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General Petraeus: Torture is wrong

General Petraeus 2007

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#1 Godeskian

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 04:12 PM

I'm not going to rehash why torturing for information is both idiotic in practice, and useless as an information source, and why the 'ticking bomb' scenario that the supporters of torture keep trotting out is rubbish in the real world.

Now it seems the senior Bush*te agrees

http://www.washingto...1001963_pf.html

Quote

The top U.S. commander in Iraq admonished his troops regarding the results of an Army survey that found that many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades.

"This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we -- not our enemies -- occupy the moral high ground," Army Gen. David H. Petraeus wrote in an open letter dated May 10 and posted on a military Web site.

He rejected the argument that torture is sometimes needed to quickly obtain crucial information. "Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary," he stated.


To which I say, good for you General.

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Petraeus said that he understands "firsthand" the emotions soldiers feel in Iraq, especially when they see a fellow soldier die. "Seeing a fellow trooper killed by a barbaric enemy can spark frustration, anger, and a desire for immediate revenge," he wrote. But he warned against letting those feelings lead to illegal acts. Petraeus also called on unit commanders to ensure that their soldiers follow standards.

Quote

Protecting Iraqi civilians rather than abusing them is a major part of Petraeus's offensive to improve security in Baghdad. Their mission there, Petraeus noted in his first letter to the troops, on Feb. 10, is to "improve security for the Iraqi people."

He reinforced the point in a recent letter to U.S. military advisers working with Iraqi units, stating that: "Iraqi forces must distances themselves from the abusive practices of the former regime. . . . It is very important that we never turn a 'blind eye' to abuses, thinking that what Iraqis do with their own detainees is 'Iraqi business.'

Make no mistake, after Abu Graib, after Guantanamo, after the marines who casually attacked civilians, the American military has lost the vast majority of whatever moral highground it once had.

But maybe, maybe, this is the first step towards reclaiming some of it.

Edited by Godeskian, 11 May 2007 - 04:12 PM.

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#2 G1223

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 06:13 PM

I will only rehash what do you call torture.

Sleep departavation or oversleeping them suspect
Drugs
Not feeding them their culturaly acceptable foods
Over feeding or any alteration of their internal clock

These are considered torture. There is not beating on them or physical injury inflicted. It seems the only allowable means of getting information is becomming the terrorists best friend and he will tell you the truth.

OR go into kids in the backseat mode.

Suspect: I am not talking
Interrogator: Are we talking yet?
S: No
I:Are we talking yet?
S:No

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#3 Godeskian

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 06:18 PM

Don't you ever get tired of repeating the same strawman over and over again G?

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#4 G1223

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 06:28 PM

I am only pointing out that the methods I listed are among the tools of interrogation. No single one of them works 100%. But we keep hearing where if you treat the prisoner kindly and ask him for information he tells you everything.

Truth is beating on someone is not reliable but if you break the person's willpower they will talk. And the methods I listed help with breaking the willpower of a suspect.

Just because some would like to think that in our histroy that the UK and the US did not have monsters who did everything under the sun to break a subject and get the info you are living ina dream world. Oh and that world which is looking down on us for our actions have a hands dripping blood. In fact maybe even more blood that Stalin.
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#5 Spectacles

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 06:36 PM

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Gode: Make no mistake, after Abu Graib, after Guantanamo, after the marines who casually attacked civilians, the American military has lost the vast majority of whatever moral highground it once had.

But maybe, maybe, this is the first step towards reclaiming some of it

My impression of Petraeus is that he's an awfully bright general. And, after all, he literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency.

The problem is that the Bush Administration didn't even want to admit that there was in insurgency in Iraq until it had spun out of control. Honestly. Rumsfeld basically ordered people not to use the "i" word early on, as if pretending the insurgency wasn't there would make it go away.

