February 14, 2010

IF DEGRADING THEM WERE IMMORAL...:

We can be safe without torturing (Martin Iven, 2/14/10, Times of London)

[O]f course a democratic society wants security. We want rigorous checks within airports to safeguard flights. We cheerfully give more money for agents and resources to combat the jihadist threat. We will even accept intelligence from dubious sources taken by dubious means if it helps to prevent terrorist plots. But that doesn’t mean we should participate as active bystanders or facilitate the torture of suspects. Unlike many liberals, I won’t pretend that torture can’t sometimes work — though its victims may confess to anything to stop the pain, intelligence agencies can use it to corroborate what they already know. However, it is morally wrong at all times.
[...]

False either/or choices are presented by the civil-liberties lobby too. As a human being, Mohamed did not deserve degrading treatment.


...we wouldn't even be able to lead them away in cuffs. But, more important, notice that he doesn't even bother engaging the question of why it is preferable morally to allow an attack on innocents to go ahead rather than to use torture to expose plots, which he concedes can work.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2010 8:15 AM
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