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  1. #1 We can't afford moral certainty about torture. 
    Senior Member hampshirebrit's Avatar
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    As a diversion from remonstrating with his Chinese hosts over their lapses on human rights, David Cameron took a moment last week to bring the subject closer to home. Responding to George Bush’s claim that the practice of waterboarding was justified because it had averted major terrorist attacks on British targets, Mr Cameron said that he thought torture was wrong and that “we ought to be very clear about that”. Then he added, “And I think we should also be clear that [the information you get from torture] is likely to be unreliable.” He elaborated on these points by explaining that “there is both a moral reason for being opposed to torture – and Britain doesn’t sanction torture – but secondly, I think there’s also an effectiveness thing…”

    So Mr Cameron’s repudiation of Mr Bush rested on two propositions: that a) the British government was unequivocally opposed to torture (of which waterboarding was a form), and that b) torture didn’t produce anything useful. But why, if you maintain the first part as an inviolable principle (“Torture is never acceptable”), should there be any need to argue for the second? What point is there in discussing what Mr Cameron calls the “effectiveness thing” at all?

    It is not only the Prime Minister who has issued this peculiar, two-pronged rejection of the Bush claims. Official British spokesmen have been jamming up television studios over the past week to reiterate the message that, in the words of Sir John Sawers, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service: “Torture is abhorrent and illegal under any circumstances and we have nothing to do with it.” But these forthright moral assertions were inevitably followed by an insistence that no terrorist plots against London were ever proved to have been prevented by evidence derived from such techniques. (Note in passing: it would be almost impossible to prove that an attack had been averted in this way. Even the confession by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, that he had planned attacks on Big Ben and Canary Wharf of exactly the kind that Mr Bush described, is dismissed as unreliable by those who espouse this position.)
    This is part of a thought-provoking op-ed piece by the Telegraph's Janet Daley. Full article here.
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  2. #2  
    CU's Tallest Midget! PoliCon's Avatar
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    Its all about repeating the lie often enough. They have to repeatedly state that it is ineffective. If not people will look at the facts and realize that waterboarding (which I do not for a second consider torture) produced effective and actionable results.
    Stand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliCon View Post
    Its all about repeating the lie often enough. They have to repeatedly state that it is ineffective. If not people will look at the facts and realize that waterboarding (which I do not for a second consider torture) produced effective and actionable results.
    What criteria do you use to determine whether or not something is torture? (just curious)
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by m00 View Post
    What criteria do you use to determine whether or not something is torture? (just curious)
    If your body parts are all intact and undamaged afterward, it ain't torture. If the worry is that our enemies might use waterboarding against our soldiers, then I would say that our soldiers should take comfort in that. I am pretty sure that they would prefer it to having their limbs amputated with an acetylene torch or being skinned alive or any of the other methods the enemies we currently face would use without hesitation.
    "The efforts of the government alone will never be enough. In the end the people must choose and the people must help themselves" ~ JFK; from his famous inauguration speech (What Democrats sounded like before today's neo-Liberals hijacked that party)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Articulate_Ape View Post
    If your body parts are all intact and undamaged afterward, it ain't torture. If the worry is that our enemies might use waterboarding against our soldiers, then I would say that our soldiers should take comfort in that. I am pretty sure that they would prefer it to having their limbs amputated with an acetylene torch or being skinned alive or any of the other methods the enemies we currently face would use without hesitation.
    Low level electric shocks leave body parts intact and undamaged. Do you consider that torture?
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by m00 View Post
    Low level electric shocks leave body parts intact and undamaged. Do you consider that torture?
    Nope, I call it an incentive.
    "The efforts of the government alone will never be enough. In the end the people must choose and the people must help themselves" ~ JFK; from his famous inauguration speech (What Democrats sounded like before today's neo-Liberals hijacked that party)
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  7. #7  
    CU's Tallest Midget! PoliCon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m00 View Post
    Low level electric shocks leave body parts intact and undamaged. Do you consider that torture?
    Acts that cause actual physical harm - you know like the rack or thumb screws or an iron maiden . . . . . or lasting psychological damage.
    Stand up for what is right, even if you have to stand alone.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Madisonian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hampshirebrit View Post
    This is part of a thought-provoking op-ed piece by the Telegraph's Janet Daley. Full article here.
    Yeah, Brits don't believe in torture. Tell that to the Irish with a straight face.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member hampshirebrit's Avatar
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    Looks like I may have unintentionally touched a raw nerve here, with both one of our newer and one of our more august posters.

    Madisonian, I will be the first to admit to British wrongdoing in Belfast. In return, I do not require anyone to apologise for Warrington or Omagh, although such apology is surely due.

    Megi, I'm not being diplomatic, or even trying to. I think you're right. Europe needs to stiffen its spine, as you put it. I think in this instance, the people of Europe are well ahead of the politicians of Europe.
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  10. #10  
    PORCUS MAXIMUS Rockntractor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hampshirebrit View Post
    the people of Europe are well ahead of the politicians of Europe.
    We are in the same boat Hamps!
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