If Petraeus's approach had been implemented, oh, four years ago, it would have a much stronger chance of succeeding. By now, though, we have battle-hardened troops on their second, third, fourth tours being asked to give Iraqis the benefit of the doubt. I honestly don't know that they can. They should, yes, but it may be too much to ask of eighteen, nineteen, twenty-year-old kids in a pressure cooker that most of us can't imagine. It's vital that they not abuse prisoners or turn a blind eye to Iraqi security's abuse of prisoners, but whether or not many can do so at this point is doubtful. War does strange things to people's heads. And so we have a situation now where "many U.S military personnel there are willing to tolerate some torture of suspects and unwilling to report abuse by comrades."

I don't know that Petraeus can turn the tide in Iraq. If he can, he deserves every medal under the sun.
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#6 Cait

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 06:39 PM

View PostGodeskian, on May 11 2007, 04:18 PM, said:

Don't you ever get tired of repeating the same strawman over and over again G?

No, he never gets tired of it.

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#7 Spectacles

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 06:43 PM

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G: But we keep hearing where if you treat the prisoner kindly and ask him for information he tells you everything.

Did General Petraeus say that? Wow....I guess you're giving up on "the surge" then since it's obviously being led by a liberal pantywaist. Who knew that the surge meant that we were going to roll into Iraq with truckloads of tea and cookies....

;)
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#8 G1223

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 08:59 PM

Note the last thread on this topic had people presenting info where the only way to get these suspects to talk was to befriend them and they apparently would talk
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#9 Lin731

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 09:37 PM

Quote

Note the last thread on this topic had people presenting info where the only way to get these suspects to talk was to befriend them and they apparently would talk

What thread are you referring to G?
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#10 Captain Jack

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 09:49 PM

Sometimes some torture is necessary.  There are many who have it coming.  I'm not talking about dismemberment, being shot in the knees, burned, cut open, having one's fingernails pulled off, eyes gouged out, or anything else that leads to permanent disfigurement.  Sometimes a good beating is necessary if a person has knowledge that will prevent many from dying.  But only as a last resort.  Then again, there are those who feel that waiting in line in a fast food place is torture.  Or listening to a William Hung CD. :p
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#11 Rhea

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 10:35 PM

View PostSpectacles, on May 11 2007, 04:43 PM, said:

Quote

G: But we keep hearing where if you treat the prisoner kindly and ask him for information he tells you everything.

Did General Petraeus say that? Wow....I guess you're giving up on "the surge" then since it's obviously being led by a liberal pantywaist. Who knew that the surge meant that we were going to roll into Iraq with truckloads of tea and cookies....

;)

When we talked about this before, an expert (CIA?) said torture is less effective than persuasion. Torture gets unreliable results and outright lies to stop the torture. If you can persuade a prisoner to talk, you get better info.

The links are in the last threads where we talked about torture.

Edited by Rhea, 11 May 2007 - 10:35 PM.

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#12 G1223

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 10:38 PM

And once again you will not define torture. You have organization which claim that harsh talks as torture.
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#13 Lin731

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 10:55 PM

Quote

And once again you will not define torture. You have organization which claim that harsh talks as torture.

How about giving us your defination of what isn't torture in your opinion and get the ball rolling?
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#14 Rhea

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 11:05 PM

View PostG1223, on May 11 2007, 06:59 PM, said:

Note the last thread on this topic had people presenting info where the only way to get these suspects to talk was to befriend them and they apparently would talk

That wasn't "people." That was a guy who was an expert on torture (emphasis is his, in all cases):

http://thinkprogress...re-doesnt-work/

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During the latter days of the Cold War and the quite warm days of the first Gulf War, I served in the United States Army as an Interrogator (MOS 97E). As a graduate of the Interrogation program at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, I received comprehensive training on acceptable interrogation techniques, as well as training in adherence to the Geneva Conventions

But it's not that training that produced my firm conviction that torture and "coercive interrogation techniques" are ineffective intelligence gathering techniques. It is my experience using such techniques myself, as an instructor in resistance to interrogation.

Working with US and NATO troops as part of a program called "Survival Evasion Resistance Escape" (SERE), I used these techniques on our own and allied troops. SERE training prepares soldiers, airmen, and commandos most likely to be captured for a worst-case scenario. It helps them learn how to avoid jeopardizing missions (and the lives of their brothers in arms) by resisting abusive treatment and harsh interrogations.

