Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Republican position on torture

Ann Althouse comments on the Rudy/McCain differences in attitude about the use of torture by the US government.

My comment on her post is

There is only one reason to torture -- to appear tough.

Torture does not make anyone safe, it does not help you acquire usable information.

Rudy, like Tenet did recently in his book, seems to think that it's not really torture if you make up some mealy-mouthed term to use instead of the word torture.

He thinks that makes him a tough guy. I think it makes him a coward. If you want to torture people at least be straight up about it -- tell us that's what you want to do and let's talk about what value that kind of behavior is.

In the "ticking bomb" storyline that the Fox moderator took from a "24" plotline to use in his debate question, there's a presumption that using torture actually will provide you with usable information. The presumption is that so long as you are sure the victim of your torture has the information you seek that the torture will get it out of him.

That presumption is nothing but bullshit. People being tortured will never tell you the truth, they will always tell you want you want to hear. The only way you can be sure that they'll tell you the truth is if you already know the truth and they're aware of that. They will play to whatever they perceive your bias to be, whatever it takes to get you to stop.

Torture serves no purpose at all other than the creation of a facade of toughness, or to create terror in the minds of those who might be captured later. It's not an act of intelligence gathering, it's an act of terrorism.

Are the Republican candidates fighting a war against terror? Or is it a war of terror?

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