“Though error hides behind a lie and excuses guilt, error cannot forever be concealed. Truth, through her eternal laws, unveils error.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
Yesterday I got pulled into one of the oddest dialogues I have ever gotten myself pulled into – and, trust me, I have been pulled into some really odd dialogues in my life. One of my friends posted his feelings about the CIA-directed torture of prisoners held at Guantanamo and other secret holding facilities around the world. My friend was – as was I – appalled by the torture committed under the direction of the CIA. And then – I swear I am not making this up – somebody actually came onto my friend’s dialogue thread and asked, “Why is torture wrong?” Which. I mean. Seriously?! He wrote: “We should be proud that we ‘torture’. We should be proud to do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves. Torture is no more immoral than any other act of self defense.”
I replied: “Why is murder wrong? Why is thievery wrong? Why is rape wrong? Why is embezzling wrong? Why is kidnapping wrong? I mean… duh, right? Unless a person is totally lacking in empathy for his fellow creatures, I’m thinking the answer is self-evident – because it causes pain and suffering to another human being.” And then I asked, “When would torture ever be considered ‘self-defense'”?
It seems obvious to me that there is never an excuse for torture – never a reason when it could ever be justified as “self-defense”. Torture is an act of aggression, not an act of self-defense. Nothing good can ever be gained by using it. A person under torture is going to tell you what you want to hear – and it won’t always be the truth.
And that is all I have to say about that..
(Link to a Brennan Center Center for Justice article on the torture: http://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/us-torture-catastrophic-intelligence-failure-every-level )