Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Conservative Case Against Torture?

I read this article and it left me scraching my head and thinking huh? I pretty much just took it apart and explain my thought process. I posted it on his comment section:

Hmm. Very interesting but not even slightly compelling. To prove to you, I'll just go ahead and take it apart: First, the title:1. "The Conservative Case Against Torture"-Waterboarding is not torture and to try to put it on the same scale as pulling fingernails off, pistol whipping or anything the chinese and Nazis did is simply insane especially when America has used this techniques to train our own forces. 2."But torture is clearly unconstitutional. When it ratified the Convention against torture and other cruel and degrading treatmentin 1994, the Senate defined “cruel, inhuman and degrading” as any practice that would violate the Fifth, Eighth or 14th Amendments."-His case against this being unconstitutional is very unconvincing because in that case you can say almost every form of war, interrogation or heck simple police roughing up would be unconstitutional. 3. Second, it completely shatters the myth of American exceptionalism. Ronald Reagan put it best when he called America “that shining city on the hill.” America is truly the greatest country in the world, in no small part because we have a Constitution that guarantees the rights of its citizens, and because we don’t torture. How can America be exceptional if it does the same kind of crap that the Russians, the Chinese, the Egyptians or the Arabs do? How can we say that we are freest nation, the best nation on earth, the last, best hope for civilization when we allow the state to waterboard, to humiliate and to beat up prisoners? -This one just made me go nuts. It simply shows a lack of knowledege and understanding of history. To say America is "that shining city on the hill" because we don't use harsh methods is simply false. What makes America stand out is the fact that such harsh methods are not used on a regular basis, are not used on normal individuals and such things are a last resort or should be, kind of like war. History shows us that. Dropping the mushroom on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, FDR putting japanese-americans in internment camps during WWII, Abraham Lincoln suspending habeas corpus on HIS OWN CITIZENS and I'm sure there are more examples. But to say somehow America is the greatest country in the world because we've lived in some kind of utopia is not only not conservative, is pretty ignorant and naive. And this goes along with his argument about being Machiavellian-like. America doesn't flex its muscles unless it needs to and I sure as heck believe keeping millions safe is pretty darn necessary. Unless he wants to say America was wrong to drop the atomic bombs and suspend habeas corpus, where America will be two different countries, if we were even here today. 4. This one is the most ridiculous of them all: "Third, conservatives usually have a healthy distrust of the state. Why should they suddenly think that allowing the state to torture anybody somehow is a good thing? As a conservative (and I am a conservative), I am very leery of giving the state this much power. What prevents the state from using this kind of power on domestic “terrorists”?" This doesn't get any more bizzare and leaves me scratching my head. Why should we even have a military then? Since they can decide to use "that kind of power on domestic 'terrorists'?" I mean, I think my distrust for the state is based on when it goes outside of it's written constitutional duty, which includes protecting the citizens. I hope conservatives don't go the route of thinking that all government is bad. I know a lot of people love to quote Ronald Reagan saying that "government is the problem". But they miss the part that he said "in this situation, government is the problem". Some government is good, very limited but good. So to think because we distrust most of the state doesn't mean we become paranoid about our government using such power against regular citizens. 5. America is a beacon for freedom around the globe, but that only works when we act responsibly, in a way that promotes human rights and protects human dignity. We don’t act that way when we give the state the power to torture people in the name of protecting our safety. He sounds like an anti-war crowd more than a conservative here. Last point I know I went long but, republicans and unfortunately for me, conservatives, have allowed our opponets to define the argument. We sit here repeating "torture memos", "anti-abortion", "against gay marriage", these are a few examples. My question is why? When we let them define the argument we automatically lose. You let people call interrogation torture and before you know it you'll think sitting across the table and chatting with a jihadi is torture just because some left wing ACLU loon tells you it is. If this continues on both the national security level and politcal level, I can guarantee conservatives will never win an argument, less an election. And that will make America worse off. I'm with Ryan, give me another technique that would have given the info that saved thousands of lives or you'll just be ok going to the funeral of 3000 more people and telling them that sorry you lost your kid because we didn't dump some water on Khalid Sheik Mohammed. At least we're still "the beacon of freedom". What good is freedom if you're dead?

Update: I forgot to link it earlier. It's fixed now.

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