Monday, April 27, 2009

What If Your Loved One Is In Danger?

I want to answer one question that that the caller after me asked when I spoke with Bob Dutko last Friday. I didn't record the call, but he asked what I would do if my wife or daughter's life was on the line. Would I waterboard KSM?

Maybe I would, but that doesn't mean it is right. There is a reason that a judge would recuse himself in a case if he is in any way personally tied to the events in question. He understands that his judgment could be impaired by this. He might not be as objective as he would otherwise be. Or even if he is, the accused may suspect that he's not being objective, and this would taint the whole trial. We might suspect the trial wasn't fair. If my loved one is affected by my decision to waterboard I'm probably not going to be impartial about the decision, which means I'm not qualified to make the decision.

But I can offer a similar hypothetical of my own. What if granting the government the authority to torture did prevent an attack today, but bequethed to our children a government with carte blanche to do whatever they want. And your daughter ticked of some government official, who then trumped up some charges and had no need to prove his case against your daughter. Then your daughter was tortured and killed. Would you waterboard then?

Of course you could never predict such a thing, but my point is there is risk on both sides. Do I really think Obama is going to torture pro-lifer's or defenders of the 2nd ammendment? No. But I do understand that Jefferson was right when he said it is the natural tendency for government to grow and liberty to yield. Obama himself may not be the danger. The danger is further down the road, but it is huge.

If we do nothing about the Bush torture regime, what can we expect the future to hold? Our government has learned that they really can torture without bothering with due process. The worst that will happen is we'll yell and scream about it, but in the end do nothing. We can expect that when some future President really thinks he needs to torture, he'll know that he's in no danger from the law. And when a person assumes the reigns of power he always manages to convince himself that he's serving the greater good by ignoring those protections our founding fathers bequethed to us.

What of foreign governments? We can be sure that more will torture in the future. America does it. Why shouldn't we? Unfortunately, they'll be right. The world is a far more dangerous place. Unless we prosecute those that authorized torture.

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