TCS Daily


Exposing Moral Free-Riders

By James D. Miller - January 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Dear President / Prime Minister / Chancellor:

You, along with the leaders of many other nations, have morally condemned the United States' treatment of our terrorist prisoners. It's true that we use much harsher interrogation techniques on terrorists than we do on ordinary domestic criminals. But regardless of your criticisms we will continue to use these techniques when questioning terrorists about future attacks on the U.S.

Many of the terrorists we have captured, however, are involved in planning attacks on targets outside of the U.S. Up until now we have done our best to gather information on all potential terrorist objectives. But we realize that using rough interrogation to expose possible attacks on your country might taint your moral purity. We therefore offer you the following choice:

When asking terrorists about potential future attacks on your country would you prefer that we:

A. Use the exact same harsh interrogation methods we have previously been using, or

B. Use only the softer interrogation methods that we use on ordinary domestic criminals?

If you don't respond to this question we will assume your choice is B. Please be aware that choosing B will expose your country to significantly greater risk of attack as our rough questioning has generated information that has allowed us to thwart many international terrorist atrocities.

Sincerely,

President George W. Bush.

The overwhelming military might of the U.S. has allowed many of our allies to become free-riders. They spend relatively small sums on their own military confident that in a crisis we would protect them. If, for example, Berlin were attacked by terrorists based outside of Europe the German armed forces could not possibly retaliate. Yet terrorists are somewhat deterred from attacking Berlin by the knowledge that if they did the U.S. armed forces would hunt them down. But being mere financial free-riders is not enough for many of our allies. They are now becoming moral free-riders.

To expose their hypocrisy President Bush should send the above letter to the leader of every nation that has morally criticized our war on terror. These leaders want the U.S. to protect them from terrorism but they also want to wallow in their supposed moral superiority because we but not they use unpleasant methods to combat terrorism. They are like meat eaters who condemn their own butcher for murdering animals.

My question would force international leaders to make a choice, and it would be politically perilous for them to choose (B). If a leader did go with (B) and a terrorist attack happened on his soil then his political opposition could credibly blame him for the attack.

But if enough countries chose (A) then the U.S. would be immune from moral criticism for our treatment of terrorist prisoners. Furthermore, if many leaders went with (A) President Bush would be immunized from those domestic critics who seem to believe that the immorality of our interrogation techniques separates us from decent civilized people.

James D. Miller writes The Game Theorist column for TCS and is the author of Game Theory at Work.

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60 Comments

This assumes torture has worked
We don't have not a particle of evidence that our torture has produced any useful information. It didn't protect the Spanish or the British from their train bombings. Kidnapping someone in Italy to send him off to be tortured has been a giant success there: the Italians just announced they are pulling their troops out of Iraq. And it hasn't produced a breakthroughs in the war in Iraq. But the Germans and so forth are supposed to sign on and cheer?

The Senate of the US, not anti-american, overwhelmingly passed a bill forbidding toture, pushed by John McCain, hardly a soft-on-terror radical. Which the President, instead of vetoing, said he would ignore in his signing message.

Somehow we were able to defeat the ***** and the Japanese without declaring that we had the right to torture people. The Berlin Wall came down without a previous "yes we'll toture" policy.

What toruture?
No mention was made of torture in the article, only harsh interogation tactics.
First specifically define what is meant by torture before tossing the term about.
For me, torture would be listening to Brittany Spears all day.

Ask Senator McCain...
He has a pretty clear idea, based on considerable experience. He's the one who pushed a bill against it through Congress.

Alternatively, read reports by non-governmental organizations who monitor such things. The bottom line's the same.

But that's assuming you want to know the answer, rather than come up with some kind of fiction to serve your political predisposition.

Idealism Run Amok
Miller does a fine job criticizing foreigners for what he perceives as "moral free-riding", but he fails to criticize Americans themselves. I wonder what he thinks of the majority of Americans who believe America should not torture. Its probably too painful to think about.

Frankly, Miller's condescending attitude is disgusting. Talk about elitism. Did he really say that Germany could not defend itself against a terrorist attack without American military presence? As if terrorists might make a land and air assault with troops to occupy Germany. Miller's comments are so unrealistic it becomes humorous.

