Torture and 24

CRDaily

Tonight Jack Bauer bows out for yet another fascinating season of a 24 hour thrill ride.  I am sure that all of you conservatives out there will be watching with anticipation for the conclusion (will Jack die or will he miracuously survive the infamous bio-weapon mishap?).  But, whether you watch 24 or not, this season has asked very relevant questions regarding a subject that has been a media favorite as of late; torture.

The entire season has wrestled with the morality of torture.  At the beginning of the season Jack was being investigated for torturing terrorist suspects illegally.  There is no doubt that he is guilty as charged.  However, in the process he had saved thousands (perhaps millions) of American lives and basically the existance of the Republic.  (Obviously this is a television show we are talking about, but nevertheless, one must admit that such a senario is plausable.)

Another aspect of this discussion has to do with the sacrifice that Jack Bauer made for his country.  He has been tourtured numerous times by other coutnries (China most notably) and by terrorists.  His family life has been ruined and his emotional as well as spiritual well being have been dramatically undercut.

My perspective, in light of all of the facts, is that Jack Bauer made decisions that he felt needed to be made in order to do what he has sworn to do, protect his country.  People are human and they make mistakes, but I see nothing but harm in judging people like Jack Bauer (as a congressman or a citizen) too harshly considering we didn’t have all of the knowledge that he had at  the time he made his decisions to torture (mostly beat up very very badly) the terrorists that were always guilty.

Of course all of this ties into the murky controversy/swirl surrounding  the issue of waterboarding.  Personally I just don’t get it.  First of all, waterboarding is such a wimpy form of “torture” that I find it embarassing that people actually object to it.  It’s not as if the governement is waterboarding innocent people.  And besides in all this talk and swirl it can be hard to forget that only three people have actually been waterboarded (al Qaeda members at that).  Also, since 2003 no one has been waterboarded.

Waterboarding has no lasting physical effects nor does it do anything but scare the tar out of the terrorist.  So, what is the problem?  I find it pathetic that someone wouldn’t be willing to go that far in order to protect their livelihood and the lives of their family members.  We are talking about terrorists who have vowed to cut off your favorite child’s head simply because they are American.

Also, to tie in another current event, I find it hard to listen to a lecture about maintaining our moral high ground from a president who supports abortion and infanticide (yes I said INFANTICIDE).

UPDATE: Jack Bauer is awesome.

14 thoughts on “Torture and 24

  1. Of course it wouldn’t make sense. The United States does not rape people as a matter of policy. I hope you realize that.

  2. @zdexter

    Hve you (or Mr. Crowder for that matter) ever experienced waterboarding? I’ve not, although I have seen videos of guys who thought they were tough enough to handle it. I think 5 seconds is the record for voluntarily enduring that I have seen.

    “However, in the process he had saved thousands (perhaps millions) of American lives and basically the existance of the Republic. (Obviously this is a television show we are talking about, but nevertheless, one must admit that such a senario is plausable.)”

    Of course it is a plausible situation. However, it is improbable and torture is not the only means to such a peaceful end.

    “People are human and they make mistakes, but I see nothing but harm in judging people like Jack Bauer (as a congressman or a citizen) too harshly considering we didn’t have all of the knowledge that he had at the time he made his decisions to torture (mostly beat up very very badly) the terrorists that were always guilty.”

    I will assume that this argument is not at all about Jack Bauer but instead about some hypothetical but very real interrogator in the employ of the US. You can claim ignorance all day long, but ignorance is not an excuse for inhumane treatment. I could very well be arrested and convicted for taking pictures of buildings in New York, not knowing it was against the law (This has happened to a number of people, on the grounds that such tourist photos could be recon for terrorism.)

    “Personally I just don’t get it. First of all, waterboarding is such a wimpy form of ”torture” that I find it embarassing that people actually object to it.”

    Mr. Crowder, if waterboarding is such a “wimpy form of ‘torture'” then why don’t we meet in a concrete cell somewhere right after I have some military leathernecks rough you up blindfolded and then shackle you to a piece of plywood while I proceed with such a “wimpy” tactic? Before you go ahead and tell em you aren’t a terorrist, why does that matter? Are they not people too? Just as you’ve been brainwashed to support your own country through thick and thin (an admirable trait at times, but one that must be practiced with moderation) these men too are loyal to a cause which is most certainly justified in their eyes.

    “It’s not as if the governement is waterboarding innocent people. And besides in all this talk and swirl it can be hard to forget that only three people have actually been waterboarded (al Qaeda members at that). Also, since 2003 no one has been waterboarded.”

    Oh good God Mr. Crowder. If you honestly believe that waterboarding has only been used 3 times by the US, you might have to change your stance on marijuana legalization. Why on earth would the military publish reports of what the public sees as torture any more than they have to.

