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  •  Republican Justice is not American (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, Clio2, mofembot

    But we all know that.

    •  You can say that again! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, Clio2

      The United States needs to vigorously repudiate the stance of the bush White House on torture. The rule of Law needs to apply, here.

      "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

      by lyvwyr101 on Fri May 09, 2008 at 11:29:44 AM PDT

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    •  I dont' know about that (0+ / 0-)

      Every new show and movie coming out have positive depictions of torture in them, and the public eats it up, because it's tough and realistic. I saw some comments of milblogs yesterday when Al Qaeda in Iraq leader al Masri was rumored to have been captured, with commenters happy that he had been apprehended by Iraqi troops and therefore even more toruture could be used. I think outside of this website, America has embraced torture pretty broadly.

      A pessimist is just a well-informed optimist.

      by Marcion on Fri May 09, 2008 at 12:01:29 PM PDT

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      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        Every new show and movie coming out have positive depictions of torture in them, and the public eats it up, because it's tough and realistic.

        It's fiction, pal.  

        If some of the public eats it up, that may be because it's entertaining. And if you think its "realistic," that's probably because you saw it depicted as such in televised entertainment.  

        Public relations people have long known that whatever people find interesting, they find more believable; what's boring, they find less believable. Irrational, but that's the human mind for you. Also, when something is said on television, that is generally found more believable than when it is presented in print, on radio, in a movie theater or even in person. Also, television images reach directly into parts of the brain that absorb images without intellectual filtering.

        All these features of the human mind have been factors in convincing some people of irrational beliefs, such as the value of torture.  However, we don't have to be victims of our neurology, if we take the trouble to understand something about psychology and critical thinking.  

        From mediaeval witch trials to the abuses of the Inquisition to the show trials of Stalinist Russia and many similar events, real-world experience has shown that what torture extracts from prisoners is inevitably false "confirmation" of whatever preconceived notions have already filled the torturers' heads.

        Under torture, most of us would after a shorter or longer time finally confess to dealings with Al Quaeda, to heresy, or to having signed the Devil's book and flown through the air on a broomstick. Scenarios where a hero can use torture to extract the location of a ticking bomb are simply not a part of real life. They are dreamed up in scriptwriting departments.  

        What torture does to the torturers themselves, the type of society that it fosters, and where it positions our soldiers should they become prisoners in turn, are also important considerations.

        •  still popular (0+ / 0-)

          mediaeval witch trials to the abuses of the Inquisition to the show trials of Stalinist Russia and many similar events, real-world experience has shown that what torture extracts from prisoners is inevitably false "confirmation" of whatever preconceived notions have already filled the torturers' heads.

          The ohter thing we know about all those events is that they were very popular with the public. People used to take their children to executions, just as they now watch "24" as a family.

          The effects of torture on each individual are different, only the universal moral implication is the same, so it seems like this is the proper argument to make, that humans should not engage in this behavior no matter if it could be effective in a certain situation. My greatgrandfather was tortured by the Soviets for months, and he ended up opening his vein and writing "Not guilty" in his blood all over the confessions prepared for him. It seems unlikely that if he had not been fueled by a feeling of outraged at being falsely accused that he would have put up such resistance since he was going to be punished either way.

          A pessimist is just a well-informed optimist.

          by Marcion on Fri May 09, 2008 at 01:42:45 PM PDT

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          •  I guess I misunderstood you? (0+ / 0-)

            When you said "realistic," you meant "torture really happens," not "torture is a realistic way to get information"?

            Your great grandfather certainly deserves great respect for his integrity.

            I am most acquainted with the Salem Village witch trials of 1692 in Massachusetts. There too, a few also held out to the end -- and died for it. ("Burn me or hang me, I will stand for the truth of Christ," George Jacobs told the judges before they killed him for refusing to confirm their delusions of black magic.)

            Most of those imprisoned a suspect witches (in conditions that amounted to torture and in fear of their lives) ultimately "confessed" and avoided the gallows by implicating others. George Jacobs's teenaged granddaughter confessed and then recanted her confession at the risk of her life -- she escaped execution only by chance. With that whole episode on our history books it is dreadful and hard to understand that we would now embark down a similar path.  

            •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

              That's what I meant, when people see the feds torturing, they figure that they are seeing what really would happen in that situation, that all bounds of decency and law would break down and people would be shooting kneecaps. And they are not appalled by that in any way, more tantalized, in the same sort of way that religous people crave the Apocalypse, as a situation in which all the usual restrictive rules of life are abandoned and chaos reigns.

              I think people misunderstand the value of history - it doesn't tell us what to avoid, but what to preapre for. If something happened before, particulary if it happened regularly and not just once by some sort of fluke, then it will happen again, since human nature is constant.

              A pessimist is just a well-informed optimist.

              by Marcion on Fri May 09, 2008 at 02:30:57 PM PDT

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