Jon Stewart debates torture with Cliff May
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Thread: Jon Stewart debates torture with Cliff May

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    Thumbs up Jon Stewart debates torture with Cliff May

    It's kind of a long viewing, but very worth it. I'm about half way in but "wow". I havent seen Jon Stewart so passionately debate anything in this manner, in quite awhile.

    John Stewart Vs Cliff May on torture, i don't need to say more, the video speaks for itself:

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3


    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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    non hulu links pls.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyskoa View Post
    non hulu links pls.
    I tried to get youtube links but couldn't find any. Try this one.

    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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    I don't know about the rest of the non-American world, but here's a link for us Canadians:
    http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca/the...terview-uncut/

    Last edited by chriskot; April 30th, 2009 at 05:21 AM.
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    I hope he keeps this stuff up. 4 / 5 years ago Stewart would'nt let an interview go without seriously voicing a strong opinion or something. Hopefully he just keeps more topics that hit him so strongly.

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    Glad to see Jon still has it in him. I miss his "vs Crossfire" days!

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by himlayan View Post
    Glad to see Jon still has it in him. I miss his "vs Crossfire" days!
    Did you see his interview with Jim Cramer from 'Mad Money'? Talk about awkward to watch. I couldn't help but to imagine that the whole time Cramer was squirming, he couldn't stop thinking of crossfire's cancellation after Stewart's appearance.

    I love when Daily Show aims its guns at the desperate, obnoxious spectacle of the 24-hour news networks and their bloated talking heads.

    part 1

    part 2

    part 3

     

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    What's clear in this conversation is that Cliff May has actually read the torture memos and John Stewart has not. At least Stewart does not rebut this assertion at the beginning.

    It's interesting that Stewart's bottom line is that we shouldn't 'torture' because A). We signed the Geneva Convention and B). We're the US and we don't 'torture' because we're better than that. May goes on to quote the actual wording of the Geneva convention, which essentially says the US cannot inflict 'discomfort'. Stewart waffles and logical mayhem ensues. It seemed to me that Stewart was clearly outmatched in this debate and hasn't thought this out all the way through. He's thinking with emotion, not logic.

    Speaking of which, has anyone ever watched the Buckley-Chomskey debates? It's so serene and polite. Modern news has devolved to a point where the Daily Show is now considered a valid forum for debate, even if it resembles the Collesium.

     

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    yes I find it sad that poeple in my generation are forced to run to a tool like John Stewart for their news/politics.

    Last edited by Blahm; May 1st, 2009 at 01:42 AM.
     

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    I disagree with all of you, it makes me feel intelligent for doing so.

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    I thought they were both fairly polite and had a healthy humor about the whole thing. They got close to getting a little heated at times but they always kept it respectful, which is good. Especially when you compare it to some Bill O'Reilly debates which seem to be nothing more than O'Reilly putting his fingers in his ears and saying "you're wrong! you're wrong! you're wrong! I'm right! lalalala I can't heeeear you"

    Anyway they both made valid arguments but I'm leaning more with John on this one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elam View Post
    What's clear in this conversation is that Cliff May has actually read the torture memos and John Stewart has not. At least Stewart does not rebut this assertion at the beginning.

    It's interesting that Stewart's bottom line is that we shouldn't 'torture' because A). We signed the Geneva Convention and B). We're the US and we don't 'torture' because we're better than that. May goes on to quote the actual wording of the Geneva convention, which essentially says the US cannot inflict 'discomfort'. Stewart waffles and logical mayhem ensues. It seemed to me that Stewart was clearly outmatched in this debate and hasn't thought this out all the way through. He's thinking with emotion, not logic.

    Speaking of which, has anyone ever watched the Buckley-Chomskey debates? It's so serene and polite. Modern news has devolved to a point where the Daily Show is now considered a valid forum for debate, even if it resembles the Collesium.
    So you believe that torturing people is "logic"? Cliff May's responses have me think that his position is based more on vengeance than on logic. He is using the Torture Memo's as some way of justifying revenge on an unarmed prisoner.
    Regardless if Jon Stewart read the Geneva conventions or not, his position would remain the same. Which is that we shouldn't be torturing people in captivity, period. And I agree with him. And yes, I would classify waterboarding as "discomfort", as noted by the GC. (I know this is an oxymoron, but there is still a code of honor in war.)

    edit: I would rather that the youth plug into the satire of Stewart's show, than the the direct manipulation offered by the likes of Fox snooze and Rush Lim-bag.

    Last edited by James Kei; May 1st, 2009 at 02:26 PM.
     

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    ...some of the "torture" was like stuff I hear about going on in people's bedrooms

    I'm kinda mixed on this really. I know about taking the higher ground and stuff, but at the same time the other side doesn't care. That doesn't mean entirely stooping to the opposition's level but...compared to what's happened on the other side of things this is rather mild.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    ...some of the "torture" was like stuff I hear about going on in people's bedrooms
    You do realize that that argument can justify rape, right?

