Author Topic: Torturing terrorists?  (Read 348 times)

GPRW

Torturing terrorists?
« on: November 24, 2017, 01:56:23 PM »
So, if a terrorist is captured and there are solid intelligence suggesting he is planning for an attack, is it justifiable to use torture so that he may confess his plan (including where the weapons are)? Does it have anything to do with whether the attack is imminent or not? Does it have anything to do with how reliable the intelligence are? (I think, but it is just I think, that the intelligence has to be reliable on a certain degree, though I am not sure how certain it has to be, then torture can be permitted, if it can be lawful in some cases.)

Any thoughts on this?
 

TKGS

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2017, 02:36:09 PM »
I know of no reliable doctrinal case that torture is intrinsically impermissible.  Furthermore, I question the claim made by opponents of torture that the intelligence gained through torture is always unreliable. 
 

Rubecorks

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2017, 02:44:22 PM »
With about 2000 years of the Catholic Church, and many wars and persecutions, I know of no approved case for this. Either it is immoral, or else nobody saw the real value of the information that could be obtained by that means.
 

OmegaTrad

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2017, 09:14:59 AM »
Isn't this a case of means justifying ends?  And I thought Catholic teaching was that means don't justify ends.
 

Rubecorks

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2017, 05:21:26 PM »
Isn't this a case of means justifying ends?  And I thought Catholic teaching was that means don't justify ends.

Well, causing discomfort to another person against his will has never been forbidden by the Catholic Church. In fact it is required when it will benefit that person. Even modern humanist-agnostic mentality allows that, but really only for the life of the body. When it comes to the soul, the humanist will forbid a parent to cause direct physical discomfort to their children.



 

OmegaTrad

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2017, 09:18:06 AM »
Isn't this a case of means justifying ends?  And I thought Catholic teaching was that means don't justify ends.

Well, causing discomfort to another person against his will has never been forbidden by the Catholic Church. In fact it is required when it will benefit that person. Even modern humanist-agnostic mentality allows that, but really only for the life of the body. When it comes to the soul, the humanist will forbid a parent to cause direct physical discomfort to their children.

Sure, but that supposes a few different things like the act itself being not wrong, and there being a legitimate authority over the person who is being punished.  I guess there's different types of torture, some might be OK and some might not be.  And what authority does a given state have over a given terrorist?
 

Vinny Zee

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 01:31:17 PM »
So, if a terrorist is captured and there are solid intelligence suggesting he is planning for an attack, is it justifiable to use torture so that he may confess his plan (including where the weapons are)? Does it have anything to do with whether the attack is imminent or not? Does it have anything to do with how reliable the intelligence are? (I think, but it is just I think, that the intelligence has to be reliable on a certain degree, though I am not sure how certain it has to be, then torture can be permitted, if it can be lawful in some cases.)

Any thoughts on this?


In its current form, your question, I am afraid, is way too open ended for any real legitimate discussion about, "torture" vs. "enhanced interrogation techniques" vs. stopping terrorism.

"So, if a terrorist is captured and there are solid intelligence suggesting he is planning for an attack, is it justifiable to use torture so that he may confess his plan."

Confess to what? That he is a terrorist, or that he was going to do it? If the terrorist has been captured and he/she is a sole actor, then you have stopped the crime and hopefully now the investigation can convict them.

"(including where the weapons are)?"

Now you are getting into, most likely, co-conspirators and you have a much larger terrorism plot to contend with.

"Does it have anything to do with whether the attack is imminent or not?"

Remember for a terrorist, time is power. So it depends on where in the process you caught them.  I would say all terrorism is imminent in one form or another.  So depending on where in the act this apprehension is would depend on whether enhanced interrogation techniques can or should be employed.

"Does it have anything to do with how reliable the intelligence are? (I think, but it is just I think, that the intelligence has to be reliable on a certain degree, though I am not sure how certain it has to be, then torture can be permitted, if it can be lawful in some cases.)"

It always has to do with how reliable the intelligence is. How did the terrorist get caught in the first place? Most likely based on intelligence. So if the intelligence was good enough to move on the terrrorist, then I would hope the intelligence is good enough to move on finding weapons, precursors, etc.

Finally, it really does come down to an issue of where the terrorist is found? If they have been located in the U.S. then the constitution
applies. If it is outside the U.S. then it is a different set of rules. This is what caused so much consternation with Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) and I think the Christmas Eve underwear bomber. The acts were uncovered outside the U.S. on flights coming to the U.S. but I believed they were Mirandized upon landing and this created stirs in the intel community (and legal community) as to whether they should have been treated as enemy combatants and/or not received Miranda warnings.

This goes into another issue. If the U.S. is stopping said terrorist of your scenario, how far does our constitution extend to individuals we are tracking down and where we plan to prosecute them. Remember when Obama wanted to try the Gitmo detainees in NY, and this immediately began the debate of these enemy combatants, pulled off of an enemy battle field, getting constitutional rights inside of a U.S. District Court?

Finally, are we expanding or contracting our terms of "terrorism" these days and are the definitions helpful in defining, tracking and defeating terrorism or is terrorism becoming too much of a catch-all phrase for increased military actions? The political and military landscape of the Middle East, particularly U.S./European participation there since 2001-2003 has certainly changes the view and consideration on terrorism, military combatants and the radicalization of terrorists/terrorism.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 01:39:19 PM by Vinny Zee »
 
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When Antisemites Attack!

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2017, 11:35:11 AM »
With about 2000 years of the Catholic Church, and many wars and persecutions, I know of no approved case for this. Either it is immoral, or else nobody saw the real value of the information that could be obtained by that means.

Torture was commonplace for much of those 2000 years, so unless you have evidence that the Church disapproved, your conclusion is pretty counterfactual. And the Church did instruct the inquisition to use torture to extract confessions from suspected heretics. That's a reasonably similar situation.
 

Rubecorks

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2017, 12:03:41 PM »
With about 2000 years of the Catholic Church, and many wars and persecutions, I know of no approved case for this. Either it is immoral, or else nobody saw the real value of the information that could be obtained by that means.

Torture was commonplace for much of those 2000 years, so unless you have evidence that the Church disapproved, your conclusion is pretty counterfactual. And the Church did instruct the inquisition to use torture to extract confessions from suspected heretics. That's a reasonably similar situation.

We aren't here talking about torture in general, but torture by a Catholic state for the purpose of obtaining information. I am unaware of any approved case, but, of course, negative evidence is not evidence. I invite someone to show a case of it for me to consider.
 

When Antisemites Attack!

Re: Torturing terrorists?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2017, 12:17:36 PM »
With about 2000 years of the Catholic Church, and many wars and persecutions, I know of no approved case for this. Either it is immoral, or else nobody saw the real value of the information that could be obtained by that means.

Torture was commonplace for much of those 2000 years, so unless you have evidence that the Church disapproved, your conclusion is pretty counterfactual. And the Church did instruct the inquisition to use torture to extract confessions from suspected heretics. That's a reasonably similar situation.

We aren't here talking about torture in general, but torture by a Catholic state for the purpose of obtaining information. I am unaware of any approved case, but, of course, negative evidence is not evidence. I invite someone to show a case of it for me to consider.

Common knowledge:

1. Catholic states routinely tortured people for information
2. The Church commanded them to torture heretics for information