Why Not Torture The Crack Dealer?

Yglesias poses the question:

I would be interested to know how far the publicor how torture-loving conservative eliteswould be willing to go on this. In a lot of ways terrorism cases strike me as unusually unpromising venues for torture. Something more banal like trying to get a low-level drug dealer to spill the beans on his supplier could really work. My view is that routinized deployment of brutality by government officials isn’t going to produce any systematic gains, so it doesn’t make sense to uncork this kind of treatment on Abdulmuttalab or Generic Drug Dealer X.

But for torture enthusiasts is there anything special about terrorism suspects?

By the reasoning of Cheney, many more lives would probably be saved - especially if torture was allowed before any due process, as happened under the Bush protectorate - and since that's the entire utilitarian rationale for torturing suspects, I don't see why people like Yoo and Thiessen object in principle. Yoo and Thiessen already endorsed the brutal, barbaric torture of an American citizen, Jose Padilla. So what's stopping them with other American citizens breaking the law?

What's stopping them, obviously, is not the rule of law which bans torture (they threw that out in 2002) but the lack of a desire for revenge. Which is what torture is always really about.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus