catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,

The Ticking-Bomb Scenario

There always seems to be some pundit on TV, arguing in defense of using torture against suspected terrorists because “What if there’s a ticking bomb scenario...?”

My answer is: “The Green Bay Packer’s lineup.”

(John McCain, under torture by his North Vietnamese captors, was asked for the names of the members of his flight squadron. He gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line.)

In a “ticking bomb scenario”, all the suspect has to do is lie and maintain the lie for a very short time.

If time isn’t of the essence, there is good evidence that other interrogation methods yield far better results.

My question for those who advocate torture is: “When you sell your soul, aren’t you supposed to get something in return?”

There’s an interesting editorial in today’s L.A. Times: “A truth commission on torture is needed”.

For the links to this and other relevant articles, see:

In November 2005, in a piece for Newsweek called “Torture’s terrible toll”, John McCain wrote:

“Obviously, to defeat our enemies we need intelligence, but intelligence that is reliable. We should not torture or treat inhumanely terrorists we have captured. The abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war effort. In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear--whether it is true or false--if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse. It seems probable to me that the terrorists we interrogate under less than humane standards of treatment are also likely to resort to deceptive answers that are perhaps less provably false than that which I once offered.”


A truth commission on torture is needed
We need to know if, as former Bush administration officials insist, torture worked in preventing attacks on Americans.
Los Angeles Times
April 18, 2009,0,3664451.story


What Jack Bauer Has Not Done
By David Irvine, January 22, 2009

“...I understand that Human Rights First brought Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, the Dean of the Academic Board, US Military Academy at West Point, to Hollywood to talk to Kiefer Sutherland and the Executive Producers of the program. "I told them to stop showing torture in a way that suggests torture is effective," Finnegan told The New Yorker after the visit....”

How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq
By Matthew Alexander with John R. Bruning
Book Review

“...The quickest way to get most (but not all) captives talking is to be nice to them. But what does it mean to be "nice" to a subject under interrogation? ... It means, ideally, getting to know the subject better than he knows himself and then manipulating him by role-playing, flattering, misleading, and nudging his or her perception of the truth slightly off center....”,8599,1863053,00.html


Torture isn't the answer
By Matthew Alexander

“...Torture and harsh techniques are counterproductive to preventing terrorist attacks, as they often lead to false information – a detainee will say anything to stop the pain. These techniques are also in direct contradiction to the basic American principles of liberty, justice and freedom.”

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