On air: Is torture ever justified?

If you’ve ever wondered what waterboarding looks like then here’s ex-Navy SEAL Kaj Larsen getting some treatement. We hope to be speaking to Kaj on the show tonight . . .

. . .  He’s admitted to being the mastermind of the September 11th attacks. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants say they want to plead guilty at a pre-trial hearing at Guantanamo Bay, where they are being held. If you read the western press there is little coverage of the alleged tortured he endured during his time there, however elsewhere in the world the focus is very much on torture.

This extract from Al Jazeera….

“The US claims Mohammed confessed to masterminding the attacks and to involvement in about 30 other plots, but his lawyers say the confession was extracted by torture. The CIA acknowledged earlier this year that Mohammed had been interrogated using the controversial “waterboarding” technique which simulates drowning.”

One argument put forward is that torture can be acceptable in certain circumstances – for example to gain information from terror suspects that could save innocent lives. But can information discovered through torture be trusted?

Are there better measures that would secure the same information? However uncomfortable it makes us feel do we have accept the realities of intelligence gathering? Or does that make us no better than the perpetrators?

This article highlights the differences in the way this story has been reported. This blog argues the case for and against.

136 Responses to “On air: Is torture ever justified?”

  1. 1 Neil McGowan
    December 9, 2008 at 15:22

    No, torture is never justified.

    Can you hear me, yankees?

    Come and waterboard me to get me to change my mind, you gutless yankee cowards??

  2. 2 Roy, Washington DC
    December 9, 2008 at 15:26

    People will say whatever you want them to say when they’re being tortured. Information obtained via torture is not credible.

  3. December 9, 2008 at 15:30

    It is still difficult to make an accused person make full confessions if they have the skill to hide the truth. Torture proves wrong when the tortured person comes out innocent after all evidence.

    As it is difficult to read a person’s mind and to extract all information from them about sensitive issues, any harsh method is acceptable as long as it isn’t life threatening or causing permanent handicap. However odd it may sound, torture should be about inflicting “safe” pain, with the threat that it will be ongoing until the required information is acquired.

    As long as there are ruthless criminals, there should be ruthless methods to deal with them, at least until all evidences are gathered. Torture becomes wrong when it is used for the slightest offences or suspicions. Torture shouldn’t also be used to scare people showing political discontent and democratically aspiring for change. In other words, torture should be banned in case of political prisoners asking for peaceful change. If not, torture will remain just a form of barbarism, a shame for human values and rights.

  4. 4 Shaun in Halifax
    December 9, 2008 at 15:38

    If you hurt a man enough, you can get him to confess that he hates kittens, kills babies, murders, rapes, that he’s Spongebob Squarepants, Harry Potter, the Duchess of York, Thor God of Thunder, pretty much anything you can think of.

    A confession through torture is not a ‘confession.’ It’s a way of making the pain stop. Or getting some sleep. Or getting some food. Or getting the jumper cables unhooked from his ‘boys.’

  5. 5 Shaun in Halifax
    December 9, 2008 at 15:40

    @ Neil

    C’mon, man. If you are going to be angry, at least direct it at the right people. Be mad at the VP and his ilk. It’s not only Americans on this blog, and I’d reckon most educated people see the uselessness of torture.

  6. 6 Monica in DC
    December 9, 2008 at 15:46

    @ Neil…
    Chill out. I’m American and completely against it.

  7. December 9, 2008 at 15:47

    This is one of those WHYS topics where people will argue their case from their own perspectives. Kind of like conducting a boxing match where the fighters throw punches from their corners.

    First the word “Torture” must be defined. “Is it ever acceptable to mentally and physically torment somebody with techniques that will never kill them, but make them wish they were dead?” Is water boarding torture? Sleep depravity? Starvation? Temperature stretching? denying cloths, sanitation, or “modern comforts”? Light deprivation?

    First the boxers must meet and touch gloves in the middle of the ring before they start swinging, or else the fight will be pointless. The crowd will determine a winner solely on personal perspectives.

  8. 8 Monica in DC
    December 9, 2008 at 15:51

    … against torture, that is… not being American.

  9. 9 Meg in Canada
    December 9, 2008 at 15:56

    @ Shaun,

    Very well said. A confession gained through torture is no confession at all.

  10. 10 Brett
    December 9, 2008 at 16:07

    @ Neil

    C’mon, man. If you are going to be angry, at least direct it at the right people.

    Yea really, like the Redsocks lol

    And no, torture is in most cases unjustifiable. Of course there is always an exception… The US and other leaders just seem to make more ‘exceptions’ than should be made.

  11. 11 Tony From Singapura
    December 9, 2008 at 16:10

    Torture is like prostitution – __it happens, nobody can stop it.

  12. 12 gary
    December 9, 2008 at 16:21

    Torture is simply another bastard child of ignorance, cowardice and war. The whole family lacks justification.

  13. 13 Brett
    December 9, 2008 at 16:24

    Redsox, socks, i dont know, I don’t watch baseball…. Sorry to anyone offended haha

    In any case, torture, not a fan of that either…

  14. December 9, 2008 at 16:26

    James from Kenya here
    I think manageable torture is justified but where to draw the line in torture is the issue.I know that a man can crack in seclusion.However the man may just confess falsely just to get out of it.Torture is about getting to the truth but which other way can we extract the truths from villains? Y’all tell me WHY’s BLOGGERS.

  15. 15 Brett
    December 9, 2008 at 16:35


    What country are you from? And does your country have a spotless human rights / torture-free record?

    Please, educate me.


  16. 16 Roy, Washington DC
    December 9, 2008 at 16:40

    @ Brett

    So when is it justifiable? What are the exceptions?

  17. December 9, 2008 at 16:43

    Torture, Better Part of Interrogation!
    TEHRAN – How else can you get a conviction! If something goes wrong, if there is an explosion, if there is a robbery or arson over here, someone must serve as a scapegoat. If there is an arrest, it is understood that the suspect gets slapped around, kicked and hung upside down. Worse still, the judicial and executive branches often overlap. You can’t get a conviction unless you get the suspect to court, but Police inquiry and report determine that. So much for Justice. There are also instances where the defense has hampered with ‘due process of law’ or bribed judge or magistrate alike.
    The real issue in American justice is that it is clumsy, time consuming, expensive and ineffective. It simply can’t deal with emergencies or contingency cases.
    The majority of US attorneys make a living and prey on the flaws and loopholes in American common law and penal system. Billions of dollars are awarded each year in sundry insurance cases which simply wouldn’t be worth considering, let alone reach court in most of Europe.

  18. December 9, 2008 at 16:48

    It is possible, maybe even justifiable to use non-conventional methods to obtain confessions. But what amounts to torture? It is not easy to say what. Detectives worldwide have perfected the art of making suspects confess. If a detective uses psychological tricks to make a suspect confess, does this amount to torture? If threats are used; is it torture? If he goes ahead and inflicts pain on the suspect, this certainly is torture. But, if this leads to a confession and human lives are subsequently saved I find it reasonable to justify the use of torture.

    But who is to say when it is justifiable to inflict pain or use non-conventional interrogation techniques? If there is such a person or institution then well, go ahead. I am certain many will agree that no person or institution can lay claim to such an ability.

    If our society is to remain a humane and one based on the rule of law, all forms of torture must be forbidden.

  19. December 9, 2008 at 16:52

    Hi gang ! :-)… If we accept to torture ‘THEM’, then that’ll make us no different from ‘THEM’… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  20. December 9, 2008 at 16:59

    Even strong men break under torture. I am not a fan of his personally, but even John McCain said what they wanted him to before he left his captors. Torture is the worst way in the world to try and get to the truth. The only thing it does is get you to the truth the torturer wants, not truth.

    Stop torture!

    @ Brett- I prefer White Sox, they don’t run in the wash! lol!!

  21. 21 Shaun in Halifax
    December 9, 2008 at 17:02

    @ James Karuga

    Treating them like a decent human being might work. You think being locked up and beaten might make a fellow a little antagonistic or defiant?

