correctly revealed the location of the kidnapped children and the children were safely rescued? Can you cite just one example from the real world? (Remember Jack Bauer does not count. He is a fictional character.)

    One of the most remarkable things about torture advocates is their complete detachment from the real world while at the same time being fascinated with the fictional exploits of comic book heroes.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  12. Richard W Comerford,

    There are senarios that occur (maybe not exactly what I described, but similiar). Drop your hubris for a moment and try to answer.

    btw: It was something reading your arrogant comments then ending it all with a 'God Bless'
    ...

    Is there anybody here man enough to answer the question? I'll repeat it below. (please don't respond if you don't have the kahunas to give a straight answer)

    What if there were no authorities around and the terrorist you were holding was under restraint, you had other men around to help you of course, but the decision making was under your control. Would you try to get information on where your children were?

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  13. Anonymous, I deleted your 4:01 comment. You are not allowed to call people names (e.g. smart ass) or tell them to shut their wimpy traps (sic). Civil conversation is welcome. If you must resort to verbal bullying in support of your argument, then I'm free to conclude that your argument is the rhetorical equivalent of bovine fecal matter.

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  14. Mr. Annonymoys:

    No.

    Outide of the TV world of Jack Bauer there has never been a single documented case wherein a terrorist group kidnapped children, sereted them, and then announced it was going to murder them. Not one. Consult Mr. Google (Not Jack Bauer)

    Neither is there a single documented case wherein a terrorist was tortured, revedlaed reliable information, which led to te hsafe resuce of children kidnapped by terrorists. Not one. Again consult Mr. Google (not Jack Bauer)

    I add the "God Bless" at the end of posts in part in memory of cultural courtesies long past and in sincere hopes that you will put away your comic books, grow up, stop watching "24" and spend eternity in heaven.

    Now go ahead and find a real world example of your fantasy land scenario.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  15. Would you try to get information on where your children were?

    Of course. I would hope, however, that I would not be such a weakling as to torture him.

    Because, your anonymous bullying and name-calling notwithstanding, abusing others is not a mark of manliness.

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  16. "Anonymous, I deleted your 4:01 comment. You are not allowed to call people names"

    Of course! only your side is. It's easier to listen to the echo chamber than engage in any debating.

    Richard Comerford,

    I've never watched 24 or Jack Bauer. I do have common sense though. btw, you don't have a clue what your talking about. and please drop the phoney 'God Bless'

    Steven Dube

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  17. Steven, if someone has called you a name please point it out. The rules are for both sides; I've been a little busy today and may have missed it if someone insulted you earlier.

    Richard, your use of the "comic-book" phrase made me smile because I was already composing the new post above titled "Comic book apologetics." Perhaps we can move the discussion up there?

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  18. Anonymous:

    Sorry for returning to the strain so late. I really do hope you are still here, because I actually do hope to have dialog and persuasive debate with people here.

    I seek to persuade you to see that your line of questioning is irrelevant. This is important, because appealing to circumstances does not give us a good system of ethics.

    To answer your question straightforwardly: I hope that I would have the courage not to give in to temptations to brutality and torture faced with such a despicable human being as one who would hurt children. I hope I would realize that the "real world" is full of unseen realities, and that we are travelers here below forced to make hard decisions but set for God and righteousness.

    Honestly, if I were in the situation you describe, I would go back and read 2 Maccabees 6:7-7:42 where a mother sees her seven sons martyred and urges them to be brave and not to give in to the allure of the circumstances but the judge themselves by the law of God. I might even chastise myself with her words to her last son: "27
    In derision of the cruel tyrant, she leaned over close to her son and said in their native language: "Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months, nursed you for three years, brought you up, educated and supported you to your present age. I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth and see all that is in them; then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things; and in the same way the human race came into existence. Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them."

    Some might say this is pie-in-the-sky idealism and not the "real world." But, I look upon Holy Writ as having more veracity even than the fear-mongering of the Department of Homeland Security or the writers of 24.

    I did not call your argument irrelevant to belittle you or to blow smoke. I called it irrelevant because you're appealing to what emotions and weaknesses might prevail upon an individual at a certain time, all of which all of us recognize. Doesn't make it right. "There but for the grace of God go I." But it doesn't do any good counting out God's grace or not looking for it, or compromising. "It is vain to trust in princes or men, but rather put your trust in the Lord." Judas himself was in a pickle to be sure, and although we remember him as the ultimate sinner I hope even that he turned to mercy in that last flash of a moment before the rope snapped taught around his neck, because I recognize that I might not have been strong enough to forgo the temptation he gave into. But it DOESN'T MAKE *IT* RIGHT. And so, those discussions, intriguing as they are, are irrelevant to the conditions of moral theology because we are concerned with the *IT* of sin. We hate the sin: not the sinners: because we are those ourselves.

