Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Torture, take III

There's a conflict between the executive and legislative branch over torture these days.

I think a lot of this is just the simple adversarial system that was designed into our society and government. Police chiefs always ask for more resources and authority, and the people always attempt to limit such grants of power.
That said, the case has not made that torture is inneffective or immoral in all cases when it comes to the new conflict we face. Until that argument can be made convincingly, there's no case for banning torture outright. Beyond this, torture must be specifically defined, not just bandied about as an ill-defined term.

Can we deprive prisoners of their holy books? That is not torture in my opinion. Can we hold a prisoner's head underwater until he has almost drowned? That is *definitely* torture, and in general I would say no. But I think further investigation is necessary.

I'll tell you one thing... the same day torture gets an Al Qaeda operative to reveal details which were otherwise unobtainable about where that nuke has been planted, is the day I will switch to not just endorsing torture in very specific cases (should probably require judicial approval), but I would demand exactly that.
That's really hard to argue against, unless you are a nihilist and would rather watch society be destroyed than compromise on such a principle. I can vaguely respect that, but I'm here for my own survival, and the survival of the ideas and people I hold dear. Not being a ruthless, cruel, torturing bastard is something I value very highly, but I'm not sure I would condemn all of america to death to avoid it.

Don't get me wrong, I do not think I am taking torture lightly, I am taking nuclear terrorism very seriously.


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