The Definition Game–“Sure I agree that torture is wrong. But golly gee willikers who even *knows* what torture *is* anyway? It’s all sooooooo confusing!”–has been absolutely gutted as the principal strategy of Catholic Torture Defenders for maintaining a fake commitment to Catholic teaching while ardently defending mortal sin. When the CIA itself calls what it is doing “torture”, it’s torture. And when we are talking about ramming food up a man’s butt, standing on his broken leg, forcing him to stand on broken feet, drowning him till he is non-responsive, freezing him, beating him, refusing to treat bullet wounds, neglecting him till he loses an eye, playing Russian Roulette, and threatening to kill his children and cut his wife’s throat in front of him, it is no longer tenable to feign confusion. Torture Defenders don’t even have the dignity of being a hyper-scrupulous moral idiot trying to be “fair” to torturers. They are simply liars now if they say they are not sure what torture is. If those horrors are not torture, there is not such thing as torture.
So, having lost their central prop for trying to square Torture Defense with the circle of the clear teaching of the Church, torture defenders now have two choices: repent their defense of mortal sin or dig into the Lie more deeply. A number are repenting, if my comboxes and mail are any indication. The angels in heaven rejoice over that and I thank God for it through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Others, alas most, are digging into the Lie more deeply. There are only a few (seeming) escape routes left.
The first is the genetic fallacy. This report was written by Democrats, ergo false! To back up this lie, the claim is made that the Report did not include the testimony of various CIA spooks. What is overlooked is that the spooks refused to cooperate with the investigation, stonewalled, and lied:
(This, by the way, is why I support the call for Franciscan University to rescind Hayden’s honorary degree.)
Also, bear in mind that the same spooks who lied and stonewalled are now (with the willing help of the Right Wing Noise Machine) *blaming* the investigators for not including testimony that they adamantly refused to give. And, for a cherry on top, they also compromised Senate staffer’s computers and monitored all their communications and findings.
So the genetic fallacy, in addition to being stupid, is also a wilful lie once we are in possession of these facts. The question is not “Who wrote the report?” The question is “Are the facts in there copiously documented?”
Another lie Torture Defenders are desperately promoting is consequentialism: “It worked!” Bearing in mind that “It worked!” is also the lie consequentialists tell to justify abortion as a crime-fighting measure and that the Church says “You may not do evil that good may come of it”, the secondary question is why Catholic Torture Defenders are so eager to embrace and repeat this lie. After all, the only “reason” we are given to believe it is that the people most desperate to lie to cover their asses–the people we have just seen are lying to us–are the sole source for the vague, undocumented claim that it worked. What the Report documents is CIA staffers themselves constantly reporting that it didn’t work and was counter-productive: that there was no intel gained that would not have been gained by conventional means.
Catholics who are eager believe and repeat the undocumented lies of documented liars in order to justify mortal sin are not in a healthy spiritual place. They should repent.
Beyond these two main pillars of the Lie are subsidiary lies. The most heinous of them (because those to whom much is given, much will be required) is the constant attempt of “prolife” Torture Defenders to use the unborn as human shields by ringing the changes on some variation of “If you are critical of torture, you are giving aid and comfort to abortion support.” This is also a blatant lie. Opposition to torture is not support for abortion. It is consistent adherence to the Church’s teaching which tells us that both abortion and torture are mortal sins.
Another popular lie is the naked and transparent attempt by the Party of Personal Responsibility to shift the blame from Torture Defenders to the *real* villains: pacifists. The stench of such desperate lies is best lampooned this way:
First Things out-Clintons Clinton with this shameless and embarrassing lie.
Other lies include the “eye for eye/they did it first/there are worse tortures than the ones we inflicted”. Here is Master Theologian for Torture Defenders, Rush Limbaugh, summarizing these marching orders for Catholics who get their teaching from the curdled dregs of “conservatism” and not the Church:
All of these are, for Catholics, an attempt spit right in the eye of Jesus Christ when he says:
You know what torture is to me? Can I tell you what torture is to me? Torture to me is not all this waterboarding stuff. You know what torture is? Torture is trying to go to sleep every night with pictures in your head that your wife, your husband, your son, your daughter jumped from a top floor at the World Trade Center to his or her death rather than burn alive. That’s torture.
