November 8th, 2005

dp

On torture

Instapundit: I'm against torture, but torture consists in applying electrodes to people's testicles, not "mocking their religion," wrapping them in Israeli flags, or frightening them with fake menstrual blood, and the McCain bill may be read as forbidding those non-torture activitities. They might be a bad idea, for a variety of reasons, but they're not torture, and one of the reasons the "torture" issue has gotten less traction than it might have is that too many people have blown their credibility by conflating things they don't like with things that are of a different order entirely

I have the same feelings. On the surface, the anti-torture legislation looks obviously wonderful; this is a bad sign. Common sense often fails us. Another issue to consider is the fact that Israel, while being a fully democratic and pretty much "left European" country, does allow limited torture (or what it considers torture), albeit strictly legislated. (I am sure the reality is different, as usual, and there is more torture in Israel than what is legally allowed, but that is a different issue.)

This is a loaded issue, one which is difficult to discuss with or without having first-hand experience.

(What's a first-hand experience at torture, anyway?)