Thursday, October 04, 2007

To Torture or not to Torture

Today the New York Times reported on a US Justice Department memo issued in 2005 approving the use of torture after previously denouncing such methods in a an earlier memo in 2004 as "abhorrent". This new, revised memo endorsed methods such as head-slapping, simulated drowning, and exposure to frigid temperatures.

I know torture has its advocates and they make many nebulous claims to its effectiveness effectiveness in eliciting information. If someone could site a specific, compelling example I would love to hear it. I guess it is tempting to be seduced by the iron-clad logic that someone would never tell their torturer exactly what they wanted to hear in order to terminate the gruesome proceedings as soon as possible. And of course terror suspects have all the incentive in the world to divulge all their information...spending the rest of my days languishing in a concrete cell as an expended intelligence asset sounds great to me.

If someone shoved a snarling attack dog in my face or threatened to attach electrodes to my genitals, I think I'd say just about anything to make it all stop.

We're told that the War on Terror is being fought to protect civilization from those who would destroy it. Are we being civilized?

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