Tuesday, May 03, 2011

In Reply: Whether or not torture "works," it's still a filthy immoral thing

In reply to this comment at the Common Sense Political Thought post Osama bin Laden Is Dead UPDATE: He Died In A Mansion? UPDATE: He Died Today In A Firefight UPDATE: GWB Congratulates BHO, Troops UPDATE: Dies On Holocaust Memorial Day (Too much to repost. Please visit CSPT for more info.)

I stand by what I've said. I do question the effectiveness of "enhanced" interrogation techniques, on the grounds that many interrogators have said that they elicit too much false information, and because the world wouldn't willingly choose not to engage in such methods if they really did lead to more reliable information, and/or do so more quickly. Obviously, others, both "expert" and ordinary citizen, believe otherwise. Whether such methods work, either as tools to get reliable information themselves, or to "break" a prisoner's spirit and thus get reliable information later--and the attendant questions of whether either/both outcome(s) are possible via more traditional and widely accepted means--will of course continue.

But to me, the effectiveness of "harsh" "coercive" "enhanced" interrogation techniques is a secondary issue, even if they did provide the key info that lead to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

From all I've read, and from what my own common sense and experiences tell me, water boarding -- the intentional drowning and simulated death of an unwilling participant, is a form of torture. We here in the US have successfully prosecuted both our own citizens and military men in other countries for committing the same/very similar acts on US citizens and servicemen. And while redefining the word torture and the act of water boarding can make once illegal acts legal, it cannot change the morality of committing them. (Whatever one's stand on abortion or homosexuality, the same rule applies; legality (or illegality) doesn't affect morality.) For me, it's that simple. While I have my doubts about the effectiveness of torture, my position would be the same even if it could be conclusively proven that torture produces the most reliable intelligence, and does so in half the time. Like the man said, "...sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'll never know because I won't eat the filthy motherfucker." We're Americans, and we live by a set of ideals. Whether or not torture "works," it's still a filthy thing, and I'm going to continue to speak out against anyone willing to lower our American standards and values enough to metephorically swallow it.

Posted 3 May 2011 at 21:31 and 3 May 2011 at 22:19

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