The furor over the torture of terror suspects by USA military and officials has died down, and all the identified perpetrators have escaped punishment, despite the fact that some of the victims were tortured to death. Does this mean that we have crossed the threshold and that these techniques are now routinely acceptable?
I for one am extremely disappointed that our current chief, who is so fond of using the term brought to justice to describe killing, using drones, or special forces, suspects that he cannot arrest, and bystanders, has been unable to bring Americans, who he can arrest because they are serving in his military and civil service, to justice for serious crimes for which there is plenty of evidence. To make things worse he allowed Ali Mussa Daqduq who tortured to death 5 US soldiers to receive justice from an Iraqi court , which freed him
Are we meant to accept that torture is OK when the means justifies the ends and that many American and allied lives were saved by the use of torture? Certainly that is what we heard from the VP and other senior officials who were implicated. We will never know if that is true because so much of the information is classified. However, an easy thought experiment can challenge that view.
Suppose that a fanatical jihadist terrorist who has been planning a devastating attack has been caught during the final hours of his plan. This Arab dude is seriously tough, and he has been trained to withstand and treat with contempt the insipid forms of torture allowed to US interrogators. The prospect of preventing the attack using torture is dim, but there is hope because this fellow was captured with his 7 year old daughter who he clearly loves very much. The interrogators believe that torturing her in his presence probably would get results.
I am interested in whether our hard nuts who feel that of course the ends justifies the means would be willing to go that far. Is this a new moral line that the USA would never cross? I used to be able to give a confident answer, but not any more.
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