Thursday, January 06, 2005

I just scanned [quickly] Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds' long post on torture. What it boils down to for me is: what are we, as a nation and a people? One of his emailers asks, "If we have to do something that would heretofore have been considered barbaric in order to extract information that will save innocent lives, so be it." I disagree. Because our opponent tortures and horribly murders its captives, that in no way justifies us using torture tactics for those opponents in our custody.

This begs the question, of course, "what is torture?" We have operated for many years under the definitions set forth in the Geneva Convention, which definitions the Administration apparently seeks to change, via the policy memo written by AG nominee Gonzales. I still have not heard a convincing rationale to change that well-established definition. On the contrary, abusing our prisoners cheapens us internally and in the eyes of the world, and it places our people in greater danger; our abandonment of humane treatment standards will inevitably lead to other nations doing the same.

We are a nation of laws, committed to the rule of law in the way we live and conduct ourselves. When it is most difficult to remember that, such as now, is when it is most important to adhere to our basic values: good faith, fair play, and the law. If we slide down the slope to where the enemy wallows in the muck, we will soon have as much mud on our face as the enemy.

It's gut check time, and the United States is in danger of failing the test.

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