Torture in America

This is, quite simply, the most devastating and most breathtaking post I’ve ever seen on the evils of torture and the bullshit jutifications we are always spoonfed by the right – especially the noxious and absurd “ticking time bomb” scenario. Here is a very small sample from a post I hope you can visit for yourselves. It deals specifically with the “ticking time bomb” we see all the time on 24. And there’s a reason we hear about it all the time – it’s the only conceivable way to justify the barbarism of torture, even if the scenario is hopelessly false and cynical.

That fictional invention continues to be criminally abused by the torture advocates. As I explained in the spring of 2003, the problem with this fantasy is an epistemological one: the example fails because of the specific means by which we acquire knowledge, and the patterns in how we do so. The “ticking bomb” scene is common in a certain kind of Hollywood thriller, and it has been made cheap and utterly unoriginal by endless repetition and imitation. However, it is virtually, if not entirely, impossible that such a situation would ever develop in this manner in real life.

The fact that those who advocate the “legitimated” use of torture find it necessary to avail themselves of such an obviously false hypothetical reveals that other concerns drive their campaign to make the most monstrous kind of inhuman brutality “acceptable” to any degree at all. They pretend to bring intellectual rigor to their unforgivable task — but their allegedly “serious” arguments are full of the most obvious defects. The pretense at intellectual engagement serves a crucial function: it is the cover for much darker motives, which they do not care to face — or to name. I will deal with those motives, and with the forces that drive advocacy of this kind of extreme cruelty, in the final parts of this series.

And he does deal with the motives, splendidly. No one is spared – not Bill and Hillary Clinton, not Alan Dershowitz, and best of all, not the odious Charles Krauthammer. This is a goose-bump-inducing piece, one that is so visceral and raw and ruthlessly brilliant you feel a physical reaction as you read it.

The Discussion: 2 Comments

Anyone else amused that a jew would be named “Kraut” “Hammer”. It’s a little poetic irony. God I miss liberty cabbage

October 24, 2006 @ 3:19 am | Comment

Great link! The deep philosophical principles against torture… It’s why TPD is one of the few blogs I find that manages to be educational instead of just opinionated. (Plenty of the latter, too.) I read the whole thing, but I feel guilty that I didn’t read the multiple other posts on which it was based. In case someone ever utters that “ticking time bomb” crapola to me, I’ll have the logical arguments to rip their position to shreds. Only they’ll be a bullet-head who’s impervious to logic, and all my mouth-flapping will be wasted energy…

October 25, 2006 @ 11:45 pm | Comment

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