Sunday, September 24, 2006

On torture

By Heraclitus

Here's an excellent column on why the United States shouldn't use torture, written by a former political prisoner in the USSR who was tortured. It's absolutely essential reading. The arguments are ethical and strategic, and deal with the influence of torture on intelligence gathering, on the reputation, and thus the stragetic interests, of the country practicing torture, and on the society itself, including especially those required to do the torturing. It's one-stop shopping for those who think our government should be different from those of, say, Stalin or Saddam Hussein. Yes, of course Bush is not Stalin, but many of the techniques he wants legalized were used by Stalin's secret police. These are the practices Cheney calls "cruel, inhumane or degrading" treatment, or CID.

But there is one statement that, for me, decides the entire question, and shows how shameful and loathsome every other argument in the "debate" is.

If America's leaders want to hunt terrorists while transforming dictatorships into democracies, they must recognize that torture, which includes CID, has historically been an instrument of oppression -- not an instrument of investigation or of intelligence gathering.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.)

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  • If there is any good side to the twisted and sometimes rabid effort to justify inhumane treatment of suspects and prosoners, it's that it reveals - at least to honest folk - the thinness of that false veneer of Christianity the Republicans have been bragging about for decades.

    These are the people who while Clinton was shooting missiles at Osama and warning us about Islamic terrorists, were writhing on the ground mumbling about pornography and family values.

    I don't want any part of their family.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 8:33 AM  

  • Thanks for your comments, Captain Fogg, on this post and on the earlier one. What's even worse is that, according to a poll cited by Andrew Sullivan (to which I've linked in my post about torture and McCain), fewer Christians oppose torture in all circumstanes than do "secularists." As Sullivan says, "Christians for torture: it's a new constituency. Another part of the Bush legacy."

    By Blogger ., at 5:18 PM  

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