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….
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.
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?
- AI is fond of misusing the word “archipelago”, which they use to mean “network”, which is not accurate at all.
- 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.
- 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!
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.