Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Videotaping Torture Was Wrong

Is there anybody out there who thinks, as I do, that it was wrong to videotape the intense interrogations of terrorists (including the use of the much-debated waterboarding technique)? I must admit that I straddle the fence on this important issue insofar as to what is permissible when the chips are down. By this I mean when one is confronted with extracting information that just might affect the health and safety of hundreds, if not thousands, of our fellow citizens, is it not justifiable to do whatever is necessary, without regard to legal niceties to balance this interest? Actions like this are akin to medical acts that physicians perform daily. In the presence of a gangrenous lesion of the foot in that it is sometimes necessary to amputate the remainder of the leg to preserve the life of the patient. Most people would approve of such an effort, but find it morally repugnant if physicians routinely cut off limbs for no good reason? Just like physicians must obtain the informed consent of the patient to undertake an amputation procedure, smart heads in the government ought to be able to devise a procedure to objectively determine when, and if, extreme interrogation methods are to be used. The real kicker here is that after such a tribunal is formed, Joe Citizen doesn't need to know about it. That is why this old liberal thinks it was wrong to videotape these activities. This is an area of governance that doesn't need second guessing.

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