A note I recently sent to Red Cardigan, the author and chief instigator of the anti-torture Coalition for Clarity blog;
Just wanted to add my name to your list of bloggers supporting the CFC.I didn't jump in immediately because, frankly, it's not like I have a great deal of moral or intellectual weight to throw behind such a worthy project... I'm more like a fly landing on a battleship, but I wanted to declare my allegiance, anyway.For a while, I was one of those very publicly concerned about the importance of a debate and a clear definition of torture, but the sheer audacity and absurdity of pro-torture apologists more or less forced me to come off the fence.The patient exposition of Mark Shea, Zippy Catholic, and the influence of fellow comboxers like Richard Comerford helped me to sort things out.Thanks for your efforts!Tim Jones"Old World Swine"
Part of the problem was that I was trying hard to get to the very bottom of exactly what it is that makes torture evil and sinful, rather than simply acknowledging what torture is according to plain common sense. We can't afford the luxury of ignoring the real, ongoing moral consequences of torture while we tease out every fine theological thread of the discussion.
Torture is bad. I knew that as a nine-year-old boy (we were in Vietnam, then), and it was confirmed for me again and again by adults; we Americans are different. Our enemies - the Nazis, the Viet Cong, the Red Army, the Soviets - use torture, and justify it with their ugly and inhuman philosophies. We do not.
I believed that then, and I believe it now, but the "we" has changed. Apparently, a lot of Americans, and most of our leaders, are busy cobbling together their own ugly and inhuman philosophy.
I can only ask myself; Who would Jesus torture?
Keep in mind, please, that I was an agnostic for quite a while regarding waterboarding, but I realized that the only real reason I took any trouble to defend the practice was that we, the U.S., were obviously, you know... already doing it. If it had been the Taliban or Al Qaeda doing it to our boys, I would have unhesitatingly seen it as torture, and would have condemned the torturers as moral monsters.
Have Al Qaeda and the Taliban done worse? Oh, yes. But since when do we take our moral cues from terrorists?