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Comments about ‘My View: Soul of our nation is at stake’

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Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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SCfan
clearfield, UT

As I learned in a college PolySci class once, you can't engage in a rational debate until you define your terms. The writer cites waterboarding as torture. Some agree. Some would say that, compared to what can really happen to a person while held captive, waterbording is a day at the beach. I contend that to call waterbording torture is to diminish what real torture is. If you don't agree, I'd tell you to look up on the net under torture and see just what really can happen to people held by thugs like the Middle-East terriorists. But if you want to sleep at night, I'd advise against it.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"you can't engage in a rational debate until you define your terms."

Fair enough. But, from a worldwide view, according to the United Nations and the Geneva Convention, the terms have been defined. One cannot redefine terms retroactively in order to circumvent the common understanding.

Here is part of article one

"Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed..."

So, if I understand your logic

cutting off someone whole arm is far worse than cutting off a finger or a hand.
Shocking someone with 120 volts is surely worse than shocking someone with 50 volts.
Beating someone to death is far worse than just beating someone.

Therefore cutting off a small body part, small electrical shocks or non lethal beatings are not torture.

I am not totally against torture in very, very limited circumstances. And in those circumstances, no one would ever find out about it.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Argh... I'm already recovered from "The horror of seeing our country perpetrate torture". What I'm having a hard time recovering from is these people who don't get it and are still fretting and pained by it all these years later. We were under attack, and according to Al Qaeda more attacks were coming. We needed the intel to prevent those attacks and save more lives!

UT Brit
London, England

@SCfan

I suggest you ask the question whether waterboarding is torture to some of the veterans of WW2 who were captured by the Japanese. I am sure they will be pleased to find out that they were not actually tortured but just merely participating in "enhanced interrogations".

Apparently your government also thinks a bit differently from then to now as it executed Japanese soldiers who waterboarded Americans.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

UT Brit,
I think American prisoners of war suffered more than just water-boarding. And if you asked WWII Vets... most don't agree with this letter.

The techniques used by Americans on detainees were necessary, and legal (read the OLC memos).

It's great that you don't like waterboarding (I don't like it either). But don't over dramatize it. I don't believe Americans actually executed Japanese over waterboarding. If there were executions... there was a LOT more than just waterboarding going on.

UT Brit
London, England

@2 bits

So if I asked WW2 vets who were waterboarded to see if they class it as torture they would not agree that it is? I would put a sizeable chunk of money down that I would get the opposite answer if I were a betting man.

A government can make anything they want to be legal, I would not consider that a particularly valid argument. The question should be, is it the right thing to do?

The evidence that convicted the Japanese and led to their executions was based on the fact they were waterboarding, I cant put up links but just type Japanese waterboarding to see numerous sources.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

UT Brit
If you asked WWII Vets in general... they would not agree with the whinny letter. Actual WWII war vets agreed with the cause they were fighting for. They would not only waterboard someone to win... they shot people, they bombed people, they killed people in hand-to-hand combat! I doubt they would get teary-eyed about waterboarding.

If you asked WWII Vets who were waterboarded (don't know how many of them there are but...) I don't think they would agree with the letter. They would understand that their sacrifice was small compared to the even greater sacrifice of lost limbs and their LIVES made by hundreds of thousands of soldiers. They understand that it was the price of our liberty, and they were PROUD to pay it. No.. they would not whine about our waterboarding terrorists who had info that could have prevented 9/11 followup attacks.

Remember... the people waterboarded bragged they would carry out biological and chemical attacks on innocent Americans (remember the DHS said the probability of followup attacks was 100%). We had to do SOMETHING! Just being nice and hoping the followup attacks didn't happen was NOT an option.

SCfan
clearfield, UT

UT Brit

Why don't you read about some of the real abuses done by the Japanese in WW11. When you read them, you will understand that if an American was waterborder and somehow remained alive and was not drowned, he will be very thankful he didn't suffer the pain his fellow soldiers had to die by. Our waterbording is not meant to kill.

Joe Blow

My point was that the degrees is where true torture comes in. Some would say that making a Muslim eat pork is abuse, even if it were prepared by Wolfgang Puck. Cutting off body parts and or electrical shocking are certainly torture. And in most cases cause permanent damage to the body. Waterbording is very uncomfortable, but as I understand it, in military SERE training some are waterborded just so they can experience such things. No one has body parts cut off as part of training. I hate the evil of torture, but if I was captured by Al Queda and knew the only thing that would happen to me is waterbording, I'd thank the humanity of my captor. You should read what they do. Or maybe you shouldn't.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

So according to 2 bits, another war hawk who apparently hasn't served his country, but speaks for those who have we should lower our standards to those of the bad guy, thus becoming what we used to despise.

...and since I'm pretty sure you were not doing the torturing, you have no idea what was said, this is just the usual propaganda to make folks feel better about torturing the other guy.

UTbrit is correct in pointing out your hypocrisy in that we EXECUTED people for what your saying is OK to do, if we do it.

The truth remains the same, don't justify bad behavior with more bad behavior.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

UT Brit,
Waterboarding was not among the worst things the Japanese did to their prisoners of war. Google "Japanese war crimes". Put down the leftist propaganda sites and read about the actual history. Read about the Bataan Death March or any other historic accounts. Waterboarding was the LEAST of our worries.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I thought that sole was the ability to put yourself in someone else-es shoes.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Obama ran for office on the promise that he would stop water-boarding and close that prison. Has he done that? He not only has not closed the prison, but he has used drones to kill innocent men, women and children. Nothing that he says can be trusted. He seems to think that we're a nation of fools to whom he can lie for political gain. What's worse, water-boarding or the "politician" who tells us that he will stop water-boarding - until he is elected, and then he proceeds to do everything that he told us he would not do?

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Mike said: What's worse, water-boarding or the "politician" who tells us that he will stop water-boarding - until he is elected, and then he proceeds to do everything that he told us he would not do?

In January 2009, with a change in administrations, U.S. President Barack Obama banned the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture in interrogations of detainees. In April 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense refused to say whether waterboarding is still used for training (e.g. SERE) U.S. military personnel in resistance to interrogation.

Someones using partial facts and lies, hint, it's not the guy in the white house.

UT Brit
London, England

@SCfan
@2 bits

I probably know more about the pacific theatre than both of you. Worst things can happen sure, but that does not somehow stop waterboarding being torture. Read the accounts of veterans and people today who have been waterboarded and it is difficult to come to any other conclusion. I take it both of you have not been in a situation where you have been close to drowning, thats what waterboarding simulates. I assure you the struggle and panic you feel when drowning is not a pleasant experience.

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