Police Your Own

I believe one of the major failings in Western society is a failure to police your own. If KKK members weren’t protected by their towns this world would have been a better place. If pro-life groups policed their own we wouldn’t have abortion clinic bombings screwing up the debate. If Muslim groups policed their own mosques it would be much harder for terrorists to get support.

On that note: Trent Lott, please take a second to think before you speak. Because things like this are not helping anything.

"Frankly, to save some American troops' lives or a unit that could be in danger, I think you should get really rough with them," Lott said. "Some of those people should probably not be in prisons in the first place."

The first sentence is barely defensible as an abstract concept, but considering the obvious context of the recent discoveries in Abu Ghraib the statement is inflammatory and wrong. As for "Some of those people should probably not be in prisons in the first place", well that is exactly one of the problems with allowing torture--though in precisely the opposite way from what Lott apparently means. And if he means that some were terrorists and not normal crimminals, then have some procedure for sorting the two from each other. Though even that doesn't allow for torture.

"Lott was reminded that at least one prisoner had died at the hands of his captors after a beating.

"This is not Sunday school," he said. "This is interrogation. This is rough stuff.""

Excuse me? There may be a fine line between torture and non-torture. For instance I am pretty sure that I wouldn't count scaring someone with a dog as torture if you don't let the prisoner get bitten even though Amnesty International would apparently include that. But whatever rational line we try to draw on the definition of torture has to include 'beaten to death' under the rubric of unacceptable interrogation techniques or else the meaning of 'torture' is completely useless.

So, Trent Lott, if you want to help the war effort and you want to contribute to winning the hearts and minds of the people in the Middle East--SHUT UP!!!

Posted by Sebastian Holsclaw at May 26, 2004 2:20 AM