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Reuters: CIA tortured, misled, U.S. report finds, drawing calls for action


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I'm curious why some people are so vocal regarding eits, but silent on drone strikes.

I don't like the idea of torture either, but to me it should be considered less of a heinous activity than a drone strike that kills the enemy.

It's complex of course. But I'd like to hear some folks here explain why those two things are different to them

And why they support a politician or talking head who supports one but not the other?

I think it's exactly what you just said.  If we decide that the drone is striking enemies and ignoring the collateral damage, then getting a bad guy off the playing field is a good thing.  However, torturing a prisoner who seems not to be a threat to us especially when all the studies over the last twenty years seems to indicate that torture is ineffective at getting intel seems more monstrous.

 

In other words, the guy in the field is a threat to you and me, but the guy in prison ain't.  Mind you in real terms, many of those opposed to torture are very much against drone strikes.  I have done at least a dozen stories with human rights advocates and others about the ills of drone strikes and the hazard to life and liberty. 

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In other words, the guy in the field is a threat to you and me, but the guy in prison ain't.  Mind you in real terms, many of those opposed to torture are very much against drone strikes.  I have done at least a dozen stories with human rights advocates and others about the ills of drone strikes and the hazard to life and liberty.

I'm in that camp: opposed to both torture & drone strikes. Neither are above-board.
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I'm curious why some people are so vocal regarding eits, but silent on drone strikes.

Perhaps because this is a thread about one, but not the other?

 

I don't like the idea of torture either, but to me it should be considered less of a heinous activity than a drone strike that kills the enemy.

  

I will point out that that is at least debatable. 

 

But I think we can agree that they're both bad, and therefore arguing which is worse isn't necessary. 

 

I will observe that an al Qaeda terrorist who's walking around Pakistan at least might be a threat to the US.  Whereas, the same terrorist in a secret prison is not.  (You may be able to claim that maybe the guy in the prison might have the ability to prevent something from happening.  But he absolutely does not have the power to cause something.)

I will also observe that, as a legal matter, it's well recognized that we have given our government the power to kill enemy soldiers. Whereas the authority to torture them, after they've been captured, we all seem to agree is absolutely intolerable.  (Except when we do it.  Then, all kinds of excuses which we all claimed were invalid, when other people tried to use them, suddenly become valid, for us.) 

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Perhaps because this is a thread about one, but not the other?

 

  

I will point out that that is at least debatable. 

 

But I think we can agree that they're both bad, and therefore arguing which is worse isn't necessary. 

 

I will observe that an al Qaeda terrorist who's walking around Pakistan at least might be a threat to the US.  Whereas, the same terrorist in a secret prison is not.  (You may be able to claim that maybe the guy in the prison might have the ability to prevent something from happening.  But he absolutely does not have the power to cause something.)

I will also observe that, as a legal matter, it's well recognized that we have given our government the power to kill enemy soldiers. Whereas the authority to torture them, after they've been captured, we all seem to agree is absolutely intolerable.  (Except when we do it.  Then, all kinds of excuses which we all claimed were invalid, when other people tried to use them, suddenly become valid, for us.) 

I do not consider some of these people 'soldiers'

 

That seems to be where the biggest breakdown is when discussing the issue, from my viewpoint. The constant relating of what higher ups in Al Qaeda are to soldiers fighting for their people/country and actions against them in the past.

 

KSM, for example, is no where near on the level with a pilot who was captured after being shot down. Or a POW from Germany, Japan, the US, Russia, or anywhere else. They're two completely different types of people, that play by completely different types of rules, and I have no problem holding them to completely different standards.

 

If Al Qaeda terrorist leaders are concerned about US Torture tactics then my suggestion is to stop attacking innocent civilians (theirs and ours like, because let's not pretend they're only attacking ours) and start fighting their fight the way wars were fought when all these rules were made up. Identify yourselves, square up against our military, fight our military, work hard to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties, etc.

