Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday talk radio update

Sean Hannity was in full pro-torture mode. His argument:

1. We don't torture.
2. If we do torture, it's OK because it worked.

No hint that he grasped how ludicrous both arguments are. With respect to point one, Sean Hannity isn't in charge of deciding what torture is. Torture is defined by longstanding precedent, by U.S. and military law and by international treaty. We are guilty of torture by all standards.

Look at it this way. Before 2001, you could not have found a single American who would have disputed that it is torture (or at least criminally abusive) to subject someone to repeated waterboarding, forced nudity, sleep deprivation, shackles, sexual abuse and other enormities described in the torture memos. There simply was no debate on the topic. Nobody was arguing that the men we have convicted of committing war crimes by subjecting prisoners to waterboarding should be pardoned. They were criminals. Everybody knew it.

What changed? We got hurt. That's all. But torture is still torture.

The second point is just purely irrelevant. Suppose Sean Hannity robs a bank, gets caught and tells the judge, "Hey, but I'm using this money to send my kid to medical school. He'll become a surgeon. He'll save thousands of lives."

The judge will say, "Yes, and in 20 years you will be able to go visit him."

Hannity also was pushing a TV segment he was planning to expose congressional Democrats who were aware of what the Bush administration was up to but failed to act. It is no doubt correct that a full investigation of the Bush administration's crimes would make many Democrats look bad. But Hannity was arguing:

1. Republicans did nothing wrong.
2. If Republicans did something wrong, Democrats are to blame for letting them get away with it.
3. If Democrats hadn't let Republicans get away with it, then they would still be to blame for weakness in the war on terrorism because:
4. Republicans did nothing wrong.


Eric said...

Congrats David - you got me to turn on Hannity's show -

Hannity is correct - these are NOT American citizens, they are enemy combatants, and deserve what they get.

And he is also correct that the Dems are simply trying to make political capital, and it will backfire on them if the whole story comes out - already they are documenting that the Dem leadership was informed about the interrogation policy as early as 2002.

David said...

Eric, Hannity is totally wrong. The laws that protect against torture are not limited to American citizens. Not a single one. It is a totally nonsensical point.