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Author Topic:   Is the media hurting the war?
Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6810
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 16 of 145 (408135)
06-30-2007 9:11 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by taylor_31
06-30-2007 9:05 PM


Many people - conservatives in particular - find it offensive or even treasonous when someone admits that America has made a mistake. They think that whatever America does, it must be the righteous thing to do.

Well, that's exactly the problem with having this sort of conversation with your friend. The war in Iraq is, in many respects, beside the important point, which is that Americans are no smarter nor more moral than anyone else in the world, and that Americans are just as likely to be manipulated by those in power to support nefarious ends.


Q: If science doesn't know where this comes from, then couldn't it be God's doing?

A: The only difference between that kind of thinking and the stereotype of the savage who thinks the Great White Hunter is a God because he doesn't know how the hunter's cigarette lighter works is that the savage has an excuse for his ignorance. -- jhuger


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taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4237 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 17 of 145 (408137)
06-30-2007 9:18 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Chiroptera
06-30-2007 9:00 PM


The so-called "ticking bomb scenario" which, in the entire history of torture, has never occurred?

I personally don't know if it has ever occurred or not.

In fact, the odds of finding the right person who knows exactly what the details are of a terrorist attack - not to mention a person who would tell the truth under torture, which is rare enough - are astronomically high. In addition, intelligence we obtain from detainees is always suspect and almost worthless without corroborating information.

But, hypothetically, the question still stands. Would it be moral to use every tactic we have to obtain answers if the situation was critical? I understand that the scenario is far-fetched and might not be realistic, but we never know what will happen.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Chiroptera, posted 06-30-2007 9:00 PM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Chiroptera, posted 06-30-2007 9:33 PM taylor_31 has responded

Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6810
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 18 of 145 (408138)
06-30-2007 9:33 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by taylor_31
06-30-2007 9:18 PM


Would it be moral to use every tactic we have to obtain answers if the situation was critical?

No, because then it would be a label that would be automatically slapped on people who are to be tortured. We know that this will happen because torture that is actually occurring right now is already being justified by this very claim of imminent threat.

If people decided that preventing the murder of Santa Claus is justification for torture, then Guantanamo Bay and the prisons of Iran and North Korea would be filled with people suddenly accused of attempted santacide.


Q: If science doesn't know where this comes from, then couldn't it be God's doing?

A: The only difference between that kind of thinking and the stereotype of the savage who thinks the Great White Hunter is a God because he doesn't know how the hunter's cigarette lighter works is that the savage has an excuse for his ignorance. -- jhuger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by taylor_31, posted 06-30-2007 9:18 PM taylor_31 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by taylor_31, posted 06-30-2007 11:00 PM Chiroptera has responded

taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4237 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 19 of 145 (408150)
06-30-2007 11:00 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Chiroptera
06-30-2007 9:33 PM


We know that this will happen because torture that is actually occurring right now is already being justified by this very claim of imminent threat.

You're right; "imminent threat" is a flexible phrase, and people can bend it to their will. I don't know of any particular case where it has been abused, but it is ludicrously easy to postulate one, and I have no doubt that it's happened.

If torture could only be approved as a last resort by high-ranking officials, then it might limit the abuse. Perhaps the National Security Council could unanimously approve. Of course, abuse is still possible, so maybe accountability is necessary. A member of the NSC could annually testify over the Council's torture approvals.

I would love to totally abolish torture, but I'm reluctant because I'm worried that it might be necessary at some tragic point.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Chiroptera, posted 06-30-2007 9:33 PM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
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 Message 21 by Chiroptera, posted 07-01-2007 12:05 AM taylor_31 has responded

Vacate
Member (Idle past 2914 days)
Posts: 565
Joined: 10-01-2006


Message 20 of 145 (408155)
06-30-2007 11:30 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by taylor_31
06-30-2007 11:00 PM


taylor_31 writes:

I would love to totally abolish torture, but I'm reluctant because I'm worried that it might be necessary at some tragic point.

Lets say that tomorrow a red cross worker, a journalist, and a few 18 year old American soldiers where to be found in Iraq tortured brutally. Is such a thing wrong, or was it simply nessesary for the gathering of information on the enemy (Americans)?

You're right; "imminent threat" is a flexible phrase

I would say that its right on the mark from the side of the Iraq fighters. Outgunned and invaded by a foreign superpower. If they don't win this war they might all be speaking english someday! Does that give them the right to torture?

Personally I am against any torture regardless of what one side considers nessesary.


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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6810
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 21 of 145 (408161)
07-01-2007 12:05 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by taylor_31
06-30-2007 11:00 PM


I would love to totally abolish torture, but I'm reluctant because I'm worried that it might be necessary at some tragic point.

I don't understand the problem. How is this different from any other time one evaluates and weighs risks in one's life? When I was in Africa, I was worried about the health risks that we knew were associated with the malaria prophylaxis that we were using. But I was more worried about the actual risks of actually getting malaria.

