Torture; paybacks are a bitch..

There has been a lot in the news about torture over the last few months. Did the US torture? If so, who authorized it? Do we punish the persons who actually did the torture? Do we punish the ones who authorized it? These are all questions that in all likelihood will piss people on both sides off when they are answered.

The “Jack Bauer” scenario is the most prominent reason given for torture.

A  bomb is about to detonate in a heavily populated metropolitan area, a person who knows the whereabouts of this bomb and other details of the plan is captured and he is not talking.

Pop-quiz asshole! What do you do?

Both sides answering this question have valid opinions.  One side screams to torture them until they spill every ounce of information they have. The other side points to this and says “But you don’t know if the information  is real. They could just be telling you anything and while you are out on that Easter egg hunt trying to confirm the information, valuable time will be wasted.” They are the ones who want to use tried and true interrogation tactics in this scenario because they believe those tactics work and they also believe that a time of stress and crisis is when it’s most important to stick to our values.

I agree with both sides.

I guess I’m in the ‘if all else fails‘ camp.

Obviously ‘normal’ police method interrogation works. We’ve seen it’s success across the country on a daily, if not hourly basis. When people are caught for their crimes they want to talk, they want to explain,  they want you to understand why they did what they did but they need to be nudged into it.  That’s where a seasoned detective comes in.  If this type of ‘non-enhanced’ technique did not work, no one would ever confess… but they do.

But does torture work? Dick Cheney says it does. In fact he says that we actually faced a ‘Jack Bauer’ scenario and torture is what stopped this ‘second wave’ from happening.  The Head of the FBI says this is untrue, The CIA says this is untrue, and others who have seen the memo’s Cheney is quoting  say this is untrue.  Dick Cheney has also heralded the capture of KSM as proof of tortures value. That has  also been called into  question by the actual interrogator.

Look, it’s not that you won’t get someone to talk by torturing them, I don’t think anyone is debating that point. It’s just that you will get them to talk about everything they think you want them to talk about, whether true or not.

Every example that Dick Cheney uses as his proof has since been found to be lacking in the ‘proof’ arena, and just like he now says Saddam didn’t have anything to do with 9/11.. maybe sometime in the future he’ll change this ‘torture worked’ storyline. Since it looks like he could be tried as a war criminal though, I doubt he’ll ever say that. What he will do is make sure everyone and anyone is aware that this was George W. Bush’s plan.  That’s also  turning out to be just another of Cheney’s fantasies though.

SCHIEFFER: … somewhere down the line. Did President Bush know everything you knew?

CHENEY: I certainly, yes,have every reason to believe he knew — he knew a great deal about the program. He basically authorized it.I mean,this was a presidential-level decision. And the decision went to the president. He signed off on it.

The problem I have with any of this “torture question”, is the hypocrisy of it. The,

“We don’t torture because we changed the definition of torture so we could torture legally”…

…is where I call foul. What made it ok for Jack Bauer to torture the terrorists in 24(besides the whole “it’s a TV show”), was the fact that he was willing to stand up to Congress and lay it all out on the table and take whatever punishment they doled out. That’s when, in my opinion, it’s ok to torture someone for information in the “ticking time-bomb scenario”.If you feel that what you are doing is not only right, but your duty as an American and you are so sure of this that you are willing to face the consequences afterward, then have at it and get all the information you can.

But just like lying about a blow job got a president impeached, lying about torture and your role in it should at least get you a public hearing.

It’s not the acts themselves that bother people, I would wager that if a “Jack Bauer” situation was being played out in real life an overwhelming majority of Americans would either turn a blind eye or slap the interroagtor on the wrist for their actions. But when you lie about, mislead others into believing your lie and then try and cover up your lie.. then the jury isn’t the only one who knows you were committing a crime.

Of course I will be ask …

“What if someone had your child, wouldn’t you torture them to find them?”

Yes… yes I would and if they harmed a hair on my child I would follow them home and cut them up into little pieces….slowly. But, when the police came to arrest me it would only take that seasoned detective about a minute to get me to talk. I would want tell him why did what I did. I would explain what I did to him and my subsequent jury. I would make them live through the horror  I and my missing/harmed child lived through and I would hope for  jury nullification.

Torture for the use of  gaining information, in my opinion is a crap shoot. It might work and it might not. The worst part about this ironically is the ‘ticking time-bomb scenario’. In that scenario there is no time for proper interrogations to be used, no time because the bomb is set to go off at any minute. Yet, there is time to investigate the false confessions which all agree are a part of the torture process? I don’t think so. If there is no time for mistakes then why chose the path which will ensure the most mistakes? It’s for this reason I am going more and more to the side of a “No Torture” policy for information gathering purposes.

That is not to say I am against torturing for punishment..

I will have to turn in my ‘liberal’ card for a month by saying this, but I think there are actual justifications to torture people, but in my world those reasons have to do with their crimes and not to get information out of them. Don’t believe there is a crime that the deserved punishment is some form of exquisite  pain upon the person guilty of the crime?

