Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Torture and Jesus - Does It Mix?

"The Religious Dimensions of the Torture Debate," a web graphic published April 29 by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, has generated a great deal of attention and interest. It shows that currently, more than six-in-ten white evangelical Protestants (62%) say that the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can be often or sometimes justified. This is significantly higher than the number of white mainline Protestants (46%) and religiously unaffiliated (40%) who say torture can be often or sometimes justified. Additionally, those who attend religious services at least once a week are much more likely than those who seldom or never attend religious services to take this view (54% vs. 42%). But there are only small differences across religious groups in the number saying that torture can often be justified, and among every group there are relatively few people who say that torture can never be justified. (Quoted from http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=417.)

These results bring up a surprising point. Many people argue that we need religion in this country to bring about more moral actions and behaviors. This also happens to be the view of our Founding Fathers. Unfortunately, it seems as if religious behavior makes one less moral, at least on the issue of torturing fellow humans.

Before I get to the justification of my stance in the previous paragraph, I would like to point out the irony of this finding. According to words of Jesus of Nazareth (I believe him to be an important person in the Christian faith); true believers in him should treat others as they wish to be treated. Also, he commanded people to love thy neighbor as thyself and to turn the other cheek when one is violent towards you. On the issue of forgiveness, he stated one should forgive another person who wrongs them as many times as seventy times seven. He also stated that what you do to the least of the people among you, you do unto him. Hmmmm….

The philosophical tradition of morality has been consistent on this topic since the times of Aristotle. The highest form of moral thought and action is complete concern for fellow humans no matter their plight in life. In the late 1960s, Lawrence Kohlberg at Harvard developed how humans develop moral thought. Using the developmental state model of Jean Piaget, Kohlberg studied and showed humans develop morality in a series of sequential stages.

In his research, Kohlberg and his team of researchers identified six stages of moral development. These stages are as follows.

Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)
1. Obedience and punishment orientation
(How can I avoid punishment?)
2. Self-interest orientation
(What's in it for me?)

Level 2 (Conventional)
3. Interpersonal accord and conformity
(Social norms)
(The good boy/good girl attitude)
4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation
(Law and order morality)

Level 3 (Post-Conventional)
5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles
(Principled conscience in line with the tradition of moral philosophy)

From what I’ve heard from people who support torture, they believe that the use of it is okay because it has saved American lives (i.e. their own).

According to Kohlberg, stage 2 (self-interest driven) espouses the "what's in it for me" position, in which "right behavior is defined by whatever is in the individual's best interest. Stage two reasoning shows a limited interest in the needs of others, but only to a point where it might further the individual's own interests. The lack of a societal perspective in the pre-conventional level is quite different from the social contract (stage five), as all actions have the purpose of serving the individual's own needs or interests. For the stage two theorists, the world's perspective is often seen as morally relative" (Kohlberg, 1972)

The use of torture for your own (or nation’s) benefit is definitely part of a rationalization that because you are doing it for your own good, therefore it is okay. This line of thought is eerily similar to the liberal moral relativism of the late 1960s and 1970s. Of course, is it actually possible that many conservative Christians espouse a liberal viewpoint without knowing it?

The arguing against torture because it fails to adhere to a universal standard towards a historically accepted philosophical proper treatment of humans moves further up the scale to the sixth stage. Torture of another human is always wrong no matter what possible positive outcome might come from it. If we use Christian philosophy (the teachings of Jesus would qualify him as a stage 6 moral thinker), then we cannot torture if we are not willing to be tortured ourselves (or a loved one). We must forgive those who have wronged us and work to make sure past misunderstandings are resolved so that we may go forward and love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. This might mean to forgive them seventy times seven times. It should follow, however, that if someone continues to act in an improper manner towards you 490 times, maybe it is you that are acting improperly.

The teachings of Jesus espouse peace and love of our fellow humans on the Earth. He does not make exceptions to these moral principles, which is why his teachings can be rated as stage 6. I find it hypocritical for Christians to abandon the teachings of their revered founder when it suits their own personal interests.

Of course, these Christians’ domination of the public discourse as it relates to Christian thought makes it difficult for a non-Protestant and non-Evangelical Christian like me to be able convince others that not all Christians use stage 2 reasoning to make our political philosophies consistent with the history of philosophy.

To use torture to promote the national security of the United States is at the very least hypocritical. I love this nation as much as the next person, but sometimes we do the wrong thing. The blind faith that people who support the policies of former President George W. Bush is appalling. Remember that believing your national policies are always just and best for the future of mankind isn’t just one step away from fascism. It is fascism.

It should be kept in mind that most conservatives and those conservative Christians mentioned above won’t agree with this analysis because of their mutual aversion to science. At least science that uses an actual methodology.

Please don't forget to join the discussion below on the health care crisis and our solutions.

52 comments:

  1. There are two questions, you having answered the second with your initial post, and that is: Is torture justified or justifiable? Is it ethical in some circumstances?

    The first question is "What constitutes torture?"

    Clearly, the debate has been and will probably remain about the use of waterboarding on Gitmo prisoners for the purpose of extracting intelligence.

    I do not believe that waterboarding, especially in this context, is torture. Colonel Oliver North, a man who has been waterboarded, agrees with me. We use waterboarding on our own troops as preparation for what the enemy may use against them. If we are willing to do it to ourselves...then I suppose by your logic we can do it to others.

    Do I advocate torturing people? Hell no! I would be totally appalled to find out that my government was rounding people up based on ethnicity, throwing them in camps, starving them, and gassing them to death.

    We are not talking about that. We are talking about three Gitmo prisoners who were waterboarded to obtain intel that DID save American lives. We aren't talking about beheading anyone on live TV.

    And Scott, maybe I'm stuck in stage 2, I don't know, but if we truly are to not respond when attacked, not defend ourselves, not protect ourselves from those who would do us harm, then what and why are we what we are?

    This is a low blow, but it is useful. If a man were to murder a family member of yours, what would be the correct response? Forgive him? Let him go? Turn the other cheek?

    Where does it stop? There has to be a line between good and evil, right and wrong, and that line needs to be enforceable. I guess I don't understand.

