Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Torture and Americanism.
Torture is unAmerican.
If you look at the old World War II Hollywood movies, it is alwsys the Nazi or the Japanese bad guys doing the torture. It is never the Americans doing the torture. That is simply because "the greatest generation" of Americans didn't believe in torture, and didn't practice it.
Even when America was at it's worst at Andersonville and Elmyra (you all read about Andersonville and how the POW camp commander was later executed for mistreating Union POW's; my great great grandfather was in a North Carolina regiment, was captured, and was a POW at the Northern POW camp in Elmyra, NY, where his brother Silas Stepp died as a POW a long way from home). Yet, as you read the reports of our own Civil War, you don't read of tortuous interrogations or tortures, as that is not the American way.
America was originally founded on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Nowhere in the Judeo-Christian canon do you find God's people called upon to torture anyone. Torture is just unGodly, unJewish, and unChristian; hence, torture is unAmerican.
Is it O.K. to torture people because we believe Moslems do it? That has never been a satisfactory excuse for lowering our standards. If we lower ourselves to their standards, then we are no better than they are. America has always been the lighthouse upon the hill. A beacon for people of other lands to see how life could be lived by a free people. We should not change our character and become evil because we face evil people. We should redouble our efforts to show American idealism in the face the worst. We faced cruel captors in the Japanese Empire, in North Korea, and in Viet Nam, but we never made a policy of stooping to their level in those conflicts--and those that got caught doing it were quickly court martialed.
Now, for the last argument. The pro-torturers argue that, if an impossible set of circumstances arise, then torture is justified. They add that, now that we have agreed on torture in principle, that we should be torturing people now. Their argument doesn't make sense. Sure, if we had Hitler or Mussolini sitting in front of us in a chair, we could probably justify torturing them to death; then, using the moral equivalency argument, we could justify torturing anyone to death. Well, we don't have Hitler or Mussolini, or even Tojo, sitting in front of us, and we don't have an impossible situation in front of us. The pro-torturers argument about a hypothetical situation could justify torture in the real world does not make sense, is not a good argument, and should be ignored.
Torture is unConstitutional. Amendment 10 of the U.S. Constitution says that those powers not specifically enumerated to the U.S. government are reserved specifically for the States or the people. Nowhere does the U.S. Constitution authorize the U.S. government to commit torture.
America has a great future, but we should not be involved with torture. Torture should be outlawed by the U.S. Congress. The Geneva Conventions should be strictly obeyed by the U.S. as a matter of policy. America should be the number one advocate of Americanism, by outlawing torture, avoiding torture, and showing that a free, democratic people does not rely on or use torture.
Let's Ditch Mitch, and ditch his Republican cronies, and replace them with true Democrats who will outlaw torture.