  22. 22 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 17:04

    @ Neil

    How brave of you, your big words, insulting an entire nation with your big, brave words, hidden behind a monitor. And we all know the British have never tortured before 🙄

  23. 23 VictorK
    December 9, 2008 at 17:10

    Neil’s position, for all its foaming hysteria, is probably quite representative: torture is wrong and worth denouncing, but only when Americans do it. People are noticeably slower to make an issue of the much more common torture elsewhere in the world.

    It’s absurd to deny that torture can’t sometimes work and yield valuable results. The question is whether – even allowing it to be effective – there is still a moral case to be made against it.

    My two objections to torture are (a) that it makes us as barabrous as our Islamic terrorist enemies (who torture routinely, not that Western liberals ever notice), and (b) torture should be unnecessary if only we are prepared to take tough decisions in other areas (e.g. a ban on Muslim settlement in Western countries).

    A compromise, if Western resolve in the fight against terror continues to be corrupted and undermined by Liberalism, is to keep torture illegal but provide a defence of ‘justification’ where it leads to useful intelligence or where the circumstances compel it (e.g. the need to discover, Jack Bauer-like, the whereabouts of a dirty nuclear bomb).

    Only the spinelessness of Western liberals re other policy options makes it necessary to contemplate torture.

    This Victor Hanson piece gives a more balanced assessment of the issue http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson120505.html

  24. 24 Donnamarie Leemann
    December 9, 2008 at 17:13

    Hi, World Have Your Say,

    Torture is never justified in civilized society. As an American citizen, I am deeply ashamed that President Bush and his minions have carried out torture in the name of the American people.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  25. 25 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 17:17

    Also, some more of the spineless consider “humiliation” to be a form of torture. So for some islamist fanatic, him being around women in bikinis would be considered “torture” by liberals. So we really need to distinguish from physical/mental harm with just preferences.

    Would it be considered torture to feed muslim prisoners pork?

  26. 26 Brett
    December 9, 2008 at 17:17

    So when is it justifiable? What are the exceptions?

    Ask the US Government (and many many other governments and leaders around the world), they seem to think theres quite a few of them.

    My comment was more based on current realities however skewed they may be and less on what I actually feel.

  27. 27 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 17:23

    Just to keep things in perspective, during WW2, millions of soviet POWs died or were killed in Germany custody. The stats are that over 50% of Soviet POWs died while prisoners, yet people are whining that the US is the worst abuser of human rights. MILLIONS of soviet POWs died. MILLIONS. Keep that in mind when you whine about how inhumane the USA is.

  28. 28 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    December 9, 2008 at 17:23

    Torture is NEVER justified! That is from a Yankee in the mid west. Please never assume that ALL people in the USA are for it. I am horrified by it and very angry that my government would EVER do this thing. It makes us no better then the people who did attacked us on 911.

    Best regards,

  29. December 9, 2008 at 17:24

    @ VictorK
    To make this an issue of “Barbarous Islamic Terrorists” Vs “Western Liberals” is belittling this or missing the point altogether. It is those who take a stance like yours, seeing the world in black and white, who advocate for torture and other ignoble policies.

  30. 30 Anthony
    December 9, 2008 at 17:53

    @ Neil

    Haha, have you seen Gitmo, those guys get treated great, and have the best food and medical care that they EVER have. And from what I’ve heard I still don’t think Waterboarding tourture. I wouldn’t want it done to me though.

    If they want to kill themselves in the name of Islam, then they should be ready to be tourtured (REALLY tourtured, not waterboarding, I’m talking hot pokers and fire) in the name of Islam too.

    And does tourture work? REAL tourtue does, where you feed them a bunch of drugs, brand them, tie them down with meth in their systems and keep them up for days while watching propaganda, and other stuff that I won’t put (so that my post will be approved). Waterboarding is tourture like reality T.V. is reality.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  31. 31 Trent West
    December 9, 2008 at 17:56

    I agree with those that say that torture is a terrible thing. My only problem is what do you do if you capture someone who you know or highly suspect knows of imminent danger towards you or your comrades? Yes, you might be able to get the information with other techniques if you had time. Do you wait to be attacked and possibly killed while standing up for your values? I do not know if I will be able to do that; you all must be better human beings than me.

  32. 32 Archibald in Oregon
    December 9, 2008 at 17:57

    I bet that torture policies would change real quick if the heads of state all over the world were subject to them, which is not a bad idea, considering all of the misinformation and lies they have told to all of us. Any proponent of torture deserves nothing less than the same. Violence is not inherent in our species, it is only that we choose it………..Torture of your fellow human beings or any other being on this planet is an abomination to all living things. There is no valid argument for the use of torture………

  33. 33 Jennifer
    December 9, 2008 at 18:02

    Re: Is torture ever justified?

    No; never!

    Instead, let the attackers know that they are the victims. Make them feel comfortable no matter what while they provide details of how they have been victimized which led them to fly to another country and take the lives of innocent people-men, women, and children- they had never met for their religion! That’s the way to go! Oh my bleeding heart can take no more!

    No concern is given for the innocent lives that are lost at the hands of these people for their religion. Instead, concern is given to people who have taken innocent life. If given the change, I bet they would do it again and again…….It is a shame that people choose to show such great concern for the criminals instead of the true victims.

    Maybe what is forgotten is that these people are not in any way remorseful nor do they simply target a few people. They seek to kill as many people as possible. I would imagine that they would not hesitate to take down the same people who feel they are victims. And people think that having a rational conversation with them would provide accurate information?

  34. 34 po od
    December 9, 2008 at 18:04

    Torture isnt justified nomatter the reason, circtmstance or place.
    U’ll have to be on the recieving end of such nerve wreching pain to understand why!

  35. 35 Tom Polasek
    December 9, 2008 at 18:06

    As a torture suvivor myself, I can say that no it doesn’t. You will do and say anything to make it stop.

  36. 36 Mohammed Ali
    December 9, 2008 at 18:10

    In my opinion no form of human suffering caused by another person is acceptable. Torturing people for any reason is not justified even if the person comitted the worst unimaginable crimes. People should be treated with dignity to show them that others who they maltreated should not have been treated in such manner.

  37. 37 bjay
    December 9, 2008 at 18:11

    Is torture ever justified?


    One scenario:
    Let say there is an ‘Atom Bom’ in the adjacent room.
    You are needing the Access Code, ETHER OR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The probabilities would be justified after the fact.
    That moment in time the good old over used cliche comes to mine;
    DON’T SCREW IT !!!?
    Good Luck!
    After all you can humor Me, I might be fickle.

    bjay connotation with accent !!!

  38. 38 Tom D Ford
    December 9, 2008 at 18:18

    @ Neil McGowan December 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    ” No, torture is never justified.

    Can you hear me, yankees?

    Come and waterboard me to get me to change my mind, you gutless yankee cowards??”

    Neil, it is our American Conservative Republicans who are the problems, the rest of us are decent people opposed to torture and all the other abuses of human rights and war crimes committed by Conservatives.

    The decent Americans are just as angry as you or even more so.

  39. 39 jamily5
    December 9, 2008 at 18:20

    But, Dwight makes a good point:
    What is considered torture?
    Is seclusion torture?
    It is certainly ineffective,
    Many people will attest to its ineffectiveness and makes men say anything for the pain to stop.
    Besides, the ethics of using pain to make someone say what you want them to say: regardless of the truth is inhumane.
    But, all who torture are assuming the tortured man guilty.

  40. 40 jamily5
    December 9, 2008 at 18:23

    The show and the WHYS team will all be put to bed by the time I get to watch/listen.
    I can only read comments here.
    Are there some interesting points from the guests???
    Can’t watch/listen to it at work.

  41. 41 David in Oregon
    December 9, 2008 at 18:35

    Before Americans do the right thing put a stop once and for all to the use of torture, I think it would be instructive to use some of the Bush administration’s “harsh interrogation techniques” on the Bush administration.

    Many of the issues we have been kept in the dark about….the run-up to the Iraq invasion, plans to divvy up war profits, the identity of the architects of our energy & environmental policy, the extent of spying on innocent citizens…..are certainly matters of National Security to Americans. Therefore, the Bush administration should agree that torture is justified as a means of discovering what has been going on. That way we provide some consequences to stonewalling the public, and we are able to see patterns we need to avoid in the future.

