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What is "torture"?

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Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
345
126
Originally posted by: Rustler
The emeny will use any means to get information from our troops and kill them in the end.

Remember a terriost is not a uniformed combantant and not covered by the Geneva Convention.


For those that are nit picking also Non American lives.
Yes, every enemy the face faces always tortures every US prisoner they can get, not only for info but just because it's fun, and they eat all the babies they can get ahold of.

And we should set our policies based on what our enemies do. Hitler wants to gas Jews and put them in ovens? Fine, we set up gas chambers and ovens for all the German civilians.

And while we're at it, let's generalize our enemies, so whatever one group or individual does, we label all the enemies for, so we'll be gassing and burning Vietnamese, Grenadans, etc.

This is the sort of logic you're using, and it's despicable. They are human beings - the Geneva convention is not some technicality to try to find a way around, it's also a reflection of American values that we need to try to meet the spirit of as new situations arise, and torturing people is not part of America's values, despite the modern day evil people like you who are calling for such measures using the same, er, tortured logic other evildoers have used for the same reason. In my view you're a threat to American values.
 
May 16, 2000
13,529
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I'm all for torture as punishment for those proven to have done serious wrong. If I ever came across a rape in progress, or a molestation, I would fully support torturing the perp until he died. The key, however, is absolute certainty of wrong-doing...that and seriousness of offense.

Torture to extract information has been proven wholly ineffective and should never be allowed...especially when we're talking about thin evidence of wrong-doing in the first place.
 

GrGr

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2003
3,204
0
76
Originally posted by: Rustler
The emeny will use any means to get information from our troops and kill them in the end.

Remember a terriost is not a uniformed combantant and not covered by the Geneva Convention.


For those that are nit picking also Non American lives.
That's what the Nazis argued too.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
345
126
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
I'm all for torture as punishment for those proven to have done serious wrong. If I ever came across a rape in progress, or a molestation, I would fully support torturing the perp until he died. The key, however, is absolute certainty of wrong-doing...that and seriousness of offense.

Torture to extract information has been proven wholly ineffective and should never be allowed...especially when we're talking about thin evidence of wrong-doing in the first place.
I wouldn't, and I don't see rape as any less serious a wrong than you. Rather, I may better understand the problems rapists would typically have, and more importantly, have another view of the punishment you advocate simply creating a new wrong, not undoing the harm of the old one.

Prison is plenty of deterrent value already to the extent that a deterrent it effective. Excessive punishment for the sake of reacting to the emotion of anger is barbarism.

No torture, any time, for any reason, is a simple and good policy, IMO.
 
May 16, 2000
13,529
0
0
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
I'm all for torture as punishment for those proven to have done serious wrong. If I ever came across a rape in progress, or a molestation, I would fully support torturing the perp until he died. The key, however, is absolute certainty of wrong-doing...that and seriousness of offense.

Torture to extract information has been proven wholly ineffective and should never be allowed...especially when we're talking about thin evidence of wrong-doing in the first place.
I wouldn't, and I don't see rape as any less serious a wrong than you. Rather, I may better understand the problems rapists would typically have, and more importantly, have another view of the punishment you advocate simply creating a new wrong, not undoing the harm of the old one.

Prison is plenty of deterrent value already to the extent that a deterrent it effective. Excessive punishment for the sake of reacting to the emotion of anger is barbarism.

No torture, any time, for any reason, is a simple and good policy, IMO.
There is no possible way to undue the harm caused by a rape, or many other serious crimes. Plenty of people go through the same problems as a criminal and yet somehow don't turn to crime. Turning to crime, regardless of circumstances, is indication of the weakness of one's character. For mild offense, mild punishments are in order. Hence fines, and jails. I don't see these as deterrents...at least not significant ones. Rather they are punishments...reprisals.

For serious crimes there should be serious punishments...again not deterrents, consequences. If the crime is serious enough then that criminal, in my opinion, is incapable of existing in society and I prefer that they be removed from that society. I don't think innocent people should have to pay for it, so I prefer a $.30 bullet fired into their heads. If the victims of said crime would rather torture them to death so that they experience the pain and horror that they themselves inflicted upon an innocent then that's fine with me.

