Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Paul Campos--Bleeding Heart For the Jihadists

You would think that a law professor could assimilate the difference between a criminal in custody awaiting a trial and possible sentence as punishment for the crime and a captured (illegal) combatant kept off the battlefield for the duration of the conflict. But the distinction seems to escape legal wunderkind and part-time journalist Paul Campos. Here's what he wrote today in the Rocky Mountain News under the 'no duh' title "Torture is Always Wrong."

This law [pending in Congress] will, among other things, clarify the status of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by making it clear that they may be kept in prison for the rest of their lives, without ever being allowed to plead their case in court. During this "indefinite detention" they may be tortured at the pleasure of the president, if he believes that torturing them is necessary to help keep us safe. (Emphasis added).

Am I wrong to take from that paragraph that Mr. Campos supports giving the Jihadists American Constitutional rights? Isn't he advocating a right to be tried in an American court? What would Mr. Campos want us to prove in court--that the Jihadists was carrying an AK-74? That the Jihadist is a Jihadist? Do we let captured combatants go back to the battlefield to kill more people, including American soldiers, etc.? All I can see in Mr. Campos' arguments is hopeless confusion.

But even more distressing is Mr. Campos' near complete inability to tell the difference between torture and not torture. Every time you call non-torture torture you diminish your proper argument that torture is wrong because people with common sense can tell the difference and they dismiss your argument as the product of your flawed perception. I'm doing it now.

Mr. Campos should look to what he unconsciously proposes as a definition of torture:

[Torture] is wrong because to torture a fellow human being destroys the torturer's own soul as surely as it destroys the body and mind of his victim. (Emphasis added).

Torture destroys the body and mind of the victim. What does not destroy the body and mind of the victim (i.e. mere inconvenience or a brief, non-damaging physical pain--like a belly slap) is not torture. Waterboarding (pouring water onto a cloth over the victim's face) therefore could be torture if you keep it up for a long time, as in hours. Usually it lasts seconds and the longest reported was just over two minutes. That's not torture. (It's not in the Big Book of Torture).

So we can all agree that torture is wrong, but the problem comes from (usually) the lefties' inability to know what is torture and what is not. We don't torture, but we have to do harsh things sometimes to get the Jihadists to reveal plans of coming attacks. Saving 3,000 people with a belly slap (followed by a pizza) is moral behavior, not the reverse. Even if it only saves one life...

You do have to admire Mr. Campos' putting his topsey turvey perception on display each week. If I were that wrong consistently, I'd shut up.

I've been hearing plenty of this book, the Big Book of Torture. You put a lot of stock in this wonder book that seems to be the undisputable authority on the criterion for torture. sounds kinda dubious to me...
It's an authority, not the authority, but it has long lists of torture with old woodcut illustrations and everything. Waterboarding is just not in there.
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