Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cliff May makes the argument (actually, he made the point a while back on The Daily Show) that if Truman isn't a war criminal for dropping nukes on Japan, then neither are the interrogators who may have subjected terrorists to a bit of coercive interrogation.

But the standard for determining whether someone is a war criminal is not the number of deaths caused, nor whether the disputed actions saved lives, nor whether the action didn't permanently disable someone, but rather whether their actions violated the accepted rules of war.

By this standard, Truman is in the clear as, while the method of doing so was new, destroying cities and killing civilians was a long-accepted tactic used in hopes of ending an conflict.

On the other hand, most civilized countries had long ago agreed to forgo the use of coercive interrogation (a decision I disagree with but that's beside the point)... and as such, using banned tactics could justify charging someone as a war criminal.

Not that I would do so...