Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The No Blame Game


So now some claim that torture actually works so it is ok. The ends thus justify the means. But do they?
Shouldn't we, as humans, moved on past Machiavelli?
I didn't think I have heard everything about this and I was unfortunately right. Since the release of the so called torture memos the torture apology never stopped growing: from the irresponsibility in exposing CIA methods to the enemy to the alleged success of torture in preventing the loss of innocent lives, as if it's alright to break the law if it is done in secret and as if breaking the law is alright if good is achieved from it.

Lets be honest about this: if any good comes from breaking the law then the law must be changed. If the law stands and is in force then no good can come of breaking it. So the use of torture to obtain critical information that may save innocent lives is wrong. No court of law in the civilized world would say any different.
There are a lot of soundbites out there in favor of torture and most of them start exactly by denying it is torture! We should dismiss this idea as well: sleep deprivation is torture, confinement in small spaces in stress positions is torture and waterboarding is torture (among other methods in the memos) - the fact that it is not executed with the intent to cause severe pain or death and that it's execution is monitored by doctors mean nothing to the person being tortured.
What would be the point of torture if the subject was made aware that there is no intention to cause severe pain or death and that doctors are monitoring the execution of such techniques to make sure nothing goes wrong!

The purpose of torture is to cause extreme fear in the subject and make him or her give up information in exchange for safety. If the subject knows he or she is safe, what's the point? So this talk that all this was done by professionals with no intent to cause severe pain or death backed by medical teams is sand thrown in our eyes.
What matters is you inflict pain, extreme anxiety and humiliation to extract information from someone. Pain inflicted by a professional with medical back up in a controlled environment is the same as the one inflicted by some terrorist amateur in a cave somewhere.
And drowning people is bad but making people believe they are being drowned over and over is ok? To me it seems that the difference between waterboarding and drowning is that when you drown you only go through the excruciating experience once - not 183 times - and you don't die, of course, although after 183 waterboardings you might wish you did.

Liz Cheney, interviewed by Norah O'Donnell on MSNBC, said:" ... this argument about the Geneva Conventions, in terms of this idea that somehow Al Qaeda abides by the Geneva Conventions, if Al Qaeda captures an American they cut his head off so I think it's very important for us to take a step back from the emotion of this and say we needed to be able to get evidence about eminent attacks we knew these guys had information the information that was provided saved American lives and the techniques were not torture... "
So... If we are not talking about torture, why do we need to "step back from emotion" and see the enemies as decapitating savages with no respect for conventions? Oh, wait. Maybe it's because we ARE talking about torture and no matter how savage and barbarian the enemy is Americans should NEVER under ANY circumstances be turned into savages themselves - no matter how many American heads were cut or will be cut in the future by these people. If the way our enemy acts makes us act like them we become the enemy.
I am getting so tired of hearing these people (Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and the like minded) come on TV and say "we are less safe" and "they don't respect our laws" and "they have no legal restraints" - and all I hear is "They are STRONGER than us". So these people answer is to become like them.
Well they are not stronger than us, but the minute we surrender our rights, our freedom and our rule of law they will not only become stronger than we ever thought possible.
They will win.

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