Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The fascination with torture.

I'm thinking Kieran Healy heard the same story on NPR this morning that I did, and we shared some of the same reactions. What is with the obsession with the "torturing the terrorist to find where the ticking bomb is" story? Why does anyone think it proves much of anything?* Happily, unlike me, he had the time to pursue the chain of thought over at Crooked Timber. As he points out, torture never takes place under circumstances where you know you need just that one additional piece of information to save lives. For example, the abuses at Abu Ghraib started, as I recall, at a time when the insurgency was gathering steam and our military knew very little about what it was facing.

Kieran links to other stuff here.

* This reminds of the passage in Richard Clarke's book in which he describes Bill Clinton and somone (Lloyd Cutler?) debating whether to have a terrorism suspect or witness rendered -- extralegally -- from another country. Al Gore walked into the conversation and said, essentially, so break the rules already and get the guy.

Did you see the Giblits commentary?
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