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Germany seeks to arrest 13 CIA agents

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Posts

  • s3rial ones3rial one Registered User
    edited February 2007
    ElJeffe wrote:
    In the larger sense, this whole "hurt one to save many" thing isn't exactly exclusive to torture.
    I've been skirting around this issue for a while, now. Thank you for putting it more concisely than I could manage to. I especially like the economic policy example.

    The only real difference to me, it seems, is that torture is more deliberate and less reliable.

  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2007
    s3rial one wrote:
    Maybe Bush can't, but that doesn't mean that everyone in the forum needs to doggedly stick to their views.
    Um, okay? I'm not even sure what you're getting at, as I never suggested such a thing. I merely pointed out that it doesn't matter whether or not we can conclusively prove that torture is an ineffective means of interrogation. It will still be used, by people who claim to represent me and my interests.

    DAMM
    Drunks Against Mad Mothers
  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Running a government itself is just a game in trying hurt the smallest number of people while making things better for the largest number, while keeping things like basic rights intact. You weigh principle against practicality, and it's a balancing act. And that's how I would view torture, if it wasn't so ineffective. If you could save lots and lots of people by torturing those we knew to be terrorists, I could deal with that, provided it was a last-resort thing that wasn't common

    Would this go in war too then?
    You could probably save alot of lives torturing your opponents for information, however I know that if i was a soldier I would like to know that I would not get tortured were i captured. I thought that is why there are a few general rules of war, that should be followed, if you do "whatever it takes", then so will your opponent, and woo dirty fighting sure is fun.
    Ofcourse you could try and claim that this is not a war, but I don't see how that is hugely different. Tactical warfare, which is apparantly accepted as 'war', is all about killing civilians, so terrorism is just an ineffective but hard to prevent way of tactical warfare.

    Yepp, THE Fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
    - "Proving once again the deadliest animal of all ... is the Zoo Keeper" - Philip J Fry
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    s3rial one wrote:
    mcdermott wrote:
    Oh, I think we (which is to say, the ones who vehemently disagree with you) know the difference. We aren't disagreeing with you just because we don't understand what you're talking about...we disagree with you because we do know what you're talking about and still think you're wrong.
    I don't mean to be rude, mcdermott, but there's no point in continuing this conversation with you. If such an absurdly lopsided hypothetical - like torturing one person to save a hundred, or a thousand, or a million people - is still a difficult call for you, you're so far off the scale of rationality that there's just nothing to be gained.

    I mean, you mention the potential lasting effects of torture. What about the lasting effects of death?

    [scottish accent]All men die. But not all men truly live.[/scottish accent]

    Seriously, everybody dies at some point. It quite simply has to happen. The method can change, as can the time, but death is inevitable. Not everybody has to get tortured at some point in their life.
    ElJeffe wrote:
    Running a government itself is just a game in trying hurt the smallest number of people while making things better for the largest number, while keeping things like basic rights intact. You weigh principle against practicality, and it's a balancing act. And that's how I would view torture, if it wasn't so ineffective. If you could save lots and lots of people by torturing those we knew to be terrorists, I could deal with that, provided it was a last-resort thing that wasn't common.

    Good points. I think torture fails on the "keeping basic rights" intact portion, as compared to economic policies that will harm random people. We have the right to the pursuit of happiness (and wealth), not the right to it. Provided our society has safeguards to prevent you from starving in the street, you aren't denied basic rights by such policies. Torture on the other hand would seem to violate liberty, and possibly life if it goes badly. Also, unless I'm mistaken, the right not to be tortured is recognized specifically as a basic human right most anywhere human rights are enumerated.

  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Well other than the obvious physical harm what exactly do people here think is torture? There's obviously no truth serum or the like, but is it OK to take someone (a suspect) and then subject them to a regime designed to bend their feelings or attitudes in an attempt to bring out the 'truth'? We know about Stockholm Syndrom, and behavioral modification has been used for decades. I'm sure there are write-ups out there in the intelligence community that claim to be able to induce those effects and use them in place of or in conjunction with traditional torture techniques. It might not fit everyone's preconceived notions of torture, but it can be said that it uses people's weaknesses, fears, or traits against them. I can just imagine Tony Snow dodging questions left and right because no one laid a finger on detaineess so they weren't actually 'tortured'.

