Jon Stewart interviews Cliff May in an entertaining discussion on enhanced interrogation techniques and the torture memos. Both sides are well represented. Well worth watching.
[Waterboarding] opens a door that cannot be closed. Once you have posed the notorious “ticking bomb” question, and once you assume that you are in the right, what will you not do? Waterboarding not getting results fast enough? The terrorist’s clock still ticking? Well, then, bring on the thumbscrews and the pincers and the electrodes and the rack.
From the August 2008, Vanity Fair article, “Believe Me, It’s Torture.” Please read the whole article and watch the video of Hitchens being waterboarded. Do you want your country to torture prisoners? If the “ticking bomb” scenario makes torture seem necessary, where would you draw the line?
There is no way to know how many American lives were lost in Iraq due to the tortures we inflicted upon Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and other places. This is no argument of moral equivalence. I have seen the atrocities committed by al Qaeda and other terrorists, and I am not saying that Americans have ever come close to those acts. New Yorkers saw the atrocities of al Qaeda, as did many others.
Yet, when we tortured detainees, we lost something very important, something that America and its allies need in order to prevail against terrorists, not just in Iraq, but all over the world. We scarred our honor.
Torture works. There is no doubt that we can squeeze information from people. A lot of people say that information derived from torture is useless and suspect, and, of course, torture can make someone say anything just to stop the pain. But the fact is, torture does work. That does not mean we should do it. While torture might provide tactical gains, it delivers a strategic blunder. Let’s not argue whether it works or not. Let’s have the hard argument whether or not it’s consistent with our values. We can obtain short term benefits from using torture, but in the long run we inflict far more pain on ourselves. The scars of torture never heal. Conversely, when detainees are treated with respect, they never forget it.Michael Yon
Go read the entire article.
Our military prisons play the “torture playlist” to wear down prisoners. Let’s see… Barney theme song, check. Meow Mix TV commercial, check. Sesame Street theme song, check. Staying Alive by the Bee Gees, check.
What were you expecting?
Oh, I probably should warn you. If you follow the link, you’ll likely be offended by the titles and lyrics of some of the songs. You have been warned. Yeah, I know. That’s what you were expecting.
Is there a relationship between the nuclear deterrence policy of Mutual Assured Destruction and torture? In other words, if I support MAD should I support torture? Or, if I oppose torture, should I oppose MAD? Eugene Volokh discusses these questions.
Would you say: Look, killing millions of civilians is just patently depraved, the ends don’t justify the means, any decent person should be able to see that and denounce strategies that rely on the commitment to use such techniques; end of story?
Worth a read.