Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Torture Me Efficiently

"If you do what you did then you'll get what you got."

I saw that first defined as an ancient Air Force proverb. It's been other places too, in slightly different wording.

It also shows up as a definition of insanity, as in if you repeat something and expect a different result then you are nuts. Same thing.

I used to keep hearing about so and so being a success. Or whether you'd be a success to do this versus that. Also stupid.

There is no Success with a capital S. It's a description of accomplishment, not a place, not a condition. There is no success without being successful at something.

To talk about being a success in business makes no sense. Which business, when, where, how long, with whom? And other constraints. All needed. Then maybe we can talk.

Lately, as in the past few years, there has been talk of leaving Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever, upon success. Like it's at the end of some road and all we have to do is keep driving. Keep doing this, and then we'll see it one day, in the future, somewhere, and that will be it. Until then keep doing the same things over and over.

So who was it that was water-boarded 183 times in one month? How do you call that interrogation, "enhanced" or otherwise? And what do you suppose you are doing? Just going through the motions.

Imagine eating ice cream. Imagine eating a pint of ice cream. Imagine eating a pint of ice cream every day. Imagine eating a pint of ice cream every day for a month. Imagine eating a pint of ice cream six times a day every day for a month.

Anything done that frequently for so long is pointless. Even eating ice cream.

So on the other hand people are now debating endlessly at every location about whether torture works. This is another pit of stupidity. You notice that no one, at all, asks whether torture works for one particular thing and one particular time on by or for one particular set of people.

There is no such thing as works or not works.

This is a dense knot of pointless stupidity all around, especially on the side of those who claim that torture does not work. This is so obvious that no one is even addressing it.

The point is that torture works or no one would do it.

How often do you walk on the ceiling? Why not? (I think you don't.)

The answer is that it's too much work given the result. Not useful. Torture is the same. Except that it has useful results. In other words it works.

Just not for what people are silently thinking of when they debate it.

Torture is excellent punishment.

What could possibly be more satisfying than digging out someone's eyes? Or [insert your favorite horrible thing here]. No trial, no lawyers, no judges, no laws, no oversight, no wait. Grab a body and relieve yourself by dismantling it. Instant gratification. Makes you feel morally superior right away. ("What do you think would happen if THEY had captured YOU?")

Obviously. So let's do it here, now, to get back at THEM. Damn straight. Before they even have a chance to get close to us.

Torture works as punishment.

Torture is also exquisitely effective at generating confessions. No, this is true.

Take any person whatsoever. Within 12 hours you can make that person confess to at least 12 different things, maybe more. This is so efficient that it's even obscene. So efficient. See, what you do then is up to you.

You can pick which one of those confessions fits the crime you need to punish (or keep going until the right confession pops up). You can save all of them and wait until the right crime comes along. Hey, you already have the perpetrator. No sweat. No fuss. No muss. No effort needed.

Or - and this is really genius - you can take the confession even if it doesn't match any crime at all, and punish based on that, since the confession has uncovered the crime.

Bingo. You win in any of three different ways. You can even punish the same person for multiple crimes, or apply those confessions and their matching punishments to other people that happened to get named in the process.

Or torture them too, to show your superiority. To demonstrate rightness. To make the point that you can. If you want to. And you do.

Go ahead and let your moral outrage loose. Lay on more of the same techniques as punishment. Dump the body, mail it back to its family, use it as fertilizer in your garden, stick it on a post. It all works, and you are so much better off than if you had one of those fancy legal systems with the tail fins and government regulations stuck all over it.

And yet people go on and on about whether torture works. Barking idiots. Have them come by for a visit. We'll show them what works.


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