Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Use logic to discern torture "policy" "usefulness"

So we have former administration people defending the use of "extraordinary" methods, otherwise known as torture, because it "got results" and "saved American lives" because several key figures broke under torture and gave verifiable information.

Immediately, using the illogical that passes for logic in these modern times, some people who waffle on the issue will join the stout defenders of torture, saying, "Well, if it's proven to save lives then we have to condone it."

Well no, you don't. Here are the two errors in logic and how to properly discern your own morality on this issue.

1. Let's assume that apologists are right and "torture works" because it "saves American lives." All right, then let's start using it everywhere that American lives are at risk. For example, let's waterboard Americans who have addictions to alcohol and drugs. We can waterboard Americans who drink and drive until they "stop" and thus "save lives." We can waterboard everyone who purchases illegal drugs to get the names of their dealers and thus "save lives."

If it's so effective, let's use it where we are having many losses of lives, rather than just for one or two terrorist plots that may or may not have been serious or worked anyways.

2. If you measure the "good information" gotten from torture, and thus the plots stopped, how do you measure the other half of the cost/benefit analysis, which is how many new recruits and new plots are devised because people's hatred of America grows in response to torture and other abuses? What I am saying is that logic dictates that when you measure a benefit, such as "lives saved," just like in a spread sheet you have to deduct additional lives lost to get from the "gross" to the "net" lives saved. We'd have to know how many new terrorists, or recommitted terrorists (such as those who return to terrorism after release) do so because they are invigorated in their despising of the American methods of torture.

You see, it won't be that they are not used to even cruder methods, possibly, in their home country. It is the hypocrisy that earns additional loathing by terrorists. So don't be hypocrites, touting American sensibilities, and then defend torture, and expect terrorists to think, "Well, at least the Americans don't 'torture as bad' as some other countries might." No one thinks that; instead, they focus on the American hypocrisy.

Those are the two errors in logic in claiming that because torturing a handful of terrorists 'saved lives' because it gave 'good results' that it is therefore a free pass to torture with no consequences.

Hey, let's waterboard all corporate executives who have stolen and swindled money and hidden it. Seriously. I mean, that would give good results, no?