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Friday, March 18, 2005

Conservatives against torture, part 2.

Stop Torture - Unitarian Universalist Service CommitteeConservative columnist Jeff Jacoby renews his complaints about the US use of torture and about conservative indifference to the scandal of American barbarism:

Of course the United States must hunt down terrorists and find out what they know. Better intelligence means more lives saved, more atrocities prevented, and a more likely victory in the war against radical Islamist fascism. Those are crucial ends, and they justify tough means. But they don't justify means that betray core American values. Interrogation techniques that flirt with torture — to say nothing of those that end in death — cross the moral line that separates us from the enemy we are trying to defeat.

The Bush administration and the military insist that any abuse of detainees is a violation of policy and that abusers are being punished. If so, why does it refuse to allow a genuinely independent commission to investigate without fear or favor? Why do Republican leaders on Capitol Hill refuse to launch a proper congressional investigation? And why do my fellow conservatives — those who support the war for all the right reasons — continue to keep silent about a scandal that should have them up in arms?

("Where's the Outrage on Torture?" Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe 3.17.05; I mentioned his earlier complaint about torture last month.)

For those who missed it, Jane Mayer's New Yorker article about "extraordinary rendition" — the program in which the US ships detainees to countries like Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for "questioning" even the CIA won't do — is invaluable and deeply disturbing: "Outsourcing Torture" (2.14.05).

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 18 March 2005 at 7:25 AM

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March 18, 2005 03:11 PM | Permalink for this comment

There is one major problem with all torture. Is the person giving you the information you need, or are they telling you what you want to hear whether it is true or not, just to get you to stop torturing them, and is the information any good. The biggest reason against torture is that it doesn't work.


March 21, 2005 05:31 PM | Permalink for this comment

Jeff Jacoby follows up with part 2 of his "conservative" argument against the use of torture:

Some things we don't do, not because they never work, not because they aren't ''deserved," but because our very right to call ourselves decent human beings depends in part on our not doing them. Torture is in that category. We can win our war against the barbarians without becoming barbaric in the process.

("Why Not Torture Terrorists?" Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe 3.20.05)

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