in passing

I'd like to register my disgust at the Bush administration for employing waterboarding over 266 times on two individuals.


Dave said...

that is extremely unfair. These people did what they thought they needed to do in order to prevent another 9/11 and the evidence that they actually did prevent a major attack in LA.

I am ashamed that this Top Secret document was declassified for purely political reasons.

Zach said...

I'm unsure why you think it's unfair to criticize something that ought to be recognized by any Catholic as evil.

The ends do not justify the means, especially for Catholics. Torture has been condemned repeatedly by the Church, most recently in Evangelium Vitae:

"The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: "Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator"."

Good intentions or even good consequences do not make an evil act good.

Dave said...

I still don't see waterboarding as torture or evil. Isn't there such a thing as "just war"? If the Church recognizes that there is such a thing as "just war", then why don't you post some teachings that the Church has on that. I'm sure that it will widen the perspective here. I believe and accept the Church teachings that you have posted. I would like to see the greater context of the teachings. Are they written specifically for actions that military personnel take during a war? Or are they written to condemn random criminal acts?

And the point I was trying to make was that people in the Bush administration offered legal opinions stating that it was not torture. They were trying to do everything morally and legally possible to protect this country to prevent another terrorist attack. I'm not trying to excuse their actions by the "ends justify the means". What I am trying to say is that we certainly do not know all of the circumstances.

The Obama Administration is recklessly naive in the way it is handling this. In America, we deal with policy differences (and reasonable people do disagree on whether or not waterboarding is torture) through elections. Once an election is settled, the policies change. There we have it. Now Obama's administration is threatening prosecution of Bush officials. Yesterday the WSJ had a great article on this subject.

The law of unintended consequences: our soldiers risk their lives trying to secure areas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Between closing Gitmo, changing our policy on prisoners (now we are going to send these people to a court of law), and now interrogation techniques, our soldiers will certainly think differently before they go to the trouble of "arresting" a enemy combatant in a war zone (how ridiculus is that we are treating our soldiers as law enforcement, do we expect them to collect evidence for these trials?). The law of unintended consequences is that soldiers will no longer see a reason for capturing these guys. They will shoot to kill. But I guess everyone can sleep better at night, because we'll know that a bucket of water wasn't run over their face.

Anonymous said...


Zach said...

Yawn yourself.

Anonymous said...

In passing, I'd like to thank the Bush administration for doing the hard, dirty work in keeping us safe from terrorist attacks for the last 7.5 years.
Sure is easy to carp from the sidelines. Sword of Damocles my friend.

Zach said...

If you'd like to make a substantive argument for torture, I'm all ears.