Once the prisoner starts hallucinating …

Unqualified Offerings
by Thoreau

06/06/06

I don’t know which is more disturbing: That they’re willing to inflict psychosis on somebody, or that they think a psychotic, hallucinating inmate is a reliable source of information. Even if one had no moral objections to torturing ‘bad guys,’ and no pragmatic concerns about whether the government can reliably distinguish ‘bad guys’ from ‘guys caught in the wrong place at the wrong time on a hunch,’ there’s still the issue of reliability. With methods that inflict physical pain, there’s the possibility that somebody will say anything to make it stop. With fanatics, there’s the possibility that they’ll deliberately lie to buy time for the alleged ticking time bomb to go off. And now we add a new concern to the list: That we put the inmate into a state where he can’t grasp reality, and hence his statements are unreliable...

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