If every country in the world chose B on that letter, would your perspective change at all? I wonder what the real reason is to support torture. Truth doesn't help, so where is the malfunction that makes a person think we must do it? It doesn't work and it makes us look bad, so why do it?

Exposing Immoral Stupidity
Terrorsits can be treated as soldirrs or criminals - international law provides rules for both. The USA has a proud re****tion for upholding human rights and is discarding this without thought or indeed evidence of any benefit. Furthermore Abu G and G Bay just breed terrorsits throughout the Middle East and fall short of international law. - double standards. I'd accept a few bodies to uphold UK's re****tion. In the long term it would be worth it. How can Pres Bush hold Putin or Saudi Arabia to any standards now ?

That's the rub
One man's torture is another's pleasure.
I read "POW" and they were definitely tortured.
Is making someone uncomfortable without causing permanent physical damage torture?
Forcing male inmates to wear pink underwear and live in tents without a/c in Phoenix, is that torture?
From what I understand from McCain's bill, it could be torture.

Then you don't understand the McCain bill:
from the McCain bill:

(a) IN GENERAL.--No person in the custody or under the effective control of the Department of Defense or under detention in a Department of Defense facility shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by and listed in the United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.

(a) IN GENERAL.--No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

(d) CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT DEFINED.--In this section, the term ''cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment'' means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.

Violations & Cover-up were Inentional
As upcoming court testimony unfolds, it seems that we will learn that "collateral damage" was intentional and purposeful -- as was the cover-up.

-------------------

General will not testify on Abu Ghraib
The Washington Post, January 13, 2006

MAJOR GENERAL GEOFFREY MILLER, a central figure in the U.S. detainee-abuse scandal, this week invoked his right not to incriminate himself in court-martial proceedings against two soldiers accused of using dogs to intimidate captives at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to lawyers involved in the case...

Miller's decision came shortly after COLONEL THOMAS PAPPAS, the commanding officer at Abu Ghraib, ACCEPTED IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION this week and was ordered to testify at upcoming courts-martial. Pappas, a military intelligence officer, could be asked to detail high-level policies relating to the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib.

He also could shed light on how abusive tactics emerged, WHO ORDERED THEIR USE and their possible CONNECTION TO OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON, according to lawyers and human rights advocates who have closely followed the case. Pappas has never spoken publicly...

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060113/REPOSITORY/601130338/1037/NEWS04

-------------------

Former fort soldiers implicated in Iraqi prisoner abuse investigation
Sierra Vista Herald, May 8, 2004

A report by Army MAJOR GENERAL ANTONIO TAGUBA Taguba highlighted some problems within the intelligence community involving the mistreatment -- physical and mental -- of Iraqis...

...One of Taguba's targets was COLONEL THOMAS M. PAPPAS, currently the commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade.

...In his report, Taguba said, "SPECIFICALLY I SUSPECT THAT COL. THOMAS M. PAPPAS, Lt. Col. Steve L. Jordan, Mr. Steven Stephanowicz and Mr. John Israel were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib and strongly recommend immediate disciplinary actions ..."

...The leadership gap led to "numerous incidents of SADISTIC, BLATANT AND WANTON CRIMINAL ABUSES (that) were inflicted on several detainees," according to the report...

http://www.svherald.com/articles/2004/05/08/local_news/news4.txt

Subject to Interpretation
"CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT DEFINED.--In this section, the term ''cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment'' means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984."

Is it degrading to make prisoners where pink underwear?
Is it degrading to have women guard male muslim prisoners? Is it cruel force prisoners to quit smoking or eliminate coffee?

Subject to Kinky-ness
marjon, what kind of political correctness junk are you spewing? You're desperate.

Would the international community be horrified if pictures of prisoners in pink underwear came out of Abu Ghraib? We'd be considered weird, but not cruel and inhuman. Unlike what actually happened.

You're at the end of your rope, are you going to join reality or stay on your path of fantasy?

two points
1) There is not and never has been any torture.
2) The evidence that the interrogations have produced usefull information has already been widely covered.

McCain the fool
McCain feels that anything that degrades the prisoner is torture.
Don't believe me, just read the bill.

Bob redefines kinky
The pictures out of Abu-graib were of naked men forming human pyramids and naked men on dog collars.

