Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Categories: The As It Happens Blog
by jeff douglas
So, there are reports that the information leading to the death of Osama bin Laden was procured, in part, through 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' And, of course, that reopens the debate between proponents and opponents of said practices.
Our morality on the subject is clear: Do. Not. Commit. Torture.
If it wasn't, why would the authors and commissioners of so-called Torture Memos way back in 2002, describe acts such as waterboarding and stress positions as something other than torture? Something that was merely "... cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture.." ? (18 U.S.C 2340-2340a article 2).
Clearly, we are all agreed: torture is not cool. - the battle over semantics bears that out.
So let's just go ahead and take innocent cousin Morality off the table and turn the floor over to salty Uncle Commonsense: the guy who tells us the world is not black and white, that sometimes good people have to do bad things and that we need information with which to defend ourselves.
Except that, isn't salty Uncle Commonsense also the guy who tells us that if someone was pouring tapwater up our collective noses and down our collective throat we'd say just about anything to make them stop?
When it became known U.S. troops were waterboarding Filipino guerrilla fighters in 1898, author Mark Twain remarked,
To make him confess what? Truth? Or lies? How can one know which it is they are telling? For under unendurable pain a man confesses anything that is required of him, true or false, and his evidence is worthless.