Thursday, March 5, 2009

Welcome and very clear rejection of torture

I'm very late on this one, I know. But I have just read Lord Guthrie's Times article against torture. Coming from a military man, it is a extremely forecful and passionate rejection of torture in any form:

Torture is wrong. People are ends in themselves, never merely means. Absolute human rights represent a limit to utilitarian calculations and speculations on national interest. They are the Rubicon that no hypothetical consequences, even in dire “ticking bomb” scenarios, must force us across. Everyone, even the terrorist, is human. There are no untermenschen. To label the criminal subhuman is to exonerate him.

...Torture is self-defeating. We need to distinguish ourselves from our enemies. We must not, in the false name of moral equivalence, degrade ourselves to their level. Once we do, Pandora's Box is difficult even for presidents to shut. If an interrogator is told by his superior to extract information from a prisoner, he will not want to fail. Torture then becomes a temptation, or worse, a habit, from cages in Cuba to the outrages of Abu Ghraib. It is imperative that the clear message from the very top is that there is no circumstance in which it is to be sanctioned. Soldiers and security services must be properly trained in lawful interrogation techniques. This is no job for amateurs.

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