The Instigator
PervRat
Pro (for)
Losing
28 Points
The Contender
mongeese
Con (against)
Winning
36 Points

"Harsh Interrogation" should not have secrecy protections

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,956 times Debate No: 7980
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (12)

 

PervRat

Pro

I am taking this round solely to lay the parameters for this debate. Con will get the first "argument" as I will make none in this first round.

This debate is to determine whether or not actions to commit waterboarding and other "harsh interrogation" techniques that the Bush administation is accused of should not have the protections of any "National Secret" status.

As PRO, I will be tasked with establishing that these actions should not have any secrecy status, that President Obama was right in releasing the memos to the public. I should have the burden of proof or reason.

CON will need to establish the converse: that any harsh interrogation techniques, even if considered torture under the international Geneva convention, must be kept as a national secret.

I look forward to a civil and well-reasoned debate with any who takes up this challenge. Good luck!
mongeese

Con

Thank you for this debate.

I have one reason why the United States Federal Government should keep all of their harsh interrogation techniques to themselves as a "National Secret":
We don't want our enemies to know our techniques, because they will adapt against them.

If we release our harsh interrogation techniques to the public, it will immediately find its way to Al-Qaeda (http://en.wikipedia.org...), and other organizations in opposition of the Federal Government. If their agents learn about our techniques, then they will learn how to fight against them. Hypothetically, if we used electrocution, they could build up an immunity to electrocution like they do with poison, adding a little more power with every jolt until they can be unaffected by our strongest interrogation electrocutions. http://en.wikipedia.org...(medical) Naturally, they probably wouldn't be completely immune to our techniques, but they'd mellow the effect greatly, so that whenever the Government releases their latest new technique, it would soon become worthless.

That is why it is best for them to keep their techniques to themselves.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
PervRat

Pro

Thank you for taking up this debate with me. Side-comment, I hope to see more current-event type debates if anyone reading is wondering what sort of debate to take up, and I think others will enjoy them as well.

Anyhoo ...

=== PRO'S OPENING ARGUMENTS ===
National secrecy is a necessary evil to protect ourselves and our soldiers. If we, say, let all technology out into the public regarding the stealth technology in our stealth fighters and bombers, it would not be long before countermeasures were developed, rendering out stealth technology useless and our pilots in danger.

Similarly, certain means and methods must also be protected. When it comes to Intelligence, we must be very cautious who gets access to, say, satellite imagery, otherwise techniques will be developed to evade satellite monitoring.

However, I assert in this argument that violations of the U.S. constitution, laws and international accords (such as the Geneva convention) are not valid national secrets and to attempt to use secrecy protections to hide such crimes constitutes an abuse of power. The Federal Government deserves protection only to the point that protection is not used to shield administrators (such as the office of the President) or agents of Federal bureaus (CIA, FBI, military branches) from answering for crimes.

The United States possesses a great wealth of military might, technology, prowess and capability. We are the only remaining superpower. However, I feel quite adamant that above all of this -- in fact, because of all this -- we are charged with putting honor and grace before we engage in these unmatched tools. If we abided by the ends justifying the means, then perhaps we should have supported the Axis during WWII instead of the Allies, achieve "World Peace" through conquest and genocide -- when non-unified minorities are eliminated, after all, there would be no one left to fight and thus we would have "World Peace."

To quote a comic book: "With absolute power comes absolute responsibility."

It is, to me, exactly that we are such a mighty nation, that we must be supreme in our honor and not allow absolute power to corrupt us into a nation that bullies anyone we don't like into submission. I do not believe that was the state envisioned by our founders.

Regardless of whether or not exposing techniques of torture would offer our enemies a chance to prepare for them, to hide shameful deeds cannot be done without hiding from justice against ourselves being a motive, and that's where the right to secrecy fails -- we aren't protecting ourselves from a terrorist threat, but from taking responsibility for our own actions.

If we grant immunity to the shadow agents of our government, then we cease to be a democracy of truth, justice and honor. We become a nation of evil, and in silently accepting torture, we are each tainted by the dishonor and disgrace of it.

All of our complaints about human rights abuses fall flat when we ourselves commit them. Totalitarian regimes we espouse not to be operate with impunity and immunity for their leaders and crimes they commit; we must NOT be this way. Regardless of the ends or intentions, wrong is wrong, torture is torture, and when an administration starts using secrecy protections to obstruct justice within the U.S. courts and within the United Nations for human rights abuses, we are no better than China for what it does to its political prisoners. Is rule by hypocricy okay if you carry the biggest stick, and in the end that's all that matters?

I say nay!