I don't think the government should inflict that torture, as it largely wasn't the government who was wronged. In part, yes, but not primarily. Choice to torture to death instead of kill should be up to the victim's immediate friends/family.

By the way, I LOVE the last quote in your sig. I'll be using that in a debate in the near future, thanks.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,547
0
76
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
I'm all for torture as punishment for those proven to have done serious wrong. If I ever came across a rape in progress, or a molestation, I would fully support torturing the perp until he died. The key, however, is absolute certainty of wrong-doing...that and seriousness of offense.

Torture to extract information has been proven wholly ineffective and should never be allowed...especially when we're talking about thin evidence of wrong-doing in the first place.
I wouldn't, and I don't see rape as any less serious a wrong than you. Rather, I may better understand the problems rapists would typically have, and more importantly, have another view of the punishment you advocate simply creating a new wrong, not undoing the harm of the old one.

Prison is plenty of deterrent value already to the extent that a deterrent it effective. Excessive punishment for the sake of reacting to the emotion of anger is barbarism.

No torture, any time, for any reason, is a simple and good policy, IMO.
Then again, you believe that every single item in the OP, except truth serum, is torture. Whereas, thankfully, most people would only put water-boarding in that category.

You also seem to equate disorientation, the intended result of any noise/light/sleep methods, to pain... why is that? I don't see how temporary disorientation and confusion, methods which actually have been proven as effective, can be considered "torture."
 

CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,353
1
81
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Then again, you believe that every single item in the OP, except truth serum, is torture. Whereas, thankfully, most people would only put water-boarding in that category.

You also seem to equate disorientation, the intended result of any noise/light/sleep methods, to pain... why is that? I don't see how temporary disorientation and confusion, methods which actually have been proven as effective, can be considered "torture."
You neglected to address my post, where I said
I would naively define torture as applying distress to obtain information. Distress could be mental, physical, emotional, or perhaps even verbal. I might instead define torture as the violation of basic human dignity in an effort to obtain information. Therefore, I think the only thing in the OP's list that might not be construed as torture might be the use of truth serums, but that would depend on the nature of the serum and the manner of interrogation following its application.
I think this answers your question regarding Craig's position.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,547
0
76
Originally posted by: CycloWizard
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Then again, you believe that every single item in the OP, except truth serum, is torture. Whereas, thankfully, most people would only put water-boarding in that category.

You also seem to equate disorientation, the intended result of any noise/light/sleep methods, to pain... why is that? I don't see how temporary disorientation and confusion, methods which actually have been proven as effective, can be considered "torture."
You neglected to address my post, where I said
I would naively define torture as applying distress to obtain information. Distress could be mental, physical, emotional, or perhaps even verbal. I might instead define torture as the violation of basic human dignity in an effort to obtain information. Therefore, I think the only thing in the OP's list that might not be construed as torture might be the use of truth serums, but that would depend on the nature of the serum and the manner of interrogation following its application.
I think this answers your question regarding Craig's position.
You are certainly entitled to your opinions; but, thankfully, most people disagree with yours and craig's overly restrictive approaches to this issue.

I'll agree with you that waterboarding is torture... but the rest would be completely reasonable when performed in moderation and under the supervision of highly-trained professionals.

Temporary discomfort, confusion, disorientation, fatigue, or distress are not torture; and, with the exception of waterboarding, the other methods I listed have been proven effective.

that's my opinion, and I'll leave it at that for the rest of you to discuss. I do thank you for your opinions and I also appreciate the flame-free discussion thus far...
 

CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,353
1
81
Originally posted by: palehorse74
I'll agree with you that waterboarding is torture... but the rest would be completely reasonable when performed in moderation and under the supervision of highly-trained professionals.

