Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Krauthammer Slope.

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers has come up with the perfect description of where the torture arguments are heading:

First they tortured in ticking time bomb cases but I didn't mind because it was a clear and imminent danger.

Second they tortured "slow-fuse" high value detainees and I didn't mind, because you never know what might happen.

Third they tortured Iraqi and Afghan prisoners who weren't high value, but who might have had useful information, and I didn't mind, because they were acting in good faith.

Fourth they tortured prisoners to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam, and I didn't mind, because surely there must have been such a connection.

Finally, they came to torture me, and nobody cared, because if I was being tortured, I obviously deserved to be tortured, and, as Peggy Noonan says, some things are just mysterious and it's best to just keep on walking.
What planet do the Republicans live on if they can't even bring themselves to say that torture is wrong?

I'm presuming Sullivan named this article The Krauthammer Slope because of this disgraceful article Charles Krauthammer published in yesterday's Washington Post, in which he argued that torture is dreadful, except sometimes it's not. Sometimes real men have to do it whilst pussy "conscientious objectors" get all legal on your ass.
Even John McCain, the most admirable and estimable torture opponent, says openly that in such circumstances, "You do what you have to do." And then take the responsibility.
Well, I'm all for these tough guys taking responsibility for what they have done. Let's get the guys who instituted a torture regime in front of a jury and have them make the case that anyone who objects to torture is akin to a "conscientious objector".

But first, before they make their argument - that they are John Wayne and the rest of us are lying somewhere between Neville Chamberlain and a wet blanket - let's have Binyam Mohamed - and all the others who were subjected to this foul practice - stand in front of the court and detail what was done to them.

Let Mohamed describe how his penis was repeatedly cut with a knife and let's invite Krauthammer to explain to the jury how we are being "conscientious objectors" for finding this treatment of an innocent man unacceptable.

The only way despicable Republicans like Krauthammer can make this argument is by downplaying what was actually done to these people. And if Krauthammer is remotely serious when he says that, "You do what you have to do. And then take the responsibility", then he - of all people - should have no objection to a criminal trial on this subject.

Let them take responsibility in front of a court of law. But, as we know, Krauthammer - like so many Republicans - likes to give it the large one whilst steering clear of an actual fight.

He'll have a thousand reasons as to why taking responsibility in front of a court of law is actually an inversion of justice. The real cowards here are the people who talk the way Krauthammer does, whilst running as hard and as fast as they can from any nominal notion of criminal responsibility.

Click title for Sullivan's article.

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