instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A good case of Not Invented Here Syndrome

There are those who say that to sacrifice the lives of untold numbers of American citizens rather than put the screws on a couple of dirtbags is utterly un-American.

There are those who say that what is un-American is to put the screws on human beings in our custody.

I say that the truly un-American spirit at work is the one that tells us Yankee ingenuity can do no better than make minor improvements to screws that were invented elsewhere.

Mark Danner made a related point in a Washington Post opinion piece this past Sunday:
Republicans from Dick Cheney on down have been unflagging in their arguments that these "enhanced interrogation techniques . . . were absolutely crucial" to preventing "a major-casualty attack." This argument, still strongly supported by a great many Americans, is deeply pernicious, for it holds that it is impossible to protect the country without breaking the law.
Though I suppose it could be said that the law was broken into little pieces, then reassembled with a few of the pieces left out.

In any case, the time and energy devoted to drawing lines between legal and illegal acts, to making sure the people we torture are safe, is time and energy not devoted to coming up with moral means of securing our nation.