Sullivan: Bush Should Take Responsibility for Torture

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by hulugu, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #1
    Andrew Sullivan writes an Open Letter to former President Bush in The Atlantic Magazine.

    I think Sullivan's article, coming especially from someone who originally supported both the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, is a lucid piece and acts as a clearing house for all the arguments about torture.
     
  2. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

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    #2
    Besides the few grammatical errors, he sure can write.
     
  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #3
    Sullivan is only going to be further disappointed.
     
  4. hulugu thread starter macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #4
    I agree that this article should be tagged "notbloodylikely" but I thought it was an interesting and relatively new argument.

    A connecting argument is this from neuroscientists which suggests simply that a tortured brain has trouble with memory and thus torturing somebody is less likely to provide accurate information.

    Also, I'm really disappointed how little attention this thread has gotten.
     
  5. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #5
    I find that sad as well.
     
  6. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    Taking into account the findings of the studies and then the fact that we did actually get useful information from advanced interrogation techniques, they seem at odds.
     
  7. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #7
    Well, at any rate the fact that we got documentation supplied by Dick Cheney that purports to support the claim that we got useful information.

    Between a highly reputable medical journal and Dick Cheney, I know which one I trust.

    Besides the neurological argument, there's always been the logistical problem with torture that nobody can seem to explain. If people will say anything to stop torture, and if the torturer is seeking information he does not already have, then how does the torturer know the truth when he hears it?

    Imagine this common torturer's question: "Who are your associates?" Each time you abuse your prisoner, he gives up a name, no matter how many times you do it. It's up to you to decide how many names is plausible. On the other hand, you might figure that he's more likely to lie early on because he hasn't been properly "softened up" yet, and of course the "sweet spot" where your prisoner has been broken enough to give up real names, but isn't yet desperately saying anything he can to make you go away, will vary from person to person.

    So say you extract a dozen names before you decide it's probably enough. A terror cell isn't going to typically have more than say four or five people, because cell organization is well-understood, and that's how it works. Now you've got to figure out who among those names to bring in and torture. Oh, by the way, every single one of the people you decide to bring in is going to confess to being a terrorist, because you're torturing them. For every wrong guess you make, you also get a dozen further wrong names of confederates, and no right ones.

    Even if there is genuine actionable intelligence in this mess, you'll only stumble across it by luck as you sift through all the meaningless ravings of screaming men and women.

    If it wasn't for the visceral human thrill of dominating an enemy, any rational person would recognize that this is an impossibly inefficient method of gathering information.
     
  8. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #8
    My goodness, I'm glad I sold my stock in glass houses. Ought to have bought stock in rocks, though.
     
  9. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #9
    First off, from every report I've seen that actually goes into detail, any useful information extracted was done before the torture.

    Second, its TORTURE, it doesn't matter what it gets you, its illegal, wrong, and should be fully investigated.
     
  10. hulugu thread starter macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    Well, I think you have to ask yourself: do the people who say that torture worked have an incentive to lie about such a thing?

    Yeah, I'm not working hard on that equation either.

    It's starts to go exponential very quickly doesn't it?

    The biggest problem in modern intelligence gathering isn't getting enough information, rather it's knowing what to do with the vast wealth of data that pours into every agency, not to mention the complexities of who gets data when and between which agency. Trying to do this quickly and allow some agent to cut the red wire at exactly the right moment! is almost impossible.
     
  11. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #11
    Of course, perhaps we shouldn't dismiss it so hastily.

    Remember that these same techniques successfully exposed vital actionable intelligence on an entire clandestine network of women guilty by their own confession of having sex with the Devil to gain super powers. It's documented.
     
  12. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #12
    Ah yes, how could we not have learned of their effectiveness in such places as Salem :rolleyes::p
     
  13. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #13
    LOL! Of course torture doesn't work at all. Anyone with a brain that is capable of even imagining pain knows that. I guess that excludes some of the MR nit-wits here. :-/

    But back on-topic, Hell yes, everyone involved with or who voted for the Patriot Act and PAII should be charged, stripped of office, and sentenced. That includes Obama, the former Pres., former VP, the attorney general, and a few hundred others.

    Of course none of these things will ever happen.
     
  14. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #14
    What your proposing is basically a complete booting of DC. What happened to you man? I remember you from when I joined and you didnt have any of these crazy ideas.
     
  15. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Aluminum has been linked to dementia and alzheimers. ;)
     
  16. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #16
    Ha, exactly why I stay away from deodorants with aluminum in them.
     
  17. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #17
    Patriot Act: Introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 3162 by Frank James Sensenbrenner, Jr. on October 23, 2001
    Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 (Patriot Act II)
    Barack Obama: United States Senator assumes office January 3, 2005
     

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