Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Policy Post: On Torture.....

I'm on a roll today...

But this post isn't going to have a punchline.

Today in the news, we learned that the "enhanced interrogation" techniques of our county at Guantanamo Bay and other like places derive from a 1957 memo outlining the then-current practices of the Communist Chinese government to coerce false confessions. The operative word there is, of course, "false," because the classic "ends-justify-the-means" morality of Republicans living in their own personal "24" fantasy world has been that we need to torture, -er, to use "enhanced interrogation" techniques, to get actionable intelligence to keep the United States safe from further terrorist attacks.

This blog post, sums it up well:

Is it not a rather fantastic historical irony that the torture techniques that the North Vietnamese used against McCain that forced him to offer a videotaped false confession ... are now the techniques the Bush administration is using to gain "intelligence" about terror networks.

How is it possible to know that everything John McCain once said on videotape for the enemy was false, because it was coerced, and yet assert that everything we torture out of terror suspects using exactly the same techniques, is true? In fact, McCain at least knew somewhere that his own government knew he existed, that there were procedures to eventually release him, that he was on someone's radar. The average prisoner at Gitmo or in the other parts of the detention program believes that no one will ever save him, that he could be disappeared for ever, that there are no procedures for his eventual release and no government to remember him. If McCain uttered lies on tape to stop the torture, why would an Islamist tell the truth?

Nothing more accurately exposes the classic moral error of the Bush administration and its enablers in war crimes. If the enemy tortures, it defines their moral evil and all intelligence gleaned from such coercion is self-evidently false propaganda. If we do it, it isn't wrong, and it leads to good intelligence.

Got that? And these people have the gall to describe their ideological opponents as moral relativists.

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