Ten Second News

Taking Leave of Our Senses

“But the argument isn’t going away. It will be with us as long as the threat of terrorism endures. And where the Bush administration’s interrogation programs are concerned, we’ve heard too much to just “look forward,” as the president would have us do. We need to hear more: What was done and who approved it,…

Why They Fight

Jim Manzi has written a provocative post on the moral distinction between battlefield killing and torturing unarmed POWs: So apparently it’s OK to inflict (the most extreme imaginable) violence when the guy is totally helpless in combat, but suddenly upon his saying the words “I surrender”, any serious violence beyond confinement becomes wrong. Now, the…

all the president’s spies

John Judis would like to have more discussion about the possibility of ditching the CIA, or at the very least completely restructuring it: The question that Congress might ponder, but won’t, is whether the structure of our foreign policy apparatus – the power and responsibility vested in a secret branch of government —  invites abuse.…

stating the obvious

“And then, where is the use of torture? It is a slippery trial and uncertain (says Ulpian) to convince by torture. For many says (says St Augustine again) he that is yet but questioned, whether he be guilty or no, before that be known, is, without all question, miserably tortured. And whereas, many time, the…

Taking the Wrong Approach

I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that both sides of the “Did We Torture?” debate are doing themselves a big disservice in how they approach their arguments.  This perhaps isn’t surprising since I tend to think this is the case on most controversial hot-button topics. The pro-waterboarding side’s real argument isn’t that waterboarding, etc., aren’t…

truth and consequences

“Disclosure of the techniques is likely to be met by faux outrage, and is perfectly packaged for media consumption. It will also incur the utter contempt of our enemies. Somehow, it seems unlikely that the people who beheaded Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl, and have tortured and slain other American captives, are likely to be…

ad hoc justice

So it looks as though Spain is opening formal criminal inquiries into alleged war crimes surrounding the use of torture by the Bush administration.  Judge Baltasar Garzón is involved in the investigation, the same guy who prosecuted Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator propped up for years by the CIA.  So perhaps there’s something “full-circle” about…