Not exactly pink underwear stuff, but not far from it.

Those of us who can still find the real world
are quite aware that America has not engaged in torture.

exposing leftist stupidity
You left out the category that terrorists belong to. Unlawfull combatant.
As such they are not criminals, nor are they soldiers. In previous wars unlawfull combatants were sumarily shot.

Another response
Let all govts know, that if they have so many moral problems with our interrogation techniques (which fall way short of torture), then we won't contaminate them by sharing information with them.

2003: No Rules
Accused interrogator describes tense situation
AP, January 20, 2006

Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. is accused of murder in the slaying of Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush in 2003. He faces life in prison if convicted...

...Welshofer described a tense, confused environment in western Iraq. The insurgency was growing, and he had received an EMAIL FROM HIS UNIT'S COMMANDERS saying there were NO RULES FOR INTERROGATIONS because officials still had not determined how to classify detainees. He said the e-mail claimed officers were "tired of taking casualties and that THE GLOVES WERE COMING OFF."

Welshofer said that the Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush was suspected of being the "snakess head" of the insurgency and that he used the sleeping bag technique "because of his continued denial of the allegations against him."

"I had gone through all my experience and all my techniques I thought might be applicable, except for one technique," he said.

Welsofer said his company commander approved his use of a sleeping bag, but he had not mentioned to her that he might straddle a detainee's chest, pour water over the detainee's face or cover the detainee's mouth while using the sleeping bag...

http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1480251.php

The Torture Question
from Frontline's "The Torture Question" (PBS)

"Of particular note are the EMAILS SENT BY FBI AGENTS disturbed by what they saw at Guantanamo. On September 29, 2005, a federal judge ordered the release of more photos and videos of prison abuse at Abu Ghraib."

FBI Records (released by the Government 5/19/2005)

Agency Stamp: DETAINEES 3855-3859
Record: Summary of FBI interview of detainee at Guantanamo Bay
Date: 06/07/02

Records detainee stating that "he had been beaten unconscious approximately three or four weeks ago when he was still at Camp X-ray. According to REDACTED an unknown number of guards entered his cell, unprovoked, and started spitting and cursing at him. The guards called him a "son of a *****" and a "*******," then told him he was crazy. REDACTED rolled onto his stomach to protect himself ... A soldier ... jumped on his back and started beating him in the face. REDACTED then choked him until he passed out. REDACTED stated that REDACTED was beating him because REDACTED was a Muslim and REDACTED is a Christian. REDACTED indicated there was a female guard named REDACTED who was also beating him and grabbed his head and beat it into the cell floor."

http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/052505/
http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/052605/

Sorry, no
The bill includes the word "torture" only as part of the international definition. But the bill does forbid torture. Why are you against forbidding torture? And please do the "what is torture?" dance: it's settled in law both U.S. and international.

If we've never tortured anyone...
Why object to forbidding our soldiers and CIA from doing it?

And if the interrogations have produce so much useful information without torture (remember, we don't torture) why are we worried about forbidding torture.

if we don't torture, why are we against forbidding torture?
I mean, we don't do it. You said so. So why is telling soldiers they can't an issue?

So, the idea is...
.. that if our troops are forbidden to use the pink underwear treatment, we'll lose the war?

marjon, this is beyond silly. We both know the kinds of things that are being objected to and are the subject of the law, and they aren't this. The U.S. courts have had centuries to define cruel and unusual punishment: it's not a mystery. If you really can't figure it out, ask a close friend to waterboard you and see how trivial you think it is.

I'll wait...
...for the court cases of muslim terrorists the ALCU who complain they were fed ham and were not allowed to pray because it was cruel.

Torture usually doesn't work
Torture usually doesn't work, but he problem with the McCain approach is that it allows the subjectivization or "torture".

Teaching prisoners to play football could be considered demeaning to prisoners because the ball is made from the hide of dead swine (pig skins).

The Army Field Manual defines torture. Why do we need another law that even McCain himself said that given the right set of circumstances, he would ignore?

And this is why you've lost
You don't even know what the fight is about.
As one of a falling number of non Americans that try to talk to you guys I'm sure I'm wasting my time but here goes. If you want to hold the moral high ground then you have to be standing on it first.

