Author Topic: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?  (Read 11927 times)

LCMS87

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #105 on: December 16, 2014, 12:21:08 PM »
I read an interesting and thoughtful take on the issue by Rachel Lu over at the Federalist.  The article is titled:  Torture Is Unacceptable; But What Is Torture?

Here's a teaser to encourage you to click the link:

"Being interrogated by American intelligence need not be a pleasant experience for enemy combatants. They are not honored guests. If interrogators have reason to believe that a suspect has critical information, it seems reasonable to allow them to intimidate or manipulate him in various ways. Averting terrorist attacks is important enough to justify certain breaches of decorum.

"At the same time, we should never allow ourselves to forget that enemy combatants are still human beings. . . .  They are not citizens of our nation, nor are they prisoners of war in the proper sense. Still, they are human. This means that they possess that intrinsic dignity and worth that is proper to all human life. Seeing the moral significance of that basic reality is perhaps the most important line that divides a humane and rational society from a terrorist organization or a brutal dictatorship. . . .

"Philosophically, the distinction between aggressive interrogation and torture is critical. Aggressive interrogation is at times a regrettable necessity, but the apologist for torture simply jettisons any plausible claim to respect human life as such.

"In application, the line between these is anything but bright. . . ."



Voelker

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #106 on: December 16, 2014, 02:07:33 PM »
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.

Perhaps because it's not mentioned?

Point being, don't assume.
Funny.
Do you think interrogating people with a "good cop, bad cop" routine, making them think their friends have already talked, intimidating them with a threatening demeanor, etc. is torture? It certainly can lead to severe mental anguish n some people, and probably in some cases walks a fine line or even crosses it. But the question, "Is using a good cop/bad cop routine torture?" is a different question than "Do you approve of good cop/bad cop interrogation?" which is a separate question still from "Do you approve of torture?" Therefore, it is entirely disingenuous to say that those respondents who said they approved of certain interrogation techniques therefore approve of torture. It is assumes an answer to a prior question that is in dispute. Several people in the poll of reasoned, "I approve of these interrogation techniques because I judge them not to be torture," which is completely different from thinking, "I approve of these techniques because torture is justified."
As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less. We don't tell teens to keep going with what feels good until it's clear that it's sex; we teach them, instead (at least I hope we do), not to get near the point where "is it sex?" or "isn't it sex?" even comes up as a question. The same ought to be the case here. Polling on fuzzy moral matters does much more to advance the cause of one, predictable side of the scale than it shines a light on what people are actually thinking. We've seen this in the sex/euthanasia debates of the past 30-40 years ó the side claiming that the question is too fuzzy to properly call has nearly always been the side to gain ground.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #107 on: December 16, 2014, 02:25:50 PM »
As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less.

And I have yet to see where anyone has taken the "less" route. As the video I cited shows, mainly Rove's statements, and even as President Bush's book states, they took great care in reviewing the interrogation procedures before initiating them, including a justice department review. Furthermore, the current justice department reviewed the situation some time ago and came up with nothing to pursue.
Don Kirchner

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Voelker

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #108 on: December 16, 2014, 02:29:48 PM »
As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less.

And I have yet to see where anyone has taken the "less" route. As the video I cited shows, mainly Rove's statements, and even as President Bush's book states, they took great care in reviewing the interrogation procedures before initiating them, including a justice department review. Furthermore, the current justice department reviewed the situation some time ago and came up with nothing to pursue.
Sing along with "Ode to Joy": law law law law law law law law...

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #109 on: December 16, 2014, 02:30:52 PM »
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Dan Fienen

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #110 on: December 16, 2014, 02:35:17 PM »
Another question came to mind.  Where is the line between due diligence oversight and political grandstanding?  It somewhat weakens the moral superiority of action if moral outrage is suddenly discovered when it is also politically advantageous to be outraged.  Do we really want our government to be run on the basis that any tough call can be reviewed at any time in the future on the basis of new standards discovered by political advantage.

There are two questions here.  Is torture ever morally acceptable.  And just what constitutes torture?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #111 on: December 16, 2014, 02:38:32 PM »
One thing that just struck me in this discussion (not so much here but in the wider discussion in the media and blogosphere).  Wouldn't the rule that torture is never morally acceptable a moral absolute?  I thought that one of the selling points of post-modernism is that there are no moral absolutes.  That at best morality is situationally determined? 
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #112 on: December 16, 2014, 02:50:05 PM »
One thing that just struck me in this discussion (not so much here but in the wider discussion in the media and blogosphere).  Wouldn't the rule that torture is never morally acceptable a moral absolute?  I thought that one of the selling points of post-modernism is that there are no moral absolutes.  That at best morality is situationally determined?

