Monday, March 19, 2007

It's not torture that bothers me

What bothers me are double standards.

I have the same warm fuzzy liberal bias against torture, but when I think about it, what does torture actually mean? I think prison would probably be torturous, but everyone seems OK with that. Pulling fingernails off of people and burning them with coals, on the other hand, seems a pretty clear no-no. Making people feel like they are drowning is apparently somewhere in between. I don't get the distinction; it seems like there is just an arbitrary amount of suffering that we are willing to inflict on people we don't like.

So fine. We want people to suffer, we want them to suffer. What bugs the crap out of me is that we are willing to make the other guy suffer so much more in the name of national security. I don't think anyone seriously suggested water-boarding Timothy McVeigh after the Oklahoma City bombings, even though he probably deserved it as much as Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed or anyone else with an Islamic-sounding name. The fact that we are OK doing torturous or semi-torturous things to "them" and not to "us" is xenophobic at the least, if not outright racist.

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