2. The American Civil Liberties Union. The organization maintains dangerously absolutist positions against the use of torture to gather intelligence from al-Qaida terrorists, against the designation of enemy combatants apprehended on either foreign or American soil and against common-sense profiling in wartime.
"Dangerously absolutist position against the use of torture?"
I remember during the 1998 race for the Florida seat in the U.S. Senate, then candidate Connie Mack opposed a treaty against torture. He said that he believed democracy was the only key to protecting human rights. Connie mack was also a staunch defender of Low Intensity Conflict in Latin America, wars launched in the name of freedom and democracy (and BTW wars where "our side" had a long list of charges of human rights charge against them.) I remember one Amnesty International report that accused the Nicaraguan contras of "routine torture and summary execution of captives." (When the same phraseology was used by A.I. against Saddam, they were proudly repeated by Dan Quayle in defense of the Gulf War-- but I'm getting ahead of myself). My cynical side in 1988 was tempted to conclude that Connie Mack was actually pro-torture. But I repented of my disparagement of my brother-- no one's that terrible.
Then came the Rodney King beating. The Abner Loiuma anal rape, the anal rape at Abu Ghraib. In the defense of all these actions, there were seemed to be a vein of popular conservatism that thought these were good things, or were "more outraged at the outrage" than the thing itself.
Can someone help me out here? Is there a vein in the tradition of the church that allows for the abuse of prisoners if it can be tied to some security objective? Email me at my address-- it's the nine-letter word in the userid of this blog account at gmail.com.
There's a logical problem here. The old adage goes, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." I can imagine that the Soviet Union faced security threats as grave as does the West now. Surely Saddam did, with Kurdish and Iranian operatives threatening their security. If we rationalize torture in our time of crisis, we've just written a theology that gives Saddam and Stalin a Get out of Hell Free card.