The good news is that some on the right are beginning to understand the catastrophic public relations of the Bush administration's authorization of torture. But they are still in denial about some things:
I was recently invited, for example, by the Oxford Union in England to debate (for the affirmative) the proposition “Resolved: This House Would Torture to Save Lives.” I declined but counter-offered on David Frum’s advice to debate "Resolved: This House Believes Terrorists Deserve the Full Protection of the Geneva Conventions." I await their reply.
But this is a straw man. I'm obviously opposed to torturing or abusing military prisoners. But I don't favor full Geneva protections for al Qaeda terror suspects. They shouldn't have the full rights of uniformed soldiers in a conventional war. I just favor the minimal baseline protections of Article 3, that bar abuse and torture. I also believe that it's not a given that all captives are thereby terrorists. As we have found out from Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, large pluralities (and at Abu Ghraib a vast majority) have been shown not to be terrorists. So how's this for a debate at my alma mater:
"This House Believes Terror Suspects Deserve the Minimal Protections of the Geneva Conventions."
I might add this is not, under US law, a matter for debate. It is the law of the land. If Charen and Frum want to change it, they need to persuade the Senate to rescind Geneva. But I'd happily debate them at Oxford on this question.
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