 

Oh, wait... that's right... they don't have the balls to actually fight the people they're so angry with because they don't stand a chance at winning anything that way. So they resort to attacking innocent civilians; they resort to trying to find ways to stuff bombs into the bodies of young children via surgery; they resort to brainwashing their own citizenry into becoming suicide bombers that attack markets; they kidnap school children; on and on.

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I do not consider some of these people 'soldiers'

1). Then we are not at war with them, and our only authority is to read them their rights.

2). And I'm willing to bet that John McCain's torturers said exactly the same thing, to him. (Because, see, the U.S. and Viet Nam did not declare war. Therefore, he was not a Prisoner of War.)

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1). Then we are not at war with them, and our only authority is to read them their rights.

2). And I'm willing to bet that John McCain's torturers said exactly the same thing, to him. (Because, see, the U.S. and Viet Nam did not declare war. Therefore, he was not a Prisoner of War.)

 

We are at war with them, and our authority (until proven otherwise) was to do what we did. We'll see if that authority is successfully challenged by anyone.

 

I don't care what John McCain's torturers said to him. We are not them, despite many people's attempts to put us on their level with their bogus opinions.

 

I mean at some point you have to actually start addressing the actual arguments Larry. Your strawman tactics only last so long.

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The fact that they are not soldiers of a nation has forever been a sticky issue.  If we know terrorists are in Afghanistan or Pakistan do we have the right to invade a sovereign nation to get at them?  Is that nation a guilty actor because these cells reside in their country?  It's a lot  easier when the enemy wears a flag on their sleeve.

 

Right now, we are treading a lot of gray lines especially when it comes to drones.  We claim and have the right of self defense, but does that mean we can attack in any country with impunity?  On the flip side, these harboring nations need to do more to oust and police themselves.  At the minimum, they should arrest their own citizens for material and monetary aid of such groups.

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Then they are enemy soldiers.

 

Says who? What government/people are they fighting on behalf of?

The fact that they are not soldiers of a nation has forever been a sticky issue.  If we know terrorists are in Afghanistan or Pakistan do we have the right to invade a sovereign nation to get at them?  Is that nation a guilty actor because these cells reside in their country?  It's a lot  easier when the enemy wears a flag on their sleeve.

 

Right now, we are treading a lot of gray lines especially when it comes to drones.  We claim and have the right of self defense, but does that mean we can attack in any country with impunity?  On the flip side, these harboring nations need to do more to oust and police themselves.  At the minimum, they should arrest their own citizens for material and monetary aid of such groups.

 

I unfortunately have reached my quota for positive votes before noon today, not sure how that happened, but i think your line of thinking is spot on and made an excellent post.

 

despite the efforts of some, the entire issue is incredibly complex and requires a lot of critical thinking to navigate through the entire issue.

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The one we're at war with.

 

Right, the one that's not a government that represents a group of people, but instead of a terrorist organization that's recognized as such by the international community. An organization with no legitimate claim to land.

 

So, like I said, they're not soldiers. They're terrorists. They are in no way comparable to John McCain, despite your desire to draw such comparisons to reduce an incredibly complex issue to fit inside an incredibly simple black and white worldview.

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Mind you, even if terrorists are not soldiers and I suspect there is some gray there too (for example in the 19th and 18th centuries quite a few pirates were in reality privateers working for the crown and I suspect the same is sometimes true with modern terrorists)... but even if they are defined as non-soldiers they still have rights.

 

It is important not to turn a blind eyes to that.

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I need to be more specific when I post like that.

I realize this thread is about the torture issue. And not drones.

I'm talking about the talking heads and the pols who are all of sudden outraged by this issue. But have been silent while Obama has expanded out drone program.

I just think they are all full of ****. Diane Feinstein doesn't give crap that the CIA tortured people. She cares that she can use it as political tool.

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1) I'll point out that they intentionally held their report back, till after the election.

You think this is a political plan, to thwart W's chances of getting elected in '16?

2) I'll point out that lots of people aren't "suddenly outraged by this", but were outraged a decade ago.

(And I tend to respect the folks who's attitude hasn't changed, when the party in the WH changed. Yes, a lot of people's opinions did change. (In both parties.) But not all of them.)

