Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Trouble with Torture

As we approach Memorial Day this month, I started reflecting on the irony of our current security debate. The fact that we are even discussing torture as a possible means of information-gathering is appalling. People (Congress, military officials, and media) are getting into the nitty-gritty of whether waterboarding is actually torture, and even if it is that maybe it's ok when it's justified as a means to an end.

Are you kidding me?

We may think of ourselves as "civilized" or an "advanced society," but this conversation has all of the trappings of tribal war-lord tactics and can not be justified--no way, not ever. We hashed through all of this in the first two world wars and thus borne the Geneva Conventions. Because all agreed that torture was a bad thing for everyone involved. So have we really slunk so far in the last 60 years that we have to readdress this basic premise?

I realize that the last 8 years have followed the progressive path to fascism, but it's time for a turn-around. If you wanted a playbook of how to become a fascist dictator in a democratic society, George Bush sure stole from Mussolini and Hitler. What's worse is that now that he's out of office, we are still discussing this policy.

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