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A View from the Altar / The murky future of waterboarding
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The murky future of waterboarding

This link to Powerline presents a short video of Vice President Cheney flatly stating his opinion that waterboarding of certain Al Queda prisoners was the right thing to do.  I disagree with him a lot, but I appreciate his candor.  Cheney’s monotone, no-nonsense talk will be sorely missed over the next few years.

I was surprised when Mr. Obama invited Secretary Gates to stay on at the Defense Department.  This suggests that the Obama Administration may indeed be the Bush third term when it comes to military matters.  And if so, then the treatment of prisoners may also remain unchanged, thus creating a unique opportunity to see whether the high moral dudgeon Obama displayed during the election was principle or posturing.

During the election, Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin told Mother Jones,  “this is not about them; it’s about us.”  Cherlin did manage a moment of plain speaking when he called the practice un-American which, though inadequate, is certainly true.  Mr. Obama’s apparent opposition to torturing prisoners is good, but his spokesman has engaged in lame reasoning about it.  The gooey stuff about “it” being “about” us cannot be decoded by any rational mind.  It is sheer verbal confection, all sweetness and no nutrition.  His other remark about torture being un-American has a better sheen on it but is still morally and intellectually empty.  America has never been Earth’s moral benchmark.  Besides, we are fighting in the middle East where plaintive garment-rending about what’s un-American evokes sneers if not thrown flip-flops.

Christians should be more clear:  The reasons Americans should not torture our enemies are:

1) Torture is morally wrong.  Prisoners, however evil, bear the image of God.  Enemies who kill may be killed per the command of God, either in battle or by execution.  But torturing them degrades and debases His image in a way the Lord does not permit.

2) Torture is against Geneva Conventions which the United States has agreed to observe.

3) Torture violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  For our soldiers to engage in it is a crime.

4) Torture encourages enemies to torture our military members when they are captured.  Granted, they may do that regardless of our behavior, but even if so, our doing it is still morally wrong.

One Comment

  1. What excellent interlocutors 🙂

    Posted on 20-Sep-09 at 10:12 am | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] The Democrats are searching for a way to prosecute former Bush officials over the torture issue.  As I’ve written previously, I consider waterboarding and other rough-stuff tactics to be un-Christian and un-American. […]

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