My first post on Daily Kos, hopefully, a decent one.
As pointed out in the Midday Open Thread post from today, there's been a continuing discussion on whether or not torture works. I have a hard time believing that this is the discussion we're having, as opposed to, oh, say, who committed torture, who authorized it, who's going to be punished for it, and things like that.
I went through what Einstein used to call a "thought experiment" today on the subject:
I suffer, on occasion, from nasty bouts of acid reflux and/or severe heartburn. When this happens, I get horrible, stabbing pains in my chest that are nearly debilitating. I mention this to set up a scenario that happened to me in the past, and to contrast it with a hypothetical situation. The only thing that seems to help relieve these pains is Alka-Seltzer or the generic equivalent, I don't know why, it just does.
About 6 months ago, I felt the beginnings of what would likely be an attack, and knew that if I could get some Alka-Seltzer soon, I'd be OK, and wouldn't have to suffer through a painful attack. The proverbial ticking time-bomb, if you will. I found myself without the medicine I needed and so I drove to the pharmacy down the street from my home, stopping to pour a cup of water to take with me to do the old plop, plop, fizz, fizz routine as soon as possible.
When I arrived at the pharmacy, I rushed around looking for what I needed, racing the clock, and then took my purchase to the counter. There, I encountered an inept clerk, a long line, and an elderly woman arguing over a coupon and writing a check at the speed of cold molasses. I waited for what seemed like an interminable amount of time, feeling the pain build in my chest, paid for my purchase, ran to the car, dropped the tablets in the water and drank it down, sparing me the worst of the suffering I would have otherwise had to endure.
That's what happened, let's apply the torture rationalization to my trip to the pharmacy:
Everything up until I get to the line occurs more or less as it did before, until I encounter the long line, inept clerk, and elderly woman. Facing the imminent threat of suffering, I do the only thing that a responsible citizen could do in this fantasy land where torture is OK so long as it's effective, I push my way past all of the other customers, stepping on their bodies on the way, then kick the elderly woman in the teeth and verbally abuse the clerk while she rings up my purchase, buying me critical time to get my medicine. I would then be praised by Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh for my strong hand, fierce determination in the face of god damned hippies telling me to stand in line like everyone else, and for, what the hell, my rugged good looks. They would then defend me from the police who have come to arrest me for the multiple crimes I committed, citing the effectiveness of my methods.
In the real world, should someone do that, they would, and should be arrested, and no one in their right mind would discuss the merits of arrest because the methods were effective. Also in the real world, there's no evidence to show that torture worked, and plenty to show that it didn't, but that doesn't make a lick of difference one way or another. The fact is, torture is a crime, and any person who commits that crime should be arrested and punished. The effectiveness is immaterial.
Edit: Apologies on the lack of milk, I wrote the title, and then failed to put in the aforementioned dairy product while writing the story. When it's not too bad, I just have a glass of milk, and I was out of both that and the Alka-Seltzer that day.