    180px-Tony_Snow_cropped.jpg
    I hate you you sonofabitch.

    14271f3c-c765-4e74-92b1-49d7612675f2.jpg
  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Malkor wrote:
    Well other than the obvious physical harm what exactly do people here think is torture?
    wiki wrote:
    Torture is the infliction of pain intended to break the will of the victim or victims. Any act by which severe pain, whether physical or psychological, is intentionally inflicted on a person as a means of intimidation, deterrence, revenge, punishment, sadism, or to obtain confessions (true or false) for propaganda or political purposes may be called torture. It can be used as an interrogation tactic to extract confessions. Torture is also used as a method of coercion or as a tool to control groups seen as a threat by governments. A moral definition of torture proposes that the sin of torture consists in the disproportionate infliction of pain.[1]

    I think that fits
    As for the stupid "torturing one person to save a hundred" yes, but exactly what scenario would that be? There are never only the way of torture as to prevent a disaster in real life, so it's a missleading example, woulld you kill an infant that would grow up to kill a million people? sure, does that make it okey to kill all infants that are somewhat likely to do that? fuck no.

    Yepp, THE Fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
    - "Proving once again the deadliest animal of all ... is the Zoo Keeper" - Philip J Fry
  • s3rial ones3rial one Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Malkor wrote:
    Well other than the obvious physical harm what exactly do people here think is torture?
    I'd classify just about any form of intentional mistreatment of a prisoner as torture. It might be as overt as electrical shocks or beatings. It might be as passive as inadequate diet or leaving a prisoner out in the elements, or leaving him shackled for an unnecessarily long time. I would throw in psychological torture as well; waterboarding, threats of violence against family and friends, etc.

    But I also think there needs to be some sort of persistence. If a cop, interrogating a suspect, becomes frustrated and punches him, well, I'd call that punching a prisoner, not torturing a prisoner. Exactly where I'd draw the line, though... that's a tough call.

    I've not made up my mind on the issue, but I think the argument could be made that knowingly allowing one prisoner to inflict damage upon another could be considered torture.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Malkor wrote:
    Well other than the obvious physical harm what exactly do people here think is torture? There's obviously no truth serum or the like, but is it OK to take someone (a suspect) and then subject them to a regime designed to bend their feelings or attitudes in an attempt to bring out the 'truth'? We know about Stockholm Syndrom, and behavioral modification has been used for decades. I'm sure there are write-ups out there in the intelligence community that claim to be able to induce those effects and use them in place of or in conjunction with traditional torture techniques. It might not fit everyone's preconceived notions of torture, but it can be said that it uses people's weaknesses, fears, or traits against them. I can just imagine Tony Snow dodging questions left and right because no one laid a finger on detaineess so they weren't actually 'tortured'.

    180px-Tony_Snow_cropped.jpg
    I hate you you sonofabitch.

    You know, I see his face and suddenly my opinion on torture starts go get a little less firm.

    The standard definition of torture includes intense psychological pain/suffering, and I tend to agree. For instance, holding somebody indefinitely in shitty conditions while convincing them you will never let them go and never give them a trial could probably be defined as torture. Giving them the impression that you are going to (or already have) hurt their families or others they care about could probably be defined as torture

    I see s3rial one already covered that while I was typing, though.
    s3rial one wrote:
    But I also think there needs to be some sort of persistence. If a cop, interrogating a suspect, becomes frustrated and punches him, well, I'd call that punching a prisoner, not torturing a prisoner. Exactly where I'd draw the line, though... that's a tough call.

    Yeah, at that point it's a question of intent and persistence. If the cop just loses his temper for a second and punches a guy once (or twice), that's not torture. Repeated beatings would be. Punching the guy once with the intent being to intimidate him into a confession probably would be as well...but that's borderline (depends where you define "severe" pain).
    s3rial one wrote:
    I've not made up my mind on the issue, but I think the argument could be made that knowingly allowing one prisoner to inflict damage upon another could be considered torture.

