Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Not for my sake - Ed's journal
Not for my sake

OK, so Dick Cheney urges that the CIA releases memos to say 'harsh interrogation techniques' work. I have to say, that's really quite an elegant piece of political maneuvering actually, as it invites us to debate whether torture works or not.
And quite conveniently skips over the core point, that EVEN if it does work, it's not worth it.

Be under no illusions - torture does work - it's an effective tool in the arsenal of an interrogator, and... well, frankly if you're prepared to inflict an unlimited measure of harm on another human being, then you _can_ extract information from them, and compel courses of actions through threats of excessive pain.

It also tries to invite the comparison over what constitutes torture - and again, conveniently glosses over the core point. Torture is not about hurting someone until they comply with you. It's about systematically causing them a level of psychological harm, such that you break down existing trust relationships, and emotionally distance them from all the things that might encourage them to refuse to answer questions.
And as such, it really doesn't matter what techniques are used - there's no shortage of ways in which we can cause intolerable amounts of pain and torment in another person, it really is only a question of time - how fast the process works with one technique or another.

But that still tries to distract from the central question:
Torture works, and allows us to break apart terrorist conspiracies. Does that make it acceptable?
Does the ends justify the means?

I'd have to say 'no' for my part. Even if that means the deaths of innocents. Of people near and dear to me. It would sadden me greatly, but a world where the ends are permitted to justify the means, is one where the cycle of terrorism, torture and violence will persist.

We cannot ever stop torture - as long as there are people prepared to harm others to profit by it, it will happen. What we can do though, is to step back and say 'not in my name'. I do not want my government to consider it acceptable to torture terrorists for the protection of it's citizens. I do not want my government to perpetrate an injustice for 'the greater good', even if that means people will die because of it.

Because terrorism, fear, and torture are self perpetuating. An eye for an eye, leaves the whole world blind - torture for terrorism, just means we all get far more intimately acquainted with both.
Forgiveness is the hardest thing in the world - to let go your anger and rage at someone else wanting to harm you, your friends and family for no discernable reason. And yet that's exactly what's needed. Because until you can, you'll remain enemies.
3 comments or Leave a comment
queex From: queex Date: April 21st, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, from a practical stand-point, torture doesn't work very well. It's excellent at compelling answers. It's pretty poor at getting accurate answers. Even if you break someone down completely, there's no guarantee they have the information you want, or remember it correctly, or that is hasn't been made inaccurate by time.

Basically, torture sucks ethically and practically.

I want no-one claiming to represent me or my interests to be immoral and stupid enough to use it.
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: April 21st, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was what I was going to say.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: April 22nd, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, inaccurate answers are often better than no answers. And ...*shrug*. Torture's actually also pretty cheap, and has secondary deterrent effects.

But that's still beside the point - I don't care whether it is useless, or bloody effective. The price is still too high.
3 comments or Leave a comment