Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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The wrong question

In a recent poll run by the BBC, "27,000 respondents in 25 countries were asked which position was closer to their own views:
  • Clear rules against torture should be maintained because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights standards against torture.
  • Terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should now be allowed to use some degree of torture if it may gain information that saves innocent lives."
The second of those options should have read, "Terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should now be allowed to use some degree of torture even if it is applied to innocents arrested on suspicion of terrorism."

The results of the BBC survey are reported as "One-third support 'some torture.'" What those one-third of the respondents fail to realize is that torture as policy means that they, themselves, become possible subjects of that torture. Sure, if we could torture the "bad guys," many folks would be OK with putting the screws to them. The problem is that these "interrogation techniques" are being used on terrorism "suspects." Not convicted terrorists, notice, just those we think might be terrorists.

If you were arrested because you were suspected of being part of a terrorist plot you could be tortured in an effort to "save innocent lives." Your protests of innocence would sound the same to torturers whether or not they were true.
Tags: politics

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