Friday, September 29, 2006

Shame on our government

Sometimes I just have to get away from the news saturation that's the norm for me. Things get too depressing or too frightening and I just have to take a few days to ready myself for the reality that's developing. So, suffice it to say that I'm disgusted with the torture bill, and deeply ashamed of our leadership in this country. I feel the same way now as I did the last time the torture "compromise" came around. Here are some reposted thoughts, in lieu of real blogging. May we begin the path to redemption this November.

From an old post on the interrogator contemplating torturing a prisoner:
When a person goes ahead and tortures a detainee, it is never a morally correct decision. The practical issues feed directly into the moral ones here, because the cruelty of torture is not worth the risk of it being fruitless. If I could be assured that my subject of interrogation would tell me how to defuse the ticking nuclear bomb planted in a daycare for the children of nice-smelling nobel prizewinners if I were to commit some horrible act on him or her, I see no problem going ahead and doing it. The point of interrogation, however, is that the interrogator does not know what the detainee knows. There really is no way to know what is going to be accomplished by practicing waterboarding on a detainee. I am not at all comfortable with the idea of torturing another human being just in case I find out something important. It may happen that good, useful information that saves many lives will be obtained through torture. In that case, retroactively, I think that torture could be considered "justified." Its potential utility, however, does not make it acceptable, and the fact that it is more likely to be useless than not, makes it evil.
From another, on leadership needing the ability to act outside the law:
In the unlikely event that a person knows that torturing a detainee will bring vitally important information to our country, they may decide to do it, but they should always be held accountable for breaking the law. If it is ultimately found that torture or wiretaps brought enough benefit to Americans to outweigh the detrimental effects of breaking the laws, we have presidential pardons for that.

I shouldn't have to point out that the laws we have exist to preserve the safety of this country. Much more often than not, breaking the law is a danger to our society. Unless the circumstances of these wiretaps are extremely dire, I think it much more likely that Bush has endangered our contry by breaking the law than he has preserved our safety. This is why we impeach Presidents who break the law.
To continue this thought, it rings so hollow that the argument is that the President needs lattitude so that he will be unrestricted. If there is a very unusual exception and the rules need to be broken, the rules need to be broken, but that doesn't mean we don't need rules. If any fellow American - let alone the President - won't face jail time so as to prevent a catastrophic terrorist attack, they're not fit for any kind of responsibility in the security of our nation. A man who will ignore laws about drinking and driving, but would say his hands were tied in the mythical ticking time bomb situation and blame Congress or Democrats or whoever was handy, lacks the most basic understanding of the rule of law and personal responsibility. This attitude is poisonous to the spirit of our country, and cannot be tolerated.
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