Monday, October 29, 2007

Torture and the Governor

On September 26 of this year, I wrote about a group called "Consistent Life". They take the position that all human life is sacred, and should not be ended by another human being. At the time, I suggested some other areas of attention for this group, and today am going to suggest another...torture.
Now, I tend to take a practical view of things, and leave the moral posturing for the fundraisers and radio whiners among us. This is my main objection to torture, especially when practiced by our armed forces as part of the "War on Terror". I suspect that more often than not, the prisoners will say something to make the torture stop, and this is often not the truth, or useful information.
I am open to the possibility that sometimes a man will have useful information that we can "beat out of him". Maybe we should keep the water board handy, but use it as seldom as possible.
The cliche whatif that keeps getting used in torture discussions involves a nuclear device about to go off in a major city. You have a person in custody that knows the location, but is unwilling to share this information. Is it ok to torture this tightlipped individual?
Oh my, the hypothetical question. Once I was privy to a discussion between then Governor "Zig Zag" Zell Miller, and a reporter. The occasion was a rally for a certain Democratic Presidential hopeful during the Georgia primary in February 1992. The reporter was asking Governor Zigzag what would happen if the candidate...I think his name was Clinton...were to lose the upcoming Georgia Primary. After being assured by Governor Zigzag that this was not going to happen, the reporter persisted, and said, how about a hypothetical situation where the candidate (who had been introduced by Governor Zigzag at the rally) were to lose the primary.
" Well that would be a hypothetical situation. A hypothetical situation is like, if my uncle was a woman then he would be my aunt"
Back to torture, and the ticking a bomb about to destroy Manhattan. (Do atom bombs tick? Wouldn't we be better off without Manhattan?) Now, if the terrorists found out that someone who knew the location of this device had been captured, they probably would change the location of the weapon. This is how warriors usually do things...when someone who knows the plan is captured, the plans change.
Also, this scenario is really about as likely as Former Governor Zigzag's Uncle...who is probably pushing 100 by this time...having gender reassignment surgery.
There are all sorts of other practical reasons not to use "extraordinary interrogation". The results would not be admissible in a US court of law. It makes the use of torture on captured American troops more probable. And then there are the moral considerations.
The simple truth is, when we use torture, we lower ourselves to the moral level of the terrorists. I know this line gets mighty blurry in time of war, and that we have done some really nasty things in most of the wars we have fought. Still, it is good to know that America stands for something other than invading Babylon to make sure American Companies pump the oil out.
Spell check suggestions for this feature:
Zig- zing, zip big
zag- sag, zap
Zell- sell, zeal, ell, fell, hell


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