The headline over at CNN reads:
AG pick stays vague on waterboarding
President Bush’s pick for attorney general called the interrogation technique known as “waterboarding” a repugnant practice Tuesday, but again refused to say whether it violates U.S. laws banning torture.
Let me help him out: Yes, waterboarding is torture. Yes, it is illegal under both US and international law.
There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Now some macho idiot is going to swagger in to spew about how Tough Men Make Tough Decisions and Do What It Takes, and They’ll Protect the Soft Weak Liberals, and The Grownups Are In Charge.
First, that’s nonsense. We don’t get the moral high ground by saying we have it, we get it by actually occupying it. If you’re going to be a bad guy yourself, what’s the point of fighting bad guys? All you’ve guaranteed is that the bad guys will win.
Second, you don’t get good intel out of torture anyway. All you hear is what you wanted to hear. The person you’re torturing will tell any story at all to make the torture stop—any fantasy that pops into his mind. He’ll say that he flew to the Brocken on a broomstick to meet the devil as readily as he’ll say that he flew to Afghanistan to meet Osama bin Laden. It all depends on what the torturer is looking for. And after you’re done, the torture victim won’t know the truth himself.