Temporary discomfort, confusion, disorientation, fatigue, or distress are not torture; and, with the exception of waterboarding, the other methods I listed have been proven effective.

that's my opinion, and I'll leave it at that for the rest of you to discuss. I do thank you for your opinions and I also appreciate the flame-free discussion thus far...
What makes it completely reasonable? All you've done in this thread is say "this is what torture is in my book" without any attempt at telling us why we should prefer your definition over our own. Efficacy of a given method tells us absolutely nothing about whether or not it is ethical, yet this seems to be your only criterion. For example, drawing and quartering might be a more efficacious deterent for capital crimes, but I would certainly consider it at least marginally less ethical than, say, lethal injection.
 

ZebuluniteV

Member
Aug 23, 2007
165
0
0
Originally posted by: GrGr
Bush?s torturers follow where the Nazis led

By Andrew Sullivan

-------

I've been lurking around the P&N forum here a bit lately, and that article caught my eye, as it does a very good job of countering the Bush admin-rhetoric supporting torture. I'm surprised I missed that article when it came out...thanks for posting it.

At any rate, here's a link to the original if anyone wants it: Link
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,547
0
76
Originally posted by: CycloWizard
Originally posted by: palehorse74
I'll agree with you that waterboarding is torture... but the rest would be completely reasonable when performed in moderation and under the supervision of highly-trained professionals.

Temporary discomfort, confusion, disorientation, fatigue, or distress are not torture; and, with the exception of waterboarding, the other methods I listed have been proven effective.

that's my opinion, and I'll leave it at that for the rest of you to discuss. I do thank you for your opinions and I also appreciate the flame-free discussion thus far...
What makes it completely reasonable? All you've done in this thread is say "this is what torture is in my book" without any attempt at telling us why we should prefer your definition over our own. Efficacy of a given method tells us absolutely nothing about whether or not it is ethical, yet this seems to be your only criterion. For example, drawing and quartering might be a more efficacious deterent for capital crimes, but I would certainly consider it at least marginally less ethical than, say, lethal injection.
One of my primary goals, when creating this thread, was to demonstrate the subjective nature of this subject and debate. I've made that point many times whenever this subject comes up in the forums. I've often challeneged the parties arguing with one-another to find ten people who could agree on a single definition of "torture," or a definitive list of methods that would be classified as such. Nobody, even at a National level in politics, has ever done so.

Therefore, it would be almost impossible for me to convince you to change your mind on the issue. About the only thing I could do is point out, or link to, the effectiveness of some of the methods I listed in the OP. Unlike waterboarding, and other methods of what I do consider torture, the remaining items in the list have all been proven effective at breaking sources over the years.

Disclaimer: the DoD doesnt allow for the use of any of the items in the list, so I can't speak from experience with any of them. This is all simply from reading and meeting experts in the field.

But again, this is way too subjective a topic to debate properly. We can discuss it all day long, but actually hoping to change anyone's mind would be foolish. As you can already see in this thread, everyone draws the line in a different place, and for different reasons.

I draw my line at waterboarding, and you "perhaps" draw yours at yelling(?) That probably won't change, for either one of us, no matter what anyone says...
 

jonks

Lifer
Feb 7, 2005
13,926
18
81
I'm not sure anyone can answer this question, but anything involving the testicles is hard to defend.
 

CycloWizard

Lifer
Sep 10, 2001
12,353
1
81
Originally posted by: palehorse74
One of my primary goals, when creating this thread, was to demonstrate the subjective nature of this subject and debate. I've made that point many times whenever this subject comes up in the forums. I've often challeneged the parties arguing with one-another to find ten people who could agree on a single definition of "torture," or a definitive list of methods that would be classified as such. Nobody, even at a National level in politics, has ever done so.

Therefore, it would be almost impossible for me to convince you to change your mind on the issue. About the only thing I could do is point out, or link to, the effectiveness of some of the methods I listed in the OP. Unlike waterboarding, and other methods of what I do consider torture, the remaining items in the list have all been proven effective at breaking sources over the years.
I would beg to differ. I would easily change my mind on this subject if you could simply defend your position in a rational manner. I have posited my own definition while you have failed to do so. Your implicit definition is completely illogical, as I easily demonstrated with a simple counter-example, which is why I asked for a more formal definition on your behalf. What is the point of discussing a topic if you have no intention of resolving potential conflicts? I thought that was the definition of trolling, but I could be wrong.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
66,733
3,560
126
I think Cyclo Wizard has it about right here:

I would naively define torture as applying distress to obtain information. Distress could be mental, physical, emotional, or perhaps even verbal. I might instead define torture as the violation of basic human dignity in an effort to obtain information.

