Whether Torture Works is Beside the Point

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been pushing for the release of several specific additional memos related to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” more honestly known as torture, because they will prove that torture worked and good information was obtained. As his argument goes, if torture works, it must be okay. To which I reply: whether torture works is beside the point; it’s simply not legally or morally justifiable.

Then there is former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice who says she doesn’t think waterboarding is torture (and therefore not illegal) because President Bush authorized it. This sounds like an echo of President Nixon who famously told David Frost that if the president does something, it’s not illegal.

It’s bad enough that individuals at the highest levels of the United States government would sanction interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. What is absolutely amazing is that they would do so in spite of treaties we have signed against the use of torture techniques like waterboarding, in spite of having prosecuted other countries for engaging in waterboarding against our soldiers, in spite of waterboarding having been declared illegal by military experts and others knowledgeable about such things. The hypocrisy and the double standards are incredible. How can we possibly think it’s okay to use techniques we have prosecuted others for using, that even (or perhaps especially) military officials have counseled against and warned could be used against us too?

And now this morning I read that, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, “White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified — more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.”

I am a white evangelical Protestant, and I want to say unequivocally that I do not support torture. It’s wrong, and it’s illegal. End of discussion.


One thought on “Whether Torture Works is Beside the Point

  1. Pingback: Pondering History, Torture and Violence | Pieces of Peace

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