    Well, if they're in your custody theoretically they're also in your care...so if you knowingly neglect that responsibility and intentionally allow harm to come to them, I'd say that's little different from doing it yourself.

    I mean really the only thing keeping me from calling the rampant forced sodomy in our prison systems torture is that I'd like to think it's not an intended outcome. Considering the flippant attitude most people seem to have about it though, joking about forced sodomy as a punishment for a crime, perhaps I'm being incredibly naive.

    EDIT: Also, @ElJeffe - I had totally forgotten about a common side effect (or rather, simply effect) of torture...PTSD. Having some experience with PTSD, both first-hand and through others, I feel comfortable saying that the idea of torture simply involving "temporary discomfort" is absolute bullshit.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2007
    fjafjan wrote:
    Would this go in war too then?
    You could probably save alot of lives torturing your opponents for information, however I know that if i was a soldier I would like to know that I would not get tortured were i captured. I thought that is why there are a few general rules of war, that should be followed, if you do "whatever it takes", then so will your opponent, and woo dirty fighting sure is fun.
    Ofcourse you could try and claim that this is not a war, but I don't see how that is hugely different. Tactical warfare, which is apparantly accepted as 'war', is all about killing civilians, so terrorism is just an ineffective but hard to prevent way of tactical warfare.

    War is a different beast. If you torture the other guy, you open the doors for them to torture you. Since we don't much care for that, we make rules that everybody has to abide by, or else they lose the protections of the Geneva Convention. (This last part, lots of people like to ignore.)

    And that's why we're in a somewhat difficult situation. We have one side that recognizes that those who don't abide by Geneva don't get its protections, but many of them want to then just say theyhave no rights and we can do whatever we please with them. We have another side that says that everyone should be granted the protections of Geneva regardless of whether or not they play nice, but if we do that, then we pretty much kill any reason for anyone to follow the rules.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User
    edited February 2007
    ElJeffe wrote:
    fjafjan wrote:
    Would this go in war too then?
    You could probably save alot of lives torturing your opponents for information, however I know that if i was a soldier I would like to know that I would not get tortured were i captured. I thought that is why there are a few general rules of war, that should be followed, if you do "whatever it takes", then so will your opponent, and woo dirty fighting sure is fun.
    Ofcourse you could try and claim that this is not a war, but I don't see how that is hugely different. Tactical warfare, which is apparantly accepted as 'war', is all about killing civilians, so terrorism is just an ineffective but hard to prevent way of tactical warfare.

    War is a different beast. If you torture the other guy, you open the doors for them to torture you. Since we don't much care for that, we make rules that everybody has to abide by, or else they lose the protections of the Geneva Convention. (This last part, lots of people like to ignore.)
    Wait, are you saying this is not a war? Because I say that it is, war is not necessarily between two states, nor is it limited to two parties.
    I claim that this is war, and since america has not been known to abide to the laws of the geneva convention in the slightest in this "War on terrorism", whatever parties want to be included in that, then they have lost their rights to be protected by the geneva convention.
    What you might want to do is to say, "okey, we are going to live up to the convention now" and see where it goes from there, but maybe I'm crazy.

    I guess no one here really cares, but the right to not be tortured is a human right, but whatever.
    And that's why we're in a somewhat difficult situation. We have one side that recognizes that those who don't abide by Geneva don't get its protections, but many of them want to then just say theyhave no rights and we can do whatever we please with them. We have another side that says that everyone should be granted the protections of Geneva regardless of whether or not they play nice, but if we do that, then we pretty much kill any reason for anyone to follow the rules.

    They should be treated fairly since that is a simple human right, end of story, they are no less human than anyone else and justifying torture because "they would do it" is completely invalid. When you fight with a beast you must make sure not to become one yourself, people should play more Baldur's Gate :P
    [/quote]

    Yepp, THE Fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
    - "Proving once again the deadliest animal of all ... is the Zoo Keeper" - Philip J Fry
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    fjafjan wrote:
    Wait, are you saying this is not a war? Because I say that it is, war is not necessarily between two states, nor is it limited to two parties.

