Torture and Willy Pete

Over at Hullabaloo, tristero argues that the moral argument against torture, rather than the utilitarian one, is the argument to use. It reminds me of something Hunter wrote about the use of white phosphorous in civilian areas:

And I know it is true, there is some confusion over whether the United States was a signatory to the Do Not Melt The Skin Off Of Children part of the Geneva conventions, and whether or not that means we are permitted to melt the skin off of children, or merely are silent on the whole issue of melting the skin off of children.

But all that aside, there are very good reasons, even in a time of war, not to melt the skin off of children.

  • First, because the insurgency will inevitably be hardened by tales of American forces melting the skin off of children.

  • Second, because the civilian population will harbor considerable resentment towards Americans for melting the skin off of their children.


And, unless Saddam Hussein had a brigade or two consisting of six year olds, we can presume that children, like perhaps nine tenths or more of their immediate families, are civilians. These are, admittedly, nuanced points.

A slight related aside: Atrios writes:

Imagine if a certain senator got up on the Senate floor and said, simply:
This. Is. Wrong.
He can explain it any way he wants. He can say it’s wrong because it’s anithetical to all of the ideals of this country. He can say it’s wrong because it’ll make the baby Jesus cry. I don’t care.
I just want one of these people who keep running around telling us that Democrats need to provide leadership to provide some goddamn leadership.

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1 Response to Torture and Willy Pete

  1. bigTom says:

    But no one did (or at least not enough of them), so now our national
    motto is:

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