Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Why Should We Care if we Torture Some Terrorists?

... And other questions from Abu Ghraib (or as Bill Maher called it, "Abu Grab-Ass").

     Why should we care if American soldiers are torturing Iraqi prisoners in Iraq? They're just a bunch of terrorists anyway, right? They do worse to us - heck I hear there's video on the internet of some of them chopping off an American's head! It's not like we're killing them. If the life of your mother or daughter depended on the information that terrorist had, would you want to torture them? All the Arabs are mad at America anyway. You just hate America and try to drag us down to their level!

     Any of this sound familiar? Twisted logic mixed in with lies, misdirection, and innuendo. It's hard to know where to begin to defend the Truth against the right-wing lie machine, and that's exactly how they like it. Here are some facts:
  • Not all prisoners in Iraq are terrorists. In fact, most are imprisoned for mundane acts, like shoplifting or fighting. Sure, you'll have a few car thieves and some muggers. Mixed in is a sprinkling of terrorists. When Lynndie England was photographed with naked prisoners in a pile, she wasn't punishing hardened terrorists, she was abusing petty thieves.
  • As you may have guessed, these pickpocketers aren't chopping hostages' heads. In fact, lets say we caught al-Zarqawi. Do you think he'd be in the Abu Ghraib general population getting goosed by an army reservist?
  • OK - it's true. We're not killing the prisoners. You got me there.
  • If my mother were immediate danger and the prisoner had knowledge that could save her, I would condone most or all forms of interrogation. This is known as a "ticking bomb" and forceful interrogations are using in these situations in the civilized world, just quietly. There was no "ticking bomb" at Abu Ghraib. There is no "ticking bomb" in Guantanamo Bay. While a terrorist act against Americans could happen at any given time, that is not an excuse to wholesale torture every person with a beard or a turban on earth. The key word is "If". Not "Always". And remember that the tortuous interrogation would have a specific purpose. It would not be done "because they deserve it", but because we needed a piece of information that would save lives. Would, not could.
  • All Arabs are not mad at America. Many are. Since Abu Ghraib, many more are. This statement is even at odds with the President, who like to tell us that the insurgency is caused by a small minority that the rest of the country is scared of. Every time we break trust with the silent majority, we embolden the violent minority and further endanger ourselves. Terrorists are able to kill Americans in Iraq and disappear into the shadows because the populace is too scared to speak up. Can you imagine how bad it would be if they were actively rooting against us? This argument is only seriously used by those who call the war on terror a war on Islam. They want to kill all Muslims anyway, who cares if we piss them off.
  • "You hate America" This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Radio talk show hosts and now ignoramus dittoheads telling people they hate America. Do they honestly thing 50% of Americans hate America??? I'm actually so baffled by this statement, I hope someone can expound upon this and tell me exactly what it means for an American to "hate America" and what motivation that person would have. Personally, I love America. I thank God every day that I live here and I make it a personal goal to improve it here. I hate liers and hatemongers. But I don't believe they represent America.

     Let's try to retain at least some of America's ideals in this war. Let's treat people humanely and if we're serious about bringing democracy to the people of Iraq, let's treat them like they deserve democracy, not like they deserve to be in a naked pyramid.

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