Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Liz Cheney is Evil

Liz Cheney is off defending "enhanced interrogation techniques", that is, torture, on cable TV.

She denies that these terrible "techniques" were torture. But what I'm interested in is the question she asks Robinson. Go ahead and watch:



She asks whether Robinson would waterboard if he knew that a detainee had information about a plot that would kill his family, and that he would get it if the detainee was waterboarded. Robinson's response is, in my opinion, correct, if delivered unconvincingly. Cheney's case is bad. There is virtually no case where you know with any sort of certainty that a detainee has the information that you are looking for. And, more importantly, you're definitely not going to know that you'll get the information if you waterboard. People lie to get out of torture. People make stuff up to get out of torture.

But what pisses me off about Cheney's question even more than the fact that it is dishonest is that it is based on the assumption that it could be okay to do something immoral in order to protect people. This is a bad assumption. The question we should ask Cheney is whether she would shoot an innocent 3 year old child in the head if she knew it would get the information she needed out of a detainee. Well? You need to save your family, don't you? But you don't do it. Because needing information doesn't make immoral acts permissible all of a sudden. And thinking that you can do grossly unethical things because you're scared and you wanted to protect your family is vicious. It's a defect in character.

Now, I'm not saying that it isn't sometimes necessary to violate moral norms in order to survive. People sometimes have to steal in order to avoid starving. But their theft is still wrong, and the fact that they are starving doesn't make their theft right - just understandable. And we might be forgiving of theft. But would we be forgiving of shooting a 3 year old? How about stretching someone on the rack? Pulling out fingernails? No, I don't believe we would be forgiving in such cases. And we shouldn't be forgiving of waterboarding. There are some immoral acts that we can forgive, that we can overlook due to certain mitigating factors, and then there are some acts that are just so egregious that performing them, or even defending them, is just plain evil.

Of course, Cheney claims that waterboarding (as well as the other techniques that were used - stress positions, sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme heat or extreme cold, etc, etc, etc) is not torture. We can't argue that until we have a definition of torture on board, and I have a feeling that Cheney's definition of torture is, well, wrong. Inability to recognize immoral acts as immoral is itself a defect in character, though. It makes someone a less ethical person overall.

Perhaps Cenk Yugur, of the Young Turks, says it better than I:

(Warning: Explicit Language)

1 comment:

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

Blah, blah, blah. Why don't we go around stabb'n each other in the ass for as long as our Finite Existence? Why don't Republicans get the first attack, then the Democrats... and on and on and on... Where does that git U.S.? Where does that whorizontal thinking achieve, Miss GorgeousGirl-whom-I-would-reeeeelly-love-to-nekk-with-in-Heaven-and-wrap-myself-around-you-to-be-as-one? HintHint We must think VERTICAL and how our Lifelong Demise is but ending. God bless you with discernment.