3) And, I have pointed out what I think are some legitimate differences, between the two.

I'm not sure if those differences make one of the OK, and the other not. But they do exist.

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Mind you, even if terrorists are not soldiers and I suspect there is some gray there too (for example in the 19th and 18th centuries quite a few pirates were in reality privateers working for the crown and I suspect the same is sometimes true with modern terrorists)... but even if they are defined as non-soldiers they still have rights.

 

It is important not to turn a blind eyes to that.

 

I absolutely agree with you on the gray area, but respectfully disagree with you on the notion that they still have rights. To me there's a difference between a foot soldier in a war and an leader/organizer of terrorist activities that target civilians based on their race, religion, etc. If we were in a war with Afghanistan, and it was Afghanistan soldiers we were doing this to, I'd be as angry about it as everyone else. In fact, in regards to the specific report, there's plenty I find myself being angry about.

 

But I do not care that they waterboarded KSM 183 times, and there are other items in the report I do not care about. Just my opinion on it though, and I recognize it's not one that rises to any particularly high level of morality. I'm OK with that, and I'm OK with being judged accordingly for it; so long as the judging doesn't include completely rewriting what my actual opinions are :)

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The reason I think they must have some rights, Tshile is because we are not always right. Sure, the terrorist deserves interrogation and harsh treatment, but what about the innocent guys?

We are not always right? No one should work off the assumption that government can't make a mistake

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The reason I think they must have some rights, Tshile is because we are not always right. Sure, the terrorist deserves interrogation and harsh treatment, but what about the innocent guys?

We are not always right? No one should work off the assumption that government can't make a mistake

 

You're absolutely right. That's actually what I was referring to when I said there are parts of the report that make me angry; specifically the part where "at least 26" individuals were in CIA custody (i believe) without having done anything wrong. That's inexcusable to me. The idea of subjecting innocent people to this is deeply troubling and, given the role and power of the CIA, inexcusable.

 

In my mind, were I calling the shots, these sorts of things would have been reserved for very specific people that met a very high standard; one high enough that there is no doubt of potential innocence. For example: KSM. It bothers me that this report seems to show that those standards do not exist, or that it is easy for certain people in the CIA to get around those standards with no repercussions.

 

That's why I've been very careful to distinguish between people like KSM, and the others that i've referred to as 'soldiers.' I don't think the random guy captured on the battle field should be subjected to this... but a higher up that is known to be a part of recruitment, training, funding, and planning for international attacks on civilians? multiple times over?

 

sorry but the rights of the citizens of the world and the morality scale point away from them and towards protecting/helping the rest of us, in my opinion.

 

KSM's rights and the argument for moral treatment went out the window when he declared war on civilians across the global for their race/religion/etc. you rights, my rights, everyone else on ES, everyone else in the middle east, count significantly more than his. our moral obligations should be with protecting them; not with how we treat someone like KSM. but that's just how I look at it.

 

edit: I admit that I may be looking at this in a way that defies reality, and I completely respect the argument that the only way to safely guard against doing this to innocent people is to not do it all. I get that argument, fully and completely.

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That's fine. I never said I was for it. He said torture doesn't work. I have no idea if it does or not. He doesn't either. Obviously they have been doing it. What real information they gather in the process I don't know, but trust me they aren't telling us all the information.

Do you care to respond to the argument I gave (the argument from false confessions)? Or will you simply deny my claim ("he has no idea") without actually addressing my reasoning?

Here is my "idea":

1. People confess to crimes they didn't commit while being tortured (factual claim, e.g. The Salem women confessed to flying on brooms and having orgies with demons)

2. If people make false confessions while being tortured, then torture is not a good way of discovering the truth.

3. Therefore torture doesn't work as a means of discovery.

Do you disagree? If so which proposition do you dispute?

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Let's just assume for a second that torture DID get results. Are we so fearful of our lives that we are willing to give up what we stand for as a nation to stoop to these depths? Aren't we supposed to be the good guys? If we're the ones torturing people, how good can we be?

