It is so plainly obvious that Hicks is pleading guilty, and refuting his earlier claims of torture, to just commute his sentence and allow him to both return to Australia and see freedom before he is in his dotage.
It is sickening that the dropping of the torture claims were an integral part of the plea bargain.
It leads one to suspect that there is something behind them.
Especially when you consider that many of the previously release detainees at Guantanamo have reported likewise.
On my recent trip to the US I noticed that FOX news is trying hard to justify the use of judicial torture against suspected terrorists.
I am, of course, against the usage of judicial torture. [Full disclosure: I am a paid up member of Amnesty]
However, my objection is not on moral grounds.
If you use the mythical ticking bomb scenario then, as long as you accept the idea of a just war, you can justify torture morally.
As a just war, just as much as an unjustified war followed by lengthy, unpopular occupation, will incur innocent civilian casualties who die and the potentially guilty terrorist is tortured but does not die, anyone who can justify one must logically justify the other.
Of course moral reaction has nothing to do with logic. It is a purely emotional response.
But there is one reason why judicial torture is wrong that is not often talked about.
Not the ethicacy of torture but the efficacy of it.
It just plain don’t work.
Most children could probably work out why. It is a pity that FOX news and politicians can’t.
It is a simple application of game theory. Game theory in it’s simplest form is just the working out of a winning strategy or outcome given certain constraints.
With torture it is simply the normal desire of the victim to do something to stop it from happening to them.
The following table is a breakdown of the options available to an innocent;
|Tell the truth||no|
|Tell a plausible lie||yes|
As telling the truth would not be believed by the torturer the only winning strategy for an innocent person is to tell a plausible lie.
And it will not take too long for them to work out what the torturer wants to hear.
The table for a guilty person is similar, however a guilty terrorist has the additional goal of detonating his bomb;
|Strategy||Torture stops||Bomb detonates|
|Tell the truth||yes||no|
|Tell a plausible lie||yes||yes|
Admittedly this is an oversimplified version of game theory, but you can plainly see that there is a single winning strategy where torture is concerned. A plausible lie
The only guarantee that torture gives someone is that the information gained by it’s use is extremely likely to be flawed.
And as good information is vital to the fight against terrorists, then anyone supporting that fight must logically be against the use of judicial torture.
In plainer language, “To support judicial torture is to support the terrorist!”
Those who disagree and believe torture is capable of extracting valid information must also believe that 15th through 18th Europe was infested with witches!