  42. 42 VictorK
    December 9, 2008 at 18:46

    @Jake: you need to learn how to read more attentively.

    I’m not opposing ‘good’ liberals to ‘bad’ terrorists (I dislike both).

    I’m not advocating torture (did you actually read what I wrote?).

    I am saying that torture can be justified on strictly utilitarian grounds, but there are – in my opinion – still better reasons against it in that it is contrary to the values and substance of Western civilisation. The war against terror would be meaningless if we (the West) allowed ourselves to be barbarised and reduced to the moral status of our Islamic terrorist opponents by legalising torture. I don’t condemn the enemies of the West for using torture: that’s what they’re all about. But the West represents a higher level of human achievement and needs to conduct itself accordingly.

    Because something can be done and can be done effectively – like torture – isn’t necessarily a reason for doing it. The only circumstance in which I would, reluctantly, condone torture is when other, more effective, policy options for dealing with Islamic terror have been precluded by liberal dogma. But even then it would still be illegal and the only concession would be to provide a legal defence to a charge of torture.

    I’ve no idea what you’re talking about when you refer to seeing the world in black and white terms. Perhaps you don’t think Islamic terrorism is evil?

  43. December 9, 2008 at 18:46

    Spanish Inquisition anyone?
    We haven’t really progressed very far.
    Sad but true.

  44. 44 viola
    December 9, 2008 at 18:47

    Whatever happened to sodium pentothal, hypnosis. and lie detectors? Or are they also considered to be torture? What is legal and effective in getting life-saving information from people seeking martyrdom?

    The current scenario expressed in black and white terms: The beasts seeking martyrdom are the guys in the black hats who will commit any atrocity to get their way. The war against terrorism is carried out by good guys in white hats who seek to foil the bad guys. If the good guys can only use “good” tactics but the bad guys can use any atrocity they can dream up, it is following a cowboy movie script as written in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The script being followed in the world today is similar to a so-called “adult” western that seeks to portray the world in a more nuanced and realistic way.

    In wars, really bad things go on. So let’s all learn how to make peace.

    What’s with this martydom nonsense anyway? Is it like a soldier throwing himself on top of a grenade to save his fellow soldiers? Or does it come from Hubris?

  45. December 9, 2008 at 18:50

    Actually Archibald in Oregon makes a good point; I vote GWB and his merry bandits be tortured, then we might know the ‘truth’… about quite a few things that seem like rather flimsy porkies!

  46. 46 Archibald in Oregon
    December 9, 2008 at 18:54

    @ Jennifer

    Define “these people”. Do you mean christians? Our military? Gov’t officials? Say what you mean and be more specific if you want to advocate, in a backhanded way, for torture under certain circumstances. Or do I misunderstand your inference. When does the cycle end? After you have punished the criminals, the victims are still dead and you now have more blood on your hands. Why is this better?

  47. 47 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    December 9, 2008 at 19:02

    The only possible justification for torture would be that it saves lives by extracting information from would-be terrorists.

    Whereas the only place I’ve heard quoted as a source for this conclusion is the television program @$, (oops- I meant 24) and whereas any legitimate souce with experience in gathering intelligence says that torture doesn’t work, I have to conclude that you are asking a rhetorical question and the answer is no.

    But do correct me if I’m wrong.

  48. 48 Ogola Benard
    December 9, 2008 at 19:06

    I dont see the use of torture for you may force somebody to accept for the sake of pleasing ? however, if the Gatimo says khalid mohammed pleads guilty, then they have the envidence since its classified and classified to them means out of press ! A lawyer deems to save his client meanwhile!
    A frustrated man facing torture will accept anything,most likely after giving up for his life and he won’t reveal the real need and may even misdirect this section! This common knowledge has been seen from many people facing other charges at the dock.
    The ear to the ground does not fall short of a mother or a baby who has a right to feed, see and also contribute to others well being as it they attain the age! Intelligence has got a role , a security, a police and a governance! The world is a modern place, people go to the moon, others celebrate and new features on the crust are discovered – Everybody should be vigilant!

  49. 49 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    December 9, 2008 at 19:06

    @ Malc Dow:

    Bddrump. Psssshhhhhhhh!

    Put that man in “the comfy chair.”

  50. 50 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:08

    I don’t think there is a distinction between mental and physical torture, but I think people lump together “humiliation” into being considered “torture” and when something is that subjective, humiliation could be something like having a female interrorgator, a woman touching you, not being allowed to pray, lying about what direction is east, stuff like that.

  51. 51 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    December 9, 2008 at 19:10

    @Malc Dow @ 18:46, that is.

    Lest ye be confused.

  52. 52 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:11

    What your guest describes is humiliation, but not torture. If that were the case, every prisoner in the US would be under “torture”. I’ve never been to jail, but I know what happens. Do you think a body cavity search isn’t humiliating? So is every prisoner in the US being tortured for that reason alone, let alone solitary confinement?

  53. 53 audrey
    December 9, 2008 at 19:13

    If you believe in torture, can you do it or would the torturing come down to some other poor soul?

    If you can do it, what does that say about you?

  54. 54 Rashid Patch
    December 9, 2008 at 19:15

    No. Torture is never justified. Under no circumstances. Period.

    This question was settled 60 years ago, as far as international law was concerned.

    The Dershowitzes of the world don’t like that, and keep wanting to figure out reasons to do it. “ticking bomb” scenarios, etc.

    Think about this: What is the mentality of those who want to re-consider whether torture is ever justified? The only possible reason to consider the question again is to diagnose and treat those who want to try to justify torture. Their mental illness constitutes a danger to society as grave as that of those who commit it.

  55. 55 Brian, Washington State
    December 9, 2008 at 19:16

    People will say whatever it is to make the pain stop. With this in mind, torture is useless. The information you do get is unreliable at best.
    Moreover, torture is unproductive to any cause. Keeping angry people together in prisons (or whatever) with these conditions will breed hateful thoughts about you in people who might not otherwise have no cause to hate.
    I feel that it is the torturer that benifits from torture, perhaps satisfying his own hate.

  56. 56 Ogola Benard
    December 9, 2008 at 19:17

    Being in a cell alone is torture .

  57. 57 Peter liu
    December 9, 2008 at 19:19

    If I need to torture someone to save lives , I will beat the hell out of him. However it should not be use in vengeance or use in court.

  58. 58 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:20

    The US didn’t kill 100s of thousands of people. If ou are going to throw out statistics, don’t make up lies to prove your point

  59. 59 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:22

    So we can clear things up, can you ask your gitmo detainee who he thinks is responsible for 9/11? This should go towards credibility.

  60. 60 CJ McAuley
    December 9, 2008 at 19:23

    I would appreciate one example where torturing someone has ACTUALLY saved lives.

  61. 61 Archibald in Oregon
    December 9, 2008 at 19:24

    Yes it has Steve, just not all at once………

  62. 62 Anthony
    December 9, 2008 at 19:26

    @ steve

    As a result of the U.S. actions, yes, at least that many people died.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  63. 63 Chuck
    December 9, 2008 at 19:28

    The USA/UK both claim to be Christian nations. Christianity bans the use of torture. When it is convenient for political expediency, the Christian card is played to incite public backing for policy, but the Christian label is denied when it is not convenient. Any political leader who permits this type of torture to take place while in office is committing a sin, and he should be denied communion — as should anyone who votes for him knowing that he has allowed such torture to take place.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  64. 64 Archibald in Oregon
    December 9, 2008 at 19:31

    When a dog kills a chicken on a farm, the common practice is to tie the dead chicken to the dog and make it drag the stinking carcass around until it learns not to kill chickens. Maybe we could apply this to terrorists instead of torturing them into suspect confessions. I have no problem with people owning their crimes in such a way, no violence necessary.

  65. December 9, 2008 at 19:33

    if you’re a fan of the Inquisition, you should love torture as a way of getting people to say anything and convincingly so – mediaeval barbarism fits the neocon’s like a glove

  66. 66 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:33

    @ Chuck

    christianity bans the use of torture? Can you please let the inquisitors know that?

  67. 67 Fred S.
    December 9, 2008 at 19:34

    Torture can never be justified, period. And the USA did kill 100,000s of people using 9/11 as an excuse. Please tell me, which terrorist blew up WTC Building 7?

    Thank you.

  68. 68 Rob G
    December 9, 2008 at 19:35

    Steve – the US killed over a million civilians during WW2,and in the “Global War on Terror”,it’s already into six figures. The facts are there if you care to look with a little rigour.

    Too many are assuming that the “suspect” being tortured is guilty. Even if he is,it’s unjustified. More often than not,he’s just a suspect – and not guilty of anything.

  69. 69 Brett
    December 9, 2008 at 19:35

    You know, I used to get my little brother to say I was better than him at playstation by putting him in a headlock if he beat me in whatever game we were playing….

    Of course we were just joking, but after awhile he would say whatever I told him to….

    I mean, im just saying….

  70. 70 Miyamoto Musashi
    December 9, 2008 at 19:37

    The use of the issue of torture to spread disinformation is a common propaganda tool in world history. Whether Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is doing it, or someone from Illinois, the impact is as worrisome. An old adage may ring true in considering the overall reliability of any of these propagandists… If one lies in any instance, it can be assumed that they would lie in all instances. Khalid lies in spreading the incredible falsehood of “100s of thousands of people killed in Iraq”, typical radical Muslim propaganda and exactly the now proved false numbers used concerning the Serbian assaults in the Kosovo region. Those littering their overviews and speech with off-handed slander toward Bush are similarly discredited. Especially troubling is the actual effectiveness of these disinformations and the apparent reliance these fifth-columnists have in the short memories of all world citizenry.

  71. 71 Tom D Ford
    December 9, 2008 at 19:37

    It is folly to allow right-wingers to indulge their wild “Chicken Little; the sky is falling” fantasies of “ticking time bomb” scenarios, and let them make policies, laws, and regulations for our real world based on their fear-mongering nightmare daydreams!

    Since the facts are that torture is both illegal and does not work, the real question is; where does the right-wing fetish for torture come from? Why are right-wingers so enthusiastic to abuse other humans? How did right wingers get so psychologically damaged that they want to abuse and damage other humans?

  72. 72 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:38


    The US said WMD was the reason for invading iraq, not 9/11. Oh wait, are you a conspiracy person? I guesss you are. Interesting the people who are against torture are the conspiracy people/terror sympathizers.

    You lose ALL credibility when you go into the conspiracy nonsense.

  73. 73 GB
    December 9, 2008 at 19:38

    No, categorically no! If we sanction and perpetuate such barbarism, what separates us from the ‘monsters’ ? That aside, how credible is the information that is obtained via torture? Assuming that it is effective (which I don’t believe, although I am open to correction on this point) do we restrict it solely to governments engaged in war? What about regular law enforcement? Should they be allowed to torture if it would prevent some heinous plot from materializing? Are we prepared for our service men and women to be subject to torture, if captured? What about they innocent persons who may be tortured and subsequently damaged beyond repair?

    No, the end does not justify the means. We have succumbed to fear and seem prepared to throw out the baby with the bath water…

    I am basing my opinion on the UN Convention Against Torture that defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions.”

  74. December 9, 2008 at 19:39

    The torture may seem correct but the question is about the truth, what is truth and what isn’t?
    The example o 9/11 is not a very good one because the attacks were an inside job so even if you have “terrorists” confessing the truth will never be what really happened there.
    In the movies you can use the torture, in the real life is just unacceptable!

  75. 75 prashanth
    December 9, 2008 at 19:39

    i’m an indian and affected badly by the people who died in the mumbai attacks and my first reaction to the one captured terrorist amjad was that he be tortured with all measures to find out the people behind the attacks and other information … but i learnt that the terrorist was trained in torture and disinformation techniques and he had no remorse …. but in such a situation the best thing is to use a narcoanalysis method where under drugged state plus hypnosis the success rate of finding the truth is higher … i guess as technology and psychology progresses rapidly with studies we can find a painless and a 100 percent success with the truth we are trying to find from the captured person.

  76. 76 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:39

    @ Rob G

    The multiple hundreds of thousands of casualties in iraq are not credible. You make it seem like the US was the only belligerant in WW2. I guess Germany and Japan were complete, innocent angels who never killed a civilian. Oh that’s right, they only murdered MILLIONS, but since they aren’t the USA, let’s ignore that, focus on the US. Let’s also bash Israel while we’re at all. More liberal whining.

  77. 77 Tom D Ford
    December 9, 2008 at 19:42

    @ Ogola Benard December 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    “Being in a cell alone is torture .”

    And how about meditating religious monks?

  78. 78 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:43

    So funny, the conspiracy people came out of the woodwork on this one. So you have the far far lefties against torture because they think 9/11 was an inside job.

  79. 79 Rosa Jorge
    December 9, 2008 at 19:45

    the whole idea of torture is pure brutality…I’m educated, sensible..make a living. Probably have only hit some one once… my sister in a tussle. Violence is not who or what I am or promote. But should someone connect electric probes to my ears, eyes, water board me, hang me upside down, and threaten to skin my mother? ….I’d confess to anything! and so would you! so how credible would my confession be??

  80. 80 John in Salem
    December 9, 2008 at 19:45

    If the objective is a confession, then no. If the objective is to save a life – if you had someone who had knowledge of a victims’s location and that victim would die if not found – then torture might be necessary but it must never be sanctioned outright or legalized. Anyone using torture for such ends should have their actions judged after the fact.

  81. 81 Gerry
    December 9, 2008 at 19:47

    The question as posed assumes that terrorist extremism is the problem. Actually Western extremism and wars of conquest which have killed millions are the problem. Terrorism is the response. Are we ever going to get real about this?

  82. 82 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:47

    Is your guest saying that most gitmo detainees are killed?

  83. 83 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:50

    My friend is an FBI agent, and he was speaking with a terrorist suspect, not in a formal interrogation, but he asked the suspect “why do you want to kill us?” and he replied “because you exist”. He didn’t sound very remoreseful like your guest claims. It had nothing to do with US policy, Israel, anything, simply the guy was so brainwashed with hate that he wants to kill simply because we exist.

  84. 84 Rebekah
    December 9, 2008 at 19:52

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. (Gandi) Yes these terrorists hurt America very deeply, but when we treat them with the same aditude it lowers us to their level. Revenge is not Justification.


    Vancouver, WA

  85. 85 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:55

    @ Rebekah

    While Gitmo isn’t a Park Hyatt, I assure you, americans treat it’s prisoners a lot better than the terrorists keep theirs. Would you raather be treated like a prisoner at Gitmo ot get beheaded like Daniel Pearl was. Why is there less outrage with the deliberate kidnapping and murder of someone due to his religion than for waterboarding some jihadi?

  86. 86 Steve
    December 9, 2008 at 19:59

    Not torture and harm pows during WW2?

    German pows in Soviet POW camps and the vice versa had an abysmal survival rate, about 50%.

    That Japanese would execute prisoners. They would march them until they died. They would make them dig their own graves, then kill them. US and Japanese troops would cut off the heads of their enemies and stuff their genitals in their mouths.

    There was plenty of torture, and MUCH WORSE torture in the past.

  87. 87 Amar
    December 9, 2008 at 20:00

    I ask people who are against this, when your family member is attacked, and you son is missing, you have an idea that he knew the plan to kill your son.

    Will you use methods to protect your son?. If not you are not an human being.

    When you are dealing with animals, you cannt use human ethics.

  88. 88 Sudarsana
    December 9, 2008 at 20:00

    I suppose people are missing the point, yes the torture is necessary to make the culprit to accept his actions untill that it is very fine. also maybe to get some infor about their very near immediate programs or actions by these groups.

    but any torture to extract any info after lapse of some time is of no use, even the information given by these people may not be true, because the tigers might have left that den.

    so if 911 was happened in 2001 even if catch and interogate a person after three months that information is of no use.

    Also the front line people who involve in these attacks or things are not power full in these organisations, you can imagine the Mumbai terrosits had done all that for mere leass than USD1500/- so you can imagine, what would their hirarech.

