Thursday, February 07, 2008

On Torture: civilization vs. the lynch mob

Jeremy H posted this question on Yahoo Answers:

For all of you that are against torture?

I want to know what you would do instead?

If we can't use loud noise, sleep deprivation, ect {sic} What can we use?

Do you think sitting them down and demanding an answer by pounding your fist on the table is going to work? What type of interrogation techniques can be used?

My response (as Yurbud):

You are assuming that torture is used like in 24 with the theoretical ticking bomb. Real military and intel people say that almost never happens.

When they really need to get information, the Israelis have found that deception works as well or better than physical torture. In one tactic, they rough a guy up, release him to the prison yard, then other prisoners say they are part of his group and ask him what he didn't tell so they can pass the info to those outside. Instead, they give it to the interrogator and get a plane ticket to the US and a green card.

Ironically, though the Israelis live with terrorism on a more constant basis, their supreme court has banned torture.

The purpose of torture is to terrify the people in the country when you release the victim or news of what you did to him gets out, the same way Stalin used it when he had people picked up at random. What kind of useful information could those people possible have? None. But they would be hesitant to get out of line because they knew a neighbor might be picked up and turn them in or turn them in to avoid being taken.

The guy in the most famous photo, where he is wearing a hood and blanket and standing on a box with his hands out and electrodes on his fingers, that guy was innocent. Once they figured out he hadn't done anything, they kept at him to pressure him to become an informant AFTER he was released.

Not incidentally, when Army Maj. Gen. Taguba investigated Abu Ghraib, he found that at least 60% of the inmates were not guilty of ANYTHING, let alone terrorism. The general who ran the prison put the estimate at 90%.

One method of torture does work: threatening or actually abusing the loved ones of the person you are trying to break. This was done with children at Abu Ghraib. While it may work, using methods like that shows Bush is not fighting FOR democracy, and the only thing it will do to terrorism is inflame more of it.

The one guy running for president who was a POW is also the only GOP candidate who doesn't salivate at the prospect of torture. He knows that the only hope we have of our troops being treated well if captured is if we treat those we have in captivity well. Even if this doesn't work on some religious extremists, it establishes a reputation that will serve us well in future conflicts.

In World War II, German soldiers were more likely to surrender to us than fight to the death because they knew we would treat them well. Since the Soviets were retaliating for what the Germans did on the Eastern Front, they were less likely to surrender to them.

Likewise, in the first Gulf War, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who surrendered without firing a shot were probably motivated by our reputation for treating prisoners well as much as our overwhelming force of arms. I wonder if that would have been the case if they knew they would sodomized once captured.

This doesn't seem to occur too often to people on the right. They prefer the logic of the lynch mob that says I am mad and someone else must pay for it. As soon as the mob catches someone who roughly fits the profile of who they are mad at, they convince themselves that person is guilty, take out their wrath on him (or her) and feel their manhood is confirmed.

They don't even wonder why we have left untouched the countries that Congress determined DID fund and have a role in 9/11, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Besides being ignorant and cruel, that logic (or lack of it) solves no problems and creates more.

A civilized society has to ask why terrorism is occurring, including whether some of our actions are giving people grievances that give them a reason to join terrorists groups (like occupying their country, propping up their dictators, or overthrowing their elected leaders, and controlling their natural resources), what we can do to reduce those grievances without jeopardizing our safety, and finally how we can capture or kill those responsible for attacking us without making unnecessary enemies in the process.

context on YAHOO ANSWERS

1 comment:

Anon-Paranoid said...

Unfortunately we are no longer a country who believes in the rule of law.

We are under a Fascist Dictatorship and the country we were born in is no longer that country.

I hate to say this, but America is Dead. This in now the Fourth Reich.

Get ready for Martial Law for it is coming very soon.

Take care and...

God Bless.