Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spc. Alyssa Peterson

The Huffington Post published a fascinating article on the young woman who killed herself in Iraq after refusing to take part in torturing prisoners.

It's a heartbreaking story which puts a spotlight on the issue of extreme interrogation techniques.

I don't count myself among the liberal voices who denounce all this torture business accross the board. I've watched Jack Bauer use torture for the greater good. I admit, although his is a fictional character, there may be cases in which it is necessary. I don't fancy myself in a position to judge such things.

What I do have a problem with is that under Bush and Cheney these practices were legitimized. I don't think anyone doubts that police and military and everyone else in power have used certain unsavory methods, and this applies to all countries in all times, but to put the spotlight on them and claim they're acceptable did serious harm to the reputation of the United States. And that happened under Bush.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

12 comments:

  1. My opinion? Glad you asked. My opinion is that I may never in my life have seen a more disgusting display of abject moral cowardice:

    I don't count myself among the liberal voices who denounce all this torture business accross the board. I've watched Jack Bauer use torture for the greater good. I admit, although his is a fictional character, there may be cases in which it is necessary. I don't fancy myself in a position to judge such things.

    What I do have a problem with is that under Bush and Cheney these practices were legitimized.


    So, basically, you want the worst of both worlds--you're OK with governments using torture (because of what you have "learned" from a damned silly-ass TV show), but you also want to absolve those governments from any moral responsibility for it, and place all of that responsibility on the shoulders of whatever thug the government, with a wink and a nod, keeps on hand for such things.

    A new low, Mikeb, and it's low, indeed.

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  2. Torture is never appropriate.

    After Jack Bauer improvised an electroshock torture session against his wife's ex, I stopped watching 24. Season 2, IIRC.

    Revealing later that it was completely pointless and inconsequential, then killing the character off so the audience doesn't have to deal with the moral burden of not only the love triangle but also the "necessary at the time" situation revealed the show for the shallow gimmick it is.

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  3. Sorry, Mike B. Gonna disagree vehemently on this. Torture is never, ever justified.

    The whole "ticking bomb" scenario is a fictional device.

    Moreover, torture simply doesn't work. First, a torture victim will tell you whatever he thinks you want to hear--which may not be the truth. Second, using torture discourages those who may wish (or could be convinced) to come forward with info from doing so. Third, enemy combatants are less likely to surrender if they suspect they might be tortured--this exposes your forces to greater risk.

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  4. Holy crap! I agree with Jade on something! I gotta go lie down, I feel sick.

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  5. Anon:

    Holy crap! I agree with Jade on something! I gotta go lie down, I feel sick.

    I know--it's enough to make the idea of completely reversing my position on torture look kinda tempting.

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  6. Yeah, but then you'd be agreeing MikeB. Not sure how you'd feel about that, but it would make me uncomfortable.

    Personally, I put it down to the broken clock thing: Jade probably right twice a day. It's just that wading through all the rest of his crap to find those two times can be a bit tedious.

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  7. I'm always right. It's a gift.

    But I'm also somewhat amused by the gunloons claiming to be against torture. After all, it's pretty easy to demonstrate the biggest NRA politicians also support torture and extraordinary rendition.

    IOW, gunloons who profess torture is immoral and abhorrent; that it is ineffective and counter-productive; that it runs completely counter to our values---will still happily pull the lever for any torture-happy politico the NRA tells them to.

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  8. See, and Jade jumps right back into his usual BS, and starts it off with being wrong yet again.

    If you weren't amusing to us, Jade, you'd serve no purpose in life at all.

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  9. What is happening here? Gunloons are supposed to be fat white males who condone violence and torture of minorities while Jadegold and MikeB walk hand in hand down the path of righteousness. Jadegold’s head must be spinning. But no worries- since we own items of which there happens to be an advocacy group- and said group endorsed a political candidate- and said political candidate went on to condone the use of torture- resulting in soldiers actually committing acts of torture on prisoners- that makes us responsible. I am not sure even MikeB would take that level of shared responsibility.

    Keep this in mind Jade. You put gas in your car, right? “Big Oil” endorsed GWB. GWB endorsed torture. You endorse torture.

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  10. All right, all right, I'm against torture too. I don't know what got into me when I wrote that post. I just wanted to make that silly reference to Jack Bauer, I guess.

    So, now that we're all on the same page, what say we rejuvenate that old arrest-Bush-and-Cheney deal and try them for condoning torture?

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  11. Mikeb:

    All right, all right, I'm against torture too. I don't know what got into me when I wrote that post. I just wanted to make that silly reference to Jack Bauer, I guess.

    Wow--what an abrupt reversal. From not "fancy[ing] [one]self in a position to judge such things," to calling for arrests and trials. Alright--fair enough. You temporarily lost your reason to a Kiefer Sutherland man-crush (not that there's anything wrong with that . . . ).

    So, now that we're all on the same page, what say we rejuvenate that old arrest-Bush-and-Cheney deal and try them for condoning torture?

    No objection here, but I'll eat my boots if you anything ever comes of that. Besides, what if Cheney/Shrubya have the same excuse--what if this vision haunts their dreams every night, too (not that there's anything wrong with that . . . ), causing them to adopt policies they would otherwise have found repugnant?

    Back to you, though, I'm more interested in the point I brought up earlier--even if you have recanted your original position on torture, I note that you haven't recanted your apparent position that there might be times when governments can be forgiven for breaking their own laws.

    How utterly typical of a reverent worshiper of unlimited government power (which requires a government monopoly on force, just as your buddies at CSGV incessantly--and evilly--clamor for).

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