    Defining the "War on Terrorism" as an actual war (as in, of the "Geneva Conventions apply" type of war) is dangerous, though, because it has no end state. At all. Do we really want a state of perpetual war?

    If we're talking about in Iraq or Afghanistan, those are nations where armed conflict is still taking place. But the Geneva Conventions don't really have much to do with extraordinary rendition (I still want to know what ordinary rendition is), where we're grabbing Random Muslim Dude off the streets of Germany.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2007
    fjafjan wrote:
    Wait, are you saying this is not a war? Because I say that it is, war is not necessarily between two states, nor is it limited to two parties.
    I claim that this is war, and since america has not been known to abide to the laws of the geneva convention in the slightest in this "War on terrorism", whatever parties want to be included in that, then they have lost their rights to be protected by the geneva convention.
    What you might want to do is to say, "okey, we are going to live up to the convention now" and see where it goes from there, but maybe I'm crazy.

    I'm unaware of any situations where we haven't granted Geneva protections to those who were eligible for them. As I mentioned before, if you violate the provisions of Geneva, you lose the rights to its protections. This is why the government has been quick to point out the "unlawful combatant" status of its detainees. If you go around deliberately targetting civilians and not identifying yourself as a combatant by wearing a uniform, you're violating Geneva. If you're violating Geneva, you don't get to claim its protections.

    Which isn't to say that these people should have no rights at all, and that brings us back to the squabble between the two groups of people who are too goddamned stubborn to compromise in order to come to a satisfactory situation.

    Of course, as mcdermott pointed out, this only applies to the combat in Iraq/Afgahnistan. The shit going on in Germany has nothing to do with "war".

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User
    edited February 2007
    mcdermott wrote:
    fjafjan wrote:
    Wait, are you saying this is not a war? Because I say that it is, war is not necessarily between two states, nor is it limited to two parties.

    Defining the "War on Terrorism" as an actual war (as in, of the "Geneva Conventions apply" type of war) is dangerous, though, because it has no end state. At all. Do we really want a state of perpetual war?

    If we're talking about in Iraq or Afghanistan, those are nations where armed conflict is still taking place. But the Geneva Conventions don't really have much to do with extraordinary rendition (I still want to know what ordinary rendition is), where we're grabbing Random Muslim Dude off the streets of Germany.

    Woops, I completely forgot it was about some german dude and not torturing Iraqis/afghans.

    Is it a war? Well shit, Bush certainly treats it that way, Al quaida/most terrorist organisations actually in this war, claim Ji'had or whatever, which is certainly war.
    I don't know if it's true to call the war of terrorism a war, i think it is much like the cold war. Except you couldn't detain some german guy for being a comy. God the patriot act makes me want to kill someone responsible for it.

    Yepp, THE Fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
    - "Proving once again the deadliest animal of all ... is the Zoo Keeper" - Philip J Fry
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2007
    fjafjan wrote:
    Is it a war? Well shit, Bush certainly treats it that way

    I'm inclined not to take seriously the opinion of the man who was almost felled by the F1A1 Tactical Assault Pretzel.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User
    edited February 2007
    ElJeffe wrote:
    fjafjan wrote:
    Is it a war? Well shit, Bush certainly treats it that way

    I'm inclined not to take seriously the opinion of the man who was almost felled by the F1A1 Tactical Assault Pretzel.

    Well it DOES prove that salty pastries hates freedom and Jesus

    And you might not take it seriously, but well, he IS commander in chief, and it seems to be more or less accepted as SOME form of war, seeing as how there can be "prisoners of war" or whatever. These are not treated according to geneva convention....

    Yepp, THE Fjafjan (who's THE fjafjan?)
    - "Proving once again the deadliest animal of all ... is the Zoo Keeper" - Philip J Fry
  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2007
    ElJeffe wrote:
    fjafjan wrote:
    Is it a war? Well shit, Bush certainly treats it that way

    I'm inclined not to take seriously the opinion of the man who was almost felled by the F1A1 Tactical Assault Pretzel.

    Lewis Black had a great sketch about that.

    "Ask your friends. Have your friends ask their friends. You won't find anyone else who has ever choked on a pretzel. Even if they have, they're not dumb enough to tell you about it."

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