Wednesday :: Jun 15, 2005

Torture


by eriposte

UPDATE: Kos has more.
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Senator Dick Durbin's patriotic and impassioned speech highlighting the kind of torture that occurred in Guantanamo Bay at the hands of some American personnel is worth reading. As expected the Far Right wingnuts are revving up their faux outrage machines. So, it's time to state clearly what torture is and what it isn't.

If innocent people are tortured, that's a crime.

Torturing people who are not known for certain to be criminals or terrorists or enemy combatants is tantamount to allowing and accepting the torture of innocent people. That is a crime.

If innocent people or enemy combatants are tortured, that gives aid and comfort to other enemy combatants by making them gain undeserved credibility in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of their fellow countrymen. That is an action that directly contributes to a decline in American national security by making America look tyrannical in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of civilians in war zones. That is unacceptable.

Torturing enemy combatants also makes it possible for the enemy to torture our soldiers, which is unacceptable.

In summary, torture brings a lot more harm than potential benefits. Indulging in something that does more harm overall than good is counter-productive, harms American security and is anti-American. (And dear wingnuts, in public, your Dear Leader has agreed with this sentiment and allowed the prosecution of a few of those who committed torture).

If you consider torture legal and acceptable (even if innocent people are tortured), then Dear Leader's main post-hoc justification of the Iraq invasion it itself illegal, because Saddam Hussein would have been doing something that was legal (in your eyes - for he was only torturing "his enemies"). So, if you have a problem with torture being highlighted and publicized, then maybe it's time for you to become Saddam Hussein's lawyer. That is a more appropriate role for those who seek to condone, ignore, minimize or support torture.

When you don't know for sure that the target of the torture actually "murdered 3,000 innocent people on American soil 3 1/2 years ago and would murder millions more if given the chance", you reduce yourself to looking like you condone torture. If you believe that "G’itmo and Abu Ghraib, have not humiliated the country" then you are in prime Saddam-lawyer terrirory whether you like it or not.

P.S. There was a time in my life (especially after 9/11) when I was willing to think about whether torture might be the best punishment for people like Osama bin Laden and for other heinous criminals. But luckily I realized that the best way to win against heinous enemies is by being better and more effective than them, not by mimicking them.

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