Tuesday, November 6, 2007


It is no secret that the use of torture to attain information today is a debated subject. The following commentary is far better than I can ever explain.

Waterboarding and Hiroshima
Did the Allies in World War II "lower themselves to the level of their enemies"?

Whatever side one takes here, the important point is that the debate fundamentally is about results. Note the difference with the current debate over waterboarding, where opponents argue that the technique is unconscionable and inadmissible under any circumstances, even in hypothetical cases where the alternative to waterboarding is terrorist attacks resulting in mass casualties among innocent civilians. According to this view, it is possible to wage war yet avoid the classic "choice of evils" dilemmas that confronted past statesmen such as Churchill and Roosevelt. Or, to put the argument more precisely, it is possible to avoid this choice if one is also prepared to pay for it in blood--if not in one's own, than in that of kith and kin and whoever else's life must be sacrificed to keep our consciences clear.


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