Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Apr 8 07:16:22 MDT 2002

Beneath you will find an article from the latest Time Magazine that gives
backhanded support for torturing al-Qaeda members. This question has been
percolating over the AM talk radio outlets for some time now. Torture and
nuclear attacks against Islamic fundamentalist enclaves have become a sort
of litmus test for the ultraright. It is of some significance that
mainstream journalism has gotten on board. When most of us were being
indoctrinated in public school, the one thing that got drummed into our
heads was how different we were from totalitarian countries like the USSR,
which believed that the ends justified the means. Now we find bourgeois
ideology arguing that the ends justifies the means, which of course is true
for all societies. What separates capitalism from competing social systems,
however, is the bankruptcy of both ends and means. The end is imperialist
domination. The means is torture, nuclear blackmail, one-sided military and
economic pressure, etc.,8599,227493,00.html

The "T word," as Rumsfeld prefers it to be called, has been percolating
through legal and military circles for some months. Is the brutalization of
one life justified if it could save thousands? According to a CNN/USA Today
poll last fall, 45% of Americans surveyed supported torture to prevent
attacks. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has endorsed the issuance of
"torture warrants" in the rarest of instances. While ethicists remain
squeamish at the prospect of torturing low-level al-Qaeda recruits who
probably aren't privy to life-sparing information, the stakes may be
different in Zubaydah's case. Anthony D'Amato, a professor at Northwestern
University School of Law who has defended a doctor charged with genocide,
finds torture legally reprehensible but sees some moral wiggle room when it
comes to Zubaydah. "In the realm of morality, while torturing a human being
is forbidden, it is nevertheless required to save human lives," he says.

Louis Proyect
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