Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Mentality of Torture.

One thing is a certainty regarding torture, and that is the Torturer does not feel that what he/or she is doing is wrong. One can likely break down torture into many different types but the two that come to mind are a) torture in order to extract information from a enemy, and b) torture for revenge.

The torture cases we saw in Iraq seem to fall into the category of revenge. It is similar to a case that occurred in Brooklyn, NY Police Precinct where a African American man was tortured by having a broken broomstick shoved into his rectum. The Police Officer who did it was convicted of the act, but one must ask why he would do such a thing? In fact this Officer was a very highly decorated Cop, and no one would have thought he would have done this. I know this for I worked in the NYPD and met Officers that knew him. In the end it was determined that he was doing steroids to enhance performance. Highly aggressive tendencies go hand in hand with steroid use. This is no excuse for what he did, but when this Officer and some of his fellow Officers were executing a warrant he was "sucker punched" by the twin brother of the man they were looking to arrest. The subsequent brutal assault on the man in the bathroom of the Police Station was a gross act of torture motivated by revenge.

The first type of torture is a far more complex, and not so perverse one on the surface. I say so for this type of torture is often masked by the protection of a state, or its citizens. The torturer aggrandises his actions with patriotism. He weighs the value of one life, and favors the lives of thousands he portends to defend with his acts of torture. The real problem is that he does not merely portend to defend thousands against acts of violence, but actually does in some cases. Where does a person draw the line when you have in detention a person you know has vital information regarding planned military or terrorist actions. According to the Geneva convention you can not do anything but ask for name, rank, and serial number. These lines have been blurred regarding those detained for suspected terrorism. Bush's attempt to classify them as illegal-combatants has in effect taken then out of the umbrella protection of Geneva. Much of that has been reversed by the Supreme Court. I ask you if information that would advert another 9/11 type of terrorist action came from the torture of a detainee is it wrong? I would agree with you that it would be. The ends do not justify the means. However, we can see how those that commit torture can fool them self into thinking that the ends do justify the means. If you torture one man and save a thousand much more compelling can that be. Nonetheless, torture is the desperate act of those who can not get the information they need by other means.

Violence is the last resort of the incompetent. (Vulcan Proverb)

Cross posted on The Heretical Jew


Blogger The Heathlander said...

Hi HJ,

Glad you make it :)

Great post by the way - there's nothing more interesting than the psychology or torture.

If you're planning on posting again, could you let me know, because we have an 'order' of posting (one every half hour) otherwise we'll never produce enough to get the full 48.


7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We seem to be going at a steady half hour pace. How much more time do we have???

7:41 PM  
Blogger Dr. Strangelove said...

I love the last line: "Violence is the last resort of the incompetent."

That so describes this Administration.

(By the way, did the end of the post get truncated?)

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No that was the end. I do not know where the The came from and I tried to delete it without sucess.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

erased it

8:17 PM  

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