What we do is take the risks that maybe, perhaps, it is possible that it just might happen that one day, somewhere, there might be a suspect who knows about a ticking bomb and will divulge the information under torture even though such a thing has never yet happened in real life, and weigh it against the risks of people using a legal loophole to torture people as a means of terrorizing a subject populace which we know is actually occurring right this very minute in a great many different nations.

To me, this is obvious. One assumes risks that we know are very small in order to mitigate against risks that we know are great. Where in your life do you purposely put yourself at risk of a known, identifiable danger in order to protect yourself from a theoretical possibility that you read in a badly written spy novel? Why should we as a society put ourselves at risk from a common, existing danger in order to protect ourselves from cheap screen writers' fictitious fantasies?

Edited by Chiroptera, : tags


Q: If science doesn't know where this comes from, then couldn't it be God's doing?

A: The only difference between that kind of thinking and the stereotype of the savage who thinks the Great White Hunter is a God because he doesn't know how the hunter's cigarette lighter works is that the savage has an excuse for his ignorance. -- jhuger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by taylor_31, posted 06-30-2007 11:00 PM taylor_31 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by taylor_31, posted 07-01-2007 1:05 AM Chiroptera has responded

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8866
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 7.5


Message 22 of 145 (408168)
07-01-2007 12:49 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Vacate
06-30-2007 11:30 PM


The "necessity" of torture
You might note that, as I understand it (and I'm ,fortunately, no expert in this area), torture is of no value in obtaining useful information.

Think about what a person will do to avoid severe torture. They'll make up "information" and say most anything. If they do know something you might get some accurate information mixed in there but you don't know which is which and if you have someone who really doesn't know anything it is all made up.

Edited by NosyNed, : spelling error


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taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4237 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 23 of 145 (408173)
07-01-2007 1:05 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Chiroptera
07-01-2007 12:05 AM


Thank you for your message; I'm pretty much convinced. The banning of torture is a net gain for our country, especially morally.

Also, if the incredibly unlikely "ticking bomb scenario" ever shows up, and I doubt it will, and the government if forced to torture a detainee, and a city is saved, then I'm sure that the American people and authorities will understand.

John McCain wrote it well:

But I don't believe this scenario requires us to write into law an exception to our treaty and moral obligations that would permit cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. To carve out legal exemptions to this basic principle of human rights risks opening the door to abuse as a matter of course, rather than a standard violated truly in extremis. It is far better to embrace a standard that might be violated in extraordinary circumstances than to lower our standards to accommodate a remote contingency, confusing personnel in the field and sending precisely the wrong message abroad about America's purposes and practices.

Torture should be illegal.

Again, thanks for explaining this issue for me.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Chiroptera, posted 07-01-2007 12:05 AM Chiroptera has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by Chiroptera, posted 07-01-2007 10:13 AM taylor_31 has responded

Jaderis
Member (Idle past 1739 days)
Posts: 622
From: NY,NY
Joined: 06-16-2006


Message 24 of 145 (408181)
07-01-2007 3:44 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-29-2007 9:44 PM


Is the media hurting the war effort?

This is begging the question. The real question is what exactly this "war" is all about.

I suppose if one supports the notion that we are over there to achieve some lofty goal of bringing democracy (read: a "free" market economy where American companies can be "free" to plunder national resources and labor forces) and that America can do no wrong when its "interests" are at stake, then I suppose that one would view any kind of honest reporting to be treasonous.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by taylor_31, posted 06-29-2007 9:44 PM taylor_31 has responded

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 Message 27 by taylor_31, posted 07-01-2007 10:45 AM Jaderis has not yet responded

Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6810
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 25 of 145 (408228)
07-01-2007 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by taylor_31
07-01-2007 1:05 AM


Thanks. I wasn't sure if I stated my opinion very clearly or not. McCain does say it a bit more eloquently than I did (although he has the advantage of being a professional politician, heh).

Getting back to the OP:

He said that the media has blurted out every policy and tactic that we propose; this is akin to "telling the defense what play the offense will run."

What examples does this clown your friend have in mind?

Edited by Chiroptera, : unspellcheckable grammar typo


Q: If science doesn't know where this comes from, then couldn't it be God's doing?

A: The only difference between that kind of thinking and the stereotype of the savage who thinks the Great White Hunter is a God because he doesn't know how the hunter's cigarette lighter works is that the savage has an excuse for his ignorance. -- jhuger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by taylor_31, posted 07-01-2007 1:05 AM taylor_31 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by taylor_31, posted 07-01-2007 11:04 AM Chiroptera has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 26 of 145 (408230)
07-01-2007 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by taylor_31
06-30-2007 8:55 PM


I find torture reprehensible. But are there scenarios where it might be necessary to our protection?

Conceivably, but I don't see how legal protections against torture would prevent torture from being used in that situation. It's hard to imagine Jack Bauer about to slap around a terrorist and saying "you know, there's a bomb about to go off somewhere in LA, but dammit, according to the Military Code of Uniform Justice, I can't lay a hand on this guy. Oh noes!"