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  2. "true believers in him should treat others as they wish to be treated"

    So we should go around strapping bombs to our children? Is that a better alternative to torturing higher command terrorists? Consider then that our torture for our safety is "treating them how they treated us" back when they held American hostages in Iran or when they dragged our helpless marines naked through the streets.

    "so, he commanded people to love thy neighbor as thyself and to turn the other cheek when one is violent towards you"

    Yes, because Im going to turn away from the man who denies the Holocaust and is advocating the destruction of Israel and Western thinking.

    "On the issue of forgiveness, he stated one should forgive another person who wrongs them as many times as seventy times seven"

    70x7 = 490
    One apology a year means they are loooooong overdue in apologies since the founding of Islam and radical Shi'ite Islam which have been at war for over 1000 years (with the US, since our founding)
    One apology for every innocent Human being killed means they are again loooooong overdue for an apology since over 3000 died in 9/11. Which was an unprovoked terrorist attack simply because we are Americans and they can't stand us.

    "To use torture to promote the national security of the United States is at the very least hypocritical."

    I fail to see the logic in your conclusion

    "It should be kept in mind that most conservatives and those conservative Christians mentioned above won’t agree with this analysis because of their mutual aversion to science. At least science that uses an actual methodology."

    SJ, if you had a dog. How long would you keep it around if it kept biting you and tearing up your home? Would you keep it because it's an animal and part of your family? Or would you get rid of the beast since it is ruining your life?

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  3. Lski - nice comparison that lowers the sanctity of human life (at least in the Middle East) to that of dogs.

    The logic of the hypocritical statement is that America, at least on paper, stands for all that is right in the world. The use of torture undermines this.

    Lski - seriously, do you think that I advocate the use of children as bombs? Your statement is so utterly ridiculous that I'm not going to comment. Sorry you can't understand that WE should treat others the same as WE would want them to treat us.

    Scott L. - I do believe that waterboarding is torture. Col. North has a little problem with obeying the law anyway. The international community (including the United States) signed a treaty that defined torture as including waterboarding since it simulated death. Until the treaty is renogiated, United States law (through a signed and ratified treaty) recognizes waterboarding as torture.

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  4. "that if someone continues to act in an improper manner towards you 490 times, maybe it is you that are acting improperly."

    How precisely were we acting improperly in...

    1993 - World Trade Center Bombing
    1998 - Bombing of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
    2000 - Bombing of the USS Cole
    2001 - Hijacking attacks on WTC and Pentagon

    Could it be the fact that they think it is improper for us not to be Muslim?

    I'm sorry, I'm not going to apologize for that!

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  5. Just thinking about things just wanted to throw some stuff out there...

    1) I am kind of getting the feeling that you think we torture as the first line of defense. Like shoot first ask questions later. I'm pretty sure we gave these guys every opportunity to answer any questions before we took more drastic measures.

    2) How do you define revenge and justice?

    3) "From what I’ve heard from people who support torture, they believe that the use of it is okay because it has saved American lives (i.e. their own)."

    American lives = plural

    Not just my life but ALL of my fellow Americans! I care about saving their lives too!How in the hell is that not showing interest in others? Are you implying that because I want American lives saved that I'm selfish?!

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  6. "Lski - nice comparison that lowers the sanctity of human life (at least in the Middle East) to that of dogs."

    The problem is SJ, to perform a job to the highest expectations, you have to understand it inside and out. To deal with a person, you need to know everything about that person. To deal with a culture of hate, you need to understand that the Shi'ite Islamo Facist Terrorists H A T E us the western thinking and everything we stand for. So you're wrong when specifying the "Middle East" because what I was saying and everyone else is saying when we refer to terrorists is the small 20% of the population of Muslims that want eradication of non-Muslims.

    "The logic of the hypocritical statement is that America, at least on paper, stands for all that is right in the world. The use of torture undermines this."

    Interesting thought, that America stands for all that is right in the world. I will have to ask you to elaborate on that because depending on what you say I don't know if I agree with that statement.

    "Lski - seriously, do you think that I advocate the use of children as bombs? Your statement is so utterly ridiculous that I'm not going to comment."

    I was just posing a question since THEY STRAP BOMBS TO THEIR BRAINWASHED CHILDREN AND BID THEM A GOOD DAY
    They raise their kids to hate, hate and to hate some more. I recommend you read a telling tale of a Middle Eastern Christian living in Lebanon during the Islam take over, her name is Brigitte Gabriel and the book is called, Because they Hate. It's a non-politicized book explaining what she as a Christian went through at the hands of these people who HATE.

    "Sorry you can't understand that WE should treat others the same as WE would want them to treat us."

    Problem is SJ, we've tried that. It hasn't worked in over 150 years. The only thing that does work is if we bring their war to them

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  7. Lski - The all that is right is based on the idea that American was founded on principles of self-government based on the ability of the people to work together to form a greater good. The principle of the Enlightenment allow for self-government through the respect of the rights of others. To torture is to show the ultimate disrespect.

    JW - first don't apologize for not being Muslim. I do not deny the events you say happened to America (however, each of these events were designed to have America remove its Air Force base in the Islamic Holy Land - imagine an Islamic Air Force based in the Vatican). I would like to point out that I have no issue with detaining criminals, but I can not endorse the use of torture (including waterboarding) against these people, no matter how disgusting the actions they plan might be.

    Lski - We (including the Europeans) have been bringing war to these areas for over 150 years. You war philosophy has not yet worked.

    The great war philosopher Clausewitz applied the idea of for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction to war.

    For every time we bomb, we invite more bombing. Every time we show disrespect to another, they have the desire to show disrespect back. You are not making America safer with these policies, in fact you are only lighting a fuse to a time bomb that...

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  8. "For every time we bomb, we invite more bombing. Every time we show disrespect to another, they have the desire to show disrespect back."

    Comon now, were we supposed to do nothing after being attacked on September 11?

    Again I pose the question, how do you define justice and revenge?

    Another question, how, if these criminals who are being detained because of their actions will not give up information, how are we supposed to get it from them? Do you not think there is a responsibility to get information from them? They obviously know what torture is, seeing as how they do it themselves and broadcast it over live television. So if we take every step we can possibly take before torture and we let them know what's coming if they don't talk, I see no problem. They could've avoided it.

