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Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Good Faith Belief

Spendidly swingeing and robust handling by Sedition of the torturous question of the legality of torture if one has "evidence and a good faith belief" that the stubborn unfortunate on slab "can furnish information necessary to save a million lives and avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in property loss."

Sedition votes an unequivocal Yes, but it's how he goes on that caught my eye, reminding us that,

... the real problem is, has been, and forever will be, that torture ends up being used against innocent individuals who have no information to offer, have committed no crime, and don’t deserve so much as a talking to, let alone water boarding.

Therefore the crux, the modest proposal toward legalizing torture, being:

If it comes to light later—whether it’s a day or 10 years—that the tortured man was innocent or that the threat could have been nullified without torture:

  • Everyone involved in the torturing, from the executives who cleared it to the thugs who beat him with phone books and told him he was dead if he didn’t display some alacrity in squealing:
    • All receive 25 years in a federal penitentiary without the possibility of parole
  • If the tortured individual dies as a result of the treatment:
    • All responsible parties are given the death penalty without appeal.
Oh, and the tortured man or his surviving family would receive the proceeds of one year of the USA’s gross domestic product or 1 trillion dollars, whichever is less, as compensation. Gotta make it hurt for everyone so they take an interest. [My emphases]

That ought to keep torture where it belongs: in history books and pointless Socratic jibber-jabber. We’ll call it The Wiesenthal Law."

That rather settles that particular Gordian poser for me and I hope I remember to rattle off the salient points when the discussion next arises just as I'm trying to enjoy my Gurdjieff and hot chocolate.

Smartie Pants Unseated: I was going to slip in what I thought  was my own personal little-known favorite Fyodor quote, the one about Unavenged Tears - but it appears that the whole world and his cousin know it, blogs founded on it, lectures based around it, you name it.

I'll end with it anyway, because I can't remind myself too often of that Karamazovian soul-search.

Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last. Imagine that you are doing this but that it is essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature-that child beating its breast with its fist, for instance-in order to found that edifice on its unavenged tears. Would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?

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