Friday, April 24, 2009

Knowing Right From Wrong, Knowing What Works And What Doesn't

The latest right-wing talking point is that torture is immoral, but the “big” question is: Does it work? Supposedly, the right-wing dunderheads think that it does, or that maybe it does. So it was OK that we did it.

What is the next step here. Stealing is immoral, but it works. Murder is immoral, but it works. They get the job done. By the logic of the right-wing dunderheads we all should be stealing and murdering. They get the job done. And that’s all that matters. Right?

Actually, stealing and murder make more sense than torture. They work. They are effective. Torture doesn’t work. It is not effective. No wonder Bush and Cheney like it so much. Remember the last eight years and how effectively they ran the country? Is it any surprise that that the king fuck-ups of all time actually prefer something that doesn’t work?

From Have we really sunk so low as to seriously ask, Does torture work? by P.M. Carpenter:

On the other hand, despite recent revelations that Bush-Cheney's architects were grossly unschooled in the historical background of torture's efficacy in wringing accurate information, they, as reasonably well-educated people, had to understand the simple logic of duress = gibberish.

Why, then, torture? Why extract reams of unreliable information which sends thousands of other operatives scurrying about the globe in futile attempts to nail it down, especially when actionable intelligence was already being extracted through other interrogative means?

Why? I can think of no reason other than nakedly brutal revenge -- a deep-seated animalistic urge to inflict pain for pain caused. True confessions, false confessions, good information or bad information -- all of it, to the architects, at their deepest inhuman level (scarier yet, perhaps all too human), was essentially irrelevant. They just wanted the emotionally primitive satisfaction of savage payback.

Maybe there are throngs of behavioral psychiatrists that would tell me I'm all wet. But I doubt it. So as committees convene and hearings commence in the bewildering pursuit of answering the staggeringly malignant question, Does torture work?, perhaps they should first ask: Why even ask? At its root is sadistic barbarity, which was not, last I looked, a founding principle of this nation to be defended.
From Reclaiming America’s Soul by Paul Krugman:
It’s hard, then, not to be cynical when some of the people who should have spoken out against what was happening, but didn’t, now declare that we should forget the whole era — for the sake of the country, of course.

Sorry, but what we really should do for the sake of the country is have investigations both of torture and of the march to war. These investigations should, where appropriate, be followed by prosecutions — not out of vindictiveness, but because this is a nation of laws.

We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn’t about looking backward, it’s about looking forward — because it’s about reclaiming America’s soul.

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