It’s been conclusively shown by the best Catholic ethics money can buy that this is not torture. Now we have confirmation from the medical community as well. And, of course, the most deeply conservative minds of our time love it and laugh about it.
As I’ve pointed out for some time, the first conclusion to draw from the massive campaign to legitimate waterboarding as a “harmless splash of water” is that we should go ahead and use it on citizens and (as the good doctor demonstrates) on unruly children. That’s the civilization every “conservative Christian” apologist for torture is helping to build.
When I say this, the retort is that we only use this on terrorists to get information. My answer is, terrorist will talk even more readily if you do this “harmless” thing to their children. The shocked and angry answer is “But the children are innocent!”
And right there, the lie of the whole project of torture is revealed. Yes. The children *are* innocent. And therefore the real purpose of torture is–bloody obviously–not to “get information in the most efficient way” but to take out your punishing rage on somebody you’ve decided is (probably, hopefully) guilty of something. It’s not to get information since, as real interrogators tell you again and again, torture is a lousy way of getting information and a great way of generating time-wasting lies and babble. Of course, not all the people you torture are guilty of anything. But once a swarthy foreigner reaches adulthood, the torture apologist doesn’t worry too much about these distinctions. Maher Arar was an Ayrab and Dilawar spoke a funny language and was Muslim, so close enough (too bad the latter was tortured to death and was completely innocent, but you have to break eggs to make an omelette). But our civilization still draws the line at children and (quaintly) imagines Caesar will always do that.
Of course, countless other torture regimes have immediately figured out that the way to a man’s heart is through his loved ones. But we Americans retain a curiously naive brutal cynicism that seriously thinks a state that is willing to torture, indefinitely detain, and murder will only do that to “bad guys” and that it will never occur to Caesar to “misuse” his power to sin gravely.
Marc Thiessen and all of his ilk in the “conservative Christian” community, be ashamed. Right alongside the authors of the abortive culture of death, you have helped build this Babel and our children will pay for it. God have mercy on us.