=== REBUTTALS TO CON ===
In response to the "one reason" CON stated for keeping all the harsh interrogation techniques, I actually agree we do not wish our enemies to know our techniques, but its not just because they will adapt against them -- its because our torture takes away our moral high ground and reduces even further our standing in the world's court.

That, however, is exactly the reason we need to stop hiding the truth to escape persecution or prosecution. When it comes to dishonor, shame and violations of long-standing agreements, we must task ourselves to leading by example in being open, honest and frank. Think beyond al-Qaeda, for doubtelssly they will never embrace honorable warfare as they continue slaughtering civilians en masse ... think bigger than al-Qaeda. What do you think China thinks of our human rights complaints about them and their political prisoners when there's convincing doubts as to our own integrity in abiding by the Geneva Convention? Will they feel more or less pressured to mend their human rights ways?

Or the Islaamist theocracies? Are we setting an example to them on how to run a just, responsible and honorable democracy when we refuse to answer for what we have done?

Illegal techniques do not deserve secrecy protections. I rather hope al-Qaeda operatives do become immune to them and they become useless, for I feel the stain of dishonor in them being used is a worse strike than a terrorist's bomb.
mongeese

Con

"National secrecy... satellite monitoring."
I agree with you here.

"However, I assert in this argument that violations of the U.S. constitution, laws and international accords (such as the Geneva convention) are not valid national secrets and to attempt to use secrecy protections to hide such crimes constitutes an abuse of power...."
I do not have a very recent source, but according to http://en.wikipedia.org..., as of Jan 14, 2007, the United States has yet to ratify the Geneva Convention protocols. Because they have not ratified it, it is technically not in effect in the United States, unless my opponent can prove me wrong. Additionally, the U.S. Constitution only applies to the citizens or residents (I forget which) of the United States, which does not include terrorists.

"The United States possesses a great wealth of military might, technology, prowess and capability. We are the only remaining superpower. However, I feel quite adamant that above all of this -- in fact, because of all this -- we are charged with putting honor and grace before we engage in these unmatched tools. If we abided by the ends justifying the means, then perhaps we should have supported the Axis during WWII instead of the Allies, achieve 'World Peace' through conquest and genocide -- when non-unified minorities are eliminated, after all, there would be no one left to fight and thus we would have 'World Peace.'"
You really think the U.S. should have sided with Germany? A country that committed mass genocide to six million Jews? Eliminating all minorities in the entire world for the sake of "World Peace" does not sound like using "honor and grace".

"To quote a comic book: 'With absolute power comes absolute responsibility.'"
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't use the means you have to accomplish goals; just that you need to be responsible using them.

"It is, to me, exactly that we are such a mighty nation, that we must be supreme in our honor and not allow absolute power to corrupt us into a nation that bullies anyone we don't like into submission. I do not believe that was the state envisioned by our founders."
It's not that we don't like Al Qaeda; it's that they are a threat to national security. 9/11 was a bit more than just not liking them. Our Founding Fathers probably did not want us to bully all of the other countries, but I'm sure that they would want us to take care of terrorist invasions so as to protect the American people, which is the first duty of any government, according to the Declaration of Independence:
"That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed..."

"Regardless of whether or not exposing techniques of torture would offer our enemies a chance to prepare for them, to hide shameful deeds cannot be done without hiding from justice against ourselves being a motive, and that's where the right to secrecy fails -- we aren't protecting ourselves from a terrorist threat, but from taking responsibility for our own actions."
If we capture an Al Qaeda terrorist, and he knows the location of a bomb that is set to blow off any minute in an unknown location, and the government needs to know where the bomb is, I think that the terrorist, by planting the bomb, gave reason for him to be tortured; thus, it ends up being his own fault. The government has good reason to hide their techniques. We need to fight foreign terrorists, because they are a threat to national security. We DO NOT want another 9/11.

"If we grant immunity to the shadow agents of our government, then we cease to be a democracy of truth, justice and honor. We become a nation of evil, and in silently accepting torture, we are each tainted by the dishonor and disgrace of it."
It's the terrorist's fault for us needing to torture information out of them. We are still a democracy of those things, and we are a democracy that puts its own people first. We do not become a nation of evil, because the terrorists started the War on Terror by flying three planes into some of the U.S.'s most important buildings, killing thousands of lives.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"All of our complaints about human rights abuses fall flat when we ourselves commit them.... Regardless of the ends or intentions, wrong is wrong, torture is torture, and when an administration starts using secrecy protections to obstruct justice within the U.S. courts and within the United Nations for human rights abuses, we are no better than China for what it does to its political prisoners. Is rule by hypocrisy okay if you carry the biggest stick, and in the end that's all that matters?"
If we do not defeat those who want us all dead with all of our power, we are risking the lives of every American alive, and every future American. The U.S. courts are irrelevant to this debate, because we don't allow terrorists the right to a lawyer.
What does China do to its political prisoners? Who are China's political prisoners? You compare the U.S. to China, without determining where China falls in regards of prisoner torture.

"In response to the 'one reason' CON stated for keeping all the harsh interrogation techniques, I actually agree we do not wish our enemies to know our techniques, but it's not just because they will adapt against them -- its because our torture takes away our moral high ground and reduces even further our standing in the world's court."
Well, you agree that we do not wish for our enemies to adapt to our attacks. Your second point, I disagree with.

"That, however, is exactly the reason we need to stop hiding the truth to escape persecution or prosecution.... Think beyond al-Qaeda, for doubtlessly they will never embrace honorable warfare as they continue slaughtering civilians en masse ... think bigger than al-Qaeda. What do you think China thinks of our human rights complaints about them and their political prisoners when there's convincing doubts as to our own integrity in abiding by the Geneva Convention? Will they feel more or less pressured to mend their human rights ways?"
If we use our techniques on Al Qaeda, and you agree that they do not respect honorable warfare, then we should not reveal our techniques, because it poses a threat to our nation, because it gives Al Qaeda another resource to use against us. We don't want that. The terrorists are the ones who asked for torture; we would not harm them if they did not make themselves threats to national security. China should acknowledge that we are "fighting fire with fire".

"Or the Islaamist theocracies? Are we setting an example to them on how to run a just, responsible and honorable democracy when we refuse to answer for what we have done?"
We answer for what he has done by saying that it is in defense of the people, and if they didn't attack us, we'd have no reason to torture them.

"Illegal techniques do not deserve secrecy protections. I rather hope al-Qaeda operatives do become immune to them and they become useless, for I feel the stain of dishonor in them being used is a worse strike than a terrorist's bomb."
If a terrorist was armed with a bomb, and hid it in your basement, and the government captured the terrorist, would you seriously rather have the bomb explode, and have yourself, your family, and many of your neighbors die, than have a guilty terrorist criminal tortured to reveal the location? The terrorist asked for it.

Because revealing our torture techniques increases Al Qaeda's ability to be a threat to national security, our hostile interrogation techniques should have secrecy protections.

Now to include a quote from NCIS:
Special Agent Gibbs: The biggest mistake you made...
FBI Agent Fornell: You shot our agents!
http://www.imdb.com...

That is why the U.S. interrogates terrorists so harshly. It's their own fault.
Debate Round No. 2
PervRat

Pro

=== REBUTTALS TO CON ===
Geneva accords: I never made it past basic training, but when I enlisted in 1994, the Geneva conventions were one of the first things taught that we must abide by. We were taught that, in the event of being captured, we must give our name and military ID to our captors, and nothing else ... and the rules of war from the Geneva convention.

I challenge my opponent to show where the U.S. constitutions on rights and freedoms of people are restricted to U.S. citizens. Where, in the Constitution, does it say we may do with as we please with the citizens of other countries?

In regards to terrorist, how many of those tortured prisoners had been convicted of terrorism? How many were merely fingered by someone who didn't like them, denied due process and locked up merely on the word of someone?

Germany: You missed my facetious. If you believe the ends justify the means, and Nazi genocide against all other races results in world peace (because everyone different is dead, there is no one to fight), then applying your reasoning to Hitler's hope for the future makes it a good thing, the means of getting there being irrelevant.

Absolute power: There is no honorable way to use dishonorable means. There is no justifiable use of torture. NONE. Justice is not about blind vengeance, eye for an eye.

al-Qaeda: The results of our torture interrogations told us Hussein had links with al-Qaeda. Given we know that information is false, that it created phantom targets and in making an unprovoked invasion of Iraq, we actually weakened our international support and drove millions of Arabs to join al-Qaeda. If we cannot protect ourselves and win with honorable tactics, not resorting to terrorism and torture ourselves, how are we any better than those we call our enemy?

al-Qaeda imminent bomb: That's how we wound up with the "slam dunk intelligence" that told us Saddam Hussein had nukes and links to al-Qaeda. You'll never get reliable information from torture ... if someone doesn't know, they'll tell you what you want them to tell you instead of valid information. The only reason to hide human rights abuses is to keep from answering for them, and that's the wrong reason. We are supposed to be a nation of freedom, liberty and justice for all, not drumhead trials, conviction without due process, and most definitely not supposed to be ones to inflict vengeful cruel and unusual punishments. I regret that you, like so many others, disagree ... it truly makes me ashamed. In continuing to be an American citizen, this dishonor and disgrace dishonors and disgraced myself. I most definitely will not stay silent about it. I'd rather die with honor than live committing evil.

