My lordie, what the hell has gotten into Kevin Drum? Via Tistero at Hullabaloo, I just read of Kevin using a hypothetical situation to justify the killing of innocent people, as long as it killed important terrorists. I agree with much of Tistero’s point, that Drum’s hypothetical was very loaded and was more of an accusation than a call for debate. But I do think that hypotheticals like this aren’t inherently bad.
But my point, and maybe Kevin addressed this afterwards, how does this hypo of his jibe with his anti-torture stance? He thinks that torture is absolutely off-limits, and believes that we shouldn’t even argue for the “pragmatic” case against torture, as it implies that if torture worked, it’d be ok. And he doesn’t believe that. He believes that torture is always wrong, even if it works.
And yet, here he is saying that it’s ok to murder innocent people, if it means we murder an important terrorist too. So, murdering innocent people is ok, while torturing bad guys is always off-limits? Huh?? What the hell kind of sense does that make? I disagree with torture on pragmatic grounds, and would support it if it always worked and was only done on the bad guys. But it really seems odd that someone would support the cold-blooded murder of someone they’d refuse to allow to be tortured; as well as murdering innocent people.
And what if the “pretty good intelligence” he uses in his hypothetical was obtained by torturing terrorists? Shouldn’t that justify torture? Again, why is murder ok, if torture is wrong under the same situation? I really think that Drum hasn’t thought this one all the way through.