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Do you think torture is an acceptable form of interrogating prisoners?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on April 24, 2009

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Photo of Brian Bryant

“I believe we ought to live by the Geneva Convention. I think if we go outside of that, we’re inviting trouble. ”

Photo of Chris Cox

“The way I feel about it, if they do it to us, we should be able to do it to them.”

Photo of Shaila Miller

“No, I do not, because I think it’s an easy way out. They should question them and not torture them.”

Photo of Dana Brown

“I think that all depends on the particular prisoner.”


RoeDapple 9 years ago

I wonder if Shaila would also serve them milk and cookies...........

And Chris nailed it.............

jonas_opines 9 years ago

“The way I feel about it, if they do it to us, we should be able to do it to them.”

So should we start having trained civilians on suicide runs start crashing planes into their buildings, too?

The United States, We Only Act Like Terrorists Because Terrorists Made Us Act This Way.

Not the best rallying cry that I can think of.

jumpin_catfish 9 years ago

Broad open ended question don't you think LJW. Anyway, what is torture? Use of a drill in teeth, elbows or other sensitive areas and then killing the prisoner after you get the intel you seek is torture. Waterboarding, while harsh and is a mild form of "torture", it is completely fair game. The poor little terrorist doesn't die and we get some intel. What's the big deal? Those who think these extremist will soften their hearts to us if we stop waterboarding are so wrong and sadly they now control our government. It's a terrorist holiday!

labmonkey 9 years ago

I heard we started using the old East German tactic of playing a 45 of "Itsy BItsy Teeny Weeny, Yellow Polka-Dot Bakini" off kilter until the prisoner sings like a canary.

Gold Star to the person who knows what movie I am referencing.

nobody1793 9 years ago

Take no prisoners. Shoot all non-americans on sight. I'm looking at you Yanni...

John Hamm 9 years ago

Is killing innocent men, women and children an acceptable means of promoting your religion? If so then, yes.

Paul Geisler 9 years ago

If you look it up, water boarding has been illegal in this country since about 1898. There is no grey area. Our own government has had the same standard, uninterrupted legally for a very long time. When it was done to our prisoners, those people were brought up on war crimes charges. When it was found that our soldiers had done it, they were court martialed.(SP?) Why is it ok now? Until the law is changed (which I don't think it should), water boarding in any form is illegal in this country and those that condone it or have participated in it should be prosecuted. And by the way, I don't see any terrorists softening their hearts with the tactics we've been using now. And can you at all trust any information that is gleaned this way? Please, do you really think after being tortured 185 times that the info is at all reliable? And if you say that "if they do it, then so should we" you are so wrong. Way to set up our future military prisoners for some stellar treatment. If you want torture to be legal, move.

preebo 9 years ago

Chris' answer is truly amazing. If they... Then us...

Wow. Does anybody remember that they beheaded journalist, Daniel Pearl, on camera no less? Before everyone gets ahead of themselves, I know we do not do that, but to make statements like Mr. Cox is to put us on that path. Just so we're clear, What ever some backwards, zealous, irrational, religious fanatic does to us, and our men and women in uniform is now our code of conduct and standard operating proceedure?

I am shocked. How can we as a nation lay claim to a moral hign ground when we have people - like Chris here - who believe that the Taliban should be setting the agenda when it comes to the captured.

Rex Russell 9 years ago

This situation reminds me of the old phrase "Character is not created during difficult times, it is uncovered." What you are willing to do or rationalize, says a lot about who you are. Most every-day people won't have to decide to torture or not torture in their life time, so your opinion on the subject is all that can be evaluated. You can divide most people into the two camps "Hell, yes ! Smack him around !" and "We are better than that. We don't torture." One side thinks the other is barbaric, and the other thinks the other side is weak and naive. Roughly assessed. If you believe it is alright to torture, you can divide that half of the people in half again. One side seems to justify it to torture individuals if it in turn potentially save hundreds of lives. The other justifies torturing individuals in retaliation to murdering hundreds already dead. The more information that trickles out lately, the clearer it gets about what was happening then. Now we are hearing from FBI people involved in the interrogaions and Air Force Col.'s in charge in intelligence programs in Iraq. One FBI operative/translator descibes a detainee waterboaded over 80 times. A Col. stopped an Abu Gharaib interrogation where a detainee was insult slapped. That was not a problem until he determined he had been slapped in the head repeatedly for half an hour. At some points in these interrogations, these techniques turned from information gatherings tools to punitive damage. We are going to have to decide if what we soon will hear from these memos, is something we can live with.

salad 9 years ago

Chris' answer is just disgusting. He failed it. Preebo nailed it.

Satirical 9 years ago


I realize this may take the topic off on a tangent, but why do you think the U.S. is required to have a "moral high ground," assuming such as thing does exist (note, I am not claiming the U.S. shouldn't have a "moral high ground")?

Couldn't our justification for fighting be self preservation? Isn't that a sufficient justification, or do we need some additional subjective morality as a necessary condition?

temperance 9 years ago

"I wonder if Shaila would also serve them milk and cookies..."

Right, because anyone who opposes torture simply wants to coddle suspected criminals. That's fantastic logic -- for a five year old.

Also I think Chris is enrolled in the same elementary school. The idea that we should model our interrogation practices after Iran, Iraq, or Syria ("if they do it to us, we should be able to do it to them”) is profoundly unAmerican. If Chris doesn't see fit to abide by our standards of legality, decency, and morality, I invite him to renounce his US citizenship and join one of those torture-happy countries he wants to emulate. . . . after he finishes elementary school, of course.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

"Couldn't our justification for fighting be self preservation?"

