Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Torture is legal, after all.

My favorite part from "Previewing the Gonzales Debate" is where it refers to "the alleged failure to find WMDs in Iraq." It's as if maybe we didn't fail to find the weapons of mass destruction, or maybe the fact that we didn't find them wasn't really a failure. I can't tell if it was meant to be ironic, but it sure is hilarious. Perhaps I'll start referring to Saddam Hussein as an alleged bad bad man.

The point of the article, though, is to point out "Rewriting the Laws of War for a New Enemy," which makes the case that, as a legal matter, the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists. I'm not going to argue that; I'll take it as a given. My question is: so what?

Why, I ask you, gentle reader, do we abide by the Geneva Convention at all? I have two answers:
  1. It sucks, but it's the law; we just gotta do it because some bureaucrats made this decision for us decades ago.
  2. We believe in treating people (even our enemies) humanely.
I take the latter explanation, personally, but I recognize that opinions vary. If you take the "it sucks" view, then any excuse to get out of acting like a grown-up nation is a good thing.

One might observe that the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists, and that we could not be held responsible for torturing them, without actually wanting to do so. Perhaps that's Gonzales to a tee. I think it's worth asking the guy.

The LA Times article talks about non-state actors and how to combat them.
[Gonzales' critics] obscure a basic and immediate question facing the United States: how to adapt to the decline of nation-states as the primary enemy in war.
This is a good question and a tough problem, but torture is not part of the answer.
Post a Comment