Friday, May 25, 2007

America - Where The Torture Is Only Half-Assed

Over at Townhall, there has been a discussion about American torture versus Al Qaeda torture. Dean Barnett, after looking at an Al Qaeda torture manual, writes the following

By all means, read the whole thing. And then ask yourself why there are so many people who can’t distinguish between this stuff, which is real torture, and the attention grab and other enhanced interrogation techniques. Are they willfully obtuse, scoring political points, or just hopelessly morally muddled?

First, it's absolutely hilarious that Barnett would accuse those opposed to torture of being morally muddled.

Second, the general defense of "enhanced interrogation techniques," that it's not as bad as Al Qaeda, is morally repugnant. Be proud my friends, Dean Barnett believes America's new motto should be "America - We don't torture as badly as Al Qaeda."

Finally, I pose a scenario to Barnett (if it seems familiar, I apologize)- What if you had a prisoner, and he knew there was a ticking time bomb that would wipe out an American city. Now, you've already tried waterboarding and electrodes to the genitals, but this individual won't crack. Do you go to the baser techniques of Al Qaeda, like blowtorching skin? C'mon Dean, it will save American lives, and you've already committed a little bit of torture, so why not go all the way? If you believe torture will get you important answers, why would you stop with "enhanced interrogation techniques?" Why wouldn't you use every method to get those answers?


At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, like Tancredo, Barnett could just wish for Jack Bauer to come to the rescue.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Rich Gardner said...

As the descendent of a Mayflower passenger, I agree with the first Plymouth Governor, America should be seen as a "City on a Hill." We should set the example for all the world.
I made me sick to my stomach that we had descended so far down that right-wingers were saying "Hey, but we're better than Saddam Hussein!" as though that were something to be proud of.
Has America slid so far down the path of moral decline that people are now saying the same about al Qaeda?!?!?!
What's next? Lampshades made from the skin of our alleged "enemies"? Are we going to produce soap from their fat? How will later generations distinguish us from the Romans of around 300 to 400?

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm starting to agree with Rufus Wainright, "I'm so tired of America".

Most people think that the reason abuse victims don't escape their abusers is because of fear - and fear is definately part of it - but there is also a debilitating fatigue, a sheer exhaustion that goes with being forced to endure unrelenting psychological and emotional abuse, and I think that's where we are.

Most Americans are just so tired of having lies pounded into their heads every day while they know that people are dying and suffering because of those lies. And they feel increasingly helpless to do anything about it as it becomes harder and harder just to get by.

And, as abuse victims do, they are shutting down emotionally, rationalizing to themselves why they can't do anything to stop it.

Then you have the enablers, the Barnetts and Malkins, etc., telling us why the abuse is for our own good, why we deserve it.

But abuse victims, and people in oppressed cultures, have a breaking point. Lately I've been thinking of what happened to the ruling classes in Russia, China, France. It's cathartic but not very pretty.

I wonder where we are headed.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing about that ridiculous debate question on torture that I don't think was clear, but seemed implied, was that the so-called terrorists in the scenario were Muslim extremists. I wished the question was more specific, say, if the terrorists were American, white, anti-abortionists.

A reader of Andrew Sullivan says: "enhanced interrogation techniques is a fairly decent English translation of the Gestapo euphemism "verschaerfte Vernehmung" which was the code word for torture in the Third Reich."

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Lotus said...

we had descended so far down that right-wingers were saying "Hey, but we're better than Saddam Hussein!"

The sentiment, debased as it is, is neither new nor restricted to right wingers.

After the 1991 Gulf War, I had an exchange of letters with someone who had supported that war. At one point I harshly criticized the massacre on the road out of Kuwait, where fleeing Iraqi troops were trapped on the road and then bombed for hours.

He replied by saying that Iraq had reserved the right to do the same thing itself. I asked him if he was suggesting we look to Saddam Hussein's Iraq as our moral compass.

I never got an answer.

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, two major logic slams against the pro-torture crowd - take that!

Usually all I can do is sit there and seethe while anti-torture spokesperson de jour ineffectually attempts to make a reasoned argument against the torture promoter who slings their well proven and effective emotion and fear based zingers.

Lefties need to get their act together and start using this stuff. I think they still don't get the effectiveness of a strong, unified, constantly repeated message.

One more thing I would recommend be used too and I've only ever heard this used once by a Senator - To those who say that these "enhanced interrogation techniques" are legit and not torture, would you consider them torture if they were used by the enemy on American soldiers?

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't mean to be a "glass is half empty" type guy, but doesn't this mean that our American committment to human rights and dignity is half-assed as well?

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are no better than our enemies when we torture. When we forget the Geneva Convention. When we imprison people without charging them, when we hold them prisoner in Guantanamo without representation. If our enemies did any of these things, we would condemn them. How sad is it that we have lost the respect of almost every other country because of our behavior. Do we think the people of Iraq are better off because we are there or are we adding to the chaos in that country and sacrificing our young men in a war we cannot win?


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