When is Torture not Torture

It is not quite clear to me why so much shock is being displayed at the recent report on CIA torture. Because to me it returns to something I learned as a child: There is no such thing as a fair fight.

We don’t fight wars according to Marquess of Queensberry boxing rules nor does everyone in most countries adhere to the Geneva Conventions and its added protocols during times of conflict.

So let’s stop either fooling ourselves or feigning shock when we hear of the torture tactics employed by some members of the CIA, or others.

Forget whether torture achieves its goals and all the reasons and arguments given as to why it is counter-productive. Let’s not even concern ourselves as to whether it should be a national or international policy.

The bottom line is you are going to have people in all countries put in the position of either deciding whether torture is appropriate or not — and even in those nations where the decision is not to torture — in the classic sense — you will have the rogues.

Yes, rogues who either for ideological, religious, or just plain sadistic reasons think that torture is what a terrorist, enemy combatant, or anyone who is a danger to U.S. national security deserves.

And, yes, I said sadist: Because unless ice runs in your veins or you are a psychopath, torture by definition involves an element of sadism.

I am not advocating nor condemning what the CIA has been accused of doing — just like I am not taking a position on whether the Geneva Conventions should always be followed.

What I am saying is that just like my dad — who was a professional boxer and wrestler in pre WW-II Poland — used to say to me: Someone attacks, use whatever is at your disposal: Sticks, stones, broken bottles… “and make sure to kick them where it hurts.”

I believe torture in its true sense is a plague on mankind and has been used for so many nefarious and unfathomable reasons throughout the centuries that if you believe it is needed you better have a dang good reason.

But who are we — the average citizen removed from the specifics — to decide what that reason might be and under what circumstances.

We are not in the shoes of those who after 9/11 made certain decisions that resulted in what internationally is “considered” torture and verboten.

What we did do, however you spin it, is achieve results.

And this argument will continue and intensify — because you can be sure with the proliferation of ISIS — or the “Islamic State” — the issue of First World torture will again rear its ugly head.

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