Monday, April 27, 2009

About Torture

There has been much ado about Gitmo and torture in general. Does the U.S. torture or not? What is torture?

I've thought a lot about it. I think that most people who "support torture" in today's debate, in fact, support the punishment of those who would do us harm. It doesn't matter if we get intelligence or not. They are enemies of the U.S. and deserve what they get. Except our society has established that we are against cruel and unusual punishment.

So the question is, do we as a society and country engage in torture or not? If it will save 20 people in a car bombing, maybe not. The death of 20 individuals, while tragic, is a small price to pay to preserve our values. After all, millions died in World Wars to defend our way of life.

Speaking of World Wars, what if the torture could prevent an atomic bomb going off in NYC that would kill say 25,000 people, sicken millions immediate and for decades, and effectively bring our nation to a standstill. What about saving 100,000 people's lives? 1,000,000? Maybe getting actionable intelligence would justify the torture.

Except, once you are willing to torture, the question is when? It reminds me of the old saying, "Now that we know you're a whore, what's left is to establish your price."

While I know, rationally, that torture doesn't work I think that if millions of people were in harms way and the fate of our nation was on the line, I'd be inclined to support it.

And what is torture? Is putting a non-poisonous bug in with someone who is terrified of bugs really torture? They do that on Fear Factor! I tend to think that torture is physical harm.

The upshot is that I acknowledge that I'm a whore for torture, I just don't know my price yet. But I think I will when I see it. Perhaps that's why I'm not comfortable with what's going on now but I'm not really outraged, either.


Mark said...

Here here buddy! Well said! If people thought about these things a little bit more than they do they would probably come to the same conclusion as us . Hope your well :-)

michael sean morris said...

I just think torture has been tried and tried and it's been proven that coercion through physical pain doesn't yield any useful information. Look at all those 'confessions' yielded by the Inquisition - people will say anything to make it stop.

So much better to use psychology and sleep deprivation and other less torturous forms of torture than, say, waterboarding. After all, it couldn't take much to outsmart a terrorist.