eXTReMe Tracker WARNING: The opinions expressed and linked to in this blog are not necessarily mine (anymore).

My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, October 19

S. 3930: Military Commissions Act of 2006

I've been hearing and getting email about this for a while now. I don't know what to think of it yet.

I haven't read the bill.

Reading the bill wouldn't be enough to understand it anyhow. There are plenty of laws that don't get enforced or get enforced in ways that seem contrary to their wording.

Without getting into the bill just yet, I'd like to explore some related issues.

Is torture always wrong?

I can imagine scenarios where I would think it "might" be the least worst option, but it's difficult.

If I knew beyond all doubt that torturing someone would uncover information that could save millions of lives, I might be willing to do it. It would be a terrible situation to be in. I'd try to find some way to avoid it. I might put off doing it for so long that I'm too late to save anyone. I don't know whether I'd actually be able to do such a thing - even for a million people.

Most cases aren't so clear cut. An individual may or may not have such information, and torture may or may not succeed in obtaining it.

I also wonder about what torture does to the torturer. One would have to maintain a degree of indifference about or even enjoy the pain of others. Is this a good thing to encourage in anyone?

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