Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tortured Logic

The question that someone needs to ask Dick Cheney, given his aggressive public defense of "enhanced interrogation": is why NOT torture? Obviously this is not a debate over what constitutes torture, rather it's an attempt to reopen the debate on the use of torture as a tactic in the war on terror. Cheney's message is not that waterboarding isn't torture -- I don't think either his supporters or his detractors buy that claim. His message is that if causing harm, pain, and fear to an alleged terrorist saves the lives of Americans, it's a worthwhile trade-off, the rule of law be damned. I'm fascinated that no one asked him what he has AGAINST torture given his repeated assertions that waterboarding is not torture: "Mr. Vice-President, if thumbscrews save American lives is there any reason you can come up for not subjecting a terrorist to the screws? Or the rack?" I just don't think he'd have an answer, because the bottom line is that he and his supporters believe in a certain tortured utilitarianism.

No comments: