Torture


8
Apr 07

Pithy post on tortue

Tdaxp has an interesting post on the government use of torture here, to wit

My reply back to him mainly concerned, the subtile, which is The inside story of how the interrogators of Task Force 145 cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle—without resorting to torture—and hunted down al-Qaeda’s man in Iraq. The title’s odd in that it is both boring and inflammatory.

The boredom first. I can imagine an article subtitled The inside story of how programmers at Microsoft Corporation released SQL Server 2008 on time — and without using hash tables.

I’ve always found the specific opposition to torture strange. We’re willing to jail people for the rest of their lives, hold them without trial, and bomb various countries which involves inherent civilian death and maiming. Drawing a line at torture seems odd to say the least. I suppose to some people it is a categorical difference in government action, and not an incremental difference in human suffering.

Now that I think about it, it does make for a good Schelling Point. It is objectionable to differing degree to both sides of the argument, as well as obvious to both. It is also seen as a categorical tactic (though not strategy) by both. Hmmm….


7
Nov 06

Quick Monday rapid fire – fun addition

  • On the matter of remittances by immigrants to foreign countries

    Moreover, remittances are far more likely to make their way to people who actually need them. American aid tends to be received by governments, which in most third world countries are not especially honest. So the majority of American foreign aid never makes it to actual poor people in the developing world. In contrast, Latino immigrants are wiring money directly to their mothers. They know exactly who’s getting the money, and they’d hear about it if the government stole it from them. It probably even has foreign policy benefits, as the remitters are likely to have a generally positive impression of America and to transmit that impression along with their remittances.

    And the best part about all this is that it doesn’t cost us a dime! All we have to do is let them scrub our toilets and pick our strawberries. We get lower prices on the goods and services we buy and we get the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing we’re helping to alleviate Latin American poverty. It’s such an incredible win-win arrangement that I find it rather depressing that it’s considered controversial in American politics. Increased immigration is a cause that should unite liberals (with their concern for social justice) and conservatives (with their belief in hard work and entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, that’s not how the issue has played out in the real world.

    Very well put.

  • Gun toting robots!
  • From the mouths of ad executives
  • An original knife holder
  • Easily the best use of Flash I’ve seen in months
  • Quotes from Jim Webb, the Marine veteran and aspiring Democratic Senator from Virginia. Though nothing beats him saying “I wouldn’t walk across the street to watch Jane Fonda slash her wrists.”
  • A FoxNews empolyee gets waterboarded, sadly it’s not their web designers (their site gets worse by the day, though, still no Lou Dobbs, happily)
  • Iron Man is about to be real!
  • This looks quite interesting

7
Dec 05

Thoughts on torture

According to this Instapundit post, large majorities in many modern countries support the legal use of torture in extraordinary circumstances. There is even the line that it should be “legal, safe and rare”.

I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. I am willing to say that it is a trade-off. While we gain information we lose some degree of moral high-ground and reputation (which has other long run costs), and there will inevitably be lots and lots of mistakes as with any government endeavor.

But what does one do in the ticking time-bomb situation, or what you reasonably think is one? You’ve got bloody hands either through action or inaction.


10
Nov 05

Wednesday round up

  1. Torture Warrants – it deals with everything honestly I suppose.
  2. Google founders buy a private jet – and yet “We’ve worked very hard to make sure our [net] impact on the environment is positive”
  3. The gutlessness of the Republican party is amazing.
  4. Kinky!
  5. Topless protesters – though after a certain age one’s cause doesn’t really break even in effectiveness. The organization is called “Breasts not bombs” though I see no reason why we can’t have both.
  6. Ayn Rand’s cover illustrator is still alive and has some wonderful art on his site. I highly recommend it. His prints are exhorbitantly expensive sadly.
  7. Wonderful pulp art (the Shadow) from Micah Wright, who it would seem is a fraud in his other endeavors.
  8. Twinsparc has released SaySo.org

2
Nov 05

Quick round up

  1. It’s now six nights of rioting in Paris.
  2. Secret CIA detention camps around the world. I’m reminded of Wretchard’s line one time that when Truman ordered Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombed, he had “the sand” to do it under his own name.
  3. I finally got the proper wireless adapter for my Tivo, which I got to work without incident. Sadly it uses Wep, but with 3-4 totally unprotected networks around me I would imagine I’m not worth pursuing.
  4. It’s amazing how much lists and visual sign of progress can affect one’s mood.

6
Jun 05

More waiting while uploading thoughts

From the CNN article Rights group leader says U.S. has secret jails

“The U.S. is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons, into which people are being literally disappeared, held in indefinite, incommunicado detention without access to lawyers or a judicial system or to their families,” Schulz said

No proof was offered on any of these secret prisons, though I would imagine they do exist.

What to draw from this?

  1. AI is fond of misusing the word “archipelago”, which they use to mean “network”, which is not accurate at all.
  2. Thanks to Campaign Finance Reform there is now a permanent agitation industry in MoveOn, Media Matters, and their ideological brethren like AU. If this is the best they can come up with things arent too bad I suppose.
  3. There is at least an attempt to deal with the whole problem humanely, especially since realistically the alternatives are field executions and rendition (personally I think that the problem will be “solved” by deporting all of them to Egypt or Pakistan where foreign governments will dispose of them quietly

David Friedman wrote an article some time back which can shed some light on the matter.

And not that much longer until the Patriot Act expires!


4
Jun 05

Something missing in the news

Amidst all of the current prisoner coverage, one thing missing is any report of chemical interrogations. The technology certainly exists to create all of the “Stress” (usually cited as the goals in interrogations) chemically instead of physically. I wonder if that’s only being done in special cases.