That would probably require us to show more factual information on legitimate threats to our self-preservation.

But I think the point is, we have already claimed the high-road. Many, many, many, manymanymany times. We've also had justification in doing so in the past. I've heard it said (but have not verified) that enemy POWs in WWII requested to be turned in to US troops because we would treat them humanely.

But if we're going to claim publicly (and you know that our leaders have) that we are fighting the battle between good and evil, then we should make our actions and our supposed position match close enough to not create a sense of hypocricy in the rest of the world's viewpoint.

Satirical 9 years ago

Another problem with this question is that it doesn't differentiate between torturing U.S. citizens, foreign soldiers under a nation’s banner, or enemy combatants/terrorists. Since these different groups have different rights, the answer may vary.

Satirical 9 years ago

Jonas_opines… “That would probably require us to show more factual information on legitimate threats to our self-preservation.”

So, assuming there was “factual information on legitimate threats to our self-preservation,” then torture would be acceptable? (When I stated self-preservation might be sufficient justification, there was the implicit assumption the self-preservation was legitimate)

“But I think the point is, we have already claimed the high-road.” – jonas_opines

I am referring to pure theory, not whether the U.S. has already allegedly claimed the moral high road. Also, even if this were true doesn't counter the claim that self-preservation might be sufficient justification (aka self-preservation is the moral high ground, assuming such a thing exists).

Satirical 9 years ago

Rrussell… “We are going to have to decide if what we soon will hear from these memos, is something we can live with.”

I agree, the costs and benefits should be analyzed when deciding whether it is “something we can live with.” However, the POTUS is only revealing the costs, and has refused to disclose the information gained by these tactics, and the number possible and or probable number of lives saved. I think we need to see both sides, not just the costs to give a true accounting. Seems like the POTUS wants to play politics rather than fully inform the public.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

"When I stated self-preservation might be sufficient justification, there was the implicit assumption the self-preservation was legitimate."

Yes, implicit assumptions are problematic in that way, aren't they?

Pure theories too, for that matter.

preebo 9 years ago


To answer your question in the least amount of time possible (I am supposed to be working), while giving it due attention, I would say that within the construct of a conflict, such as the "war on terror" or the struggle against "Islamist extremism" there is an implicit dichotomy created either through simple language or more precisely through action.

Adding that if we, as a nation, are attempting to convince the international community, which we are a part, that we, not those who would do us harm, are coming from a place of widely respected standards. Giving us a more credible footing with which to rally those with similar interests. To go one further, and perhaps answer your second point. I do not see how a nation can protect itself while holding to these same widely respected standards. I work from time in memoriam until recently.

gogoplata 9 years ago

A Christian should not be involved with torture. A Christian should not condone torture. It is an immoral act that should be condemned.

terrapin2 9 years ago

As far as the definition of torture is concerned, as Magnus pointed out, water boarding is illegal. (yes Nancy boy it's true-America calls it torture by its own definition-you don't get to change it). I don't see any ambiguity in the rule of law. If you think it's "enhanced interrogation" why don't you join your boy Hannity and get water boarded yourself for charity. You could probably give those fingernails you offered too.In my opinion, having the policy of no torture is an American ideal, not a liberal or conservative one.

OzChicklet 9 years ago

magnus (Anonymous) says…

If you look it up, water boarding has been illegal in this country since about 1898. There is no grey area.

Agreed. That's why they do it in Gitmo, out of the "country". Excellent post Magnus.

If only the Vulcan mind meld really existed....

nut_case 9 years ago

If shocking the crap out of some terrorist is going to save me or someone I care about in the future, all I can say is "The red is positive and the black is negative!"

jumpin_catfish 9 years ago

It is always easier to retreat to the high moral ground and spout noble ideals but then there is the real world where sincere people are attempting to saving our fellow citizens and stop a mindless enemy. Bash the last administration all you like I still believe that they acted in the best interest of our people. I doubt anyone on this blog will ever know what it is to be in the awful position of making decisions like they made, we're all just armchair quarterbacks.

TobiasFunke 9 years ago

Nancy Boy,

You're a joke. I imagine you to be a clone of some Hannity type blowhard, holding strong to your convictions about the past administration while it is clear they completely disregarded the Constitution that you hold in such high regard.

You sound incredibly naive, and idiotic, to say that you would be waterboarded (tortured) to get the current admin out of office. Looking at it from your point of view, sitting on your computer high horse, it probably seems like you could handle it. In fact, you sound like some of these talking heads who think they have a right to determine what is 'acceptable' to do to another person while having no reference point.

If you had the chance to be waterboarded with the result you desire, you would assume the fetal position and loose bowel function I'm sure.

Have a good day!

Fred Vance 9 years ago

If it saves American lives, I feel its justified. War is hell...

Kevin Sontag 9 years ago

If it's good enough for Jack Bauer, it's good enough for me!!

Satirical 9 years ago

Jonas_opines… “Yes, implicit assumptions are problematic in that way, aren't they?”

Normally something is implicit because it would be irrational or contradictory to assume the opposite, and generally a waste of time to explicitly iterate.

Also, you never answered my question, “So, assuming there was 'factual information on legitimate threats to our self-preservation,' then torture would be acceptable?”

“Pure theories too, for that matter” - jonas

Theories are no more problematic than reality.

sgtwolverine 9 years ago

Yes. I think it's perfectly fine to force prisoners to read the comment threads on any ljworld articles that mention bush, obama, evolution or abortion.

Satirical 9 years ago

Preebo… “if we, as a nation, are attempting to convince the international community, which we are a part, that we, not those who would do us harm, are coming from a place of widely respected standards.”