Terrorist's fault: I suppose it was the Japanese Americans' fault for us interning them, even though most were loyal U.S. citizens, during WW2. I suppose it was the Native American's fault for daring to live here and stand in the way of Manifest Destiny. I suppose it was the Jew's fault for not converting to Christianity under Hitler's Germany or in the Spanish Inquisition. Did they all get what they deserved?

Again, I re-iterate, not a single terrorist held at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib nor any of our other prisons were tried in just court. Not a single one was convicted of terrorism. By the very long-standing definition of our justice system -- innocent until proven guilty -- they were all innocent. In fact, there is good cause to believe a majority of them had no links to terrorism, but were at the wrong place at the wrong time, or one of our informants merely didn't like them for one reason or another. There's no verification, no truth, no justice.

Do the hundreds of thousands (by some counts, up to a million) Iraqi deaths as a result of the war and the anarchy we wrought upon them pay for the 4,000 or so killed on 9-11? Iraq wasn't even a valid target, al-Qaeda had virtually no presence in the country until we took out the Hussein regime which, while terrible, kept al-Qaeda out of the country. al-Qaeda is now stronger with much of the Arab world more sympathetic to them than to the U.S. than before the Iraq war.

Torture, the war against Iraq ... these things have made the U.S. more vulnerable with fewer friends and more enemies. In that sense, those who ordered torture and derived "slam-dunk intelligence" as a result to make the case for a war with Iraq should be tried as traitors, not protected under national secrets. They've endangered the security of the people of the United States far more severely than any bonafide Middle Eastern Terrorist.

Using the same logic you apply to "they deserve to be tortured," for our wrongdoing, haven't we earned and now deserve terrorist retribution? If you don't think we do, explain why not. I don't think we do, because I do not follow your reasoning, as it does not work and when I turn your own reasoning around, I cannot see how you could still cling to it, perhaps you could show me.

We started a war with the Middle East long before 2001. We have attempted to overthrow Middle Eastern governments in Iran and Iraq in our global sphere of influence expansionism. If we had not done such interference, there would be little support for the extremists to lash back at the "infidels" who bomb them. We gave Hussein chemical and biological weapons, armed and supported his totalitarian genocide because we thought he'd be better than the previous regime. We struck the first blows.

U.S. and China: You completely missed what I was saying. EVERY PERSON ACCUSED OF A CRIME deserves a fair and impartial hearing. The crime does not matter -- whether its terrorism or torture, murder or rape. If there is no justice, we are not leading by example and any complaints we make about other regimes violating human rights fall flat because we are being hypocritical. I do not understand your difficulty in grasping the concept that if we are committing torture, why we would have less of a standing in getting other nations like China to stop torturing.

Similar goes for terrorism -- whereas other regimes, desperate and without the U.S.' technology, feel compelled to resort to "suicide bombers," we kill a lot more by pushing a button to launch a missile or drop the "enemy" cannot defend against.

If you want to stop terrorism against the U.S., the first thing you should do is stop committing terrorism. Terrorism begets terrorism. Eye for an eye is endless violence until one "side" is exterminated.

One Reason: So you think we can commit any evil to fight another evil, and it does not cost us a moral high ground? I find a terribly ethnocentric ambiguity in your perspective.

Techniques on al-Qaeda: Fighting fire with fire means we are no better than the other side using fire. Of course China would acknowledge we are fighting fire with fire, and that will justify their oppression and torture against religious and political dissidents. We are not a just and honorable nation if we do not practice justice and honor when faced with injustice and dishonor.

If we don't attack and abuse them, they won't gain support and endless new recruits.

No one who has not been convicted in a just court is legally guilty of anything, and there would be no difference in torturing them than some other random innocent person.

Our hostile interrogation techniques should be prosecuted as human rights abuses, the same as was done to Nazis in the Nuremberg trials. Anyone who commits torture or terrorism is an enemy of mine, it does not matter if they operate under the Taliban Flag or the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag.

The U.S> interrogates terrorists so harshly because we view them as being "them." They aren't people because they are different. If we sent soldiers on a suicide mission to mass slaughter civilians, that's okay, but we hold "them" to different standards because they aren't Americans. BAD!
mongeese

Con

"Geneva accords..."
So we are in accordance with the Geneva Convention? If this is true, then I stand corrected.

"I challenge my opponent to show where the U.S. constitutions on rights and freedoms of people are restricted to U.S. citizens...."
The way I interpret the Constitution, when it says, "the people," it is referring only to THE people of the United States, not to everybody in the world. Foreign terrorists obviously do not fall under this category, and so it can be said that should the Supreme Court choose, foreign terrorists are not protected by the Constitution.

