Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Nobody favors torture... or do they?

I was reading a little blurb on the "Other Comments" page of the latest issue of Forbes magazine (January 9, 2006) by Andrew C. McCarthy and Clifford D. May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) (the blurb is actually from an op-ed piece in the December 14, 2005 issue of USA TODAY) in which they start with the startling claim that "No one favors torture." Huh?!?!? Maybe they believe that, but it's not a factually correct statement. To wit, neocon Charles Krauthammer wrote earlier in the December 5, 2005 issue of The Weekly Standard in an article entitled "The Truth about Torture - It's time to be honest about doing terrible things" the following:
And even if the example I gave were entirely hypothetical, the conclusion--yes, in this case even torture is permissible--is telling because it establishes the principle: Torture is not always impermissible. However rare the cases, there are circumstances in which, by any rational moral calculus, torture not only would be permissible but would be required (to acquire life-saving information). And once you've established the principle, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, all that's left to haggle about is the price. In the case of torture, that means that the argument is not whether torture is ever permissible, but when--i.e., under what obviously stringent circumstances: how big, how imminent, how preventable the ticking time bomb.
Mr. Krauthammer is quite a ways down the slippery slope. He does favor torture, provided that his own personal "stringent circumstances" are met. That's the rub; who is to say where that line is?

I would offer the following "law": If you propose a standard that invites abuse, you will get abuse.

-- Jack Krupansky


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