First, is it necessary to “convince the international community” in order to hold the higher moral ground. If so, what if there is a disagreement on what is moral? Is all morality objective? Is their approval necessary? Must we come to an international consensus before we engage in any international activity or only for torture/war? If only for torture/war, why don’t we need to hold the “high moral ground” for all activities (to hold otherwise is to assume we are acting immorally). Do you need my moral approval before you defend your life, or the community’s approval?

Second, I don’t believe you answered whether self preservation (legitimately exercised) is a sufficient justification for torture?

notajayhawk 9 years ago

“ … sending five to a hospital. “

“Amateur videotape shows several ___ huddled together on the ground while others throw objects at them, including large plastic buckets.”

"... buckets were flying ... people were bleeding. ___ were unconscious."

"At least one reported having a pig's intestine wrapped around neck. "

““This is from a paint can being thrown at me," said, pointing to shoulder. "Tabasco sauce, vinegar and stuff like that [was put] in my eye."”

"Witnesses also reported urine, feces and fish guts were thrown, and others said they had been forced to eat mud."

For 50 points, did the 'torture' detailed above happen at Gitmo? In Afghanistan, or Iraq? At some clandestine CIA interogation center in Eastern Europe?

beawolf 9 years ago

"If I can go underwater 80 feet with a tank strapped on my back and 60 lbs of equipment, I'm sure I can handle a little water poured over my cute little face."..

Nancy, you should read up a little on the effects of waterboarding before you post such idiotic drivel.

temperance 9 years ago

"If it saves American lives, I feel its [sic] justified."

True Americans don't subvert their core principles simply because Hannity, Shewmon, and other cowards whine about The Terrorists. I'm sure if we electrocuted the genitalia of convicted shoplifters if would decrease shoplifting, but there are reasons we don't do that. Again, if you want to be a part of a country that tortures people, I invite you to move to Syria and live the good life.

And, by the way, there's no evidence that it saves American lives. None.

Satirical 9 years ago


"And, by the way, there's no evidence that it saves American lives. None."

That is because the Obama administration will only release the details of the methods of torture, not the information gathered, and the lives saved. I agree with Cheney, give all the information. It is clear Obama is trying to hide this information because it might go against his political agenda, and only wants to show the American people what he wants them to see.

notajayhawk 9 years ago


The cited parts are from an early CNN report - it's hard to find stories from later, when more details came out. (Apparently this was too minor of an incident for 5 year old press reports to still be newsworthy.) But R_I is correct - it was a 'powderpuff football game' between senior and junior high school girls at Glenbrook North HS in Illinois, an annual hazing or right of passage for the juniors to become seniors.

One of the victims had a bucket placed over her head which was struck with a baseball bat until she was unconscious. Approximately 15 girls were brought up on criminal charges (the presence of their baseball bats was used to demonstrate premeditation), but the highest penalty handed out was one year's probation. They were also expelled, but after their parents sued (don't want a little thing like this hurting their chances at getting into a good college, after all), they all received their diplomas.

And the whiners here want Congressional hearings, prosecutions and imprisonment of elected government officials and soldiers in a war zone for 'war cimes,' because they put terrorists, who think nothing of videotaping themselves beheading innocent victims, into a cardboard box and threatened them with a woolly caterpillar.

Get a grip - seriously.

papermanschoice 9 years ago

Thank you Mr. The Original Bob for saying I won post of the year but I’m not sure what that meant. I’m glad your think I’m funnyI was not trying to be. Are you sure you are not Lovine on here lookin for that escaped girl that might be your step grandaughter that got away from that transport car at the McDonalds. You and your firends getting that bunker ready supplied with ammo and food and beer and that firend auntie of you'res being on the tristate comision. And you having that firend hose a prosector when you spent your whole life up on ladders sandblasting them big oil tanks in Texas ruining your whole body thats why you wears that morfine pump on your belt drinkin Rich n Rare like its RC Cola cause of your back or something that happened later that added on to your sufferin old body maybe its you're liver too. You know you got me hooked on that stuff and they don't sell it regular up here. It's okay darling people will not look down on you. Listen to his yall. One day this man come up to him yellin he had ruined the paint job on his new car cussin in his face. Now Lovine was in Nam and has ridden more than one bulls and he don't take no heap but he is a genious like I said and he listned to the man yell an calmlly said if your paint job got damaged and it was parked right here in the lot, how come this glass lamp post right in front of your car didn't get a scratch on it? The man got in his car and left. Ol Lovine is one smart fella. Isn't prosector your cousin that owns the airplane that you fly without a lisence like everone else out in the panhandle. No one needs a lisence out there. The one that we spent the night fishing on the river with that one time and all 20 of us slept in their basement? You slept on the floor on next to my recliner. Did they ever ask you what that was on the carpet?

preebo 9 years ago


Are you seriously using the argument of Cultural Ethical Relativism? If so, then I am sorry. I do not have the time to show you where that is faulty. Your argument is loaded with subjective terms that I did not employ and you create unparalleled analogies to shape a strawman argument, which can be best described as double speak.

If your are supposing that all torture is defense, and that somehow all defense is torture then I am afraid that this results in a circular logic that really cannot be corrected on this thred. If you believe that the US is without a planet to inhabit and is not at all shaped by the interests of other nations than you, my friend are missing the point.

dweezil222 9 years ago

I think for me, if one were to take the Geneva Conventions off the table (I think we ought to abide by our treaty obligations), any instance of torture being justified would have to be considered on its own circumstances and the end goal sought. For example, I think torture is not justified if you're simply trying to learn the location of a suspect after a terrorist act has already occurred. On the other hand, if we cought a sleeper cell member who knew the location of a weapon which was about to go off and which would kill hundreds, the end goal may justify the means. In that instance, I'll volunteer to start pulling nails with pliers myself.

temperance 9 years ago

Satirical: ". . . the Obama administration will only release the details of the methods of torture, not the information gathered, and the lives saved. I agree with Cheney, give all the information."

