Friday, February 25, 2005

Torture and the View of Sanctimonious Lefties

Led by Rev. John Hall of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, a vigil will be held at South Kingstown High School next Monday according to The Providence Journal. The reason for the vigil, Hall said, is to express "dismay, sorrow and shame that torture has been practiced in our name in Iraqi prisons, at Guantanamo Bay," and at some U.S. prisons. Funny how the left tosses the word "torture" around but never takes the next step to define exactly what they mean by "torture". Think about it for a minute. We all can immediately agree that the demonic practices of Saddam Hussein (decapitation, limb removal, feeding citizens to lions, rape, forcing humans into shredders, acid baths etc.) were clearly "torture." One wonders whether the same group was conducting prayer vigils during the thirty year reign of Saddam in protest to the very real torture of hundreds of thousands of innocents. I tend to doubt it. Of course, when you swim in a sea of moral relativism like the left does, coersive interrogation of Al-Qaeda members (sleep deprivation, loud music etc.) becomes "torture"; the U.S. is always held to utopian standards and all other nations are given a silent pass.

Which leads us back to the difference between "coercive interrogation" and "torture." There is a difference, you know. As principled people, Americans roundly reject torture. But, how about forceful interrogation? The sanctimonious lefties in our midst would undoubtedly say "no." But, what do you think? Let's use a realistic, yet hypothetical scenario to analyse the question of coercive interrogation.

The Saudi government contacts Washington to inform us that they have become aware of an Al Qaeda plot to blow up five grade schools in the U.S. They are quite confident that the threat is real and imminent. They have in their possession, two Al Qaeda members that they know are intimately involved in the plot. Should the President authorize coercive, forceful interrogation? While you decide, let the images of the near 300 children who died in Beslan, Russia streak across your mind. Further imagine that your child may be sitting in a classroom in one of the 5 targeted schools. What do you think now? That's what I thought. These are the very real decisions that U.S. presidents are forced to make.

An intellectually honest debate needs to ensue in the U.S. regarding what type of interrogation techniques the American people will or will not support when confronting today's enemy. Clearly, moral attitudes will limit what the American public will allow. However, remember that terrorists do not enjoy the benefits outlined in the Geneva Convention for the simple reason that they do not comply with it's defined guidelines. They are not uniformed and identifiable. They hide and war amongst innocents and in fact target bystanders for murder. This behavior renders the terrorist immune to Geneva protection and any decision to treat them as uniformed soldiers actually renders the Geneva guidelines meaningless.

In any case, I won't be going to the anti-Bush, anti- American, prayer vigil. I'll save my prayers for the good men of the United States armed forces that deliver liberty and real social justice.