"In regards to terrorist, how many of those tortured prisoners had been convicted of terrorism?..."
I have no clue. Do you know that this has ever actually occurred? You bear the burden of proof.

"Germany..."
World peace would still not be achieved because in an oppressive government, the people will always abort until they succeed. And mass genocide of innocent people is NEVER justified.

"Absolute power..."
You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am entitled to mine. And my opinion is that when the terrorists attack Americans on U.S. soil, they basically signed their own death warrants. We must attack them with a vengeance. I'm sure that that is what the thousands who died in 9/11 would want.

"Al-Qaeda..."
Our enemy started it. They attacked us. We destroy them with any means we can. How do we know that Hussein had links with al-Qaeda?

"Al-Qaeda imminent bomb..."
If they lie, we can just keep torturing them. There are more reasons, including that once the public knows, al-Qaeda knows, and we don't want that. Additionally, we are a nation of freedom and justice. That's why we hunt down threats to national security so that they don't harm innocent people. Do you have any proof that we convict people who we think are terrorists who aren't terrorists?

"Terrorist's fault..."
Okay, I disagreed with the Japanese, Native American, and Jewish persecutions. This, however, is different. The terrorists are the ones who attacked the United States, blew up World Trade Center headquarters (which was actually a blow to the entire world), and damaged the Pentagon. The other people could not have had any knowledge of the unfair consequences. The terrorists should have realized that we would hunt them down for their actions.

"Again, I re-iterate, not a single terrorist held at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib nor any of our other prisons were tried in just court...."
Do you have any proof of this? Do you have any proof that these people were not convicted of terrorism? Do you have any proof that any of them weren't terrorists? Guantanamo is not part of the residential United States; the Constitution does not fully extend there.

"Do the hundreds of thousands (by some counts, up to a million) Iraqi deaths as a result of the war and the anarchy we wrought upon them pay for the 4,000 or so killed on 9-11?..."
Who were these Iraqis? Were they friends or enemies?
I'm not defending our attacking the whole of Iraq; I'm defending whether we should reveal torture secrets.
Al-Qaeda is stronger... we don't want them to be even more powerful by revealing our torture secrets, now do we?

"Torture, the war against Iraq ..."
Traitors? They were doing what was best for our country. So, who went from a U.S. friend to a U.S. enemy? Middle Eastern Terrorists are capable of some very dangerous actions. I say they are more dangerous than any current foreign problem.

"Using the same logic you apply to 'they deserve to be tortured,' for our wrongdoing, haven't we earned and now deserve terrorist retribution?..."
Wrongdoing? We're defending ourselves with whatever means we have. I would not consider this a "wrongdoing".

"We started a war with the Middle East long before 2001..."
http://en.wikipedia.org...
According to this, the U.S. was originally just assisting in a war, then enforcing a no-fly zone, then invaded Iraq in 2003. I don't really know what you're talking about.

"U.S. and China..."
I thought that this debate was about torture, not impartial trials. Now that I think about it, this debate has been going off on many loose ends that are barely connected with torture. Anyways, I don't even see why Chinese torture should get involved. Who is China torturing, anyways? Terrorists? Americans? Chinese? Hobos? Aliens?

"Similar goes for terrorism..."
They don't attack us; we don't attack them. Simple philosophy, in my opinion.

"If you want to stop terrorism against the U.S., the first thing you should do is stop committing terrorism..."
Terrorism - the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
We are not committing terrorism; we are fighting a war against opposing political extremists.

"One reason..."
Not any evil. It isn't really an evil in the first place.
Evil - morally reprehensible
http://www.merriam-webster.com...
It is a matter of opinion, which everyone is entitled to, but I don't think that striking back against enemies to protect the people of your nation can really be considered "evil."

"Techniques on al-Qaeda..."
Al-Qaeda is a NATIONAL THREAT. A government's firth duty is to its people. Our government is currently trying to eliminate foreign terrorists. China cannot be considered to be fighting fire with fire; they are fighting the pen with fire. We just have to convince them of that.

"If we don't attack and abuse them, they won't gain support and endless new recruits."
If they don't attack us, we won't attack them.

"No one who has not been convicted in a just court is legally guilty of anything, and there would be no difference in torturing them than some other random innocent person."
Being legally guilty and guilty are two different things. Torturing a known terrorist to find the location of a dangerous weapon that is a threat to national security is MUCH different than torturing an innocent two-year old.

"Our hostile interrogation techniques should be prosecuted as human rights abuses, the same as was done to Nazis in the Nuremberg trials. Anyone who commits torture or terrorism is an enemy of mine, it does not matter if they operate under the Taliban Flag or the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag."
Your enemies are irrelevant. Back to the point, the terrorists are the ones who abused the human's right to life.

"The U.S> interrogates terrorists so harshly because we view them as being 'them.' They aren't people because they are different. If we sent soldiers on a suicide mission to mass slaughter civilians, that's okay, but we hold 'them' to different standards because they aren't Americans. BAD!"
I think that the group that actually started it should be taken into account. We don't suicide or mass-slaughter civilians.

Anyways, just the fact that al-Qaeda can either protect themselves from harsh interrogation or apply harsh interrogation to our prisoners of war is enough reason to keep it a national secret. We put time and effort into coming up with our harsh interrogation techniques, and we don't want them to get to use our hard work.

Just a comment, "harsh interrogation" isn't necessarily torture. It could be just messing with their minds. It's over in a second once they confess their information.

One last thing, do you have any PROOF that we are torturing anybody using illegal means?

Thank you for your time.
Debate Round No. 3
PervRat

Pro

Foreign Terrorists: But domestic terrorists like McVeigh deserve a justice system? So no one outside the U.S. has any rights nor value to you? They're just things to go torture as we please? Don't you think that creates an ill will back toward us that leads others to commit terrorism against us?

Gitmo, etc.: These are all "detention centers." There are no trials, no lawyers. One of our "informants" points at someone they don't like, we grab them and hold them indefinitely with no trial, not even a military tribunal. That's what "detention centers are." See also: Japanese-American Internment Camps, circa WW2.

World Peace: Then why do you advocate exterminating people who haven't themselves committed terrorism but they look like the people who did?

Terrorists attack: And when we go and bomb them in their countries, and take out oppressive governments which leads to anarchy and civil war and we are then responsible for a million deaths, do we sign our own death warrants to the terrorists who will strike back at us?

al-Qaeda: bin Laden was on our payroll during the 1980s. We gave fighter jets to Iran in the 1970s. We've been giving guns and bombs and arms, even biological and chemical WMDs, to manipulate or overthrow Middle Eastern regimes for decades. It wasn't until we started doing this that we became a target.

al-Qaeda imminent bomb: You missed the point. Its not that someone wants to lie, if they don't know and truly have no involvement but you keep torturing them and don't stop, they will tell you what you want to hear. You are blind to the consequences of torture and bullying ... even if torture were justifiable, its useless to get reliable information because when you "break" them, they will tell you what you /want to hear/ instead of the truth. The notion of Hussein having links to al-Qaeda and possessing nukes both came out of torture, and both were proven wrong. Bush's minions wanted excuses to wage war against Iraq, so that's what the prisoners we tortured told us.

Terrorist's fault: Its different how, again? The terrorists who struck on 9-11 either died in the attacks or the failed one is in prison. The people we pick up did not try to kill us, and many of them aren't even involved with al-Qaeda. We're bullying them out of blind revenge.

Proof: I cannot prove a negative. Show a single case where any of them had a trial and was convicted prior to being tortured.

Iraqi death: The vast majority are dead as a result of the civil war we are responsible for. We took out Saddam, we are responsible for the consequences including the chaos and anarchy that ensued. We are responsible for the civil war and al-Qaeda being able to have a presence in Iraq, because we took out the regime that kept al-Qaeda out and the factions in line, even if it was brutal. That's a lot of deaths we are responsible for.

Wrongdoing: So torture is okay if we do it, just not if someone else does. Sorry, hypocricy fails. Torture is wrong or it isn't. It always is to me, its a cruel vendetta, even worse when its blind against innocent targets.

Middle East & U.S.: Already covered above.

US and China: The consequences of our committing torture are very much relevant to the discussion. You can't expect China to take us seriously if we complain about their use of torture when we torture as well.

Terrorism: Simple philosophy for eternal bloodshed. We kill them, they kill us, we kill them, they kill us. Find an exit to that infinite loop in "they don't attack us, we don't attack them" philosophy of yours.

Terrorism: "Shock and awe" is the very definition of terrorism. Push a button, launch a cruise missile or drop a bomb, kill a few people and terrorize a lot more. If a terrorist blows up a building here, the survivors who saw it are terrorized. The same thing happens there -- if we blow up a building there, those who witnessed are then terrorized. It even become blatant when we boast it as "shock and awe" ... beyond the immediate deaths, we want to instill terror in everyone living there!

Striking back: I thought you said it was an intelligence tool, not revenge. You're inconsistent. So revenge is an okay excuse to commit torture as well? Why not allow it against domestic felons as well, then?

National Threat: Committing torture is a national threat, its earned us more enemies. Even Senator McCain acknowledged that the insurgency and al-Qaeda in Iraq erupted because al-Qaeda recruiters went around with photos of what we did at Abu Ghraib. Every time we commit torture, we're giving more recruits to al-Qaeda and dwindling our support from friends and allies.

