Thursday, December 15, 2005

I was going to write something lengthy about our administration's desire to legalize torture. That was yesterday. I wrote half a post, then got distracted (possibly by the overwhelming pain in my lower back). Now it's too late.

The gist of what I was going to say was this: I have long believed that if a cause is worth killing for, it must first be worth dying for. Taking a life is a serious thing.

This concept can be extended to torture. The Bush administration, up until today, has been making efforts to ensure that if an interrogator believes that a prisoner has vital information about an impending attack, the interrogator can use whatever means are necessary to get that information and protect the lives of innocents without fear of going to prison. Here's the tricky part, the part I don't think they get (even though they have conceded): If something is worth torturing for, it's worth going to prison for.

Lets look at a scenario. You're a CIA interrogator. You know for a fact that an attack will take place in three hours that will cost hundreds of civilian lives in the US, but you don't know the details. You have one of the principle planners of that attack in your holding cell. What do you do?

It might be worth letting hundreds die to uphold our ideals of humane treatment. It might not. If not however, if you're really willing to pull out all the stops to save those lives, prison shouldn't even cross your mind. If it's worth torturing for, it's worth going to jail. Just do it. Get it over with.

Maybe the jury will decide it was worth it and let you off. If they don't, well, at least you know you'll be treated fairly well in prison.


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