Thursday, December 11, 2014

Torture, the devil, and the law

The problem with torture is not that "it is ... inconsistent with our values as a nation".

The problem with torture is not that the justification of torture -- that it is needed to ensure security-- is at best factually weak, and more likely false.

The problem is  that torture endangers us.

The character of Thomas Moore, in A Man for All Seasons, defends the law against zeal for even justice by saying:
And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you--where would you hide ... the laws all being flat? ... I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
To parapharase MacArthur to Roosevelt: When some CIA operative drowning, some Marine is being rectally fed, when some Airman is held without sleep for days*, there last words can be a curse on Cheyney, Hayden, and Bush.

*See Stalag 17.