Sunday, October 15, 2006

InstaPundit links to a Hillary Clinton statement saying that the US government can use torture in exceptional cases if the president orders it and it is secretly reported to Congress. Boy, that shows you how things have changed since September 11. Before that moment, I think we all would have said, "Torture? That's the Nazis or the Spanish Inquisition. Or the French in Algeria. We don't do that." Now, even Hillary is willing to contemplate using torture.

I'm still against it, and I think some of the techniques used now during interrogation of prisoners, such as sleep deprivation, exposure to cold or heat, or being forced to listen to Barry Manilow at 110 decibels for hours, border on torture. But what would I do if I were president and we caught Zarqawi? Probably break out the rack and hook up the electrodes and make him talk, under amoral utilitarian "greatest happiness for greatest number" reasoning; that is, if we can make him talk by hurting him terribly, it will save lives, and Zarqawi's pain is secondary to innocent people's lives. But that's the same end-justifies-the-means logic that says it's OK for Stalin to kill the kulaks because their existence impedes the general happiness of all of society.

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