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A debate challenge from Von

Von of Obsidian Wings has a challenge to anyone willing to identify as a pro-torture blogger:

Resolved: As a matter of U.S. policy, torture should be used by the U.S. and its allies in fighting the war on terror.

If you are (1) a blogger, (2) support the foregoing position, and (3) you're up for a bit of fun, e-mail Obsidian Wings with your contact information (the e-mail is at the top of the front page).

I'll take the contrary position -- i.e., torture is not a wise and proper tool -- and debate the first serious respondent. For simplicity and my own sanity, I will only debate one person, and therefore will not respond to requests for debate via methods other than an e-mail. The debate will proceed, one post alternating and tracking the other, until one of us gets horribly bored. At which point it will end.

Incidentally, yours truly will be the sole judge as to who is "serious" and who is not. If I reject your challenge, I will explain why in an e-mail.

Before you send that e-mail, however, realize what this debate is not about:

1. It's not about the Geneva Convention, the Gonzales memoranda, or associated technicalities or legalisms.... This is a debate about policy; about what kind of country us well-informed citizens want.

2. It's also not about prosecuting soldiers on the battlefield, the ticking time bomb scenario, or what you saw last night on 24. If your position is going to be that torture may be defensible if minds are fogged by war, or if there's a terrorist ready to explode a nuclear bomb in thirty minutes and the guy you've just captured knows where it is and how to defuse it -- this is going to be a pretty boring debate because I'm going to largely agree with you. To paraphrase another, I can twist the utility knob and come up with a hypothetical in which most of us would enthusiastically advocate the slow torture and death of a seven year old kid. .... Rather, this is a debate about the wisdom of using torture as official policy where there is no apparent necessity.

3. Do not expect the debate to fall into the usual liberal v. conservative dog-and-pony show. ...Indeed, I'm relatively center-right; don't be surprised if, at the end of the day, you find yourself pretty far to left of me -- with other noted lefty torturers, such as Castro, Stalin, etc. [But I should keep the rest of my powder dry, no?]

Could turn out interesting...


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