Torture 'Apologists' Are Wrong: It's Never Justified

Let's not embrace the values of Osama bin Laden: op-ed essay
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2011 11:55 AM CDT
Demonstrators hold a rally against torture on the National Mall in Washington in this 2008 file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The "apologists" crowing that we never would have caught Osama bin Laden without waterboarding and other forms of torture are sadly off base, write Charles and Gregory Fried in the Washington Post. For starters, we can't know if they're right. But even if they are, the larger point remains: Torture is always wrong and is an affront to American values. "Once you are willing to cross the line of absolutely wrong, you must answer impossible questions," they write. For instance, is it OK to torture a terrorist's child to get information?

The moment such "moral boundaries" are crossed, there's no going back. And ultimately, "the main damage torture inflicts is on the torturer." The young protesters in the Arab world now revolting in the name of democracy aspire to "the same values that we proclaim guide us," they write. "It defiles their sacrifice, as well as that of our own troops, if we who have long championed democracy embrace the brutal values of our enemies, even in the name of self-defense. We must deny bin Laden this posthumous victory." (Click for a staunch opposition to this argument.)

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