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Old 05-01-2008   #1
pnw, Washington
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"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 05-01-2008   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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I wanted to make some joke about how its like kayaking but it just isn't funny that people actually support torture in this country or anywhere.

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Old 05-06-2008   #3
durango co, Colorado
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By no means do I support the war! I feel we need our brothers and sisters home NOW. I cant understand why we have to stand up and and say we wont water board it is toture it is wrong. The opposition Can strap a captured soldier by the balls to a car battery or beat them to a bloody pulp, But because we are a "more developed country" we have to be focused on and picked on by our own people because it is scary to almost drown. No shit it is!!! but if you have something to say then say it or we drag it out of you. It is still a "war " for all intents and puposes. I realize this is an opion and not a well researched one, But im just not sure i understand the idea of a whole campaign spread against one act of war. Road side bombs are a form of torture. Can you imagine what runs through your head if every time you drove by a box on the side of the road that it was going to blow you and your family to hell. That sounds like torture to me. Yet it is an act of "WAR" or this war anyways.
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Old 05-06-2008   #4
pnw, Washington
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Research shows that someone being waterboarded will tell you anything to make you stop and the info is unreliable. If you dont want to be better than a terrorist organization then I feel sad for you.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 05-06-2008   #5
durango co, Colorado
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Im not trying to lower myself to the standard of a terrorist. Im trying to understand why there is so much focus on this particular method. No form of torture is right. The whole war is f*cked. But it seems in this case we are being pointed to as the terrorist because we are taking the brunt of blame for these actions. Resposibilty should be taken for the actions, But why are we being beaten down for what could something practiced by many people in the intelligence field from many countries. This conversation drew me in and I am truly curious where you may stand on it. It seems like a heavy blog for this site but now my interest is sparked in the topic as a whole.
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Old 05-06-2008   #6
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Well its what the eddy is for. We are boaters who talk about things other than boating.
I understand what you are saying that if a country does something to us then we have every right to do it to them back but I see it as a slippery slope. We as a country have demanded that other countries treat americans held captive with some guidelines(geneva convention) and now when we get serious, we say oh screw that, bring on the torture. Now whenever a nation takes an American they can say, you torture so we lose no international credibility if we torture as well. We as a nation forever lose the ability to play the role of the good guy. And btw it was us that invaded their country, not the other way around.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 05-06-2008   #7
Self-Aggrandizing jackass
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The Ranch, Colorado
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Waterboarding is being singled out for scrutiny because it's well documented that the US is, under Bush, doing it.

It is also well documented that the Bush administration's use of "enhanced interrogation" covers other forms of torture, such as insane periods of sleep deprivation, insane lengths of time in painful positions of bondage, temperature extremes, use of dogs to torment, and sexual humiliation.

It is also known that this 'technique' was approved by senior administration officials such as: The attorney general, the secretary of state/national security adviser (Rice), the Secretary of Defense, the Vice President of the United States.

Now, on to the question of why this is wrong.
First, from the practical side.

1) People being tortured will, at some point, tell you anything to get you to stop. The information we get from torture then has to be researched and debunked/verified. There is, as of this date in 2008, absolutely no evidence that any information gained from torture has produced any actionable intelligence (that is to say, information that leads us to other terrorists such that we can kill/capture them, or information that leads us to stop existing terrorist plans and activities). None. If you doubt that, do some intuitive thinking and ask yourself: If it torture had yielded effective intelligence, would the Bush administration keep it quiet? No, they'd broadcast it to verify the policy in the public's eyes.

2) Torture as an intelligence tool creates monsters on all sides of the war. Whether it's the MPs who have to live with themselves, or who develop a fondness for it and later treat other human beings with an absence of dignity, our side suffers from its application. Furthermore, since proven interrogation techniques are difficult to teach to operatives, any time spent pursing intelligence through torture is time that other, more effective (not to mention, legal) techniques are not being taught. We are taking "the easy" (and ineffective) way, and our entire intelligence service is losing its real ability to gather real intelligence.

Corellary to that, torturing people in custody gives the other side a great propoganda tool with which to convince people on the fence about America's moral standing in the world to decide we're not sympathethic. Torture concretely contributes to the loss of the war for "hearts and minds." This argument is the chief counter to the notion that "they do it to us!". There are many more people around the world who don't know what to think about America than who think we should be destroyed or outright opposed. TOrture sends people from neutral to them.

3) We know that we are detaining people accused of being terrorists who are innocent of any wrongdoing (sometimes) or innocent of any serious wrongdoing (a lot of the time). Indeed, we know of very few detainees who are serious players in the terrorist networks. See "Taxi to the Dark Side" for a great example of this (the Taliban turned in a taxi driver in Afghanistan to US forces claiming the taxi driver was Taliban, and it took us several years to figure out it was a setup and we played willingly into it. Oh, and we detained the taxi driver and tortured him for about 3 years).

Legal Rationale:
1) The US Congress, whose job it is to ratify international treaties, has ratified the US to all aspects of the Geneva Convention that apply to torture. It is ILLEGAL for anyone in the executive branch to countermand that treaty.

As a backdrop to part of this debate, this Executive branch has taken countless steps to act independent of the Constitution's checks and balances. This administration ignores the authority of Congress.

2) The Geneva Convention defines torture (pretty well according to the dictionary, if you care to look it up) as any behavior designed to terrify someone that they WILL be harmed, even if there is no harm other than terror. Whether or not waterboarding, or stress positions, or temperature extremes, or sleep deprivation does ACTUAL harm is irrelevant.

Aside: Read the case of Jose Padilla, the kid charged with WANTING to find out how to obtain materials for a dirty bomb. Ultimately he was convicted of far lesser charges, some 6 years after he was detained. Through enhanced interrogation, he has been rendered mentally incompetent, paranoid, and has lost touch with reality. These techniques cause serious trauma. Remember: We are using these techniques on people who have nothing to do with wanting to harm the US (in many cases) or who had next to nothing to do with it (in many more cases).

I am a veteran of the US Army and I denounce unequivocally the use of waterboarding, stress positions, and any other method of 'interrogation' that terrorises someone in US custody, whatever crime they are guilty of (let alone accused of). It's not worth it.

It's tactically and strategically counterproductive. (Every reasonable person should simply take that as the only rationale you need to oppose torture)
It's illegal according to US law, international law, and the Geneva conventions.
It's morally reprehensible.

It must be stopped. Immediately.
"self-aggrandizing jackass" - it says it right on the label
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Old 05-07-2008   #8
durango co, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Thank you for taking the time to exsplain this to me. Your staement is very good and holds truth. My opion has been swayed. Thanks again.
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Old 05-07-2008   #9
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Let's face it, if we condone torture of any sort, we have lost the war of ideas. If we are a nation of do as I say, not as I do, we are no better then the terrorists. How do you expect to win over the local populace, that we desperately need on our side, if they can not trust us.

Bush has, unfortunately, lost the moral high ground long ago. He has been a boon to the terrorist recruiter as they can hold up the example of the US under his policies and unconstitutional signing statements as to why we are the evil ones. Like I said, lose the moral high ground and lose the war.
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Old 05-08-2008   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
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Hate breeds hate. Violence breeds more violence.

I'm amazed that more people haven't figured this one out yet... especially those Christian-war-supporting-hyprocrites. Bush and his war supporting religious right claim to be a born again Christians and yet they miss one of Jesus' biggest lessons. "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

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