If this classified information is so eye-opening, then why didn't Cheney release it while he was still in office? Could it be that he's lying for political gain? Bush's former FBI director has says that torture doesn't work. Field interrogators say it doesn't work. I agree with H. Clinton -- Cheney is not a particularly reliable source.

Satirical 9 years ago


You have yet to answer a single one of my questions. You dodge them by labeling the question (“unparalleled analogies to shape a strawman argument, which can be best described as double speak”) rather than specifically addressing any questions in particular. Then you put words in my mouth:

When did I use cultural relativism as an argument (not a question)?

When did I state “all torture is defense”? When did I state “all defense is torture?”

When did I state the U.S. isn’t “shaped by the interests of other nations”?

Again, I am simply asking questions, of which you have not yet answered a single one. You may be good at evading questions (to avoid showing you don’t know what you are talking about) using empty catch-phrases with other people, but I can see exactly what you are doing.

gogoplata 9 years ago

Are there Christians reading on here who condone torture?

notajayhawk 9 years ago

gogoplata (Anonymous) says…

"Are there Christians reading on here who condone torture?"

I don't support torture.

I do support the interogation techniques in question, which are not torture.

Satirical 9 years ago

Temperance… “If this classified information is so eye-opening, then why didn't Cheney release it while he was still in office?”

Some people (including Obama) don’t release all the information they have to the public for a variety of reasons, including national security. Now that the torture methods have been released to the public it only makes sense to release the information gathered as a result.

If you think no such information was obtained, then Obama has nothing to hide. Why doesn’t he just come out and say “No information was obtained from this torture.” It would certainly be easy to say (Obama does a lot of talking), and would end this critism. Why doesn't Obama say such? Because it would be a lie, and he knows it. Therefore, since there was information, the only real question is why is Obama hiding that information?

Also, my guess is that Bush’s former FBI director doesn’t have perfect knowledge as to whether torture lead to information which saved lives.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 9 years ago

Torture works! That's why we have Osama Bin Laden in prison right now! Do you really want the bad guys out there trying to steal our fat socialist asses, I mean assets?

All is fair in love, war and commerce! If you feel that elitist pigs may have stolen your future, you have a right and obligation to beat the crap out of them, poop on their heads and steal their stuff... Right?

It's only fair. We are animals, after all. Oh. Wait. Oops. No. We're religious demigods. Sorry. Forgot. We, dude? Go for it! Torture away!

Death is mercy. F that. Torture is the way to enlightenment.

Satirical 9 years ago


I agree with you, defining stuff makes no sense whatsoever.

"Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who. This is suppose to be a happy occasion." - Monty Python and the Holy Grail

PosterBoy 9 years ago

  1. Waterboarding is torture. It dates back to the Spanish Inquisition.

  2. It is highly questionable whether torture produces reliable intelligence. (Unless maybe you think all those burned heretics were actually guilty...) Dick Cheney and Karl Rove say torture (excuse me, "enhanced interrogation techniques") produced actionable intelligence, but experience should have taught us all to view anything they say about anything with great skepticism.

  3. Torture by a country that likes to see itself as an exemplar of freedom and and democracy creates a public relations and diplomatic disaster when it gets out. And in the digital age, it will get out.

  4. Torture is morally and ethically wrong. There's no point in arguing this one, unless your ethics are situational and your morality can summed up by "The end justifies the means." And if torture doesn't produce reliable intelligence, it would fail the ends vs. means test for morality.

Chris Golledge 9 years ago

Couple of thoughts regarding Satirical's comments:

Cheney as much as said that the ends justify the means. Otherwise, the results, positive, negative, or indifferent, don't matter.

"Since these different groups have different rights, the answer may vary."

So, following this line, it is OK to torture some people, but not all people. I'm wondering what a) happened to all men being created equal, and b) who gets to decide who it is OK to torture.

For what it is worth, I'd be OK with sleep deprivation in some circumstances, but water boarding crosses a line for me. Not sure how to justify that. Maybe it is because it is less appealing as a form of punishment than something physical; so, maybe it has a little less chance to be used it that way.

Also wondering what a person will tell you after 183 waterboardings that he wasn't willing to tell you after, I don't know, 50.

preebo 9 years ago

Fair enough, Satirical.

Do I believe that we should "receive" permission to protect itself absolutely not. Do I believe that to protect our nation we should sully the ideals at our core to acheive that end, No.

Do I believe that it is important for the U.S. to hold the "moral high ground' on the international stage, absolutely. In the context set here, I feel it absolutely essential to be able to go to other nations and speak clearly about our positions without compromising our ideals and principles. For no other reason than to gain allies to our cause based on shared interests.

As for your reference to defense and torture, look back at your previouse posts. You are the one that drew the connection between torture and defense, not I, sir.

Simply put, I believe that it is completely reasonable to protect our nation and not sell out the principles that make us who we are as a nation. I do not believe the two principles to be diametrically opposed.

I hope this satisfies your questions, if not, better luck next time.

stop_and_think 9 years ago

"Do you think torture is an acceptable form of interrogating prisoners?"

Are you insane? Why don't you ask me if rape is an acceptable form of interrogating prisoners?

