Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Immoral equivalence

Bill O'Reilly had an argument with Juan Williams on Fox last night. Williams was playing the moral equivalence game beloved of Western liberals. "If we take on the ways of our enemies, how are we better than they are?"

The particular issue was the ethical difference between Al Qaeda torture techniques and American waterboarding. At one point, Williams burst out, "Torture is torture."

No, Juan, it's not.

Waterboarding simulates the experience of drowning. Very nasty. Scary. Stressful. But you don't drown. And when it's over, you have all your limbs and faculties. The worst result is PTSD. Is it torture? Sure.

But here's a choice, Juan: waterboarding, or having your eyes gouged out, or your tongue cut out, or a drill driven through your joints. Or all three. Loss of limbs and faculties is permanent. PTSD would be the least of your worries.

Saying "Torture is torture" is like saying, "Violence is violence". That would make an evening of Ultimate Fighting equivalent to a gang war. It is meaningless, except as an untruth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems to me, taking the broad view of history, that it is a rare thing for a society to only deploy tortures that /don't/ cause lasting physical damage.


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