Sunday, May 10, 2009


Every week, nay everyday, you will hear it from some pundit, some celebrity, some politician: "Torture is wrong. It goes against the very ideals of this country."

But where and when did that become the case? Are they referring to the 8th Amendment, which reads:

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted."

But our Constitution was not written as some sort of pamphlet to be distributed throughout the nations as some vague abstract "ideal" that the whole world ought to follow: it was written to restrict the capabilities of the government to persecute its citizens.

The 8th Amendment, in principle, cannot apply to enemy combatants. The 8th Amendment only applies in local and federal law enforcement. It has nothing to do with national threats or national security. That, at least, is how it seems to me.

But then we have the third Geneva Convention to deal with, which I will deal with in my next segment. I think that when they who say "it's against all we believe in" come out with that mantra, they do not really have the Constitution in mind: they have in mind the global humanitarian ordinances set out by the Geneva Conventions. That is all find and good: but we must remember that the Geneva Conventions are not our Constitution. In this segment I merely wanted to make clear that there is nothing per se un-Constitutional about the use of cruel and unusual punishment toward enemy combatants, traitors, and spies (though, of course, there may be in the case of Geneva statutes). That is to say, there is no violation of "our ideals", as they call them, when it comes to hostile extraction of intelligence from a sworn enemy of state.

And another thing: torture has been going on for years without presidential knowledge or consent, and no matter what anyone says, it will keep going on. Ultimately such musings as these are pointless because those in the deepest levels of the intelligence services, the Pentagon, and who knows what else, stick to tried and true methods, and at the very least aren't so goddam naive.

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