Sure, rape is humiliating. Rape is painful. Rape doesn't cause organ failure. Rape doesn't cause death. It seems that many would believe that rape isn't torture.

Is it acceptable to rape for information under the cloak of national security?

Is it acceptable for Iran to rape the female journalist who is accused of spying? If Iran believes it's national security is threatened by an alleged spy, is it acceptable to rape her over 180 times? Will she talk and prevent an attack on their nation?

Keep attending church. Keep studying the Bible. If you think torture is acceptable under any circumstance, then you still have not grasped even the fundamentals of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

May God have mercy on all our souls.

beatrice 9 years ago

People condoning torture because "they do it to us" is simply amazing. Yes, let us act just like those who hate us. That will show them who is better.

Simply unbelievable.

classclown 9 years ago

I like to think of it as therapy for the confession challenged.

JHOK32 9 years ago

Bush & Cheney should be put in prison with Madoff & throw away the key!

terrapin2 9 years ago

Again, you people can go back and forth all you want about what you think is or isn't torture, but you don't get to decide. The United States decided a long time ago that torture was unacceptable. Waterboarding is a felony. Those that condone it or participate in it should be prosecuted. End of discussion.

gogoplata 9 years ago

I do support the interogation techniques in question, which are not torture.

Isn't that convenient. The problem is that "enhanced interrogation techniques" don't jive with the being a follower of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian you can compromise on this. But you are wrong for compromising. You are a hypocrite when youy pretend to be following Christ and at the same time condoning these techniques.

"Abstain from all appearance of evil." I Thessalonians 5:22

Satirical 9 years ago


How is Cheney’s philosophy relevant?

“So, following this line, it is OK to torture some people, but not all people.” – cg22165

Simply because different groups have different rights, doesn’t necessarily mean it is “okay to torture some people.” It does however mean just because one group (U.S. citizens) have a right to not be tortured by the U.S. government, doesn’t necessarily mean another group (non U.S. citizens) have the same right.

“I'm wondering what a) happened to all men being created equal, and b) who gets to decide who it is OK to torture.” – cg22165

(a) First, that is in the Declaration of Independence, not the U.S. Constitution. Second, even assuming that applies, it’s legal affect would only apply to U.S. citizens. (b) The U.S. Government (assuming torture is allowed).

Rex Russell 9 years ago

The most commonly discussed item here has been "waterboarding". A few lawyers and intelligence officials of the last Aministration disagreed with the label torture and the practice was allowed. CIA officials contacted the military on the SERE tactics they train with. These people call it torture. The SERE officers told the CIA and White House that the information that comes from this treatment is unlikely to be reliable. It was OK'd anyway. This is not dripping water in their face. This is suffocating someone with water to the point of near drowning and stopping. Let's not sugar coat it or down play it with stupid comments. We have stood on our bully pulpit and chastised 3rd world dictators for doing this kind of thing. We had WW II prosecutions over this. My question for all those who believe this is not torture is this: Why did the people who authorized this and wrote legal papers justifying and re-naming it, decide to conducts these acts in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Thailand, Lebenon, and Gitmo instead of on American soil? Why did we set up black-op prisons around the world? Why did we hand over some of these detainees to the Central Intel people in other countries to do the interrogations for us? (Syrians) This tells me that in the back of their minds, they knew it wasn't legal or right. It just allowed them to say we don't do it here.

Satirical 9 years ago


Thank you for finally answering one of my questions. I am glad you are backing away from your earlier assertion that we need approval from (or to “convince”) the international community when the U.S. does something it feels is in its interest, or in order to hold the “high moral ground.”

Your argument that U.S. action should be based on what our own nations feels is right/wrong is a much stronger argument; which leads to my original question you still have not answered: Whether self preservation (legitimately exercised) is ever a sufficient justification for torture?

bunnyhawk 9 years ago

Is the Journal World working for Fox News now? Living in an imaginary world?

Torture is illegal, period. It's been illegal in this country for over 100 years and illegal worldwide for 60 years!!!

This stupid question is not materially different than asking people 'on the street' if they thing it would be ok to murder an annoying neighbor!!!!!!!!! But I won't hold my breath for the Journal World to ask people on the street if those guilty of promoting violations of national and international torture law should pay for their crimes!!!!!

CHANDLER007 9 years ago

Torture isn't acceptable. Personally, I feel that Bush and his administration should be tried as war criminals. And Nancy Boy-if you truly believe that waterboarding is just a little water trickled over your face, then you're in for a rude awakening. Hope you get the opportunity to prove your point. Let our military personnel waterboard you just exactly like they did to the prisoners.

Satirical 9 years ago


You can keep talking about what is or isn’t legal, but what you have repeatedly turned a blind eye toward is the fact that laws have limited jurisdiction (an area where they are effective). Therefore what is or isn’t a felony in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily apply in another country, and the rights the U.S. Constitution grant don’t necessarily apply to non-citizens.

Satirical 9 years ago


No, I totally got your point. I just wanted you to flesh it out so we could argue it. Thanks for obliging.

“It is intellectually dishonest to take something like waterboarding and turn it into a euphemism like ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’.” – LS04

Definitions must be made, and line drawing must be done. Something can be defined as X in one context and Y in another. It is not intellectually dishonest to label something differently based on context simply because you think so. (You need arguments).

“Regarding who the torture is being done to—my point was that torture cannot be justified by the target.” – LS04

Of course it can, if they aren’t a U.S. citizen then they don’t have right under the Constitution, and if they aren’t under the flag of another nation then the Geneva Convention doesn’t necessarily apply.