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  19. Steven Dube:

    You have never watched "24"! Well, you do not know what you are missing. And yes, 99 times out of a hundred I usually do not have a clue as to what I am talking about; but in this case I know a bit.

    Back in the Dark Ages when we ere dealing with Marxist, not Muslim, terroists I did this stuff for a living. My comrades and I spent endless hours reading everything about every terrorist incident (no Mr. Google then)that we could get our hands on. When we were not studing terrosists we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to kill them.

    We were introduced to a Brit concept called Close Quarters Battle (CQB). We also spent a lot of the taxpayers' dollars making things go bang and practicing engaging moving targets while we oursleves were moving with a lot of other noncombatant targets scattered about. We did this day and night under every conievable situation. Later I was tasked to train police and military special response teams.

    These days, despite my advance age and broken body, old comrades, who started private security companies after 9/11/01, still nag me to get off my elderly butt and help them with the easier, old man tasks. Very recently I was involved with the advance work for a body guard team escorting a principal to Haiti.

    So; although I am certainly no anti-terroist expert I can say, with confidence (having first started doing this stuff around 1979)that your real world scenarios as described have never happend as yet; and are unlikely to happen - please God!

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  20. Red:

    RE: Move Discussion

    Yes Mistress. I hear and obey. (My wife has me very well trained.)

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  21. Richard Comerford,

    That's a nice personal story.

    Now, is anybody here man enough to engage in the question below? It's not a trick question at all. I'm asking a pretty direct quesion. How exactly would you handle the situation below. Note: Remember, you are the ones demonizing the government officials who have to deal with these situations.


    "What if there were no authorities around and the terrorist you were holding was under restraint, you had other men around to help you of course, but the decision making was under your control. Would you try to get information on where your children were?"

    Steven Dube

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  22. Steven, did you read my post? I thought I answered it. But I'll answer again:

    Yes. Firmly. I would demand information. I might lose my temper and shout. I would hope that I would have the foresight to make those other men who were with me help to restrain me. I would, removed from the situation, explain to them that I consider torture and coercion unconscionable, and do not want to fall into the temptation to use those tactics. I would ask them to remove me from the situation if I somehow let down my vigilance, and hopefully we could use our strength in numbers to keep each other in check and make sure that we behave in a way respectful of the dignity of human life which our, er, "captive" retains despite his cooperation in these evil acts.

    The situation you're illustrating is rather rich in its insinuations, and I'm not sure where to draw lines. For example, he is a criminal, and I believe he would need to be punished. If my children are injured or murdered and there are really no authorities as you say, who's to punish him? Am I the proper moral authority in this case? What "Lord of the Flies" island are we on? Does John Paul II's development of Doctrine on the death penalty still pertain? Has the historical person and Pontificate of John Paul II even existed in this scenario?

    Do you see WHY your line of questioning is not really relevant to the point of whether torture is, in fact, a grave evil? The moment you start applying hypotheticals and asking how a person might feel inclined to act, you're asking another question?

    Since you keep challenging us to prove our manhood and submit to your hypothetical, I'll throw one at you: "Suppose your in the garden of Eden with Eve. You're Adam. She brings you the forbidden fruit from the snake. Do you eat it?"

    A follow-up, though, so you can see the implication: If you say yes, does that make it right? It God just a bully for judging Adam the way he did, since any of us might have acted the same way?

    And again, the question with which I began: What if it were Jesus in the Garden?

    Oh, that's right, we don't have to make that hypothetical. He did go through a garden experience, and we know what He did: "But be thy will done."

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  23. "Since you keep challenging us to prove our manhood and submit to your hypothetical"

    I'm sorry to all for insinuating that (I got caught up). I have no doubt that you are all good catholic men.

    Thanks for answering Joey and I respect your answer. I believe my question goes to the heart of what we are discussing here.

    What I would do is really not that far from what you would do. I would beat him a little, maybe a punch in the gut or face once or twice, being sure not to do any permanant damage, maybe hang him off the edge of building and threaten to drop him. At the end of it all, he would be ok and I would have a better chance of gaining information than if I did nothing.

    Thats a small price to pay for holding my childrens lives in his hands.

    ..and thats exactly what we did to KSM.


    Steven Dube

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  24. Steve Dube:n

    And how do you propose to get reliable information from your captured terrorist? Are you going to TORTURE him? Like a REAL man?

    If you are, prior to your torture session, you may wish to consult with Mr. Google. Ask him for a copy of US Army Field Manual 34-52 September 2006. In it you will find the collected wisdom of many professional interrogators (unlike yourself) distilled into a clear beverage. You might also notice that the wisdom contained therein clearly states that torture is not only illegal but counter productive. Water boarding is listed as one of the prohibited activities that is counter productive as an interrogation tool.

