More sanity on the gray line

Torturous decisions about torture gets into some of the issues that a sane and reasoning person would peruse and mull over in forming an opinion on torture.

Those who call the controversial process known as waterboarding “torture” are not necessarily wrong. But it is disingenuous to pretend that the matter is as clear as thumbs made permanently useless. The boundaries of torture are not so well-defined, unless one draws the line at any coercive technique meant to make a prisoner uncomfortable enough to want to give out information to make it stop, a definition so strict as to make the obtaining of such information virtually impossible.

Fernandez writes that those taking such a strict anti-torture stand are doing it from the safety of the hypothetical;

Here Fernandez supplies context for the decision.

In assessing complex moral decisions in the real world, we must look not only at our acts, but at the consequences of our failures to act.

There are sins of omission as well as sins of commission

The point is that real world honesty deals with concepts such as context, actual circumstances, and the dilemma of adverse circumstances no matter what decision is actually made. Criteria espoused as indicating an appropriate and effective basis for action include many of the action shown in the released memos – sounding ideas with others, ability to consider alternative opinions, recognition of the many variables involved, a weighing of the trade-offs of both action and inaction, and so on.

It is often the process taken that will tell you the quality of the action accomplished, whether or not you agree with it.

Comments are closed.