Guilty: Known terrorists are dead. No one we tortured was a known terrorist. Many were merely fingered by someone else and that's it. Hey, you, I don't like you, you're a terrorist! Enjoy the torture! Its the same witchhunts we went through for communists under McCarthy and, well, witches in Salem. No evidence, no justice, no truth, it just feels good to tear down people and torture them because you don't like them, even if the people themselves have done nothing. Not every Muslim or Arab is a terrorist.

Human rights: By your definition, those who torture are terrorists. They actually did abuse a human's right to life. The poor struggling people we pick up off the street and accuse of terrorism, there's not a shred of evidence on a single one of them that they committed terrorism. In fact, if they had using al-Qaeda's suicide bomb techniques, it'd be rather obvious -- they'd be blown up along with their targets.

That we commit human rights abuses is reason enough to preclude any secrecy protections. These are criminal actions, and to cover them up under secrecy protections is the most grotesque abuse of power, and if it continues unchecked, the U.S. government deserves to be violently overthrown from within or without.

Torture can be any combination of physical or emotional duress. It does not matter if blood is drawn or not. A prisoner is a prisoner, and once someone is disarmed and in our custody, they must be given the same rights as any other POW and treated the way we would like our soldiers to be treated when they get captured by an enemy. Whether or not the enemy acts with honor, we cannot fight evil by resorting to evil means, and you cannot get much more evil than torture.

Is eye for an eye justified? Should we have resorted to genocide to fight Hitler's genocide? Should we bomb Arab civilians because Arab terrorists bomb our civilians? Torture is the same. Eye for an eye vengeance only leads to an infinite loop of revenge for revenge for revenge for revenge. If we are the better nation and the better people, we must act and behave better and not stoop to the level of terrorism and torture. The only way such a fight will ever end is when everyone is dead.

There is dishonor and disgrace in our actions, and those who committed dishonor and disgrace must not be protected and shielded from answering for that with national secrecy. We are a nation supposedly of a balance of power, liberty and justice for all, if we abandon or infringe any of these principles, then our nation stands for nothing. No one else has the might to act, we as a nation must be the ones to act to remove the taints of dishonor and disgrace from our own ranks, cast out those who commit torture and make them answer for the crime. Only in doing this will we be better than and above the terrorists.
mongeese

Con

Thank you. I'm beginning to think that this debate has drifted very, very far from its roots.

Foreign terrorists: Hey, there is an advantage to living in America. They get the rights of Americans. If the terrorists would move in first, before attacking, it would solve your problems.

Gitmo: Are you sure that they base their detentions on likes and dislikes? I'm thinking they use a bit more reason than that.

I am strongly against the idea of the Japanese-American Internment camps, but that's a different debate, and we'd be on the same side.

World Peace: I don't. I advocate exterminating the terrorists.

Terrorists attack: I'm not in support of plowing through foreign nations and killing everyone in our paths. I'm in support of focusing our attacks only on terrorists. We should focus our efforts on finding out exactly who is the terrorist and who is the innocent civilian.

Al-Qaeda: So we helped one side of a war. I don't see a connection to torture.

Al-Qaeda imminent bomb: Finally, we have something relevant. We could always use lie detectors. Lie detectors would tell us if they are lying once we torture them. However, if we reveal exactly how our lie detectors work, which would be part of the "harsh interrogation"... al-Qaeda could train against our lie detectors, and that's millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars defeated.

Terrorist's fault: We shouldn't be abducting every Middle-Easterner we encounter. I agree with you there. We should pick up the ones that we discover to have a connection with al-Qaeda, and were part of the 9-11 plan.

Proof: You haven't shown a single case where a "terrorist" WASN'T allowed a trial. We both lack proof. And I asked for proof of illegal torturing, and you didn't show any. Maybe we "torture" captives by asking them trick questions to mess with their minds and recording everything with a lie detector? Maybe we show them "harsh" movies to scare them into submission? Maybe the government decided to hire Mark Harmon to use for interrogation?

Al-Qaeda: Yes, we started a civil war. People died in our Civil War; it was the deadliest war in our nation. However, we think of it as kind of a good thing. You know why? Because it had a happy ending. There might be a happy ending in this war, too. Can't you see the morning after?

Wrongdoing: The Geneva Convention cited honorable warfare, if I remember correctly. That means that when a war is not honorable, all applications collapse. Torturing innocents is wrong. However, I'm defending the torture of the guilty.

US and China: You didn't say who China was torturing, so I'm going to assume that it's a group of radical terrorists who don't play by honorable warfare, and are completely known to be guilty. In that case, I'm on China's side.

