Sunday, December 14, 2014

Torture Apologists?

Brian McFadden is throwing with heat this morning:

Re the last panel, I have mixed opinions about drone strikes.  I am appalled and ashamed that the US tortured.  I also understand that it does not work at all. 

Drone strikes?  If one is at war, then why not discriminately target those who are using force against you and your allies?  I hate the signature strike type missions (where a set of behaviors makes someone a target), but targeted killings?  I prefer targeted killings to untargeted killings (which is what we would call Pakistan's counter-insurgency tactics).  Drones are just one form of targeted killings by the way--they just have bad PR.  People killed from a missile launched from an F-15 are just as dead. 

The issues here are complex, but when I think of drone strikes or targeted killings, I think about the alternatives.  When it comes to torture, this is not required.  Why?  Because torture is wrong, it does not work, and it undermines US security in numerous ways.  One does not have to be a pacifist to abhor torture. 

1 comment:

John said...


On drones: I don't get what exactly you are objecting to in the cartoon here? It uses the word 'summarily executed,' which seems about right: we have literally no idea on what basis these people are being killed, if any at all. On this read Scahill's 'Dirty Wars' and, especially, the case of the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, who was killed by drone in a case of 'mistaken identity.' Why are there no repercussions for the random killing of U.S. citizens in a country with which the U.S. was not at war with (Yemen) by an agency that the torture report shows us has lied repeatedly?

If you want you can assume it's OK to use 'targeted killings' (irrelevant the ethical issues behind this) but 'target killings' of unknown individuals whose crime has not been justified, anywhere? Who are supposed to represent an 'immanent threat' but the definition of 'immanent threat' has been altered such that it no longer means 'immanent'?

All the problems of CIA torture: no accountability, no oversight, no transparency, dubious legal basis (if only for the killing of U.S. citizens), still exist.

I for one am 'appalled and ashamed' of such actions and think, most definitely, a serious investigation is required that, if reports by reputable HR agencies and journalistic are anything to go by (and they were entirely correct about U.S. torture a decade ago), is just as alarming as torture...