Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 27, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

TORTURE....The Washington Post conducted a poll recently about torture and asked if it was acceptable in the case of "people who are suspected of involvement in recent attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq or Afghanistan." 64% of the respondents believed that torture was unacceptable in these cases vs. 34% who believed it was OK.

Sigh. I don't know whether to be relieved that two-thirds of the country accepts that torture is wrong or to be infuriated that a third of the country still doesn't. For that one-third, including the 17% who think that electric shocks are OK, the 19% who think threatening family members is OK, and the 29% who approve of punching and kicking suspects, I have two questions:

  • Is this OK for other countries as well, or only for the United States?

  • Would you have had any moral objections if the Iraqis or the Taliban had done these things to American soldiers during our wars against them?

That's the simple moral test. We accept that our enemies in war have the moral right to try to kill us because we're doing the same thing to them. Likewise, they also have the moral right to torture information out of our soldiers if we're doing the same to them.

You can't have it both ways.

Kevin Drum 6:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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