As a quid pro quo for providing this training, the interrogators involved were also allowed to hone their own skills, using doctrinally-approved interrogation techniques as well. Even when working with such elite troops as the US Special Forces and the British SAS, we found that the standard interrogation techniques found in the US Army Field Manual 34-52 were far more effective than such abusive behavior as stress positions, sensory deprivation, and humiliation. We obtained more information and more reliable information with our basic skills than we did with even days of harsh treatment.
As an interrogator, it was also critical to keep in mind the reliability of the information being obtained from a source. When the subject was convinced (or even tricked) into cooperating, the intelligence gathered proved to be reliable. On the other hand, it quickly became evident, even in my early days of resistance training, that when subjected to harsh treatment, the tendency is indeed to say whatever the subject believes will make the abuse stop. And that, I learned, is generally not the truth.

And another, titled "Effective interrogation without torture 101 from retired Army Colonel Stuart Herrington."

http://hughhewitt.to...55-a93127f6eed7

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SH: I think the first piece of advice for anyone who really wants to understand interrogation is to zero out and ignore virtually everything that they've ever seen on either television or in Hollywood movies, because that's not interrogation as we know it, as professional interrogators, at all.

HH: And Colonel, how many interrogations have you conducted?

SH: I couldn't begin to count, but between my service in Vietnam, my interrogation centers that I ran in Panama, another one in Desert Storm, and my current job where I do a lot of interrogation and debriefing, it's in the thousands.

HH: All right. And you've trained a lot of the current American military interrogators who are deployed around the world as well. From the time you began in this human and counterintelligence business to today, how much of the techniques changed as to effective interrogation?

SH: Well, we thought we had it pretty well on track, and that there was a consensus in the discipline that interrogation is a very professionally demanding discipline that requires an understanding of human nature, and essentially how to outsmart and outfox a source who has information that he really doesn't want to tell you, but it's your job to get it. And I'd thought for some time that we had a good consensus on that until the Iraq thing came along, and something happened, and people took a wrong turn at the intersection, if you will.

This is from the Congressional Record of 12/14/05 (and it's pretty succinct):

http://www.fas.org/i...ture121405.html

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We have a legal and moral and ethical obligation to uphold the values of the Geneva Convention and the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
  Furthermore, torture, cruelty and abuse are not effective methods of interrogation. Torture may not yield reliable actionable information and can lead to false confessions. And we have an example of that not long ago, prior to the war.
  Torture may not yield information quickly. Torture does not advance our goals. It does not help us win the hearts and minds of people it is used against. It did not aid the cause of the Soviets in Afghanistan and the French in Algeria.
  Torture has a corrupting effect on the perpetrators. It has rarely been confined to narrow conditions. Once used and condoned, it easily becomes widespread. The same practices found their way from Guantanamo to Afghanistan to Iraq.
  Torture is not only used against the guilty; it often leads to unintentional abuse of the innocent. We cannot torture and still retain the moral high ground.
  Torture endangers U.S. service members who might be captured by the enemy. Torture brings discredit upon the United States.
  There can be no waiver for the use of torture. No torture and no exceptions.

I know you said you weren't going to rehash why torture doesn't work Gode, but since G keeps dropping that strawman into conversations, it seemed appropriate. ;)

Edited by Rhea, 11 May 2007 - 11:13 PM.

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#15 Captain Jack

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 11:21 PM

This thread is torture...
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#16 Rhea

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 11:25 PM

View PostSpidey, on May 11 2007, 09:21 PM, said:

This thread is torture...

True.  :lol:  And I hesitated to inject expert testimony into a thread where G was having way too much fun with sweeping and inaccurate statements, but hey...I'm compulsive, what can I say?  :p
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When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


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#17 G1223

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 12:26 AM

Torture would be phyiscal torture (Beating electro shock drilling of teeth gouging eyes out. unnessicary medial procedures.)Mental torture of raping a female captive or homosexual rape of the subject. Forcing a person watch a fellow captive being tortured or raped. Forcing a subject to rape another captive.

These below I do not totally see at torture as long as it is done by professionals. Not over eager guards.

Using sensory deparvation or overload to put a subject into a state where he needs the guards to get a sense of normalcy. Over feeding a subject to also mess with his inner time sense is a means to overcome willpower. Sleep deparvation or oversleeping would help place the subject in a positionwhere his internal clock is off.

Use of drugs to weaken the will is useful but the drugs carry their own problems such as  they come from poisons and cause serious health issues to the subject. Any questioning techique to get information from a unwilling subject should be stopped if a clear medical threat is discovered.

Once a subject is weakened to the point interrogation produces information of a a crediable nature all methods to break the subjects willpower are stopped.  It allows for both the psychological as well as regular stick and carrot methods to be used.
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#18 Lin731

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 10:02 AM

Quote

This thread is torture...

No actually the thread title is :General Petraeus:Torture is wrong. I asked what G considered to NOT be torture because he appears to think anything more than sending CandyGrams is everyone else's definition of torture. So I wondered how he'd define torture, what is and isn't in his opinion.

Quote

Torture would be phyiscal torture (Beating electro shock drilling of teeth gouging eyes out. unnessicary medial procedures.)Mental torture of raping a female captive or homosexual rape of the subject. Forcing a person watch a fellow captive being tortured or raped. Forcing a subject to rape another captive.

I'd definately list rape as both mental and physical torture.

Quote

Using sensory deparvation or overload to put a subject into a state where he needs the guards to get a sense of normalcy. Over feeding a subject to also mess with his inner time sense is a means to overcome willpower. Sleep deparvation or oversleeping would help place the subject in a positionwhere his internal clock is off.

I don't have problems with these but I would remind you that we supposedly had professionals (aka...private contractors) overseeing events at Abu Graihb and look how badly that went.

Quote

Use of drugs to weaken the will is useful but the drugs carry their own problems such as they come from poisons and cause serious health issues to the subject. Any questioning techique to get information from a unwilling subject should be stopped if a clear medical threat is discovered.

Once a subject is weakened to the point interrogation produces information of a a crediable nature all methods to break the subjects willpower are stopped. It allows for both the psychological as well as regular stick and carrot methods to be used.

True on all counts, which would mean you'd have to be very careful in administering them. I wonder if we are careful though, if these professionals truly are but that is something we're not likely to know.

As to what I consider torture...Chaining someone naked and blindfolded to the exterior of their cell for 20 hours of the day while sporatically threatening them with vicious dogs. I consider a naked pyramid abusive, perhaps not torture but certainly abusive and sadistic and seems to be more of a sick amusement to the captors than any method of extracting useful intel. I considered forcing detainees at gunpoint, to engage in sexual acts that are designed to insult their religious beleifs to be torture. I consider making someone stand on a chair with electrodes connected to their genitals (even if there is no power source) to be at the least abuse. Beatings, burnings, rape, breaking bones, cutting, gouging etc...those are my definitions of torture. What I consider abusive may not be termed torture but my concern is how easy it would be to cross that very narrow line.

As Rhea pointed out though, using an expert in the field, even what I term abusive if not straight up torture is considered ineffective interrogation techniques so why do them at all?
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#19 G1223

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:11 AM

View PostLin731, on May 12 2007, 11:02 AM, said:

True on all counts, which would mean you'd have to be very careful in administering them. I wonder if we are careful though, if these professionals truly are but that is something we're not likely to know.

We will only find out if the information gets leaked. Remember there are things we do not know about. Will never know about. Will never know such an idea could be even considered. Because for the US to go on it needs to remain a secret.


And because we do not want to know.
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#20 SparkyCola

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 06:03 PM

No no, Spidey's right. Lin, did you take part in the epic "torture versus not the torture" debate? For those of us who did, we're not so fresh and eager for round 2. Arguing something that neither side will change their mind on is tiresome. So I quote:

Quote

This thread is torture...

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