Tuesday, April 21, 2009


People are furious about torture. Sort of. They're actually upset with Obama for releasing the torture memos. It turns out the CIA was torturing like crazy while President George W. Bush was denying it to the American people--so naturally conservatives are angry with Obama. God forbid we learn what our government is doing in our name. That's bad for security, they say. Of course they should be angry with the CIA for turning into the Gestapo when our backs were turned, but apparently that's too logical for these dunderheads.

It's not like we invented it or anything...waterboarding scene from the Spanish Inquisition.

According to the released memos, CIA interrogators were allowed to choke off prisoners' breathing in the simulated drowning technique called waterboarding; slap them and slam them against walls; confine them in small boxes for hours on end, sometimes with insects; and keep them awake for as many as 11 days. One captive was waterboarded 183 times in a month, another 83 times. Aside from the "intelligence" extracted in these conditions, which most agree is unreliable, moral issues arise from torturing a defenseless captive.

Shocking strangers--the Milgram study

You may remember the series of social psychology experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram to measure the willingness of participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to commits acts--such as inflicting electric shocks on others--acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.

In a 1974 article, "The Perils of Obedience," Stanley Milgram summarized his experiment:

I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.

Playboy journalist Mike Guy bet he could undergo "waterboarding" for 15 seconds. How hard could it be? Maybe these guys are just whining.

The New York Times guide to the torture memos is located HERE. Read the actual memos on the ACLU website HERE.

Here is Jon Stewart's take on torture and the Bush apologists:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
We Don't Torture
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone stupid enough to believe that the GOV doesn't torture is a retard living in a their own little world where America doesn't doing anything wrong! Why would people even act surprised about the CIA torturing people for info.? I mean come on! You think they just sit down with terrorists or whomever may have secret info on another country and chit chat over a cup of coffee and ask them for the info... hell no idiots!