    “Waterboarding has no lasting physical effects nor does it do anything but scare the tar out of the terrorist. So, what is the problem?”

    The problem is that many psychologists have refuted this sentiment. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1892721,00.html . How about some good citations, or can I not expect any journalistic integrity or research on your part?

  3. Oh I am not equivilant to an islamic terrorist in my logic and also I am not a journalist and I don’t claim to be. . .I write blog posts

  4. Mr. Crowder, I would ask that you please copy and paste the specific points of my argument in the same way that I did for yours so that we may have a more productive dialogue here.

    What does the term terrorist mean? We can leave off the quotes, be cause they add little to nothing of value and are at most tedious to add. The US Government and the mass media outlets within make use of the word and its derivatives in many ways. Perhaps the greatest use they have is in the fear-mongering they use to subdue criticism from the general populace. Former President Bush and his administration were fond of calling Iran terrorists, but not for the same reason that Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were labeled as such. Given the evidence gathered, I don’t doubt that bin Laden and his group did organize the 9/11 attacks and are fully deserving of such a label.

    However, Iran has not been behind any such direct threats. They are suspected of supplying Iraq during the occupation and they have exercised their sovereign right in procuring nuclear power and perhaps even weapons, but in their case, the term terrorist has been used to group them into the outgroup as Al-Qaeda. Of course I would expect you are willing to accept this classification, but I, frankly, am not.

    The word terrorist has been reduced to a term which the government and media can invoke in an attempt to justify actions which otherwise would not be allowable under moral code and international law such as the Geneva Convention.

    And why is it that you aren’t equivalent to an Islamic terrorist in your logic? I, having the gift of subjectivity which you lack, can provide some interesting parallels. You are both motivated by religion. You both see your country (Well in the terrorist’s case, moreso the idea of an Islamic empire, I’d expect) as deserving the highest form of loyalty. You both have leaders who you follow unquestioningly. You both refuse to even consider the position of the oppositon. And perhaps the most important similarity of all is that you bath are entirely, hopelessly convinced of the infallibility of your own worldview.

  5. I fear our worldviews are so divergent that it is probable no productive dialogue can be had (if it is to be between us anyway). I find your views so twisted and your perspective so perverted that I will not entertain them. But, I appreciate that you read the blog.

  6. Mr. Crowder, do not mistake my response here to be what I actually believe. My position is simply that of Devil’s Advocate. I only wish to provide a contrast to your opinions and more importantly, not to change your viewpoint but to make you question why it is that you believe what you do. I do not appreciate your use of “twisted” and “perverted” to describe my arguments but of course my opinion on the subject is a happy medium between my submitted arguments and you stance, so I take no personal offense.

    Mr. Dexter, I understand your unwillingness to equate Mr. Crowder with a terrorist. I have met Mr. Crowder and he seems far removed from a terrorist. He is a peaceful man who employs only words as his weapons. However, what I think you missed in my comparison is that the most basic motivations shared by the two are not that dissimilar. Their actions are very much unalike, but their motivations do not diverge that much. You both would do wise to understand your enemy (the terrorists, not me) because an enemy that is misunderstood is far more dangerous than one whom you can understand and manipulate.

    You would do well to take a gander at Michael Chrichton’s “State of Fear.” This book, although fictional, shows just how the media manipulates the populace to make them more controllable. So, while your link may be true, I find it just as likely that it is a ploy authored by the government to give them more support to continue torture. I’m not saying it IS false, but that it may be. The point being, I rarely trust the media to report either the truth or what is in the best interest of the public.

  7. We can’t trust anybody, so we should pretend terrorism doesn’t exist or is nonthreatening, and convince ourselves that sticking water up the nose of known enemy combatants to save American lives is mean. So we should just let Americans die instead. Utter nonsense.

    “because an enemy that is misunderstood is far more dangerous than one whom you can understand and manipulate.”

    A common cliche, but not so true. We understood and manipulated the Nazis, who nonetheless nearly destroyed Europe. What is there to understand about terrorists? They want to kill Americans. Yes, we oppose oppressive totalitarian governments in Southwest Asia which these folks support, but our involvement there is no good excuse for terrorists’ killings of innocent civilians en masse.

    “The word terrorist has been reduced to a term which the government and media can invoke in an attempt to justify actions which otherwise would not be allowable under moral code and international law such as the Geneva Convention.”

    The Geneva Convention applies to uniformed combatants only.

  8. Of course no personal offense was intended by the use of words that have specific, relevant application. I apologize for not recognizing your intent of playing devil’s advocate. I am not good at playing that game.

  9. Please remind me again why embracing torture represents a net positive for the USA. I lost the plot somewhere. “Torture saves lives” is an awfully perverse banner to be holding aloft so proudly.

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