The question is: what if "enhanced interrogation techniques" helped give tips that led to the capture of Bin Laden?? If so, is "water-boarding" justified in certain rare situations authorized on an individual basis by the President of the United States?

Tags: BIN, ISLAM, LADEN, OSAMA, TERRORISM, TORTURE

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Eh? I handed you a synopsis of real world events where torture extracted information from one of the most trained in resisting torture. A primary source - the holy grail in history.

 

You handed me a synopsis of a movie based on a true story about a guy who wasn't eager to die so he could get his 72 virgins.  Perhaps a narrative written by the guy would be a primary source - of a guy who wasn't eager to die so he could get his 72 virgins.  But it wasn't a narrative written by that guy, it was a synopsis of a movie.

 

On the other hand, I've given you a publicly archived government document disclosing the information obtained by torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the guy at the center of a 3 strike bombing campaign, who even paid out a reward for the completion of the first bombing before being taken into custody and tortured.  Yet the other two bombings seem to have gone off without a hitch - end of our ticking time-bomb justification for torture because apparently it just blew up in your face.

 

And on top of this, YOU have the audacity to balk at the idea of using a youtube video of Dubya saying what is on his mind as evidence of what Dubya had on his mind.  Wow.

Then do like I did - read his story.

What you have provided me is information that torture did not work particularly well. With one guy.

I'd go even further: Torture doesn't always provide viable information. In fact, sometimes it even provides false information. But this cannot be extrapolated to torture never working and always providing false information.

If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say torture usually works and usually provides actionable intel.

(Btw, if torture never provides accurate intel, then why are some people receiving special training to avoid breaking under torture?)

You know, special training to avoid breaking under torture likely only makes the situation worse.  The problem with torture is that it does make people talk - and they say everything they possibly can.  But when does the torturer know he has the truth?  Those trained to avoid 'breaking' will break at different times, meaning the torture has to continue to make sure all information is extracted.  So how does a torturer know the difference between the truth, the cover stories, and the wild attempts to say anything to make it stop?

 

Further, what about implicated co-conspirators?  Do you torture them as well - even though you know for CERTAIN that such allegations could easily be an attempt to turn the torturer on someone else?

 

This is why I'm asking for solid evidence that actionable intelligence is truly 'saving lives'.  It's a big Pandora's box to open to try to 'save' maybe 5,000 lives a year at best, considering Americans kill three times as many Americans in any given year than terrorist attacks do worldwide.  Hell, 8 times as many Americans per year die in auto accidents than there are terrorist victims worldwide - and you still have the problem of innocents getting tortured.

"You know, special training to avoid breaking under torture likely only makes the situation worse."

Indeed, for those undergoing torture. But those people who are not exposed will not be hurt.

Torture intel generally refers to location of enemy positions/persons or battle plans. When someone is captured it is assumed by both parties that the captive will eventually reveal information. The torturer therefore needs information quickly before his enemy has a chance to alter their plan to encompass the circumstance. The more senior the person being tortured is, the more likely he is to know something "big". Knowing the enemy's gun positions, observation posts locations, commander locations, etc., is extremely valuable tactical information which can reduce own casualties substantially.

The basic rule is: If the torture of one enemy has a probability of saving one allied, then torture is a rational choice.

"The problem with torture is that it does make people talk - and they say everything they possibly can."

And this is exactly why most modern militaries do not torture as a rule. It's like shooting at someone waving a white flag, it's against the rules. However, when the enemy is not playing by the rules of war (terrorism) it's difficult not to play dirty oneself.

"But when does the torturer know he has the truth?"

Usually when the words coming out is congruent with other intel.

"Those trained to avoid 'breaking' will break at different times, meaning the torture has to continue to make sure all information is extracted."

Correct. This is why torture can be more harmful than helpful, soldiers have been trained in disinformation. It's also why Gitmo and AG, even looking past the uneccesary horror, might even have been inefficient. But that does not invalidate torture in itself.

"Further, what about implicated co-conspirators?"

Looking apart from "I" not being a supporter of torture (because I know the best strategy for Prisoner's Dilemma, co-conspirators (?) are usually tortured too. Though I prefer the terms soldiers and commanders over co-conspirators as the former applies to war and the latter to civil society.

"This is why I'm asking for solid evidence that actionable intelligence is truly 'saving lives'."

That would assume a direct causation between an actual event and an event that didn't happen. That's impossible to give evidence of. "I didn't drive today so I potentially avoided hitting a child that ran into the road on which I usually drive on" is the same fallacious thought process. I can assume torture avoided destruction, but it's impossible to give any direct evidence. 

A ticking time bomb might not go off as planned, but you cannot wait for the bomb to go off (or not) and then torture to get the defusing information. And if you torture someone to give you the defusing codes before the bomb is set to go off and successfuly disarm it, that's still not evidence that torture saved any lives.

Then how about some evidence of torture leading to a ticking time bomb?  That is an event you are suggesting has happened, and I have yet to see proof of this.
Then I refer you to the post currently underneath this one, the story from Northern Ireland.
The post below is from you, about McNab.  Below that is me and my time-bomb fallacy, then you.  Could you offer a permalink to the post you mean?  Or perhaps just paste the link in your next response?
Permalink for what I like to call Blue Waffle syndrome ;)
So that would indicate zero evidence then?

Blue waffle syndrome is well documented. ;)

As for the effectiveness of torture, I asked the local US consulate and they declined to comment. That must surely mean it's completely inefficient and the US never engaging in such.

Let's see what "Andy McNab" thinks about the efficiency of torture:

"I served in Northern Ireland and I know the security services used to do outrageous things at Castlereagh detention centre.

We didn't care about that because the security services were getting real-time information that prevented bombings, both in the province and on the mainland."

Where's your ticking time bomb "fallacy" now?

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