I almost titled this post, “Worst Excuse Ever,” but the fact is that we’ve heard worse, or none, for possibly illegal behavior from the White House lots of times.
The discussion about torture, or torture-lite, often includes something like this:
“There’s a bomb under L.A., and we know, or strongly suspect, that this guy has the details. Hell yeah, torture him!”
Or maybe this:
“Americans are at risk, and we know, or strongly suspect, that this guy has information that can save American lives. Torture him to get that information.”
Now, whether or not you agree that torture at those times is ok, or even effective, most people would NOT say this:
“We’ve arrested a guy and we want to try him and put him in jail. In order to get him to confess, we torture him. Then we use than confession against him in the trial.”
Right? I mean, isn’t it a completely basic idea that torture produces false confessions? I mean, even if we’re not talking about thumbscrews. Let’s say it’s water boarding, sleep deprivation, loud noises, or being retrained in “stress” positions. It’ll all end if you confess. Should we use those confessions to convict? I think that most people would say, “of course not.”
So, am I hearing this wrong, or are members of the administration arguing that we should be allowed to use those confessions? How can this be cool with Americans?
And now, finally, for the worst excuse (in days).
I haven’t found it on the Net, but I’m pretty sure that the following paraphrased excuse made it through to my not-quite-awake brain this morning, straight from NPR:
“If we don’t allow evidence obtained through these coercive methods, then every Al Qaida operative will claim that we coerced him.”
I almost don’t even want to write more about it, because I think the logic is so obviously bad that my words will only water the badness down. But here goes.
People under arrest claim all kinds of things, don’t they? Who cares what they claim? If they prove it, then they win. If they can’t, then they don’t.
You know, I’ve noticed that in the U.S., some criminals falsely claim that they’ve been brutalized by the police. They do this because police brutality is illegal, and they may get let go because of it. I have an idea! Let’s legalize police brutality!
Hell, we don’t even need an analogy. What am I thinking? Torture is an illegal way to gain a confession in every state in the Union. But this is a great idea to head off any bad guys claiming that we tortured them. Legalize it throughout the states. Of course!
Man, I sure hope I misheard that quote. Did anyone else hear it?