This Republican Government Supports Torture

In the week just past, the Congress of the United States approved a bill that would ban the practice of "water boarding" as it set guidelines for how the CIA is allowed to interrogate people.

As a show of support for what Congress and the people of the United States of America want, the President of the United States, George Bush, promptly veoted the bill, saying that it would make it harder for the CIA and others to collect information. Or to put it simply, the current President of the United States supports the torture of people in order to get them to speak.

When combatting people, such as terrorists (or bullies) who adopt low standards in order to achieve their outcomes, the challenge is not to sink to their level in order to face them in combat for doing so gives them victory without a punch even being thrown.

Congratulations America, you've got a President who wants to drag your country back to the middle ages.

In November this year, the American people will be asked to vote for which party they want to lead the country. Lets hope that they can choose a party that respects human life and is in concert with what others around the world expect and believe on important issues such as this.

Bush Vetoes Bill Baning Waterboarding


A reasoned argument on the morality vs. immorality of torture would be far more useful.

Some have argued torture is moral if it prevents a near-term, large-scale loss of lives (i.e., the "ticking time bomb" scenario). However, if torture is moral in that case, why would it not be moral if the timeframe was less urgent, or if the number of lives were less?

There is a good example here:

Anyone who would say torture is moral to prevent a large scale loss of life, should be ready to declare just how many lives he or she is willing to sacrifice to prevent temporary pain to another person. They should also be willing to make a cogent moral argument of why prevention of temporary pain for one individual is valued more than the life of someone else.

Unfortunately, the CNN debate I linked to above falls for the mistaken assumption the Geneva Conventions apply to non-state actors captured on a battlefield. I would point out, Colin Powell felt the Taliban forces should be considered legitimate forces and subject to the Geneva Conventions, but the Al-Qaeda and Arab freelancers in Afghanistan should not.

Ralph Peters takes up the argument here, quite effectively, and consistent with international law:

The Geneva Conventions specifically define what a lawful combatant is, and intentionally only provides protections to those who abide by such requirements. Giving protection to illegal combatants only serves to make war more bloody. The exact opposite of what Geneva sought to prevent.

So from a legal aspect, there may certainly be international laws which prevent torture (International Declaration of Human Rights, for example). But hiding an illegal combatant behind the lawful combatant's mother's skirt of the Geneva Conventions is not one of them.

Which brings us back to the realm of the moral, rather than the legal.

Any candidate who opposes the use of torture to prevent the death of innocent lives should have the moral courage to say how many people they would let die so a captured terrorist with the knowledge of future terrorist plans may live in near-term, pain-free comfort.

Lyndon Johnson defined a Just War as not whether you were willing to sacrifice yourself in it, but if you were willing to sacrifice your son in it.

Likewise, the real question for Obama is not if he is willing to prevent a terrorist from enduring temporary pain and sacrifice innocent lives to meet a moral standard, but if is willing to sacrifice his daughters in such a situation?

Knowing with reasonable certainty a terrorist act will take place which will result in the deaths of innocent Americans then brings in some questions. Would not taking action which could prevent the act deprive those innocents of life without due process (Fifth Amendment)? Would it open the President to a Wrongful Death lawsuit (paging John Edwards)?

The fact is, one cannot have it both ways. One cannot totally eliminate the use of torture and claim one will do whatever is necessary to protect and save innocent lives, even when time constraints prevent other methods of information extraction. Something gets sacrificed: The lives of innocent people or the comfort of a terrorist.

Unfortunately, a gutless press will never present such a situation in a debate. We will never see Tim Russert antagonistically asking "So you will sacrifice innocent people, but how many people will you sacrifice?"

Back to your blog. Using your hyperbole, one could title your blog "This Democrat Congress Supports Sacrificing Innocent People".

So I say it is time for a debate: Is torture moral? Is torture ever moral? Turning it around: Is letting innocent people die moral? Is letting innocent people die ever moral?

This topic is far more complex than a hyperbolic title. Hey, an at least the current President has the guts to be honest. Plenty of his predecessors would sign the bill and ignore it when faced with the issue.

Posted by guest on March 09, 2008 at 03:08 AM PDT #

The only important types I haven't been able to decode yet are time, timestamp and date.

Posted by China Flowers on January 19, 2010 at 01:38 PM PST #

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