Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We're not safe, Mr. President, are we?

If a man like this is captured by the United States, and he potentially has information that could save hundreds of thousands of lives, what is the morally correct thing to do?

Maybe an attack could be stopped if information is divulged by that prisoner. If all other interrogation methods yield no results, should that prisoner be waterboarded in an effort to gain valuable life-saving info? Or under absolutely NO circumstances should waterboarding take place?

Instead of waterboarding, would it be morally correct to let hundreds of thousands of Americans die?

Of those two, which one should the United States do?

Would Nancy Pelosi or Comrade Barack Obama sacrifice their family so that America can say we never "torture" our prisoners? Is the discomfort of 1 single Muslim extremist more important than the deaths of 330,000 Americans, not to mention the national tragedy that that would be?

As it is right now, the terrorist prisoner would be offered slippers and some tea, plus he'd be afforded every legal right that a kid who steals a Milky Way from the 7-Eleven has.
Can we trust that the President of the U.S. would do the right thing to save American lives?

Your children murdered in a terrorist attack or a prisoner waterboarded in order to stop that attack. Which would you rather have happen?

13 comments:

Señor said...

"If all other interrogation methods yield no results, should that prisoner be waterboarded in an effort to gain valuable life-saving info?"

Expert interrogators know this isn't how events play out in the real world. Torture doesn't yield valuable information. Don't believe me? Check out the Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1:

"Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."

A country that professes a respect for human dignity should never torture prisoners, nor should it direct its military and intelligence professionals to become torturers. Does allowing our nation to sink to the moral level of the Gestapo (originators of the phrase Enhanced Interrogation) and the Khmer Rouge (notorious practitioners of water-boarding) really make you feel safer?

Have a grateful day!
:-)

Zoooma!! said...

Two points -- waterboarding isn't torture as no one is harmed while medical personnel are standing by. Arrange it and I volunteer to be a guinea pig.

And B) there are high level officials, are there not, who've said waterboarding has indeed yielded information that has potentially saved American lives. Ask Obama who said that and, unless he dances around your question like he probably would, he'll be able to tell you. Yahoo it.

I ask again -- Instead of waterboarding, would it be morally correct to let hundreds of thousands of Americans die?

Curtain A or Curtain B? Waterboarding someone or watching your children be murdered?

Señor said...

"Curtain A or Curtain B? Waterboarding someone or watching your children be murdered?"

For more absurd either/or scenarios, I would like to recommend the entertaining children's book Would You Rather... by John Burningham. There is an excerpt available on Google Books.

from the book:
"Would you rather be crushed by a snake, swallowed by a fish, eaten by a crocodile, or sat on by a rhinoceros?"

Anonymous said...

If you get confused listen to the music play.
how about some tunes?

Sam said...

An interesting moral question/dilemma Chris. I have at times thought "... by any means necessary" was just and fair for all the reasons you stated. And then there have been times in my life where I've exalted people who strive to uphold kindness to all fellow humans despite what they "may" be capable of.

I've often asked myself if one life is worth more than mass lives. I do so because I want to live in a world where we value life and its quality, no matter the race, religion, sex, or moral beliefs. And if that person is in front of me, then that life is the most valuable as it is the life that I have the most vested interest in at the moment. And I still think I feel that way more than the other.

But despite that fact, if a person has done something to justify their imprisonment and punishment for a crime, they have not returned that same respect for other human beings and therefore have waived rights to be treated as such. The way you act is the way you are, that's an undeniable human truth. So if you don't think other humans are worth your time or compassion, then you deserve the same treatment because that is who you are.

Great topic, Chris. Great, great, great.

swboy said...

If harsh interrogation techniques need to be used, let's use ones which aren't banned by the Geneva Convention. Ones we've prosecuted the Japanese for using on us in WWII. Posing the question like its waterboarding vs. thousands of American deaths is unreal. The world looks at Abu Graib and Guantanamo and sees us as barbaric & immoral. Engaging in torture makes the terrorists look sympathetic and I'm sure helps them recruit. You're making some sort of point about Obama here I guess. Very surprising you're into the Grateful Dead etc. Their vibe couldn't be more against this point of view. Peace, love, good hippie values & against the war in Vietnam. Remember?

Zoooma!! said...

Thanks for chiming in, Sam. Good to hear from ya. Sorry I haven't been to your blog in awhile.

It is interesting that something like waterboarding is considered by many to bad against someone who wouldn't hesitate for a second to slaughter your whole family. It's also not like waterboarding's gonna kill a terrorist, not when it's done in a controlled environment with a doctor standing by... yet the information gained could prevent the killing of many. How, possibly, could not waterboarding be taking the higher moral ground while many die?

I don't think for a second this is an absurd either/or scenario. It's hypothetical. First responders in America, the military, intelligence agencies, we/they run through hypotheticals all the time. Posing the question "Should waterboarding be authorized to prevent loss of life?" is most certainly not unreal or absurd. If you're going to say that will never need to happen then I'll ask how do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you claim is true? No, waterboarding shouldn't be common practice. It should be a LAST RESORT. The question still stands -- is NOT waterboarding taking the higher ground if it means lives could potentially be lost from information not obtained in time? Would you really stand by and watch your family be slaughtered rather than authorize waterboarding to prevent it from happening?

Is it really surprising that I'm a Deadhead who cares about loss of life and how to potentially prevent that loss of life? It's not like I'm calling for waterboarding to be common practice... but when your family is in danger, you do what you need to... no matter what.

What's the true Deadhead "vibe" that would better fit your thinking or what you perceive to be the common Deadhead thinking -- The deaths of many is better than the treatment of one? Never inflict severe discomfort on a person even if it means preventing loss of life? Seriously? I really don't think so.

