Posted by Brad @ 5:49 pm on May 12th 2014

Quote of the Day

“When I give talks about interrogations and torture, people always ask me why I have a problem with it. I understand – I was all for torture right after 9/11. I would have tortured the hijackers myself if they were still alive, and if I had been able to find them. I wasn’t thinking very rationally. Then I started learning about terrorism and I met the people who had been tortured, and I realized how wrong I was – and naïve. Believing in torture means you aren’t looking at the facts on the ground – you are just believing in some kind of fantasy about how to fix the world.”

– Tara McKelvey, author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War.

Yup. There are of course two levels on which to have the torture debate. The first is the moral one – and it’s here that pro-torture advocates love to try and paint opponents as naive or living in fantasy-land.

So, just switch to the reality of torture – its use, its efficacy, its results. And it’s on that ground that I have, time and time again, found torture apologists to basically have the world boiled down to some weirdo macho movie with not only no understanding of actual on-the-ground realities but really no interest in them. It’s just an episode of 24. It’s funny, when I engage with die-hard torture apologists – the “hell yeah water board all of them” folks – they like to talk like they’re the ones who see the world for what it really is and are willing to make the tough calls. But pull back the curtain even a tiny bit, and their dedication to torture looks more like the attachment of a Justin Beiber fan. In other words, they are dedicated to and titillated by a certain vision of the world they have no experience with but love and cling to in an almost fanboy-ish way. I am struck by it almost every time.

Oh, and if you think I mean just casual observers in that, click through the hyperlinks. I mean senior military commanders and policy makers just as surely.

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