Monday, January 10, 2005


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If George W. Bush wants to nominate someone for Attorney General who will help his administration make an end run around the Geneva Convention in order to allow (and therefore implicity encourage?) torture by the US, I don't think that's appropriate. I think Bush could make a better choice than Alberto Gonzales.

A question similar to this one has been asked: "If some terrorist had a nuclear bomb planted in one of our cities wouldn't you torture him to find out where the bomb is?" Hmmm. My original response was something like Gonzales would have said during his hearings: "That's a hypothetical question, I can't answer that." After thinking about it a bit, I would be tempted to respond with "Do you really think one of those guys would divulge the location of such a weapon, and betray his religious beliefs and his leaders?"

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Why use torture? If the terrorists are as fanatical and crazy as they are reputed to be, how likely are they to tell their secrets? Is there a better way to get information from them than torturing them?

Otherwise, we would be torturing them... just for the sake of torturing them... wouldn't we? Or would it be because they are Islamic? Or because we SUSPECT they MIGHT be THINKING about committing POSSIBLE acts of terror, MAYBE in the US?

If we suspect some of these guys of being terrorists, why not just catch them, put them away in prison somewhere, and keep them there without torturing them? For how long, I have no good answer... but I would like to think this is what we generally do already, and that the stuff like what went on at Abu Ghraib is an exception to the rule.

Therefore, if the Abu Ghraib torture is an exception, is supporting such torture supporting those who participated in what is an exception to the rule, and is it like supporting what they did? I think it is.

I'm not sure how anybody can justify torturing another person. Bush reportedly tortured small animals when he was a kid. Does that have anything to do with anything? Thoughts?

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Blogger Mark said...

I think John McCain could tell Mr. Gonzalez that torture doesn't always cause people to reveal information.

10:12 AM  
Blogger ALa said...

Snave: Michael Levine makes his Case for Torture much better than I ever could -but while reading assume that I agree with him 100%...Wednesday on My site Jericho Brown and I will be arguing about "Is there 'Justified torture'..."

12:45 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

That article is very eloquently done. However, I still don't believe the use of torture would guarantee the jerks would tell us what we needed to know. And as well as Levin writes, he is not able to convince me that humans should physically harm other humans.

Human nature is what it is, plain and simple. People will hurt each other. I believe that through time, human nature has developed to also include the urge not to hurt others. Balancing hurting others with not hurting others is where we have the difficulty.

Here are a couple of fun thoughts:

Let's suppose I am to treat others as I would want to be treated. Does that mean that if I send a Muslim terrorist to his version of hell by making him confess through torture, that a Judeo-Christian version of hell is where I also want to go?

Regarding the physical torture of other humans: ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?" Would Christ himself rape prisoners with broom handles, force them to lie in large naked piles, or make them stand naked before vicious, barking dogs? I don't think so.

I can't call myself a Christian because there are things within Christianity I don't believe or comprehend, but I grew up in the Christian tradition and I believe I have learned a lot of good from it. If we are to call ourselves a "Christian nation", which seems popular nowadays in some circles, I don't think we should be so eager to allow the torture of other human beings.

Yes, I am a pacifist, and proud of it... and I doubt my outlook will change any time soon.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Damien said...

I'm very sure that many 'conserves' and 'military wackos' think that torture actually works, or has some kind of don't mess with us effect. The truth is that theres proberbly alot of imperical evidence out there that proves otherwise, in fact I'm sure the (old) regime in Iraq has alot of information which is applicable, look where they are now.

Hey why bother wasting the time, if there is no actually military or informative purpose then why bother. If Gonzales wants more people tortured then I guess he'll have to put on more GTMO - Saudi Arabia (dark) flights. I'm sure the imminent arrival of the Chinease secret service office in DC will offer more torture destinations in the future.

Gonzales is just another conservative tough talker, who doesn't have a clue about tortures real world implications.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Ms Liberty said...

I'm not sure how anybody can justify torturing another person. Bush reportedly tortured small animals when he was a kid. Does that have anything to do with anything? Thoughts?Most serial killers have a history of torturing small animals so it fits that Bushjr. did.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

I think we look at this subject and think that one solution fits everyone. Each person is different, and reacts differently. Let's say that there are ten terrorists that know of a dirty bomb, and where it is to be placed. You might be able to use money to buy the information from a couple of them (how we found Saddam's sons), but they might not talk with torture. Maybe drugging some would work. Possibly the 'charms' of female companionship would loosen lips. Or the shame of male. I'm sure that a couple of them would break under physical or psychological stress. (Yes, I mean torture.) Or threats again their families.

The real question is: given the potential of 250,000 dead citizens (or more), is there anything that our government should take off the table to uncover information that could prevent these deaths?

5:38 PM  

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