Another thing
No Western Country other then the US would pick A. The Author is either a fool or this "open letter" is for his fan boys in the US.

Torture Doesn't Work?
I wonder if Jonathan Swift has been tortured? I bet I can extract any information I want from him in less than an hour.

Not only does torture work, the threat of torture works quite well, very often.

If we decide that we will never torture a prisoner for information that can save lives, then we have made the moral (or immoral) decision that the comfort of terrorists is more important than the lives of innocents.

I hope you can live with that.

The Moral Imperative for Torture - The Comfort of Terrorists, The Lives of Americans
If we decide that we will never torture anyone in an effort to get information that can save American or other peoples' lives, then we have made a profound moral, or immoral, decision:

We have decided to place a higher value on the comfort of terrorists, than on the lives of innocents, or of American soldiers.

I repeat - John McCain places a higher value on the comfort of terrorists than he does on the lives of Americans.

Those of you who think that the lives of Americans, Euros, Iraqis, etc., are less important than the good comfort of terrorists, I thank you for exposing your own moral degeneracy, or illiteracy.

Torture Doesn't Work? - The Moral Imperative for Torture
I would love to do a little work on Fortunato and see how well he could prove that torture doesn't work. I'll bet I can have him begging to confess anything and everything in less than an hour, without even inflicting any permanent harm.

There is a lot of ignorance and moral obtuseness on display in this thread of commentary.

If we decide that we will never torture anyone to extract information that could save American lives, or the lives of others, we have made a profoundly moral, or immoral, decision:

We have decided to place a higher value on the comfort of terrorists than on the lives of Americans. We have decided to place a higher value on the comfort of terrorists than on the lives of children, and women, and old men, civilians, innocents.

Conversely, we have decided to place a lower value on the lives of Americans and innocents than on the good comfort of terrorists.

If that is the moral (or immoral) choice you want to make, at least be clear and honest about it. You are saying, We will not, ever, inflict severe psychic or physical pain on a terrorist, even if that might lead to information that would save the lives of Americans.

In otherwords, if you had to choose between the death of your wife, or husband, your son, your daughter, yourself, and the comfort (or pain) of a terrorist, you would choose to sacrifice the lives of your family, even of yourself, so the terrorist would not suffer any pain.

Brilliant.

Idealism Run Amok Indeed!
You idealists who decide that we should never under any circumstances torture anyone to extract information that could save the lives of Americans, have made a very idealistic moral (or immoral) choice that has horrific unintended consequences.

You have chose to place a higher value on the comfort of terrorists than on the lives of innocents.

You have chosen to sacrifice the lives of innocent people, or of American soldiers, in order to secure the good comfort of terrorists.

Think about it. For a change.

Exposing Moral Fre-Riders
Yes, I agree with this heading. The quick way to expose a 'Moral Free Rider' is to torture him/her. Quickly will the love of torture be lost and the 'Moral' whimpering will start. Wonder what everyone would say if a few Americans were tortured by the Germans or the English?

Torture is wrong for ALL and not just for the few 'Moral Free Riders'

Comments from Iraq.

Life was better, at first, under the Americans. The war machine invigorated the economy - men had jobs again, and enough money to take care of their family. New building projects were everywhere. The shops were full again - and people could afford good food, culture, and luxuries. Women could stay home in comfort. Crime was reduced. Health care improved. It was a rosy scenario - Bush brought order and prosperity. His policies won widespread approval because life was better for most of the Iraq people, after the misery of reparations and inflation. The people liked the idea of removing the worst elements of society - the fundamentalists, the power mongers, the petty criminals - it was easy to elicit support for prosecuting the corrupt 'evil’ people poisoning society. Every family was proud of their hometown heroes - the sharply-dressed police- they contributed to his program - they were, after all, defending the state. Continuing a proud tradition that had been defeated and shamed after Kuwait, the soldiers gave the feeling of power and success to the proud families that showered them with praise and support. Their early victories were reason to celebrate - in spite of the fact that they faced poorly armed inferior forces - further proof that what they were doing was right, and the best thing for the country. The news was full of stories about their bravery and accomplishments against a vile enemy. They were 'liberating' these countries from their corrupt governments.

