Hayden, the Senate, and torture

Any Senator who voted for the McCain anti-torture provision and now votes to confirm Gen. Hayden must assumes his constituents are idiots. They’re right, of course. That makes it even more depressing.

Torture is fundamentally evil.

“Waterboarding” &#8212 simulated drowning &#8212 is torture.

Gen. Hayden refuses to renounce it, even in the face of a clear mandate from Congress to do so.

Ergo, Gen. Hayden intends to keep committing fundamentally evil acts if confirmed as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Ergo, voting to confirm Gen. Hayden means being complicit in fundamental evil.

Every Senator who voted for the McCain anti-torture amendment and now votes to confirm Gen. Hayden &#8212 including, of course, Mr. Straight Talk himself &#8212 ought to be asked whether he (or she) meant it the first time, or whether he (or she) merely voted against torture before voting for it.


I’m glad to see that the editorial board of the Washington Post is as angry about this as I am. Hat tip: Matt Yglesias, who comments on BushCo’s “seamless culture of lawlessness.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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