April 29, 2009


I watched the Daily Show's interview with Cliff May. You can watch the entire thing at their website if you want. It was infuriating to watch, and I am reminded why I dislike Cliff May. It isn't just that he rationalized and defends torture (though he claims he is anti-torture), but because he cheats with his arguments. He presents Geneva Conventions as if they required us to start our interrogation with KSM by asking his name, rank, and serial number. No one is arguing that, and he further argued that according to the Geneva Conventions, we could not make prisoners even uncomfortable or bored, as if there is no Common Article 3, and as if there is no problem with humiliating and degrading treatment. A good example of his disingenuous style of arguing, can be found on the NRO last night when talking about the show:
"Jon kept talking as though the war we’re fighting, defending ourselves against the militant Islamist jihad, is over. It is not.

And the policy he prefers – granting full Geneva protections even to al-Qaeda leaders we know possess knowledge of future attacks, which really means asking (nicely) only name, rank and serial number — is a return to the policy we had in place after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center."
Jon did not suggest that we have no enemies, and he did not suggest that our conflict with terrorism is over. He isn't an idiot (though I suspect that May is). Further, he never, and no one has argued that all we have to do to captured terrorists is ask them their name and rank. This straw man style of argumentation may be the only way to defend torture and the torturers, but it is annoying as hell.

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