Torture, the Real Conclusion

Read parts I, II, III, IV, and V of this series.

Remember how I said in my last post that I was concluding the series on torture? Not really. I have one more thing to add. It’s a bit of an aside, but it is something worth mentioning.

I’ve noticed that many of those that oppose torture (waterboarding specifically) are usually not as squeamish when it comes to abortion. They loudly rail against Bush policies of allowing waterboarding, but there’s nary a peep about our nation’s practice of dismembering and chemically burning human beings.

Frank Turek, who has himself been waterboarded as part of SERE training he went through as a naval fighter pilot, powerfully points out the inconsistency (HT: Wintery Knight):

Now, despite decades of its use on American service members, President Obama declares that waterboarding is torture when used on terrorists. Is it? Reasonable people cannot disagree whether scalding a person’s skin, dismembering him, or beheading him constitutes torture. Those are undeniably torturous acts that our enemies have inflicted on Americans. But since waterboarding leaves no permanent physical damage, reasonable people can disagree over whether or not it’s actually torture and should be used on terrorists.

Despite being against waterboarding, President Obama does not seem to think that scalding, dismembering, or beheading is torture in all circumstances. In some circumstances, the President actually approves of such treatment, so much so that he is now exporting it to other countries with our tax dollars. He’s even thinking of forcing certain Americans to inflict it on the innocent.

In fact, the President along with most in his party and some in the Republican Party, think that such brutality is a Constitutional right, which they cleverly disguise with the word “choice.” Choice in these circumstances actually means scalding, dismembering, or de-braining a living human being—which is literally what saline, D&C, and partial birth abortions respectively accomplish.

Many of those who are against waterboarding are either pro-choice or they are against legislation that outlaws abortion (or they think attempts to make abortion illegal are useless). I wish they’d be more consistent in their thinking.

5 responses to “Torture, the Real Conclusion

  1. I agree with you about wishing that people would be consistent.

    This has been an interesting series, and I very much appreciate your honesty — you’re conflicted. I think that most honest people are really right there with you.

    For my own part, I’m an opponent of torture, waterboarding (whether one calls it torture or not), abortion, capital punishment, and all sorts of other things that I view as unethical. I have joined in with what’s called a Consistent Life Ethic, and so get very annoyed with people who are against abortion but okay with cluster bombs or against capital punishment and pro-abortion, or any of the other boundless numbers of inconsistencies.

    This has been a great series, by the way. Very thoughtful and well-researched.

  2. Pingback: Political Blog Weekly: 3 July 2009 | U.S. Common Sense

  3. Pugnacious Irishman, I’m coming over from COTL. I appreciate your sincere efforts on this. You link some good pieces, and you’ve put in some thought. Bloggers on the human rights beat have gone over these issues pretty exhaustively during the past several years. There are four different intertwining threads I see:

    1) What was actually done under the Bush administration (some is known, more details still need to be known)

    2) The history of torture through the ages, how it has been used, its reliability for obtaining accurate information, its legality – including American prosecution of torture including water torture/the water cure/waterboarding, etc.

    3) Torture as a general philosophical and practical dilemma, more as a thought experiment (sometimes divorced from #2)

    4) Your own personal feelings and thoughts

    I find your post the most compelling on #4. #3 for me personally is pretty well-trod territory, but again, I appreciate your sincerity in wrestling with these issues. On #1 and #2, you do link some of the memos, but I don’t know how thoroughly you’ve gone through them or analysis of them. It seems there’s a great deal of material you’ve barely touched or that you’ve missed, and it might change your conclusions. But as a part-time blogger myself, I know time is pressing, life is short, and I don’t know how deep you want to get into all this.

    I’ll pass on several links for now:

    “Challenging Torture” by Scott Horton. Delivered at the Columbia Theological Seminary, this piece starts with how the Romans viewed torture and is a good overview.
    “Waterboarding is Torture… Period” by former SERE instructor Malcolm Nance (he later testified to Congress).
    “Torture Doesn’t Work” by interrogator Matthew Alexander.
    “Torture’s Long Shadow” by Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet-era torture victim.
    “The 13 people who made torture possible” by Marcy Wheeler.
    A Torture Timeline by Marcy Wheeler.
    ” Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link “ by McClatchy Newspapers on the bipartisan Senate report released in April (it also has links to the report).

    That’s probably too many, although I could easily supply several dozen more. I’ll try to check back here, or you can e-mail me if you’d like. Otherwise, thanks for your efforts, best wishes and Erin Go Bragh.

  4. Thanks for your additions, Batocchio. I’ll check out the links, but it might be a while. Appreciate your thoughts, still.

  5. Patricia Kayden

    So torture is okay? So what if some people are “inconsistent” about abortion?

    Is torture acceptable in your “Christian” world view?

    Does your Jesus condone torture? Really?

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