Saturday, July 29, 2006

Torture – What is the point?

Torture is nothing new to this century. It has taken place through out all of history. It has been present for every major conflict and it has always yielded the same results. Not once in all of recorded history has information that has been obtained in this fashion solved or ended a military conflict.

The point of torture is to obtain information from an indigenous people. To “know” inside information and have an advantage over the enemy. To acquire knowledge that would otherwise be unavailable.

Torture is any act by which severe pain, whether physical or psychological, is intentionally inflicted on a person as a means of intimidation, deterrence, revenge, punishment, or information gathering. It can be used as an interrogation tactic to extract confessions. Torture is also used as a method of coercion or as a tool to control groups seen as a threat by governments. Throughout history, it has often been used as a method of effecting religious conversion or political "re-education".

Torture is almost universally considered to be an extreme violation of human rights, as stated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Signatories of the Third Geneva Convention and Fourth Geneva Convention agree not to torture protected persons (enemy civilians and POWs) in armed conflicts, and signatories of the UN Convention Against Torture agree not to intentionally inflict severe pain or suffering on anyone, to obtain information or a confession, to punish them, or to coerce them or a third person. These conventions and agreements notwithstanding, it is estimated by organizations such as Amnesty International that around two out of three countries do not consistently abide by the spirit of such treaties.

Who performs torture? Well if the anals of history are examined it is almost always performed by the aggressor. The faction or Nation that has invaded a territory with military force. Being a forigen land, the attaker must gain a foothold on the inner workings of the local resistance. I wonder if this has ever paid off in the long run?

Egyptians – Nope
Chineese Dynasties - Nope
Roman Empire - Nope
British Empire – Nope
Ottoman Empire – Nope
Soviet Empire – Nope
Middle East Conflicts – Nope
German Empire – Nope
American Empire - ???????

All of these aggressive occupations failed in the end. No matter how much torture, no matter how much coercion, no matter how much political re-education in the end it comes down to one thing failure.
Now for the rant part.

I cannot believe our great nation is pissing around toiling over the price of crap at Wal-Mart and the gas pump while innocent civilians are being abducted across the globe. My god in heaven, look at all the uproar there was about an 18-year-old girl missing in Aruba. Meanwhile entire families are being disappeared into secret prisons. Why are they secret? It’s no great surprise that if this got the amount of air time that Aruba girl received that “joe-six-pack” would have no choice but to become outraged. Hell that was one girl, sure she was an American and I am sure that plays into it to some extent, but COME ON America let’s wake up and smell the coffee.

We hear the example of, “if you knew one person had the knowledge to stop a nuclear bomb from going off, wouldn’t you torture them to find out?” Great example, but ultimately flawed. Can anyone point to one interrogation that this scenario played out? I’m sure if it had happened the government would be parading it on every TV station across the nation. “See we told you it’s worth the sacrifice.” This type of information has never come to light using torture as a catalyst. It’s a worthless means of gathering Intel. But guess what folks even though it’s revolting in nature and denounced by many, torture is the device that allows Joe to sleep sound at night. Knowing that we are doing everything we can including the torture of fellow human beings.

Ultimately this occupation will fail, as did al the rest that came before it. We will not win the war on terror. We will not free the Middle East and we will not have an advantage because we tortured the information out of a civilian population. The only thing torture is creating is a new generation of American haters. Make no mistake my friends we have become the Nazi’s of the 21st century and our children will pay the price for our arrogance.


Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

Nice post! If we don't have anyone else scheduled in 23 minutes I have my next post ready to go.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Dr. Strangelove said...

Robbie, confirm with Heathlander, but I believe Ingrid's got 11:30 and 12.

8:16 AM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

I can do 12:30...9:30am for me out here on the Left Coast.

Speaking of which, current weather: hot, muggy and overcast. Not a pretty day in America's Finest City.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Cyberotter said...

I believe Mash is correct

8:18 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Aye, but ye can have the 12:30 slot if ya want, robbie.

Great post, cyberotter! The nuclear bombing hypothetical situation you mentioned is often called the 'ticking-bomb scenario', and it's one of the most common justification invoked for torture.

The fact is that once you let the door open to just a little bit of torture, it ends up get ripped off its hinges. The 'acceptable circumstances' start out with a terrorist who says he knows where the bomb is but won't tell, then moves on to people who are suspected of knowing where it is but won't tell, then expands to people who are associates of those guy that won't tell, and so on and so on.

8:21 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Oh - OK, robbie's got the 12:30 slot.
The weather for me here in London is lovely - bright sun, white clouds and blue sky, cool breeze...and I'm trapped inside all day!

Ah well, 'tis for a good cause :)

8:22 AM  
Blogger Cyberotter said...

Ever play Mech-Warrior Jamie?

We used to have a group of us that were merc pirates and used to talk in that fasion all the time(snicker)

8:24 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...


Yes, I have actually, but I was rubbish at it and so threw it away. I wasn't at fault, you understand, it was the game...

8:28 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

By the way, there's a contest going on here: . The prize is a $10 sponsorship in your name.

There are 5 questions:

"a. What main bridge character from season 1 of Star Trek: The Next Generation dies?

b. Who was this person “intimate” with?

c. Name one traditional animal or plant that yarn can be made from.

d. On a sewing machine, what do you call the circular part that holds the thread?

e. What does “au lait” mean?"

Damn Star Trek! If only it had been Star Wars..

Embarrasingly, I only know the answer to the last one. If you can do better, head over there to enter (its being run by a Blogathon monitor).

8:43 AM  
Blogger Cyberotter said...



8:51 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...'re chomping at the bit..pick a number! lol ..I do have on 'easy' one planned after the one I just put up..
Cyberotter, great rant. In the rants we 'hear' one another so well, because reasoned arguments can be disproven/discounted with other, well sounding or seemingly so, counter arguments. What can you say about a rant that's from the heart? Only to speak to its frustration is what one can do? I don't know if joe six pack would still be outraged here in the US were he to know the extent of horrors that happen outside his little world. I believe that there are great numbers of people who cannot sympathize/empathize with something that is so beyond their own experience and reference.. it's people with a greater outlook who need to stay vigilant and continue to be the voice for what is attempted to stay hidden.. never know, perhaps a rant might click with one joe and perhaps one joe is all we need..
speaking of which.. I need another coffee!

8:54 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

You're a big snicker-er, cyberotter :)

Ingrid has posted, but for some reason it has appeared underneath your one. Hopefully in a few minutes she will copy and paste the post into a word doc, delete the post and then republish it, so it will appear above it.

8:54 AM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

You're right. I'm chomping at the bit since I found something to write about.

Hint: I'm lifting the media blackout on Guantanamo Bay in about 40 minutes.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Marcella Chester said...

When you are editing your post, you can click on "Post and edit options" to change the time to your posting time.

8:58 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Cheers marcella. Ingrid - there's no need to delete the post!

Actually, maybe it's cyberotter that needs to change his time..hmm.

Looking forward to it robbie. I haven't read about Gitmo in a while. Slipping off the agenda...I hope not.

8:59 AM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

Mine will be a two-parter. Can I take 10am PST as well? Both posts are related to the same subject. I did some research and found something HUGE!

9:01 AM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

wow, sounds exciting. Ermm..I *think* I've given that time to marcella.

Marcella, do you mind if Robbie takes 10AM PST and you take 10:30?

9:05 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Can't wait Robster!

9:26 AM  
Blogger Dr. Strangelove said...

sorry, cyberotter, just finished my post and read yours. Great post. So, let me understand this, are you saying torture doesn't work? hmm...has anyone told the President? :)

9:39 AM  
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12:36 AM  

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