In the abstract I guess I’ve been more sympathetic to torture under very specific circumstances. Indeed, I still don’t think anyone can deny that there are obvious hypotheticals where no sane person would oppose using torture. But I guess, at the end of the day, I’m in Derb’s camp. If those hypotheticals are ever translated into reality — God forbid — nobody’s going to care about the Geneva Convention. If we know there’s a nuclear bomb en route to an American city and we have someone in custody we know has information on how to intercept that bomb, my guess is we’ll get that information no matter what the missives and memos from the White House say. And anyone who thinks that’s a bad thing is a fool in my book.
That said, short of those incandescantly clear cases I think torture should be ruled out. But as I’ve written several times and as Andy McCarthy perfectly summarized yesterday, I think applying the Geneva Convention to al Qaeda detainees is batty.
Moreover, I have no problem with playing a little smacky-face with prisoners. Think about it. The standard being put forward by Sullivan and others on all this would rule the tactics of Detective Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue unacceptable. For years, Sipowicz has been smacking suspects around in order to force them to confess. He threatens to “beat their balls off” every other show.
It is beyond me why this should be considered beyond the pale for terrorists.