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Torture, Does It Work?



I hate to say it, but I can think of a way in which you could probably get reliable information from prisoners through the use of torture.

Assuming that the interrogator has several pieces of sensitive information that the prisoners might think is secret, the interrogator could torture the prisoner until he tells you some of that information that you already know. Use your ability to get at that information as a measure of whether or not the person has been "broken" and is telling you reliable info.

Use this same technique on other prisoners. Cross reference the information across a sample group of prisoners in order to get an idea of how reliable the information probably is.

Of course, this is probably the exact same approach interrogators use when not using torture. So, the question should be not only be "does torture work", but does it work any better?

I'm really glad I don't pay for cable anymore.

I would be disgusted to knowingly give money that might help to fund Chris Matthews, and his message that torture is not only a good idea, but an inevitable reality.

If I were king, Chris Matthews would be water boarded tomorrow. That would change his tune real damn quick.

Erh...I believe Matthews ended the interview with a "well said".

He agrees. He's just putting up a weighty counter argument to get Baer to shine.

Put these two clips together and it is clear that there is a very real sense in which torture 'works'. Dick Cheney wanted a connection between Saddam Hussein and it would appear that the use of torture got him that connection. Bob Baer said the Chinese tortured people to get false confessions and then said that 'that's not why we did it'. But it appears that may be exactly why we did it - and it worked.

Sure, torture works in some instances, but we never have those kinds of opportunities. Even if we did, we wouldn't realize it at the time. I could torture you to get your bank card PIN. I know that you know your PIN and I can easily verify the answer you give me under torture. The proverbial "ticking time bomb" that people talk about, you know, the retards who form their foreign policy ideas from watching 24, well that scenario is almost never what people working in intelligence deal with. As the man said, had the CIA one single instance of torture yielding this sort of “ticking time bomb" information you can bet your ass we would have heard all about it by now.

The really absurd thing about this whole issue is that our own military teaches that torture doesn’t work and that the information gained from torture is highly unreliable. That's what they taught me. I think that a lot of the torture was just some sort of sick punishment. How else can explain waterboarding someone over one hundred times? Perhaps even more absurd are the people saying that by releasing this information about torture tactics we are arming the terrorists

Perhaps even more absurd are the people saying that by releasing this information about torture tactics we are arming the terrorists

I've never really understood this argument at all. I know it's thrown out simply to take the spotlight away from themselves and place it onto the administration as though they've just committed a monumental blunder in weakening our security. It's odd but the same conservatives who usually advocate for harsher punishments to domestic criminals (death penalty, three-strikes, etc.) and say that these actually provide significant deterrant effect are now claiming that, somehow, letting foreign criminals know the harsh treatments we employ will somehow make the terrorists stronger. Huh?

Erick, I think the point that they're making is that the terrorists will now know what techniques are being used and will thus be able to train themselves to withstand the torture.

But all of this argument about whether or not torture works and whether or not we should discuss confounds me because torture is illegal, inhumane and barbaric. Period.

Those who are tortured will tell you ANYthing. It MIGHT be true, or have a grain of truth, or just what you want to hear. The record shows that torture is a terrible method of interrogation in terms of results, the effect on the victims and the perpetrators, and the effect on the respect for the country of the torturers.

The record also shows that being nice to prisoners reveals good intel. Being nice. Yes, you have to ask questions and keep track of what is said and make sure that it adds up and follow up on the information outside of the interrogation, but inside the interrogation you need to be nice.

This conversation has been held on this forum before, and I've posted links to the research and so on, AND there was a long list of essays against torture that was put out last year. It is not effective under any imaginable circumstances. As discussed in these 2 clips, torture also takes away resources from other investigative techniques and avenues.

The fact that those who came out against torture in the past have been, and those who are exposing this information today are being labeled "un-American" and accused of "arming the terrorists" is an outrage. If the higher-ups who knew better had raised a big enough stink back in 2001-02, maybe this discussion would be an easier one, and the Bush administration would have exposed for the immoral managers that they were. Instead we're having this argument now, when we have other fires to put out. I hope nothing gets lost in this melee.

The fact that those who came out against torture in the past have been, and those who are exposing this information today are being labeled "un-American" and accused of "arming the terrorists" is an outrage

What is "un-American" is torturing in the first place. Exposing the information and prosecuting those who broke the law is something that I would think conservatives would support as they always hold themselves up to be such proud defenders of the law.

You'd think, but then the neo-cons are busy dragging the GOP to absurdity. Not that the Republicans notice.

I thought Bob Baer on Bill Maher made it pretty clear torture doesn't work. (I don't think it was one of Bill Maher's best interviews but I think Baer carries a lot of authority.)

Yeah, what was with Bill asking a torture victim uncomfortable questions about his torture? Bill definitely can be an unfeeling guy from time toi time. Intriguing guest as he had been both tortured and a torturer.

Baer was a torturer? I am genuinely curious, where have you read this? He said he had seen people tortured, but I think that came from when he himself was imprisoned.

Th asking about torture issue - I don't know if it were problematic or not. Usually they go over the basic Q and A pre-show. I felt that Baer's nervous laugh was more of a pass because the information is classified. Food for thought.

I assumed that comment was about him being in the room for American's enhanced interrogations. I guess that is up for interpretation.

His comments in other places at least imply that he sent prisoners off to be tortured or murdered.

I don't think I agree with your interpretation. I don't think "I talked" would be classified. Perhaps "I Lied" would be , but he didn't need to say that to answer.

Sad that he would have sent of prisoners for bad deeds.

Yeah, I could be way off the mark about "classified." Just that Mahr asked Baer what he said, then Baer laughed and switched the subject. Possibly simple discomfort. Hard to tell.


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