Is torture effective? - Politics | PoFo

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Polls on politics, news, current affairs and history.

Is torture effective at extracting info?

Yes, very
Yes, pretty good
Only slightly better than alternatives
No votes
Same as alternatives
Worse than alternatives, tortured person will say anything to make it stop
By stalker
The standard narrative today is that it is not, but then again...

For one reason or another, almost all pre-modern states engaged in it to root out conspiracies, etc, and frequently with some success (e.g. Guy Fawkes). Even the US uses it - either through waterboarding, or by offshoring the really nasty stuff to friendly dictatorships - in the war on terror.

So is it actually more effective than the alternative, which is, I don't know, just asking questions without the threat of physical violence?

Obviously, this poll is only about its effectiveness. Please leave the obvious (and to most of us here valid) moral objections out of it.
Of course it isn't. If you were being tortured, what if you were innocent and had no clue what you were meant to know? You would lie through your teeth if you knew the pain would stop.
By Plaro
Same as alternatives: The main effect of torture is the message it sends to the public or to people who associate themselves with the one being tortured.

Actually I probably should have chosen worse then alternatives. As there are much better ways to get the information one wants, like bribery (promise of abundance of money and woman). That will probably currupt more then 90% of general population in most circumstances.
Last edited by Plaro on 20 Feb 2012 06:03, edited 1 time in total.
By wat0n
Depends on how you define "effective", e.g. torture might be more effective than other methods if you need your information fast and cannot "afford" (in terms of time needed to get an answer) to be nice.

If time is not a constraint, then I'd say any interrogation technique will be as effective as the methods you have to make sure the person interrogated is being honest. If you have the means to do so, then yes, torture and the threat of it should be extremely effective as punishing liars would be feasible.
User avatar
By U184
Very effective: The idea of torture... effectively makes bleeding hearts, who have no practical experience in war, bitch and complain, of that there can be little debate.
Of course it is in many scenarios.

I don't buy the bullshit "those being tortured will simply lie" argument. Why? As opposed to those being asked questions without the use of or threat of violence against their person? If they are involved with the issue in question and refuse to break but choose to lie, they will sooner lie without being tortured anyway. You are assuming they are innocent, in which case, the method used against them doesn't matter anyway.

I support it.
Torture is very good at making a person delirious with pain say anything that seems to him (in the delirious state) will cause the pain to abate. These statements have little to no relation to the truth or to relevant intel.

As a poster above stated, bribery is the best means of getting data. In the words of Brian Fantana, "60% of the time it works every time!"
User avatar
By U184
Yes people will rush to tell the sheep what they want to hear... Aside from that, no whistle blower for an agency like that, does so without an approved script.

Stop looking for that "real" "inside source"... unless you are that person, it will never happen. Otherwise you are hearing exactly what that agency wants you to be hearing.

Those people who have no practical Military experience, I invite you to not have an opinion.

Instead, think what you would do to the one guy you caught in your child's room, his buddy got away with your kid, cases like this, the odds are the child will never be found after the fist 24 hours and the money says they will not live through it anyway.

Cops are great at reporting it after the fact, so unless the guy gives your kid up, your on your own. Alone in your kitchen/garage, Mother or Father, religious or not, the great majority of you, (again are smart enough to know the cops wont help :p ) are going to do more than have a candlelight vigil and a nice comfortable interview.
By Kman
Yes I think to some degree it works, if you kidnap a man and threaten him and say that you need to know X thing about something and if he doesnt tell the truth you will torture or kill his children if it turns out to be false information then yeah you probably can make it ''work'', it is enormously immoral and evil to do however.

Torture to me just seems like the lowest of low that humanity can fall too.
User avatar
By R_G
Yes, pretty good

This is with the assumption that the authorities have already done the pre-questioning and assessment. Like getting the accused to take a polygraph, etc.

Obviously ripping out an individual's toenails will make it far harder for him to keep secrets from you.
By Rugoz
Depends, if you know when somebody tells the truth it could be effective. Otherwise you'll end up with innocents and culprits telling you all kinds of things which you cannot verify.
User avatar
By Godstud
Worse than alternatives.

+It's morally wrong for the US to use it(going by standards of North American morality and law, that is.)

Obviously ripping out an individual's toenails will make it far harder for him to keep secrets from you.
False. You do that and they'll tell you ANYTHING, even if it's not the truth, because they know you'll believe them. You did, after all, just pull out their toenails and you aren't going to believe what they say, or stop the torture, anyhow. A smart individual can manipulate their torturers by sticking to the same story, regardless of torture.

The only thing they have found from torture, is that people will admit to anything under it. It's been shown that people can resist torture long enough for any intelligence to be gained from it, to be useless. This is why the US trains soldiers to resist torture. They are not trained to be torture-proof.
User avatar
By QatzelOk
Whenever I think of torture... I think of the Donald Marshall case where a native man was tortured into confessing to a murder.

He was then thrown into jail for life, until the actual murderer bragged about it in a bar many years later, and the case was reopened, and the actual killer went to jail.

In some US states, Donald Marshall would have been killed for the murder before the new info came out. The new info was that the real killer was white, the cops were racist, and they used torture to get him to confess.

This case pretty well sums up what I think about torture.
False. You do that and they'll tell you ANYTHING, even if it's not the truth, because they know you'll believe them. You did, after all, just pull out their toenails and you aren't going to believe what they say, or stop the torture, anyhow. A smart individual can manipulate their torturers by sticking to the same story, regardless of torture.

Common sense states that if such a person is so dedicated to their mission, cause, or compatriots that torture will not cause them to break, but lie, then they will surely be lying anyway without torture.

These arguments against it are truly nonsensical when one cuts through the surface layer. Particularly this "they'll tell you anything" oft-repeated nonsense. Why would said people reveal anything beforehand then? These remarks attempt to plant the illusion that torture is obscuring the realization of facts/information, when in reality it is a method used after detainees won't crack following non-physical methods of interrogation, leaving the door open only to those who know something and may crack with a tremendous introduction of pain, as many do, but wouldn't otherwise.
User avatar
By R_G
Again, the arguments raised after my post essentially disregarded the stipulations under which I argued torture is successful.

The U.S. justice system is corrupted because judges will put people in prison because prisons generate income. That's why the United States has so many falsely accused or outrageous sentencing such as 6 years for two grams of marijuana.

So if you must, imagine a country without such a disgustingly corrupted justice system okay?

As for racist cops, Canada has a pretty good history of being a hell of a lot more tolerant. Which is why I feel torture would work in Canada quite well. Obviously you don't want to use torture that is permanent. Such as cutting off body parts, that's extreme.

Hell, putting on headphone on a prisoner with extremely irritating sound won't give that prison any permanent damage but may cause them to give you information due to stress. Aren't their drugs out there that will result in false pain? I believe there are, so that's a good option.
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