American Torture: #1 Recruiting Tool of AQ - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 12-19-2008   #1
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American Torture: #1 Recruiting Tool of AQ

This is a must read if you have any interest in understanding why torture is bad policy. This linked article is from the author of a new book, How to Break a Terrorist. The author is a US Army Major, who interrogated more than 1300 AQ in Iraq, including conducting the interrogation that lead to the death of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi.

Money quotes:
Quote:
The number-one reason foreign fighters gave for coming to Iraq to fight is the torture and abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. The majority of suicide bombings are carried out by foreign fighters who volunteered and came to Iraq with this motivation. Consequently it is clear that at least hundreds but more likely thousands of American lives (not to count Iraqi civilian deaths) are linked directly to the policy decision to introduce the torture and abuse of prisoners as accepted tactics. Americans have died from terrorist attacks since 9/11; those Americans just happen to be American soldiers. This is not simply my view–it is widely held among senior officers in the U.S. military today. Alberto Mora, who served as General Counsel of the Navy under Donald Rumsfeld, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee in June 2008 that “U.S. flag-rank officers maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq–as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat–are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.” We owe it to our troops to protect them from terrorist attacks by not conducting torture and we owe it to our forefathers to uphold the American principles that they passed down to us.
emphasis my own

And:
Quote:
My team of interrogators knew that we would become Al Qaeda’s best recruiters if we resorted to torture. Torture is counterproductive to keeping America safe and it doesn’t matter if we do it or if we pass it off to another government. The result is the same. And morally, I believe, there is an even stronger argument. Torture is simply incompatible with American principles. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln both forbade their troops from torturing prisoners of war. They realized, as the recent bipartisan Senate report echoes, that this is about who we are. We cannot become our enemy in trying to defeat him.
I don't know how else to emphasize the counter-productive outcomes of torture. It undermines our civilization while it strengthens our enemy's resolve and adding to his numbers.

Read the whole article: It's important that we civilians understand how the Bush administration has cost soldiers (and Iraqi civilians) their lives.

If you care about our service members defending our national interest (and their friends in the Humvee's next to them), and if you care about winning the war against radical Islam, speak out against torture.

There are no exceptions.

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Old 12-19-2008   #2
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This author was interviewed on the Daily Show a couple weeks ago- A pretty intense guy as far as personality- I can imagine he's seen some very rough stuff. His intensity in the interview really worked to punctuate his belief that torture doesn't work- if someone this wound up can gain the trust of detainees without torture, anyone can.
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Old 12-19-2008   #3
 
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Good valid points. Let me take it one step further though. Substitute "interventionist foreign policy" for "torture" in the preceding post and we'll really be on to something.
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Old 12-19-2008   #4
 
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Would someone care to enlighten me on the definition of "Torture" ?
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Old 12-19-2008   #5
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Torture and Other Prohibited Acts

CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment


UN Convention Against Torture
  1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
Geneva Convention: Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
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Old 12-19-2008   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Droboat View Post
UN Convention Against Torture

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed
So putting people in prison for breaking the law is torture.

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Originally Posted by Droboat View Post
or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
Plea bargains are torture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Droboat View Post
It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
The UN excuses themselves. How convenient.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Droboat View Post
Geneva Convention: Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forceswho have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;
So panties on the head is torture. Got it.

Thank you Droboat.
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Old 12-19-2008   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimberTroll View Post
Would someone care to enlighten me on the definition of "Torture" ?
Reading some of these threads......
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Old 12-19-2008   #8
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Here’s one for you, TT:

Main Entry: spe·cious
Pronunciation: \ˈspē-shəs\
Function: adjective
1obsolete : showy
2: having deceptive attraction or allure
3: having a false look of truth or genuineness : sophistic <specious reasoning>

Fine if you don’t take these things seriously. Move along, then there’s nothing for you to see here. You’re as persuadable as I am about the immaculate conception, which is to say: not at all.

But the real consequence of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Gonzales policy that your sophistry willfully chooses to ignore is that statistically verifiable evidence shows torture is counter-productive to good intelligence gathering, and so too does first-hand testimonial evidence from both intelligence-gatherers, interrogators, and people who have been subject to torture. Moreover (and more importantly), torture tactics motivate stronger resistance by allies of the tortured, and thus, is both making America less safe and contributing directly to greater casualties in the field.

As for the BS logic you’re using.

Civil imprisonment, plea bargains, etc., are not impacted by any of the Geneva conventions quoted by Dro. The Geneva Conventions are about armed conflict and the rules of conduct that must be observed and adhered to by the signatores (so spare me that AQ never signed them; that’s immaterial – the US signed them.).

I’m no pacifist by any conceivable definition. One of the impressive things about American strategic thinking since the Civil War is that America will go to great lengths economically to equip its troops and adopt tactics that minimize physical casualties to its own troops. Whether it was the massive airpower of World War 2, the immense spending on Smart Munitions in Gulf War 1, or the introduction of Helicopter mobility in Vietnam, America pioneers to save lives in combat, of our military (and, since Vietnam of civilian populations). It should disgust people that at the most basic level of strategic command, the Bush administration made a decision that proved so valuable to the enemy.
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Old 12-19-2008   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heliodorus04 View Post
But the real consequence of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Gonzales policy that your sophistry willfully chooses to ignore is that statistically verifiable evidence shows torture is counter-productive to good intelligence gathering, and so too does first-hand testimonial evidence from both intelligence-gatherers, interrogators, and people who have been subject to torture. Moreover (and more importantly), torture tactics motivate stronger resistance by allies of the tortured, and thus, is both making America less safe and contributing directly to greater casualties in the field.
That's fine. I'm not saying torture should be used. I don't believe Americans should torture our enemies. I'm saying that the definition of torture, as used by progressives, is gay.


Quote:
Originally Posted by heliodorus04 View Post
Civil imprisonment, plea bargains, etc., are not impacted by any of the Geneva conventions quoted by Dro. The Geneva Conventions are about armed conflict and the rules of conduct that must be observed and adhered to by the signatores (so spare me that AQ never signed them; that’s immaterial – the US signed them.).
You are correct, however I was addressing the United Nations' definition of torture, not the Geneva Convention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heliodorus04 View Post
I’m no pacifist by any conceivable definition. One of the impressive things about American strategic thinking since the Civil War is that America will go to great lengths economically to equip its troops and adopt tactics that minimize physical casualties to its own troops. Whether it was the massive airpower of World War 2, the immense spending on Smart Munitions in Gulf War 1, or the introduction of Helicopter mobility in Vietnam, America pioneers to save lives in combat, of our military (and, since Vietnam of civilian populations). It should disgust people that at the most basic level of strategic command, the Bush administration made a decision that proved so valuable to the enemy.
Like the immaculate conception, I don't buy that torture is what motivates terrorists.
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Old 12-20-2008   #10
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Not surprising that those who would define away torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity as a strategic way to condone their use come from the ranks of the Chickenhawk Brigade.

Chickenhawk (politics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

An appropriate punishment for Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney Gonzales, and the others in the Torture Company of the Chickenhawk Brigade would be a tour in Iraq followed by one in Afghanistan.

Only problem is that their soldiering is probably as bad as their governing and would only serve to get more killed on all sides.
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