Friday, November 11, 2005

True Colors: "When torture is the 'only option' ... - Los Angeles Times

When torture is the only option ... - Los Angeles Times:
"Those who oppose the amendment don't think the CIA should be permitted to use torture or other rough interrogation techniques. What they think is that sometimes the CIA should be required to squeeze the truth out of prisoners. Not because the CIA wants to torture people, but because it may be the only option we've got. "

So now torture is a form of self-defense. "may be is the only option we've got" is not good enough. Who says it is the 'only option' in this complex world of alternatives? Was not the preemptive war against Iraq rationalized as our only option? It turned out to be manipulation. What prevents the CIA from abusing its power and manipulating us if the law gives them the right to act unjustly?

Even if torture was the 'only option', that does not make it a good alternative. If we allow torture because it may be the 'only option' what prevents the rest of the world from attacking the US as their 'only option' to fight injustice? Our conduct must be grounded on principles not on expedience and double standards.

The end does not justify the means. Even if we convince ourselves that it is our 'only option'. Torture will continue to be an act of injustice, which the law ought not to uphold in any shape or form.

Mark the politicians and reporters who favor exemptions for torture, they are showing their true colors.

But it gets worse:
But if torturing a terrorist (or carrying out some other form of rough interrogation) is the only way to save innocent lives, we have no right to refuse.
Who defines 'terrorist'? who determines that 'innocent lives' will be saved? Who can assure that it is the only option? Do we want justice to be reduced to a judgment call in the interest of power?

Objective evil is not eliminated by abstract potential good. The End does not justify the Means!

Here is the core of the argument:
Suppose a nuclear bomb is primed to detonate somewhere in Manhattan, Levin wrote, and we've captured a terrorist who knows where the bomb is. But he won't talk. By forbidding torture, you inflict death on many thousands of innocents and endless suffering on the families of those who died at a terrorist's whim � and who might have lived had government done its ugly duty.
This is a fallacious argument.

It makes us responsible for the death of thousands because we refuse giving government the 'right' to protect us by any (evil) means. In other words in the name of security we may become Natzis.

We ought to forbid torture because it is wrong. A Nuclear attack against the US will not be caused because we refused to torture, but because we allowed it.

It will be because someone perceives that our government is so corrupt and evil that it needs to be hurt or eliminated. If we refuse torture, we would be disarming the nuclear attack at its roots. While at the time our 'war against terror' is promoting it.

The US will not be hated for its stance for freedom and democracy, but for its hipocrisy in preaching such principles and using them to justify abuse of power against the rest of the world.

If we condone torture we are planting a seed of destruction against ourselves. Only arrogance blinds us to this simple fact.

We do not torture such terrorists to punish them. God forbid we should do as they do. But if torture (used with repugnance) can stop even one such atrocity, our duty is hideously plain.

The backward logic of this article is dangerous. It justifies plain evil in the name of good, by refering our wrong actions to good intentions.

But that is not how ethics work. Your intention may be to alliviate hunger but that does not allow you to become a cannibal. The important correction to this flawed logic is to allow everyone to be held to the same standard. Would this person condone US prisoners planning nuclear attacks against other nations, to be detained indefintely and tortured? Would that be right? If it is right one way it must be right the other way. There is no exemption for justice because the perpetrators of injustices are Americans.

If they do it is "terror", if we do it is 'hideous' duty. Our noble motivation, supposedly, justifies our 'hideous' action. Because our intentions are pure, we do not take revenge we only avert evil with evil.

You know what? that sounds to me like a perfect rationalization for a terrorist.

I will rather follow St. Paul's teaching. "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21.

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