Wednesday, September 15, 2004


The question raised by this article (is torture ever acceptable?) is always interesting to me. Personally, I don't have many qualms about torture when it comes to terrorists. If we catch someone driving away from a church bombing in Najaf or Fallujah with remnants of explosives in the back of the van, then I can't understand why you wouldn't coerce them. Presumably, they've done it before and want to do it again. And presumably, American soldiers are targets. Why wouldn't we use coercive force to obtain information that could prevent imminent bombings and save the lives of our troops?

I really feel this way about al-Sadr and his thugs. I saw yesterday that they bombed a church in Iraq again. To remind you, this is the group that hid out in a mosque for weeks to avoid decimation at the hands of our Marines. This is also the group that uses human shields, women and children included, to keep those same Marines from turning them into glass. If it were up to me (and I suspect that the generals and soldiers over there feel the same way), there would be a lot less "winning hearts and minds" and a lot more "whipping ass." I think the hearts/minds campaign is a fine idea, but first you have to win respect. The Arab world is such a backwards and corrupt region (where else would there not be widespread public outrage at the use of human shields? Or apathetic nonchalance at the bombing of churches full of innocents? Why doesn't al Jazeera inspire Arab outrage about that?) that using fear to coerce obedience to the rule of law seems to be the only way to establish some order, at this point.

That doesn't apply to all Iraqis, of course, but I think it's necessary to tame the few bad apples who make everyone else's life there hell. If that involves some heavy-handed tactics, well, I'd just think of that as the cost of securing a peace. I certainly won't lose any sleep if a church-bombing, children-killing Islamofascist spends the last few days of his life in agonizing pain. I expect that most Americans, particularly red-staters, feel the same way.


At 1:40 PM, Blogger Tortfeasor said...

Haven't yet read the article, but I tend to agree, Bo. If we're torturing terrorists in order to obtain information that will keep innocent civilians safe, then I'm all for it.

The problem is that the US, and mostly other free nations, have signed international agreements that express a promise never to use torture (which has a legal definition that I can look up and post). Of course, the nations who have signed such a treaty are not the likely offenders. They aren't the ones flying planes into buildings, chopping off heads, etc...


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