Friday, May 1, 2009


When you think that Republicans and conservatives have sunk as low as possible in matters of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, along comes Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer and endorses torture in two situations, the ticking time bomb and the high value prisoner.

In arguing for torture, Krauthammer misunderstands the nature of American democracy. The U.S. Constitution incorporates basic human rights of the individual. The Constitution does not endorse rights for the majority. Rather it accords a bill of rights for each person. Each individual in the U.S. and more broadly in the world has a right to be free from torture, from being killed, wounded, threatened, beat up. A government or a state must not use its superior power to do any of these things. This is what individual constitutional rights mean - freedom from the overarching infringement by the state.

Mr. Krauthammer, would you justify torture during the 400 years of Inquisition in Europe? Suppose you were a churchman and believed that a certain person was involved in witchcraft or Satan worship. Suppose you honestly believed that witchcraft gravely harmed little children's chance for eternal salvation. Would you permit the wrack? How about the test by water? Or perhaps the hot irons?

Furthermore, if you allow a government or state to use torture in the ticking time bomb scenario, what happens if you perform your dark science on the wrong guy? Would your torture be justified? Of course the answer is NO!

And it would be just as wrong if you tortured the right guy. Torture is never acceptable, never okay. Mc Cain says bizarrely in my opinion that it is not about them, rather it is about us. I disagree. It is all about the person you say it is okay to torture. It is about his or her human dignity, his personhood, his individual humanity. Torture deeply offends human rights, and I reject Krauthammer's arguments that it should be allowed in certain cases.

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