    So to the extent to know from they come and to know what a particular mission’s requirements, to that exetent these detainees can answer.

    Beyond that the intelligence of the country need to work and not just relying on the statements or information provided by these individuals.

  89. 89 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    December 9, 2008 at 20:08

    @ Steve
    There was plenty of torture, and MUCH WORSE torture in the past.

    Just because others used torture in the past does not make it right. Two wrongs to not make a right!

  90. 90 Lauren
    December 9, 2008 at 20:11

    @ Amar

    I understand what you’re getting at but the simple fact is that you’re NOT dealing with animals, you ARE dealing with a human being. Just because the person has done horrible things or has information about something, that doesn’t change the fact that he/she is still a person whether you like them or not.

    If you hate someone because they are inhumane, how does acting in an inhumane manner make you any different? If the “bad guy” does wrong it’s bad. If the “good guy” does wrong its ok? It’s all coming down to semantics

  91. 91 Rebekah
    December 9, 2008 at 20:14

    @ Steve

    I agree that terrorists are bad people who should be punsihed. I realize that many american POWS/hostages have not beem treated well in the past. But saying that

    “There was plenty of torture, and MUCH WORSE torture in the past.”

    Just because we are not as bad as them, don’t justify torture by Americans.

  92. 92 Syed Hasan Turab
    December 9, 2008 at 20:24

    Intentional torture to any human being itself is a crime of 9/11 nature, so what is the differance in good & bad people. We are socalled civilised & justified like weed in the garden, without any respect for humanity & human values while living in the society.
    I dont have any sympathy with 9/11 criminal’s & dont support unhuman acts of USA either. This is what Musharaf did & uptill know Pakistan is burning in fire of terrorisam, as masterminded terrorist’s been arrested by Pakistan & handed over to USA for alleged torture. I think there are so many alternate ways to complete the legal procedding’s beside unhuman approach.
    First of all existance of Gontonabay itself is a crime, on the top of that intentional torture to humanbeing’s is worst human crime, may be understand Civilised & educated Terrorisam living in a society.

  93. 93 DENNIS
    December 9, 2008 at 20:26

    Yes, in certain situations…But—It should at the disposal of last resort.

  94. 94 Peter liu
    December 9, 2008 at 20:28

    The sufferings in Zimbakwe is cause by western nation who are trying to make political gains to oust Mugabe . Please sent them the help and put politics aside. Why torture the people in Zimbakwe? Mugabe use torture but should the west do it as well.

  95. 95 jamily5
    December 9, 2008 at 20:42

    Again, people are assuming that those apprehended are guilty.
    Maybe, just maybe they don’t have any information to share.
    Who knows? The questions are:
    If the “bad guys” (whomever they are) are using “bad tactics,”
    Should the “good guys” (whomever they might be) also use them?
    And, if they don’t, does that mean that they will lose the battle?
    I do not support revenge.
    It solves nothing.

  96. 96 Jennifer
    December 9, 2008 at 21:07

    @ Archibald

    I mean terrorists. I don’t feel sorry for them and frankly I am not concerned for their feelings or how they are treated after they show such utter disregard and hatred for people simply because they do not share the same faith. They are by no means common criminals.

    If terrorists know that they will be coddled like babies here, they will be even less apt to hesitate in doing what they do. As it is, they enjoy being martyrs. The cycle will never end, treating them like gold or otherwise. They are not sorry; they do not care that they took the lives of innocent people. From all I know, they are proud of it. These are not people who can be reasoned with and I think it’s foolish for people to try. It’s not about being “better” than them.

    I don’t understand how you came to the conclusion that I was speaking about Christianity. It’s foolish to say that someone who practices a religion, such as Christianity, be cast in the same light. My God does did not force me to believe in him by saying believe in me or I’ll roast you like a marshmallow. I wouldn’t seek to force my religion on anyone else and I most certainly do not have any desire to make myself a human bomb to take out enemies of my religion or for rewards. I don’t see people who don’t believe as I do as enemies.

  97. 97 VictorK
    December 9, 2008 at 21:42

    Bush was behind 9-11; Western terrorism has killed millions; the US has killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq; Republicans are guilty of war crimes; Bush and his colleagues should be tortured; only right wingers ever use torture (never cuddly darlings of the left like China, North Korea, Libya, and Cuba); etc.

    Should WHYS topics carry a ‘madness quotient’ in future? This one really brought them out of their caves.

    And in passing, the Spanish inquisition actually had quite a good record. No more than 2% of those subject to its jurisdiction suffered any kind of torture; no more than 2,000 executions over 100 years (Castro is thought to have executed some 60,000; the Chinese communists murdered millions); and only baptised Catholics fell under its jurisdiction. The inquisition was established and controlled by the secular arm (the monarchy), not the Church, and Pope Sixtus IV not only condemned the Inquisition for excess, he issued a papal bull in a futile attempt to prohibit it. But when did hatred of Christianity ever trouble itself with facts?

  98. 98 David
    December 9, 2008 at 22:11

    I would love to see the torturer tortured.

    Torture of any discription is and must never be permited. The torturer only adds to the hate that already exist.

  99. 99 John LaGrua/New York
    December 9, 2008 at 22:43


  100. December 9, 2008 at 23:44

    Man I really wish I could have been part of this one live today. Most of my points were made by others though. There is a couple that were missed though.

    What if Saddam Hussein had caught an extremist that he thought might be planning an attack on a Sunni neighborhood or even himself. This is the justification that Saddam would give if you asked him, (Oh wait, you can’t ask him.) He will tell you that the people he was accused of torturing and killing were people who were “terrorists” by his definition. I love to hear the explanation that, “we had to stop Saddam from torturing and killing Iraqis and to do it we have to torture and kill Iraqis.”

    If you set out to kill a monster, and in the process become the monster, in the end you still have net one monster.

  101. 101 Thomas Murray
    December 9, 2008 at 23:45

    Alan Dershowitz (a liberal American jurist) maintains that torture can only be acceptable in the event of imminent threat — someone’s going to nuke Parliament and the gadget’s already somewhere in the country — and one has to get a street address as quickly as possible.

    Else, European precedence, and the cruel and unusual punishment prohibition of the Bill of Rights, already prohibits coerced testimony as legal evidence.

    I should further add that since the torturer himself is committing a felony assault, he must ask himself whether the information he’s trying to extract is worth the decades of serious prison time he’s risking for himself.

    It should be remembered that O. J. Simpson got at least nine years in prison (and as much as 33) just for detaining someone in their hotel room with a weapon, an act equivalent to mere kidnapping.

    If we make any torturer — regardless of what agency they work for — liable to criminal prosecution, the controversy settles itself.

    Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  102. December 10, 2008 at 00:06

    All sofar described to criminal treatments but it frightens me how a gr8 many innocent africans go into torture in the hands of Immigration nd Police in The Diaspora, a few of the who make it home have bitter stories often while more die in foreign prisons un recorded and unreported

  103. 103 Lydia
    December 10, 2008 at 00:26

    I’m with the Ghandi quote and the supposition that alleged intel gained via torture ought to be suspect.

    Sadly, though, I suspect torture won’t go away because of the fine hairsplitting that can be done to justify it, because of the ‘if it was your child …’ argument, and because not everyone believes that tortured intel is unreliable.

    What I can’t understand about the conversation is how one’s nationality is relevant to one’s personal belief regarding torture. Aren’t all the writers on the thread humans, whether from Iowa or Iran? Aren’t all the answers personal? Are we being charged with the doings of our current leaders, here?

    And why isn’t the dictionary definition of torture good enough? The commonly accepted definition, I mean. Parsing finely the meaning of the word is a slippery slope to saying ‘killing a criminal’s child in front of her is not torture if 3,000 people were killed by her compatriots.’ Huhn?

  104. 104 Ramesh
    December 10, 2008 at 00:41

    I am in favour of torture if the information obtained through torture leads to credible evidence. Information out of torture can not stand to be credible evidence. Care must be taken as to whether the person concerned is an innocent victim.

  105. 105 Roberto
    December 10, 2008 at 00:50

    RE “” Why are right-wingers so enthusiastic to abuse other humans? “”

    ————– Why is it right wingers and left wingers only use one wrong side of their noggins?

