Saturday, February 27, 2010

Marc Theissen Justifies 9-11

Marc Thiessen continues his dishonest and disgusting attempts to legitimize the use of torture. First, he simply decides to re-define torture

“There’s a standard of torture in civil law,” he said, “which is severe mental pain and suffering. I also have a common-sense definition, which is, ‘If you’re willing to try it, it’s not torture.’ ”
Thousands of American soldiers have been willing to undergo waterboarding as part of their resistance training, Mr. Thiessen notes; therefore, it stands to reason that it is not torture.
This is total bullshit. The fact that somewhere there is someone who is willing to undergo waterboarding has absolutely no bearing on whether on not waterboarding is torture. There are people who are willing to endure all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons, and that does not give us the right to inflict anything on anyone. People have shown a willingness to douse themselves in gasoline and light themselves on fire as a means of protest; does this mean that that would be acceptable treatment as well? 
Second, he invokes Catholic teaching to defend what he calls “coercive interrogation.”
The catechism states, “the defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to do harm,” and Catholic tradition accepts that this might involve killing. And, Mr. Thiessen writes: “If this principle applies to taking human life, it must certainly apply to coercive interrogation as well. A captured terrorist is an unjust aggressor who retains the power to kill many thousands by withholding information about planned attacks.”
A captured terrorist most certainly is not an unjust aggressor. He is in custody, and can do no more harm. Theissen is not just claiming that you can kill someone who is trying to kill you. He is saying that you can do anything you want if you feel like your life is being threatened. You can kill the person who is threatening you. You can kill someone who might know something about someone who is threatening you. You can torture someone if you feel threatened. In other words, as long as you feel as though you are threatened, there is literally nothing you cannot do.
Worried that you might be struck and killed by a drunk driver? According to Thiessen, you can just pre-emptively kill all drunk drivers. Or all drunks, or even all drivers. 
Worried that some Muslim might know something about a terrorist attack? Just torture him to death. Maybe you'll find something out, maybe you won't. But it's your right!
Are you a Muslim that's worried that the United States is planning to invade another Muslim country? I guess you're justified in flying passenger jets into skyscrapers. See how that works?
Basically, Theissen is arguing that governments or individuals can justify ANY behavior, no matter how evil, by claiming that they felt as though they were in danger. And make no mistake about it, he is not arguing that we can only do this to people who are guilty of committing terrorist acts. He is arguing that the guilt of the person is irrelevant; all that is needed is some belief, however misguided, that one's life is in danger.
This is face of the Neo-Con movement. It is a movement that is doing everything it can to destroy a century's worth of advancement in human rights and international law. Its justification is self-defense, but its ultimate goal is absolute power, and the domination of the world. It uses fear to consolidate its power; in this sense, it is no different from, and in fact acts in concert with, Al Qaeda. 
Morally, its goals are repugnant. Strategically, they are stupendously foolish. But they are moving ahead anyway, and Marc Theissen is doing anything he can to further the cause.

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