    I am not familiar with the Air Force Base in the Islamic Holy Land. How did it get there in the first place? Why did we build it? Did someone say it was ok for us to build it?

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  9. Scott J,

    In the spirit of trying to actually fully understand your attitude regarding torture, harsh interrogation, defense of country, etc, I have a couple of questions for you to answer. I myself have answered what I think is appropriate.

    You've said you would, under no circumstances, allow waterboarding or other forms of harsh interrogation to glean information from captured enemy combatants. Ok. What do you propose we do with such people? Would it be better if our soldiers killed them on the battlefield? Should we just let them go into America? What alternative method of handling these prisoners do you suggest? I'm being serious, I really want to know what you would do if you were president and had the power to actually decide policy.

    After that, could you more generally explain your philosophy on crime and punishment? If we truly are to "turn the other cheek" as Jesus taught in every circumstance, where does that lead to in regards to law and order and the viability of our nation-state? Does not univerally turning the other cheek lead to pure anarchy? Because no matter how nice you are, evil exists.

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  10. The turn the other cheek part was included to point some hypocricy in some Christians who claim that they have some higher moral power that will support their views on torture.

    I do believe that we have social contract that if violated, society must determine what do with these people. I agree that people violate the social contract, but the question becomes why they act in such a way. I do not believe pure evil is born. I believe that social conditions create evil people. When was the last time you didn't hear of a sociopath that had a screwed up childhood? How we create conditions to allow for positive development is another post, but it starts with making sure that every parent has an education and the resources available to them to allow for the child's development.

    If I were President, I would not offer them a free pass into this country. They, too, have violated international standards of conduct. They have not respected the human rights of their victims and must be punished for these actions. What I am saying is that just because they have done something to us that is wrong, it is still wrong for us to do it to them. You mentioned Col. North earlier. Just because our soldiers prepare for actions that could be done to them, it does not give us the right to do it to them.

    So what would I do with them? We have international treaties that deal with the treatment of prisoners of war. We can interrogate them within those standards and hold them as prisoners within those standards as well and not violate human rights treaties.

    Anytime you violate the human rights of another, there are consequences. Just as the anger that came about in America when we have been targeted by terrorists. However, the anger reverses against us when we resort to violating basic human rights.

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  11. I wonder if this discussion is a good one. We can talk morality and social contracts and levels of moral development all day long. But we do not have all of the facts that those who are making these decisions make.

    When eminent danger is percieved, what is the justfiable couse of action? Take the feelings that Scott J has expressed about the one unwilling to donate organs.

    Consider the moral issue with the fact that my grandfather was a bomber pilot in WWII. He was of german descent. He had family near an area where he dropped bombs.

    Have you ever seen the Band of Brothers series from HBO? The ninth part of that is called "Why We Fight" It is a harsh view of the issues that we are talking about, the attrocity of war and dealing with a servile evil enemy. The end of the part shows the liberation of a Jewish work camp. This not a fictional tale.

    For us to sit in our midwestern lifestyles and object to things that we know only in part, seems at least a bit off to me.

    Since you brought the idea of religion into I will give a few of my thoughts on the matter.

    Religion is man made and stupid and makes Jesus want to fight. Misrepresentations are made all the time of Jesus. Some of them have perhaps occured in this discussion.

    I prefer to discuss the Gospel. There is a fracture in this world and evil exists in this world. We were created to live in shalom, in peace in relationship with God and with one another; to work the ground and enjoy relationship. But there has been a fracture that causes even right relationships to be at odds. Evil is the result of this fracture of relationship. But Jesus came to reestablish this shalom, to give hope to broken relationships.

    The issues being discussed here are merely evidences of this fracture. In fact the discussion itself is an evidence.

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  12. I don't think there are actually many Christians who actually LIKE the thought of torture. Most Christians do value peace and would prefer to just get along. The problem is the terrosits or enemies that we deal with in some of these circumstances. These enemies do not value life. They do not view life as sacred or important. They have a very different thinking than we do. I don't believe God would just expect us step back and let the enemy walk all over us, knowing that the outcome would be death. This goes against our God given instinctual nature to try and maintain life. There is nothing wrong with valuing the precious gift of life God gave us and defending it. I think really the debate should be what constitutes torture. I don't feel many Christians support grotesque forms of torture and yeah, that makes me feel sick. But certainly some forms of torture are more humane than others, and if they save innocent people that value life that are simply trying to live and enjoy their life, then I don't understand why that wouldn't be acceptable.
    I'm not neccessarily suggesting this is being done here, but it is also very easy to take scripture out of context. If you pick small bits and pieces of the scripture or if you don't value the scripture in the of it actually being the word of God, it's really easy to make errors in judgment as to what it is actually talking about. There are debates over things in the Bible all the time even by religious "authorities". It's just very easy to do.
    But I have to say that when it comes to my children's lives and safety, then religion and God's word aside, I would support the torture of anyone that would be a threat to them in an effort to perserve their lives. What parent wouldn't. Therefore, wouldn't it be hypocritical for any parent to Not believe in torture because when it comes to their kids, I think any parent would sing a different tune.
    No torture may sound nice in theory, but when come face to face with the threat, it would probably be pretty easy to have a change of heart.

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  13. "The great war philosopher Clausewitz applied the idea of for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction to war."

    I prefer the US (right) way of war
    "You attack me, I kill you"

    The guiding light here is brought out from Iron Man, when he tells the soldiers
    "The perfect weapon, is not the one you never have to fire, it's the one you only have to fire once. That's how Dad did it. That's how America does it. And it's worked out pretty well so far"

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  14. Rik, I think you are right about not understanding some realities of war as we sit in our comfortable Midwest houses and cars. However, it is important to understand all of the great moral philosophers have done just that. We must figure out what is right and wrong in peace so that we do not make mistakes in war.

    I pose a question: Why was the My Lai such a big deal in America? My answer: Because it was an example of how the American army does not act. Our examples of mistakes in war are few because of our commitment to a civilian controlled army that must also live up to the ideals of our nation (our Founders developed this philosophy sitting in the comforts of the upper-class homes in the 18th Century). When our army fails to live up these high ideals, it is a big deal.

    Question: Number of incidents of rape as Sherman's army marched through the South?
    Answer: None. Why? Because that is not the way the American Army operates. Give me another example of a nation being able to live up to that standard.

