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BLOG SITE OF SPIRITUALMAN, KEVILL DAVIES

Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Case for Torture

I am always surprised by how quickly politicians state their total disapproval of the use of torture. It's almost a reflex action as if to be seen to condone torture is to be branded a violator of human rights or even worse, a war criminal.
We have recently witnessed the almost embarrassing spectacle of politicians falling over themselves to distance themselves from the alleged torture suffered by a Yemeni Guantanamo Bay prisoner. They are apparently telling us that they are against torture in principal. It presumably wouldn't be good to be seen as unsympathetic to any group with vote potential. Do you know; I'm sick to the back teeth of their hypocrisy?

Let us be clear what we are talking about here. We are talking about an individual or state persuading another individual to divulge information of personal or national interest when they don't wish to do so. It scarcely matters for what reason they wish to keep their counsel, if the purpose is illegal, contrary to the national interest or simply unjust.

To those who claim they are pathologically against torture, let me propose a test.
You have a daughter of eight years who is the apple of your eye; the love of your life. She is taken and her life is soon to be threatened. You have in your custody a person who knows the whereabouts of your daughter and possibly how she might be saved. Do you:-

a. Respect his human rights not to divulge information and conscious of the Geneva Convention take no steps to extort the information from him knowing that your daughter is certain to be killed. Or:-

b. Take all steps to save your daughter, including torture, so that even should you fail, you know you have done all you can to save your loved one.

If you choose option a you ought to be ashamed of yourself for allowing a member of your family to be sacrificed on the altar of your pathetic consciousness. Remember, most evildoers prey on the timidity and weakness off their victims. Score: Evildoers 1- 0 You.

If you choose option b, you cannot in all honesty claim to support any anti-torture group. Score: You 1 - 0 Evildoers.

If I'm honest, to save my daughter or any member of my family, I would torture my captive if necessary and more; if he refused to give information (and some groups are trained to withstand pain) I would torture members of his family in front of him or her until he or she relented.

Let us take the test again but this time imagine that you are the Home Secretary, responsible for the safety of the country and its people. You are aware of a hydrogen bomb, primed to explode in London, within the hour, say. It is big enough to destroy the capital and kill ten million people. You have in your custody a person who can tell you the whereabouts of the bomb, but refuses to divulge the information. Do you:-

a. Respect his human rights not to divulge information and conscious of the Geneva Convention take no steps to extort the information from him knowing that ten million citizens are certain to be killed. Or:-

b. Take all steps to save your City and its people, including torture, so that even should you fail, you know you have done all you can to save your country.

If you choose option a. to sacrifice ten million to spare one, you are guilty not only of crass negligence and bad judgement but have betrayed the faith the electors put in you to protect them. When you later survey the scene of destruction, hear the wailing of the survivors, do you reflect that however bad it was- you were right.Or:-

If you choose option b. You save your country; reflect that life's a bitch and are remembered as a Home Secretary that did his job and saved the country.

Life is a bitch! Sometimes we are faced with hard choices. Remember what Obama said at his victory address and the Tory, Cameron, has put at the front of his party priorities. Family, Community and Country. We should remember these priorities when considering the ethics of torture.

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