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Dionysus
April 20th, 2009, 07:11 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/20/cia.waterboarding/index.html

I don't know how to feel about this one. Part of me says "Yeah, the world ought to know" but another part of me says otherwise. I mean, what good does releasing such information do? It seems to me to bring unnecessary attention to a necessary evil.

Thoughts?

Sigfried
April 20th, 2009, 07:49 AM
I think evil is rarely necesary even if it is often expedient.

It is just a matter of being honest with the people whom our government represents. If we water board people we should know that we do it.

ladyphoenix
April 20th, 2009, 07:55 AM
Dio, I have only one question: When is ignorance ever preferable?

Dionysus
April 20th, 2009, 08:26 AM
Dio, I have only one question: When is ignorance ever preferable?When your spouse asks if these pants make her ass look fat

When I'm cooking a steak and wondering where it was farmed

When I walk on American soil and wonder who used to occupy it

When I put oil in my car

When I put gas in my car

When a guard at the airport stops a person who looks like they're from the Middle East and I wonder if they're racially profiling

Now, having said that, I'm not arguing for or against necessary "evils". I'm honestly torn over it. Consider the racial profiling example earlier.

On September 12th, I'd have had a real hard time with anyone accosting someone who looks like a terrorist for looking like a terrorist. In cases where were a certain people are considered suspect, it's completely counter intuitive to ignore people who look like the people you're suspicious of to pander to the sensibilities of those who may be offended by it.

Now, to issue judgment against a person based solely on how they look is wrong. But grabbing them and checking them out just makes sense. If there was a 37 year old rapist with short, thinning hair and a slim build running around, I'd be irritated that I had to answer questions, but I wouldn't cry foul and whine about racial profiling because of it.

GoldPhoenix
April 20th, 2009, 12:28 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/20/cia.waterboarding/index.html

I don't know how to feel about this one. Part of me says "Yeah, the world ought to know" but another part of me says otherwise. I mean, what good does releasing such information do? It seems to me to bring unnecessary attention to a necessary evil.

Thoughts?

This is not a necessary evil.


The fact that we had to water board him almost 300 times and still got no information out of him attests to the fact that torture doesn't get you sh*t. We already know this, of course, from pure common sense. Some asshole jumps up on you, shoves your head into a toilet bowl several times a day, and you'll tell him whatever he wants to hear --whether it is truthful or not.



And if torture is so damn effective, then why in the hell couldn't we capture bin Laden?

Dionysus
April 20th, 2009, 12:53 PM
This is not a necessary evil.


The fact that we had to water board him almost 300 times and still got no information out of him attests to the fact that torture doesn't get you sh*t. We already know this, of course, from pure common sense. Some asshole jumps up on you, shoves your head into a toilet bowl several times a day, and you'll tell him whatever he wants to hear --whether it is truthful or not.
Sure, but I don't think it's necessarily that binary. Ultimatums work all the time precisely because the consequences are undesirable.
And if torture is so damn effective, then why in the hell couldn't we capture bin Laden?Same reason Thích Quảng Đức (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Qu%E1%BA%A3ng_%C4%90%E1%BB%A9c) never uttered a sound when he burned himself alive in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration. You can condition yourself against just about anything, especially if you're a religious radical.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/78/Burningmonk.jpg

Again, I'd like to reiterate that I'm not advocating or recommending torture. But the topic has taken an interesting turn in the form of "necessary evils". I would argue that such things DO in fact become necessary in society however and I'd like to see that discussion carry on.

starcreator
April 20th, 2009, 01:32 PM
Your argument is predicated upon this idea that we have already performed a cost-benefit analysis and decided that this is, indeed, justifiable practice. However, the evaluation of whether something is a necessary evil can only be done, Dio, if people are cognizant of the harms that they are weighing against the benefits. If we are completely unaware of the gravity of the pain and suffering we inflict on people through waterboarding, then how (as a society) can we sanction it?

Sociologists, criminologists and psychologists have testified, countless times, to the fact that torture is a highly ineffective and unreliable method of extracting accurate information. If we aren't aware of the effects of torture to the victim, though, many may think that if there is little long-term harm to the victim and there is nothing to be lost by trying. People need to have all the facts before passing judgment.

Dionysus
April 20th, 2009, 01:51 PM
Your argument is predicated upon this idea that we have already performed a cost-benefit analysis and decided that this is, indeed, justifiable practice. However, the evaluation of whether something is a necessary evil can only be done, Dio, if people are cognizant of the harms that they are weighing against the benefits. If we are completely unaware of the gravity of the pain and suffering we inflict on people through waterboarding, then how (as a society) can we sanction it?

Sociologists, criminologists and psychologists have testified, countless times, to the fact that torture is a highly ineffective and unreliable method of extracting accurate information. If we aren't aware of the effects of torture to the victim, though, many may think that if there is little long-term harm to the victim and there is nothing to be lost by trying. People need to have all the facts before passing judgment.That's a good retort, however, I'd like to reiterate that I'm not advocating torture. I'm looking to continue the discussion regarding certain "necessary evils".

My position is that we can certainly go too far, but that in some cases, certain "evils" are necessary for the preservation of society. Things like the undeniably harsh conditions of solitary confinement for especially problematic criminals in incarceration comes to mind.

ladyphoenix
April 21st, 2009, 04:00 AM
Dio, I do believe you misunderstand my question. The point of your OP, as I read it, was to discuss whether or not such information should have been released. I'm not speaking one way or another about the validity or necessity of whatever the information pertains to (in this case, waterboarding). I'm asking if there is ever a case where you'd rather be ignorant than know something (assuming that something is knowable in the first place)... I can't think of a single case where I'd prefer ignorance, whatever the circumstance. I'd rather know bad news, horrific news, than not know anything at all.

