Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Context context context

In the first 140 words of the NYT story on harsh interrogation tactics, they use the following descriptive words:  brutal, extraordinary, gruesome, alluring.

But, of course, we’ve already known that the media has long since taken leave of any semblance of objectivism.  Point the finger at Fox (deservedly) all you want, but they certainly don’t have the monopoly on ridiculous bias.  They just have, apparently, the wrong bias.

 

Here’s the article, courtesy of MSNBC:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30338039/

 

The whole problem with any kind of harsh interrogation technique—from run of the mill good cop/bad cop shtick to hour upon hour of questioning to slapping someone across the face—is that it is so very easy for the human element to take over and the slap becomes a punch, becomes a kick, becomes something far beyond simply extracting information.  ESPECIALLY when time is of the essence and you’re in an environment of elevated threat and consequence.  Who wouldn’t want to beat a guy until he gives up the location of the box where the boy is buried alive and suffocating?  You beg and plead for only so long until you get angry—then you’ve got a problem.  But, of course, with the luxury of hindsight everyone knows how to do things better, even when they specialize only in tearing down and don’t have ideas of their own.

 

But now we have a new, bigger problem.  An American President is suggesting that there might be prosecutions of former administration officials over what amounts to policy disagreements.  Say what you will about the previous administration, but I don’t think anyone from that gang suggested prosecuting former officials over policy disagreements.  It shouldn’t be illegal to give an opinion on the law—even if it turns out to be a flawed opinion.  If you carry out criminal actions based on that flawed opinion, then maybe there are grounds for prosecution against you, and you’d likely have civil recourse against the individuals who ruined your life, but for the state to prosecute over an opinion?  Talk about troublesome.

 

Is that the “change you can believe in”?  Disagree with us and we’ll prosecute?  More than anything else, if that materializes, it’d be simply stunning.

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