Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Justice Scalia and Torture

"One of the United States' top judges said in an interview broadcast in Britain on Tuesday that interrogators can inflict pain to obtain critical information about an imminent terrorist threat."

Yes, the above is a MAJOR story today (featured on AOL), even though what Scalia said is perfectly obvious.  If there is an IMMINENT terrorist attack in process, you have to do what is necessary to stop it.  All Scalia was saying is what Bill Clinton had said before him:  you can't worry about "torture" when the fate of thousands of people is at stake.

Remember "Dirty Harry"?   The Clint Eastwood character was faced with a bad guy who had buried a girl undergrond WITH A LIMITED AMOUNT OF AIR.  Harry shot the guy in the arm or leg.  He then STEPPED ON the injured member ("tortured" the guy) until he told where the girl was buried. I never had a problem with that. 

Think of how much WORSE it owould be for there to be a "ticking" nuclear device hidden in New York City scheduled to be detonated in an hour.  In that extreme circumstance, I would do what I had to do (if I were in a position to get information to stop it).   That is what is so insane about this Democratic attempt to PERSECUTE/PROSECUTE people who conducted waterboarding after 9/11 (a technique which produces no real pain and no permanent danger). For people trying to protect this country, THIS IS NOT A GAME.

What I think is a mistake is to issue "guidelines" or formal opinions as to when "torture" can be used (or, say, waterboarding, which I don't quite regard as torture, since the point of waterboarding is not to inflict pain).  There is an old saying:  "Hard cases make bad law".  You smply don't want to make a gneral "policy" endorsing "torture".  It is a bad precedent to set.   However, in extreme circustances there is just no way to argue with Justice Scalia.  You do what you have to do to save lives.

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