Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The 'why's' of torture

An incredibly thoughtful article by Noemie Emery of the Washington Examiner:

In the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was offered the use of a bullet that exploded inside the body, doing the victim incredible damage. Lincoln approved it: It would shorten the war. For the same reason - to shorten the war – President Harry S Truman incinerated not one but two Japanese cities. Neither man is considered a war criminal (except by Bill Maher), as they took some lives to save more lives, specifically those entrusted to them, and to preserve a political system less unjust than the ones they were fighting.
Their guilt is absolved by their intent, which was to save lives, and a more benign social order. Yet liberals, who apply the motive defense in trying to exonerate perpetrators of criminal violence - the accused was stressed out, he ate Twinkies, he was deprived as a child, etc. - seem strangely unwilling to extend this to those who made use of ‘harsh’ tactics to forestall further attacks after thousands had perished in the most torturous manner on Sept. 11, 2001.

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