#rsrh Revisiting Waterboarding, torture, and the law of unintended consequences.

Daniel Stone of The Daily Beast is being sloppy here…

A new study by the American Red Cross obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast found that a surprising majority—almost 60 percent—of American teenagers thought things like water-boarding or sleep deprivation are sometimes acceptable. More than half also approved of killing captured enemies in cases where the enemy had killed Americans. When asked about the reverse, 41 percent thought it was permissible for American troops to be tortured overseas. In all cases, young people showed themselves to be significantly more in favor of torture than older adults.

…and you can tell by the fact that he didn’t actually directly link to the survey in question.  At first glance it’s not exactly obvious why: after all, the question that was asked is potentially even more depressing.  The statement that got the 59% approval was: “Torturing captured enemy soldiers or fighters in order to get important military information.”  But it’s not entirely… useful to Stone, because the big question in the US government was never “Is it OK to wire up terrorists to car batteries on a regular basis?”  That was easily answered with a “No.”  The big question was, “Are interrogation techniques like waterboarding and sleep deprivation actually torture?” – an argument that Stone and his ilk clearly think is “Yes.”

Now, either the Red Cross agrees with them or it does not (it probably does).  If it doesn’t, Stone played a fast one here – but if it does, then Stone needs to confront one possibility that is notably absent from his attempt to explain away this: that the fault lies in the antiwar movement itself, which relentlessly pushed the narrative that waterboarding was semantically equivalent to wiring people up to car batteries, while never considering that people might end up agreeing – and thus concluding that wiring other people up to car batteries might not be such a horrid thing after all.

Which was something that I pointed out in 2009; so I’m not surprised.  It’s also not my fault that people are confused, except in the sense that I didn’t shout loudly enough above the din of antiwar progressive braying to be heard.  Which is to say, it’s also not my fault.

Moe Lane

(Via Hot Air Headlines)


  • Rob Crawford says:

    “More than half also approved of killing captured enemies in cases where the enemy had killed Americans.”

    And if those “captured” were not in uniform, not openly carrying arms, or attacking from among civilians or sites generally considered “protected” from combat operations, then the parts of the Geneva Conventions the US is a signatory to require their execution.

  • qixlqatl says:

    This reminds me of what I read about a certain famous photograph from the Vietnam war, the one of the ARVN officer with a pistol to a man’s head. The antiwar movement latched onto that photograph as emblematic of the brutality and corruption of the South Vietnamese government. What never made the news was that the man with the pistol to his head was a North Vietnamese military officer caught in enemy territory in civilian clothes during wartime….which the Geneva convention defines as a spy liable to summary execution…which is exactly what he got.

    In a google search for “Vietnam war photos”, that particular photo was first…

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