John McCain sadly tries to make himself relevant again and fails | Nov 20 2016

John McCain: ‘I don’t give a damn – no waterboarding’ under Trump

– The Guardian

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“A leading Republican voice on national security matters says he doesn’t care what president-elect Donald Trump says, the United States will not reinstate waterboarding.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the armed services committee, said on Saturday that any attempt to bring back harsh tortures such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning, would quickly be challenged in court.

“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not waterboard. We will not do it,” McCain said to applause during a panel discussion at the Halifax international security forum.

McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, said extreme interrogation techniques are banned under US law and the Geneva conventions.”

…..Continue reading @ The Guardian

Does anybody seriously think that if McCain’s wife or daughter were kidnapped in front of his eyes, he would not prevail on the authorities to use every timely torture tactic to extract all possible information from any captured suspected co-conspirators? Really?

    Old McCain would just walk up and say, “no torture, ever.” Right./CJ

 

Yes, torture can be justified. Here’s why

– The Spectator UK

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“Torture is repulsive. Even on the scaffold or in front of a firing squad, a man can meet death with dignity. The torturer sets out to strip his victim of dignity, to break him, to violate not only his body but also his soul. In England, torture was outlawed in 1660, and for most of the past 350 years, that seemed to be a final verdict. Torture had been a barbarous relic of the dark ages. Anyone who suggested that it might still have a role would have been laughed to scorn; no doubt he would also have been in favour of burning witches.

If only it were still that simple. But the dark ages are not over. In the Middle East, there are fanatics who seem to despise death as much as they despise the West. Their challenge has to be confronted, and it would be fatuous to assume that this can be achieved within the constraints of the Geneva Convention.

Could torture ever be justified? There many who insist that the answer must be an emphatic ‘No’: that if we were to use torture, we would destroy any claim the West might have to moral superiority. Those who employ the methods of barbarism to deal with barbarians, themselves become barbarians.

Such arguments are an eloquent appeal to our better nature and would be irrefutable, if only the world were inhabited by angels, not by men. ‘Original sin’ is still the best summary of the human condition. In this fallen world, we face a challenge from ruthless enemies whose malice knows no bounds.

Alan Dershowitz, the American lawyer, has used the phrase ‘ticking bomb’ to refer to a scenario which we all devoutly wish will never occur. A terrorist group is believed to be in possession of a nuclear device. Time is desperately short, but we have captured a member of the group. In such circumstances, torture would surely be justified.”

…..Continue reading @ Spectator UK

A choice of evils

– Boston Globe  |  Alan Dershowitz

Should democracies use torture to protect against terrorism?

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“If there are, in fact, such cases, then we have to face up to the conflict between the moral and the factual: Should torture, as a moral matter, be permitted in a case where, as a factual matter, it may save lives?”

PREVENTING TERRORISM often requires a choice of evils: to target terrorists and their leaders, knowing civilians will be killed; to collect massive amounts of private data in an effort to track terrorists; to detain potential terrorists without trial. But perhaps no choice of evils is more controversial than the use of torture to secure real-time intelligence against imminent acts of terrorism.

Is there ever a justification for the use of torture?

What if a captured terrorist bragged that he knew the location of a ticking nuclear weapon in a large city and refused to disclose it?

What if a child were kidnapped, as occurred in Germany several years ago, and the kidnapper was apprehended and refused to disclose where he had supposedly buried the child with only a few hours of air?

These sorts of cases — some real, others hypothetical — have been at the center of the debate that began in this country following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, over whether it is ever justified to use torture in an effort to prevent significant harms, including mass casualty terrorist attacks.”

…..Continue reading @ Boston Globe