Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Torture doesn't work.... (Upated with better link....)

Just in case you were wondering...
click on the title to read a paper by Prof. Shane O'Mara at Trinity College.
Tip of the hat to EmptyWheel
and to the anonymous Lee.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this!

FYI, the as-published version of the paper (including the chart) is also available. Take a look at: http://download.cell.com/images/EdImages/Trends/814.pdf

- Lee

H. Candace Gorman said...

Thanks for the better link. I have updated to it.

the talking dog said...

While the article is scholarly, brilliant and accurate (and btw, conforms to the Pentagon's own findings and doctrine on the utter futility and counter-productive nature of torture), I really want to add two critical things.

The first, of course, is by noting the actual lack of real science behind the belief that torture will extract information. This is consistent with the fact that torture is exclusively an amateur fetish: professional interrogators would never to near torture with a ten-foot pole. It's not how they're trained, and they know the facts: torture only f***s things up; it doesn't get anything useful (unless bogus confessions to make the torture stop are somehow deemed "useful").

But as to the second, I am extremely uncomfortable with arguments associated with "the effectiveness of torture," because it implies that somehow the moral calculus changes if torture is "useful." This is just wrong, in every sense. Just wrong. Torture has been deemed one of the few things that are always wrong, always, all times, no exception, by all nations. The other is genocide. And by substituting one word for another (or try other words of comparable universal condemnation, such as "pedophilia" or "cannibalism", and you will quickly you see the point): just use the phrase, "But we had to engage in ____ because we needed to extract information that would save thousands of lives."

No. NO. Too high a price. If it means gratuitously dropping a nuclear bomb somewhere on innocent people to somehow "save New York from terrorists"... sorry, we don't get to do that (and I and my family live in New York, and I worked one block from WTC on"the day" and work one block from the WTC site now).

There is a line. Torture crosses it. And pretending that that agreed upon tenet of civilized people everywhere is somehow negotiable "if torture works" is not somewhere I want to go, or my so-called "civilized society" to go either.