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Monthly Archive: May 2009

May 29 2009

On torture-11: Invoking the extreme hypothetical

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Let’s look at the final excuse on the list put out by torture apologists. Excuse 11: Finally, the emotional appeal that takes various forms but one of the strongest is: If your children were being held hostage by terrorists, wouldn’t you want any suspects to be tortured if …

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May 28 2009

On torture-10: Christians and torture

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Before I get to the last of the excuses for torture on the list put out by apologists, I want to make a slight digression and comment on the curious reaction of Christians to torture. As this series of posts has, I hope made clear, torture is a …

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May 27 2009

On torture-9: The “everybody knew about it” excuse

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Let’s continue with our look at the other excuses on the list put out by apologists. Excuse 9: Top Democrats were told what was going on and approved of it so that makes it ok. This is a truly curious argument, evidenced in the absurd fuss over what …

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May 26 2009

On torture-8: The ‘partisan politics’ excuse

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Let’s continue with our look at the other excuses on the list put out by apologists. Excuse 8: If we prosecute those who authorized torture, then this would be for purely partisan reasons for retribution by Democrats against Republicans. The fundamental principle that is involved is that nobody …

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May 25 2009

Language and Evolution

(Due to the Memorial Day holiday, I am reposting an old item.) I have always been fascinated by language. This is somewhat ironic since I have a really hard time learning a new language and almost did not make it into college in Sri Lanka because of extreme difficulty in passing the 10th-grade language requirement …

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May 22 2009

On torture-7: The ‘acting in good faith’ excuses

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Let’s continue with our look at the other excuses on the list put out by apologists. Excuse 4: Even if it did violate binding laws and treaties, it was justified because it worked to prevent another attack and thus saved lives. See the response to excuse #2 (“Even …

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May 21 2009

On torture-6: The legal excuse

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Let’s continue with our look at the other excuses on the list put out by apologists. Excuse 3: These actions did not violate any laws or treaties binding on the US. Yes they do. That crazy, soft-on-terror ideologue Ronald Reagan signed the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, …

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May 20 2009

On torture-5: The effectiveness argument

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Let’s continue with our look at the other excuses on the list put out by apologists. Excuse 2: Even if it was torture, it was justified because it worked to prevent another attack and thus saved lives. Once you accept this argument, then you are truly a barbarian, …

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May 19 2009

On torture-4: Trying to excuse the inexcusable

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) These arguments that have been made to excuse the torture practices of the US have taken many shifting forms. In the next few posts, I list the top excuses for torture practices, followed by my responses. Excuse 1: What was done by the US is not torture. Excuse …

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May 18 2009

On torture-3: What was actually done to detainees by the US

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) An article by Mark Danner in the April 30, 2009 issue of the New York Review of Books accompanied his release of the February 2007 confidential report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on what was done to detainees in US custody. It is truly horrifying. …

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