No, of course not. In that situation torture is used no matter its legal status. But the routine use of torture just makes it harder to imprison terrorists - because none of the testimony of a tortured person is admissible in court.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by taylor_31, posted 06-30-2007 8:55 PM taylor_31 has responded

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taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4237 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 27 of 145 (408232)
07-01-2007 10:45 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Jaderis
07-01-2007 3:44 AM


My friend thinks that the military operates better without the media.

He cited World War II as an example, saying that the media had more technological restraints back then. "We won that war, didn't we?" he thinks.

Obviously, America had some trouble with Vietnam. He blames the media, which he assumes "softened" the public, and blames the politicians, which made America "play nice" somehow.

His overall point was, why does America have to play by a set of rules when our enemy doesn't?

I say because we're America and we should set a moral standard for the rest of the world. Besides, those pesky moral "rules" don't make much difference in the war effort anyway; it's strategies that make a difference.


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taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4237 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 28 of 145 (408235)
07-01-2007 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 26 by crashfrog
07-01-2007 10:34 AM


But the routine use of torture just makes it harder to imprison terrorists - because none of the testimony of a tortured person is admissible in court.

Because the testimony of a tortured person is junk without corroborating intelligence, right? For instance, when John McCain was tortured to name his flight squadron members, he named the linemen of the Green Bay Packers!

I think it's far better for our country's image to outlaw torture, because like Chiroptera wrote, its potential for abuses are great, yet the potential for real usefulness - i.e. ticking-bomb scenario - are terribly small. And if it did become necessary, then it wouldn't stop anybody for using it, like you wrote.


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 Message 26 by crashfrog, posted 07-01-2007 10:34 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

Vacate
Member (Idle past 2914 days)
Posts: 565
Joined: 10-01-2006


Message 29 of 145 (408236)
07-01-2007 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by taylor_31
07-01-2007 10:45 AM


His overall point was, why does America have to play by a set of rules when our enemy doesn't?

In hopes that the next conflict does not have the same results; both sides resort to torture to get unreliable information.

If for some bizarre reason the U.S. invaded Canada, based on what I have seen on the media, I would fully expect to get tortured if I got captured. This is the legacy that the U.S. has to contend with for the future. You say that "we should set a moral standard" - it has been set, and I would rather die than be captured by the american military. Scary stuff going on in dark corners.

The reason for playing by the rules, or setting a high moral standard is that it has an impact on any future engagement.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by taylor_31, posted 07-01-2007 10:45 AM taylor_31 has not yet responded

Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6810
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 30 of 145 (408237)
07-01-2007 11:00 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-29-2007 9:44 PM


One more point:

He also claimed that if America had had today's media during World War II, we would be "speaking German right now."

This is, of course, ridiculous. There is a lot of myths about exactly what threat Germany and Japan posed to the U.S., and exactly which American interests these two countries would have threatened. (But an actual invasion of North America was not one of these threats.)

Nonetheless, your retarded cousin friend does have a point. I just watched Grave of the Fireflies last night, a Japanese animated movie about the end of WWII from the viewpoint of a couple of Japanese orphans. There were two scenes showing U.S. bombers dropping incendiary devices on civilian residential areas (and one scene where a U.S. fighter is strafing civilians). It is known that the Allies adopted a policy of targeting civilians in order to weaken their resolve to carry on their war effort.

Now it is possible that if the U.S. media had a policy of accurately reporting the results of these terror campaigns (and presenting the nationals of these countries as human beings instead of inhuman beasts), the public may have developed an aversion to these policies and forced their leaders to cancel them. In that case, it might have been possible that the civilians in these countries would not have been as weary of the war, and perhaps the invasions of these countries would have been a bit harder to undertake.

But in a democracy, isn't it up to the electorate to weigh the risks and benefits of proposed policy decisions to determine what the proper policies should be? If our leaders can only carry out their policies by withholding information from the electorate, isn't that against the very principles of democracy?

-

Imagine having Normandy on the evening news across the country, he said. Would the people have supported the war effort?

Even if this were true, what does it mean? That there are limits to the sacrifices that people are willing to make? That your pet lemming friend is so smart that he can determine what sacrifices people should be required to make?

Your friend is an ass. Like most conservatives, your friend hates the very idea of democracy. Like most conservatives, he knows what is right and what is wrong, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to enact his ideology into policy, even it means lying to the voters, even if it means writing the rules to keep a minority in power, even if it means jailing and torturing dissidents.


Q: If science doesn't know where this comes from, then couldn't it be God's doing?

A: The only difference between that kind of thinking and the stereotype of the savage who thinks the Great White Hunter is a God because he doesn't know how the hunter's cigarette lighter works is that the savage has an excuse for his ignorance. -- jhuger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by taylor_31, posted 06-29-2007 9:44 PM taylor_31 has not yet responded

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