It Does Not Matter if Torture Works
May. 21st, 2009 @ 11:19 am
We simply must get past this "it saved american lives" bullshit about torture, which the spineless Democrats have bought into now, too (sold by the Republican-Christian party). It does not matter. First of all, all the evidence is to the contrary - that it produced no actionable information. But even if it did, that doesn't mean there wasn't another non-torturous way of getting the same information. And even if there was no other non-torturous way of getting that same information, it simply does not matter. WE DO NOT TORTURE.
Don't give me the "ticking timebomb" scenario from the show 24 - where a terrorist says "The bomb is set to go off but you'll never find it muahahaha!" because that only happens on stupid TV shows and in dumb Nicholas Cage movies. NEVER (as in not once, ever) in real life.
It is worth the lives of 10,000 dead, bloody, charred, mangled American babies for us to not be a nation that tortures people. Unless you're willing to take that clear moral ground, you are as confused as The Dick Cheney.
Actually Cheney isn't confused, he's just concerned that the Obama administration is going to prosecute him the way the Bush administration would be prosecuting Obama and everyone he knows for committing acts of torture if the situation were reversed (and for once, Bush would be in the right).
You can't say the "ticking timebomb" never
happened, we just haven't been told about it. I'm sure we never will hear conformation of such an event, because it's completely implausible that the suspected terrorist would even tell the truth... but it could
I like to think of the "it saved American lives" argument as a pretext to extend that argument to absurdity. If this was the truth, then why author memos authorizing their use? Why not just rape a man's children, castrate them, and then force feed the children their own genitalia? - Every conceivable horrible thing is suddenly justified if "it saves American lives".
The real hypocrisy is that Americans can do it, if "saving American lives", yet we reject the notion of Iraqis torturing prisoners of war to save Iraqi lives, or any other country doing the same thing, for that matter. I'm fairly sure "torture" was a reason we invaded Iraq, but I'm an American, and I don't have the best memory.
|Date:||May 22nd, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)|| |
No, I can say it's never happened because it would be irrational and counterproductive to a terrorist's objective. It only happens in TV shows and movies, and only then because it's high-drama.
There may be times when the authorities THINK there's a ticking timebomb and they THINK they have the guy in custody who knows about it. But they never know for sure. But in the movies, the suspect (really not a suspect when you don't "suspect" he's guilty but "know" he's guilty) concedes
he's the right guy with knowledge of the plot (where the bomb is, how much time is left, how to disarm it, etc.) and says he'll never tell, gives an evil laugh, and for extra drama might spit in the face of the good-guy interrogators who are just trying to save innocent lives. Great drama. Bruce Willis, Nick Cage, and of course Ahhhnuld are great in scenes like that. But this never happens in real life.
And you know what? If it somehow hypothetically did play out in real life like in the movies, then this whole debate is moot because "defense of the lives of others" - when the actor reasonably believes other people's lives are in imminent danger - is a viable criminal defense. I can murder someone who has a gun pointed at you, threatening to shoot you. It's like self defense, but of someone else. So with torture being illegal, if a Dick Cheney type is so sure they have the right person and so sure that the suspect knows about a ticking timebomb and admits it but refuses to say where it is, he should be willing to risk a torture prosecution to save the lives of innocent Americans, knowing that if he's right (that is, his belief is reasonable and the threat is imminent) he will have an affirmative legal defense at his torture trial, and no jury in the country would convict him.
So this whole discussion is moot. Torture should be illegal, and in a ticking timebomb scenario, go ahead and torture - if you're right then you have a defense to the crime, if you're wrong then you go to prison for torture. But the definitve sine qua non of the "ticking timebomb situation" is that you are 100% sure you have the right guy, but he just won't talk.