What good does releasing the information do? It cures ignorance. That to me is always a good thing.

Dionysus
April 21st, 2009, 04:57 AM
Dio, I do believe you misunderstand my question. The point of your OP, as I read it, was to discuss whether or not such information should have been released. I'm not speaking one way or another about the validity or necessity of whatever the information pertains to (in this case, waterboarding). I'm asking if there is ever a case where you'd rather be ignorant than know something (assuming that something is knowable in the first place)... I can't think of a single case where I'd prefer ignorance, whatever the circumstance. I'd rather know bad news, horrific news, than not know anything at all.

What good does releasing the information do? It cures ignorance. That to me is always a good thing.Excellent points. However, just for the sake of debate, let me run that out to an obvious absurdity.

If curing ignorance is indeed always a good thing, you should go to your child right now and explain, in detail, including all the photographic, audio and video aids you can find, all the ins and outs of all things sexual. Toys, stimulation, lubrication, ejaculation, oral play, man on woman, men on woman, man on man, woman on woman, women on men, anal, all that... because ignorance is never, under ANY circumstances, preferable to enlightenment, correct?

Obviously not. But then we're not talking about children here either (hence the aforementioned absurdity).

However, in my life I have been in numerous situations where directive "X" was necessary, but at the same time there was really only one way to get it done which, strictly speaking, was unacceptable. Every time I got it done, and every time my boss knew how I got it done, and every time he didn't want to know about it. I knew the risk, I knew how to manage the risk, and I was willing to do "X" because I knew it was something I was capable of doing.

There have been other times where what appeared to have been unacceptable was actually common to the task I was doing. For example, I used to regularly work with a chemical called triethylaluminum (TEA or TEAL), almost every time under at least 500+ (often more) psi of hydraulic pressure.

The wiki will tell you that TEAL is pyrophoric which means it can ignite upon contact with air. This is false. TEAL absolutely does ignite upon contact with air. This stuff EXTREMELY volatile. I have never, ever, in ten years of working with it, NOT seen a fire when messing with TEAL.

Now, I worked in a polypropylene production facility housing 10 liquid-filled propylene reactors. Propylene is extremely flammable and each of our 6 large reactors held 120,000 gallons of it at 600 psi. Our process needed to be very dry to maximize the mileage of the catalyst we used, so we injected TEAL into the reactors to scavenge the moisture from it. The problem is that TEAL is delivered in 2000 lb bullets full of the stuff with an inerted head space (N2), so it ran out pretty regularly, which means you have to break containment on it pretty regularly. This means a fire in the middle of your process unit; your propylene process unit.

During my whole career out there, I never once saw a safety man present while changing out out a TEAL cylinder. I never WANTED to see a safety man out there, and the safety man never wanted to be out there either. Because if they had been out there, they would have insisted that the whole process for changing out the cylinder be changed and all kinds of checksheets be utilized and all kinds of equipment be made ready... all of which would stem from their ignorance of the process and their personal level of hazard tolerance by virtue of their role AND all of which would have needlessly interfered with the work that had to be done.

Ignorance is bliss in such a situation. We could do what we needed to do and the safety men could rest easy knowing that doing what we do the WAY we did it payed the bills and kept them employed.

Another example: Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) tells a story about animal husbandry in which he was involved. if you've seen the show, you know that how it works is that the worker does "X" and Mike observes, then he does it himself under supervision. In this case, it involved castration.

Before he did the show, because of the sensitivity of the subject, he investigated animal rights and how PETA says castration ought to be done. They said that the "humane" way to do it was to place a rubber band tightly around the sheep's tail, then the same way around the scrotum. This retards the blood flow to the parts in question and after a few days the parts fall off.

In this case, it was time to castrate a sheep. The farmer places the sheep's legs in the stirrups. He takes out a KNIFE, pulls back the scrotum, cuts off the tip, pushes up the skin, exposing the testes, goes in and BITES them off.

At this point he says he does something he says he's NEVER done before. He says "Stop. Hold it." Then he asked "Why the hell are you doing it that way?"

"That's the way it's done." says the farmer.

"Yeah but, why... I want to do it the right way." Rowe says

"Oh, you mean like the Humane Society?"

"YES, like the Humane Society. Something that doesn't involve blood and shrieking sheep."

"Ok."

So the farmer takes another sheep, applies the bands as I described above, and sets the sheep on its way.

It takes a few steps and falls down. Takes another step and falls down. Takes another step and falls down. STAYS down, in obvious distress.

"How long is the sheep like that? Rowe asked

"Umm I dunno. A DAY."

"Well how long before the parts fall off?"

"A WEEK"...

Meanwhile the sheep that endured the bloody procedure earlier was pracing around, the bleeding had stopped, and it was more or less on about its business.

The point is that sometimes we might be quite wrong about our ideas about something based solely on our ignorance of the situation, and sometimes highlighting something from a position of ignorance does more harm than good, such as the Humane Society devising a method of castration that's actually much worse than the method they dislike.

Some people think spanking children is wrong. I think those people are idiots who're raising their kids to be the sort of pussified nancies who, as adults, advocate the disallowance of the game of "tag" in school because of the possible adverse side-effects of the "singling out" the game requires.