Do you really think Jerry would allow Bob & Phil to be murdered rather than authorize waterboarding to prevent that from happening?

I doubt it.

Ron H. said...

All:

Please list the names of those you are willing to lose to a terrorist attack that MAY (you need to give yourself a chance, right?) have been prevented otherwise by using EIT?
Tough choice, huh? Yeah, the CIA thinks so too...........

swboy said...

>What's the true Deadhead "vibe" you perceive to be the common Deadhead thinking?

Pacifism as practiced by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and the Dalai Lama.
For me, this defines the 1960s counterculture over anything else.
(Its something I was very involved in.)
Waterboarding is brutal torture.
Pacifism NEVER justifies torture even if terrorists are also brutal.
Don't tell me Jerry Garcia would approve of it.
You're projecting YOUR values onto him. This position on using torture is one of
right wing conservatism. You're in the camp of Rush Limbaugh and
Dick Cheney on this issue. (BTW those folks have always hated hippies...)
Seems the point is "it doesn't matter if torture is immoral if it yields results"
We can toss our morality away, but it doesn't make us safer.

Señor said...

Well said, swboy! Forgive me if I'm indulging in stereotypes here, but I'm surprised to see this kind of fear-mongering on a Deadhead blog. Did the acid trips teach us nothing about our spiritual nature as human beings?

What a lame game this is to conjure high pathetic scenarios in which we would piss away our human dignity and become torturers.

We need the strength of our moral convictions to confront evil in the world without being consumed by evil, ourselves. (At least that was the impression I took away from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.)

:-)

Zoooma!! said...

"What's the true Deadhead "vibe" you perceive to be the common Deadhead thinking?"

-- "Pacifism"

"He shot my Billy dead
now I'm gonna see him hung...
As Staggerlee lit a cigarette
she shot him in the balls"

"Good Mornin Mr. Benson
I see you're doin well
If I had me a shotgun
I'd blow you straight to Hell"


That kind of pacifism that Jerry sang about? I recall every single time Jerry sang that second one, the crowd roared. Imagine that, Deadheads roaring in approval at the mention of that kind of pacifism... ummm, I mean at that kind of violence.

"Waterboarding is brutal torture."

That's opinion only, not fact. Like I've said before -- arrange it, sign me up, I'll be the guinea pig.

"Don't tell me Jerry Garcia would approve of it. You're projecting YOUR values onto him."

I didn't tell you Jerry would approve of it. I said I doubt Jerry would rather watch Bob & Phil be murdered if he could authorize waterboarding to prevent that. My opinion isn't saying what he'd do. I just doubt he'd choose the death of his friends over someone's discomfort to prevent that. Wouldn't any sane thinking person make the same decision?

"This position on using torture is one of right wing conservatism."

Are you saying there's not a single self-proclaimed left-wing liberal Democrat who believes waterboarding to prevent loss of life is acceptable? If someone who's a lifelong Democrat does think that way, are they really a right wing conservative then?

"You're in the camp of Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney on this issue. (BTW those folks have always hated hippies...)"

The part about hating hippies, is that their official position? Are they on record saying that? Just wondering.

And frankly I don't care who's in that camp because I know that millions of Americans wouldn't hesitate for a second to allow waterboarding if it means that innocent people's lives could be saved.

Senor chimes in: "I'm surprised to see this kind of fear-mongering on a Deadhead blog...

What a lame game this is to conjure high pathetic scenarios in which we would piss away our human dignity and become torturers."


Fear-mongering? Lame game? There's a real threat out there to this nation and the people who live here. I don't think we should live in fear, I don't want anyone to be scared, but we should all be concerned the right measures are being taken to keep us safe. Ignore the threat if you personally wish to... but it's not going to go away. People really need to be aware of what non-classified steps are being taken to protect us... or not protect us.

And there's nothing lame about asking someone if waterboarding can ever be justified. It's a real simple question and if you can't play along with the hypothetical then walk away...

What would you do in this situation -- watch your family be murdered or, if nothing else has worked, okay the use of waterboarding to stop that from happening? Honestly. Which one? If waterboarding, in your opinion, is NEVER justified, then you'd rather watch your family have their heads cut off while they plead with you to save their lives? I don't believe that for a second.

I think certain people don't want to answer because then they'd have to justify a last resort use of waterboarding and then they wouldn't be the pacifist hippie peacemongers they think they are.

Señor said...

""Waterboarding is brutal torture."

That's opinion only, not fact. Like I've said before -- arrange it, sign me up, I'll be the guinea pig"

This is a macho pose, and it's really unbecoming.

Check out the video of Christopher Hitchens submitting himself to exactly the experiment you propose. He lasts about six seconds.

There's some disagreement if Erich "Mancow" Muller's water-boarding stunt followed the proper procedures, but it seems to give weight to this so-called "opinion" that water-boarding is, indeed, torture.

Find the video of Jesse Ventura taking to Larry King about his experience being water-boarded in SERE school. He agrees that water-boarding is torture. Says Mr. Ventura, "You Give Me a Water Board, Dick Cheney and One Hour, and I'll Have Him Confess to the Sharon Tate Murders."

And, yes, Mr. Ventura capitalizes his words when he speaks.

Zoooma!! said...

Well, if Mr. Ventura says it's torture then it must be a fact then, huh? I didn't know the answer weighed on what he said on Larry King Live. Thank you for clearing up the matter.

P.S. Some women love a man who is strong and masculine. Are they wrong to? Maybe if you were a woman you'd prefer an effeminate "man"? Maybe to you it's a "fact" that macho is unbecoming... even if others don't think so?

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

 
Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated