Category Archives: Torture

Self-Defense v Retribution

There appears to be a reactionary letter writing campaign (or is it a propaganda campaign) asking “What is wrong with waterboarding?” It’s this: Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. If you want to get philosophical, the responsibility to kill in self defense is not a right to rape in retribution. The former is the right of free citizens, the latter a prerogative of dictators, fascists, Stalinsts – of Hitler Youth, not Boy Scouts of America.

I wrote this, published in the Asbury Park Press, May 14, 2009:

Torture won’t make us safer

What’s wrong with Waterboarding? In a word, it’s torture. It’s illegal. It’s immoral and it doesn’t work. It won’t keep us safe. In fact, it makes us less safe.

Torture is illegal. It violates the U.S. Constitution and precedents set by George Washington. During the American Revolution, while the British were torturing American soldiers, Washington refused to torture British soldiers our army captured. This gained us political allies in England even as we were fighting for our independence.

Torture is immoral. Torture is what the Nazis did in World War II. And the KGB and the communist Chinese.

Torture doesn’t work. The victim will tell the torturer anything to get the pain to stop. Torture doesn’t make us safer. The victims will hate us for the rest of their lives and want to exact revenge.

The way to stop terror is with good old-fashioned police work, just as the way to end war is with diplomacy.

The responsibility to kill in self defense is not a right to rape in retribution. Torture is illegal. Waterboarding is torture. Period.

My risking my life to protect my family is different than the President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense and Attorney General and defining a policy in which they would violate the Constitution. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzales, etc ignored the 8/6/1 memo “Bin Laden preparing to Strike In US.” After 9/11/1 they let bin Laden go in Tora Bora to target Saddam and Iraq’s oil. They dropped the ball, left the US weak, and helped Achmadinejad – got rid of his enemy. Torture is punishment, not information gathering. Rather than justify torture as “it stopped beheadings” why not just kill the bastards? A bullet in the head is more effective than waterboarding. And why let bin Laden go? A bullet in his head would have been more effective than knocking off a two-bit dictator 1500 miles away.

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