Waterboarding, torture, and the law of unintended consequences.

I think that Allahpundit is over-analyzing the reasons why support for ‘torture’ is currently polling at 54/41 in favor (God help us all).  It looks fairly simple to me: the antiwar movement has spent the last five or six years attempting to equate waterboarding to torture.  They even more or less succeeded – but then they made a classic mistake: they assumed that stigmatization would inevitably follow.  Their thinking presumably was that if you can define X as Y, and Y is bad, then it becomes inconceivable that people could possibly support X.

Apparently, what happened instead was that they got the American people to define X as Y… and then the American people decided that perhaps this meant that Y wasn’t so bad after all.  This answer allows them to keep doing X, which was after all keeping us from losing any more national landmarks and innocent civilians to terrorist attacks.  Men not being angels, that’s enough for a justification right then and there.

Mind you, it’s not the waterboarding that’s the problem here: it’s that this strategy also makes it slightly easier for the CIA to feel better about handing over suspected terrorists caught abroad to say, France; who will hand them over to, say, Egypt; who will hand them over to people with car batteries.  Which is bad, by the way; but it’s now also easier.


Moe Lane

PS: Yes, all of this was incredibly stupid of the antiwar movement – not to mention morally shortsighted of them.  Antiwar progressives, remember?

Crossposted to Moe Lane.