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Torture…Your Thoughts?

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President Bush vetoed a bill that would ban the use of waterboarding and other torture tactics in order to extract information from suspected terrorists. Story here.

I’d like to know, what do y’all think about that?

I have mixed thoughts about it. IF the CIA ever got hold of someone who truly was out to do harm to others through terrorism, chances are, that person would a) either be willing to die from torture before spilling the beans, or b) give false information that would lead to a wild goose chase and actually divert attention from the real threat. However, if they had someone who was weak and willing to talk, the resultant torture might actually save lives down the road.

But then, aside from the politics, there’s the whole “What would Jesus do” side of me that I’m really trying to examine these days. I can’t for one second envision Jesus doing anything of the sort on anyone. Even when Peter took up a sword and tried to fight the guards who’d come to take Jesus away, Jesus told Peter to put away his sword, and then uttered the words that many so-called Christians fail to remember… “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

Jesus taught over and over that violence begets violence, that love is the answer, that “not fighting” is the way to peace…not by threatening/using bigger, deadlier weapons. And this is hard for us all. I’m not a violent person by nature, but even I want to lash back when offended, and I want to protect myself. But you know what, the way I get peace is to be peaceful. This is a lot easier in theory than in practice, but Lord have mercy, aren’t we all tired of war after war after war and all the violence that comes with it, both directly and collaterally?

Anyway, I’m pretty sure that while the U.S. has most likely always employed torture, it’s just now coming out into the open. It casts one more bad stain on our foreign policy. If America’s days of being admired have been waning recently, I’m pretty sure this will only speed up the progress.

But again, I have some mixed feelings about the whole thing. Does even the “threat” of being tortured stop some bad things from happening? I don’t know.

So anyway, what do y’all think? Are you for it? Against it? I’d love to hear your rationale.

Written by blogicalinks

March 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Whatever

5 Responses

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  1. I think I feel guilty that I run from these type of topics. My boss said to me the other day that people should be more disturbed after a local church said they wouldn’t allow a video on human trafficking to be shown at their church because it was too disturbing. I’ve been thinking about this ever since. Torture is disturbing and so I should allow myself to feel my mixed feelings and be upset. But I also feel guilty because I just want happy stuff. You know, flowers and butterflies….


    March 8, 2008 at 3:53 pm

  2. I don’t think there is a right answer here. I’m split like you are – I don’t think it’s a very Christian thing to do, but it IS historically very productive. I don’t know, maybe as long as there are people in this world who feel like they must bring harm to others, then there needs to be some sort of tactic to try and undermine their efforts and protect the greater good.

    I’d like to think, too, that the threat of torture would be enough, but that doesn’t seem to work against capital crimes. I would think that the threat of incarceration or death penalty would be enough to stop criminals, but it doesn’t seem so. Perhaps that’s because jail is too “soft” and the death penalty gets too wrapped up in appeals and delays? Maybe we need to go back to bare-bones cells and public executions – just to reinstill that fear of the consequences.


    March 8, 2008 at 4:37 pm

  3. I’m more disturbed by Bush’s continued expansion of Executive branch powers…it’s not only wanting the ability to torture, it’s also the ability to invoke Executive privilege for anyone in his employ, not just himself. If you’re gonna do that, it effectively gives us the ability to torture, nobody can track what some government employees are doing.

    The threat of torture is effective in some cases, but the fairly mild methods we’re associated with aren’t that scary. The thought of the Pakistani government’s tender mercies is much more of a deterrent, if that’s the case. We tend to think of torture as the physical kind, psychological methods are much more effective and much more damaging. We’re using those much more freely, I suspect. So the current debate is not much interest to me, since it centers (to the public) on things you can photograph or see.

    I don’t know what the bottom line is myself…there’s the ethical problem of torture, it’s pretty likely Jesus wouldn’t be waterboarding. In a big world, however, it’s like any ethical dilemma, what’s the trade-off? My very elastic ethics allow me to sleep at night even if we’re physically or mentally torturing people. I’m a solutions-based person. Torture works, in some cases, whether we like it or not. So does Capitalism—did I mention I was a Libertarian? Neither is pretty, but they work because of how humans work.


    March 9, 2008 at 10:42 am

  4. I think the bill is a political statement and a political stance but it’s not reality. The Bill was created to give the impression to others that the U.S. is becoming more humane. Bush did not want to give that impression. I think regardless of what Bill is in place that torture in war will always exist. I would like it if we could all play nice and abide by the rules of engagement and the Geneva Convention but I know that isn’t always reality and that there are lots of little missions out there that I don’t want to know about. I’m glad that’s the president’s job and not mine. I’m not sure I would vote for Jesus as president any more than say I would vote for my mother. I know that Jesus was not a softy exactly. I mean he did cast out all of those money changers. The problem is that all of the other rulers in the world are just mere humans and subject to flaws. I know that if I were challenged to protect my child ( if I had one) that I would resort to inhuman acts of violence and even torture I think and I don’t think any one of us is above that given the right situation.


    March 10, 2008 at 10:35 am

  5. I think the threat of torture is definitely a deterrent, but the criminals need to be more sure that it’s really going to happen. The threat of incarceration for crimes isn’t a huge deterrent because there is so little chance of it happening. First you have to get caught, then the police have to do everything by the book, then their lawyer has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you did it. Then you can still get off on a technicality, a plea bargain, a mistrial, or any number of other reasons why you could walk. And then if you do happen to get convicted, you can get a reduced sentence, parole for good behavior, parole for overcrowding… There is just too big a chance that the punishment is not going to be that bad that the criminals are willing to take the chance. Think about it – no matter how much fun the free fall might be, people don’t usually jump out of airplanes with no parachutes because they are really really sure they are going to die at the end of it. If you were that sure you were going to jail for a crime, wouldn’t you be much less inclined to commit it in the first place? Same with the torture. A very real threat of something is a great deterrent if you ask me. You’ll always have the types like suicide bombers that are willing to die for their cause, but the vast majority of people would cave in the face of torture.


    March 15, 2008 at 12:22 am

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