    I doubt seriously you raised a single pipskeak over the US led Nato carpet bombing of Serbia under the WMD in Iraq style auspices of Serbian genocide.

    Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings in the Christmas season, but Slick established 1. the prototype of warring on another country based upon a lie and 2. the prototype of suicide bombers based on his hamhanded attempt to force Ararat to sign a final peace settlement with Israel when he was clearly not ready.

    And he was the so called “smart president.” Did you ever think the “dumb president” could do any better?

  106. 106 Neil
    December 10, 2008 at 01:52

    Torture will never be able to any immediate terrorist attack. I do not know of any instance when torture yielded a code to stop a bomb or any thing similar to that. If someone knows of such instances when this actually happened kindly post it so that others including me are more knowledgeable about it.

    And please do not tell me of instances in Iraq, as the attacks in Iraq are not terrorist attacks but a result of insurgent resisting foreign occupation (US and others) or the result of civil war at best.

    Torture and mistreatments for “enemy combatants/detainees” (I am amazed by the misuse of terms to avoid the application of the Geneva Convention) feed into the hands of the terrorist. It helps them to recruit and be more determined in their goals. It is very counterproductive.

    And keep in mind that most of the cases the people who were tortured are suspected terrorist. More often than not there is no evidence to even prove that they are terrorists, let alone them having knowledge of any plot that might have been planned or is in the process of being planned. It is not as if they were caught with a detonator in the middle of Times Square. Duh!!

    And information available form torture can never be used as evidence as it is not reliable at all. At best information obtained from torture or “advanced interrogation techniques” can be used to get information, maybe leading to some other evidence if at all. I can only think of the classic case of X confesses that Y told him that Z committed the crime.

    Get some perspective. There is no perfect answer. But consider this if we torture suspected terrorist, how much better are we from them. It is easy to believe in the values of human dignity, equality, liberty and justice in happy go sunshine times. But our true belief in these principles is displayed when we stick by them even in the event of adversity. Are we willing to drop our values because we are scared of the terrorists??

  107. 107 DENNIS
    December 10, 2008 at 03:37

    But, here is a question: What over way si to get these terrorists suspects to answer any questions….

  108. December 10, 2008 at 09:49

    torture can only be justified if those workers at the intelligence department stop using the words intelligence and just refer to their work as a trial and error.for you shouldnt have taken anyone to custody if no investigation has been carried out or a witness is able to have witnessed.
    infact,because the war on terror was an intelligence war,no torture can be justified on any guantanamo bay inmate.its only during a like world war 1that soldiers can torture because they have just been ordered to do a thing they really dont want to or have something to justify their actions.


  109. 110 toothforeye
    December 10, 2008 at 11:52

    In the criminal justice system, for heinous and inhumane crimes, the criminal should suffer the same torture that said criminal imposed on victim. This is just and right. I have absolutely no problem with it.

  110. 111 anonymousme
    December 10, 2008 at 12:41

    torture cant be justified!! its all wrong!!!
    and it doesnt work with terrorists either…
    i mean. which counrty tortures most “terrorists”? the USA. and which country is mostly targeted by terrorist attacks? also the USA… surely thats not a coincidence!!! toture will only make terrorists angrier and the USA is just increasing their numbers everytime they torture a “terrorist”.

  111. December 10, 2008 at 13:00

    If torturing a guilty one will save the lives of millions of innocent civilians then yes. But the scenario changes when the tortured person is not guilty.

  112. 113 Gidei Oscar
    December 10, 2008 at 13:22

    Torture is not and cannot be justified nomatter the reason, circtmstance or place. for what name will the National Intelligence Service be of if they have no other intelligent ways to apply that are lenient and drives the information needed home.
    further more, torture makes an individual to give incorrect information just for the sake to be left out. this is not justified at all.

  113. 114 Kirsten
    December 10, 2008 at 15:47

    There are many good reasons to forbid the torture of any person, anywhere, for any reason.

    The most important argument to prevent torture is to protect people who would otherwise be put into a position to inflict harm. In allowing a person to torture another, we create another criminal in the perpetrator of torture and we create a society where violence is condoned.

    Moreover, where torture is used to obtain confessions, this means the person tortured is not yet proven guilty. There has not been a fair trial to determine if the person being tortured is deserving of punishment at all, let alone a punishment so severe. This is against the basic principles of justice.

    No crime committed by another is ever an excuse for losing our own humanity. Torture has been proven to be an ineffective way of gathering information. Even if it was effective, the damage it does to our societies is much greater than any good it could ever do.

  114. 115 viola
    December 10, 2008 at 19:53

    Torture is no good and not justified . It’s an unacceptable shortcut. As with most issues, however, such as someone defending his life against a lethal attack by another, there may be exceptions to the rule. In most societies, one is not found guilty of murder if the death results from self-defense. against an unprovoked attack.

    Similarly, a society or country has a right to defend itself against attackers bent on its destruction and the murder of its citizens. War may be declared. An enemy force that has no legitimate national base but is considered heroes in many countries poses a legal problem when a country decides to declare “war” against them. In the case of individuals defending themselves, the state may or may not decide to prosecute and go to trial when a death or injury results from that defense.

    From what I read on this blog, much of the world has tried the United States and found it guilty of illegal intelligence gathering activities, including torture and murder in its “war” on terrorism.

    Until the whole world has a respectable, independent- of- any- country -or- ideology judicial body which every country respects and honors, those of you who have judged the U.S. guilty have only an opinion to offer that is based on limited knowledge and is clearly influenced by your beliefs or ideologies. The United States is, itself, doing a far better job of assessing and judging these issues’ legality than the rest of the world is. Calling a country’s citizens cowardly torturers is nothing but childish name calling.

  115. 116 Tom D Ford
    December 10, 2008 at 19:55

    @ VictorK December 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    “But when did hatred of Christianity ever trouble itself with facts?”

    Christianity is long term unjust mental and physical torture of human beings.

    Christianity itself is institutionalized hatred of human beings. It makes the completely unjustified allegation that all humans are born bad, in sin, and so are guilty and need to be “saved”. That libel and slander against human babies has been promoted for thousands of years. The resultant attitudes and treatments amount to what was established at Nuremberg as the Crime of Collective Punishment, the punishment of many or all for the “alleged” crimes of a few.

    Babies are born essentially neutral and the way that they are treated has a great affect on what they grow up to be like. Starting them out with the attitude that they are born bad and so need to be intimidated, threatened, and punished into being a “good” person results in a large percentage of screwed up and damaged human adults.

    I think that the Conservative Christian belief that people are “bad natured” comes from their training and indoctrination about “Original Sin”; and if we want better behaving people we need to change the religions and acknowledge modern scientifically derived positive and effective ways of parenting.

    Throughout history Religions have adapted themselves to new learning and it is far past time that Christianity and indeed the other two versions of the Abraham “One God” Religion, Judaism and Islam, also change.

    Babies are not born bad, they are just born and then taught that they are bad, let’s teach them something different so that we can get different results!

    So. It is not hatred of Christianity that is the problem, it is hatred of the unjustness of Christianity and the cure is for Christianity to change. I invite you to change your religion.

  116. 117 nariman m.ali
    December 10, 2008 at 22:28

    torture is never justified by anyone , we are human beings after all , and no one has the right to torture any soul under any given circumstances . regardless of the case ….even if we are trying to extract any sort of information .and to do so , we are simply eradicating any shred of humanity .
    furthermore, any answer or cofession extracted under torture is never an acreditable one .
    but , believe it or not , human rights should be even applied on criminals.

  117. 118 Gene
    December 11, 2008 at 04:40

    And what do you all who are so vocally against torture suggest interrogators do to get information – challenge the terrorists to a tickle fight?

