Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Should US Interrogators Imitate Chinese Interrogators?

This news item is made for my blog. Still think the USA should be able to torture whoever it wants? What if you were to find out that the interrogators at Guantanamo Bay are taught to imitate Chinese torture techniques? Specifically, the ones the Chinese government used during the Korean War on American soldiers. Apparently my earlier Manchurian Candidate reference was not in vain.

Yes, there are real bad guys, as many people would rather not believe; and yes, you do what you have to in order to protect people. But we can't institutionalize torture. That's why we're the good guys. That's why we're the civilized ones. And that's why already in 2005 John McCain introduced an amendment to the 2005 military budget bill to ban torture, which passed 91-9.

A choice between keeping alive America's moral mandate versus imitating Chinese torture practices shouldn't be so difficult.

1 comment:

Squid said...

"America's moral mandate?" Are you kidding me?

First of all, our moral mandate doesn't seem to buy us a lot of goodwill in the world. The Euros carp day and night about how awful we are, and the barbarians continue to saw our people's heads off whenever they get the chance. Even our own countrymen are convinced that anyone who votes the wrong way is evil and/or stupid.

Secondly, I don't see how the torture issue is going to sully our image in the long term. You'll recall that our grandparents firebombed Dresden, locked up several thousand fellow citizens for their Japanese descent, dropped two nukes, said every vile and filthy thing you can imagine about the Huns and the Nips, and came home to a country where blacks still had to ride at the back of the bus.

Today, we call these people "The Greatest Generation."

I'm all for a clear-eyed analysis of the costs and benefits of torture policy, but I'm not so squeamish as to take it off the table for the sake of a "moral mandate" that doesn't seem very well defined nor all that valuable.

And just because a bad actor endorses a policy doesn't make it wrong. Look at the French and their nuclear power industry.