The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

WWJW (Who Would Jesus Waterboard)?

In a season of polls, this one from last week was really…different:

WASHINGTON — A new poll finds that nearly six in 10 white Southern evangelicals believe torture is justified, but their views can shift when they consider the Christian principle of the golden rule.

The poll released Thursday, commissioned by Faith in Public Life and Mercer University, found that 57% of respondents said torture can be often or sometimes justified to gain important information from suspected terrorists. Thirty-eight percent said it was never or rarely justified.

But when asked if they agree that “the U.S. government should not use methods against our enemies that we would not want used on American soldiers,” the percentage who said torture was rarely or never justified rose to 52%.

Not sure what to make of this one. I could make the argument that American soldiers have been tortured since time immemorial, and that we might want to consider turning the tables back on our enemies when time/situations necessitate. Which then eliminates the whole discussion of the Golden Rule.

Flipside to that is….that two wrongs don’t-necessarily-make a right. And just because other countries are willing to use torture to accomplish their goals doesn’t mean we should stoop to their level to accomplish ours.

There’s times when torture might-MIGHT!!-be useful to gain information. Now, that’s not a call to go out and beat the hell out of every terrorist we might run across, as there’s truly people who have no idea what they signed up for when they visited their local al-Qaeda recruiter. To torture them in a search for information would be counterproductive; we’d create more enemies than we’d save lives (and violate an old military principle I heard once about never waking up with more enemies than you had the day before). But for a high level operative who’s not cooperating-say, a Khalid Sheikh Mohammed type who’s admitted (bragged about!!) planning attacks-yes, by all means, beat him. BUT…once you’ve gotten the information you need, then stop.

The thing that’s routinely left out of the torture debate is the effect that torture has on those who use it as a tool. Of course, there are those with bully complexes and those who would feel a sense of revenge (and, by the way, not the best people for this type of work!!), but what of those who are given an order to waterboard someone, feel it’s unjust or not justified, but carry it out anyway? That’s where the waters muddy a bit.




Written by Coby Dillard

September 22, 2008 at 11:08 am

Posted in Editorials

Tagged with ,

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