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Saturday, 8 May 2004

Terror, Trafficing in Evil

I've already posted twice about the NYTimes article that said we should "traffic in evil" to win the war on terror, which the author defined in such a way as to be unwinnable. Well, looks like we've been following that advice in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, this has completely defanged all the terrorist organizations that hate our government and caused the Middle East to love us and fear us. Rush Limbaugh calls it a "thoughtful" approach. Those of us who have not falled off the wagon (he must be back on drugs), are somewhat appalled. However, this is exactly what the NYTimes seems to think is a good idea. this is exactly what has been suggested. And it's what we've been doing, according to the Red Cross and other groups, for more than two years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan? the justified war? Where prisoners have now been held in inhumane conditions for two years with no access to legal counsel and without being charged with any crime. Remember how we were bring freedom to Afghanistan, quoth Bush, "once ruled by the brutal Taliban regime." Now ruled by the brutal american regime.

Human Rights Watch articulates the problems with the reasoning behing the nytimes article,

But imagine for a moment that you're an interrogator, and that you have in front of you a person who has information about an imminent attack on the United States. What would you do to get that information?

That is the classic "ticking bomb" scenario that proponents of torture always bring forward ... But what we've found is that it puts you on a slippery slope that leads to extensive torture. If you can use torture against somebody who today you believe knows where the ticking bomb is, why not use torture on the person who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows where the ticking bomb is going to be in two weeks?

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/05/07/iraq8562.htm

and this reasoning leads directly to the kind of abuse that has been photodocumented in Iraq. I mean, these prisoners might know something, even if they haven't done anything wrong themselves, right?

The Times suggested that we torture suspects for information. Not people convicted of something. Not even people who are charged with something, necessarily. People who might know stuff. The abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan are what happens when that reasoning is followed. And if this is not enough to convince you, if you think maybe these soldiers are not systematically "softening up" inmates, maybe they're "blowing off some stream" (says Rush) or it's not worse than Frat Hazing (say many people who are apparently unaware that frat boys volunteer for hazing and anyway it's illegal at many schools), or maybe it is actually systematic, but who cares these guys are all foreigners, or whatever. If you want to excuse it: the NYTimes thinks we should start this sort of thing at home. That's not just foreigners, in that case. That's your neighbor. That's your kid. That's you. You, even as an upright Republican voter, have a duty to protect yourself by standing up against this at home and abroad.

and

Obviously, I'm procrastinating on my paper. This abuse thing is very very bad. but I must write my paper. I wonder if I have any "upright republican" readers.

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