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Let's just assume for a second that torture DID get results. Are we so fearful of our lives that we are willing to give up what we stand for as a nation to stoop to these depths? Aren't we supposed to be the good guys? If we're the ones torturing people, how good can we be?

I agree that torture is categorically wrong, even if it does work (because breaking a person's will is in effect removing his personhood).

I only advance the argument that it doesn't work for people who (wrongly) think morality is a matter of consequences (as in the question begging ticking time bomb argument).

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Do you care to respond to the argument I gave (the argument from false confessions)? Or will you simply deny my claim ("he has no idea") without actually addressing my reasoning?

Here is my "idea":

1. People confess to crimes they didn't commit while being tortured (factual claim, e.g. The Salem women confessed to flying on brooms and having orgies with demons)

2. If people make false confessions while being tortured, then torture is not a good way of discovering the truth.

3. Therefore torture doesn't work as a means of discovery.

Do you disagree? If so which proposition do you dispute?

This is not a valid argument due to 2 not guranteeing 3.

 

By the same logic one conclude that because police interogations have a long and documented history of producing false confessions, police interrogations are not a reliable way of extracting information.

 

In addition to that, there is no requirement that they only get the truth for a meaningful gain. Validation, or invalidation, of existing information can be valuable. For instance, one part of the released report (conveniently ignored by those insistent that *no* meaningful information came from this) shows how KSM gave up information that confirmed the identity of the courier that eventually led to finding bin laden.

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This is not a valid argument due to 2 not guranteeing 3.

How so? It seems valid to me. It follows a very basic rule of inference (modus ponens).

If X then Y

X

Therefore Y

Maybe your claim is my reasoning is unsound rather than invalid?

By the same logic one conclude that because police interogations have a long and documented history of producing false confessions, police interrogations are not a reliable way of extracting information.

This seems true to me (at least in regards to the sorts of police interrogations that led to the false confessions). If the interrogation technique results in false confessions, then it is an ineffective technique for discovering the truth.

Do you really deny that? If so, then I'd say it falls to you to explain how. The inference seems straightforwardly obvious to me (since false statements are not true).

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Let me try a (sturdier) variant of my previous argument here:

To be demonstrated: Torture is either ineffective or unnecessary due to the torturer's epistemological limitations.

1. A person being tortured ("the subject") could either lie or tell the truth.

2. The person administering the torture ("the interrogator") either (y) knows if "the subject" is lying or (z) does not know if "the subject" is lying.

3. If (y) then the torture is unnecessary because "the interrogator" already knows the truth.

4. If (z) then the torture is ineffective because "the interrogator" cannot know when "the subject" has told the truth.

5. Therefore torture is either unnecessary or ineffective. QED

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The reason you previous post is invalid is because according to the rules of sound and valid arguments ( http://www.iep.utm.edu/val-snd/) :

"Loosely speaking, if the author's process of reasoning is a good one, if the premises actually do provide this sort of justification for the conclusion, then the argument is valid. "

 

You may have formed your argument in a way in which it appears valid, but your premises do not provide justification for the conclusion. Specifically, your premise that "If people make false confessions while being tortured, then torture is not a good way of discovering the truth." (which is actually a premise with it's own, unsubstantiated conclusion, which itself invalidates your argument) certainly does not justify the conclusion:

"3. Therefore torture doesn't work as a means of discovery."

 

It doesn't justify the conclusion in a very basic way. You make a jump from - it is proven to produce false information - to - it's cannot produce true information.

 

So yes, it is an invalid argument. Which for most people would be a flippant way to respond, but you seem to be well versed in deductive reasoning, as well as philosphy, so I bring it up in this way because I would think if nothing else you could appreciate the back and forth (which it appears you do, at least to me.) All of that is to say - I'm not trying to be an ass here...

 

As for your second post...

 

You created an argument that conveniently ignores the context of these situations. I can demonstrate this by a simple proof by substitution:

Lets substitute "Torture" with tradition interrogation practiced by our own law enforcement, and "accused terrorist" with "accused citizen of the United States".

