As it should be, for the very institution breaches all known conventions of human rights and the treatment of prisoners. A brutal utilitarian reasoning combined with convoluted legal arguments has surely at the very least created an atmosphere where those responsible for the inhuman treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib felt they were acting in accordance with the wishes of their superiors.
The utilitarian argument for torture should never have been accepted in the first place. The 'ticking-bomb' senario is just an up-dated version of the perennial justification used by torturers through the ages: that it serves some greater good, that it is necessary in order to fulfill a higher purpose. An argument that should have been rejected on the basis of the inviolability of human rights, not on the basis of attempts to disprove the utilitarian calculation - but it has to be stressed that this case repeats the lesson of history: torture invariably fails the utilitarian test too. Disclosures of 'ticking-bombs' have been conspicuous by their absence; we only have images that sicken the soul of anyone who has kept in touch with their humanity.
Those responsible for this policy should have been afraid to believe they knew better than the wisdom of ages and of nations, especially when they themselves belong to a nation that once had the wisdom to enshrine the prohibition of torture in its constitution. Closing Guantanamo always was a moral imperative - and surely no-one can now doubt that it is also a political, utilitarian imperative?
- ► 2014 (20)
- ► 2013 (22)
- ► 2012 (41)
- ► 2011 (74)
- ► 2010 (112)
- ► 2009 (117)
- ► 2008 (149)
- ► 2007 (212)
- Trying to hold back the rage
- Marriage, intelligence and insanity
- Galloway: the madness continues
- Something no one cares about
- Saddam 'calls off hunger strike'
- Political system faces 'meltdown'
- Pro-animal testing demonstration
- Beckham left baffled by Brooklyn's homework
- Officer wanted McKie "paid-off"
- Faith schools ‘insane’, says Catholic writer
- The Da Vinci case: literature on trial
- The words you use most
- People losing their damn minds #9
- Fukuyama on neoconservatism
- HMIE report: Scotland's schools must do better
- McKie questions go to parliament
- UN condemns German school system
- Academics fight rise of creationism at universitie...
- Moss goes from rehab clinic to Britain's most styl...
- Watching America
- Holocaust denier Irving is jailed
- What excuse can they give?
- A black mark against Scottish justice
- Back in the USSR
- Martin Jacques on 'Eurocentrism'
- Comprehensives 'not helping working classes'
- UN calls for Guantanamo closure
- More liberty nibbled away
- Brown wants more school cadet forces
- Prime Ministers and Parliaments
- Brown denies 'dual premiership'
- Scotland's smoking ban gets even more bizarre
- Lib Dems storm to election victory over Labour
- Cartoon debate officially over
- More cartoon lunacy
- On anti-Semitism and other profanities
- Kit-Kat time
- Commons defeat for government
- ▼ February (39)
- ► 2005 (279)
British and Scottish Social
Elections and Voters
- A Cloud in Trousers
- Bad Conscience
- Butterflies and Wheels
- Chase me ladies, I'm in the Cavalry
- Christopher Hitchens
- Dave Hill
- Dave Osler
- Excuse me while I step outside
- Fat Man on a Keyboard
- Flying Rodent
- George Szirtes
- Labour and Capital
- Martin in the margins
- Mick Hartley
- Never Trust a Hippy
- Nick Cohen
- Obcene Desserts
- Olly's Onions
- Pickled Politics
- Rosie Bell
- Rullsenberg Rules
- Shiraz Socialist
- Simply Jews
- Slugger O'Toole
- Stumbling and Mumbling
- The gaping silence
- We'll Get it Right Next Time
- Whitehall 1212
Blogroll with aloe vera
British and Scottish Political
- Amnesty International
- China links
- China Support Network
- CIA factbook
- Democracy Now
- Europa - EU Online
- Human Rights in China
- Human Rights Watch
- International Labour Organization
- Labour Friends of Iraq
- South Africa links
- Statistical Abstract of the US
- Tibet Administration in Exile
- US Elections Stats
- Whitehouse Homepage