Let me help you out by moving this discussion along since I am running out of time. (Your counter argument) The right not to be tortured is a human right so whether it is covered by the Geneva convention or the U.S. Constitution is irrelevant. (My response) Is something really a right if it isn’t realized or enforced? (Your response) The right not to be tortured is a natural right, and even though it technically isn’t a right if not enforced, it should be enforced and therefore should be a right. (My response) While there are numerous valid arguments as to why torture should never be allowed, and should be a universal right, a counter-argument would be if you knew lives (perhaps of your loved ones) would be lost without such torture, would it then be justified? (Your response) Maybe only in exceptional circumstances torture is justified. (My response) Excellent then we are in agreement.

Sigmund 9 years ago

I think we should behead our enemies and then post it on youtube. Praise be to Allah! Likely it will get more hits than that infidel Susan Boyle.

preebo 9 years ago

Sir, I have not backed down, as my position has remained the same. As a matter of fact, I have articulated my point rather clearly.

On the other hand, it is you who have not been forthright with your position. You initially had drawn a connection between defense and self preservation and rationale for torture. For one, you haven't shown your work. How did you come to this conclusion? I'd love to hear it.

My argument all along has been one of strength, while hold to the principles that have stood the test of time as the nations first and strongest representative democracy.

papermanschoice 9 years ago

Mr The Original Bob.I know things been hard for you there could be a chance you are not the person I hink your are.Let me tell you this to see if it jogs your memory in case you are having troubles of some sort.Remember in 2003 when the tornado came through Liberal and Optima? I drove down there cause no one answered the phone for days at the folks house? I got there found it all dark a fore sale sign so I figured they had all died.There was a Mexican man across the street who could not speak English who went in and got his little girl who told me the house belonged to the daughter who lived in Guymon. That was you and your wife. I drove to the house you were building in Optima was that was on the way but it was no where to be found. I finally found you're metal Bulter buuilding the yard was all full of old buses and junk cars not like you kep it.He told me you sold it to him. You had been divorced the whole 12 yrs he had known you and had never seen a house there. I helped put the roof on it before I left what happened to it? He said you go around town talkin crazy every time he's seen you and not just drink crazy but truly crazy like a mad man. Is it the morfine? Then after all that he tell me you live in the little brown house on the last street he says.The whole town was still flooded and junk throwed all around in the dirt roads by the tornado that I had to drive around expecting to pop a tire at any moment. The woman answers she says you don't live in the house but in the shack next to it.You had no idea who I was for so long then you rememebered. How do you forget someone in your family for that many years that you loved. It makes me so sad. You told me the folks had just moved, they did not die. Do you know that Jay has now died? Do you rememeber after I left my husband and moved to the big city You called me and toldme you were coming up there? You told your wife you had to drive 900 miles to pick up a part? When you got home you called me and said, "Did you happen to run into me? and then you giggled in that high little girls giggle that is so funny for your he man wind burned cowboy rugged body!" Part my fanny! Do you remember now hon? Do you need help? Are you broke? I know you used to make a years salary with just one oil job and could do as you pleased the rest of the year and you did work on other things you were no slacker no matter how much are mutual mother in law bad mouthed you all the time every chance she could being the daughter of the newspaper owner and all. But now you can't work and VA don't pay that well I know or you would not live like that or would you you never did spend much on anything. You drove that big old white 70's Caddy forever. You had no phone. You never did have air conditioning but what do you expect in a town that only has four numbers in their phone number. I know you plan to just die alone in that shed just like all men real men do but do you remember me now? Do you know anything about the girl?

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

Not sure about the torture thing.....but I believe child molesters should get the death penalty......does that help? I feel like with any power comes great responsibility and I can't say that I believe ALL of those who would be in charge of the torturing would be responsible......remember the naked prisoner pyramid.....not our finest moment.

notajayhawk 9 years ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says…

"To compare hazing to torture belies a severe lack of understanding."

Yes, it does. Sorry you have such trouble understanding.

I was in no way comparing the two acts. I was comparing the punishment being discussed. I was pointing out the idiocy of saying interogation techniques that don't even rise to the level of what high school girls do to each other for recreation should be punishable as 'war crimes.' And the idiocy of clamoring for Congressional hearings and imprisonment when we condone our own children doing much worse in a high school ritual, giving them only a slap on the wrist. Thanks ever so much for illustrating my point - your moral outrage at the treatment of terrorists in a war zone while minimizing the much more atrocious 'kids-will-be-kids' actions of folks right here at home is laughable, and based on nothing more than dogmatic ideology.

Jaylee 9 years ago

torture doesnt really fall in line too well with the mythical belief that one is innocent until proven guilty.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

To me, much worse than the water-boarding, was the use of sex as a weapon in the Iraqi prison. Forcing prisoners to be nude in front of the women, or anyone, only reinforces the radical Muslim belief that Americans are degraded. I have a feeling the military only picks people they know will be receptive to this to implement these plans. I don't think they approached someone who is actively practicing their faith, whatever it is. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

What? I'm lost........wouldn't be the first time.......

Rex Russell 9 years ago

esq2eB I don't dispute the fact that credible information came from the torture. It's very likely it did in some cases. However, if you are holding a detainee for months (Abu Zabayha (sp.)?) and all along he has been giving you credible and actionable intel with standard practices, why do you switch to the waterboarding when he is giving you info without it ? I goes to the mindset of certain people when they ignore advice that goes against a view thay already hold.

Fred Vance 9 years ago

Group hug.... now, don't we feel better?

