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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Stop Defending Torture You Evil Twits

The recently released intelligence report revealed that the CIA tortured captured terrorists. The methods included extreme sleep deprivation and water-boarding, which simulates drowning. It is true that these methods are less injurious than other forms of torture, but it is torture nonetheless. In fact, the methods used are based on the techniques the US military uses in training to simulate interrogation.

Torture is illegal. It is prohibited by the Geneva Convention which the US and almost all other nations have agreed to. It is also un-American. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington ordered his men to treat captured enemies humanely, even though the British often did not. Many British POWs became Americans in thanks for their kind treatment. This tradition of humane treatment of prisoners continued all the way up through WW2, when the US was fighting countries that routinely used torture. I read of a German who said he had more freedom when he was a POW in the US than when he was a citizen in Nazi Germany. That is the kind of moral high ground which is worth keeping.

John McCain was tortured while he was a POW during the Vietnam War. He said that when he was tortured, he told his captors nonsense to make them stop. This is the main reason why torture is useless. You can't know if what the prisoner says is true without already knowing something that could verify it. He also said that if the US tortures, it is more likely that captured Americans will be.

Torture is also unconstitutional. The 8th amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. If torture isn't cruel and unusual, what is? The bottom line is that suspected terrorists must either be treated as POWs or criminals. If they are POWs, obey the Geneva Convention. If they are criminals, follow the Constitution and give them a normal trial.

Addendum:

In regard to POWs, the Geneva Convention states: "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."



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