In which my HEAD EXPLODES

Torture.

So, we now find that America engaged in it in the last few years, which is horrible and tragic. I don’t feel like looking up citations, but I think it’s pretty clear that lines between what is ok under the Geneva Convention (please spare me the ridiculous chatter about categorizations of persons- the important word there is the last one) and what isn’t were crossed. I don’t think this came as a surprise to many, honestly; we all got that there was some shady shit occurring under the former administration.

So, really, this isn’t going to be a rant against the fact that it happened, although that fact in itself does make me incredibly upset (which is bad for the baby: thanks, W.). Ahem. No, no, this is about people’s reactions. I cannot freaking believe how defensive some Americans have been of this action. And not even those who still refuse to acknowledge that what we did should be categorized as torture; the ones who are actually arguing for its moral acceptability. It hurts.

One thing I’ve heard repeatedly is that what we (the US) are doing to our prisoners is no worse than what’s being done to our guys by them. Does this not strike everyone as absurd?! (Louis always gets on me for my debate style that relies heavily on emotion and less on pure logic, but the logic is there, I assure you) Why the hell would we let the bad guys set the standard? Why on earth would we let the most reprehensible thing done to us set the bar for how we will treat others? Would we take the students who are performing the lowest in reading, and set the expected achievement level there? Absolutely not. We are the United States, and respecting innate human rights is what we do. We set the standards, not them. Duh.

Torture rarely produces good information. Someone undergoing the type of treatment that would lead to a coerced confession is rarely in a state of mind that allows for reasonable cognitive processing. Numerous studies have supported this claim (once again, which I am too lazy to defend; if I were in the frame of mind for defense of a position, I’d be doing it for the paper I have due in a week), and while a man on a television show may tell you otherwise, maybe tv isn’t the best authority on these things? Perhaps, just perhaps, the actors on ER don’t actually know anything about surgery; perhaps they were only hired for their appearance and ability to speak lines written by the less-attractive? Perhaps CSI is giving juries unreasonable expectations because they select plots for interest and not reality? Hmm? Perhaps Jack Bauer isn’t the most reliable source for information about whether or not torture is effective? Hmm?

It’s terrible, terrible, terrible for those inflicting the torture. That would be our guys. Our guys who are permanently traumatized and affected by doing things to other human beings that should never be done. And for what? Non-information? I hardly think the sacrifice of American souls is worth faulty information.

My gosh. I can’t believe the things I’ve read in the past few days. And from fellow Christians! Shouldn’t we respect humanity above everyone else? Preserving human LIFE isn’t the most important thing; Christ made that very, very clear. What good is it if you kill your soul to save your body? No good, that’s what.

About lindswing

Once upon a time, I was born, grew up a little bit, did some stuff, and now I have a blog. I deeply respect the Oxford comma.
This entry was posted in awful, believe it or not, dirty rotten, epic fail, fear, judging, politics, prison, terror. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In which my HEAD EXPLODES

  1. Elessar says:

    I agree with you. Jack Bauer certainly shouldn’t be where we’re getting our information. What’s more, regardless of whether we get real information by torturing people, it’s wrong. Those stats that are too far out of reach for a tired (person growing another person), are irrelevant to the discussion. Torturing another person is morally repugnant without regard to the practical implications of what it brings about (or lack thereof)

  2. Derek von Barandy says:

    I suppose I’ll stick up for what I take to be the truth and defend what seems to many to be an ugly proposition. I think torture, in the appropriate conditions, can be morally justified.

    Consider the following. Sarah is part of a terrorist organization who we know planted a bomb in downtown Manhattan, and we know that she knows where it is and how to disarm it (perhaps we have a photograph of her with the plans, and we have many uncoerced confessors who say that she knows where it is and how to disarm it). On the assumption that torture has, at times, given us life-saving information, I think we would be justified to torture her to get the information. Why isn’t torture a violation of human rights in this case?

    Human Rights, though innate, are not completely unannihilable. Though everyone has an innate Right to liberty and self-determination, this Right is not unconditional. This is why we think when someone is convicted of murder, it’s okay to deprive her of her Right to Liberty and throw her in prison, and this is because her crime negates, or rather, she herself, has negated her own Natural Right. The same goes for the scenario described above. If we know that Sarah willingly and knowingly endangered the Right to Life of unarmed noncombatants, it follows that Sarah has severely negated some of her own rights. It is debatable which rights Sarah has negated, but it seems reasonable that her right to not be tortured in certain ways and for certain reasons has been negated. This is a clear case, I think, where we would be justified in doing things like “water-boarding”, depriving Sarah of a certain amount of sleep, food, water, and so on.

    It might be argued that Sarah’s case is disanalogous to actual cases of torture in important moral respects. This might be true. But the point I wish to make is that torture in some possible cases might be morally justifiable, and as such torture per se is not morally wrong simpliciter.

    If anything I might have said is insulting to some, I apologize. In order to check the internal coherency of my moral convictions I often consider my moral sentiments if I were on the receiving end of these types of “moral justifications.” In this case, if I were Sarah, I would not think that my Human Rights were violated.

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