Torture’s Ticking Bomb Argument.

UPDATE: Here we go.

So this story is from Think Progress this morning:

Scott Roeder called The Associated Press from the Sedgwick County jail, where he’s being held on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Dr. George Tiller one week ago.

I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal,” Roeder said. When asked by the AP what he meant and if he was referring to another shooting, he refused to elaborate further.

Does that mean that this guy knows of other acts of violence being planned around the country and is in fact a “ticking bomb” from the infamous “ticking bomb” argument for torture? So if those who are talking about “valuable intelligence” being gathered from detainies who were tortured (or harshly interrogated) are justifying torture this way, then why are they not talking about torturing Roeder who claims to know of other acts of violence? I mean if ends here justify the means, then why not apply it consistently?

Torture Commission.

An interview with Antonio Taguba in Salon:

You are best known for doing an honest investigation of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. You suffered some consequences for that. Is that fair to say?

As far as consequences are concerned, the report and testimony were not going to be well received. I followed my conscience and integrity – the best I could do to honor the Army uniform I had the privilege of wearing for over 34 years.

They parked you at the back of the Pentagon in retribution, right?

I was disappointed in my assignment back to the Pentagon to be on Rumsfeld’s staff. I was suspicious about the assignment. But I served at the pleasure of the president and performed as expected. It was conveyed to me by close friends that I had to be watched closely by senior leaders.

Can you describe this torture commission that you and others are advocating?

I would not refer to it as a torture commission. [It remains to be decided] if it is to be a truth and reconciliation commission, or a presidential commission, or a congressional commission, or a private commission…Interest groups have talked about establishing a special prosecutor in that regard. I feel we have to come to terms with policies that have gained such notoriety and have been debated about whether they were in the best interest of our national security, and whether those who created these policies were pressured by their senior leadership.

Good People, Evil Things: Guantanamo Testimony

Here‘s a disturbing account of the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo by Spc. Brandon Neely – it looks unlikely that Obama administration will pursue this issue which is very bad, I think:

I did not feel good about what I did. It felt wrong. This man was old enough to be my father, and I had just beaten up on him. I still to this day don’t know who was more scared before and during this incident me or the detainee.

I remember seeing him the next day when I walked into camp. His face was all bruised and scraped up. I was young and didn’t question anything back then. As I do nowadays. But even then, when I was as pissed off as anyone there, I felt ashamed of what I did. As the years have went on and the more I learn the more guilt I feel. This is one of the incidents from my time at Guantanamo that haunts me.

I am in no position to judge you, and I will not dare to do so. All I can say is that it is well known that good people can do evil things in evil environments (what psychologists call the Lucifer Effect). Or when people in authority order them to do so (the Stanford Obedience Experiment). You were in both situations. In any event, if you are OK with it, I have a couple of questions about this incident.

I am fine with this being part of my testimony. I want it to be told no matter how it makes me look. I believe it’s very important people know what happened there. I am sure there were (and are) a lot of detainees in Guantanamo that are guilty of something. But, on the other hand, there are a lot that are not guilty of nothing at all other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And no one, guilty or innocent, should be treated in the manner they have been.

Country Music Is Evil

Alex Ross writes in The New Yorker:

In Errol Morris’s documentary “Standard Operating Procedure‚” an American soldier talks about employing music as a means of breaking down the resistance of enemy combatants during interrogations. They can withstand “Hip Hop Hooray” and “Enter Sandman‚” he says, but not country music. Most audiences will laugh at the line, but may check themselves mid-chuckle, wondering what it means that Americans are deploying their favorite music as a way of tormenting people of another culture.

The idea of using music in psychological warfare goes back to at least the Second World War, when Soviet forces under siege in Leningrad defiantly broadcast Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony into no man’s land and the Office of War Information relayed jazz and other democratic sounds into Nazi-occupied Europe. The rest is here.