It’s sad to see that a large percentage of Americans think it’s perfectly fine to torture people.
There are three main arguments used: First, they’re bad guys. That apparently justifies everything. Bad guys deserve evil, twisted, sick punishment. This despite the fact that the majority of these “bad guys” had never even been given a trial, and we’ve already admitted that many were innocent, including at least one we killed through torture.
Doesn’t matter. Bad guys.
Second argument is that torture gives us useful information. This despite the fact that it doesn’t. The recent study showed that it didn’t. Previous studies have shown that it doesn’t. Every single study ever done shows that it doesn’t.
But it works on TV! In the fantasy world of fiction, torture works and therefore we should base real world policy on what people make up. People always come up with the kind of situation that, honestly, has never occurred. (“What if there is a ticking bomb and torture will force the captive to tell us where it is so we can save millions?”) It’s the same mentality that thinks “If we only all had guns, then whenever the bad guys tried something, all the good guys would fight back and never get hit and all the bad guys would die. That’s how it works in the movies!”
The prisoners in Gitmo were tortured and we learned nothing from them, except maybe how we aren’t always the good guys we like to pretend we are.
Third argument: It’s not really torture. “Ah,” as Arthur Dent would say. “This is apparently a new definition of ‘torture’ of which I am unaware.”
The definitions of torture were written by us, years ago, after WWII especially — Where we punished Nazis (and the Japanese) who did the exact same things to Americans that we later did to al Qaeda suspects. We knew what torture was then, and it hasn’t changed. It doesn’t stop being torture simply because we’re doing it.
Now, I am not denying that al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are Bad Guys. The problem is that by torturing, we’re also the Bad Guys. There are no Good Guys in that scenario.
Having Bad Guys is a great way to recruit supporters. “Those Americans torture innocent people. They’re the Bad Guys. Join ISIS and fight against the Bad Guys!” Maybe that was part of the CIA’s plan — they just wanted more terrorists so they can get bigger budgets, I dunno…
Some Fox News assholes — I’m sorry, commentators have proclaimed that even George Washington would have approved of force feeding someone through their anus while they are chained from a ceiling. As usual, that’s not true either, as Washington said back in 1775 when discussing it with his soldiers:
“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”
Forget about whatever legal arguments you might want to give. Torture is not ethical. It’s not something human beings should do to other human beings.
Slavery was once legal, too. That doesn’t make it right.