I would define a torture as a coward who applies the above because he has no real faith or core morality. A coward only thinks in terms of results and the importance of his life. There is nothing he would die for, especially his own personal dignity. A torturer is a person who has no self respect and no self love, and unaware of the God within himself sees not the God within those he tortures.

A torturer is a person who is emotionally dead and whose soul already is in hell. Torture is his means to revenge.

To torture is to admit to yourself that you are worthless.

Ye will know yourselves by how you treat the least among ye.

 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
345
126
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
There is no possible way to undue the harm caused by a rape, or many other serious crimes.
I agree, but don't see any relevance to the topic of allowing the torture of criminals.

Plenty of people go through the same problems as a criminal and yet somehow don't turn to crime. Turning to crime, regardless of circumstances, is indication of the weakness of one's character.
I once would have had more agreement with you, but have come not to agree so much. I think there are a lot of myths that let people sleep better at night.

I've come more and more to see this sort of 'frame' for crime as erroneous, and helpful to feel more comfortable about the topic - in short, I don't see that much benefit to punishing for the sake of punishing, I think there are a lot of problems that are little understood, there's too little of a sympathetic approach which happens to boomerang back in violence (don't care about the criminal, they don't care about who they hurt), and I think we have too little effort put into helping people who need help as a criminal preventative measure.

Everyone wants to torture the pedophile who molests a child; how much interest and effort did they invest to help the pedophile deal with his situation before he harmed the child?

The view in your post I see as another example of where ideology has too large a role - the criminals *shouldn't* commit the crimes, end of story, and therefore don't do much for them preventatively, whereas a more rational approach would ask, what can we do that makes sense, to help reduce the crime, looking at the root causes? Many answers would come up if the question is asked. Instead, it's easier to not deal with that, and simply demand that the criminals not act out, and consider the system of punishment as all that's needed - satisfied with the highest crime and incarceration rates in the industrialized world, is that really good?

For mild offense, mild punishments are in order. Hence fines, and jails. I don't see these as deterrents...at least not significant ones. Rather they are punishments...reprisals.

For serious crimes there should be serious punishments...again not deterrents, consequences. If the crime is serious enough then that criminal, in my opinion, is incapable of existing in society and I prefer that they be removed from that society. I don't think innocent people should have to pay for it, so I prefer a $.30 bullet fired into their heads. If the victims of said crime would rather torture them to death so that they experience the pain and horror that they themselves inflicted upon an innocent then that's fine with me.
We disagree on a moral level about capital punishment, but another angle is the practical issue - you say you don't want to make innocent people pay for the criminal justice for criminals, so let's look at how to avoid that: the fact is, the bare minimum constitutional requirements for capital punishment in the United States make capital punishment cost far more than life sentences; estimates today a few years ago were averages of $500,000 for life sentences and $1.5 Million for capital punishment. You aren't going to change the constitution, so the only way you can do what you say you want, to reduce the costs to innocent taxpayers, is to get rid of capital punishment.

I don't think the government should inflict that torture, as it largely wasn't the government who was wronged. In part, yes, but not primarily. Choice to torture to death instead of kill should be up to the victim's immediate friends/family.
I share your bias for the victims and those impacted to be more directly involved in the punishment than the state where possible, but don't see allowing any torture as useful.

I tend to apply that more to the sort of program where the victim of burglary is allowed for a year to enter the thief's house any time (limited number) he wants, and take an item.

It attempts to create the empathy lacking in the criminal. I'm not sure how well it works, but it seems worth trying, and probably gives the victim more satisfaction than a state fine.

I return to my view that our best policy is to say torture is not acceptable any time, period.

It's something to ponder why it's so much more satisfying to torture a rapist, than to prevent the rape. While no one would rationally choose the former over the latter, in fact we do choose that sort of thing constantly by our spending priorities, as we fund the more 'satisfying' rather than the prevention.

By the way, I LOVE the last quote in your sig. I'll be using that in a debate in the near future, thanks.
Thank you. I appreciate the feedback on it. Good luck with the debate, let me know how it goes.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
345
126
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
I'm all for torture as punishment for those proven to have done serious wrong. If I ever came across a rape in progress, or a molestation, I would fully support torturing the perp until he died. The key, however, is absolute certainty of wrong-doing...that and seriousness of offense.

Torture to extract information has been proven wholly ineffective and should never be allowed...especially when we're talking about thin evidence of wrong-doing in the first place.
I wouldn't, and I don't see rape as any less serious a wrong than you. Rather, I may better understand the problems rapists would typically have, and more importantly, have another view of the punishment you advocate simply creating a new wrong, not undoing the harm of the old one.

Prison is plenty of deterrent value already to the extent that a deterrent it effective. Excessive punishment for the sake of reacting to the emotion of anger is barbarism.

No torture, any time, for any reason, is a simple and good policy, IMO.
Then again, you believe that every single item in the OP, except truth serum, is torture. Whereas, thankfully, most people would only put water-boarding in that category.

You also seem to equate disorientation, the intended result of any noise/light/sleep methods, to pain... why is that? I don't see how temporary disorientation and confusion, methods which actually have been proven as effective, can be considered "torture."
Actually, the topic of 'confusion' or 'disorientation' hasn't come up in my posts yet.

Let me restate my position: I define torture for this topic as any measure whose purpose is to cause enough suffering to make the person unable to refuse to talk.

Confusion and disorientation raise the question about whether they're "suffering". My reading on severe sleep deprivation is that it is very harmful, and is not accurately described merely by 'confusion' and 'disorientation'. On the other hand, if there were a way to cause confusion or disorientation which are not accurately described by 'suffering', I'd think it'd be similar to the use of truth syrum, which if it existed as harmless and effective, I approved of.

So, we'd need to look at the specific techniques, and categorize them on whether they cause the sort of suffering I refuse to allow. You only mentioned sleep deprivation, and two measures I've only heard used relative to causing sleep deprivation, light and noise. The other issue I'd ask about with suffering, is whether there's any long-term harm caused. I wouldn't approve of that, either.
 
May 16, 2000
13,529
0
0
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
There is no possible way to undue the harm caused by a rape, or many other serious crimes.
I agree, but don't see any relevance to the topic of allowing the torture of criminals.

Plenty of people go through the same problems as a criminal and yet somehow don't turn to crime. Turning to crime, regardless of circumstances, is indication of the weakness of one's character.
I once would have had more agreement with you, but have come not to agree so much. I think there are a lot of myths that let people sleep better at night.

I've come more and more to see this sort of 'frame' for crime as erroneous, and helpful to feel more comfortable about the topic - in short, I don't see that much benefit to punishing for the sake of punishing, I think there are a lot of problems that are little understood, there's too little of a sympathetic approach which happens to boomerang back in violence (don't care about the criminal, they don't care about who they hurt), and I think we have too little effort put into helping people who need help as a criminal preventative measure.

Everyone wants to torture the pedophile who molests a child; how much interest and effort did they invest to help the pedophile deal with his situation before he harmed the child?

The view in your post I see as another example of where ideology has too large a role - the criminals *shouldn't* commit the crimes, end of story, and therefore don't do much for them preventatively, whereas a more rational approach would ask, what can we do that makes sense, to help reduce the crime, looking at the root causes? Many answers would come up if the question is asked. Instead, it's easier to not deal with that, and simply demand that the criminals not act out, and consider the system of punishment as all that's needed - satisfied with the highest crime and incarceration rates in the industrialized world, is that really good?

For mild offense, mild punishments are in order. Hence fines, and jails. I don't see these as deterrents...at least not significant ones. Rather they are punishments...reprisals.

