Monday, October 16, 2006

I dreamed I was up all night arguing with Hillary, trying to get her to stop being so calculating and just do the right thing

It's not as if Hillary regularly haunts my dreams, or anything. It must have been because, just before going to bed, I read Steve Gilliard's post in Firedoglake about Hillary trimming her anti-torture position in a meeting with the New York Daily News editorial board.
Hillary Clinton told the New York Daily News editorial board that "she approved of torture in limited circumstances." Of course she's wrong, but why would she say such a thing?

Because like many people, she is misinformed about torture. The example she used, like many people, is the ticking time bomb. Of course, that makes no sense. We can write this off to triangulation, but it's deeper than that.

[...]

I know Hillary was trying to sound resolute, but sounded weak instead. Torture isn't a tactical debate, it is a moral one. Now, I honestly don't think Hillary has ever sat in a room with a grizzled SF or Delta operator and asked him, away from the cameras and the press people, if beating the shit out of someone works. And over coffee or a drink, they would tell her no. Not only that it didn't work, but it was wrong, morally unacceptable.

The reason Hillary can believe in the ticking bomb excuse for torture is that she has never thought it through. Because like many people, she sees the kind of person who would plant a bomb as a coward, and they are not. Misguided, even evil, sure, but cowardly? No. If we could have tortured Mohammed Atta, does anyone think he would have talked in a timely manner? A man prepared to die for a cause is prepared to suffer the same cause.

I don't think Hillary Clinton is amoral. She thinks torture may save innocent life.

The problem is someone needs to tell her that she is dead wrong. