Friday, January 06, 2006

The Hypothetical Hypothetical

It seems our kindly conservative friends are fond of using the "24" to justify the use of torture of prisoners. But that's carrying things a bit too far. Our friends at The Blue Republic ( have a great take on this. I have the author's permission to reprint it here.

You say you’re against torture, and as a nation we should never endorse its use. But what if a nuclear weapon is set to go off in Manhattan within hours and you have a terrorist in custody who knows where the bomb is? He's not talking. Do you torture him for information?

Of course you do! Do you see the error of your ways? How foolish you’ve been – do you think for a moment that torture isn’t a necessary tool in our war on abstract nouns? In this simple scenario, the intellects on the right have rendered your bleeding heart supposition - that torture is in itself evil - into American-hating “Michael Moore think”. You godless, Christiane Amanpour loving bastard!Unless……perhaps you were employing reasoning that is a tad more sophisticated than the question posed above. Is that it? Is it possible that the masters of right wing rhetorical reasoning like Dick Cheney may have missed some logical construct that would make the above scenario seem both stupid and simplistic beyond measure?Gasp! I think I know where you’re coming from.

For example: if you were holding two people and only one had the information about the location of the bomb - but you didn't know which one - would you torture both people? And for that matter, what if there were 200 people in custody and you didn’t know which one had the information? What about 2,000? Hey, the moral ambiguity here is starting to vaporize. And here’s one for you – what if the “terrorist” has an innocent 14 year-old pregnant daughter who doesn’t know where the bomb is, but if you tortured her…the terrorist dad might spill his guts? Indeed, while you’re making up scenarios – why not make up one where we actually know where the bomb IS! It doesn’t take too much contemplation to realize that the simple scenario offered by the fans of torture is not only simple-minded, but dishonest

Be sure to click on the link and read the whole article. I comes in handy when arguing with Republican apologists.


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