I once thought Marxist constitutional law professor Barack Obama was going to abide by the Geneva Conventions and bring back the rule of law, yet Saturday evening found the Republican presidential candidates discussing
bombing foreignersforeign policy, so clearly torture is still practiced in the United States. But just Who Would Jesus Waterboard, according to the candidates who participated in the partially-televised, partially-smoke-signaled South Carolina debate?
According to supposed crazy person Ron Paul, who was allowed to speak for a total of 90 seconds in the first hour of the debate (for how can you allow disagreement in a debate?), not even Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Board deserve torture…
Well, waterboarding is torture. It's illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. And it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence. Why would you accept the position of torturing 100 people because you know one person might have information? And that's what you do when you accept the principle of torture. I think it's uncivilized and has no practical advantages and is really un-American to accept on principle that we will torture people that we capture.
Oh, that crazy uncle Ron. Every real Republican knows our government is incapable of providing health care and education, incompetent at regulating environmental pollutants, ineffective at constructing infrastructure, feckless in its attempts at consumer protection, and inept at conducting basic scientific research, but it's constitutionally impossible for the government to make a mistake when it comes to deciding which person to execute, assassinate or torture. This makes perfect sense. Like when I refuse to let my nephew handle a steak knife, because he's a first-grader, but trust him to conduct open-heart surgery, because what's the worst that can happen?
We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project, which include liberty, democracy, human rights, and open markets, when we torture. We should not torture. Waterboarding is torture. We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries. And we lose that ability to project values that a lot of people in corners of this world are still relying on the United States to stand up for them.
That's the worst that can happen, according to Jon Huntsman. Doesn't sound so bad. Maybe I'll get my nephew that scalpel for Christmas after all.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: CBS, Debates, International Affairs, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, South Carolina, Torture