Cruz and Trump: Maniacs Я Us
Updated (April 11, 2016):
Donald Trump back on same subject but now with some sort of crazy-ass vengeance aimed at the Director of the CIA, John Brennan, and saying: “The CIA director is ridiculous on waterboarding.”
Donald Trump took on Brennan on torture after Brennan said on NBC News Sunday (April 10, 2016) that he would not allow enhanced interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, even if a future president ordered it.
Trump struck at Brennan saying: “I think his comments are ridiculous.” (Naturally Trump said that on FOX News Monday). “I mean, they chop off heads and they drown people in cages with 50 in a cage, in big, steel heavy cages, drop them right into the water drown people, and we can’t water-board and we can’t do anything. And you know we’re playing on different fields. And we have a huge problem with ISIS, which we can’t beat, and the reason we can’t beat them is we won’t use strong tactics, whether it’s this or other things.”
Reminder from previous post: Joe Navarro, one of the FBI’s top experts in questioning techniques, told The New Yorker: “Only a psychopath can torture and be unaffected. You don’t want people like that in your organization. They are untrustworthy, and tend to have grotesque other problems.”
Also, Trump and Cruz both spewed on this subject previously saying:
TRUMP: “I’D DO WATERBOARDING AND MORE…” CRUZ: “WATERBOARDING IS NOT ILLEGAL.”
That view differs from UN Convention against torture, which was ratified by the U.S. in 1990. Here is their definition: “Torture means 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… when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public office or other person acting in an official capacity.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross and many others all contend that torture falls into the above definition without doubt.
Federal law (18 USC Section 2340) defines torture as something that is: “Specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering” — plus and the U.S. Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Former Army JAG, Major General Thomas Romig said: “There is no way any competent and knowledgeable attorney can say that waterboarding is legal under the Geneva Conventions, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or the Convention Against Torture.” (Wall Street Journal in 2014 interview).
Cruz was obviously referring to the controversial 2002 document known as the “Bybee Memo” written by Jay S Bybee, who as the time was the head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under President George W. Bush. At the time, that memo advised the CIA and DOD that techniques such as “waterboarding” might be legally allowed under an interpretation of the president’s authority during war time. The memo said the only pain equal to that produced by organ failure or death qualified as torture. But it is worth noting that this definition has since been widely criticized and subsequently disavowed.
Jack Goldsmith, who served as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 to 2004 (under Bush), put a temporary halt to the use of waterboarding as a technique after he raised questions about this type of interrogation and the law.
Let me be clear on this point: “Waterboarding is often described as a simulated drowning or a technique to convince the detainee or prisoner that he or she is drowning.” There is no way to simulate the lungs filling with water without water entering the lungs to start the actual drowning.
Views in favor of accepting torture in emergencies: Alan Dershowitz, a prominent American defense attorney, surprised some observers by giving limited support to the idea that torture could be justified. He argued that human nature can lead to unregulated abuse “off the books.” Therefore, it would be better if there were a regulated procedure through which an interrogator could request a “torture warrant and that requiring a warrant would establish a paper trail of accountability.”
Torturers, and those who authorize torture, could be held to account for excesses. Dershowitz's suggested torture warrants, similar to search warrants and phone tap warrants, would spell out the limits on the techniques that interrogators may use, and the extent to which they may abridge a suspect's rights. In September 2002, when reviewing Alan Dershowitz's book, Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge, Richard Posner, legal scholar and judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, wrote in The New Republic:
“If torture is the only means of obtaining the information necessary to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Times Square, torture should be used--and will be used--to obtain the information.... No one who doubts that this is the case should be in a position of responsibility.”
Views in favor of torturing the relatives of suspects: In February 2010 Bruce Anderson wrote a column for The Independent, arguing that the British government would have not just the right, but the duty, to torture if there was a ticking bomb, and that they should torture the relatives of suspects if they believed that doing so would yield information that would avert a terrorist attack: “It came, in the form of a devilish intellectual challenge: Let's take your hypothesis a bit further. We have captured a terrorist, but he is a hardened character. We cannot be certain that he will crack in time. We have also captured his wife and children. So, we torture the wife and children.”
Views rejecting torture under all circumstances: Some human rights organizations, professional and academic experts, and military and intelligence leaders have absolutely rejected the idea that torture is ever legal or acceptable, even in a so-called ticking bomb situation. They have expressed grave concern about the way the dramatic force and artificially simple moral answers the ticking bomb thought-experiment seems to offer, have manipulated and distorted the legal and moral perceptions, reasoning and judgment of both the general population and military and law enforcement officials.
They reject the proposition, implicit or explicit, that certain acts of torture are justifiable, even desirable. They believe that simplistic responses to the scenario may lead well-intentioned societies down a slippery slope to legalized and systematic torture. They point out that no evidence of any real-life situation meeting all the criteria to constitute a pure ticking bomb scenario has ever been presented to the public, and that such a situation is highly unlikely.
As well, torture can be criticized as a poor vehicle for discovering truth, as people experiencing torture, once broken, are liable to make anything up in order to stop the pain and can become unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction under intense psychological pressure. Additionally, since the terrorist presumably knows that the timer is ticking, he has an excellent reason to lie and give false information under torture in order to misdirect his interrogators; merely giving a convincing answer which the investigators will waste time checking out makes it more likely that the bomb will go off, and of course once the bomb has gone off, not only has the terrorist won, but there is also no further point in torturing him, except perhaps as revenge.
Others point out that the ticking-bomb torture proponents adopt an extremely short-term view, which impoverishes their consequentialism. Using torture — or even declaring that one is prepared to accept its use — makes other groups of people much more likely to use torture themselves in the long run. The consequence is likely to be a long-term increase in violence.
This long-term effect is so serious that the person making the torture decision cannot possibly (according to this argument) make a reasonable estimate of its results.
Thus the decision-maker has no grounds for certainty that the value of the lives saved from the ticking bomb will outweigh the value of the lives lost because of the subsequent disorder. He or she cannot arrive at a successful accounting of consequences.
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