Terrorism: Simple. They don't attack us, we don't attack them. They attack us, we destroy them. They can no longer attack back.

Terrorism: We're attacking the terrorists, not the innocent civilians. At least, that's the only part I'm supporting.

Striking back: It's an intelligence tool that allows for revenge. If the terrorists moved to America, we wouldn't torture them when we caught them. If they never became terrorists in the first place, we wouldn't even have to catch them.

National Threat: We released photos of what we did to Abu Ghirab? Sadly, I don't know who Abu Ghirab is, or what we actually did to him, and you apparently aren't going to tell me.

Guilty: You don't know that they weren't a known terrorist. The government knows more about them than you. I never accused every Muslim or Arab of being a terrorist, but we should do something about the ones who are.

Human rights: No, those who strike terror into a nation and mass-kill innocent civilians in an unexpected attack are terrorists. You don't really have any proof that we don't know of any terrorism. We might have captured someone before he blew himself up; you don't know that, and nor do I. Most of your arguments are pure speculation.

You haven't proved that our "harsh interrogation" is criminal.

It makes a difference whether the war they are a prisoner for is honorable or not. It makes a huge difference.

Eye for an eye? They killed our innocent people, so they deserve to die. Genocide cannot fight genocide. It makes no sense. We should not bomb Arab civilians; we should snipe their terrorists.

We are above the terrorists, if we attack them, and not their civilians. The American people did not ask for war; nor did the Middle Easterners. Extremists asked for war, so the government sets up an army to take care of them, not all of the Middle East. But the terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. This makes us mad.

Now, to reiterate two reasons why "harsh interrogation" should have secrecy protection:

1. Terrorists can protect against them.
Lie detectors can be fought if word spreads about how they operate. It is much harder to fight torture if you don't actually know what the torture is beforehand. This reason alone is enough reason for government.

2. Terrorists can use them against us.
If the terrorists learn a nifty interrogation technique from us, they're sure to start to use it on our army soldiers. We really don't want to see our fellow countrymen being felled by techniques that we came up with; let al-Qaeda come up with their own techniques! We use good resources to come up with our own, and they should do the same!

Thank you for your time. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 7 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Yet another "If the end justifies the means, than that end must be world peace, regardless of what the end actually is," hmm? :)
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
I was talking to everybody in general, before they voted, not you. By all means, I did not accuse you of anything. I'm just reminding votes that it is fairly obvious when they vote-bomb.
Although, I do wonder WHY I have only received the source vote from half of the voters.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
I could have used the Wookie defense, but I didn't want to be cruel. ;)
Posted by McBain 7 years ago
McBain
Pro used the spiderman defense... Not fair!
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
Au contrare, I used a great deal of "common knowledge" information that did not require obscure information. My argument was based on reason. This entire debate, as I intended from the beginning, is about the big picture, whether on principle dishonorable actions should not enjoy secrecy protections.

To accuse me of vote bombing before much serious voting has even begun is a serious and vile accusation, sir. Any look at my debate record should suffice as evidence that I do not vote bomb. I am rather suspicious, in fact, that a number of debates I have initiated or participated in have been vote bombed /against/ me, but the low "win" ratio for me, in my eyes, should concretely refute any accusation that I engage in vote bombing.

I rather consider such unfounded accusations, in fact, to be bad sportsmanship.

Voters, do not allow mongeese, myself nor anyone else to intimidate you into voting for or against any particular way. It is entirely on you and your judgement whether one side gainst a poit for a particular criterion or the other side, or if both sides are equally strong or weak and thus you vote a tie on a particular criterion. Under no circumstance should you feel pressured to vote differently than your perspective and judgement call for.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
I would like to remind voters that PervRat used no sources, so anyone who gives him all seven points is an obvious vote bomber.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
Self-commentary on My Round 3:

Holy crap, I -literally- used -every last one- of my 8,000 characters. That exclamation mark at the end of BAD took my remaining characters to zero! Unfortunately I had to cut out a lot of what I wanted to say (or more appropriately, to clearly respond to) toward the end of my post because I ran out of room ... phew, good intense debate!
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
I do indeed, heh. I may have a sucky win-loss ratio, but at least my debate topics don't get avoided by everyone for days on end, heh. I was just thinking about having a more current events-timely debate when the notion for this debate popped in my head. Its been on all the news talk shows all weekend, of course. Why the hell not have it on DDO?

Again, thanks a bunch for grabbing it. :) I hope others debate this and related issues as well, it'd be interesting to see the diversity of reasoned opinions.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
Don't you just love it when a debate is accepted minutes after it is posted?
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