[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: More on the Waterboarding Issue

Monday, May 25, 2009

More on the Waterboarding Issue

Here's an interesting and thought-provoking take on torture as well as waterboarding:
It is refreshing to see that so many liberals have discovered their moral compass. In their lust to claim the moral high ground over conservatives, along with their lust to discredit the previous administration and all of its conservative policies (and to prosecute as many of them as possible), liberals have decided that the "torture" of three al-Qaida figures in 2002 and 2003 is the issue with which to pursue their desired ends.

Liberals are throwing the word "torture" around much like they do the words "homophobe" and "racist." Those are popular "snarl" words that, when used, are intended to induce a negative response, appealing to a person's emotions rather than their reasoning. "Torture" is well on its way to becoming liberals' newest and most favorite "snarl" word.
This was in plain evidence in the comment thread to my post a few days ago. And, yes, waterboarding did work:

Near the heart-of-the-matter in this debate is the interrogation procedure with which we have all become too familiar: waterboarding. According to many different sources, waterboarding was used on only three al-Qaida figures: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Abu Zubayda and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Also, as many have recently pointed out, these "enhanced interrogations," as they were officially known, produced "high value information," as Obama's director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, acknowledges. Former CIA Director George Tenet in 2007 said, "I know that this program (of "enhanced interrogations") has saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than (what) the FBI, the CIA, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us."

Michael Hayden, another former director of the CIA, said recently that, "the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer. It really did work."

The columnist doesn't hide the sticky points (and neither do I), including the Catholic Church's position on torture.

Of course, the mere fact that something worked and was approved by Congress doesn't make it right and just. There are significant legal and moral issues in play when it comes to such interrogation.

Given the ticking bomb scenario, even the very liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer admits, "I think there are probably very few people ... in America who would say that torture should never, ever be used, particularly if thousands of lives are at stake."

Now I can respect an honest and consistent ethic (though I believe it is quite wrong) that lovingly honors human dignity (at every phase of life), and concludes that torture (whatever that is) is "intrinsically evil." The Catholic Church takes such a position.

I won't go further and paste Trevor Thomas' thoughts on the hypocrisy of those who are against waterboarding but support a woman's choice to kill a human fetus, since that goes into another hot-button topic best saved for another day. I will, however, conclude by pointing out that no matter how you feel about waterboarding, it's a choice reasonable people arrive at after much thought and internal as well as external debate. I would imagine it's not easy on either side. Remember that the next time a liberal anti-waterboarder tries to browbeat you with personal and moral arguments against waterboarding.

(H/T Aymee)

2 Comments:

Blogger Melek said...

Robert,

Thought-provoking piece indeed!

As usual, Hindsight is 20/20.

IMO, the sudden eagerness for some to define waterboarding as "torture" is to conclude that it is morally evil/wrong and from there make sure that someone is retroactively held accountable.

And yet, they totally overlook the fact that even "torture" at times can be morally justifiable. As the saying goes ... we should not allow our sense of morals keep us from doing what's right.

By the same token that killing someone in self defense can be morally justified, in this case, waterboarding an enemy combatant or terrorist seems justifiable, since the threat to innocent human lives (possibly in the thousands) is imminent. Actually the knowledge of a potential threat to innocent lives, in some circumstances pretty much gives no choice and morally justifies waterboarding as the lesser of 2 evils in order to prevent the death of innocent lives. The alternative would be to do nothing and allow the murder of innocent lives.

IMO, this entire issue, although presented under the smokescreen of "morality" (clearly by many who practice "relative morality") is political.

I wish you well :) Melek

"Justice is a certain rectitude of mind whereby a man does what he
ought to do in circumstances confronting him." ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

10:34 PM, May 25, 2009  
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6:17 PM, June 10, 2009  

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