There’s a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about this video:

“Bush Dodged the Question!”

“Bush Lobbies for Torture!”

Do I endorse torture?

To answer that, you first have to understand what the nature of the torture is, and what someone means when they say torture.

I’m reminded of a quote from West Wing: most issues don’t have a black and white answer, and the ones that do usually involve bodycounts.

Abu Ghraib? Maiming? Water drips? no – these aren’t acceptable forms of torture. The accused will say what you want them to say or whatever they think you want them to say by the end of it, and the treatment is ineffective at acomplishing the intended ends, not to mention the inhumane-ness of the treatment itself.

Playing RHCP repeatedly until someone cracks in a chilly room? That’s just funny, and probably fairly effective. Making Saddam Hussein watch South Park the Movie repeatedly? Probably schadenfreude at my enjoyment of this, but I find those humane and decent forms of torture that will likely not have permanent scarring effects on the prisoners, yet will probably yeild positive results.

When there’s high stakes involved regarding the information a prisoner has, it *might* be okay to loosen rules regarding torture. I’ve never been put in such a situation, so I can only armchair quarterback, but I imagine there would be situations in which I might wholeheartedly endorse torture.

(There’s a dirty nuke set to go off in the heart of Baghdad, and this captured terrorist cel might have the information on where it is so it can be diffused. Where do you draw the line there?)

Bottom line: depends. Depends on the meaning of the term torture, depends on the type of torture, and it depends on the stakes of the situation.

I understand the quandry of being engaged in an armed conflict with an enemy that doesn’t play by the rules. It becomes a delicate game of psychology. They engage in brutal killings where they chop off our soldiers’ and civilians’ heads with dull blades.

What do we do? Stack them 10 high naked, and send a picture home to mom. Then they round up their own citizens and murder them on the side of the road.

What do we do? We stick them in the walk-in fridge and play the Chili Peppers again and again (Clearchannel does that in America, and people pay to put ads on it!). Then they hang American contractors from overpasses in the middle of town.

What do we do? We play South Park The Movie repeatedly to Saddam Hussein.

It’s a slippery slope when we endorse torture as a country – every law we pass can and will be taken out of context, stretched, bent, and worked to the fullest extend of every corrupt government employee’s will. On the other hand, we do need to have teeth when dealing with the threats we face overseas. We have to have the will to do what the other side won’t, or we’ll lose. It’s a high-stakes, bloody staring match, and folks, we’re losing. We’re in this thing half-hearted, we’re misapplying resources, and we’re tying our hands behind our back.

It’s not that we have to do what the other side won’t, but we have to make them think that we will. It’s a mind game, and we’re definately losing.

In other news: Iris has decided to move here to Tyler. Good news for the local real-estate market. Just one more Tylerite in the mix. Wendy was just telling me about a friend of hers from Arizona moving here due to the slowing Scottsdale real estate market.

Either way, I’m fairly happy my girl’s coming closer to me!


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