There are necessary evils in this world, and sometimes full disclosure is actually a bad thing. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Having said that, however, I'm still torn about this issue of waterboarding. Part of me says that there's no situation where torture is ok. But on the other hand, I can imagine situations where I'd do much worse than mere torture if I thought it would help me achieve my ends (any parent can understand this, most certainly).

chadn737
April 21st, 2009, 07:26 AM
Imagine you are a CIA agent. You regularly engage in clandestine activities, the legality and morality of which are questionable in the least, if not outright illegal. Its your job to lie, cheat, and steal. You may be called upon to kill. If caught by our enemies, you stand a good chance of being killed. You will most certainly be tortured, not by loud music and waterboarding, the physical beating type. You're pay isn't necessarily all the great. This life is no James Bond film, sexy ladies aren't jumping into your bed. There is certainly some excitement, but you do this largely for your country. You take orders from up high and carry them out because this you believe to be necessary for the protection of those back home. You carry out your mission and do so in good conscious and faith because you know that when push comes to shove, your country has your back. That fact gives you confidence and allows you to continue your mission.

Now imagine, that government which once held your back, which promised to keep your secrets; that government has made your secrets public. Sure the President promises that he wont prosecute, but you know that this is not the end. All over, various groups are demanding more. They are demanding names, they are suing, they wont you to be punished. The head of the CIA also sees the writing on the wall, he realizes that the wall has been breached and that those on the domestic side that sympathize with the very ones that seek to kill them are rushing in through the walls.

Sure the President promises he wont prosecute, but actions speak louder than words. They have already compromised you by releasing top secret information, information on activities you assured would be kept secret. If he really had your back, why did he release them in the first place? Sure it looks good for him, but the potential damage to you? The little man on the front lines? Big boss man has sold you out for his own gain.

Suddenly, you get this sinking feeling, like maybe your government no longer has your back, like maybe the very people you have served and protected for so long now see you as the evil one....the enemy.

Don't feel so confident now do you? You're moral is low. The moral of your colleagues is low. People are afraid to carry out their missions, thinking that someday, they may end up in jail or dead carrying out the necessary evils to protect millions of lives.

In this sort of environment, its rather difficult to carry out your mission.

Listen. stuff like this is kept secret not because we should remain in ignorance, not because we can't handle the truth. Its secret, to protect those that because of the nature of their work and mission, must remain secret. Its secret to enable them to fulfill the missions that they must, to protect the lives of millions.

I think, that Obama's release of the documents has endangered us. This wont stop the terrorists from hating us. They hated us long before Bush, before Clinton, before Bush, before Reagan.....

They are ideologically opposed to any who disagree with them and their ultimate goal is not peace through cooperation, but peace through destruction of all that opposes them. This will do nothing to assuage their hate. It will remain and in the meantime we will have weakened the CIA, exposing it from attack within.

cds69
April 21st, 2009, 08:28 AM
The bottom line is this...

The legal definitions of "torture" are vague and nebulous. Politicians and bureaucrats are often proned to interpret such vagaries, they did so in accordance with their own agenda. But one can see why they would take the stance they took on waterboarding. It doesn't pose a serious physical threat to the subject, and it's a technique has been a part of the training of thousands of US servicemembers every year. (S.E.R.E. Training)

Prosecution would be asinine. It wouldn't serve the country's or the President's interests, as he would alienate much of the intelligence community and a portion of the military.

I think the release of the documents related to internal approval of enhanced interrogation was a complete mistake. The document recently released outlines at least ten techniques used to interrogate prisoners. Almost all of these practices are far from anyone's definition of torture. There was no good reason to reveal this information to our enemies.

ians25
April 21st, 2009, 08:57 AM
Dio, I do not think either of your two examples justifies ignorance or supports your claim of ignorance being bliss

First example:



Ignorance is bliss in such a situation. We could do what we needed to do and the safety men could rest easy knowing that doing what we do the WAY we did it payed the bills and kept them employed.

You knew what you were doing (no ignorance on your side) and they also knew what and how you were doing it, and continued to let you do so, i.e, no ignorance involved (both you and them knew what was going on) and the work was been performed as needed. In short, ignorance did not exist in this case among ALL the individuals involved in the situation.

Second example:



The point is that sometimes we might be quite wrong about our ideas about something based solely on our ignorance of the situation, and sometimes highlighting something from a position of ignorance does more harm than good, such as the Humane Society devising a method of castration that's actually much worse than the method they dislike.

If anything, this example rebuts your claim that ignorance is bliss, since if both the general public and the humane society were actually well informed about which of the two procedures is actually the least painful, they would probably switch to the appropriate one. i.e, ignorance in this case is what keeps the humane society enforcing an improper system, and the general public (exemplified by the tv anchor) demanding for an actually more harmful procedure to take place.

Conclusion:

First example, doesn't apply for all parts involved are actually aware (ignorance is non existent) of the methods and consequences of their acts

Second example, actually shows how ignorance allows for a more inefficient system to be upheld vs another more efficient one, i.e, ignorance is the opposite of bliss.

Dionysus
April 21st, 2009, 09:11 AM
You knew what you were doing (no ignorance on your side) and they also knew what and how you were doing it, and continued to let you do so, i.e, no ignorance involved (both you and them knew what was going on) and the work was been performed as needed. In short, ignorance did not exist in this case among ALL the individuals involved in the situation."Knowledge" in the sense that they KNEW we were doing things they wouldn't like. "Ignorance" in the sense that if they knew EXACTLY how we did it (which they didn't), they would be compelled by nothing other than their position to act, which they didn't want to do, so they chose to not know i.e. to remain ignorant.
If anything, this example rebuts your claim that ignorance is bliss, since if both the general public and the humane society were actually well informed about which of the two procedures is actually the least painful, they would probably switch to the appropriate one. i.e, ignorance in this case is what keeps the humane society enforcing an improper system, and the general public (exemplified by the tv anchor) demanding for an actually more harmful procedure to take place.False. The humane society's recommendation is predicated on their perception of the aforementioned bloody procedure. They insist on their method in spite of their knowledge and in favor of their ignorance.
"The simplest and most common method of tail docking is to apply a rubber ring (band) to the tail using an elastrator. Banding is a bloodless method of tail docking. The band cuts off the blood supply to the tail, and the tail falls off in 7 to 10 days. Some producers cut the tail off before it falls off...

..."Tails can also be cut off using a knife; however, this technique is not recommended because it can cause excessive bleeding."http://www.sheep101.info/201/dockcastrate.html


Second example, actually shows how ignorance allows for a more inefficient system to be upheld vs another more efficient one, i.e, ignorance is the opposite of bliss.Well, that's sort of the point, isn't it?

cds69
April 21st, 2009, 09:25 AM
Same reason Thích Quảng Đức (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Qu%E1%BA%A3ng_%C4%90%E1%BB%A9c) never uttered a sound when he burned himself alive in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration. You can condition yourself against just about anything, especially if you're a religious radical.

Dio, get real for a moment. Burning alive, especially when grossly accelerated with flammable liquids burns the nerve endings in just a few seconds, blocking their ability to transmit signals to the pain centers in the brain. The first inhalation he took after he lit himself likely would have seared his vocal cords and burned the interior of his lungs to the point that a second breath was impossible. Believe me, no one "conditions" themselves for burning alive.

Dionysus
April 21st, 2009, 09:29 AM
Dio, get real for a moment. Burning alive, especially when grossly accelerated with flammable liquids burns the nerve endings in just a few seconds, blocking their ability to transmit signals to the pain centers in the brain. The first inhalation he took after he lit himself likely would have seared his vocal cords and burned the interior of his lungs to the point that a second breath was impossible. Believe me, no one "conditions" themselves for burning alive.Well, the comment was taken from eye-witness accounts who said he never uttered a sound, and his face remained stoic and expressionless. That's about as real as it gets, hoss.

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/rjpAh4rqTv4&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/rjpAh4rqTv4&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

ians25
April 21st, 2009, 09:31 AM
"Knowledge" in the sense that they KNEW we were doing things they wouldn't like. "Ignorance" in the sense that if they knew EXACTLY how we did it (which they didn't), they would be compelled by nothing other than their position to act, which they didn't want to do, so they chose to not know i.e. to remain ignorant.

They were already compelled by nothing other than their position to act when as you admit they just knew you were doing something you shouldn't be doing, that was enough for them to act due to their position, regardless of them knowing exactly what you were doing, and yet they were already not acting on it.


The humane society's recommendation is predicated on their perception of the aforementioned bloody procedure. They insist on their method in spite of their knowledge and in favor of their ignorance.

So does the humane society know that the more "bloody" procedure is in fact less painful than the other, yes or no? If yes, first please provide your sources for this. If no, then the whole point is that they are ignorant about the fact that the more bloody procedure is less painful, and it is thus their ignorance (not the lack of it) what makes them advocate for a more painful procedure.

The point is then that in the first case there they were not ignorant about a fact that would compel them to act (as you said they knew you were doing something you shouldn't do) and yet they chose to do what was needed (even with the knowledge you were doing something you shouldn't be doing). and in the second case you still need to prove that the humane society is supporting a procedure that they know is more painful than another one. Until then, it remains that it is in fact their ignorance what drives them to do so. I.e, you haven't shown how ignorance was "helpful" in either situation.

Dionysus
April 21st, 2009, 09:34 AM
They were already compelled by nothing other than their position to act when as you admit they just knew you were doing something you shouldn't be doing, that was enough for them to act due to their position, regardless of them knowing exactly what you were doing, and yet they were already not acting on it.Look, Ian. I'm not going to get into a stupid semantics argument with you. You can either accept my described acceptance of ignorance on the part of the people I talked about, or not. But I won't sit here and debate something so glaringly obvious. It's a waste of my time, frankly.
So does the humane society know that the more "bloody" procedure is in fact less painful than the other, yes or no? I sourced it while you were posting. Sorry about that mate.

ians25
April 21st, 2009, 09:38 AM
Look, Ian. I'm not going to get into a stupid semantics argument with you. You can either accept my described acceptance of ignorance on the part of the people I talked about, or not.

If according to your own words "they knew you were doing something you shouldn't be doing" qualifies as ignorance, then yes I guess we will have to agree to disagree.



I sourced it while you were posting. Sorry about that mate.

The source you provided came from

Author: Susan Schoenian
Sheep & Goat Specialist
Western Maryland Research & Education Center
Maryland Cooperative Extension

I do not see how it relates to the humane society, again , until you prove that the humane society knows that they are advocating for a more painful method than others and yet continue to do so, it will in fact be ignorance what drives the humane society to do so.