    Alas it is so hard to be a real man and torture a captured terrorist in the real world.

    By the way. Have you asked Mr. Google to find you a real world example of your comic book fantasy yet? (Super Steve to the rescue! Have torture rack; will travel.)

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  25. I have to disagree with you again, though, Steven. The question does not go to the heart of the matter. And your detainee would not be "ok" necessarily. And even if he was - even if he thanked you for it like one of Mr. Theissen's examples from the interview - even that would be irrelevant. Because his individual "okayness" is not, per se, the value in question. Neither even are you children's lives, directly.

    I commented at length below, in another post, about how ends can flow from actions mediately or immediately. And how they come from the action undertaken has everything to do with analyzing the object of the act and its moral value.

    Your children's safety, as such, is not even the value under scrutiny or at issue: even their lives is not the "matter." The matter here is beating a man, in order to intimidate him, who is subdued and under your dominion in all practical respects. Is such action respective of human dignity: his, yours, everyones. The value of human dignity as it is held in the mind of God who sees His Son's face when he countenances the human person. And we should see His face, too, when we look at other persons: yes, even our enemies.

    Apart from the unlikelihood of the scenario, I'm trying to help you to see why "specifics" aren't necessarily helpful.

    And, by the way, this is wisdom even recognized by the secular authorities who ARE in charge of safety and protecting common goods. Officers of law, medical professionals, and the like, would most likely be expected to recuse themselves from proceedings to which they are "too close" in an emotional way, because it clouds their judgment and ability to act. On the flip side of the coin is that a judge might be more clement if he were judging his son in a court of law; he might, contrariwise, be more vicious if he were judging his son's murderer. Thus, if his son is involved one way or another, it is preferable that that judge not be involved.

    In the case you suggest, maybe not even going into the room, but leaving it to the "other men" you mention, would be the wise and prudent thing. Otherwise, we may sin by even placing ourselves in the near occasion of sin - even if we don't end up abusing the detainee.

    So, even a secular, natural wisdom and prudence can demonstrate here in favor of removal and abstraction rather than a "devil's-in-the-details" scrutiny. Yes, it's true: the devil IS in the details. And he is there, as he is everywhere, the prince of lies...

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  26. Steven, since we're playing with hypotheticals, let me give you one:

    You've done what you outlined above. You *know* the terrorist knows where your children are and you also know that they will be killed in exactly three hours. Waterboarding, punching the guy, threatening him etc. have not worked; he just smirks that your kids are going to die.

    What do you do now?

    Do you cut off his fingers or toes? Do you stand by while others sodomize him with various objects? Do you inflict electrical and chemical burns to various parts of his body, break limbs, amputate limbs, mutilate him in ways no one should even describe? Do you start torturing and killing his family members in front of him?

    If not, why not? What has changed? He still knows where your kids are. They still die if he holds out and doesn't tell you where they are. At what point is something too evil to be done, if you don't draw the line way back in the beginning with the understanding that torture is evil?

    This is why this kind of hypothetical reasoning is so dangerous. Not only are the situations ludicrously impossible, but they're designed to bring the participants in the discussion to the place where they say "I guess you're right--I guess I would condone murder under those circumstances." The evil of that is hard to fathom.

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  27. "And how do you propose to get reliable information from your captured terrorist? Are you going to TORTURE him? Like a REAL man?"

    No, I wouldn't Richard, I gave a detailed description of what I would do above. Still waiting for your answer.

    "In the case you suggest, maybe not even going into the room, but leaving it to the "other men" you mention, would be the wise and prudent thing."

    I'm sorry Joey, thats a cop-out, thats what a coward does. If someone is holding my children hostage, I want to be directly involved in getting them home safetly. Anything less is disrespecting the dignity of my children's lives. A father protects his family.

    The liberals have thrown so many lies around about this, they have people thinking that practically every and anything can be torture. It's quite ridiculous.

    Steven

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  28. "You've done what you outlined above. You *know* the terrorist knows where your children are and you also know that they will be killed in exactly three hours. Waterboarding, punching the guy, threatening him etc. have not worked; he just smirks that your kids are going to die.

    What do you do now?"

    Nothing.

    "Do you cut off his fingers or toes? Do you stand by while others sodomize him with various objects? Do you inflict electrical and chemical burns to various parts of his body, break limbs, amputate limbs, mutilate him in ways no one should even describe? Do you start torturing and killing his family members in front of him?"

    No, I wouldn't do any of that. Again, those things you mention infict permanant damage.

    "If not, why not? What has changed? He still knows where your kids are. They still die if he holds out and doesn't tell you where they are. At what point is something too evil to be done, if you don't draw the line way back in the beginning with the understanding that torture is evil?"

    I wouldn't do anything that causes permanant damage, physical or mental.


