instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"It is about who we are"

A speech this morning on the U.S. Senate floor by Senator John McCain:



Excerpt:
In fact, not only did the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information...

I have sought further information from the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they confirm for me that, in fact, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti's real role in Al-Qaeda and his true relationship to Osama bin Laden — was obtained through standard, non-coercive means, not through any "enhanced interrogation technique."

In short, it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden. I hope former Attorney General Mukasey will correct his misstatement. It's important that he do so because we are again engaged in this important debate, with much at stake for America's security and reputation. Each side should make its own case, but do so without making up its own facts.
This is a follow-up to his op-ed that ran in the Washington Post this morning, in which he writes:
Individuals might forfeit their life as punishment for breaking laws, but even then, as recognized in our Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, they are still entitled to respect for their basic human dignity, even if they have denied that respect to others.

All of these arguments have the force of right, but they are beside the most important point. Ultimately, this is more than a utilitarian debate. This is a moral debate. It is about who we are.
[Links via The Plum Line.]

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