    Blitz: "But certainly some forms of torture are more humane than others..." SERIOUSLY? Torture is always tortue.

    Lski - If America only has to fire its weapon once, then why do we have so many people working to fight us? Seems like we must be using the wrong weapon. Do you believe that all attacks deserve death? Of course, the reverse it true also. If America attacks, then it deserves to die as well. Make sure your philosophies are logically sound please.

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  15. Yeah, SERIOUSLY...

    Do you really believe that there is no difference between shoving bamboo shoots up someone's fingernails or ripping off someone's fingernails, or using nontherapeutic forms of electric shock as torture or cutting off limbs as less humane forms of torture than say waterboarding? Come on. You said yourself that you believe waterboarding is torture.
    Personally, I think I would rather undergo some waterboarding if I had to be tortured than having my fingers cut off one by one.

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  16. "So what would I do with them? We have international treaties that deal with the treatment of prisoners of war. We can interrogate them within those standards and hold them as prisoners within those standards as well and not violate human rights treaties."

    Scott J, these people do not fall under the Geneva convention. They are enemy combatants. They do not wear the uniform of their country. They respect no rules of warfare.

    Besides, you haven't answered the question pragmatically...

    We know Ahmed Ahmed has actionable intel that we can use to prevent terrorist attacks. If we can't get him to spill the beans by asking really nicely,...then what do we do?

    I argue that doing nothing, not getting the info, and watching as a thousand Americans die a needless death is FAR more unethical than making Ahmed Ahmed think he is drowning for a few minutes to get him to spill the beans.

    How's THAT for moral relativism? Ha!

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  17. Scripture says that INDIVIDUALS are not to seek revenge because the vengeance lies in God's hands.

    Romans 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord

    However, when it lies in the hands of the GOVERNMENT, in whom God has charged with maintaining justice in the world, it seems a different story.

    Deuteronomy 25:2 If the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make him lie down and have him flogged in his presence with the number of lashes his crime deserves,

    Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

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  18. Nicely put Wardo

    And SJ, when we fired the RIGHT weapons (the surge) guess what? We kicked ass. So to answer your question, yes we only need to fire our weapon once, that weapon being the men and women of our volunteer army.

    And does any attack qualify a return attack? Better yet,
    which attack wouldn't qualify an attack back?

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  19. Wardo, if we were talking of government at the time that Romans was written, then okay.

    However, democratic theory holds that individuals are the government and the government is the individual. "We the People" starts our government document. If a democratic government is made of the will of the people, then its actions are of the people. Therefore, the idea of an individual not seeking revenge should then be applied to a government made up of the individual people.

    Romans was written at a time when it was believed that leaders were put on the earth to lead by God (Divine Right comes later, but the principles are found much earlier). Therefore, the actions of the king are to be judged by God and the people, who were not part of the decision, are judged based on their own individual actions.

    So Wardo, are you implying we need to return to a King that was chosen by God? Otherwise, your discussion of biblical government does not to the democratic process, which was not what was discussed in Romans or Deuteronomy.

    Since the actions of the United States government are dictated by the will of the people through their elected leaders (not Divinely elected), it then follows that the action of the government reflect the individual will of the electoriate as a whole. Since my vote has allowed torture (I did vote for W. in 2000), then I am held accountable for these actions.

    That is, unless that there actually is a wall of seperation between Church and State at which time and the actions of the government do not personally reflect my beliefs. It would then follow that we must completely seperate the Christian religion from government. I don't know too many evangelicals that would agree with that.

    It still seems to me that they want their cake and to eat it also. However, we do know what cake resulted in for one monarch in history.

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  20. "However, democratic theory holds that individuals are the government and the government is the individual."

    Ok then, so why do you believe it is the government's job to take care of us? I don't want a government to take care of me, I want them to keep my safe and let me pursue my life and happiness. Seems like all this administration is doing everything they can to take away our individual rights. Sounds like you are trying to have your cake and eat it too there.

    "Romans was written at a time when it was believed that leaders were put on the earth to lead by God."

    What about God's plan? Does he no longer have one? I would think that if you lead in a way favorable to God things would turn out well.

    I gotta run and I'll admit I see a flaw in my post there and it's laughable that you think I would ever think we needed to be under a rule of a king (considering that's why the country was founded, to get away from a rule of a king!) but I myself do not consider what we are doing revenge, but rather justice.

    I would REALLY like to have you address Scott L's point...

    "Besides, you haven't answered the question pragmatically...

    We know Ahmed Ahmed has actionable intel that we can use to prevent terrorist attacks. If we can't get him to spill the beans by asking really nicely,...then what do we do?"

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  21. Lski,

    Prove to me "the surge" worked. Also, as Scott J. pointed out, where does this back-and-forth violence end? When we "win?" Do you think you can just dominate the hell out of a society and expect it to collectively never think ill of you again?

    As Americans, shouldn't we work with the institutions we helped to shape and are a part of (such as the UN) to show the rest of the world that we are team players for peace and not purveyors of continued destruction and ill-will?

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  22. David,

    Why do you have such a negative view of your own country? How do you not see the good America does in this world and how can you avoid the context in which we fight this war? By your comments, one would think that America has been running around for decades raping and pillaging other lands, voiding the rule of law, attacking without mercy for no reason, etc.

    Islamofascist terrorists have been at war with us for the past 40 years. We only recently joined in the fight against them. THEY are the purveyors of destruction and ill-will. THEY are the ones who strap bombs on their children and send them off to die, taking innocents by the thousands.

    And yes, the back and forth will end when we win. Its people like you and your defeatist mentality that caused us to lose in Vietnam, and its an attitude like the one you have that will lead to us losing out in this conflict.

    The surge was vastly successful. Violence decreased dramatically in the months following the surge of troops. Bush planned for a staged withdrawal of our troops; now Obama gets to take credit for starting to get us out of Iraq, even though it was Bush who begun that effort BECAUSE the surge proved so successful.

    You don't win wars by apologizing. And the United Nations is a complete joke, unable to enforce any of its declarations. The UN's inability to enforce its own laws is the very reason Hussein had to be dealt with.

