Wednesday, August 31, 2011


reading dahlia lithwick's piece about dick cheney's memoir, i was struck by the cheney quote that torturing prisoners is "safe, legal and effective." the "legal" and "effective" claims have already been pretty thoroughly debunked, but "safe"?!?!? safe to whom? not to the subject of torture. torture by definition causes harm. even if you call it "harsh interrogation techniques" or by some other euphemism, the part that makes it "harsh" (or sometimes "enhanced") is that it causes pain.

maybe he just means it doesn't kill them. but if someone asked me if throwing a baby in a tub of scalding water is "safe", the answer is "no" even if i was sure that the baby would survive (albeit with serious burns). i don't know how that dude says this stuff with a straight face.