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There's really nothing I can say that would be new about the United States' approval of torture as a interrogation practice. But it's still worth emphasizing important things other people have said.
Medley linked some good ones a while back:
...Bush is a moral coward, and has always been a moral coward, since at no point has he shown anything other than incomprehension of and contempt for the United States Constitution, particularly when it comes to his pet projects of torturing people and sham trials. I simply can't conceive of a worse president than this one...
Remember when the Abu Ghraib photos shocked all of us? The story then was that a few inexperienced/rogue soldiers got away from themselves, acted on their own, that it was a complete and utter anomaly. In the last few weeks, the pro-Administration stance has been that such treatment is sometimes necessary, and that humiliation, for example, isn't that big of a deal anyway.
The sick thing, or I should say one of the sickest things (since there are so many to choose from), is that it even though we know torture doesn't get us good information (waterboarding in particular is good for eliciting confessions rather than information), torture supporters don't even care.
In reading the arguments in comment threads and seeing them on FOXNews, what clearly matters much more than whether torture accomplishes a damn thing is that we be Man Enough to Do "Whatever It Takes" To "Win", even if it doesn't accomplish a thing other than to inflict pain and suffering and years-long imprisonment on thousands of people who may not actually be guilty of anything.
You know, just like Jesus would do.
There's a pattern in some of the torture supporters' chatter:
The common thread through all these minimizations is that they gloss over the question of consent. Army volunteers go through basic training. Frat pledges submit themselves to the pledge process knowing that hazing may be part of the deal. And a "sex ring" implies voluntary participation.
Let's leave aside for a moment the question of whether the allegedly comparable activities are actually similar (I doubt Basic Training or 'hazing' involves dragging bleeding blindfolded naked people across concrete floors, leaving smeared red trails, but hey, whatever). Let's say that Rush is right, it's just frat-level behavior: Who exactly volunteered to be in an American prison? Who submitted themselves to any of this treatment willingly?
That difference obviously changes the nature of the acts. (If a bunch of frat guys grab someone off the street and 'haze' them, it's still assault; there's no exemption for frats in the law.) The choice to argue as though the difference does not matter is worth examining.
Are these torture-minimizers genuinely blind to the vast difference between consent and coercion (in which case they're stunningly morally ignorant), or are they intentionally papering over a key distinction just to muddle the discussion with some appalling bullshit (in which case they're morally depraved)?
What third option is there? What am I missing?
And when you allow back into the discussion that the abuse and injuries are obviously far more serious than the minimizers claim, you just end up speechless at the audacity.
This weekend we went to see Twelve Angry Men at the Kennedy Center.
...the Bush Administration managed to pass a bill that will enable the government to imprison people for as long as it likes without giving them a day in court, and to torture those prisoners as much as it likes. This law diminishes this country, sullies the values upon which it was founded, and rolls back many centuries of progress in how governments relate to the governed.Current Events 1 comment(s)
The discussion over the finer points of the law in a murder case -- like 'presumption of innocence' and the acquittal of the accused unless the jury has been convinced 'beyond a reasonable doubt' -- seemed, frankly, quaint. . . . That's some other America there.Add a comment...
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