Does this sound like an article supporting the Americans?... Well, read the real article as written by a Holocaust survivor.


Life was better, at first, under the *****. The war machine invigorated the economy - men had jobs again, and enough money to take care of their family. New building projects were everywhere. The shops were full again - and people could afford good food, culture, and luxuries. Women could stay home in comfort. Crime was reduced. Health care improved. It was a rosy scenario - Hitler brought order and prosperity. His policies won widespread approval because life was better for most Germans, after the misery of reparations and inflation. The people liked the idea of removing the worst elements of society - the gypsies, the homosexuals, the petty criminals - it was easy to elicit support for prosecuting the corrupt 'evil'people poisoning society. Every family was proud of their hometown heroes - the sharply-dressed soldiers they contributed to his program - they were, after all,defending the Fatherland. Continuing a proud tradition that had been defeated and shamed after WWI, the soldiers gave the feeling of power and success to the proud families that showered them with praise and support. Their early victories were reason to celebrate - in spite of the fact that they faced poorly armed inferior forces - further proof that what they were doing was right, and the best thing for the country. The news was full of stories about their bravery and accomplishments against a vile enemy. They were 'liberating' these countries from their corrupt governments.

And this survivor writes further:

So far, I've seen nothing to eliminate the possibility that Bush is on the same course as Hitler. And I've seen far too many analogies to dismiss the possibility. The propaganda. The lies. The rhetoric. The nationalism. The flag waving. The pretext of 'preventive war'. The flaunting of international law and international standards of justice. The disappearances of 'undesirable' aliens. The threats against protesters. The invasion of a non-threatening sovereign nation. The occupation of a hostile country. The promises of prosperity and security. The spying on ordinary citizens. The incitement to spy on one's neighbors - and report them to the government. The arrogant triumphant pride in military conquest. The honoring of soldiers. The tributes to 'fallen warriors. The diversion of money to the military. The demonization of government appointed 'enemies'. The establishment of 'Homeland Security'. The dehumanization of 'foreigners'. The total lack of interest in the victims of government policy. The incarceration of the poor and mentally ill. The growing prosperity from military ventures. The illusion of 'goodness' and primacy. The new einsatzgrupen forces. Assassination teams. Closed extralegal internment camps. The militarization of domestic police. Media blackout of non-approved issues. Blacklisting of protesters - including the no-fly lists and photographing dissenters at rallies.

The full article is at : http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/4/3201

We are sliding down a slippery slope and when they come for you, to whom will you turn?


2009
We can start to worry if Bush tries to suspend the 22nd Amendment and the 2nd Amendment (like they, liberal democrats, have already done in many cities, like DC).

When asked a specific question, why do you change the subject???
Again: you brought up pink underwear. What does that have to do with that?

Not my friends.
Excuse me, but deal with what I have to say, not with what other people have to say on the same issue.

IN fact, I don't agree with the article and the people quoted aren't "my friends." I accept and agree with Senator McCain's concerns. What the WSWS or anyone else has to say about this has nothing to do with my argument. YOu trying to make it so indicates that your argument is bankrupt.

McCain's Definition is Open for interpretation
Terrorist are trained to claim torture when none occurred.
There are two problems with McCain's bill:
1. It is open for interpretation
2. It publicly defines what we can and cannot do to our enemies in combat.

Under standard rules of war, enemy combatants not in uniform are not protected by any international laws, execpt those we impose upon ourselves.
Spies can be shot, detained, anything can be done to them. What is the difference between those terrorists captured, wearing no uniforms and engaging in combat with allied forces?
I would argue that the most effective methods of interrogation should be used upon these individuals.

Pink underwear. The seriff in Maricopa County forces his prisoners to wear pink underewear. How many enemy combatants caputured to date would consider it cruel and unusual punsishment to wear pink underwear or some other clothing offensive to their religion?

This bill will be a boon to lawyers trying to make a name for themselves and will hinder our ability to effectively defend ourselves which will extend the conflict.

The US has a definition of torture which centers around infliction of physical pain and physical bodily damage, traditional torture definitions.
Forcing someone to wear a dog collar is not torture, maybe degrading, and if effective...

