Torture is serious, but our debate about it is silly

  • Article by: JAY AMBROSE , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: May 7, 2011 - 7:48 PM

U.S. practices have been within the boundaries called for by the situation.

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jarlmnMay. 7, 11 8:29 PM

*FINALLY* some common sense and reason amidst yes, "a thousand miles of hyperbole." Perhaps Ambrose can now also call shenanigans on the "thousand miles of hyperbole" surrounding Minnesota's self defense bill. Shibboleths of "shoot first and ask questions later" and unfounded fears of "blood in the streets," reflect a puerile, if not sordid imagination on the part of the bill's opponents. That said, I'm still waiting for someone to accurately weigh-out the morality of eschewing torture when it may mean the life or death of one's comrades, one's kin and one's country. Like with the Self Defense bill, it is easy to comfortably sit back, wring one's hands and pontificate about an action's supposed "evil" when one is not in harm's way; protected and pampered. That relative "evil" of torture is not so clear when there is clear and imminent danger. It is then that the insipid saying, "two wrongs don't make a right," doesn't slip so easily from a tongue.

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chavistaMay. 7, 11 9:16 PM

Why do the republicans have such an aversion to the truth? Per the author, "Give the left an inch, and watch for a thousand miles of hyperbole, as in concluding mainly from three instances of waterboarding that the United States under George W. Bush became a sadistic, Nazi-style torture haven for no productive reason." I'm sorry but Muhammad was waterboarded 183 times alone, and that ain't three by my count. Also, there are way more than three documented cases of individuals dying from enhanced interrogation, but of course death doesn't count according to the republicans. Finally, I assume that the author has access to all the records from the other countries where extraordinary rendition was carried out and can vouch that only cookies and tea were served to the individuals that were taken there while they were calming interrogated. The Star Tribune needs to beef up it's editorial people because they sure as heck don't do any research to see if even one little fact is used is some of these opinions.

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goferfanzMay. 7, 1110:52 PM

"sometimes demands extraordinary measures."......Yes, the torture kerfuffle has been simply ridiculous, from mean dogs barking, to sleep deprivation, to that always-->way, way mean waterboarding! Oddly, compared to the frequent American use of Hellfire missiles fired from drones, ie to annihilate "suspected" terrorists and any unfortunate nearby accomplices or family members, that "torture" mantra seems almost benign..............If you are upset about the waterboarding, then you better be calling for Obama's impeachment as the Hellfire missiles are sent in as an executioner, without trial, arrest, or law. If you are OK with drone murders, then Gitmo and waterboarding can have a place in a civilized world. In a post 911 world, I am OK with drone executions, are you?

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pdxtranMay. 8, 1112:53 AM

Actually, goferfanz, those of us who have principles as opposed to being rah-rah team players, are equally upset about Bush's wars of aggression and use of torture and Obama's continuation and expansion of the same.

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JudelingMay. 8, 11 2:08 AM

The Author is wrong. The non-utility of torture has not been seriously challenged by anything that has come to light post-osama. Actually it has been reaffirmed. If anything the "enhance interrogation" hindered, it did not help. Finally the torture apologists have to get past the fact that WE the US sentenced Imperial Japanese Officers to death for using water-boarding on prisoners.

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richnbblrMay. 8, 11 7:36 AM

The left claims that people who don't believe that climates change (of which there are none) are deniers. The real deniers are those that refuse to believe the facts that intense interrogation led to valuable information that saved American lives and the demise of bin Laden. Wanting to believe something so badly that you ignore facts is deluding yourself.

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richnbblrMay. 8, 11 7:38 AM

This is what I mean: "If anything the "enhance interrogation" hindered, it did not help". How does this poster know this? People in the know have said enhanced interrogation led to useful information. Was the poster there or does he/she watch too much MSNBC and Rachel Maddow? Perhaps it is time to look at real news sources instead of the Huffington Post and Democratic Underground.

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methuselah1May. 8, 11 7:42 AM

"Finally the torture apologists have to get past the fact that WE the US sentenced Imperial Japanese Officers to death for using water-boarding on prisoners". The ignorance in this post cannot be ignored. There are very few similarities in the waterboarding we used and what the Japanese did. A simple Google search will bring up all the information one needs, but that is not important to the poster who is trying to demonize the United Sates and specifically Bush.

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goferfanzMay. 8, 11 7:47 AM

pdxtran--->Alas, honest people like you are few and far between in today's america. Righties have seemed to demean Obama's awesome OBL effort, and lefties (ie the evaporation of large war protests since 2009) seem fine with President Obama's war escalation. Clearly, in comparing waterboarding to drone missiles, the human rights atrocity "aint" even close--not that it is ever discussed in today's media. More clearly, the Afghan war surge since 2009 has been total folly, esp with OBL being killed near Islamabad.

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howaboutthisMay. 8, 11 9:46 AM

@jarlmn: You refer to "the morality of eschewing torture when it may mean the life or death of one's comrades, one's kin and one's country." President Bush's General Counsel of the Navy, Alberto Mora, has said that the "ticking time bomb" -- or saving lives -- justfication for torture could be used on every single day on every single battlefield in every single war. I doubt that you're willing to go that far, but once you invoke the "life or death of one's comrades" argument, you're on a slippery slope.

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