Sunday, June 26, 2005

Is "a little torture" like "a little pregnant"?

[via Chris Bray, who's back at Ft. Benning]

The problem with torture:
  • it's illegal
  • it's uncivilized
  • it makes our own citizens and soldiers more vulnerable to mistreatment justified by our bad behavior
  • it doesn't produce good information
  • information isn't really our problem
  • it makes us look bad, and that's part of why we have a problem in the first place

Michael Benson is right: the comments are chilling. There's a running commentary about the Geneva Convention not applying to non-state, un-uniformed fighters, but what they forget is that those people still should have benefit of due process and once we've captured them (killing them in the heat of battle... unavoidable) how we treat them reflects on us and this is -- in the broadest sense -- a conflict not of bullets and bombs, but of ideas and attitudes and character. Even the Bush administration admits this, but they can't quite muster the character or ideas to actually carry the fight to the enemy.

Update: Caleb McDaniel points out that this is not a new problem for Americans, though I would like to believe that our whitewash of that aspect of our history means that we don't like the idea anymore. Of course, there's still our prison system....

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