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View Diary: How Torture Elicited 'Key Denials' That Led To Death of bin Laden 9 Years Later (Sarcasm) (144 comments)

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  •  The constraints are such that it is almost (7+ / 0-)

    never useful. You need:

    1. To know that the person knows something useful
    2. To know approximately what the person knows so you can ask about it
    3. To know that the information is time-critical
    4. To have a mechanism for checking the answer given quickly so a prepared lie won't lead you astray

    Given all of that, torture might be useful. Something on the battle field like "Where's the sniper?".

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue May 03, 2011 at 08:01:33 AM PDT

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    •  u can also make an argument that slavery (12+ / 0-)

      is useful.

      You have children all over America in need. Food insecurity is growing.

      There are quite a few people out of work who need something to do

      Farm work is hard, quite a bit of it cannot be mechanized

      So given the following constraints, it could be useful
      1. The person selected for slavery has not had a job for 7 months
      2. We guarantee humane treatment (Food, shelter, health care). Minimum beatings for lack of productivity
      3. No more than 10 hour days
      4. 2 weeks paid vacations
      5. All the profits go to help poor hungry children throughout the world

      Given all that, slavery might be useful.

      however it still would be immoral...just like torture is still immoral in all conditions despite  the fact that it might save a life on a rare occasion.

    •  No, it is not useful. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      means are the ends, cpresley

      And, in fact, traditional interrogation is more much more successful at extracting information.

      Something no one has even mentioned yet is that torture dehumanizes both the tortured and the torturer.  Soldiers who served at Guantanamo are suffering from PTSD.

      Torture is a depraved, barbaric practice which should never even be considered.  Thank heavens it also doesn't work, because apparently there are plenty of people who would endorse it if it did.

      A few short years ago, everyone knew this stuff.  Propaganda sure works.

      Intelligent manipulation of the masses is the invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country. - U.S. propagandist Edward Bernays

      by geomoo on Tue May 03, 2011 at 10:54:41 AM PDT

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    •  Here's the problem (0+ / 0-)

      Torture in on a continuum with things that, in our everyday lives, we know do work.  Anytime you threaten to punish your child if they don't tell you the truth about something, you are exerting psychic pain against them.  Yes, sometimes they lie to get out of things.  Often, they don't.  Now, unless you make a clear distinction between psychic pain and physical pain, that leads to the intuition that torture is efficacious.  That is what we're up against in trying to convince people of the contrary.

      So the question should become: why do children tell the truth at all under threat of punishment?  My supposition is that it is because they are in a continuing relationship with the person interrogating them and stand to lose much more if a verifiable lie is found out than if they fess up now.  Also, once you "break faith" with your child (by using, say, electric shock on them if they lie), you've pretty much destroyed your relationship anyway.  The relationship that leads children to -- after much evasion much of the time -- tell the truth is one based on trust and love.

      So, the techniques that great interrogators discuss -- building up a relationship of trust and respect with their subjects, getting them to lower their defenses, etc. -- have more in common with what actually works in parenting.  Interrogation has more to do with deprogramming than with abuse.

      The exception -- which we know is often used by torturers -- may come when the abuse is directed to an innocent loved one.  All I can say is that when we get to the point that that's what we want to do, we've lost our humanity.

      Unplug the Koch machine! It's swallowing people's money!

      by Seneca Doane on Tue May 03, 2011 at 03:22:32 PM PDT

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