To prevail in this war we need more than victories on the battlefield. This is a war of ideas, a struggle to advance freedom in the face of terror in places where oppressive rule has bred the malevolence that creates terrorists. Prisoner abuses exact a terrible toll on us in this war of ideas. They inevitably become public, and when they do they threaten our moral standing, and expose us to false but widely disseminated charges that democracies are no more inherently idealistic and moral than other regimes. This is an existential fight, to be sure. If they could, Islamic extremists who resort to terror would destroy us utterly. But to defeat them we must prevail in our defense of American political values as well. The mistreatment of prisoners greatly injures that effort.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Torture's Terrible Toll
The senator from my state, AZ, has articulated my thoughts on torture, and why we cannot sanction it in any form, far better than I could.
Give his Newsweek essay a read.
Its simply amazing to me that an administration that claims, above all else, a MORAL mandate would advocate a policy of "limited torture". This 'ends-justify-the-means' position is completely at odds with Bush's 'good and evil' world-view -- at least I don't see how you can reconcile the two.
If our enemies are evil because they abuse and torture their own people (Saddam, Islamic 'morality squads', etc.) how can we defend similar methods?
Senator McCain put it concisely: