Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hitting the Right Notes on Torture

This may be getting a little old hat for him, but John McCain has again laid out the definitive case against legalizing torture. His piece pretty much encapsulates my views (particularly as regards the worthlessness of the ticking time bomb example) on the subject, so I don't have anything terribly insightful to add. It's worth a read, though.


At 2:29 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Nice link, Nick. I also have to say that I agree with Mccain's points.

Andrew Sullivan had a post last week with some more detailed information on water boarding if anyone is interested in learning morea bout what the Bush administration is currently supporting.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Jay Jacobus said...

Fair is fair

Do we choose what we are? Does the cow choose to be a cow? Does the goat choose to be a goat? Does the minnow choose to be bait? Does the corpse choose to be dead?

Sometimes we don’t get to choose and sometimes one insignificant choice leads to another choice and then another choice and then many choices until we find ourselves making a significant choice that we never intended to make in the first place.

Are we obligated by our earlier choices to follow all the choices to the conclusion that makes sense or can we make one choice that is out of character just to break the chain and in doing so reclaim a bit of free will?

If I stop my car for lunch, get out of my car and walk into a restaurant, am I obligated to eat lunch? If I marry a woman, sleep with her, eat meals with her, share finances with her and have children with her, am I obligated to go shopping with her. If I take a job, build worthwhile business relationships, produce beneficial work and follow the company’s rules, am I obligated to protect the company’s lawbreaker, provocateur or talking head?

Just what are my obligations? Tell me in black words what I am supposed to do. Or tell me in white words what duty I should embrace.

What should I do when I am coaxed into military service and sent to a war zone? Shall I stand up in battle and say to myself, “I must kill someone”? or should I say, “I am not obligated to kill. I am free to choose not to kill?”

I live in a society where free choice is the means and Nixon, Clinton and Bush are the ends. No one moved my hand on election day. No one pointed a gun at my head and said, “VOTE!”. Nor did anyone pay me a bribe. I choose with my own free will. I cannot say differently now.

Now, the Vice President might call me a name if I do not stand behind the choice that I made. He may tell me that I am responsible for the actions of the elected man. He will not accept my protest that I voted for an ideal and not a particular man. He will not let me speak about disappointment, surprises, failures and weaknesses. He will not permit disloyalty on my part.

This is an obligation I am not familiar with: the obligation of the well meaning voter to pay for the failure of the inadequate candidate. I do not accept that obligation. I reject the names and the name-caller.

A hypocrite might be a man who speaks of freedom and then sends troops to subdue a reluctant populace. A hypocrite might be a man who speaks of free enterprise but stands behind unfair advantage, market control and behavior modification. A hypocrite might be a man who might shirk dangerous obligations yet slyly aligns himself with brave people.

I am not a hypocrite. The rules that I apply to you will also apply to me. If I can torture you under my set rules you can torture me under your set of rules. This is the basis of fair treatment. Turn about is fair play. In fact, this is this principle that guarantees that the rule makers will consider human rights when making up new rules or enforcing old ones.

Let the overlords reap what they sow or let them sow with precise fairness.


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