NEW ORLEANS —  Authorities say a 17-year-old teenager was charged with aggravated rape and first-degree murder of an 8-month-old child.

This is not a ‘redeemable’ child, this animal (because he is most definitely not a man or a human) who at the ripe old age of 17, already has convictions for  “drug possession charges; obscenity; battery on a correctional officer; three counts of battery on a school teacher; theft; weapons charges; and assault” in my opinion is worthy of a life of exquisite pain upon his conviction.

Not ‘torture-worthy’ enough?

CASSVILLE, Mo. —  The two men charged in rape and murder of 9-year-old Rowan Ford had their first brief court appearance Tuesday.

These men, one the child’s step-father, have been charged with ” first degree murder, sodomy and rape charges in connection to the death of Rowan Ford of Stella.” Whose body they just dumped in cave like a piece of garbage that they were done with using.

I  think they could to with a little ‘waterboarding’ just for the fun of it.

Torture for investigative purposes won’t give us the real-time intelligence we need in a ‘ticking time-bomb’ scenario.. but it will damn well make us feel better when we use it for the sole purpose of… ‘pay backs are  motherfucking bitch!’

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5 responses to “Torture; paybacks are a bitch..

  • lil mike

    I’m constantly amazed at the mirror opposite ways we look at things, beyond the obvious left/right disagreements. You assertion that regular police methods of interrogation work with criminals, so why not terrorists. Yes, a lot of criminals can’t wait to confess, can be tricked into confessing, or can be bargained into confessing (yes, I’ve seen plenty of L&O). A terrorist in service to a cause greater than himself is not so ameniable usually to bargain for a lighter sentence. He may consider himself a soldier. He has incentives that are beyond the personal to keep quiet in a way that your common criminal doesn’t have.

    Also, I find myself a little surprised that you’ve little qualms in torture as a form of punishment and more so in the pursuit of intelligence information. Completely backwards in my opinion.

    I hope that someday when we catch Bin Ladin, you won’t expect to get everything we need from “good cop/bad cop,” or offering him a reduced sentence if he squeals. Apparently you would rather waterboard him as punishment for 9/11 than to prevent future 9/11’s.

    Like I said, mirror opposite. However great blog. If only you could harness those formidable argumentive powers for the forces of right rather than… you know, your side.

    • ekg

      I think I understand you now..

      You think that every single one of this terrorists are zombies who will refuse to speak unless tortured to do so..and once tortured will give up all their good in a truthful fashion… you think that they must all be so hard-lined as to no longer be ‘tainted’ with human emotions.. and thus are unable to be talked to or treated like a human..

      Do I think OBL would spill his guts out? no.. I don’t.. do we know that Zubaydah did? Yes we do.. Do we know the guy who gave us Zubaydah did it after being given an apology and a cookie? yes we do… for every one of your ‘zombie-like’ terrorists, I would bet there are 5 more who would easily break under regular questioning..

      and for cripes sake.. its not like the guys doing these interrogations are Barney Fifes.. they do know what they are doing..and they have ‘broken’ even the most hard-lined of any criminals without torture them..

      You seem to give our guys a ‘retardation’ gene and these terrorists ‘super-powers’ over those of mere mortals.. it’s the same idea going around with putting them in our prisons.. like somehow these ‘super villains’ are somehow more capable than the Americans who questions/ guard them..

      why do you think Americans are so lacking and these ppl have such super-powers and are better than us?

      besides.. you skipped the point about the time… if there is time to run down all the false leads that we know we get when ppl are tortured, then there is time to NOT torture them and work on them in a ‘proven’ way..

      of course I have no qualms on torturing someone as a form of punishment..why would I.. you know I am very hard-line when it comes to that stuff.. But we’re not hurting these guys b/c they deserve it.. or to make us feel better in some small way.. right? we are torturing them to see if they know something.. there is a slight difference…

  • lil mike

    No I don’t think terrorists are supermen, but their motivations are different from a common criminal. And yes I am aware of the professionalism of a skilled interrogator, they trick me every time!

    We are basically arguing about 3 guys who were waterboarded. Only three that it was determined that they knew something that they were not giving up that made it worth while to go that extra step. So what are you complaining about? You’ve already stated your biggest problem with torture was that it became public. If they had kept shit under wraps you would be cool with it. But if you are convinced torture doesn’t work than there is NO reason, EVER to torture.

    That’s kind of the real issue, if it doesn’t work than doing it is worse than doing nothing.

    Oh I suspect most leads are dead ends, regardless of where ou get them. Again, I’ve seen it all on L&O.

  • uselesslegs

    No two human beings are alike. No two human beings will respond in the same manner, with the exact same methods being employed. Long time interrogators who sit in rooms for 18 hours a day, trained and seasoned in their “art” with a suspect, can and do retrieve information by understanding that their tactics must be able to adjust as they “read” their captives.

    With that said, human beings, no matter how resolute, no matter how ideologically submerged, no matter how deeply entrenched in their cause and beliefs…are still human beings. And being human leaves you vulnerable to the human condition.

    I’ll take mind fucking someone, over torture any day.

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