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

Should I also read the Randy Leach posts just for good measure ?

camper 9 years ago

Just a few thoughts here: 1) The interrogation (or torture) techniques that supposedly prevented an attack on the LA library building are only speculative and have not been proven. In fact the timeline suggests these events (or lack of) occured before the legal memos were issued. 2) I believe there is a different code of justice for military and civilian. However, the two should paralel each other under most circumstances and the military code should comply with the Geneva Convention at a minimum. 3) A legal memo does not define legality. From what I have seen of these memos, they are quite embarrasing and I'm astonished that they came from our supposed peers who hold high positions. 4) There is no convenient time to pursue what happened. Just because it happened under a different administration, and we currently face economic turmoil is no good reason to just move forward. 5) Any inquiry that takes place should be non-political.

jonas_opines 9 years ago

Satirical (Anonymous) says…

"Normally something is implicit because it would be irrational or contradictory to assume the opposite, and generally a waste of time to explicitly iterate."

Highly subjective, wouldn't you say?

"Also, you never answered my question, “So, assuming there was 'factual information on legitimate threats to our self-preservation,' then torture would be acceptable?”"

You can assume things as much as you want to get wherever you want to go.

"Theories are no more problematic than reality."

Theories are far less problematic than reality. That's the problem.

Daytrader23 9 years ago

Is this really a question and are people really debating it?? WOW. Where have our morals gone to?

papermanschoice 9 years ago

Now I can't tell if you are kidding with me or not.I'm sorry if I don't get everything spelled just right I'm at work and dont' time to go back and prove read every thing in the short time I had to write to you.Plus I am trying to smoke a cigarete in one hand and that makes it harder. But you would know about smoking because you are the one who made me try it. If it is you. You are teasing me you always did. I've got myself all stirred up about this missing girl and I stay up at night. The police won't tell me anything as I dont' even know her name I'm not family I am out of luck in their opiinoin and I only know my ex neiece's maiden name so I can't look it up on the interweb. You tease me about not having electricity or a phone but youre brother had a good job and a little money and a house and might have it or a neighbor you know. Is it you? Did you move into a trailer? There are a lot of them down there. Did you have the caddy somewhere that I did not see it? There was a line of junk cars and things all around there and with the tornado I must have missed it. I haven’t begun to tell you all of what happened before I left. I’m trying to quit smoking but this has me so in a dither that I’m back to smoking two pack a day. My nerves are all stood up on end and when I was fidgetting with that child locked cap on my valarium I knocked my just opened cigarettes off the bathroom sink into the toilet. I am so glad they have a celophane wrapper so I just cut the wet top of of them as I smoke them cause the bottom part is still dry. Cigaretts are too expenisive to waste now that the taxs has gone higher. I have done that twice now. Maybe I should switch to them cigarellos. Do the leafs they wrap them in keep them dry in water? I have to go soon I hope you will tell me if you are kidding or not or maybe I don't want to know. Maybe its nice to think you have a vbetter plave to lice now. My roots are showing to I go to the hairdresser again after work. I got a new cell phone. I heard on this movie a woman had a ringtone that sounded like a smal dog barking and I think it will drive my husband nuts and he will help me onstar it. I will scan in a pic of you back then I think the phone can do that its cool does everything.About this torture thing it makes me mad that you talk bad about Celine. He and I have plans to go see her one day just as soon as she some to Prairie Band. Cher too. My husband doesn't care for concerts. You all just made me imagine Celine doing a remake of Barbara and Gene Cuppy playing Jive with match sticks on a table. That would be good even with her accent who would care. Is Christian Bale too young to be Gray Cooper? But he might yell at her on set. I asked my coworker who would be good for the drummer. He said Tommy Lee. I asked who that is. He gave me a look. I asked if it was any relation to Pinky Lee. He have me another look. Office cat is retching another hariabll gotta run.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years ago

"Do you think torture is an acceptable form of interrogating prisoners?"


Globe warming civilization declining hot and nasty whutta buncha Dandys...

George_Braziller 9 years ago

Torture is NEVER acceptable. I don't care who it is or what the situation was. Never, ever, ever --- period.

Danimal 9 years ago

“No, I do not, because I think it’s an easy way out. They should question them and not torture them.”

Shaila Miller is a moron. Seriously, "torturing" someone is the easy way out? I think shes confused "torture" with "execution." But she is a Comms major.

I think we need to do a better job of defining torture.

verity 9 years ago

No. Never. Ever. For any reason.

And if you really have to ask if it's torture, it probably is.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years ago

When the preservation of a way of life is sought through torture, there is nothing left worth preserving.

Sigmund 9 years ago

Take no prisoners, kill them all on the battlefield, and torture will not be an issue. In war there is no trophy for participation nor second place. You had better decide before hand that the cause you will be fighting for is worth killing and torture of lots and lots of the enemy. If you aren't willing to do that then don't go to war, simple.

And no pretending that only Bush wanted to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Polls show a overwhelming majority of Americans approved as do the votes in Congress of both parties. This is nothing but politics and it makes the country weaker not stronger. FYI my life is worth killing and torture to protect from those that would kill or torture me or my family.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years ago

Marion writes:

Yeah, right.

If you had the choice of “torturing” some a**hole who would tell you where the food was and letting your children starve before your very eyes, what would you do?


Ceasar is turned to hear!

Nay, left!

Marion, I could never torture you, tho' my offspring might pick your bones clean, rather than starve.

My lips are sealed.

According to my handy dandy dictionary...

"Ceasar could not be found."

notajayhawk 9 years ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says…

“I am outraged that people think lowering ourselves to the level of those terrorists is the most effective way to combat them.”

Uh, yeah. ‘Cause putting someone in a cardboard box and threatening them with a woolly caterpillar is virtually the same thing as cutting off their head.