    Lose the defeatist attitude toward your own country. Realize the greatness of America. We have freed more people from tyranny, helped with more humanitarian crises, and promoted freedom and good will in more parts of this world than any other country on the planet.

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  23. JW - Of course, I don't believe you think we should be run by a king. I was just making a point.

    Everyone, I think my post has been misunderstood. I did not advocate the end of the war on terror. I think the troop surge worked, it was just five years too late. The point I was making is that torture, which I, and the rest of the Western world, believe waterboarding is torture. When America uses such interrogation techniques, then it loses its moral high ground.

    Former FBI agent Ali Soufan testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was able to get Abu Zubaydah to give up valuable al-Qaida information without using waterboarding. Detainee Ibn al Shaykh al-Libi in 2002 said there was no link between Iraq and al- Qaida. VP Cheney ordered him waterboarded until he said there was a link. 183 times later he said there was a link. Turns out his original statement was true and he only claimed the link to get the torture to stop.

    There are other means to fight the war on terror without reducing our great country to the level of the terrorists we claim we are better than.

    One final question - If waterboarding isn't torture, then why did the United States conduct these interrogations in countries that had not signed the Geneva Accord on Human Rights? To me, that sound like W and Cheney knew they were acting outside of the laws of the United States. When the US is no longer governed by laws that apply to all, then we have a monarchy.

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  24. @ Scott L.,

    But when do we "win?" This isn't a war of nations, it's a war to convince hearts and minds. You can kill, kill, kill, but it will inevitably continue the cycle of incensed hatred against us. Protecting ourselves is one thing, but you can't win this "war" with soldiers and tanks.

    That's not a defeatist attitude...it's an assessment of the human reality we find ourselves trapped in.

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  25. SJ,

    I think the main reason we hold these terrorists in Gitmo is to avoid having to try these people in US Civilian Courts. Like I said before, they do not even fall under the Geneva Conventions, but I'm sure Bush and Cheney knew that if they held them on US soil, people like you would be demanding that we give them their "constitutional rights" to due process and trial by jury just like any US citizen. They aren't citizens, so they shouldn't get that treatment, but if they were being held here, you know the ACLU would be all over it.

    You keep wanting to apply the same laws to gitmo detainees as to all US citizens...the two do not equate.

    I still maintain that I much prefer keeping techniques such as waterboarding on the table for the case of the ticking time bomb, or the case of the high level terrorist with lots of info, like Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Again, I ask you a morally charged question:

    Which is preferable: One terrorist is made to tell what he knows by creating the sensation of drowning or by sleep deprivation, etc

    OR

    1 innocent American life is lost because of inaction on the part of our government?

    I'll remind you that we don't behead our prisoners, nor pull off fingernails, nor chop off limbs. Our prisoners actually gain weight due to the fine dining experiences they have at Gitmo. Our prisoners are given Qurans and allowed to worship as they desire.

    Please answer that question though. It is critical for this discussion.

    @David,

    We do not fight an enemy that can be defeated the same as Germany or Russia, true. However, it seems like you think we are at war with the Muslim world. This is erroneous. We are at war with the most radical elements in the Islamic world. We are not at war with Egypt, nor the Iraqis, nor even Iran or the Saudis. It is not a nation against which we fight. It is an ideology. An ideology of hate. We face an enemy that knows only violence and hatred for us. They do not twist themselves in knots worrying about how the world will percieve their "torture" in defense of their cause. They laugh at us as naive.

    We win when those elements realize that they are not winning the culture war. We win when we can convince the moderate muslims to speak out against their radical brethren. We win by establishing bastions of freedom, as we are doing in Iraq.

    You see, David, it is freedom that these radicals hate. They wish to impose Sharia Law on all the world. They are the enemies of freedom.

    And we are its champions. Never forget that.

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  26. Scott Scott Scott! You say that gitmo detainees don't have the same Constitutional rights as US citizens, but PLEASE tell me WHERE in the Fifth or Sixth Amendment does it say ANYTHING about those rights being held exclusively for citizens? It doesn't! It merely says "person" or "the accused", while other Amendments strictly use the word "citizen". These Amendments weren't written so that American citizens would get fair treatment in the US courts, they were writting so that the US courts and law enforcement would treat ALL people fairly. It is a fundamental AMERICAN rule that you are "innocent until proven guilty", and that holds no matter where you come from.

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  27. And Scott, you can't ask that kind of question! It's ridiculous! There are MORE than just those two alternatives! We can save that 1 innocent American life without having to resort to torture. In fact, by NOT torturing foreigners, we stand to save MANY MORE lives than just 1. Think of the anger and hatred that is fueled by Americans torturing "potential terrorists". If you torture someone, their family, their friends, practically their entire neighborhood is going to have negative feelings toward the US. Hell, the American torture practices are probably one of the most powerful recruiting tools that terrorists use! If I heard some foreign country apprehended my brother or friend and tortured him, I'd have some pretty damn negative feelings toward that country.

    We need diplomacy and education. We DO NOT need to spread more hatred and anger and GIVE OTHERS A REASON TO HATE US.

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  28. And I hope that SJ doesn't dignify your question by answering it, because it's absolutely ridiculous. You can't limit the alternatives in a question like that.

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  29. Scott, you said that: "We face an enemy that knows only violence and hatred for us." Don't you think that that a lot of that violence and hatred stems from the fact that we torture their friends, family, neighbors, and fellow Muslims?

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  30. Greiner, it is a vile insult to the memory of our long dead patriots who sacrificed everything so that the CITIZENS of this country would be able to enjoy all the freedoms and rights that go along with being an American to suggest that they died (many of them dirt poor when they did so) so that AMERICA HATING TERRORISTS would be given Constitutional protections in US CIVILIAN COURT.

    We are not the United States of the World, being an American citizen means something, as you are so apt to point out to me when discussing how much taxes we OWE.

    Plus, we are speaking back and forth at each other in hyperbole, which will get us no where. I am merely trying to get you to admit that there does exist some circumstances that would justifiably permit the use of harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding (you call torture, many do not). My question is NOT invalid. If we are to take SJ at his word, we should believe that under no circumstances whatsoever would it be okay to waterboard a detainee whom we know has intel but won't give it up.