  118. 119 John in Germany
    December 11, 2008 at 09:33


  119. December 11, 2008 at 18:10

    Ok Steve, Jennifer, Viktor K & others of a similar bent,

    So we’re supposed to believe a US government who openly lied about the existence of WMD in Iraq, ably supported by Blair here in the UK in order to prosecute an illegal invasion of Iraq.
    There are and never will be WMD found in Iraq! A lie is a lie, is a lie, or were you never taught that in your interpretation of the truth during your education and schooling?
    If as we are led to believe by Bush et al that Saudi Arabians are behind and perpetrated 9/11 then why didn’t the US invade Saudi Arabia? Oh I forgot they are an ally, a recipient of US arms and weapons, and willingly allow a US base to be in the vicinity of the prophet Mohammed’s birthplace. How convenient in passing the buck elsewhere then. I know we’ve got unfinished business with Saddam, so let’s invent a spurious reason for a second invasion, carefully hidden alongside it 9/11 because after all they are Arabs and Moslems, so therefore by association must be guilty somewhere along the line, surely. Also, let’s not forget the oil guys. That’s the primary reason but best to try and keep that one quiet really.
    I suppose next you’ll say that Osama bin Laden had no connections with the US re. the Mujahadeen in Soviet Afghanistan. He was actively recruited, funded and supported by the CIA. Of course they very much want to distance themselves from that since 9/11 and under the current administration. No he just appeared out of the blue and is the the “Bogeyman of the World” for all to see. The information is out there if you care to look, but the vast majority of western media are not interested in transmitting the real picture of events past or present and allowing a different type of information to reach their domain. Why? You need to look beyond accepted information and do some trawling of your own.
    By the way for the reports on civilian dead and wounded in Iraq were both dismissed instantly by Bush and Blair, when indeed Blair was advised by a British Ministry of Defense representative not to do so, as the the method was considered “robust” and employed “best practice.” He chose to ignore advice from the inside of government. What does that tell you?

  120. December 11, 2008 at 18:11

    Steve, Jennifer, Viktor K and others of a similar bent,

    It appears that you and others like you like to keep to the accepted version of events for fear of finding something out that might leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
    Conspiracy is an often used term used by those who are keen to distance themselves from possible truths and are concertedly defending any aspect of news and information that could be interpreted otherwise, and so sits rather uncomfortably with all concerned.

    I don’t trust my government, particularly New Labour one little bit, and often have been proved correct in my assertions. But far too many of you in the US are so loathe to cast the slightest aspersion of character or aim any level of criticism at US Government in these instances. Why? What is it that you are so afraid of? Politicians by their very nature bend the truth and lie as has been proven throughout history. So why should yours be any different? Maybe 9/11 was exactly as Bush said it was, maybe not. Where’s the harm in trying to uncover information that is actively being suppressed to this day, in the UK as well as the USA?
    I urge you and all that think like you to watch a 3 part documentary called “The Power of Nightmares” by Adam Curtis. An interesting thesis and interpretation of political events over the decades in relation to the Cold War, East and West and the so called birth of Al Qaeda and the interconnection established.

  121. 122 Jennifer
    December 11, 2008 at 21:46

    @ Matthew

    The only thing I will address…..

    Re: So why should yours be any different? Maybe 9/11 was exactly as Bush said it was, maybe not. Where’s the harm in trying to uncover information that is actively being suppressed to this day, in the UK as well as the USA?

    The harm is that people sometimes spend so much time creating a colorful scenario to see the problem that is right in front of them. The problem then runs them over like a mack truck. That’s ok because then the mack truck is involved in the conspiracy too!

    Now, I’ll say the same thing you did….I urge you and all who think like you to visit this website: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/. Take a look around at the stories there and read some of the articles and tell me who is afraid of the truth.

  122. 123 VictorK
    December 12, 2008 at 08:16

    @Matthew: it’s always best to stay calm and on topic.

  123. 124 Jenny
    December 12, 2008 at 16:03

    Shaun in Halifax I am with you,

    I think torture can never ever be justified, I think some of the arguments against it are similar to the arguments against the death penalty which in my opinion is never justified.

    1, As you have pointed out, Info obtained in this way can never be relied on because it is obtained under extreme pressure.
    2. Something that bothers me a lot is the people who are going to be doing the torturing, if any government decides torture is justified. I think they would have to be the same sort of people who carry out executions, ie people who enjoy inflicting pain on other human beings, or at least don’t mind doing so. That is already bad in itself, but more generally what kind of society would legally employ people to torture people, even if they are suspected criminals? For example we condemn practices like stoning etc, in places like Iran but if we undertake torture methods to gain information supposedly for the greater good ie to save lives, then I think we as a society are going backwards. I’m not saying we should be nice and soft to criminals, but innocent until proven guilty is the right way to go about things.

  124. 125 Luci Smith
    December 12, 2008 at 16:15

    Saw a notice today on Danish text tv about Rumsfeld having sanctioned the use of torture/interrigation methods from 2002 onward.

    Bush 2 has already admitted the “lack of intelligence” leading up to the war in Iraq. It is a failure. The proof is in the lives lost and the people who have had their lives destroyed by these stupid, expensive wars in the name of oil.
    And what about all of the people who have family members who have been tortured?

    Some of you bloggers remind me of kids waiting for the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny – or maybe you are waiting for Sarah Palin to be born again in 4 years? The wind-up Barbie that shoots a gun and mouth with the same deadly accuracy.

    And to Gene- it is proven that you cannot get accurate information by interrogation when using coercion and torture – as Nariman says. Human rights. Maybe that is why the UN does not condone torture. Maybe the US ought to sign up?

    Next time you see some ex-veterans who are homeless and living on the street, why don’t you try asking them if they think the use of torture is ok?

  125. December 12, 2008 at 17:13


    A highly emotional and one sided version of events I would say in regard to looking at the religion of peace.com. Interesting nevertheless. What is more interesting is that there doesn’t appear to any mention of Iraqi civilian deaths and casualties due to Coalition Forces on the vast register. Why is it that persistently neither George Bush, nor Tony Blair at the time wanted to accept any independently assessed figures of civilian deaths from 2003 to 2007 as a consequence of the invasion of Iraq. I keep having to say this – Lieutenant General Tommy Franks joint Commander of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan is on record when the question was posed by the world’s media as to how many dead Iraqi civilians over that period, his answer on “We don’t do body counts.” What does that tell you? It tells me that someone is distinctly uncomfortable with releasing figures and numbers of Iraqi dead to the watching world. Because the true figure just might belie the fact that the toppling of Saddam and an Army of Liberation may not be as it really is over there, and it’s very much in the interests of certain people in government in the USA and UK to actively suppress that information ever coming to light, because it may seriously damage and embarrass the reputation of the USA once more upon the international stage.

    Do you know what legacy has been left behind to the Vietnamese people as a consequence of the 10,000 Day War? I bet you don’t! It was all so long ago, so better best forgotten really isn’t it. If you did a serious heartfelt search as to what atrocities the USA has via the CIA and secretive operations perpetrated upon many countries since the end of the Second World War, then you might think differently.
    But when I pointed out to you the absolute truth of Hilary Clinton’s serious shortcomings you didn’t want to know either, so I suppose this will sadly be no different and you will never be any the wiser as to the reality and depth of American military offences throughout the world over the last 50 years. Bush and Blair have exacerbated the whole “terrorist” situation beyond belief!

    Watch “The Power of Nightmares” by Adam Curtis at the very least. It is an enjoyable 3 part documentary watch. It enlightens many and is a thorough examination of the last 40 to 50 years of world events and politics right up to Osama and Al Qaeda. It certainly opens up many people’s eyes for the first time. If you do let me know what you think, if that’s ok?

  126. December 12, 2008 at 18:00


    One more thing. I suggest you listen to Lubna from Baghdad who is living with the daily reality of occupation in Iraq and has interesting observations to relay to the world upon the whole issue. It maybe just worthwhile you trawling back to some of her earlier comments in relation to how the American Forces are viewed over there, and how they haven’t exactly fitted in with the Iraqi people in general.
    She has an alternative set of reasons why “The Surge” and security has been successful in certain ways. Closing down the city as far as possible and blockading the main roads and thoroughfares and causing general chaos for Baghdad’s inhabitants doesn’t exactly seem to be the way forward for peace and cooperation. That sort of thing just gets under your skin and if you can imagine for one moment of being subjected to that level of inconvenience and imprisoning the inhabitants in your home state of Oklahoma, then how would you truly feel under those circumstances?
    But then again she’s probably a state and government plant and it’s simply not true is it? It’s all a conspiracy aimed against the caring and well meaning American liberators after all. Conspiracy is a two way street under different circumstances isn’t it.