    "This is why this kind of hypothetical reasoning is so dangerous. Not only are the situations ludicrously impossible"

    No they are not impossible, not for people who are responsible for our safety.

    "but they're designed to bring the participants in the discussion to the place where they say "I guess you're right--I guess I would condone murder under those circumstances." The evil of that is hard to fathom."

    No, that is not what I'm trying to do at all.

    I'm using harsh interrogation methods to gain information without permanantly harming the perp or terrorist. I have a better chance saving innocent lives than doing nothing.

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  29. Super Steve:

    RE: KSM

    KSM is a very bad example regarding the effectiveness of torture.

    In 2002 the Pak ISI grandly announced it had killed KSM. Then six months later (miracles of miracles!) KSM is resurrected and the same PAK ISI grandly announces it had this time captured him.

    So the Paks hand him over to our official US government tortures. Under torture KSM confesses to every major terrorist incident over the past 20-years to include incidents committed by other captured terrorists.

    In so doing KSM out smarted our government torturers and gave legal cover to the real perpetrators. Then some genius in the White House releases the story and the government is stuck prosecuting a guy who may very well be a smart Al Qaeda wannabe but not the FU Manchu of Muslim terrorism.

    Look. If this was the era before Mr. Google was born then your ignorance would be excusable.

    Sit down. Organize your thoughts. Consult Mr. Google. Come up with a real world scenario.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  30. Super Steve:

    What you have proposed to do above to your captured terrorist in your fantasy scenario is defined by the United States S Department of Defense as torture, a prohibited technique, illegal and counter productive.

    Now if you think your little interrogation techniques actaully work then consult Mr. Google for a real world authority to back you up your claim. Stop being lazy. Do a little work.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  31. RE: Liberals and torture

    There is no liberal or conservative approach to torture. Good interrogation, reliable inteligence product and proper prisoner handling is not a matter of political ideology. Rather it is a matter of morality and natural law.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  32. "What you have proposed to do above to your captured terrorist in your fantasy scenario is defined by the United States S Department of Defense as torture, a prohibited technique, illegal and counter productive."

    Thats too bad, no wonder we got attacked on 9/11... and are still behind the eight ball...

    "KSM is a very bad example regarding the effectiveness of torture..."

    No, thats not true.

    "Under torture KSM confesses to every major terrorist incident over the past 20-years to include incidents committed by other captured terrorists."

    As an interrogator, you have to be able to discern what is a real connfession from a fake one.

    Richard,
    You should try using your own judgement and common sense than always running to Google or answers.

    not everything is torture. the descision is not 'torture or do nothing'. There is an in-between.

    Steven

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  33. Super Steve:

    Prior to 9/11/01 there existed massive intelligence product indicating a terror attack was imminent. However our government (as in the recent case of the underwear bomber) was asleep the switch. The CIA, FBI and NSA, among others, literally ignored crucial intelligence or failed to share; and made almost no effort to track the hijackers. No torture was necessary to protect the USA on 9/11/01. Just a little hard work. (BTW the heads of the FBI, NSA and CIA who were asleep at the switch on 9/11/01 were all either promoted or decorated...go figure.)

    Now you claim your boy KSM is the man that proves torture works. Right? OK. From whence comes the only purported proof that KSM is Fu Manchu? The torturers. Right? Well, what do you expect our official torturers to say? "Yes we tortured KSM until we nearly drowned him bit it did not work" You think that paid torturers are going to admit that torture is ineffective? You are placing our National Security in the hands of professional finger nail pullers?

    You claim that an interrogator can discern a real confession from a fake one. Why is it that DOD disagrees with you? Are you saying that Super Steve is smarting than the US Department of Defense?

    Stop whining about Mr. Google he knows a lot more than you do. You should consult him frequently. And Mr. Google will tell you that any type of physical or moral violence is counter productive as an interrogation tool.

    By the way I am still waiting for a real world example to back up your comic book fantasy scenarios.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  34. Richard,

    I'm sorry that you would let your children die before trying to help them.

    Steven

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  35. Richard, let's drop the "Super Steve" appellation. Steven's human dignity is important, too!

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  36. Red:

    Yes Mistress. I hear and obey.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  37. Mr. Steven:

    You still have not presented one real world incident to back up your comic book fantasy.

    Come on, You can do it.

    I know of about 13-incidents wherein alleged terrorists seized children and threatened to murder them unless there political demands were met.

    Can you not ask Mr. Google to help you find at least one?

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

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  38. Since we're appealing to crazy hypotheticals and tv shows now, may I bring up The Dark Knight? Remember when the good guys had captured the Joker and were interrogating him as to the whereabouts of Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes? Batman kept hitting him and hitting him and the Joker just laughed. Remember his taunts? "You have nothing...nothing to threaten me with...with all your strength!"


    If it doesn't work for Batman, it's not going to work for us.

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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