Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If Christopher Hitchens Agreed To Undergo It, Then It's Probably Not Torture

I've never seen the point of all the self-righteous preening surrounding waterboarding. Neither has Sailorette.

excerpt:

In a nutshell, that's why I haven't posted much about water boarding. It wasn't torture when my uncles and friends went through it, and I don't see how it would suddenly become torture now that it's been very cautiously applied under controlled conditions against someone that I don't love. If the situation were put in opposite form, I could see a reason for the masses of vitriol that I've had lobbed at me already-- but it wasn't. All the piles of stuff people can toss at me that says, in wordy manners, torture is bad won't change that-- I already agree torture us bad.

Much as when I use to agree with my classmates about a human deserving the basic right to life, it's a problem of definition. You won't get anywhere yelling "murderer!" and "woman hater!" at each other.

Neo-neo comes as close as I've seen to having a reasonable post on the topic.

With all due respect to the many very smart folks who've written on it, they all tend to make a logical fallacy that I can't remember the name of at the moment-- basically, you define the thing that's being argued, and then from that assumption go on to show why that assumption is right. "I assume water boarding is torture; because it is torture, then it is bad and should not be done, and anyone who disagrees is evil." (exaggerated for effect, of course)

Another form is this: "We shouldn't use water boarding. I don't think it's right. Therefore, it is torture." This argument usually ends up with the person putting it forward claiming that anything the captive doesn't like is torture, up to and including having no choice of meals. (that one I wish was an exaggeration)

Torture is bad. Nobody should end up like Mr. Chen, and if my guys are doing it, I'll be right there in the front row trying to fix what's wrong.

But when our people are being accused of being as bad as taking a power drill to someone's eyes because they kept them in uncomfortable cold rooms, with loud music on little sleep-- and yes, this is usually listed along with water boarding as examples of "torture"-- then I'm waving the BS flag. That sounds like my military barracks...

2 comments:

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Thank you very much for the link-- and I love the title.

When I wrote that, I was about 90% sure that just about everyone I respect would be after my head.

I'm startled and glad to find that there's other folks who were perturbed by the lines being drawn-- I try hard to check myself for egregious bias, and I was starting to doubt my accuracy.

Anonymous said...

The intent of the "torture" kabuki theater is simple' distract the public's attention from the obvious failings of the apparatchik in chief. If BO had been doing well in the polls, we wouldn't have heard a word about this.
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Jerry in Detroit