This week on Utah NOW - Is torture in a time of war immoral if not illegal? The use of harsh interrogration techniques in the war on terror has forced this country to confront some difficult questions. Retired Brigadier General and Utahn, David Irvine will join us to explore the nature, the limits and the costs of torture.
David R. Irvine
David R. Irvine is a lawyer in private practice. He enlisted as a private in the 96th Infantry Division in 1962. He was commissioned as a strategic intelligence officer in 1967, and held a faculty position with the Sixth Army Intelligence School for 18 years. Irvine taught courses in counterintelligence, prisoner of war interrogation, and military law for several hundred soldiers, marines, and airmen. He is a graduate of the Army War College, and retired in 2002 as a brigadier general. Since 2005, Brig. Gen. Irvine’s been involved with a distinguished group of about 50 retired admirals and generals who have worked to strengthen national security by renouncing the policies and practice of torture.
Thank Heaven that Now brought light to the evil of torture. I travel extensively and have been embarrased to be a Mormon and an American seeing that many Mormons and Americans supported and still support torture. The other Christian church members that I have encountered are far more blood thirsty than the Saints and I have lost all respect for them. The Nephites fell soon after practicing torture and I correctly predicted that our golden age would decline. The General restored my faith in my fellow Latter-Day Saints. Evil prevailed because good men kept silent!
Posted by Brent Ford, Friday June 5th, 2009 @ 8:46 pm
David R. Ivine is a hypocrite of the worst kind.
He promoted death and destruction in Vietnam, and now condems what happened there. On Utha Now he deplored torture and said all religions condem it. I think he is reading a different bible and book of mormon than I am. The is plenty of examples of torture and murder of children.
I think he is so ashamed of his record of self gradification that he forgets what he is responsible for.
Posted by Dennis Rigby, Saturday June 6th, 2009 @ 8:48 am
I taught soldiers for almost 30 years how they are expected to behave should they be captured by an enemy force. I taught them how they are expected to behave when they were responsible for people the US had captured. I taught them that torture is wrong if done to them and wrong if they do it to someone else.
General Irvine accurately set out the standard for every man and woman in the US Armed Forces. We are forbidden to torture. There is no room for hair-splitting about whether something is torture or just an "enhanced interrogation technique." There is no room for attempting to define someone as "not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions" and therefore a fit subject for abuse we couldn't commit against a "lawful enemy combatant." If an American fighting man or woman tortures, degrades, or treats inhumanely a prisoner under his or her control, he or she violates United States Law and international law. If a commander orders, or allows, a subordinate to engage in such conduct, he or she is legally liable.
Torture is legally and morally wrong. This principle is not changed by the fact that members of the US military have committed acts of torture in previous conflicts.
Waterboarding is interrupted drowning, not "simulated" drowning. Slamming someone into a wall is beating the day-lights out of him, regardless of whether you cushion his head (How do you cushion his brain inside his skull?)with a towel while you slam him. Both are torture. Both are illegal. Both are morally wrong.
General Irvine is correct on what constitutes torture and on its illegality and immorality. So are the many uniformed officers, active and retired, who tried to convince the Bush administration not to follow the path it followed, and who are now trying to remedy the resulting damage. Rumsfeld, Bybee, Gonzales, Addington, and the former President and Vice President, were wrong. Unfortunately, when someone abuses the men or women of the US Armed Forces in the future, he'll say he was only doing what the United States once defined as acceptable.
Posted by Raymond Wixom, Sunday June 7th, 2009 @ 1:24 pm
I was very impressed by the conversation between Doug Fabrizio and David Irvine about whether torture is or is not moral. I enjoy Fabrizio's interviews almost all the time: he asks the right questions and allows the person being interviewed ample time to answer. He is always respectful and is a good listener. The show is always informative and generally on timely topics. I especially enjoyed watching on KUED Sunday his interview with Irvine. I was very impressed with Irvine both as a person of strong moral convictions and as an eloquent speaker. He mentioned that many relgious people must be sleeping in church if they can somehow justify torture. I teach Relief Society in my LDS ward and hope I can fit parts of this interview into some upcoming lesson. I think all people who call themselves religious should hear it.
Posted by Marilyn Bushman-Carlton , Monday June 8th, 2009 @ 2:25 pm
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