Monday, August 31, 2009

But What If Torture Works?

I've already written about torture, but perhaps it bears repeating when I see the following video.

"...whether or not these techniques are immoral, or how immoral they are, surely depends on whether or not they work."

No. No, it doesn't.

I don't have to examine the possible uses of infant blood to realize that putting a child in to a tree chipper is immoral. I don't need to measure the property tax benefit to a city to see that bulldozing a homeless shelter is immoral. I don't need to examine the shock and awe created by a nuclear explosion to know that dropping an atomic weapon on civilians is immoral.

And I don't need to know whether or not "torture works" to decide it's wrong. It's wrong because we will make ourselves at least as bad as we pretend our enemies are. It's wrong because it dehumanizes people, both victim and torturer. It's wrong because it's the worst part of us and our humanity demands we stomp that part of our psyches out of existence.

Nothing we learn from torture could ever be worth what it does.

And that conclusion doesn't have a thing to do with whether or not it works.

h/t Red Tory

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