 

1. A person being interrogated (the "accused") could either lie or tell the truth

2. The person interrogating ("investigator") either (y) knows if the accused is lying, or (z) does not know if the accused is lying

3. If (y) then interrogation is unnecessary because the investigator already knows the truth

4. if (z) then interrogation is ineffective because the investigator cannot know when the accused has told the truth

5. Therefore interrogation is either unnecessary or ineffective. QED

 

Except no one would argue that because, fault logic and reasoning aside, we know interrogation is effective and necessary for our judicial system to work as effectively as it does; while simultaneously admitting that there are false confessions (for a variety of reasons) and that the system can still be improved and in no way has reached maximum effectiveness.

 

But back to the faulty logic and reasoning - these cases do not exist in a vacuum. This is not the only information they have; they have years of conflicting information they have to sort through and try to act on. They have information from wiretaps, from other interrogations, from what's collected by soldiers and special forces on the ground, and from spys they've recruited that are inside the organizations. To sit back and jump to the logical conclusions you have is unjustified with the information we have. Like it or not, this report and the conversation in general is lacking in *A LOT* of information. If you believe this report is a conclusive report that left no stone unturned.... well... hah.

 

You've made multiple references to the 'tick tick bull****' article and the general argument. The problem is (despite our clown politicians trying to present the argument to play on emotions) that information leading to an imminent attack is ***not*** the only meaningful information that can be obtained from captured terrors; therefore the conclusion that no meaningful information has been obtained because no meaningful information that prevented an imminent attack (that could not be gathered otherwise, an important qualifier often left out by people on your side of things) has been proven to have been obtained, is faulty.

 

The report itself does not say that no meaningful information was obtained; they specifically, and carefully, make that clear. What they say is that no information that prevented an attack was obtained that could not have been obtained in other ways, or was not information the CIA already had.

 

Which is not, in any way, close to what some articles and some people are presenting as the findings in this report. Which also says nothing to the idea of what it means to "... obtain in other ways", because putting a puzzle together in hindsight is a lot easier than when you're in the middle of it. It also says nothing to the important of corroborating information (for instance, the very people being critical of the CIA are the same people to jump on them and call them incompetent when they make a mistake related to not gathering enough information... so they're incompetent for making a mistake by acting without 'enough' information, but when they corroborate information it's all the sudden useless...)

 

I have many more thoughts and didn't cover 1/2 of what I wanted to but that's probably enough for now :)

 

PS - I'm enjoying the conversation with you. My post has the intent of furthering the conversation, not belittling or attacking you for your thoughts. Not sure if that needs to be said or not, it's hard to tell with forums...

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The reason you previous post is invalid is because according to the rules of sound and valid arguments ( http://www.iep.utm.edu/val-snd/) :

"Loosely speaking, if the author's process of reasoning is a good one, if the premises actually do provide this sort of justification for the conclusion, then the argument is valid. "

 

You may have formed your argument in a way in which it appears valid, but your premises do not provide justification for the conclusion.

 

No. That sentence you quote is only speaking "loosely." As a general rule, you should not reason from a sentence that begins "loosely speaking."  

 

Interestingly, the entry you cite does get the distinction between valid and sound arguments right, yet you fail to. Here is the relevant part of the entry you cited:

 

"A deductive argument is said to be valid if and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion nevertheless to be false. Otherwise, a deductive argument is said to be invalid.

 
A deductive argument is sound if and only if it is both valid, and all of its premises are actually true. Otherwise, a deductive argument is unsound."
 
If you understood what the article you link says, and you understood what I say, then you would not be disputing this point.
 
My argument does follow a valid form (modus ponens), such that if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true. It seem you are actually disputing the truth of my second premise in this case, which is really a question of my argument's soundness. I think that premise will hold, but let me first make this correction before I get into defending it.
 
Please re-read the article you link carefully before bringing up this particular point again, as it actually explains what I'm trying to tell you fairly well.

 

Not that I don't appreciate the lesson in logic, but I am fairly competent when it comes to the distinction between validity and soundness.

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