I agree with you that we're faster to identify torture when its done to us,but I don't think it's impossible to construct a moral system that allows waterboarding suspected terrorists, but not repeatedly breaking John McCain's arms.Didn't you just say that it was better to not debate the fine points of torture? Why are you quoting defenders of torture? Who cares what they think? What kind of person hand-waves waterboarding? Have you research the subject? Does this look merely "unpleasant"? Why am I asking myself all these questions?
However, there is some dividing line between torture and the merely unpleasant--giving people only old copies of the Donna Reed show to watch would be awful, but not actually torture. Many advocates of extreme techniques say that waterboarding
falls on one side of that line--something distasteful, but okay to do if it
might save innocent lives. So saying "well, was it okay for the Vietcong to
torture John McCain?" isn't very useful, because what was done to John McCain
goes well beyond what they're endorsing.
Yeah, you're against torture, but your definition of torture is oddly exculpatory.
And I step out for a few hours and come back to this:
The argument for not doing [torture] at all has to rest on proving either that it's morally repugnant, or that there is no way to have an effective waterboarding policy, or that the costs exceed the benefits. Unfortunately, I seem to see too many opponents of current policy simply arguing that it never produces usable intelligence, so everyone else is a big fat moral cretin.
That doesn't mean I agree we should waterboard--people will do lots of things for their children that should not be state policy. Only that some of the people I've heard saying they have to resort to these shaky arguments because their opponents are moral no-shows without a shred of decency seem to me to be awarding themselves vast moral credit for parroting, like a third-grader, the trivial truism that torture is bad. They find it easy to call their opponents immoral because they're ignoring a hard moral question. One that is, of course, easy to set aside if you seize on every piece of evidence suggesting that physical pressure is ineffective, and block out the people saying it's worked.
Oh, so that's what all this blathering is about. Not only is your reasoning more reasoned, but your morality is more moral than other people's morality. Just like your wrong decision on Iraq showed that your reasoning was impeccable. It's not that the left made the right decision, it's just that they are automatically anti-war. And anti-torture people aren't using logic, they're just knee-jerk anti-torture.
Your insistence that your brains are extra-superior brains reeks of insecurity. But it has given me an idea--an examination of your thought processes. Later, however. I've had enough for one day.