End of A Tortured Argument

Whoever is sworn in as the next President of the United States next January will no doubt be the recipient of a fair amount of goodwill throughout the world for the simple reason that he, or she, is replacing George W. Bush. And, whoever wins, one policy change is now a given. John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are all opposed to the use of torture by any agency of the U.S. government. It is not surprising that the Democratic candidate would oppose torture. One can imagine, however, nervous expectation that the Democratic nominee would be hit with an emotionally overwrought attack on the issue. You can imagine the attack ad: "Are you more concerned with the civil rights of terrorists than you are with the safety of the American people?" Instead, in John McCain, we discover the most credible opponent of the use of torture with an utterly unique credential for his opinion on the topic: McCain was a prisoner of war for five years and he knows a thing or two about how important it is that America hold itself to a higher standard. While he may have to bend his pro-immigration stance to accommodate the right wing of his party, it is inconceivable that anyone would mount a challenge to him on this front. This is very good news and should highlight how bad the news was last week that, yes, the U.S. government committed torture against three Al-Qaeda detainees. The administration defended that use of torture in these instances because of the extraordinary character of the detainees and the threat they posed. But, this is situational ethics, and situational ethics is not ethics, it is tobaggoning. There are always extenuating circumstances to "justify" a course of action that is morally reprehensible. Only a nation committed to the rule of the law and its own moral standards will refuse such justifications. American refusal to acquiesce in torture gets to the heart of what it means to win, or lose, the war against terrorism. Al-Qaeda is not Nazi Germany. It cannot overrun Europe. The only way a terrorist can "win" is by terrorizing us into lowering the standards of our civilization to their level. They behead people. They maim women and children. They murder innocents. They perpetrate torture. Civilized people do not and insofar as President Bush believes the war on terror is a fight for our civilization, his admission that the U.S. government committed torture gave Al-Qaeda its greatest victory since Abu Ghraib. Michael Sean Winters
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10 years 6 months ago
"Senator John McCain’s vote last week against a bill to curtail the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of harsh interrogation tactics disappointed human rights advocates who consider him an ally and led Democrats to charge that he was trying to please Republicans as he seeks to rally them around his presidential bid." New York Times. One need furnish anything more.
10 years 5 months ago
When the "terrorists" start using these sorts of tactics against our sons and daughters (yes, the very ones we are sending to kill them)... THEN maybe we will see what we are perpetrating by these cruel, cruel allowances. Have we no foresight or imagination? Why must we insist on these "repudiative" techniques to solve our own hatred problems? Have we not learned anything by Jesus' life and, more importantly, manner of death? Sadly, it is the righteous Christians who seem to be calling the most loudly for this!

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