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News Frontline on PBS

  1. Oct 19, 2005 #1
    Last night an updated edition of Frontline dug into the myth that only seven lower ranking soldiers were at the heart of the problems with the treatment of prisoners in Iraq. Some of the program was a rehash of what we already know, but some information was surpising, but not really. Most of us know that the torture question went all the way to the top.

    General Miller: (from gitmo, sent to Iraq to take charge of prisoner treatment)

    "Treat them like dogs until they believe that they are dogs. If they don't believe that they are dogs, you have not done your job."

    If this link works there is a lot of good clickable info and video's.


    What have we become?
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2005 #2


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    CNN just did a special report on torture as well, but I don't think the transcripts are available yet. It did not reflect well on Bush and administration.
  4. Oct 19, 2005 #3
    Frontline came right out and said that Rumsfeld wrote the manual on torture. It was then approved by our now Attorney General.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2005
  5. Oct 20, 2005 #4
    it raised the questions of what methods are acceptable to save american lives and how can a document a contenint away really restrict soldiers who feel their lives are threatened by the lack of cooperation from a prisioner.

    some will say that sadam would have done much much worse to prisions who were thought to have done the same stuff and that its for the greater good. i disagree because if there are people who find these extream measures of interogation acceptable, how far can things be potentialy pushed?
  6. Oct 20, 2005 #5


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    I was listening to a talk news anchor who suggested that torture should be used depending on the situation. For example, if we had the top guy responsible for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks in custody two days previous, should we do whatever it takes to get the information that could have saved all those lives?
  7. Oct 20, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    If one knew with certainty that person X is guilty, then it would be a little easier to justify, but life rarely if ever provides for such certainty, and instead what happens is that for every guilty person, some number of innocents will suffer. In the process you have sacrificed the distinction between us and them.
  8. Oct 20, 2005 #7


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    I don't think anyone in this forum would want to live in a society where the police or other government agency could simply arrest and then torture one based on a hunch, suspicion, or innuendo. There is such a concept of due process (e.g. rules of evidence) and in the definitive document, the US Constitution, there is a recognition of certain basic or fundamental human rights.

    Do we exclude outsiders from those same rights?

    The US was established in part because of the unjust treatment by the British government.

    Personally I am opposed to torture and also the death penalty.
  9. Oct 20, 2005 #8


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    That's a policy that could be used pretty effectively. Your business competitor can't afford to buy you out? Well, a little tip from a friend of your competitor and you'll just disappear for awhile. Without the bread winner around, your family will probably sell a lot cheaper than you would. Of course, with the threat of torture or actual torture, I'm sure you could think of at least one acquaintance with strange enough habits to make him a good suspect to turn in to show you're cooperating.

    Even without the threat of torture as a tool, it wasn't that long ago that some guy named McCarthy managed to create an atmosphere that ruined quite a few people's careers.

    Losing over 3,000 in the 9/11 attacks is a tragedy. Deciding the threat of attack is worth taking away the civil rights of 250,000,000 is an even worse tragedy.
  10. Oct 20, 2005 #9
    Sure we could have done that, but that wasn't the case.

    This was the situation in Iraq in regards to insurgents:


    Then of course we had the thousands who were tortured so that we might obtain information on the non existing WMD.

    The current trend is to torture people in their own homes in front of their families.

    From a breifing by General Geoffrey Miller:
  11. Oct 20, 2005 #10


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    Well, the way it works now is that they are excluded from Constitutional protection since they don't live under the Constitution. I'm a little ambivalent about that since it is true, in the practical sense, that they don't live under the Constitution, but if we truly want to export our version of democracy, we should apply it everywhere we can.

    But as far as the treatment of POWs themselves goes, there are separate rules that dictate their treatment, and though we haven't signed all the Geneva Conventions, we do recognize most of the rules in them, so violating them would not be a good thing.
    I am opposed to torture, but in favor of the death penaly.
  12. Oct 20, 2005 #11


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    Yes - those living outside the US are not subject to the Bill of Rights, technically. On the other hand, morally everyone is entitled to the same basic human rights, and that is how I treat people and how I expect to be treated.

    I do not distinguish people by citizenship/nationality. I care as much for anyone living in any country as I care about my friends and family. Besides I have many close friends living throughout the world.

    And certainly, if the US government truly wants to export the US version of democracy, the US should apply it everywhere it can! So why is that not the case?
  13. Oct 20, 2005 #12
    Unfortunately hypocricy is the norm in most societies, and the examples of laws being passed and subsequently broken are far too numerous to list, and will continue to happen.

    The United States, of course, should treat citizens of other nationalities ethically the same as citizens of the United States. Morally it isn't right for the United States to condemn torture yet practice it (either directly or by proxy) on citizens of other states.

    But yet it happens anyway... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition
  14. Oct 20, 2005 #13
    Essentially, yes they are entitled to due process and other fundamental rights under the Constitution.

    Under the Constitution, all treaties signed by the U.S. are official U.S. law under the Constitution.

    Since we have signed the Geneva Conventions, and due process and fundamental human rights are protected under the Geneva Conventions, they are also U.S. law.
  15. Oct 21, 2005 #14
    one of the points made in the report was that interrogators were not getting information to save lives so they were encouraged to use more invasive methods. there was still vary little useful information coming out of detainees so the pressure on interrogators continued to rise. the discrepancy is that A) most of the people doing interrogations are not well trained (including military police with no specialized training in the area of interrogations) and B) if someone doesn't know anything useful they are potentially going to get brutalized for not supplying useful information. there is also the issue of using private contractors who are not limited by the same rules as the FBI, CIA or military.
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