Sleep deprivation should not be used in interrogation

  1. The central argumentative point is that politicians should not support sleep deprivation as a method of interrogating terror suspects as it is a form of torture. The central claim is largely factual however the author provides evaluative and recommendatory justifications throughout the text.
  2. The text is primarily argumentative by way of factual justifications but also includes a significant amount of simple opinion as if evident in his negatively geared statements about politicians.
    – ‘…politicians leave their ivory towers and speak out on matters of which they have no experience.’
    – ‘…new lows in political cant and hypocrisy.’
  3. He implicitly clarifies at the beginning of the text that sleep deprivation is a form of torture but does not make any further explicit statements til the very end: ‘…Politicians shouldn’t try to justify torture and therefore lower us to the level of our enemies.’
  4. The author does offer a stipulative definition of torture, specifically a form of torture (sleep deprivation), by not explaining precisely what it is but rather explaining the effect it has on your body. By defining the affects, the author is using this justification to assist the reader in making a judgement of whether they regard the negative affects as enough grounds to consider sleep deprivation as torture.
  5. Justification 1: Because sleep deprivation is a form of torture (which is wrong)
    – appeal to ethical, legal or social norms
    – appeal to factsJustification 2: Because the United Nations Committee Against Torture specifically ruled have specifically outlined sleep deprivation as a form of torture
    – appeal to authority (UN has high regard)
    – appeal to facts

    Justification 3: The effects of sleep deprivation are sadistic
    – appeal to ethical, legal or social norms
    – appeal to emotion

    Justification 4: Because politicians with no experience/expert knowledge regarding torture tactics are not in a place of authority to endorse such methods
    – appeal to authority (politicians are not qualified to weigh in on the matter)
    – appeal to consequences (bad outcomes may occur when unqualified people make specialist decisions)

    Justification 5: Because the Australian Federal Police believe such tactics are ‘unfair’ and are prevented by law from applying such methods
    – appeal to ethical, legal, social norms
    – appeal to authority
    – appeal to facts

    Justification 6: Because if we employ sleep deprivation, we are no better than our enemies
    – appeal to popular opinion (our ‘enemies’ are bad people)
    – appeal to consequences (we will become as bad as them)
    – appeal to emotion (we do not like our enemies, so we do not wish to be like them)

    Justification 7: Because rendition is ‘notorious’ and unethical, and politicians should not support it
    – appeal to ethical, legal, social norms
    – appeal to popular opinion (rendition is frowned on: hence ‘notorious)

Justification 8: it’s hypocritical of the Government to resort to such methods that contradict the reason behind the war against Terrorism
– appeal to ethical, legal or social norms
– appeal to authority
– appeal to analogy/comparison

6.
Justification 1: Because sleep deprivation is a form of torture Warrant: Torture is wrong (it is not ethical)

Justification 2: Because the United Nations Committee Against Torture have specifically outlined it as a form of torture Warrant: The UN committee are experts in this field (so are to be trusted).

Justification 3: The effects of sleep deprivation are sadistic
Warrant: These kinds of physical consequences are wrong

Justification 4: Because politicians with no experience/expert knowledge regarding torture tactics are not in a place of authority to endorse such methods
Warrant: People with no experience with torture (like politicians) are unqualified to endorse/justify sleep deprivation as an interrogation method

Justification 5: Because the Australian Federal Police believe such tactics are ‘unfair’ and are prevented by law from applying such methods
Warrant: Things that are unfair are bad (unethical). Warrant: Things that are prevented by law (are done so for a reason) and should be respected.

Justification 6: Because if we employ sleep deprivation, we are no better than our enemies
Warrant: Our ‘enemies’ are bad people (and we don’t want to be like them).

Justification 7: Because rendition is ‘notorious’ and unethical, and politicians should not support it
Warrant: Rendition is an unethical way of obtaining information.

Justification 8: it’s hypocritical of the Government to resort to such methods that contradict the reason behind the war against Terrorism
Warrant: the war is about defending our lives and values and we are harming those values by using sleep deprivation as a form of torture on our enemies.

7.  1. ‘Ruddock has been a Liberal member of Parliament since 1973. Before that he was a Sydney solicitor. He has presumably enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep, many of them at taxpayer expense, most nights for the past 33 years.’

1a. Informal fallacy: Ad hominem (against the arguer > Latin ad hominem means “to the man”) – The idea that Ruddock is somehow less qualified to weigh in on the subject because he has had a cushy life. One could sleep in a comfortable bed every night and still be an expert in this field (though not the case for this example)

1b. Informal fallacy: Non sequitur (claims a logical relationship between a claim and its support where none exists) – Claims that his lifestyle is somehow related to his expertise.

2. ‘”I don’t regard sleep deprivation as torture,” the badge-wearing member of Amnesty International said’

2a. Informal fallacy: Non sequitur (claims a logical relationship between a claim and its support where none exists) – Being an amnesty member does not necessarily mean you must subscribe to any particular view. One can support the organisation and still hold individual opinions that may differ from the organisations.