“Quite honestly, I don't give a rat's ass what happens to those girls”

Hence the problem. You don’t care that things like that happen right here in this country, and go unpunished. You think it’s just kids being kids and the parents should handle it – the parents who bought at least two kegs of beer for the festivities, as well as buying the more popular party favors such as pigs’ blood. You have no problem with the fact that the courts not only dismissed these acts with less than a slap on the wrist, but the courts were also used to prevent the school district from punishing the perpetrators in any way that might hurt their college prospects.

Would it surprise you to know that, after the kids in 2003 went unpunished, the kids at Glenbrook North tried to have their ritual again the following year, making plans to move it across state lines? Or that the same year one of the athletic teams at Glenbrook South had to forfeit most of their season after the whole team was suspended for a ritual of their own? What exactly does that say about those fine “American values” you hold so dear, that you (and apparently most everyone else) can laugh off such acts with a ‘Yuk yuk, those darned kids, what will they do next?’


notajayhawk 9 years ago


“Your attempt to compare the specific physical damage inflicted in the two situations completely misses the point.”

Well, one of seems incapable of seeing the point. Unfortunately for you, my vision is 20-20. The point is that you, and the rest of the bleeding-heart BDS sufferers, refer to these interrogation techniques as “torture,” and putting a bucket over someone’s head, beating them into unconsciousness, and sending them off to the hospital as “what some punk kids do in a hazing ritual.” The former requires Congressional hearings and imprisonment not only for the perpetrators but for those who allowed it, even though you condone the latter being punished by a short period of probation, or, better yet, left to be dealt with by their parents. Interesting ‘logic.’

“… the people in government are representing US. Those girls in some Chicago high school are not.”

Those girls are not representing America.

They ARE America.

And so are all of you who condone their actions while getting your panties in a bunch over the treatment of terrorists in a war zone. Great system of ‘values.’

“It's really that simple.”

To the simple-minded, it always is.

oldvet 9 years ago

If torturing a prisoner could save even one American life, then just remember this... the red wire goes to the positive terminal and the black wire goes to the negative terminal...

bisky1 9 years ago

it all depends on who won the election in 2000, if you like the results torture works, if you don't nothing works. bds

Daytrader23 9 years ago

Wow, people are still debating this as if it's still worth debating. "If it saves one american life" Yeah, does that mean we should use humans as shields and hostages because they do? Should we stone women for the heck of it because they do?

Grow a fricken brain, and then go talk to you mother, grandfather or whomever about American morales and values. End of discussion. Torture not good. Period.

beatrice 9 years ago

When you see how many Americans are so willing to trade in our nation's values with their support of torture, it becomes pretty clear how other countries are able to get their populace to comply when it turns to genocide.

I am simply amazed at how un-American so many Americans truly are.

Torture, in addition to being morally and ethically wrong, it simply does not work because the information is unreliable. Torture a person long enough and they will admit to anything, say anything, and sign anything. Just ask Senator McCain.

andreainkansas 9 years ago

This question is ridiculous. International law -- the Geneva Conventions and CAT -- deem torture not only "inappropriate" but illegal. The US, by being party to these conventions, consented to this determination. The law was broken, and I will be disappointed if AG Eric Holder refuses to at least investigate. There's a word for that -- impunity, and it's what we've criticized for years other states for allowing.

It's stupid to even ask if one thinks torture is appropriate. If you think it's appropriate, great, but it doesn't make it legal. If I thought murder was "appropriate," it doesn't mean that it should go unpunished.

andreainkansas 9 years ago

Also, the whole "ticking time bomb" scenario, which hypothetically would be the only scenario justifying torture, has been debunked as a false concept that never really occurs by most experts.

lawthing 9 years ago

Anyone who has ever been to prison knows torture!

The food is torture The freezing temperature inside the jail cells is torture the shackles are torture The rock hard exersize mat they call a matress is torture 24 hour lockdown is torture The orange jumpsuit is torture blah blah blah..........................

beatrice 9 years ago

RI, bummer. Possibly the most famous American Beatrice of our time. Distant second would probably be the Mama of Dada, ceramist Beatrice Wood, and she passed away in 1998.

I guess I'll have to become famous now so the name lives on.

LittleWing 9 years ago

Saving American lives -- People who drive over the speed limit are endangering American lives. Should cops haul them out of their cars and execute them at the side of the road with a bullet in their heads? No? But it would save American lives! Oh, wait, you speed sometimes? I guess you'd better stop doing that.

Kryptenx 9 years ago

"I've kept my mouth shut about all this for seven years," Soufan says. But now, with the declassification of Justice memos and the public assertions by Cheney and others that "enhanced" techniques worked, Soufan feels compelled to speak out. "I was in the middle of this, and it's not true that these [aggressive] techniques were effective," he says. "We were able to get the information about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a couple of days. We didn't have to do any of this [torture]. We could have done this the right way."

Read it for yourself, unless you prefer to continue ignorantly arguing for torture while ignoring the facts.

AjiDeGallina 8 years, 12 months ago

If we do what they do, what makes us different from them?

RonBurgandy 8 years, 12 months ago

Of course not. How can we expect other countries to follow certain protocols if we go around them ourselves? If North Korea tortures the two US journalists they have in captivity what gives us the right to be furious if we did the same thing to our prisoners.

That is why we don't torture, to protect our own citizens and to actually lead and be an example for the world. People like Chris Cox are sickening.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 12 months ago

Who is behind the push for show trials? Here's a hint. His last name starts with an "S" and ends with "oros".

jafs 8 years, 12 months ago


I agree that many of the "hazing" rituals are horrible.

I'm not sure why anyone would defend them.

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