Torturing Terrorists

One of the most important points of Objectivism is that morality is not in conflict with living.  Morality is a set of principles to guide living.

So let’s look at the contrary view for a moment.  For years, there has been controversy about the US policy of waterboarding terrorists.  To summarize, we have captured people who are:

  • murdering US military forces
  • torturing captured US military forces
  • murdering innocent civilians
  • torturing captured innocent civilians
  • waging war to destroy the USA
  • breaking every treaty governing warfare including:
    • hiding as civilians
    • hiding behind civilians
    • misdirecting return fire at civilians

The debate is a classic blind donkey vs elephant one, for the most part.  Donkeys hate President Bush, so they oppose everything he does.  So they oppose torture and waterboarding.  The fact that it weakens our war efforts is added incentive for these people.  Elephants can’t bring themselves to support “torture”, and so have to tortuously work the word waterboarding around until it is not “torture”.

Now Christopher Hitchens submits himself to waterboarding and writes about it.  He declares:

I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

Slavery uses the threat of violence and death against innocent people.  There is no argument to defend it, other than self-serving junk by would-be slave holders.

Torture–applied to terrorists–is a way to end the war more quickly.  Just a brief recap here, this means fewer Americans killed, fewer innocent civilians killed, reduced risk of a mass-murder atrocity on American soil (e.g. crashing airplanes into skyscrapers).

But many Americans have this notion of “morality” based on self-sacrafice.  To them, respecting the “civil rights” of terrorists is a moral imperative, but protecting the lives of the American military personnel that they ordered to fight on our behalf is not.

With sickness like this, it’s no wonder why the jihadists are holding their own against our massive military superiority.  We’re defeated before we begin.


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