For serious crimes there should be serious punishments...again not deterrents, consequences. If the crime is serious enough then that criminal, in my opinion, is incapable of existing in society and I prefer that they be removed from that society. I don't think innocent people should have to pay for it, so I prefer a $.30 bullet fired into their heads. If the victims of said crime would rather torture them to death so that they experience the pain and horror that they themselves inflicted upon an innocent then that's fine with me.
We disagree on a moral level about capital punishment, but another angle is the practical issue - you say you don't want to make innocent people pay for the criminal justice for criminals, so let's look at how to avoid that: the fact is, the bare minimum constitutional requirements for capital punishment in the United States make capital punishment cost far more than life sentences; estimates today a few years ago were averages of $500,000 for life sentences and $1.5 Million for capital punishment. You aren't going to change the constitution, so the only way you can do what you say you want, to reduce the costs to innocent taxpayers, is to get rid of capital punishment.

I don't think the government should inflict that torture, as it largely wasn't the government who was wronged. In part, yes, but not primarily. Choice to torture to death instead of kill should be up to the victim's immediate friends/family.
I share your bias for the victims and those impacted to be more directly involved in the punishment than the state where possible, but don't see allowing any torture as useful.

I tend to apply that more to the sort of program where the victim of burglary is allowed for a year to enter the thief's house any time (limited number) he wants, and take an item.

It attempts to create the empathy lacking in the criminal. I'm not sure how well it works, but it seems worth trying, and probably gives the victim more satisfaction than a state fine.

I return to my view that our best policy is to say torture is not acceptable any time, period.

It's something to ponder why it's so much more satisfying to torture a rapist, than to prevent the rape. While no one would rationally choose the former over the latter, in fact we do choose that sort of thing constantly by our spending priorities, as we fund the more 'satisfying' rather than the prevention.

By the way, I LOVE the last quote in your sig. I'll be using that in a debate in the near future, thanks.
Thank you. I appreciate the feedback on it. Good luck with the debate, let me know how it goes.
I think you misunderstand...I'm not arguing against prevention. I'm arguing that when prevention fails, punishment is due. Not optional, but required. Just like I believe gun crime is mostly caused by socio-economic factors and not the availability of guns. Just because I argue for addressing the socio-economic factors doesn't prevent me from arguing for harsh punishments for those that make the final choice to become criminals...and it IS absolutely a choice...as is the severity of their crimes. So by all means, put most of our focus into prevention. Then make retributive justice swift, harsh, and final.

The costs aren't real...they're made up and imposed by those who are against punishment in general. I can execute a criminal for $.30, I guarantee it. Any extra costs over that are imposed not by the state, but by those who oppose the punishment. Let them pay 100% of the cost, or let me take care of it myself. I volunteer to execute any and all serious offenders at a cost to the taxpayer of $.30 a head. Problem solved.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,547
0
76
Originally posted by: CycloWizard
Originally posted by: palehorse74
One of my primary goals, when creating this thread, was to demonstrate the subjective nature of this subject and debate. I've made that point many times whenever this subject comes up in the forums. I've often challeneged the parties arguing with one-another to find ten people who could agree on a single definition of "torture," or a definitive list of methods that would be classified as such. Nobody, even at a National level in politics, has ever done so.

Therefore, it would be almost impossible for me to convince you to change your mind on the issue. About the only thing I could do is point out, or link to, the effectiveness of some of the methods I listed in the OP. Unlike waterboarding, and other methods of what I do consider torture, the remaining items in the list have all been proven effective at breaking sources over the years.
I would beg to differ. I would easily change my mind on this subject if you could simply defend your position in a rational manner. I have posited my own definition while you have failed to do so. Your implicit definition is completely illogical, as I easily demonstrated with a simple counter-example, which is why I asked for a more formal definition on your behalf. What is the point of discussing a topic if you have no intention of resolving potential conflicts? I thought that was the definition of trolling, but I could be wrong.
How the hell was my last post not rational!? I have no personal "definition" of torture, so I'm not sure what it is you're looking for. I would have to address each method on its own merits. The only specific line that I have draw is with regards to my own list of methods in the OP; and that is that I believe water-boarding is torture, but the rest of the methods are not.

