Friday, January 20, 2006

Torture v. Murder

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.


Anonymous said...

He's an up-n-coming centrist, which means he takes his left of center beliefs, looks at the field, then takes up the middle stance. He probably saw Munich, too, empathized with the Israeli's position, and put that datum in there too.

Or maybe he believes in reincarnation, or nirvana, and figures a quicker path to it somehow means 'more' if it isn't preceded by however many hours/days/years of pain. I don't know, I don't understand the inherent mysticism of centrist thinking.
- Tim M.

Anonymous said...

Unlike the Doctor's enhanced circuitry, I think Kevin has a mini "Crossfire" going on inside his brain. The bowtie Kevin sometimes catches the necktie Kevin asleep at the wheel and throws chub into the blogger ocean.

Doctor Biobrain said...

I think this bowtie v. necktie thing is one to look deeper into. On the one hand, the bowtie has a natural advantage in that he can easily grab the necktie and get him at his mercy; where as the bowtie stays nice and tight to the neck, with little to grab onto.

But on the other hand, bowties are inherently dorky and the necktie will always get the chicks; and so natural selection will pick the necktie. So the big unknown is whether the necktie can stay on his toes long enough to get said chicks before the bowtie takes him out. If he does, then we're set. Otherwise, the bowtie still doesn't get the chicks and the end of mankind looms before us. As you can guess, I'm rooting for the necktie.

I should add one exception to this, as I just remembered that the tie I wore most recently was a bowtie; and I did in fact look exceptionally stunning. But that was on a tuxedo on New Years Eve, and a properly worn tuxedo beats out both bowties and neckties. Nothing gets the chicks faster than wearing your own tux.

As for Kevin, he's pretty good at domestic policy analysis and at picking interesting subjects to blog about, but when it comes to politics and foreign policy, he's a sucker every time. I suspect that he regularly debates with a Republican who is far superior in the debating department (a master debater, if you will). I suppose that would be the bowtie.

Mumphrey said...

I have to take respectful exception to the bowtie thing. I wear only bowties. And I look damned good in them. My wife thinks so, too. I think bowties get kind of a bad rap, because so many dorky guys wear the ready made kind--and there's little worse in this world than a ready made bowtie.