Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Torture Debate: A Pointless Waste of Time

If you have a pulse and digest any news coverage whatsoever, it's been pretty difficult to avoid being force-fed a never-ending diet of news media debate over "is waterboarding torture?"

I personally don't care if waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" ARE torture. I tend to think of torture as lying more along a continuum, anyway. The whole argument of "is it torture?" misses the point. It's just semantics. The point is, if a detainee has waged war against us and we believe he has high-level information, we should do whatever we need to in order to persuade him to talk.

This is similar to the "just war" theory (which was endorsed by the Vatican prior to the invasion of Iraq). How is it any different to make a decision to declare war, with all the attendant loss of life, in order to achieve larger peaceful goals, than to decide to inflict pain and suffering on an individual in the pursuit of saving lives?

If you are a liberal who is squeamish about giving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a toilet-bowl swirlie, or putting a teensy-weensy caterpillar in Abu Zubaydah's cell (those sick bastards!), I have a simple solution for you: don't run for office or volunteer for the military. Running the freest nation in the world - although it becomes less free every single day - requires constant confrontation with evil, and that requires getting your hands dirty. There's a reason Presidents take the oath of office as virile young men and leave it four to eight years later white-haired and wizened.

Wow. I think I just dispatched this entire debate in thirty seconds or less. Which leads me to the real question: Why is this being endlessly hashed out in the media?

By the way -- I totally flabbergasted my friends about a month ago when we were discussing the issue and I matter of factly said, "I'm pro-torture." The room went quiet for about 5 loooong seconds. And they're a pretty chatty group. So next time you're at a cocktail party, I suggest you drop that little zinger and watch the hilarity that ensues.

I'll leave the reader with one parting thought. Saddam Hussein's men tortured innocent civilians, for fun, by doing things like skinning their face alive, or raping and executing a man's wife in front of him, then setting his beard on fire, then shooting his skull full of nails with a nail-gun. That is torture, people. Be incredibly grateful that you live here, and not there.

Related article: Obama and Cheney engage in Lincoln-Douglas debate on torture

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