February 22, 2005

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better; I Can Do Anything Better Than You

In Washington Post writer Anne Applebaum's Jan 25th 2005 column, "The Torture Myth," she scores a direct hit.

She writes:

"Given the overwhelmingly negative evidence [that torture is ineffective], the really interesting question is not whether torture works but why so many people in our society want to believe that it works. At the moment, there is a myth in circulation, a fable that goes something like this: Radical terrorists will take advantage of our fussy legality, so we may have to suspend it to beat them. Radical terrorists mock our namby-pamby prisons, so we must make them tougher. Radical terrorists are nasty, so to defeat them we have to be nastier."

She concludes:

"Perhaps it's reassuring to tell ourselves tales about the new forms of "toughness" we need, or to talk about the special rules we will create to defeat this special enemy. Unfortunately, that toughness is self-deceptive and self-destructive. Ultimately it will be self-defeating as well."



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