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    Explaining torture


    by Sunny on 11th October, 2007 at 11:46 am    

    The US government, unsurprisingly, has made “torture” legal now. As ever Jon Stewart nails it. The best bit is where the White House spokesperson declares that it is a “testament to this country” that we are even having this debate. Great, we’re having a debate! But are you going to carry on torturing? Umm… look at least we’re having a debate! Doesn’t that make America great? Love the logic.



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    30 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. sonia — on 11th October, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

      Well what a surprise there.

      Did their constitution make a difference? No

    2. justforfun — on 11th October, 2007 at 12:59 pm  

      Sonia - you beat me to it.

      Justforfun

    3. justforfun — on 11th October, 2007 at 1:00 pm  

      Is there mention of ‘torture’ in their constitution at all?

      Justforfun

    4. soru — on 11th October, 2007 at 1:34 pm  

      Well, implements of torture are typically hand-held, and allow one individual to do harm to another. Consequently, they could be argued to be ‘arms’, and so the right to bear them should not be infringed.

      On the other hand, there is a ban on cruel and unusual punishment. However, torture is normally performed before proof of guilt is obtained, and so clearly isn’t a punishment.

      It would be interesting if someone could find an example from history where the words in a document actually constrained or influenced the actions of those who claimed to be following it.

      If such a case existed, it would probably involve really dumb people, those too stupid to work out an interpretation that said what they wanted it to say.

    5. justforfun — on 11th October, 2007 at 2:05 pm  

      The Ten Commandments? - except the bit about about your neighbour’s wife’s ass. Or is that another book?

      Justforfun

    6. sonia — on 11th October, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

      depends on whose reading what.

      do we really think everyone in the USA actually knows exactly what is in their Constitution?

      everyone seems to have heard of the 1st amendment.

      this is not a daily working document that goes around. what creates shared culture and belief in the US - certainly nowadays - is NOT one specific written document. its mass media.

    7. sonia — on 11th October, 2007 at 3:17 pm  

      and everywhere - i should add.

      its a social process - one document can be significant - as obviously religious texts have been ( good one jff) - but they don’t exist by themselves in a vacuum. and without the belief in a prophet, a holy book is nothing special.

    8. soru — on 11th October, 2007 at 4:01 pm  

      ‘The Ten Commandments?’

      Ever seen any statistical evidence of lower rates of commandment-breaking in Abrahamic versus comparable societies?

    9. Sunny — on 11th October, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

      If I ever meet Jon Stewart, I’m going to dry hump him I swear.

    10. Chairwoman — on 11th October, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

      Hm. Bet he can’t wait,

    11. The Common Humanist — on 11th October, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

      Jon Stewart for President!

      Stewart Colbert 2008!

    12. Sunny — on 11th October, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

      Chairwoman, please don’t shatter my dreams :(

    13. Desi Italiana — on 11th October, 2007 at 5:45 pm  

      “do we really think everyone in the USA actually knows exactly what is in their Constitution?”

      The Bill of Rights…well, sort of.

      We know that the 1st amendment is freedom of speech and the right to convene.

      We know the 2nd amendment (which seems to be the most famous one amongst Repubicans) guarantees rights to guns.

      We know that we can plead the 5th.

      And not in the Bill of Rights, but 14 amendment.

      But whether torture is legalized or not is irrelevent at this point, because it’s been done in the past, and hardly anyone got prosecuted for it.

      BTW, I hate to burst your bubble, Brits, but you guys aren’t all that innocent either when it comes to torture… with or without a constitution.

    14. justforfun — on 11th October, 2007 at 6:34 pm  

      Kem Cho - Desi

      BTW, I hate to burst your bubble, Brits, but you guys aren’t all that innocent either when it comes to torture… with or without a constitution.

      I think you make the point very well - a constitution is an irrelavance when it comes to the values of a country.

      As Sonia makes the point on the other thread - it is a Mission Statement at best. At worst a bone that will be fought over while the legislature stands by as injustices continue.

      For a disingenious politian, a constitution is governance and morals by ‘tick boxes’ and targets - de- skilling our morals and personal responsibility. Too much has been lost to systems and tick boxes - too often the system is blamed - we alway hear “the sytem was at fault - the tick boxes were in the wrong order and no person was to blame”

      As soon as politians have followed the correct tick boxes - we the electorate can have no complaints - right?

      Well I for one like the idea that politians don’t know where the line is in the sand, and that we will kick them out when they get anywhere close to it… and then prosecute thos that are acted criminally. Well that was my hope - but unfortunately not enough think like me - or are too forgiving.

      Justforfun

    15. Sunny — on 11th October, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

      But look, it helps us have a debate about it ok? It’s important have a MASS-DEBATE about tor- ermm…persuasive tactics of pris- erm… detainees.

    16. ZinZin — on 11th October, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

      Why do you only want to dry hump John Stewart? Do you deem him an unworthy recipient of your bodily fluids?

    17. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2007 at 10:43 pm  

      I love this guy Jon Stewart, he’s great.

      Andrew Sullivan wrote a good article in the Sunday Times about the implications of all this for America. He was really honest about the mistakes he made in supporting the war and trusting Bush and his supporters. It really contrasted with the morons of the Left who scamper about like naked rats trying to forget about their historic, reputation destroying idiocy. It really made me think — some right wingers have been very honest and even ‘brave’ in introspecting about what went wrong, whereas the Left ChickenHawks are still scratching their arse in moral cowardice.

    18. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2007 at 10:55 pm  

      Here you go:

      Bush’s torturers follow where the Nazis led

      I’d actually say it’s essential reading on this issue.

    19. Desi Italiana — on 11th October, 2007 at 11:11 pm  

      Jagdeep Ji:

      “It really contrasted with the morons of the Left who scamper about like naked rats trying to forget about their historic, reputation destroying idiocy….the Left ChickenHawks are still scratching their arse in moral cowardice.”

