By , May 6, 2011 9:57 am

I’m against torture.

I’m undecided about waterboarding. Is it torture? It certainly must be uncomfortable, and I’ve read all the arguments that it is–Japan did it in WWII, and we went after them, etc. But then there’s the odd fact that guys like Christopher Hitchens willingly underwent waterboarding to see what it was like. (It was like torture, he said.) I have a hard time imagining Hitchens allowing someone to attache electrodes to his genitals or pull off his finger nails.

Anyway, we can debate my moral dilemma another day. My point today is to raise an interesting question raised by an interchange in the comments on Barry Ritholtz’s website The Big Picture. Ritholtz, by the way, is adamant that water boarding is torture. Virtually all of his readers appear to agree with him, judging by the comments.

But then there’s this interchange:

Andy T Says:
May 6th, 2011 at 2:45 am
“Thinking that torture is wrong is not a liberal or conservative value — it is an American value.”

If your wife or child was captured by somebody…and the only way to get really good information out of a suspect/accomplice was to torture them, what would you do?
Tough question…..I know.
Mike Dukakis lost an election with that type of question in 1988.
Keep holding on to your ‘truths’ ….


BR: Its not a tough question — its a silly piece of rhetoric, revealing the questioner to be a fool. Of course, my personal code of ethics is different than what a great nations’ laws are.
What I would do personally in that situation — ripping someone’s eyes out with my bare hands so I could piss on their brains — is not the same sort of response that is appropriate by a nation.

Why is what might be appropriate for me to do, inappropriate for a nation to do? Discuss.

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