May 20, 2005 | Graham

Torture Blofeld

There has been a furore over a paper (yet to be published) by two Australian academics claiming that torture should be legal in some circumstances.
Most Aussie cinema-goers would agree, so long as the torturer was James Bond, it was Blofeld and his cat that were rapping along with electrodes attached to their sensitive sides, and the future of the world was at stake.
It’s a good thing that these academics have argued the case. It deserves to be argued. Afterall, the US appears to be effectively outsourcing torture to countries like Pakistan and Egypt, and we appear to be outsourcing it to the US. Obviously a number of us believe that torture is in fact a good idea, so let’s get the argument out in the open.
Putting aside the moral issues, I have my doubts from a practical point of view that torture actually works. It’s probably most likely that rather than get the truth from a victim (or should I be morally neutral and call them a “torturee”), they’re more likely to tell you what you want to hear so they can get a bit of relief. Show trials anyone?
And if it was Blofeld, well, we’d know he’d say anything just so he can be back next episode.

Posted by Graham at 2:33 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Ethics


  1. Tortuous Reasoning IV

    What did Bagaric and Clarke start? All the torture advocates are coming out of the woodwork now, the latest being former NCA head Peter Faris QC:
    Mr Faris said it would be acceptable to use torture in criminal investigations.
    “A psychopathic murd…

    Comment by Larvatus Prodeo — May 23, 2005 @ 11:03 am

  2. I agree there needs to be discussion. Clearly people are being tortured.
    But where might a ‘regulatory regime’ for torture (assuming that this would follow from accepting torture) begin and end?

    Comment by Jennifer — May 23, 2005 @ 11:28 am

  3. Justice John Paul Stevens of the US Supreme Court hit the nail on the head when he said “… for if this nation is to remain true … it must not wield the tools of tyrants even to resist an assault by the forces of tyranny.”
    One could add that to that comment “… and that if we do so that makes us no better than the tyrant.”
    Does torture bring about desired results – doubtful!
    Is information obtained under torture credible – again doubtful, but it gives the torturers what they want to hear!
    In my view anyone who tortures another living thing, human or animal, is amongst the lowest of lowest from the dregs of humanity.
    But lets take another tack. When our enemies are engaging in torture we castigate them for it, when we do it it appears to be alright. Some double standard. What utter bs.
    The other side of the coin is that how long before we forget about the war on terror and implement such practises in our prisons if for no other reason than some saddistic prison guards want to get their jollies off? Can not happen? Think again! It appears to be current practise in American jails.
    In short, anyone who propounds the use of torture for any reason is either sick in the head or is an out and out saddist!.

    Comment by hjbartz — May 24, 2005 @ 2:54 am

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