what is torture?

@jb78000 (15178)
August 10, 2009 7:54am CST
it's illegal under international law but what came out in the last discussion i posted was that people can have different definitions of what exactly constitutes torture. what's yours?
4 responses
@xfahctor (14106)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
10 Aug 09
It is going to vary greatly depending on one's personal tolerence to pain, emotional stress, psychological manipulation, etc. One man's torture is another man's test of strength. Let me address water boarding first. Having been through this myself, I will assert it is NOT torture. It is more a hazing stunt. A bunch of friends of mine and I, durring an evening of testosterone fueled drunken foolery, all did this too each other. Even with diminished mental capacity, it wasn't torture, it wasn't pleasant, but hardly torture. If things like this are being considered torture by terrorists, then they don't make terrorists like they used to. These people train to take far more than this and are mentaly capable and willing to inflict far more on those of us they capture. Some things I consider torture would be, pulling of fingernails, shoving things under fingernails, electric shock, burning of various body parts, physical closed fist beatings and kicking, starvation, forced dehydration......and beheading a captive with a serated knife, videotaping it and sending it to Al-Jazere to air for the family of the captive to have to witness, as a parent, I can't imagine any higher or more insideous form of torture than the last one I mentioned.
1 person likes this
@xfahctor (14106)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
10 Aug 09
Well, the last bit was a real life depiction of what happened to an american journalist who was was captured, I'm sure his family will never have to endure a torture any greater than that and I'm sure the journalist and his family would have much prefered waterboarding to it. I guess it's all in perspective.
@jb78000 (15178)
10 Aug 09
i know. but just because one kind of torture can be worse than another doesn't mean that the lesser is acceptable. pulling a fingernail is less extreme as well, well most would be.
@Taskr36 (13916)
• United States
11 Aug 09
Dude, I've had a fingernail pulled. It was excruciating. I'd take waterboarding over that any day. Even the attempt to numb the finger was extremely painful since they stuck the needle directly into the fingertip which is filled with sensitive nerve endings. Trust me, pulling fingernails, and putting things like bamboo shoots under them, is a pain you can't imagine.
@Taskr36 (13916)
• United States
10 Aug 09
Well I stand by the legal definition. I don't have time to dig it up right now, but the US legal definition is similar to the UN definition posted above me. The bigger issue becomes how someone defines parts of the definition. For example it says "severe". I don't consider being slapped across the face severe, others do. I don't consider being placed in a cell with a caterpillar severe. In fact, I'd make it a pet and give it a name. My sis-in-law however is so afraid of caterpillars that she calls them "c-words" and has been known to cry at the mention of them. If they blasted Nine Inch Nails into my cell, I'd be rocking, but terrorists from countries where music is outlawed apparently can't handle it. Physically severe isn't hard to define since there can be visible damage that is consistent regardless of the person involved. When you get into mental suffering though, it's extremely difficult to make a call that's good for everyone. I've heard many military, and non-military say that waterboarding is not torture. I've also heard Jesse Ventura, a former Navy SEAL say it is.
@jb78000 (15178)
10 Aug 09
yes, especially when you get into mental torture people can have different definitions. liked your caterpiller example of what torture is depends on who's being tortured. incidently if you're going mainly by legal deinitions waterboarding is classed as torture under us and international law.
@Taskr36 (13916)
• United States
10 Aug 09
Since waterboarding doesn't cause severe physical pain I don't see it as torture. The mental suffering is difficult to quantify as to severity. I read your claims as to what could happen as a result, but I would like to know if there are any examples of people who have suffered any of those results. I personally have never heard of such things happening and we've only waterboarded 2 or 3 people.
@piasabird (1737)
• United States
10 Aug 09
I'm not sure since I'm a spoiled pampered American.
@jb78000 (15178)
10 Aug 09
you're missing your spa session.
@tarachand (3895)
• India
10 Aug 09
I think torture is any act or actions that can bring about acute discomfort to any creature - physical, mental or emotional. The 'tenure' of the torture could be short-a single application or consistent/constant. After entering the above definition, I did a check on Wikipedia and my definition seems broader than what the UN Convention against torture says. According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture) QUOTE any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions. —UN Convention Against Torture UNQUOTE People may torture other creatures just because they enjoy the watching the pain that makes others suffer, and hence may impart or be instrumental in giving pain to others. That too is torture. I feel that the UN definition is a limited one.
@jb78000 (15178)
10 Aug 09
that's a good definition of yours. the un one is for the purpose of international law. legal definitions usually are more limited than the general ones.