  127. December 12, 2008 at 19:31

    Viktor K,

    So none of the events have any connection whatsoever then?
    If you want to counter what I’ve said and discuss anything substantial then it might be better to offer up an alternative as opposed to a one sentence throwaway comment such as yours. Might it not?

    Oh by the way I’m perfectly calm and if you wish to point out whereby you think I’m not in the information and facts imparted for yours and others perusal, then I’d be more than happy to discuss it.

    For the record I’ve sent two earlier postings for your personal attention previously, over the last two days. At first they were accepted and then withdrawn. Why I don’t know. But once it is resolved I will post them again.

  128. 129 Jennifer
    December 12, 2008 at 22:44

    @ Matthew

    You will find no validation for your conspiracy theory on that website because it simply is NOT as important as the loss of innocent life at the hands of irrational people. I can not believe that you mentioned peace and cooperation in your reply!

    Staying on topic in regards to torture; I don’t feel that terrorists have done anything to warrant my compassion or sympathy.

    As for anyone who posts here; I do have eyes so I read………however, I have learned that those opinions are colored by agendas, whether they are political, anti________ (fill in the blank), or just lulu.

    Also, I do have relatives and friends who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan. In some instances, both.

    Take care,

  129. 130 apexjd
    December 13, 2008 at 14:36

    Torture is not justified,
    torture is not according to law,
    law give no permission of using third method,

    No coercive method can be employed
    agaist any permson who is in the custidy
    of the plice.

    In this matter, intergogation is the legal procedure,
    and law provide the procedure of investigation.

    there are many dictums, obsevations , rulings and judgements in this connection.

    In case, prosecution can use third method against the accude in custody and compell him for confession the crime committed bot by him it will be unjusice

  130. 131 Emmanuel Nyong
    December 14, 2008 at 15:25

    it all depends on the side u are coming from and where you hope to go. As a matter of fact toture can be used to avert crimes as well as serves as punishment for criminals in order to turn them into useful citizens in a particular/given community, area or jurisdiction to be considered for study.
    In otherwords, toture leads to enemity among friend and these also could lead to grieviances among nations. Take for instance a nation has its who is being totured by another country for crimes which they claimed were carried out by him/her, it will lead to problems between the countries, which will now be referred as THE TORTURER & COMBATANT.
    Through this you can now see that torture can lead to international problems between two countries or nations who were previously very close and also it could be used in instilling discipline or a disciplinary measure for terrorists in other to cutail violence in a nation.
    As we all know, some nations use this to checkmate criminal activities like drug pushing and smuggling and these countries are mainly found in the ASIAN continent.

  131. December 16, 2008 at 02:19


    Many Vietnamese civilians 33 years later are still being born with congenital deformities and far too many citizens not reaching what is considered a good and true life span as a consequence of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange being sprayed remorselessly upon the Vietnamese by American military forces. Let’s not forget the devastation caused by Napalm as well. That is a living a daily physical and mental torture for all those concerned. But out of sight and out of mind, so who cares, your governments? Not a chance! But again no conspiracy, just documented fact by those who have the temerity to study and challenge your blinkered view of the world.
    Once again Hillary has begrudgingly admitted on national television to not quite recalling the incident at Sarajevo airport as it actually was. No conspiracy again, Jennifer.
    Tell me what have your friends and relatives learnt out in Iraq and Afghanistan, that they are universally loved by the people and their opponents in general?
    The Iraqi people consider them liberators as opposed to invaders and occupiers. One Iraqi journalist’s actions with the shoe thrown at Bush spoke volumes of how they truly feel under subjugation of the US particularly and UK in general.
    What say you?

  132. 133 Kristina
    January 6, 2009 at 07:18

    Well, now, this is a very interesting philosophical question. I don’t know how other people perceive this physical world or four dimentional reality, but I must make an observation – its pretty grim.
    Torture, as everything else, is a matter of temporary perception. It can be both: It might serve a purpose – and it might not. It might be justifiable – and it might not. I guess, its just left to the person in question to make the decision for oneself.

    This is our temporary reality, the world is just not fair, its a given. In this dense reality we are not perfect light beings full of love and enlightenment. This world is just not perfect – so yes, of course, torture is bad. I mean, what kind of a human will say (well actually there are exceptions, but even that is because of genetic makeup) in all honesty that he supports torture. However, this is something that is done to achieve a temporary goal. Now, anyone with a bit of thought can easily justify the means. So, yeah, its bad to kill, torture or do any kind of evil to another human or even an animal for that matter. But, we eat meat and don’t really think about how the animal was killed. So, I just honestly think that it is to naive to except torture as not achieving some goals. Yeah, its evil, its bad, but this is life.
    Like Steve said that his friend was interrogating an Arab and asked him why he hated Americans so much, and the guy said just because you exist. Its true, most people are walking zombies, falling under one influence or another, and what is worse is that they fight for some imaginary reason. If they were peacefull, its ok, you can be crazy if you don’t bother other people. But the crazier one is, the more harm that one will inflict upon another.
    I would never harm another being in thought or in actuality. However, there are a million of possible situations where this could be put to a test, and how can one hoestly say until he has experienced it first hand?

  133. 134 Kristina
    January 6, 2009 at 09:19

    Another note in respect to torture:

    Everything is relative, which literarly means what it says. Every situation, thought or whatever is relative to something else. Therefore, to make a judgement on such an issue, as to whether torture is justifiable is basically impossible. Humanely, just off the hand, anyone would say its wrong, however, logically it all depends. It depends on everything else.
    For example, I am a totally non-violent person, but, someone gives me some LSD or some other drug, I don’t know whats happenning to me and I go to a state of mind where I can harm someone. Two possibilies can come out of this: I kill, or I don’t. Lets say I kill – does that make me a bad person, since I have never done anything like that normally, but I was given a substance (which is another relative variable)?

    Another example,take some regular, local people from anywhere, a village, a camp, or a city in Palestine or Pakistan, or Korea, or Moldova…feed them some ideas. Anything, really, whatever you want, make these ideas accessible and identifiable and then watch what happens. And if some of these people, totally brain washed, which is the same as being under the influence of a drug, in this state go and blow themselves up. Now, remember, this is the same peaceful individual prior to the brain washing. So, does that make the person bad, or just under the influence?

    You see, this is the world we live in. We are constantly bombarded by a sea of inluences and then also punished for something out of our control at the time. This is the reason as I mentioned in the first posting that I believe this is just an unfair, chaotic world. There are also many beautiful and great things to experience, like love, family, spirituality, but on the practical level its just a constant struggle. A struggle to remain sane in an insane world.
    I am personaly against torture, but I do accept that it exists and might serve a purpose relative to something else.

  134. 135 Wayne Coleman
    January 20, 2009 at 15:27

    Torture is never justified for a variety of reasons. The most important one being that it is inhumane. Also, it has shown to be unreliable: “The US claims Mohammed confessed to masterminding the attacks and to involvement in about 30 other plots, but his lawyers say the confession was extracted by torture. The CIA acknowledged earlier this year that Mohammed had been interrogated using the controversial “waterboarding” technique which simulates drowning.” This reminds me of the witch trials. Those who admitted to being a witch were killed and those who were tortured into admitting being a witch were killed also.

    How can you convict someone who was tortured into a confession when you don’t know why he/she confessed? Was it because of the torture or did that person really commit the crime? I think that I speak for the majority when I say that I would rather see a guilty person go free than to see an innocent person be convicted of something they did not do. Police tactics that mentally torture (Sleep deprivation) people into confessing should be stopped too. It has been estimated that as many as 33% of all inmates incarcerated in our (U.S.A.) prisons, are innocent of the crimes in which they were convicted. That is an utter disgrace.

    May 6, 2009 at 14:43

    no way, torture is an inhuman way of punishing someone. for instance 80% of whatever is said as a result of torture is a lie so that the individual may be left alone. this cannot and should not be justified at all at all.

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