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    You do realize that that argument can justify rape, right?
    Uhh...no it does not.

     

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    Arshes, I see where you're coming from. All I'm saying is that the "eye for an eye" mentality has never been a benefit to any society.

     

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    Yeah I just think it's a philosophical disagreement because I'm certainly not the "eye for an eye" type but, some things are done are just distasteful.

    By most people's nature, we don't like seeing others in physical pain regardless of the circumstances because we understand pain.

    It's perfectly understandable that people don't want to see it done at all.

    I'm saying unfortunately there are mindsets where this won't change, blame it on religion, culture or whatever. I'm just saying you realize the other side doesn't care. The fact we show that we do care about how people are treated, is and advantage for them to twist against us.

    Like I said I really don't go for the eye for eye mindset because that's why you see really stupid religious battles for hundreds of years because one side or both sides didn't learn to let go.

    That's why I said I have mixed feelings about the whole matter and I honestly can't see this as a black and white issue.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Uhh...no it does not.
    I was saying that to point out the fallacy of your statement, not to defend rape.

    In other words, the fact that people due something consensually does not mean it is in any way ethical to do to prisoners.

     

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    moral issues like this are never black and white. It's in my personal opinion that we shouldn't resort to torture, a lot of these middle eastern extremists are raised with the idea that we're heartless and cruel and if we want to prove that to be wrong then we have to be willing to take the higher road. It takes a lot of strength to show hospitality and kindness to an enemy that clearly has no interest in showing any toward you, and while I don't doubt that we have used torture to get valuable information from captured insurgents, I'm sure there has been a lot that was motivated by personal hatred and resent. Historically, a lot of innocent people have suffered when soldiers developed personal grudges against an enemy, just look at the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, U.S. soldiers slaughtered 400+ civilians after spending months in the jungles losing their friends to enemy vietnamese attacks, ambushes, snipers and booby traps

    I'm not trying to demonize the troops or put Al Qaeda on a pedestal, hell I know Al Qaeda would kill me in a heart beat, and though I'm sure I sound like a hippy by saying this, a lot of the jihad and extremist movements in the middle east (and everywhere really) are motivated by ignorance and hate, regardless of what causes people use to justify this be it political, social, religious or philosophical, hate and fear remains the root of the problem. Fighting fire with fire only makes a bigger fire, if we want a real long term solution we have to start trying to fight fire with water. Hatred never ceases through hatred, only by love

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    I was saying that to point out the fallacy of your statement, not to defend rape.

    In other words, the fact that people due something consensually does not mean it is in any way ethical to do to prisoners.
    I know what you were trying to do, but what you did was pull this:



    Which ironically is a logical fallacy.

    So no, fail.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Kei View Post
    So you believe that torturing people is "logic"? Cliff May's responses have me think that his position is based more on vengeance than on logic. He is using the Torture Memo's as some way of justifying revenge on an unarmed prisoner.
    Regardless if Jon Stewart read the Geneva conventions or not, his position would remain the same. Which is that we shouldn't be torturing people in captivity, period. And I agree with him. And yes, I would classify waterboarding as "discomfort", as noted by the GC. (I know this is an oxymoron, but there is still a code of honor in war.)

    edit: I would rather that the youth plug into the satire of Stewart's show, than the the direct manipulation offered by the likes of Fox snooze and Rush Lim-bag.
    Hi James,

    As I heard Mr May, and as I've read him on this subject in the past, this is not at all about revenge. It's about preventing disasters and saving lives. The whole point of interrogation is to gather information, not payback. That's what the memos make clear. If you don't know this, you haven't been paying attention.

    The absurdity of Stewart's position is that he can't define torture, except by referencing the Geneva Convention , which itself claims that no prisoners of war can be 'discomforted'. I won't rehash the logical falicies that May brings to bear, but Stewart doesn't really have an answer to the conclusions that result from applying the GC to Al-Quaeda.

    But, in an interesting exchange, May gets Stewart to call Harry Truman a war criminal for bombing Japan, which saved millions of lives, both Japanese and American. Stewart to his credit, apologized today.

     

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    h I'm sure I sound like a hippy by saying this, a lot of the jihad and extremist movements in the middle east (and everywhere really) are motivated by ignorance and hate.
    Hate? Yes. Ignorance? Not so much.

    I don't know how your defining ignorance, but I get the impression your visualizing some goat herder with no job, no education and no teeth. But Al Qaeda has many educated members. So does Hamas and Hezbollah. How did Germany, arguably the pinnacle of an advanced, cultured Western society put human beings into ovens?

