Thursday, April 23, 2009

I actually agree with a Fox News guy

I've noticed Shep Smith before. Once in a while, he rocks.

It's not that hard. Torture is always wrong. Period. But even if it wasn't, it's against the law. It's a crime. And America is party to war crimes treaties (and ratified treaties are the highest law of the land, they're not "suggestions") that require the investigation and prosecution of possible war crimes.

Conservatives, I would have thought, should be all over this. They're supposed to be in favor of law and order. They're supposed to believe that no one is above the law. There are some honorable exceptions like Shep Smith, but it seems that for far too many conservatives, the highest law is It's OK If You're A Republican.

Update: And on the question of whether torture "works," I'll let Smith speak for me again (language not safe for work/children/prudes):


  1. I agree too. I wrote a little about what it means for America to OK torture here: Be the good guys.

    However, I think it would have been good if he'd at least pointed out that that torture doesn't "work" (in the sense of protecting people), and that the idea of "sure it's bad, but sometimes it saves innocent lives" is false.

  2. In the first video, Smith and Miller (who was one of the main journalist cheerleaders on the way to invading Iraq, BTW) do mention in passing that it doesn't "work."

    But I don't like going in that direction at all, because torture should not be a legitimate topic of discussion. It's wrong and it's a crime; it's "effectiveness" should be irrelevant to all decent people.

  3. True, it's wrong and it's a crime. I agree that it's "effectiveness" should be irrelevant to all decent people.

    Yet, there exist some people who will be swayed by his (false) dichotomy of "a few bad guys suffering to protect innocents". I think it should be made clear that that, too, is just a dishonest rhetorical trick.

  4. OK, maybe you're right after all. I just read the comments on that T & S post about torture, and apparently there's some evidence of the suspects' families "disappearing" in hopes that that would be effective at getting them to talk. Wow. Worrying about if it "works" is a morally bankrupt direction to even start on.

  5. However all this turns out in the end, this will be one of the worst legacies of the Bush Administration: America has gone from being a country that at least claimed "We do not torture" to a country that says, "Let's at least think about torturing."

  6. There are a lot of different ethical systems. I can appreciate the thought that there should be only one, and that by fiat (Godly or otherwise) each can declare it, but unless you are asserting some sort of prophetic inerrancy, the fact that torture has negative effectiveness is relevant.

    Not to mention, a bankrupt method is even more morally bankrupt.

    But then I link to the blog, Torture, Not An Option.

  7. As soon as we open the question of the "effectiveness" of torture, we accept its possible legitimacy. I refuse to accept that torture is legitimate under any real-world circumstances.


What do you think?