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June 04, 2010

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Since I was rereading old posts on torture just this morning, I'm going to use this post to springboard 3 links to old posts. Eric's post here reinforces what I said about torture when engaging Patterico here and here.

It also corroborates what katherine wrote here

Torture isn't a power you want to give to the government (or anyone if you can avoid it). Lack of accountability allows for programs to spin out of control. Conservatives would do well to remember that the critique applies at least as well to torture as it does to out of control hairdresser licensing rules.

And of course, I'm-afraid-of-government-becoming-too-powerful Tea Baggers/Partiers will not utter the merest sound about it.

bah. Ed Morrissey is a cheerleader. though thankfully, not the kind who wears short skirts and belly shirts.

Yeah, I know picking on Morrissey is like plucking low hanging fruit, but I came across a link to the post, read it and the lack of logic and cogent thought just stuck in my craw.

"bah. Ed Morrissey is a cheerleader. though thankfully, not the kind who wears short skirts and belly shirts."

That's a mental image I could've done without.

From the Patterico piece Sebastian links to:

Let’s assume the following hypothetical facts are true.

I'm waiting for the argument in favor of torture that isn't based on hypotheticals.

Here are the reasons we don't let people torture other people.

One, it's wrong. It's wrong because it's wrong, like kicking babies or throwing cats off of a roof are wrong.

It's wrong.

Two, as a practical matter it's not a particularly effective way to get information.

Three, as a practical matter it's a *freaking great* way to get people to say and do things they otherwise would not be willing to do in a million years. That's really not a lever you want to make available, because human beings aren't that scrupulous.

Or, some might be, but those folks tend to self-select out of the pool of people who are interested in torturing other people in the first place.

Four, five, six and so on are all of the legal, political, and diplomatic headaches that come from engaging in torture.

Here is my thought about torture advocates. Some people are fascinated by violence, and by the ability to dominate and exert power over other people. I think people like that are attracted to the "we had to do it" torture argument because it gives them a context in which they can indulge in their weird fantasies and feel like it's justified.

I don't want those people anywhere near me or my family. I don't want them in government, in the police force or criminal justice system, or in the armed forces. I don't want them anywhere they can satisfy their weird fascination at anybody else's expense.

It is, no doubt, a screwed up violent bloody world out there, but that doesn't mean you need to jump into the cesspool feet first.

Nothing is going to happen to Bush. Not now, not ever. Not to Cheney either.

They're home free. Shame on us.

But you have to admit that if you think the suspect swallowed the microSD card from his cell phone, you'd just cut it right out of him, right? I mean, who wouldn't do that?

I'm waiting for the argument in favor of torture that isn't based on hypotheticals.

Here's one: we like hurting people. Especially people that we think are bad. It makes us feel powerful.

But you have to admit that if you think the suspect swallowed the microSD card from his cell phone, you'd just cut it right out of him, right? I mean, who wouldn't do that?

Wouldn't it just be easier to give him an emitic?

Who likes easy? We have to make it fun!

Well, if and when there are prosecutions for war crimes over torture (whether by the US or but the International Court of Justice), this essentially constitutes a confession on Bush's part. Which will make a conviction almost certain.

I understand the political minefield involved. But I suspect that sooner or later some President (a Republican would, perhaps, face less political risk) is going to order the Justice Department to do its job. Failing that, if I was Bush I would never, ever travel outside US territory again.

It makes for poorer theater, though. And hypotheticals are all about drama.

[[Wouldn't it just be easier to give him an emitic?]]

There's no time, dammit!

Any decently prepared spy/terrorist (or terrorist spy!) would take the precaution of heavy antiemetics, before swallowing a microSD card.

Does this swallowing-a-microSD-card thing belong on the other thread about not using cameras on cops?

No.

I'm talking about ack-Jay auer-Bay without talking about ack-Jay auer-Bay.

Slarti, some of us got it!

Never watched 24.

I had thought that, Jeff, but I didn't want to be too obvious.

How many people had to be tortured to get that PDB on Bush's desk entitled "Bin Laden determined to attack U.S.?"

Seriously, is a public confession enough to put any of these evil bastards on trial?

Probably not, which says a lot of sad things about our country, and our future.

Seriously, is a public confession enough to put any of these evil bastards on trial?

There's too much complicity. The press never challenged the ramp up to war; Congress held 9/11 hearings but shrank from acting on - or even stating outright - the obvious conclusions; Democrats lacked the courage and the spine to challenge anything the Bush Admin did - and the public was almost monolithically either indifferent to the torture policies or vindictively in favor of them.

There were exceptions, some of them notable (Sy Hersch; the millions who marched, futilely, against the war; some members of Congress). But they were never able to get traction; they were always shouted down.

In short: Holding the Bushies to account would require the press, Congress, and the public to revisit their own complicity. None of them have the appetite for that.

Oh for the glorious Ottoman days when such problems were tactfully solved by the mute with the bowstring (alternatively silk cord).

It is wicked not to care.

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