Friday, June 30, 2006

Thoughts From The Abyss

"How do you know it won't work?"

This, from the guy who was guest-hosting last night's Michael Savage Show (Okay, I admit it, it's an occasional indulgence of mine). This guy (Savage is on vacation) was venting his rage over the Supreme Court decision blocking the Bush administration's trials at Guantanamo, because he (correctly) perceived that it would make the torture of captured suspected terrorists more difficult.

The host's argument consisted of "if your mother and father were being held by terrorists, and torture might get information that could save their lives, wouldn't you do it? Don't you love your mother and father?" A caller objected to this, pointing out that torture isn't reliable.

And so, straight from the abyss, came the line "How do you know it won't work?" And this was followed a few moments later by "If there's a chance it would save lives, shouldn't we do it?"

I'm used to hearing outrageous things on Savage's show - that's part of the entertainment value. But last night went beyond outrageous to just plain evil.

In this guy's mind, not only is it OK to torture known terrorists whom we know to have vital information, but we can torture people on the chance that we might get information.

My friend Mark Shea has pointed out, ad nauseam, that the apologists for torture are essentially arguing "let us do evil so that good may come of it."

But this blowhard, and his acolytes among so-called conservatives, aren't even that rigorous. They're willing to do evil so that, maybe, some good might come of it.

I describe these thoughts as "from the abyss" because this is the logic of Hell. It is, in fact, a hell-ish inversion of morality. From the progression of "let us do evil so that good may come of it", to "let us do evil on the chance that some good might come of it", it is no great step to saying "let us do evil, because they're the enemy and we can." Which, come to think of it, has happened already, at a place called Abu Ghraib.

Note too, the implication in this twisted logic, that the burden of proof is no longer on those who would use and justify torture, but on those who oppose it. "Why shouldn't we do it?"

This is how morality is ground down, and this is how the moral fiber of a society is dissolved from within. Such barbarism will destroy us far more completely than all the legions of Al Quaeda ever could.