Saturday, November 19, 2005

Facts and Fallacies on Prisoner Abuse

Here is an excellent compendium by the Washington Post's Emily Messner of most of the relevant facts and documents about the Bush's administration's use of torture in prosecuting the "war on terror."

It's followed by a large collection of comments by Post readers from many places on the political spectrum. Interestingly, many of the rightwing correspondents seem to feel that it's a telling argument in favor of torture to point to how bad Islamist terrorists are. For example, here's what someone who signs himself "Recovering Democrat" wrote:

Moderate muslims have had plenty of opportunities (especially here in the US) to condemn terrorism but rarely have I heard any of their official mouthpieces (CAIR, etc.)actually do it. We can all sit around the drum circle and chant for peace and harmony but until you get it through your head that "Jihad" is not some "internal personal struggle no more threatening than a kitten playing with a ball of yarn", we're up the creek.

It's hard to believe that someone making this argument has actually spent fifteen seconds thinking about possible historical analogies. We didn't feel the need to make torture part of US military practice during World War II. Are today's jihadists actually that much worse than Hitler's Nazis? Does the war on terror reduce Midway or the Battle of the Bulge to "a kitten playing with a ball of yarn" by comparison?

The growing desperation of the right is reflected in the fact that their arguments are becoming more and more obviously ludicrous.

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