03 January 2010

Can members of the military count as radical pacifists?

Marc Thiessen at the National Review Online says that people who oppose all waterboarding are basically radical pacifists.

Those who argue that we should not used enhanced techniques even on the KSM’s of the world are effectively arguing from a position of radical pacifism. They are opposed to coercion no matter what the cost in innocent lives. We should respect their opinion, they way we respect the right of conscientious objectors to abstain from military service. But that does not mean we put pacifists in charge of decisions on war and peace. Same should go for decisions when it comes to interrogation.

Conor Freidersdorf and Andrew Sullivan both tear this apart from different angles, with Conor mentioning that the Allied powers in WWII were both anti-torture and anti-pacifist, while Andrew goes over the moral basis for "just war theory" which explicitly rejects torture while still allowing for the possibility of war. (Isaac Chotiner, while not dealing with Marc's point, also adds that there was plenty of information about the Underpants Bomber because his father told us, which would not happen if people thought their kids were going to be tortured.)

I just want to add that there are plenty of people who are in the US military who oppose torture, including waterboarding. There are even people who plan to join the military who would not do so if it became US policy to engage in this kind of torture. Including me.

1 comment:

  1. Great post...I can't imagine writing the kind of crap that people like NRO bloggers write simply knowing that someday my children and grandchildren would look back and see that I was basically a spokesperson for torture.