Tortured rationalizing

At physorg The pain of torture can make the innocent seem guilty provides several examples of how tortured some folks get over torture. There are two questionable presumptions that are used as the basis for drawing conclusions. One is pain and suffering and the other is confession of guilt as a goal.

“Our research suggests that torture may not uncover guilt so much as lead to its perception,” says Gray. “It is as though people who know of the victim’s pain must somehow convince themselves that it was a good idea—and so come to believe that the person who was tortured deserved it.”

These completely miss the point that stimulated the discussion recently, that of interrogation techniques. That the article was a continuation of this discussion is seen in a citation – “The findings also shed light on the Abu Ghraib scandal, where prison guards tortured Iraqi detainees.”

The fact is that pain, as in physical pain, was not used in either the Abu Ghraib scandal nor in the prisoner interrogations. The argument was about whether mental stresses could be considered equivalent to physical pain. The goals were also not to achieve confessions of guilt. Abu Ghraib was a scandal in that prisoners were treated much like initiates at a frat house. The advanced interrogation goal was to discover information that lead to better insight about terrorist operations.

It is not an honest argument when straw men are created to build one’s points. That is what is being done in this physorg article.

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