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The Forum > Article Comments > Torture is never legal and didnít lead America to bin Laden > Comments

Torture is never legal and didnít lead America to bin Laden : Comments

By Marjorie Cohn, published 16/5/2011

The assassination of Osama bin Laden has rekindled the discourse about the efficacy and legality of torture.

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The British talking about humane practises in Northern Island ... you have got to be kidding.

One of the great unwritten about 'secrets' of the Northern Island campaign is that the British embarked on a secret campaign of IRA leadership murders. That apparently forced the remaining IRA leadership, Adams et el to seriously adopt a peaceful solution.

Given the sectarian rumblings that are again starting to fester it might prove to be only effective in the short term.

I agree with the evidence torture isn't very effective.
Posted by keith, Monday, 16 May 2011 9:40:25 AM
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Treaties are not the supreme law of the land. Treaties themselves are not the law of the land even when they are ratified. In the US Congress must pass ennabling legislation to make treaties part of the law of the land.

However, torture is illegal by US law. The US Constitution in the Eighth Amendment forbids "cruel and unusual punishment." That outlaws torture regardless of what treaties the US signs.
Posted by david f, Monday, 16 May 2011 10:13:04 AM
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Even if torture had led the US troops to Osama bin Laden it does not justify it's use. The death of bin Laden was symoblic more than anything else, his death will do nothing to support counter-terrorism efforts except perhaps symbolically on the domestic front.

Given Islamic terrorist groups are splintered and spread across the globe, bin Laden's death does not make an iota of difference particularly if there are no meaningful changes to current US foreign policy, nor does it mean terrorism will be brought to an abrupt halt. In the short-term there may be some backlash in the form of reprisals.

The fact is torture does not work, it generally provides false and misleading information. Mostly it is a cruel and inhumane act and is justifiably illegal. The US agreement to the treaty is meaningless in view of the claims of involvement in the practice of rendition.
Posted by pelican, Monday, 16 May 2011 10:36:38 AM
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if 'civilized' folk have to resort to torture and human rights violations to ensure their safety and liberty, then they're in bed with the barbarians and their 'civilization' isn't worth a bucket of warm spit.
Posted by SHRODE, Monday, 16 May 2011 1:26:18 PM
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So what if we "used" to torture? Does that make us uncivilized?

There was a school of torture and interrogation techniques in Adelaide during the Vietnam war. It probably was around well before that as I remember reading a memoir of someone who fought in the Emergency in Malaya, who was a graduate of the school.

Times change, you do what you think you can get away with at the time to protect your country and troops, or whomever you are fighting for.

People do desperate things when country family and friends are in danger. I think it really depends on the circumstances.

To say it doesn't work, hmmm .. I think journalists and human rights lawyers get told all manner of things that may or may not be true and then again they may construe things the way they want to hear them.

Torture works if the person getting tortured gives information that is useful. To straight up say it doesn't work, is and unreliable statement. You are going to get garbage at times, if people think it will genuinely stop whatever the threat is.

Do we, Australians still do it? Well I guess it depends on when interrogation crosses some line, that can change depending on times. Even police interrogate .. harshly, is that torture? Is making threats torture, or a valid "technique"?

Not all torture has to be physical .. does it? The family court frequently listens to claims of mental or physical torture.
Posted by Amicus, Monday, 16 May 2011 2:20:31 PM
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it depends on how one defines torture.

According to Cardinal Newman, 'A gentleman is one who never causes pain."

So in that respect, I suppose we're all of us uncivilized barbarians because we all resort to causing pain to others at some time or other to get our own way. None of us can claim to be 'gentlemen.'
Posted by SHRODE, Monday, 16 May 2011 2:31:23 PM
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