    We are not talking about a technique that is either new nor in prolific use. THREE terrorists at Gitmo were waterboarded (That's from Dick Cheney, a man who you may not respect, but one whose authority in this are cannot be matched). Its not as though we waterboarded every Mahmoud, Mohammed, or Khalid that we have at Gitmo.

    THREE, all provided useful intel that saved American lives.

    Also, I believe the crux of my question comes down to something else.

    What do you value more? The comfort of a terrorist, or the lives of citizens.

    That is NOT an unfair question, it is precisely the question that ought to be answered by you, SJ, Obama, and everyone else who is so high and mighty against waterboarding.

    I'm not saying that we ought to do this as a matter of course! Per Eric Holder, OBAMA'S attorney general, we cannot legally be torturing someone unless there is intent to torture. I don't want to get revenge on captured terrorists; I want to keep them from rejoining the jihad and, if they have useful information, I want to obtain that information.

    Another thing, while it may seem to your bleeding heart that waterboarding three terrorists has become a large recruiting tool...simply wrong again. Andrew McCarthy of national review points out that the number one recruiting tool for more terrorists is...

    Successful terrorist attacks!

    You see, these terrorist cowards who blow up innocent people only want to join up when they think they are part of a strong, winning team! I'd say Bush has been GREAT for quelling recruiting efforts, given since we tuned in to what the terrorists were all about, there has been no successful attacks on American soil. That is unlike the tenure of Clinton, under whom so many recruitment efforts paid off, its difficult to list them all (okay not that difficult, 1993 WTC bombing, offer of Osama Bin Laden on a silver platter, USS Cole to name a few).

    Stopping terrorism is the largest deterrant to more terrorism. If we can waterboard three detainees and succeed in that effort, I say ok. What say you?

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  31. Just dug up this gem from Attorney General Eric Holder, back in 2002 discussing the interrogation and treatment of terrorists:

    "One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention that you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people.
    It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not."
    CNN 2002

    Boy oh boy how the political winds have the power to change beliefs.

    This man is a horrid hipocrite. Just thought you might like to know that the man Obama picked as attorney general did not want to extend constitutional rights to these people either, when it wasn't a matter of politics. Now that he has to appease the radical left though, things have somehow changed for Mr. Holder.

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  32. Um, actually Scott, he did. This is from that SAME interview:
    "I think the way to resolve it is, in fact, the way Secretary Powell has proposed, which is to say these are not people who are prisoners of war as that has been defined, but who are entitled to, in our own interests, entitled to be treated in a very humane way and almost consistent with all of the dictates of the Geneva Convention."

    So, basically, Holder was saying that by definition (very important for lawyers), Gitmo detainees are not prisoners of war, and thus the Geneva Convention does not apply to them. However, it is in the BEST INTEREST of the United States to treat them with the same HUMANE TREATMENT provided for under the Geneva Convention. Good digging, by the way.

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  33. I'm not surprised you're taking Andrew McCarthy's word. I'm sure he spent a great deal of time in the Middle East, spending face to face time with potential terrorists. Oh wait, he didn't.

    You know who did? Matthew Alexander. A short bio:
    "Matthew Alexander spent fourteen years in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves. An “investigator turned interrogator” who deployed to Iraq in 2006, he conducted more than 300 interrogations and supervised more than 1,000. Alexander was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his achievements in leading the the team that located Abu Musab alZarqawi, the leader of Al Qaida in Iraq, who was killed by Coalition Forces. He is the author of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S.Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq."

    I suggest you check out these links:
    http://www.progressiverealist.org/blogpost/u-s-interrogator-torture-drives-terrorist-recruitment-hampers-interrogation
    And:
    http://www.vetvoice.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2759

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  34. In case you don't get around to reading those, I'd just like to highlight what I felt are the most important parts:
    "There are many pragmatic arguments against torture and abuse. The first is the lack of evidence that torture or abuse as an interrogation tactic is faster or more efficient than other method such as relationship building or deception. In my experience, when interrogators used harsh methods that fit the definition of abuse, in every instance, that method served only to harden the resolve of the detainee and made them more resistant to interrogation. As revealed in the so-called Torture Memos, the mere fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was waterboarded 183 times is ample evidence that torture made him more resistant to interrogation and that because coercion was used, he gave only the minimum amount of information necessary to stop the pain.

    The second pragmatic argument against torture and abuse is the fact that Al Qaida used our policy that authorized and encouraged these illegal methods as their number one recruiting tool for foreign fighters. While I supervised interrogations in Iraq, I listened to a majority of foreign fighters state that the reason they had come to Iraq to fight was because of the torture and abuse committed at both Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. These foreign fighters made up approximately 90% of the suicide bombers in Iraq at that time, in addition to leading and participating in thousands of attacks against Coalition and Iraqi forces. It is not an exaggeration to say that hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers died at the hands of these foreign fighters. The policy that authorized and encouraged the torture and abuse of prisoners has cost us American lives. The torture and abuse of prisoners is counterproductive to our efforts to thwart terrorist attacks in the long term and to keep all Americans safe.

    In addition, torture and abuse of prisoners causes present and future detainees to be more resistant to interrogations. When we torture or abuse detainees, it hardens their resolve and reinforces the reasons why they picked up arms against us. In addition, it makes all Americans appear as hypocrites, thereby betraying the trust that is necessary to establish prior to convincing a detainee to cooperate. Detainees are more likely to cooperate when they see us live up to our principles. Several high-ranking Al Qaida members that I interrogated in Iraq decided to cooperate with me for the very reason that I did not torture or abuse them and because I treated them and their religion and culture with respect. In fact, that was one of the main reasons I was able to convince a member of Zarqawi's inner circle to cooperate with us."

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  35. You can take Andrew McCarthy's uninformed and biased word if you want, or you can take the word of an informed person with actual experience. I think I'll take the latter.

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  36. The way to stop terrorism is to STOP GIVING THEM A REASON TO BE TERRORISTS!

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  37. One more thing, I think that the ONLY people that are allowed to say that waterboarding isn't torture are people that have experienced it themselves.

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  38. "One more thing, I think that the ONLY people that are allowed to say that waterboarding isn't torture are people that have experienced it themselves."

    Uh, Scott already posted that Col. Oliver North has been waterboarded and he said he does not believe it's torture.

