Wednesday, June 16, 2004
To those who claim that torture is wrong, I'll ask you the Michael Dukakis question*: "if torturing someone would provide information that would save your wife from death, would you approve of doing that?". Don't evade the question by saying that torture doesn't work - soldiers aren't trained to resist torture because it doesn't work. And, if your answer is no, have you told your wife?
To those who claim that 'all lives' are of equal value, that is a load of bunk. Maybe it made sense in the abstract in whatever philosophy course you took during your never-ending time in school, but it doesn't play in Peoria. Nor does it play in Pretoria. If it did, and using Iraq as an example, with Hussein killing thousands of innocent Iraqis every year, then why didn't you offer up some number of your countrymen to stop Hussein? If Iraqi lives are just as valuable as South African lives, you should have been willing to suffer several hundred South African deaths in order to stop Hussein - yet you didn't. What is the explanation for this? Why weren't your leaders, Mandella and Mbeki, calling for you to sacrifice in order to rescue those whose lives were just as valuable as your own? I have the same question for you with regards to Rwanda, the Sudan, East Timor and the other spots around the world where innocents are/were being killed. How could you justify sitting at home on your bum with these people getting killed - unless you really didn't value their lives as highly as you do your own countrymen?
* during the 1988 Presidential debate, Dukasis was asked, as a hypothetical, if he would support the death penalty for someone found guilty of killing his wife. His rambling answer never really answered the question and left a number of observers convinced that he had just lost the election. The beauty of this question is that it personalizes the issue. It's no longer an abstract discussion of torture - it becomes a question of what you would do in the most personal of situations.