Why? Well, mainly because water-boarding may result in a subjects death. The other items on the list are merely causes for temporary discomfort or disorientation. To me, those effects do not equate to "torture," hence my explaining the subjective nature of the topic to you.

Take my position however you wish, and discuss each of the methods if you choose. Otherwise, we're all having a pretty decent discussion here, so take your "trolling" accusations elsewhere - we don't want to hear them!
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,547
0
76
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
I'm all for torture as punishment for those proven to have done serious wrong. If I ever came across a rape in progress, or a molestation, I would fully support torturing the perp until he died. The key, however, is absolute certainty of wrong-doing...that and seriousness of offense.

Torture to extract information has been proven wholly ineffective and should never be allowed...especially when we're talking about thin evidence of wrong-doing in the first place.
I wouldn't, and I don't see rape as any less serious a wrong than you. Rather, I may better understand the problems rapists would typically have, and more importantly, have another view of the punishment you advocate simply creating a new wrong, not undoing the harm of the old one.

Prison is plenty of deterrent value already to the extent that a deterrent it effective. Excessive punishment for the sake of reacting to the emotion of anger is barbarism.

No torture, any time, for any reason, is a simple and good policy, IMO.
Then again, you believe that every single item in the OP, except truth serum, is torture. Whereas, thankfully, most people would only put water-boarding in that category.

You also seem to equate disorientation, the intended result of any noise/light/sleep methods, to pain... why is that? I don't see how temporary disorientation and confusion, methods which actually have been proven as effective, can be considered "torture."
Actually, the topic of 'confusion' or 'disorientation' hasn't come up in my posts yet.

Let me restate my position: I define torture for this topic as any measure whose purpose is to cause enough suffering to make the person unable to refuse to talk.

Confusion and disorientation raise the question about whether they're "suffering". My reading on severe sleep deprivation is that it is very harmful, and is not accurately described merely by 'confusion' and 'disorientation'. On the other hand, if there were a way to cause confusion or disorientation which are not accurately described by 'suffering', I'd think it'd be similar to the use of truth syrum, which if it existed as harmless and effective, I approved of.

So, we'd need to look at the specific techniques, and categorize them on whether they cause the sort of suffering I refuse to allow. You only mentioned sleep deprivation, and two measures I've only heard used relative to causing sleep deprivation, light and noise. The other issue I'd ask about with suffering, is whether there's any long-term harm caused. I wouldn't approve of that, either.
fair enough... I see where you're going with the suffering vs. disorientation... so:

how about stress positions that result in temporarily sore muscles and possible cramping in even the worst case scenarios?

how about a 48-hour combinations of light/noise/sleep/temperature fluctuations that leave a subject royally discombobulated for a temporary period of time?

How about leaving them isolated for weeks at a time in total darkness, as we do with prisoners in the USA who misbehave?

Is your only concern the longterm effects? Wouldn't those be an issue after ANY sort of capture and captivity?
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
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Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Craig234

Actually, the topic of 'confusion' or 'disorientation' hasn't come up in my posts yet.

Let me restate my position: I define torture for this topic as any measure whose purpose is to cause enough suffering to make the person unable to refuse to talk.

Confusion and disorientation raise the question about whether they're "suffering". My reading on severe sleep deprivation is that it is very harmful, and is not accurately described merely by 'confusion' and 'disorientation'. On the other hand, if there were a way to cause confusion or disorientation which are not accurately described by 'suffering', I'd think it'd be similar to the use of truth syrum, which if it existed as harmless and effective, I approved of.

So, we'd need to look at the specific techniques, and categorize them on whether they cause the sort of suffering I refuse to allow. You only mentioned sleep deprivation, and two measures I've only heard used relative to causing sleep deprivation, light and noise. The other issue I'd ask about with suffering, is whether there's any long-term harm caused. I wouldn't approve of that, either.
fair enough... I see where you're going with the suffering vs. disorientation... so:

how about stress positions that result in temporarily sore muscles and possible cramping in even the worst case scenarios?

how about a 48-hour combinations of light/noise/sleep/temperature fluctuations that leave a subject royally discombobulated for a temporary period of time?

How about leaving them isolated for weeks at a time in total darkness, as we do with prisoners in the USA who misbehave?