    "The way to stop terrorism is to STOP GIVING THEM A REASON TO BE TERRORISTS!"

    Well, we could all convert to Islam...

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  39. But Scott himself has NOT been waterboarded. Thus, I don't think he has any right to claim it isn't torture.

    And if I'm understanding your point about converting to Islam correctly, I don't think that would solve the problem. My first guess would be that terrorists that hate Americans aren't going to stop hating Americans simply because they converted to Islam. Maybe they will hate Americans a little less, but we'd still be Americans, and the fact that many of us don't share the same religion as them is only one of the countless reasons why they have such hatred.

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  40. These are taking from the following pdf:
    http://intelligence.senate.gov/070925/akeller.pdf#page=6

    This was Dr. Allen Keller's testimony before the Senate Committee on Intelligence.

    Here are Dr. Keller's credentials:
    "I am an Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. I am Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture in New York City and the NYU School of Medicine Center for Health and Human Rights. Since our Program began in 1995, we have cared for over 2,000 men, women and children from more than 80 countries. Our Program is a member of the National Consortium of Treatment Programs (NCTTP) whose approximately 30 member organizations care for torture victims in more than 20 states across the United States. Additionally we are members of the International Rehabilitation Council of Torture Victims (IRCT) which includes more than 130 torture rehabilitation centers and programs worldwide. Individuals cared for in the Bellevue/NYU program have been persecuted for daring to question ruling powers; for expressing religious beliefs; or simply because of their race or ethnicity.

    I am a member of the Advisory Council of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). I have participated in PHR's asylum network examining victims of torture and mistreatment applying for political asylum here in the United States. I have also participated in several PHR investigations and studies documenting torture and mistreatment, and training health professionals in conducting such documentation. I served as an advisor and reviewer for the recent report from PHR and Human Rights First “Leave No Marks.” This report documents the harmful health impact of enhanced interrogation techniques and the risk of criminality. In my testimony today, I draw on my own clinical and research experience, including evaluation of several former U.S. detainees, as well as information presented in the PHR report and data from the medical literature."

    These are, as he describes, the effects of waterboarding that he has seen in victims:
    "Water-boarding or mock drowning, where a prisoner is bound to an inclined board and water is poured over their face, inducing a terrifying fear of drowning clearly can result in immediate and long-term health consequences. As the prisoner gags and chokes, the terror of imminent death is pervasive, with all of the physiologic and psychological responses expected, including an intense stress response, manifested by tachycardia, rapid heart beat and gasping for breath. There is a real risk of death from actually drowning or suffering a heart attack or damage to the lungs from inhalation of water. Long term effects include panic attacks, depression and PTSD. I remind you of the patient I described earlier who would panic and gasp for breath whenever it rained even years after his abuse."

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  41. "And if I'm understanding your point about converting to Islam correctly, I don't think that would solve the problem."

    PLEASE tell me what we're supposed to do then. Stop being Americans?!?!?!

    Greiner, I want some solutions from you! You keep saying we have to stop giving them a reason to be terrorists. Aside from giving up everything we have as Americans and living as Muslims under Sharia law, I don't know what we're supposed to do man.

    It seems, by your logic, as though after September 11th if we wouldn't have done anything at all and just said, "Ah, touche" and just let it go that everything would just be fine and dandy now?

    "I remind you of the patient I described earlier who would panic and gasp for breath whenever it rained even years after his abuse."

    So what happened if loud music was played to wear someone down so they spilled the beans and now everytime that person hears music they freak out, is that torture too?

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  42. "PLEASE tell me what we're supposed to do then. Stop being Americans?!?!?!"

    I'm saying that by torturing detainees, we give others around the globe further reason to hate us and unite to fight us. I guess I should've chosen my words better. Instead of saying we should stop giving them A reason to be terrorists, I should've said we should stop doing the thing that seems to be the most common reason for terrorists to hate us.

    Since this post is about whether or not torture is an acceptable means for promoting national security, I assume that by asking for my solutions, you're asking for my suggested substitutes to torture? I would use Matthew Alexander's suggestions:
    "Detainees are more likely to cooperate when they see us live up to our principles. Several high-ranking Al Qaida members that I interrogated in Iraq decided to cooperate with me for the very reason that I did not torture or abuse them and because I treated them and their religion and culture with respect. In fact, that was one of the main reasons I was able to convince a member of Zarqawi's inner circle to cooperate with us."

    So, in summary, my solution is to stop torturing detainees (looks like it's already taken care of). There are MANY other ways (that are MUCH more effective) to get important information that won't give terrorists further reason to unite against us.

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  43. "It seems, by your logic, as though after September 11th if we wouldn't have done anything at all and just said, "Ah, touche" and just let it go that everything would just be fine and dandy now?"

    My logic?!?! You might need to take some classes in logic, because I don't think you're understanding my logic very well. My logic is that torture (including waterboarding) is, above anything else, wrong in every possible way. So, in my opinion, it is unacceptable no matter the consequences.

    However, in order to convince you that torture should not be used on detainees, I have tried to present arguments that say that torture is no more effective than non-torturing methods of interrogation in obtaining important information. In fact, according to people that have a lot more interrogation experience than you or me, torture seems to be much LESS effective than non-torture methods.

    ALSO, which I hope will be even more convincing to you, is the idea that the torture of detainees by Americans seems to be the #1 reason for people to commit terrorist activities (at least in Iraq).

    Thus, not only does torture NOT give use the information we need, it actually leads to INCREASES in terrorism, which is what torture is supposed to decrease (at least, according to you guys and Dickhead Cheney).

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  44. So, if you need me to spell it out for you, NO, my logic is not that we should have done nothing after September 11 (in fact, I'm pretty damn disgusted that you even made the suggestion). My logic is that we should NOT have tortured, because it seemed to do a lot more harm than good (which isn't even really a stretch, because it seems like torture practically did us NO good).

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  45. And, I cite the same PDF from Dr. Keller in response to your hypothetical music situation:

    "Sensory Overload
    Sensory bombardment with light and noise can inflict extreme mental and physical harm whether it is used as a discrete interrogation tool or to disrupt sleep. These methods are intended to cause physiologic distress and disorientation. The body interprets such over-stimulation as danger signals, and an adrenergic response ensues with the release of stress hormones, which result in increased heart rate, increased blood pressure. This can potentially increase the risk of life threatening conditions such as myocardial infarctions (heart attacks). Exposure to loud noises can result in chronic decreased hearing loss or even deafness or chronic tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Many of the patients I have cared for continue to suffer from poor hearing, tinnitus, and the sense that “the noise is still in their head.”

