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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 Rugoz
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.

By allowing torture you open the floodgates of hell. By definition torture must hurt, meaning it must be a traumatic experience for the victim. There is no humane way of doing it.
Torture is not compatible in any way with the presumption of innocence, and there is no reason why we should abolish this essential pillar of western civilization.
1) There should be no presumption of innocence as it relates to matters of national security or particularly when dealing with foreign nationals.

2) Presumption of innocence is certainly no "essential pillar of Western civilization".

Torture is a poor choice when you are constrained by time, because the victim only has to babble lies until the deadline has passed. With no urgency, long-term torture is extremely effective not only at obtaining information but even at converting the victim to the torturer's point of view. If you do enough damage to a person's sense of self, they can be reconstructed in whatever form you desire.

This ofc is quite a separate consideration than whether torture ought to be used at all.
By Kman
I think anyone supporting torture that doesnt ''do permanent damage'' should be required to undergo said procedures before being allowed to implement it, what is the harm of a short 30 min of torture after all? It wont do permenent damage so no problem right?
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By R_G
Kman wrote:I think anyone supporting torture that doesnt ''do permanent damage'' should be required to undergo said procedures before being allowed to implement it, what is the harm of a short 30 min of torture after all? It wont do permenent damage so no problem right?

Nice try wizard.

Police often go through testing of riot gear.

If I was a government official in charge of torture I would volunteer to be a test subject, again provided it was substantially seen as non-permanent.
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By Godstud
:roll: Testing riot gear is NOT torture,as a police officer has a choice. If a person volunteers for torture, it's not torture either, since that person has a choice as to whether it's done or not.

How about those who support torture that doesn't "do permanent damage" be taken(without choice) and tortured for an indefinite period of time? That would be torture. Anything else would be an agreement to discomfort for a short period of time.

R_G, by volunteering for it, for a set period of time, you'd not actually be undergoing torture. A person agreeing to cold weather testing to see what a person can do when they get close to hypothermia is not being tortured since they have volunteered for that.
According to the experts torture doesn't work. And in fact some studies have found that torture releases certain chemicals in the brain which makes one delirious making it even harder to get the truth out of them
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By xsited1
stalker wrote:Is torture effective?

I'd say it can be effective on certain people under certain circumstances.

I've often wondered what a parent would do if, say, their child had been kidnapped, was hidden away in an air-tight container with only an hour of air left to breathe, and they had the kidnapper in a room restrained to a table and he wouldn't tell them where their child was. My guess is that a very high percentage of parents would torture the kidnapper in an attempt to find their child before it was too late.
QatzelOk wrote: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.

Thanks for posting that. I hadn't heard of that case until now. But how do we know the same thing doesn't still happen every day? Think of the innocent people behind bars right now, how many of those were tortured into confessing?
Not very many, and the overwhelming bulk are handled by local law enforcement agencies.

An entirely acceptable risk.
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By QatzelOk
The effectiveness of torture depends on what kind of "effect" you are looking for.

If you want to extract useful information, then it isn't effective at all, according to experts.

But if some people simply have a need to hear about other people suffering, torture might be the most effective meme to easily fulfill the desires of this demographic.

Though, as we have seen, the actual "torture" won't do anything positive. But the stories about it might. Stories about torture are effective only as a quick serum for a socially dysfunctional society that needs blood. Torture memes might help satiate the bloodlust of a social dystopia like our own.
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By Godstud
I don't often agree with Mr. QatzelOk, but this is one such time.

The stories of torture only make the enemies of the people who use it more determined, and actually validates their enmity.
By Baff
Arkady2009 wrote: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.

I don't think the torture stops when you do that.
I think they carry on until your mind is broken and you are no longer in rational control of what you are saying or even thinking.

When you have had no sleep for too long by example, your mind can't string sentences together any longer. Conversation become more akin to word association than rational discourse.

Special forces are trained to resist torture.
But the training accepts that they will ultimately tell everything they know. The training is just to get them to resist long enough for their team mates to escape. A couple of extra days maybe.

Torture techniques are obviouslly very subtle. Psychological. I highly doubt they just stick pins into you until you tell them what they wanted you to say.
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By Godstud
Excellent Margot. We can use that in the criminal justice system and ALL cases will be 100% guilty(regardless of ACTUAL guilt), and we can leave it at that. :roll:

Now, does that demonstrate tortures' effectiveness in getting a confession(The Inquisition used this to great effect), or gaining useful information?
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By Godstud
Yes, indeed. A man who suffered through torture would be eminently qualified on why torture should not be used.
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By Dr House
I'm on the fence on this one as I've not yet seen relevant data, but I'm leaning "yes," assuming the person is not given time to think properly. A scenario like we see in Rendition where the guy is calmly questioned then beaten the shit out of then calmly questioned again will not work because the guy will have time to think through a plausible story that will make the pain stop, but thinking up a convincing lie under extreme duress is very difficult. I would even argue such duress doesn't even have to be physical torture.

So, other: I've no bloody clue. And I will not state a preference driven by ideology until I do.
It's probably somewhere around Yes, pretty good or Only slightly better than alternatives.

Can an individual lie under torture? Absolutely. The argument that this makes it worse than standard interrogation is ridiculous on its face - as we all know, individuals totally never lie under a normal interrogation, right? Removing their ability to think straight through torture techniques would seem to logically have at least a marginal positive effect in enabling them to blurt out the truth.

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