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filling the void

Friday, November 30, 2007

Waterboarding IS Torture

I was reading today about waterboarding. I don't know what triggered it, but an hour of fascinated wikipedia clicking later, and I knew enough to categorically declare waterboarding torture.
I also read that there are some reported and admitted cases of the US using waterboarding to interrogate prisoners in morden times (the last 5-10 years). I'm sure there are also a bunch of false reports, but the fact that there is even one substantiated and confirmed report makes me sick to my stomach.
While the concept of torture is an interesting one, from a scientific point of view, subjecting humans to anythin remotely close to what I have read about today is nothing short insane.
Victims will say anything to escape the torture. Sometimes interrogators are lucky and they go after someone who actually has something of value to disclose, but if it was me on that board, I'd admit to the whole holocaust if it meant that I didn't have to be tortured.
Some might call me wek minded, but torture is an attrocity, and anyone performing it should receive the harshest possibly punishment.
Totrure shoudl not be performed. In any way shape or form. There can be no exception here whatsoever. Even the Geneva Convention backs me up on this one.

The worst part is that there is no oversight. There is noone to monitor the monitors. Supposedly the police are to be the monitors. If you do anything wrong, they punish you. (police / legal system). This isn't the case though, because the military can do things the police can't, and they don't have to tell you about it. What's worse is that the intelligence agencies do even worse things, and it's not that they don't have to tell you about it, but peopel never find out.
Even if countries have strong willed leaders who are against these sort of things, intelligence organizations, such as the CIA for instance, do whatever they damn well please, and noone is the wiser.

The torture has to stop. Humans need to be treated like humans. Not even when they are proven guilty should human treatment be abandoned. There is never a reason for torture.
And even if there was, what if you've got the wrong guy? What if your assumptions are wrong? What if he doesn't know anything? There are so many "what if"s that any argument for torture can be swiftly dealt with by the massive amount of uncertainty surrounding the authorization of torture.

Governments publicly declare that they are against torture (most of them anyway), but when pressed on specific issues (like waterboarding), they squirm and shed responsibility by claiming that a specific interrogation technique isn't classified as torture.
Anything that more than basically a heated conversation with possibly some screaming should be considered torture. Inflicting pain or the threat of pain, both mental or physical, is torture. There are no two ways about it.

Some of you, undoubtably, would say that there are exceptions. Much like how banning certain forms of expression and thought might seem convenient, who determines where to draw the line?
A lot of people would love to ban nazi symbols and racist speech. Make it a punishable offense. This might seem, by most, as an aceptable thing to do, but who's to say that the next "bad" thing isn't being republican. Or muslim.
If we let governments get away with this sort of thing there is no going back. There is no revoking the privilege. History shows that privileges given to governments are never given back.

The problem, as with most things human, is that there is no easy solution to the problem of government. Humans are inherently power-hungry, and they will do all they can in a position of power to make it last longer, or get elevated into a position of more power. One could argue for direct democracy, that everyone votes on all the issues, but that's not feasible. Besides, most people don't care about most decisions anyway, nor are they informed enough to make a proper decision.

I realize that we are moving away from the central issue here, which is that torture is bad, but this issue arises due to the fact that there is very little the population can do about the behavior of the government. Fear is an excellent way of controlling a population, and most governments have mastered it and made it an art.

Don't believe everything you hear. Question everything. Make sure that you know the facts.
You should even question what I wrote here. Don't take my word for it, investigate!

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