Dionysus
April 21st, 2009, 09:46 AM
If according to your own words "they knew you were doing something you shouldn't be doing" qualifies as ignorance, then yes I guess we will have to agree to disagree.Fine, because it most certainly does. It was a case of "Don't ask. Don't tell."
The source you provided came from

Author: Susan Schoenian
Sheep & Goat Specialist
Western Maryland Research & Education Center
Maryland Cooperative Extension

I do not see how it relates to the humane society, again , until you prove that the humane society knows that they are advocating for a more painful method than others and yet continue to do so, it will be ignorance what drives the humane society to do so, not the lack of it.Again, that's my POINT, Ian. Their ignorance is causing harm in this case, which, if they'd just left well enough alone (and thus remained ignorant of how it was done i.e. "Don't ask. Don't tell.") then there wouldn't be the issue. Certainly they'd know something they dislike may be going on, but not knowing the details (staying ignorant of the details) would have left them happy.

ians25
April 21st, 2009, 09:52 AM
Fine, because it most certainly does. It was a case of "Don't ask. Don't tell.

I don't think its a don't ask don't tell case, in a don't ask don't tell case there is a possibility that the is no wrongdoing being done (you simply prefer not to find out whether there is or not), in this case, as you pointed they already knew for a fact that you were doing something you shouldn't, i.e, there wasn't an open door for doubt.


"Again, that's my POINT, Ian. Their ignorance is causing harm in this case, which, if they'd just left well enough alone (and thus remained ignorant of how it was done i.e. "Don't ask. Don't tell.") then there wouldn't be the issue.

Similarly, if they actually chose to inform themselves about the facts (i.e, not remain ignorant) they would find out that in fact the more bloody procedure is the least painful, and thus there wouldn't be an issue either, with the added advantage that they would in fact probably start advocating in favor of the least painful procedure (with the new information) and spread the benefits.

Dionysus
April 21st, 2009, 09:55 AM
I don't think its a don't ask don't tell case, in a don't ask don't tell case there is a possibility that the is no wrongdoing being done (you simply prefer not to find out whether there is or not), in this case, as you pointed they already knew for a fact that you were doing something you shouldn't, i.e, there wasn't an open door for doubt.

Similarly, if they actually chose to inform themselves about the facts (i.e, not remain ignorant) they would find out that in fact the more bloody procedure is the least painful, and thus there wouldn't be an issue either, with the added advantage that they would in fact probably start advocating in favor of the least painful procedure (with the new information) and spread the benefits.Okie dokie. ;)

evensaul
April 21st, 2009, 05:32 PM
This is not a necessary evil. The fact that we had to water board him almost 300 times and still got no information out of him attests to the fact that torture doesn't get you sh*t. We already know this, of course, from pure common sense.

I see you and others say this, but I know I've read several accounts where former CIA interrogators, those that would actually know, say that enhanced interrogation does work.

Here's one from today where President's own NID says the procedures worked:

"WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22blair.html?_r=1&hp

But the Obama administration didn't include that information in a condensed version of the memo released last week, when it made its wonderful announcement. Gee, I wonder why.

Spartacus
April 22nd, 2009, 07:17 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/20/cia.waterboarding/index.html

I don't know how to feel about this one. Part of me says "Yeah, the world ought to know" but another part of me says otherwise. I mean, what good does releasing such information do? It seems to me to bring unnecessary attention to a necessary evil.

Thoughts?

The fact that this memo was released shows how scared Obama and his people really are. Obama has the lowest approval/voter % of any modern president. Meaning only the peole who voted for him approve of his job performance.

He still has to run against Bush. That is the only purpose of the release of this memo.

The agents who did this were trying to stop the next 9/11 and the intel community was scared to death the next one would be nuclear.

The US should not have torture as a policy -- however that does not mean it needs to reveal every time that policy is not followed to the letter.

There are extraordinary circumstances when a democracy does not need to know everything that is done to protect it.

Why is it Americans have never heard of all the times US soldiers and Marines had to brutally kill enemies in bloody hand-to-hand combat? The numbers are much higher than most Americans would guess BTW. Do Americans need to know that US warfighters would sometimes in urban combat use sledge hammers, axes, tomohawks and other gruesome weapons to dispatch jihadists hopped up on adrenalin and other drugs? Jihadists who simply would not go down even after being shot with a full magazine of puny 5.56 round and kept coming at Americans in small rooms with long knives in their hands. In real life scenes akin to zombie movies.

Sigfried
April 23rd, 2009, 08:39 AM
The fact that this memo was released shows how scared Obama and his people really are. Obama has the lowest approval/voter % of any modern president. Meaning only the peole who voted for him approve of his job performance.

********. Back that up.


He still has to run against Bush. That is the only purpose of the release of this memo.

What you fail to comprehend here is that this is exactly the kind of thing Obama's supporters wanted when they elected him. Transparency and honesty regarding Americas practices.


The agents who did this were trying to stop the next 9/11 and the intel community was scared to death the next one would be nuclear.

The intel community was not scared to death. That is ******** again. Only foolish cowards would have been scared to death. Cautious, yes. Concerned, definitely. Guarded, hell ya. Scared, foolishness. It is fear and panic that lead us to take foolish actions. Strength and wisdom are what is called for. Not fear and anger.


The US should not have torture as a policy -- however that does not mean it needs to reveal every time that policy is not followed to the letter.

Ya and we should have the 2nd amendment but take away your guns whenever we feel like it. Sorry, but laws respecting our rights are there for a reason.


Why is it Americans have never heard of all the times US soldiers and Marines had to brutally kill enemies in bloody hand-to-hand combat?

Because killing someone with a knife is no worse than killing them with a bullet or bomb and soldiers are trained and expected to kill those we designate as enemies on the battlefield.


Do Americans need to know that US warfighters would sometimes in urban combat use sledge hammers, axes, tomohawks and other gruesome weapons to dispatch jihadists hopped up on adrenalin and other drugs?

Sure, they should have that information available and I'd wager it is. Is it a top secret that GI's have used meele weapons?


