So here we
are, in the United States of America, having a debate about whether our
government is allowed to torture people or not.
unwilling to answer a simple question with the obvious answer, which is
that we're not, some people attempt to confuse the issue by insisting
that something called "waterboarding" — by which a prisoner is made to
feel as if he's drowning — isn't torture.
along with threatening arachnophobes with spiders and even playing
"Russian roulette" with a uncooperative prisoner, in an emergency; but I
really think that our American government isn't allowed to actually
touch someone's person except to get the handcuffs on and direct him to
a prison cell and maybe eventually execute him.
what's necessary to interfere with a crime, and if the criminal points a
gun at them, they can shoot to kill. And I don't understand why some
people have a problem with this.
But once the
culprit is captured, the police are not allowed to beat him at the
Why would it
be different at the federal level? If terrorists get killed while being
apprehended, that's fine with me; but once they are prisoners, they are
not beaten. In my opinion, they are not given prayer mats, the Quran or
special diets, either — but they are not tortured. I also think they
have to go to trial within a reasonable time, according to our
Constitution. I don't understand why so many have been held prisoner,
unconvicted, for so long.
for President Obama for finally taking the 9/11 terrorists to trial.
a debate about whether they should be tried by the military or civilian
courts. What am I missing here? If a gang had robbed the World Trade
Center, its members would be tried as criminals in a New York
courthouse. Destroying the World Trade Center and killing thousands of
Americans was an act of war: The military should be in charge of the
trial, the military must indeed take on the torture issue in order to
determine if confessions were freely given and whether the prisoner is
the death penalty seems fair. I used to support Amnesty International
until it equated United States support for executing convicted murderers
with the treatment of possibly innocent people in Third World political
police and the government may sometimes need vital information that
would save lives, time being of the essence. Apologists for beating
prisoners ask us how we would feel about using torture if it were our
loved ones who were in danger. To which I respond: How would you
feel if it were your loved one who was being beaten and tortured?
government can do to an accused criminal or terrorist, it can do to you,
who might be innocent.
key phrase is "might be innocent." There may be times when guilt is
already known, when someone is caught in the act of preparing the attack
about which information is needed. I like the "solution" I've heard from
legal scholar Alan Dershowitz: If torture might save lives, do it
openly, with approval by the president or a Supreme Court justice; or
use it knowing it is not officially allowed by the United States of
America, and be willing yourself to take the consequences of violating
point is the current theme of the popular TV drama "24." Anti-terrorist
agent Jack Bauer does what he thinks is necessary to save innocent
lives, and we viewers love him for it, while booing the government that
wants to put him on trial for doing what he "has to do to save innocent
But I recall
the segment when Jack was absent and the people in charge of
counter-terrorism decided to torture Audrey on suspicion that she was a
spy. Audrey was not only Jack's girlfriend, she was the daughter of the
secretary of defense!
I allow a
certain suspension of reality when I watch TV, but that was an insult to
my intelligence, which of course I forgave in order to watch a few more
seasons in which the bad guys "got theirs" and the politicians who
enabled them or didn't have the courage to "do what's necessary" were
humiliated by Jack's definitive actions.
It can be
cathartic to fantasize about hurting someone who has or will hurt
innocent people; many of us cheer during movies, television shows and
action novels when the bad guys "get theirs." There's a difference
between enthusiastic takedowns of bad guys, though, and torturing them
when they are helpless in a soundproof cell.
I have no
patience with apologists for evil, which includes people who deny that
evil exists. I don't care if evildoers had a tough childhood, follow or
misinterpret their religion, or were born psychopaths. I don't really
care if they are tortured, either, as long as, a) they are proven
guilty and, b) they're not being tortured by or at the behest of my
American government in violation of its Constitution, which protects us
all from government power.