McCain's re****tion
I respect his ability to endure his time "in jail" in North Viet Nam.
However, as a Senator he has demonstrated his incompetence in drafting effective legislation.
His campaign finance bill has significant unintended (or were they intended?) consequences which have not contributed to more free and fair elections.

No comment?
No comment about the real story of Love Canal from another board?

Democratic Underground
I think I understand.
Check out the Democratic Underground Blog.
You are only allowed to post on their blog if you agree with them.
No wonder so many liberals have such a hard time making rational arguements.

Smear someone else
Please document this stuff:

His campaign finance bill has significant unintended (or were they intended?) consequences which have not contributed to more free and fair elections.

It's drivel
yes, hooker chemical tried to get rid of its problems by dtiching the site at a time when nobody knew the consequences of toxic wastes.

Spam: NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE POINTS AT ISSUE
Regarding "ineffective legistlation," he got an overhwelming majority of democrats and republicans behind the anti-torure bill. Instead of dealing with the specific issues, you blither about irrelevancies.

If you want to explain how law enforcemtn use of pink panties is a big reason why we shouldn't pass a bill against torture, go ahead.

If you keep bringing up socialist tracts, non-sequiturs and meaningless rhetoric, don't expect to receive serius answers to your soan

Torture is not meaningless
Anyone can claim anything.

If someone says they were tortured by not getting their favorite breakfast, bring the circumstance forward and let peoplle laught.

>Under standard rules of war, enemy combatants not in uniform are not protected by any international laws, execpt those we impose upon ourselves.

No, that's completely untrue, particularly when an invading foreign army occupies country.

>Spies can be shot, detained, anything can be done to them. What is the difference between those terrorists captured, wearing no uniforms and engaging in combat with allied forces? bla bla bal

Read the rules: you're utterly without a clue about the law in effect.

>his bill will be a boon to lawyers trying to make a name for themselves and will hinder our ability to effectively defend ourselves which will extend the conflict.

you can say this about every provision of the bill of rights. That does not make the laws wrong.

>The US has a definition of torture which centers around infliction of physical pain and physical bodily damage, traditional torture definitions.

No, it does not. Please familiarize yourself with "cruel and unusual punishment."

>Forcing someone to wear a dog collar is not torture, maybe degrading, and if effective...

It is cruel and usual punishment, and once it comes out (as it did ) is not remotely effective politically whatever the effects on individual prisoners


Facts
Why bother with facts when you dismiss them out of hand.

Where is YOUR evidence?

Any excuse will do
1. Sure, you can get people to say something, usually what they want you to hear.

2. You're focusing on a phonied situation: "this man knows where an a-bomb set to destroy an American city is," or similar. That's not the ordinary case. The Israeli courts, which know something about terrorism, have banned torture, which is still nevertheless used in extraordinary cases, which don't wind up be prosecuted.

3. You can come up with parallel arguments against every provision of the Bill of Rights, and most of the constitution. Do you really want to throw 215 years of democracy into the trash can for this? We beat the Germans and Japanese without doing this, and won the Cold War without doing this (yes there were exceptions which we now regard with shame).

4. We are presenting ourselves as an alternative to dictatorships that use torture all the time against their citizens. That is one of our strengths. To throw this away repels our allies and makes enemies of people whose help we need.

If you personally need to torture someone, find a volunteer victim and enjoy. That's not a political reason.

Use your head
Raymond, you're picking a narrow perspective that ignores reality in making this argument.

I put a higher value on protecting Americans detained by other countries or forces. If America tortures, it means anytime an American soldier is captured, its ok for the captors to torture him/her. You support that?

Heck, it could be applied to anyone. An American citizen is detained in a foreign country on spying accusations. If America tortures, its ok for the captors to torture him/her. You support that too?

Yes, its ideal that we do not torture under any circumstances. It doesn't work and it makes us look bad. And it opens us to being forced to accept the same treatment from everyone else. What an easy ideal to achieve, and as a bonus every civilized country in the world agrees with it.

Think about it.

And what does McCain's campaign finance law have to do with torture?
or is the idea anything McCain says or does is automatically wrong.

Settled law
Nothing the US has done comes close to any of the "settled" definitions that eric refers to.

Hence McCains bill claims to outlaw stuff we aren't doing, but in reality outlaws stuff that isn't torture and is affective at saving American lives.

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