Jihadists who simply would not go down even after being shot with a full magazine of puny 5.56 round and kept coming at Americans in small rooms with long knives in their hands. In real life scenes akin to zombie movies.

Oooo scary Spart. I'm sure that is classified double top secret.

Sigfried
April 23rd, 2009, 08:41 AM
High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday..."


Hey we might have gotten even more if we beheaded their children or cut off their testicles and fed it too them. Lets get to work!

The point is we have moral standards and crossing them just because we are scared of Arabs with bombs is not acceptable in my book.

Vandaler
April 23rd, 2009, 09:05 AM
Much of the discussion on this subject revolves around the question on whither water boarding was necessary and effective.
Those that approve it claim (without support) that it was effective.

This Op-Ed in the NYT today is important, and asserts that waterboarding was not necessary.



It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.
We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.



There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified.
NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23soufan.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss)

This article cannot be ignored in this debate.

evensaul
April 23rd, 2009, 11:53 AM
Much of the discussion on this subject revolves around the question on whither water boarding was necessary and effective.
Those that approve it claim (without support) that it was effective.

This Op-Ed in the NYT today is important, and asserts that waterboarding was not necessary.


NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23soufan.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss)

This article cannot be ignored in this debate.

That is the opinion of one interrogator, who's opinion is contrary to that of President Obama's National Intelligence Director: “The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night."

So your source has an opinion not shared by the head of the intelligence agency tasked with the interrogations, after he received briefings from all sources he thought necessary. So, why is your low-level source better than the informed opinion of the NID who had the experience of all interrogators and officers available to him, not just your *former* employee who may or may not have a sour grapes issue?

Vandaler
April 23rd, 2009, 12:22 PM
That is the opinion of one interrogator, who's opinion is contrary to that of President Obama's National Intelligence Director: “The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night."

So your source has an opinion not shared by the head of the intelligence agency tasked with the interrogations, after he received briefings from all sources he thought necessary. So, why is your low-level source better than the informed opinion of the NID who had the experience of all interrogators and officers available to him, not just your *former* employee who may or may not have a sour grapes issue?

This is by no means a black or white issue so I won't try and make it one.

I do personally put a high value on the testimony of someone who was intimately involved in the process of extracting information though. His input is highly relevant and needs to be weighed against a whole host of other considerations.

evensaul
April 23rd, 2009, 12:33 PM
This is by no means a black or white issue so I won't try and make it one.

I do personally put a high value on the testimony of someone who was intimately involved in the process of extracting information though. His input is highly relevant and needs to be weighed against a whole host of other considerations.

Right, but I ask if his written statement is of higher value to you than the input that the Intelligence Director received from all available interrogators and other sources at his disposal, when he said there is no way to know the evidence could have been obtained in other ways? Which is a more credible and authoritative opinion? That of a former employee, or that of the current NID with all the current intelligence assets advising him?

Sigfried
April 23rd, 2009, 12:48 PM
That is the opinion of one interrogator, who's opinion is contrary to that of President Obama's National Intelligence Director: “The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night."

You make a logical error.

The fact that harsh treatment resulted in actionable information does not mean that the same information could not have been gained without resorting to it. Indeed the interrogators quote clearly shows that good intel could be gained without using these techniques. The burden would be to show these techniques are uniquely effective to justify thier use, not simply that the can produce results.

The people that set this policy learned it from us military training on how to resist such techniques when they are used to create false confessions. That is the primary use of such torture, to make people say and do things they normally would not. They are useful for forcing someone to do something specific "bark like a dog" not as a means to get people to tell the truth. Someone being tortured can easily just lie to get the torture to stop and that is exactly what they often do. The only real incentive to get someone to give you true information is to reward them when it proves out, then they have a motivation for truth. With torture you know well they will just keep at it to get the next "truth" from you so there is no intensive not to just lie every time you are tortured.


So your source has an opinion not shared by the head of the intelligence agency tasked with the interrogations, after he received briefings from all sources he thought necessary. So, why is your low-level source better than the informed opinion of the NID who had the experience of all interrogators and officers available to him, not just your *former* employee who may or may not have a sour grapes issue?

His source is someone that does interrogations for a living and has years of hands on experience. Yours is a manager who may well have never interrogated anyone in his whole life.

cds69
April 23rd, 2009, 12:55 PM
Vandaler, that was a very interesting article. I'm glad you posted it.

Regardless of where anyone stands on this issue, I think it's important to remember that the number one thing we should be trying to do is keep the country safe. My own personal opinion is that waterboarding isn't torture. But with that said, I have no problem whatsoever with Obama making the command decision to discontinue that interrogation method.

But the one thing I hope these people keep in mind is that there are other issues at hand that should be given some attention. Like the continuing wall between the CIA and the FBI. The article that was linked discussed that and other issues that should be addressed.

Vandaler
April 23rd, 2009, 01:44 PM
Right, but I ask if his written statement is of higher value to you than the input that the Intelligence Director received from all available interrogators and other sources at his disposal, when he said there is no way to know the evidence could have been obtained in other ways? Which is a more credible and authoritative opinion? That of a former employee, or that of the current NID with all the current intelligence assets advising him?

Honestly, I think the person the best capable of judging was someone who interrogated him under the old set of rules and was the one that was better able to get into his head. The person who penned the Op-Ed. was the one with the most intimate knowledge of the case.

Now, his superior may have other perspective on a wider range of issues, but I don't think he can be in a better position to know the intimate details of how far that detainee can be pushed under the old set of rules.