    Ignorance has it's place, but I'd say that ideology trumps all. You can turn a guy with a phd into a murderer. It's human nature.

     

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    May and Stewart agree that discomforting prisoners is fair game, but have differing opinions on just how much we ought to able to "discomfort" a prisoner for the sake of obtaining information. That's an opinion oriented conversation, there is no right or wrong.

    May's opinion is understandable, I think. The Geneva Convention doesn't apply to Al Qaeda because they never signed it. Waterboarding highly important members of that organization when it is known that life saving information can be gained... this doesn't sound unreasonable, especially when the degree of waterboarding is safer and to a much lesser degree than what has been considered criminal in the past.

    Stewart feels that to Waterboard at all makes us hypocrites and that that comes with a price outweighing any gained information. He never suggests that we should abstain from ever "discomforting" a prisoner but that we ought to seek alterior methods of gaining information. This also sounds reasonable.

    Two men voiced differing opinions, gave the rationales behind their opinions, shook hands and went on their way.

    This is how it ought to work.

    Last edited by Bill; May 1st, 2009 at 10:52 PM.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    I know what you were trying to do, but what you did was pull this:


    Which ironically is a logical fallacy.

    So no, fail.
    I don't see how it is a strawman. You claimed, or at least implied, that because people, under certain circumstances, did something consensually it was not torture. I provided an example where that thesis broke down. How is that not addressing the argument?

    Now if I had exaggerated your claim, that would be a strawman; say, if I were to claim that, because you've probably heard of someone murdering someone in your bedroom, you were condoning murder. However, I was taking an example from what was clearly part of your defined set ("stuff I hear about going on in people's bedrooms").

    Last edited by Meloncov; May 1st, 2009 at 11:32 PM.
     

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    He never suggests that we should abstain from ever "discomforting" a prisoner but that we ought to seek alterior methods of gaining information
    Bill, you wrong. Did we watch the same video?

    Stewart said as plain as day that since we signed the GC, we should stick to it, regardless of who our enemy is. He went so far as to say that if a lot of American's die because we didn't waterboard some AQ member, then, well, that's the price we pay for living in a democracy

    The whole point of May's line of questioning is that any 'alterior methods' we use can potentially violate the GC. Playing Eminiem too loudly can violate the GC, for instance. It's such an absurd exercise, that he easily led Stewart into blurting out something stupid.

    Reality, at some point, kicks in.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meloncov View Post
    I don't see how it is a strawman. You claimed, or at least implied, that because people, under certain circumstances, did something consensually it was not torture. I provided an example where that thesis broke down. How is that not addressing the argument?
    I did not. That's exactly why it was a strawman argument. You exaggerated a claim I did not make. You jumped and drew the wrong conclusion from a statement and tried to make it an argument.

    Again, you fail.

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elam View Post
    Bill, you wrong. Did we watch the same video?

    Stewart said as plain as day that since we signed the GC, we should stick to it, regardless of who our enemy is.

    Stewart seemed to be fine with the idea of imprisoning terrorists while acknowledging that imprisonment would be "discomforting". Therefore his attitudes allow for a degree of discomfort... which is what I said.

    If the GC allows for imprisonment but not discomfort then the document would seem to contain a minor contradiction.

    Instead of telling me that I'm wrong, could you please just ask what I meant?

     

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    Instead of telling me that I'm wrong, could you please just ask what I meant?
    I quoted you. It seemed pretty concrete to me.

    My point is, Stewart can't have it both ways. He can't say 'adhere to the GC no matter what' and then say, 'well, it can be bent a bit.'

    He contradicted himself over that whole debate, is my point.

     

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    "In other words, the fact that people due something consensually does not mean it is in any way ethical to do to prisoners."

    No she didn't imply this at all. She was merely saying, some of the torture methods sounded like S&M. For example, a "heathen, unclean" woman would strip and sit on the detainees and provoke them in all sorts of ways, as a way to try to get them to talk. It's disturbing on many levels. Imagine being a US Servicewoman, going through years of training, living in an environment where you have to follow orders, and then your superiors basically turn you into a , to torture Muslims.

    The result is very close to rape, but there's no implication in any post in this thread condoning it. Re-read for comprehension.

    As to the two stances on torture, I'd say there is no credible evidence gained from torture, and many of the news articles I've been reading on this lately have confirmed my view - recent memo's coming from the White House, etc.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=103475220
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=103570033
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=103627997
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=103394097
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=103582533

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...209530,00.html

    EDIT: as to the role of ignorance in all this, Ryan is quite right in pointing out its significance. Sure, many of the organizers of Al Queda went to fancy universities in the west, but the ones who actually kill themselves in suicide squads all come from poor areas of the globe with no access to education apart from Madrassas.

    Last edited by TASmith; May 2nd, 2009 at 04:28 AM.
     

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