Thursday, November 23, 2006

A great anti-torture rant

Journal of Applied Misanthropology has a great little rant on the stupidity and immorality of torture:
Practically, torture causes someone to tell you what he thinks you want to hear, not what is true, and torture can never determine if someone truly does not know something or is merely claiming not to. (Further, if you torture a man to the point where you're sure he doesn't know what you need to know, you've just tortured an innocent man (or at least tortured someone for no reason)). There's reasons that confessions made under torture are not admissible in any civilized court, and these reasons have as much to do with pragmatism as compassion -- anyone will confess to anything, given sufficient "incentive", and once you've extracted a confession and placed an innocent man in jail (or killed him), you've still got the actual criminal running around free.


Ethically, torture is a moral abomination. One cannot engage in it and remain fully human; it requires turning off any sort of ethical sense or code of moral conduct. A nation which engages in it as a matter of policy loses any moral high ground which might give it cause to claim the right to do so in the first place.
I'm glad to hear the libertarians (e.g. Sullivan) up in arms about this issue. Although I'm not a libertarian, I'm happy to make common cause with them on this issue.


Anonymous Bill in Minneapolis said...

This is just common sense. Anyone who thinks at all about torture must agree with these conclusions.

12:45 AM, November 25, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

If only the Bush administration had "common sense". Alas, they do not, and thus do not at all agree with these conclusions. A lot of people really think torture is something the United States must engage in to keep itself safe from terrorism. I think they are completely wrong, but a lot of people think that way. They picture a lot of movie-like scenarios where the evil terrorist has info on the "ticking bomb" that must be extracted by the bad-ass hero at all costs.

11:57 PM, November 27, 2006  

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