Friday, September 29, 2006

Thank goodness for quotation marks....

...else one might think this is news, rather than a front page editorial.


  1. Aren't you usually fairly emphatic about calling things by their proper names?

    You may feel that torture is now necessary and proper to defend the country, but that doesn't make waterboarding anything other than what it is.

    If you're planning to stoop to, "agressive interrogation techniques," and other such hallmarks of Soviet diction, with all due respect you should probably remove your post "The Anniversary Approacheth..." below.

  2. I certainly can't in good conscience shrug off the fact that waterboarding was one of the favored torments of the Khmer Rouge. At the same time, I'm disinclined to equate innocent Cambodian townies with al-Qaeda jihadists. Neither will I shrug off the fact that, in five years, I haven't been killed in a terrorist attack. Not even once! There's a reason for that, and it isn't the Bush administration's opponents.

  3. Unless you think that the CIA has mysterious powers of discretion, you might consider equating innocent Cambodian townies with innocent Afghani townies.

    I've got friends in their eighties, and they weren't killed by Communists either. Not even once! Over a forty-five year cold war! And all without torture, and with habeas corpus intact. Forgive me if I find that a tad more impressive.

  4. I don't think the CIA has mysterious powers of discretion, but I do think they're possessed of a good deal more restraint and selectivity than the minions of Pol Pot were. Seems to me the burden of proof is on someone who'd suggest otherwise.

    As for making the cold war some kind of precedent: Gus Hall wasn't sending out CPUSA operatives out to fly airliners into skyscrapers or to blow themselves up in crowds of children. Things might have been a little different if that had been the case. You're also ignoring just how much the law concerning civil liberties was bent in fact, though not as a matter of acknowledged policy, by both the CIA and FBI throughout the cold war. Kennedy and LBJ were not unaware, and not necessarily disapproving.

  5. I think any burden of proof rests with the side advocating torture.

    Of course the CIA is more selective than Pol Pot. That's your standard of morality? By that standard, Saddam Hussein was a moralist!

    I get the feeling recently that as far as conservatives are concerned, anything done by the Bush administration is morally permissible as long as there existed a government that was much worse.

    We are not discussing abstract violations of civil liberties. We are discussing torture. Worse, we are not discussing torture of the guilty, but torture as a tool to determine guilt. That you're willing to argue in favor of such a thing is simply remarkable. Is any moral sin acceptable as long as its stated goal is "keeping you safe" and as long as there existed a regime anywhere at any time that did worse?


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