Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ellipses

In case you haven't seen it yet (unlikely), Jesse "The Body" Ventura, former Navy man: "You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders." . . . An amazing picture book from 1970 told the genders how it is (or was). . . . Matthew Dessem provides some laughs with a dissection of The Blob. . . . Funny/interesting story about battling groups of gay Republicans. . . . Lately on The Second Pass, in case you haven't been visiting (tsk-tsk): Me on a book about baseball umpires, Sarah Douglas on Geoff Dyer's latest, Anne Trubek on a frightening novel from early America, and Emily Votruba on the theology of Simone Weil.

1 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

"You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders."

Well, sure. I don't think anyone denies that waterboarding can force someone to say whatever you want to hear. The relevant question is whether we can give you Dick Cheney, a waterboard, and one hour, and you can make him tell you the truth. It's whether waterboarding can elicit good, useful information.

Ventura's line of debate --- that torture only gives useless information -- is belied by pretty much every expert in the field, as well as its history of results. Torture has been used throughout human history *because it works*. It yields effective, useful information. If it didn't work, then no one would ever do it. Not only would there be no point, it would actually be counter-productive. How long do you suppose a torturer would be employed if he never got any good information?

If you want to argue that it's illegal, immoral, or harmful to America's good standing in the world, fine. I can live with those arguments. I'll probably have to concede that parts of those arguments are true. But anyone who says torture doesn't work is either not thinking their arguments through, or they're not arguing honestly.

8:32 PM  

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