      Er…. they are not really on the “Left” if they don’t recognize the havoc the Liberals/Democrats have wreaked in this country and if they have supported the war at any point. Being a bunch of pussies who are forever trying to not disrupt the current system and their embarrassing desire to emulate the Repubs leave them no other choice but be ChickenHawks.

      The ChickenHawks are not on the Left, they are Liberals/Democrats. And Liberals- in America- means a compassionate Repubican.

      Please don’t confuse Liberals with Leftists; they are not the same thing in America. What we consider “liberal” may very well seem rightists to peeps out in, say, Europe.

    20. Jagdeep — on 11th October, 2007 at 11:23 pm  

      Trust me, Desi Italiana, the UK is full of ChickenHawks of the Left. We are relieved though because as yet they have not started a campaign to bomb Burma into freedom, so small mercies and all that.

    21. Desi Italiana — on 12th October, 2007 at 12:22 am  

      “the UK is full of ChickenHawks of the Left.”

      The UK is an exception and not like the rest of Europe. The UK is basically the European version of America. More aptly, it’s America’s mummy.

      [DI running and ducking for cover]

    22. indianoguy — on 12th October, 2007 at 6:15 am  

      Jon Stewart for President!
      Stewart Colbert 2008!

      Thats on my car bumper sticker and I get strange looks for that in Mid-South

    23. Jai — on 12th October, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

      If I ever meet Jon Stewart, I’m going to dry hump him I swear.

      Tauba tauba tauba, Sunny.

      At least let the dude buy you a drink first.

    24. Jai — on 12th October, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

      The UK is basically the European version of America. More aptly, it’s America’s mummy.

      Yeah, except our desi ladies are hotter than yours ;)

      *Waits for DI and her sorority friends from SM to suddenly turn up shaking their fists*

    25. Desi Italiana — on 12th October, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

      “Yeah, except our desi ladies are hotter than yours”

      Hmmm….that is what you think…[DI is very silently thinking, “He’d change his tune if he met me.”]

      Our men are much hotter than your snooty ones.

      “*Waits for DI and her sorority friends from SM to suddenly turn up shaking their fists*”

      I hardly go to SM. They ain’t my friends.

    26. Desi Italiana — on 12th October, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

      Can we get back to torture, please?

      Look, torture is messed up, we shouldn’t be doing it, but we have been doing it for a while, long before Abu Ghraib.

      I think consistency goes a long way, specifically in noting that the Brits have been doing it as well.

      And before you throw back in our faces that we voted for that monkey Bush in 2004, let me ask you this:

      Did or did not Blair get re-elected????

      The similarities are striking, my friends.

    27. indianoguy — on 13th October, 2007 at 4:01 am  

      Yeah, except our desi ladies are hotter than yours

      *raising hand* I kinda agree, but girls from my country are way hotter than Brit or American Desi girls ;-)

      And before you throw back in our faces that we voted for that monkey Bush in 2004, let me ask you this:

      Did or did not Blair get re-elected????

      DI, there has been widespread opposition to the Iraq war in the UK than it ever has been in the US (even to this day). Having lived in the UK and the US, I feel Britain is more democratic than the US(in the sense, people are more engaged in the political process and elections don’t look like a beauty/bitchy contest).

      Besides, British public did not vote for Tony Blair, they voted for Labour party with less majority than in the previous elections.

    28. Desi Italiana — on 13th October, 2007 at 5:47 am  

      “*raising hand* I kinda agree, but girls from my country are way hotter than Brit or American Desi girls”

      I swear, all of you are such haters when it comes to American Desi women.

      Quick question: most American Desi women are of Indian ethnicity. I am guessing that that’s the case in the UK.

      So, where does the differentiation come from: Indian women are the hottest, British desi women are “hotter”, and American Desis are at the bottom of the heap, if they all have a shared ethnicity (more or less- if you don’t focus on regional differences, ie Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, etc)? Are we taking diets into consideration for beauty? ETC

      “I feel Britain is more democratic than the US(in the sense, people are more engaged in the political process and elections don’t look like a beauty/bitchy contest).”

      I don’t disagree at all. Italians are WAY more politically engaged than the US. In fact, many countries are.

    29. Jai — on 13th October, 2007 at 11:26 am  

      Desi Italiana,

      I swear, all of you are such haters when it comes to American Desi women.

      I was just kidding previously, by the way — it just seemed like an appropriate retort to your own joke — but I’ll quickly answer your off-topic queries:

      Quick question: most American Desi women are of Indian ethnicity. I am guessing that that’s the case in the UK.

      No, it’s an approximate 50/50 split between Indians and Pakistanis. Plus a much smaller percentage of Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans.

      if they all have a shared ethnicity (more or less- if you don’t focus on regional differences, ie Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, etc)

      The vast majority of Indians in the UK are Punjabis and Gujaratis. I’m not sure about the exact percentage per group (I think there’s a slight majority of Punjabis, mostly Sikhs plus a smaller-but-significant contingent of Hindu Punjabis), although it’s interesting to note that, after English, Punjabi is actually the second most widely spoken language in the UK. Obviously the considerable number of Pakistanis who can speak the language boosts this up too.

      You might find this interesting to read, as it gives an overview of the desi groups in Britain and their respective backgrounds: http://www.ipa.co.uk/diversity/communities_asian.html

      Now let’s get back on the main topic, before some irate, hypersensitive members of the SM clique with an insufficient sense of humour turn up here screaming again.

    30. Jai — on 13th October, 2007 at 1:00 pm  

      PS:

      Our men are much hotter than your snooty ones.

      We’re not “snooty”, we just have better taste.

      ;)



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