Thursday, November 08, 2007
Tortured definitions and support
As universally understood, torture is the infliction of physical injury through the application of physical force. It is the negation, the reverse image, of medical care. The monstrous intent of torture is, literally, to cause physical injury. That injury need not be permanently scarring or even temporarily bruising to be torture, as in the disgusting use of electric current, but it must be an actual injury in any case.
No one who has ever tried to come up with a definition of torture has ever limited themselves to "actual injury" (NB: electrical current needn't cause injuries in order to be painful). Torture has long been considered to be the intentional infliction of pain, distress, or suffering, and no one would have argued with that... not until recently.
Recently, there's been a huge outcry. No, torture is cutting off fingers and toes, or other body parts, and causing burns and breaking bones! Making a person stand for 40 hours (try it sometime...), keeping them in a 50 degree cell, chaining them in stress positions, administering beatings planned to avoid serious injury, those aren't torture!
What sickens me is this: I'm sure you remember the "torture memos" from the Justice Department... it's not torture until the pain is akin to impending organ failure or death. These debates are not an accident. Someone planted these ideas. Someone pushed this idea that torture requires real, measurable physical injuries.
Why? Well, there's really only one sensible reason for this to be pushed so hard. It's not that torture works; every competent interrogator knows that there are other, better methods that gain more solid information.
But of course, we don't have a competent man at the helm, do we? We have George W. Bush. He's just the kind of fool who'd decide that he would use torture to avoid getting blamed for another attack happening on his watch. He's just the kind of man who thinks that "doing everything you can" means doing things that the law says you can't. And he's just the kind of idiot who thinks that "getting tough" always yields better results.
So why is this debate ongoing? Because George W. Bush is guilty of crimes, and he doesn't want anyone to know. He can't help but have people find out, so his only hope is to try to redefine the actions he performed, and say that they aren't crimes. And a whole bunch of his cheerleaders join the chorus because they don't want to see their hero go down.
Here's a hint to you, Bushies. If you have to support torture to protect your hero, he ain't a hero. He's a villian. It's time to let him fall.