Spartacus
April 23rd, 2009, 01:48 PM
********. Back that up..

Obama's Disapproval Rating Reaches New High

http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2009/04/22/obamas-disapproval-rating-reaches-new-high/

Poll of change: Obama’s job approval slipping to ‘50-50’

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/2009_03_23_Poll_of_change:_Obama_s_job_approval_sl ipping_to_%E2%80%9850-50_/srvc=home&position=recent


Expressed as a percentage Compared to votes received Obama's approval rating after 100 days is lower Than Clinton and Bush 43's after 100 days. I had a Powerpoint that showed this, but can't seem to locate it...

Right now as a percentage -- just about the only people who approve of Obama's performance are the ones who voted for him. And that is very very low for modern presidents.

Sigfried
April 23rd, 2009, 02:26 PM
Expressed as a percentage Compared to votes received Obama's approval rating after 100 days is lower Than Clinton and Bush 43's after 100 days. I had a Powerpoint that showed this, but can't seem to locate it...

43s? you still havn't shown evidence of your claim.


Obama has the lowest approval/voter % of any modern president.

I'm not saying your lying but I want to see your source to see if its accurate. I rather doubt it but anything is possible.


Right now as a percentage -- just about the only people who approve of Obama's performance are the ones who voted for him. And that is very very low for modern presidents.

Really? So people who voted against Clinton and Bush thought he did a great job? That seems highly unlikely to me. Its when the people that voted for them abandon them you are in troubled territory.

evensaul
April 23rd, 2009, 04:11 PM
Honestly, I think the person the best capable of judging was someone who interrogated him under the old set of rules and was the one that was better able to get into his head. The person who penned the Op-Ed. was the one with the most intimate knowledge of the case.

He only has direct knowledge of the three months during which he used standard interrogation. He did not do the enhanced. And it appears that information was gained using enhanced techniques after he failed to get it using standard interrogation.

So...the former employee who evidently resigned or was fired after being pulled off the case for not producing enough results fast enough using standard techniques is trying to rebut the claim that those who took his place with other methods succeeded where he didn't. And you don't think he may have a sour grapes reason to offer that opinion...and no doubt get paid well for writing it? I'll bet now he gets invited on talk shows and probably gets a book deal. And would any of that have happened if he didn't make categorical statements rejecting enhanced interrogation? No, it wouldn't.

GoldPhoenix
April 24th, 2009, 07:09 AM
Excellent points. However, just for the sake of debate, let me run that out to an obvious absurdity.

Sure thing, Dio. But don't pretend like I'm not going to point out the reason why it's absurd.



If curing ignorance is indeed always a good thing, you should go to your child right now and explain, in detail, including all the photographic, audio and video aids you can find, all the ins and outs of all things sexual. Toys, stimulation, lubrication, ejaculation, oral play, man on woman, men on woman, man on man, woman on woman, women on men, anal, all that... because ignorance is never, under ANY circumstances, preferable to enlightenment, correct?

Obviously not. But then we're not talking about children here either (hence the aforementioned absurdity).

Actually, Dionysus, the reason why it is patently absurd and a fallacy of false analogy is because it fails to take anything into account other than "Why would I tell my kid this?"

This is not a question of telling your child information; because the most important problem with your argument is that you do talk to your children about sex and teach them about sex and sexual practices. Because in your argument, it is not a question of "when should we tell them?", not "should we tell them?".

The proper analogy that you should have made --but didn't because it eats your argument alive-- is "Should we teach our children about sex? I really don't want to, so I think I'll keep them ignorant about sex and if they find out, that's cool. We'll just let them discover it all out on their own."



However, in my life I have been in numerous situations where directive "X" was necessary, but at the same time there was really only one way to get it done which, strictly speaking, was unacceptable. Every time I got it done, and every time my boss knew how I got it done, and every time he didn't want to know about it. I knew the risk, I knew how to manage the risk, and I was willing to do "X" because I knew it was something I was capable of doing.

There have been other times where what appeared to have been unacceptable was actually common to the task I was doing. For example, I used to regularly work with a chemical called triethylaluminum (TEA or TEAL), almost every time under at least 500+ (often more) psi of hydraulic pressure.

The wiki will tell you that TEAL is pyrophoric which means it can ignite upon contact with air. This is false. TEAL absolutely does ignite upon contact with air. This stuff EXTREMELY volatile. I have never, ever, in ten years of working with it, NOT seen a fire when messing with TEAL.

Now, I worked in a polypropylene production facility housing 10 liquid-filled propylene reactors. Propylene is extremely flammable and each of our 6 large reactors held 120,000 gallons of it at 600 psi. Our process needed to be very dry to maximize the mileage of the catalyst we used, so we injected TEAL into the reactors to scavenge the moisture from it. The problem is that TEAL is delivered in 2000 lb bullets full of the stuff with an inerted head space (N2), so it ran out pretty regularly, which means you have to break containment on it pretty regularly. This means a fire in the middle of your process unit; your propylene process unit.

During my whole career out there, I never once saw a safety man present while changing out out a TEAL cylinder. I never WANTED to see a safety man out there, and the safety man never wanted to be out there either. Because if they had been out there, they would have insisted that the whole process for changing out the cylinder be changed and all kinds of checksheets be utilized and all kinds of equipment be made ready... all of which would stem from their ignorance of the process and their personal level of hazard tolerance by virtue of their role AND all of which would have needlessly interfered with the work that had to be done.

Ignorance is bliss in such a situation. We could do what we needed to do and the safety men could rest easy knowing that doing what we do the WAY we did it payed the bills and kept them employed.

Another example: Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) tells a story about animal husbandry in which he was involved. if you've seen the show, you know that how it works is that the worker does "X" and Mike observes, then he does it himself under supervision. In this case, it involved castration.

Before he did the show, because of the sensitivity of the subject, he investigated animal rights and how PETA says castration ought to be done. They said that the "humane" way to do it was to place a rubber band tightly around the sheep's tail, then the same way around the scrotum. This retards the blood flow to the parts in question and after a few days the parts fall off.

In this case, it was time to castrate a sheep. The farmer places the sheep's legs in the stirrups. He takes out a KNIFE, pulls back the scrotum, cuts off the tip, pushes up the skin, exposing the testes, goes in and BITES them off.

At this point he says he does something he says he's NEVER done before. He says "Stop. Hold it." Then he asked "Why the hell are you doing it that way?"

"That's the way it's done." says the farmer.

"Yeah but, why... I want to do it the right way." Rowe says

"Oh, you mean like the Humane Society?"

"YES, like the Humane Society. Something that doesn't involve blood and shrieking sheep."

"Ok."

So the farmer takes another sheep, applies the bands as I described above, and sets the sheep on its way.

It takes a few steps and falls down. Takes another step and falls down. Takes another step and falls down. STAYS down, in obvious distress.

"How long is the sheep like that? Rowe asked

"Umm I dunno. A DAY."

"Well how long before the parts fall off?"

"A WEEK"...

Meanwhile the sheep that endured the bloody procedure earlier was pracing around, the bleeding had stopped, and it was more or less on about its business.

The point is that sometimes we might be quite wrong about our ideas about something based solely on our ignorance of the situation, and sometimes highlighting something from a position of ignorance does more harm than good, such as the Humane Society devising a method of castration that's actually much worse than the method they dislike.

Some people think spanking children is wrong. I think those people are idiots who're raising their kids to be the sort of pussified nancies who, as adults, advocate the disallowance of the game of "tag" in school because of the possible adverse side-effects of the "singling out" the game requires.

There are necessary evils in this world, and sometimes full disclosure is actually a bad thing. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Having said that, however, I'm still torn about this issue of waterboarding. Part of me says that there's no situation where torture is ok. But on the other hand, I can imagine situations where I'd do much worse than mere torture if I thought it would help me achieve my ends (any parent can understand this, most certainly).

None of this does a thing to prove your point. Bad bureaucracy making bad rules is no reason to keep bad bureaucracy simply ignorant. As a general rule, it's better to enlighten the bureaucracy and make it change. Not always practical, but always it is better.


But that's an entire side point. This not a question of "Hey, is torturing better?" The example you gave is where the farmer was more merciful to the sheep; torture is not merciful. This is not about if they are treating people better by breaking the rules. They're breaking the rules to hurt people.

Vandaler
April 24th, 2009, 12:26 PM
He only has direct knowledge of the three months during which he used standard interrogation. He did not do the enhanced. And it appears that information was gained using enhanced techniques after he failed to get it using standard interrogation.

Yes, it does appear that information was gained with enhanced techniques, but it does not seem that this information was of good quality occording to the Op-Ed. I'm all for the declassification of the results of those tougher interrogations so that we know once and for all if it was worth it or not.


So...the former employee who evidently resigned or was fired after being pulled off the case for not producing enough results fast enough using standard techniques is trying to rebut the claim that those who took his place with other methods succeeded where he didn't.

Your making many assumptions here, none of them are supported. We can only know the success of the tougher interrogations if they declassify the results of them.


And you don't think he may have a sour grapes reason to offer that opinion...and no doubt get paid well for writing it? I'll bet now he gets invited on talk shows and probably gets a book deal. And would any of that have happened if he didn't make categorical statements rejecting enhanced interrogation? No, it wouldn't.

He would simply be rebutted if what he claims is not true.

Dionysus
April 27th, 2009, 10:09 AM
Sure thing, Dio. But don't pretend like I'm not going to point out the reason why it's absurd.Okie dokie. What's with all the swagger, BTW? Are you really trying to intimidate me? Seriously? :lol:
None of this does a thing to prove your point. Bad bureaucracy making bad rules is no reason to keep bad bureaucracy simply ignorant. As a general rule, it's better to enlighten the bureaucracy and make it change. Not always practical, but always it is better.Support this. As something as simple as a manager, I've sometimes found it remarkably better to keep the gen-pop ignorant as to what's going on behind the scenes in order to prevent total chaos in the ranks, not to mention needless interference which hinders the process (whatever process is being kept hush-hush).

An example is force-ranking of employees for the purpose of reduction in force. I've been involved in this and I can tell you that being faced with deciding which of your friends of 15 or more years gets to find themselves on the job market at 50 is a very unhappy bit of business. But at the same time if we were to openly disclose our methodology there would be absolute chaos in the ranks. I've seen rumors get out before and when that happens, human resource management becomes bedlam. People telling lies, people stabbing each other in the back, people going out on false disability (which results in more overtime, which increases the stress on the overall force, which negatively impacts the overall safety, which increases the odds of a major accident... etc.)
But that's an entire side point. This not a question of "Hey, is torturing better?" The example you gave is where the farmer was more merciful to the sheep; torture is not merciful. This is not about if they are treating people better by breaking the rules. They're breaking the rules to hurt people.Well that's the point, I would argue. The whole nebulous line between what's torture and what's not is the point in question. I mean, waterboarding is basically scaring someone, and if scaring someone constitutes torture, then torture is a very impotent thing indeed.