Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama and Torture

On "This Week", President-elect Obama reiterated his position that the United States should never torture, and that we can both keep our country safe and not violate this principle.

I can understand how this policy could make sense. Many democrats and indepedents want to make a statement to the world that the U.S. is moving away from controversial Bush policies towards a more cooperative and "humane" approach.

Yet, I can also think of many circumstances where "torture" would be proper and necessary.

I hope the Obama team is just playing word games and doesn't really mean what it says. Or maybe they are outright lieing and I would also approve of this.

That's because as Democrats we should be dedicated to doing what's right; under the law; and using common sense.

First, we shouldn't torture people as a measure of revenge or retribution. I agree with all the familiar arguments from the left.

But we should indeed torture, use extraordinary means, or whatever people want to call it to get important information that will drastically impact us in the future. Preventing a future attack, finding and saving prisoners, etc.

We have to make difficult moral judgements as to whether the information might have a degree of reliability, what any action would do to our reputation, and whether it is morally right or wrong.

Yet, to make a blanket "The U.S. should not torture"; whether we are talking water-boarding or worse is moronic to me.

There are some scenarios where I couldn't imagine anything we did could really be wrong if the purpose was to save the country.

Whereas the other side can surely offer cases where torture, even if effective, wouldn't be worth the problems both morally and in terms of its' utility.

The United States under Bush, as it will be under Obama is a fundamentally good country.
That we debate these issues is honorable and proof of our intention to do what's right.
Those on the left should stop acting as if the morality is definitely on their side and be more open-minded to security and safety issues.

I think as a government, we should state our principles, and then allow each individual in these sensitive positions to make their best judgement.

There are some difficult decisions but many aren't.

Let's celebrate the good ones, and agree to work towards agreement on the rest.

We need to do whatever is necessary and proper to keep America the great nation it is.
That sometimes means torture whether it's acknowledged or not.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

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