June 01, 2009


I am very late in bringing this up, but I still wanted to say it.  During the last episode of 24, they finally catch the bad guy and realize that there is no evidence to charge him with and that he will probably get away with all of his bad deeds.  One FBI agent wants revenge and turns to Jack Bauer for advice.  He says the following, which I think the writers of 24 did a beautiful job with:

I can't tell you what to do.  I've been wrestling with this one my whole life.  I see fifteen people held hostage on a bus, and everything else goes out the window.  I will do whatever it takes to save them, and I mean whatever it takes.  I guess maybe I thought that if I save them, I could save myself.

FBI Agent: Do you regret anything that you did today?

No.  But then again, I don't work for the FBI.

Agent: I don't understand...

You took an oath, you made a promise to uphold the law.  When you cross that line, it always starts off with a small step.  Before you know it, you're running as fast as you can in the wrong direction, just to justify why you started in the first place.  These laws were written by much smarter men than me, and in the end, I know that these laws have to be more important than the fifteen people on the bus.  I know that's right, in my mind, I know that's right.  But I just don't think my heart could ever have lived with that.  I guess the only advice I can give you is: try and make choices you can live with.

I think that's a pretty good discussion of the gray area in the interrogation debate.

Posted by: Sarah at 08:31 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 As far as torture goes (and your recent mention of how to break a terrorist)

I recommend the following methods for "breaking" a terrorist:
1.  Establish with them that you don't care one bit if they live or die.
2.  Convey the ideas that you don't see them as human.
3.  Make them understand that you control every aspect of their life and well-being.
4.  Rule #1 becomes their challenge:  to convince you that the need to live.

That's how you mentally break anyone. 

Much faster methods (better and far more effective than waterboarding) include the use of hammers.

My favorite method (and this'll likely make the weak-willed queasy, but has proven overwhelming success) uses time fuse.  Time fuse burns at about 1 foot every 40 seconds.  The fuse is wrapped around legs, arms, torso, anywhere really (even around the neck or head, but it's best when it can be seen.

The fuse is then lit,
and no questions are asked until it comes within a few inches of the skin.  Tell them you will extinguish the fuse when all your questions are answered truthfully, and you know the answers to some questions, so you'll know if they are lying. 

Then you just wait.

Being burned slowly, with the ability to make it stop simply by asking questions, while understanding that your captor does not care if you live or die, making your (truthful) answers the only key to survival (and to stopping the pain)... from what I understand, this is an incredibly effective technique.  Not that I know anyone who has actually done it, mind you. 

Posted by: Chuck at June 02, 2009 07:57 AM (meX2d)

2 More to the point, you either accept the use of torture as a valid method of treating an enemy, or you don't.  You can't quantify it rationally with exceptions.

You are either for abortion, or you are against it.  The crowd who says "it's murder, but okay if the mother is in danger, or a victim of rape/incest/whatever, or the baby is X", are now rationalizing what they just called murder.

Okay, I guess you can do it, but it's hypocritical, and worse, it causes us to use lawyers to determine when and if someone needs to be tortured.  Who decides if the scenario is a "ticking bomb," if the target justifies torture, etc?

Captured terrorists should be tortured until all usable information is extracted, and then either killed or lobotomized before release.

Posted by: Chuck at June 02, 2009 08:04 AM (meX2d)

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