The Next Torture Meme: They Deserved It.

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The Dog is all about progress, so when progress on an issue like torture, however small it is, happens, the Dog is always trying to look down the road and see what will be the next step or counter step. This week with the very public and very limited waterboarding of Mancow (a conservative radio shock jock) and his admission that even his sanitized and safe version was indeed torture; the Dog thinks we should talk about one of the next memes you are likely to hear about from the torture apologists.  

What you are going to start hearing, from those precincts that grudgingly admit that waterboarding is torture is that while this is true, somehow these men, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zabaydah were such horrible human beings, so much the worst of the worst that even though it was torture and even though torture is against the law it is justified with them, even if it did not turn up any intelligence.

Let’s take a look at what these men are accused of doing, but always remember that we have a presumption of innocence in this country. They may or may not have actually committed the deeds they are accused of. A reasonable person may infer they did some of these things, but as we have never taken them to trial, we do not have definitive proof. Since both men were actually tortured we are likely to never have this issue decided under law as it is supposed to be done.

Abu Zabaydah is accused of no overt acts himself. Instead he is accused of being part of Al Qaeda as a logistician. He is associated with Richard Reed the so-called “Shoe Bomber” who did in fact attempt to down a British Airways jet by detonating explosives in his shoes. If this is a true accusation then Zabaydah would be guilty of conspiracy to commit terrorism. This is very serious crime so there is no doubt that Mr. Zabaydah would be a criminal under this act alone.

This seems to be the major extent of Mr. Zabaydah’s role in terrorism. He has been accused multiple times of being a recruiter and planner of attacks, in Jordan, in the US, in Afghanistan. If these accusations are true then he has been part of a terrorist organization which has caused significant loss of life around the world.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed is most famously accused of being the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and for confessing to the beheading of Daniel Pearl. Additionally he has been linked to Richard Reid the so called “Shoe Bomber” along with Abu Zabaydah and the Bali night club bombings. These are heinous crimes causing a huge loss of life. The beheading of Richard Pearl, if true, is frankly one of the worst things the Dog can imagine one person doing to another. These kinds of acts are inexcusable, for anyone ever.

So, these are the things that AZ and KSM are accused of. They are brutal, callus acts for which no person can be reasonably excused for committing. If we pile up those who have died and suffered from these acts, both physically and psychologically the total numbers of their victims would run into the thousands, if not tens of thousands. Did they earn the torture that they endured because of these acts? No.

It is mind blowing to the Dog, but it seems there are many in our country who do not understand that two wrongs do not make a right. There is often the appeal to some sense of justice when talking about doing horrible things to horrible people. Sadly this is not justice, this is revenge. Justice is an attempt at balance, like revenge, but it is an attempt at balance that also looks at what the society needs, not just the simple primate desire to hurt those who have hurt us.

Let’s not dance around the issue; the Dog is pissed that such terrorist scum bags as Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zabaydah have his sympathy. In other circumstances the Dog would not walk across the street to piss on them if their asses where on fire and their hair was catching.  What they did will always earn them total enmity in the Dog’s mind; they terrorized and killed for political purposes. That is never acceptable. The thing is, as a person, the Dog can’t let go of how horrible torture is, and it also should never be acceptable under any circumstances.

But the reason we should not ever torture is not just because it is a terrible inhumane thing to do to others. The reason not to torture is based on what it does, inevitably does to any society which allows it to go on. Once you take the 100% prohibition off of torture, the level of rationalization needed to engage in torture only falls. We see this in the Office of the Vice President’s encouragement of waterboarding for Iraqi prisoners of war.

Once they had achieved some kind of acceptance of the use of torture, they were ready to use it again and again to get the information they wanted. Far more worrying, but also very common, was the fact the criminal Bush administration was ready to use it for domestic political purposes. They wanted, in fact needed once the supposed WMD of Iraq were proved a fairy tale, evidence of a connection between the group that committed the worst terrorist attack on the US and Iraq. To this end they urged torture, knowing it would, eventually, force the victim to say anything. That the Iraq Survey Group leaders on the ground would not go along is just our good luck.

So, as the days go by and the torture apologists make this claim of the bad men deserved to be tortured, don’t let this meme go unchallenged. No one deserves torture. But even if they did, the reason we should not have is not out of concern for them, but out of concern for ourselves. Once the torture djinn is out of the bottle, it is very hard to put it back, and it knows no boundaries for its horrible acts.

The floor is yours.

Cross posted at Square State


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  1. Emotional Outbursts?  

    • Benny on May 24, 2009 at 20:29

    and I suspect Dog that you are correct.  I would imagine Glenn Greenwald and Keith Olbermann will be all over it when it happens.  

    • TMC on May 24, 2009 at 22:08

    Those people who believe that are no better than the war criminals that have been prosecuted in this country & Internationally. They have bought into the fear mongering that was used to manipulate a “shell shocked” American public that we should “fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here” meme. They will never understand that torture dehumanizes them & plays into the terrorist’s agenda. They will never understand until they stand at the abyss and peer into that black hole, like the German people who were confronted with the atrocities.

     They are now so angry that there is a Democrat in the White House, a black man at that, that they will say & advocate anything that opposes his agenda. There is no rationalizing with them and they are loud.

      WE need to be louder. We need a Special Prosecutor. It is the music that will drown out their noise. I will keep saying that until there is one appointed.  

  2. I’m just not sure they work on the right wing that remains. People who think Rush, Sean and Dick make sense do not respond to morality.

    The appeal I make to them is to ask why they want to punish America by doing something the hurts us just as surely as does spying for a foreign country.

    I tell them that their desire to enact revenge harms us because torture extracts false and misleading information that then gets in the way of actual intelligence in the fight against those who would do us harm.

    In essence I turn the “why do you hate America” argument right back on them. It puts them on the defensive and they will shut down if I do not relinquish the discussion until they answer me.

  3. who deserve nothing more than to have red hot pokers jammed into sundry orifices.  (Mostly lawyers.)  But I would never do that, even to a lawyer, because that would be about me, not them.  Same reason torture should always be “off the table” (or “off the waterboard”), because torture is always areflection on the torturer, never the tortured.

    • rb137 on May 25, 2009 at 01:30

    Enough said.

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