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  46. But you know what? As I stated before, torture is wrong no matter what the situation is. It's INHUMANE.

    I agree with SJ's first point, that "Christians" who support torture are not being very good "Christians" at all. In fact, they're being downright hypocritical. As SJ pointed out, Jesus's teachings do not allow for ANY exceptions to the universal moral treatment of others. That you should treat others as you wish to be treated, that you must love others, and that you must forgive those that have wronged you.

    So, I find it difficult to understand how any good Christian would support torture. The only thing I can understand is if you think a particular method is NOT torture, such as waterboarding. But even Scott L's best friend Andrew McCarthy said:
    "waterboarding is close enough to torture that reasonable minds can differ on whether it is torture" and that "[t]here shouldn't be much debate that subjecting someone to [waterboarding] repeatedly would cause the type of mental anguish required for torture."

    If it's THAT close to torture, do you really think that Jesus would be OK with it?

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  47. "So, in my opinion, it is unacceptable no matter the consequences."

    3000 dead Americans bad enough "consequences"?

    It appears we are at a crossroads. I believe that America ought to do whatever it needs to to protect its people. As I have stated, I value one American life over the comfort and possible long-term psychological side effects waterboarding may have on detainees. Its only been used 3 times. Its not as if we waterboard gitmo detainees for sport.

    If we truly can get terrorists to cooperate with us by other means, then by all means, please let us use them. I just don't want to handcuff ourselves or give away our interrogation secrets to the enemy.

    While we may strive to live in Jesus' image, we are sinners. I believe in evil and I believe in standing up for innocent life. If we are judged in the end for endorsing the use of waterboarding against sub-human terrorists, who are totally prepared to die for their cause and murder innocents along the way, then so be it. I will pray for forgiveness. In the meantime, I cannot live with the guilt of inaction that leads to the death of more Americans.

    If waterboarding really is the main reason that terrorists are joining up, what made them join up before all this came out? Its not as if waterboarding is a new interrogation technique that just started under Bush. Why did they take our marines hostage in 1979, but release them right when the election of 1980 was complete?

    Something you ought to consider when you are listening to a man who is taking the word of terrorists that their motivation for joining up is our use of waterboarding: Al Qaida and the other terrorist groups are MASTERS of the media. They are playing us and our media like a Stradivarius. You don't think there might be a slight chance that they told Alexander what he wanted to hear? They have the divine right of taqiya (sp?), which is essentially the right to lie to spread Islam. These are not dumb people. They are very media savvy. I'm just saying that your source's source is VERY questionable at best.

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  48. I have found that most Christians are very hypacritical. How many wars has our country been through where our soldiers were tortured. We say it was an injustice of their rights as captured prisoners. The ones doing the torturing were only doing it to find out information to protect their country. If we don't want our soldiers tortured then the US needs to set an example and do not torture either. All soldiers are fighting for what they believe is right for their country. They give up enough of their lives just being soldiers.

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  49. First off I am sorry I did not read most of the 48 comments above me.

    I did read Mary’s though….. And if the U.S. didn’t torture do u SERIOUSLY think that other countries or terrorists wouldn’t either?!?! Other countries would do it, and just deny it. Terrorists don’t like the U.S. along with a bunch of countries but I HIGHLY DOUBT they would think O look at the U.S. they are setting a great example lets follow them!!.... These are not some channel 9 child cartoon characters these are terrorists!

    I am also I bit late on this topic considering it was posted in May but torture is something I strongly believe in.

    You said “Torture of another human is always wrong no matter what possible positive outcome might come from it.” So you are implying that torturing a known terrorist so he/she tells you where a bomb that is going to kill a thousand people (women, children) is wrong? Yes the Jesus of Nazareth said we should forgive but no offense to Jesus I could never forgive someone who killed even a couple people just because he/she did not believe in the same things.

    If we use the Christian philosophy like you stated “we cannot torture if we are not willing to be tortured ourselves.” Personally I would be willing to get tortured if it saved lives.
    Would I want a loved one to be tortured? No. But all of my loved ones are law abiding citizens that I know of.

    I believe we as a country need to take and do anything in our power to make sure we are safe. If that means torturing someone, so be it.

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  50. Torture is defined as intense feelings of suffering from mental or physical pain. Torture can be used in a few ways. It can be described as a way to humiliate someone or it can be used as a punishment for a crime committed. If it is used to humiliate someone I think it is morally wrong. There are other ways someone can humiliate a person without them getting tortured. If they use it for punishment, I still think it is wrong but it seems a little more understandable. If a man had killed five people for no reason, I would not be against giving him getting the electric chair. If you commit a crime, like murdering someone, I think you should get the same punishment you committed. I know no one wants their family members to die even if they did commit a crime but, the innocent family and friends didn’t want their loved one to die either. One of the grossest stories I have heard about someone torturing someone is that guy from Canada who cut the girl’s fingertips and teeth off. That is just morally wrong and disgusting. People who torture other people like this should just be straight up killed. Our world has turned into a world full of creeps.

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  51. I agree that torture should be used as a tactic to retrieve information that will help diffuse a situation. I also think that torture should not be used to humiliate a person just to get your own kicks. I do believe in our society today, if a person commits numerous murders for no reason, then they should be brought to justice to pay for their crime that they commited. I do believe in an eye for an eye, pending on the circumstances.

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  52. Torture should not be used as a way for someone to admit to the truth or to retrieve information. This country we live in has been so blind sided that we think the only way to solve problems is with force. What have Wars accomplished? Today we are still fighting and killing people and for what because the same problems exist or new ones just arise. Torturing people is not the answer our government or anyone else should be using as part of our system. We can't and don't torture our children for the right answers so why should we do it to someone else even if it might save another life or a whole country. To me once again this all goes back to having some type of moral stand in life.If we are doing it because the government says we can then we are letting the government rule over thoughts which is going to do nothing, but send us down the path to many more wars to come.

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