Michael Goldfarb thinks that if you support gay marriage or choice, but not torture, you're a hypocrite:
As to the morality of the methods used, I don't see anything immoral about smacking around a terrorist or making him sit in the cold or dunking him in the water, but you can argue it either way. Still, I wonder why the same people squealing about the alleged moral indignity to which these monsters were subjected are the same people who want the government to keep morality out of their bedrooms and doctors' offices. Why should the government be forbidden from making a moral judgment about gay marriage or abortion but compelled to make a moral judgment about the treatment of terrorists plotting to murder Americans citizens?
So he's arguing that it doesn't make sense for people who support gay rights and women's rights to support...human rights? I believe Goldfarb may have discovered a new species of non-sequitur somewhere at the intersection of dadaism and thuggishness. It's like this: people have rights, government has authority. Learn the difference.
To call this torture, particularly when done to an individual like KSM, diminishes the very real torture employed by the regimes that U.S. troops have toppled and the rogue states like North Korea and Iran that continue to violate basic human rights.
This is the most honest presentation of the right's view of torture yet: the definition of torture isn't based on whether or not interrogation techniques meet the definition of torture under the law, but on the arbitrarily defined personal qualities of the tortured. That's why when North Korea treats its prisoners to “prolonged periods of exposure to the elements”; “confinement for up to several weeks in small ‘punishment cells’ in which prisoners were unable to stand upright or lie down”; “being forced to kneel or sit immobilized for long periods”; and “being forced to stand up and sit down to the point of collapse,” it's torture, but when we do similar things it's not. Spencer Ackerman is right, these guys deserve a thank-you note from Kim Jong Il: the most powerful surrogates for torturers around the world are now Americans like Dick Cheney.
Hardly a day goes by that I don't think to myself, how could McCain possibly have lost the election with people like this guy working for him?
-- A. Serwer
*This post was edited from its original version because I had to take it down after a blogjam, and there were related developments.
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