Is your only concern the longterm effects? Wouldn't those be an issue after ANY sort of capture and captivity?
The longterm effects are not the only factor, they're just one of the reasons to say it's not a measure to use.

The issue with stress positions is how they fit into my definition - either they're too mild to overcome the person's desire not to talk, so allowable but pointless, or they are strong enough, in which case they're too strong - torture - to use IMO. And just looking at them as an issue, I'm not in favor of them, with the suffering they cause.

You do a good job at approaching grey areas for me from there. My question on the 48 hour light/noise/temperature fluctuation/no sleep is the distinction between whether it's simply disorientation - or it's suffering (including severe mental and/or physical exhaustion) that's overcoming their ability to say they won't talk. If it is mere disorientation, how are they so disoriented that they are willing to talk, and yet also still functional to talk?

The isolation does hit a gray area. I can't say I object to it on its face - other than to note that I'm against it in extremes, including some ways it's used in our own prisons, where I've heard widespread commentary that it often drives the inmates insane who go through it. I think we haven't yet caught up our laws to reflect the excessive problems there. But isolation that can create an increased desire for interaction and hence an increased susceptibility to manipulation, but safe from actual mental harm? That seems ok.

I'm not going to try to draw the exact lines - I don't have the expertise to do so - but I think my definition still hits the issues well, and then needs experts to draw the lines.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,807
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To finally answer the OP:

Maiming

Physical damage, usually the sort that inflicts pain. Worst case it?s sort of pain that makes you wish you died prior to enduring it.

Waterbording, while a horrible procedure to endure, is not a widespread practice ? reserved for the worst, and not nearly in the same league as what I consider torture.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,807
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So for Craig, if we force an enemy combatant to talk, we should instead set them free and be jailed ourselves for war crimes.

Interesting way to fight a war.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
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Originally posted by: Jaskalas
So for Craig, if we force an enemy combatant to talk, we should instead set them free and be jailed ourselves for war crimes.

Interesting way to fight a war.
So, why don't you keep them imprisoned for the war, humanely, and interrogate them short of torture, which will be enough for many of them to talk, and you stay out of jail.

Your attempts to paint some silly picture don't help the discussion. The bottom line is you want to get to be the bad guy, abusing power of captives, but don't want to admit it. Right?
 
May 16, 2000
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Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: Jaskalas
So for Craig, if we force an enemy combatant to talk, we should instead set them free and be jailed ourselves for war crimes.

Interesting way to fight a war.
So, why don't you keep them imprisoned for the war, humanely, and interrogate them short of torture, which will be enough for many of them to talk, and you stay out of jail.

Your attempts to paint some silly picture don't help the discussion. The bottom line is you want to get to be the bad guy, abusing power of captives, but don't want to admit it. Right?
What no one has addressed so far is that more extreme forms of torture have been proven time and time again to be almost entirely ineffective at providing useful information. People just say what needs to be said for the pain to stop. Therefore there's absolutely NO good reason to go beyond mild torture as a method of encouraging disclosure.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
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Originally posted by: PrinceofWands
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: Jaskalas
So for Craig, if we force an enemy combatant to talk, we should instead set them free and be jailed ourselves for war crimes.

Interesting way to fight a war.
So, why don't you keep them imprisoned for the war, humanely, and interrogate them short of torture, which will be enough for many of them to talk, and you stay out of jail.

Your attempts to paint some silly picture don't help the discussion. The bottom line is you want to get to be the bad guy, abusing power of captives, but don't want to admit it. Right?
What no one has addressed so far is that more extreme forms of torture have been proven time and time again to be almost entirely ineffective at providing useful information. People just say what needs to be said for the pain to stop. Therefore there's absolutely NO good reason to go beyond mild torture as a method of encouraging disclosure.
What would you consider each of the items listed in the OP? For each one, and combinations thereof, please tell us whether you consider them "extreme forms" or "mild torture," or "neither."

I'll say this before you do: Each of those listed has been proven effective in breaking sources and receiving good information.

I'd also like to throw a new one into the mix: mock executions.
 

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