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← Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

MMAtheist's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by MMAtheist

Comment 10 by Red Dog :

In reply to Comment6 by MMAtheist

Yes, I'm sure that I read the article. Harris says in this article "I believe that there are extreme situations in which practices like “water-boarding” may not only be ethically justifiable, but ethically necessary—especially where getting information from a known terrorist seems likely to save the lives of thousands (or even millions) of innocent people. "

That's the same argument that the Bush administration and its apologists (people like Dershowitz) use to defend torture. My arguments 1-3 apply:

1) Water-boarding is not a reliable way to get information. If you do have a case where innocent lives are at stake (the hypothetical and virtually totally imaginary ticking time bomb) torture is NOT the best way to get information. Again read what any expert on interrogation has to say. People for example from the FBI who have been amazingly succesful at getting information and saving lives. They all say torture doesn't work and that other methods do.

2) Things like water boarding actually play right into the hands of our enemies. They destroy any moral credibility we have. They have been used in Al Queda propoganda to show how depraved the US is.

3) Defenses like this argument from Harris were used by the Bush administration to justify water boarding and that water boarding got suspects (some were terrorists some were not) to say that Iraq had WMD even though they didn't.

1) Harris: "It is widely claimed that torture “does not work”—that it produces unreliable information, implicates innocent people, etc. As I argue in The End of Faith, this line of defense does not resolve the underlying ethical dilemma. Clearly, the claim that torture never works, or that it always produces bad information, is false. There are cases in which the mere threat of torture has worked. As I argue in The End of Faith, one can easily imagine situations in which even a very low probability of getting useful information through torture would seem to justify it..."

2) Harris would obviously be in favor of torture in extremely rare situations. And that it should be illegal. Takes care of the Al Qaeda-propaganda -argument imo.

3)See above.

He may say that torture should be illegal but in this article he also argues that it at times is the moral thing to do (see my previous comment above). I don't agree with that. I think not only should it be illegal but it is always immoral.

I know you don't agree with that. I just haven't seen any arguments for why that is. What Harris said about Luban applies to you as well. You're not really making ethical arguments, only pragmatic ones.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:01:26 UTC | #620769