The Rabbit People are euphoric over the “successful” torture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Even as they cheer on the torturers, Cheney’s collaborators still can’t look themselves in the mirror. You see they’ve been living in an echo chamber for years telling each other what fine champions of “Liberty,” and “Justice,” they are. They still haven’t sufficiently mastered Orwellian doublethink to truly believe that two plus two equals five, and that one can be a champion of Liberty and a collaborator in torture at the same time. Therefore, when “patriotic public servants” at the CIA slam someone’s head against a wall “20 or 30 times a day,” waterboard him over a hundred times, and deprive him of sleep for 180 hours, for them it is not torture. It is “torture.”
As Ann Althouse puts it, “I’m not going to weight the issue one way or the other by deciding first whether to say “torture.” Let’s look straight at the issue and not get abstract and linguistic.” Actually, Ms. Althouse, there’s nothing “abstract or linguistic” about it. Allow me to help you out here. I’ve listed some of the common, and remarkably similar, definitions of torture for you below:
Merriam-Webster dictionary: Something that causes agony or pain
Dictionary.com: the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.
Thefreedictionary.com: Infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion.
Oxford pocket dictionary: The action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.
Does that clear up the “linguistic” difficulties for you? Do you get the connection between “slamming someone’s head against a wall 20 or 30 times a day” and “torture” now?
According to Ms. Althouse,
Critics of “harsh interrogation techniques” — they, of course, call it torture — bolster their moral arguments with the pragmatic argument that it doesn’t even work. How unusual it is for the media to disillusion us about that and force the moralists to get by on moral ideals alone!
I advise anyone who suspects I’m a purveyor of “moral ideals” to see my series of posts on the “Question of Should.” As for the issue of “pragmatism,” those who think I oppose torture because I doubt its effectiveness are also barking up the wrong tree.
My objection to torture can be summed up in a simple phrase: “What goes around, comes around.” Those who really believe that torture will make us more “secure,” that it will only be applied to “others,” and never to themselves or their children or their fellow citizens, and that those “others” will always certainly be “terrorists” lack the capacity to think beyond the end of their noses.