Tuesday, October 18, 2005

 

Torture Is Just Plain Wrong

Marjorie Cohn begins an article with this paragraph:

“Republicans and Democrats have finally found something they can agree on. They have bipartisan support to stop Bush’s inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners in United States custody: It’s bad for our image in the Arab and Muslim world. It breeds more resentment against the US, making us more vulnerable to terrorism. And it’s just plain un-American.”

Now, it is not my purpose here to criticize Ms. Cohn — she writes some pretty good stuff. But I would like to mention a possible oversight, and take issue with one point.

True, torture is bad for America’s image, and it breeds resentment against the US. What she doesn’t say here — an oversight? — is that torture is just plain wrong. That should be the primary reason for stopping it. Image should be a secondary consideration. Civilized people should not commit or allow barbaric practices like torture. I am disappointed that she made image the main reason in an appeal to Americans’ self-interest.

The other point is her assertion that torture is “un-American.” If only that were so. The unfortunate and shameful fact is, practices like torture and assassination are as American as apple pie. If the mainstream US media were doing their job, Americans would know about the ghastly, despicable things done in their name, and financed with their taxes.



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