Everybody lies under duress?

John Naughton, by way of commenting on the fact that we are expected to believe that British military personnel captured by the Iranians lied to their captors under duress while we still hold on to the belief that the people being held by the Americans will tell the truth under duress, has made this  thoughtful entry into his online diary. 

There are strong moral arguments against torture. But there is also a very good pragmatic argument against it, namely that people will say anything — anything — to stop the torture. Ergo, you cannot believe anything they tell you under such circumstances.

No matter what anybody says, the Bushs and Blairs of this world will go on insisting that that they are better at getting at the truth than the “bad guys”, whoever they may be.


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