IN THE NEWS
More on Abu Ghraib...
Just to clarify, I'm definitely not willing to let the Americans--military and mercenaries--running the Abu Ghraib facility off the hook because they were untrained for prison duties, including interrogation. Anyone in this situation should know better, period.
Take any number of the following reasons why torture is a bad idea--or just one--and you have the basis for saying, there was no excuse for this conduct:
- Torture is morally repugnant on the face of it.
- The results are unreliable. since victims will tell you want they think you want to hear, not what they really know.
- Torture eliminates our moral authority. We sorely need to avoid any further erosion of this authority.
- Torture makes us hypocrites. To make an obvious point, after there proved to be no WMDs and no link to al-Qaeda, what made the war necessary, according to the Bush Administration? The removal of a regime that, among other misdeeds, regularly tortured anyone who looked cross-eyed at a picture of Hussein. Imagine, now the recent pictures from Abu Ghraib, with the roles reversed: the prisoners are Americans, and their captors are grinning Iraqis.
- This incident sets a bad precedent for the treatment of American soldiers and civilians in captivity. As we do unto others, so may the same treatment be done unto us.