38 ¶“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 ¶ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; 41 and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
43 ¶“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 ¶ You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:38–41; 43-48).
It is also, by the way, an invitation to use torture on American citizens too. After all, not every heinous murder and crime is committed by Muslim terrorists. Victim of domestic crime suffer torments too. If our criterion for decent behavior is “being as good as Osama bin Laden” and we think we can torture anybody we suspect is doing evil, then why not make it standard police procedure in all major criminal cases too? And make no mistake, with the help of the lies being pumped out by “conservatives” and Catholic Torture Defenders, it will be before you know it. Caesar, having proclaimed “it works” will soon ask “if it works abroad to ‘fight evil’ why not use it at home?”
Another hugely popular Lie is the Ticking Time Bomb scenario. It is a fantasy lifted from TV shows and used by people who think that watching 24 and playing Call of Duty qualifies them to pontificate on “realism” as they cheer for ordering somebody else to be forced into committing mortal sin on behalf of Caesar. The Ticking Time Bomb (“There’s a bomb under an orphanage and the hairy thug you have in custody knows where it is! Are you telling me you will let all those children *die* you liberal pansy? Some of us are not afraid to get our hands a little dirty to do the greater good!”) is a lie. TTBs virtually never happen in real life. They are constructed to keep our minds on fantasies of torture as heroic and to keep them off the reality of the cowardly filth Torture Defenders have been defending for ten years. They are designed to emotionally manipulate, not to teach virtue. The manipulation is easily exposed if you simply tweak the parameters of the carefully designed scenario:
A terrorist has vowed to detonate a bomb on 150 airplanes in flight unless 119 children are waterboarded 183 times in the next 10 hours. Are you telling me you are going to let all those people *die* you liberal pansy? Some of us are not afraid to get our hands a little dirty to do the greater good!
“Prolife” Torture Defenders always reply to this scenario with “That’s different! Children are innocent! They don’t deserve to be punished with such horrors” All that rejoinder does is expose two more huge lies of torture: that waterboarding (the only form of torture Torture Defenders want to discuss) is not torture and that the purpose of torture is “saving lives” and “gathering intel”. Baloney. It is punishing the victim in our rage and fear. After all, if our tortures are, as Torture Defenders insist, not torture and all we *really* want is efficient intelligence-gathering, then the quickest route is to waterboard, not terrorists, but their children. The Communists, from whom we stole many of our techniques, figured that out a long time ago. Catholic Torture Defenders have not quite reached the point of defending that. But they have taken, as Chairman Mao might say, a Great Leap Forward toward it by defending the threats we made to kill the children of terrorists and to cut the throats of their wives in front of them. That is what “prolife” Catholic Torture Defenders now stand for in their flop sweat desperate lying to keep sanctifying torture. How hard it must be to kick against the goads.
Finally, the Lie persists in insisting, some way or other, that War justifies this and that We Face An Enemy Like No Other. Bunk.
2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. “The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties.”109
2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
If Torture Defenders could exit their fantasy world, logout of Call of Duty”, unplug from the Right Wing Lie Machine, stop getting all their talking points from liars who ordered and defended this filth for ten years and listen, not only to Holy Church, but to people who actually do interrogations, they would learn that human nature has not changed and that conventional means of interrogation are not only ethical and right, but also smart.
In conclusion, let us be plain spoken. If any Catholic continues to defend torture, he serves the father of lies and is an enemy of God. If he does not repent his lies in defense of mortal sin, he risks the everlasting fires of hell. And his condemnation will be all the more severe if he boasts of himself as a Faithful Conservative Prolife Catholic while doing this.
Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 ¶ Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. (Jn 9:40–41).