Interesting point. Furthermore, are not foundational moral imperatives of the natural law? Mentioning the natural law usually drives most libs bonkers.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Voelker

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #113 on: December 16, 2014, 03:24:24 PM »
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #114 on: December 16, 2014, 03:38:00 PM »
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.

And the burden is not on me to prove anything to your satisfaction, although I have made a prima facie case. It is up to you to show us where anyone has taken the "less" route.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Voelker

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #115 on: December 16, 2014, 04:07:47 PM »
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.
And the burden is not on me to prove anything to your satisfaction, although I have made a prima facie case. It is up to you to show us where anyone has taken the "less" route.
That's not at all what I meant by "less" caution. But you know that ó the "each I was dotted and every T crossed" argument is at once a deflection and another attempt at justification via the law.

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #116 on: December 16, 2014, 04:14:11 PM »
Let's try again:

As the article cited by LCMS87 points out, the line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture" is "anything but bright". But don't use that as an excuse to keep kicking the slider over so that "torture" doesn't register at all. Fuzziness is a reason for more caution in deciding what action to take, not less.

And I have yet to see where anyone has taken the "less" route.  Can you give us any evidence that anyone involved in the situation has done so? That is, those in charge of the interrogations, since it is acknowledged that there were a few particular instances when personnel violated the legal parameters without consent.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 04:21:03 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #117 on: December 16, 2014, 04:15:32 PM »
Were you expecting the gospel?   :o
Nope. But suggesting that everything is copacetic because the government decided that what the government wanted to do passed government muster simply doesn't fly. That state of affairs leads only to greater and greater mischief. As for the lack of prosecutions, this has two roots: first, of course the succeeding administration doesn't want to prosecute anyone, as it would set a precedent for their successors to prosecute them. Second, removing the legal justifications for these acts that are in place would snatch what the administration obviously regards as a useful tool out of its own hands.
And the burden is not on me to prove anything to your satisfaction, although I have made a prima facie case. It is up to you to show us where anyone has taken the "less" route.
That's not at all what I meant by "less" caution. But you know that ó the "each I was dotted and every T crossed" argument is at once a deflection and another attempt at justification via the law.
"Justification via the law" is a bad phrase to use in this context because it mixes meanings. Nobody's spiritual salvation is even being talked about, and that is the only context in which justification according to the law is impossible and contrary to the Gospel. At issue is purely whether an interrogation technique falls under the category of torture, which is a matter of legal interpretation. If I accused you of copyright violations in this forum and you responded by quoting fair usage laws, it would hardly be appropriate for me to then claim your response was simply an attempt at justification according to the law.

Voelker

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #118 on: December 16, 2014, 05:12:24 PM »
"Justification via the law" is a bad phrase to use in this context because it mixes meanings. Nobody's spiritual salvation is even being talked about, and that is the only context in which justification according to the law is impossible and contrary to the Gospel. At issue is purely whether an interrogation technique falls under the category of torture, which is a matter of legal interpretation. If I accused you of copyright violations in this forum and you responded by quoting fair usage laws, it would hardly be appropriate for me to then claim your response was simply an attempt at justification according to the law.
1. You may be right that this is stretching things. Yet we can easily think of all sorts of ways in which people attempt to justify themselves before men via the law — yes, I did do x to y, but according to the letter of this law, x is not illegal, and thus right for me to do — which is a false conclusion, as legal ≠ right. When this mindset is in play, people easily walk away self-justified, thinking that as they were shown to not have broken the law, that they are good, not only with men, but with God. The phrase that keeps coming to mind — and yes, its context makes its use iffy as it is from the explanation to the 9th commandment, which by no means appears to apply here — is "show of right". That is all that the legal-so-OK argument is — a show of right — and those who falsely cling to that as self-defense are going to be quite immune from being shown that they just might have been in the wrong, and thus repent (should they really be in the wrong; I'm speaking in general and not just about this case) as they already have been certified to be in the right.

2. Your example using fair use laws isn't apt in this case, for except in those (no doubt done by "rogue elements") cases Pr Kirchner speaks of "when personnel violated the legal parameters without consent", I'm quite sure that those involved have been scrupulous in adhering to the letter of the law. That is a very different matter, and one much more easily answered. Justification according to the law (human in this case, of course) is not showing that the law was actually followed/not broken, and thus simply not illegal, but using the fact that the law was not broken to then argue that that makes what was done right/correct/beyond criticism/whatever, a claim which that fact alone cannot bear.

LutherMan

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #119 on: December 16, 2014, 05:23:50 PM »
It's interesting that you suggest what you do. I see nothing about torture in the poll questions.
Doubly so that you don't see torture anywhere in those "interrogation methods" being polled about. Do notice that LutherMan didn't even blink at those methods being called such.
And you get that how from a link I posted without commentary?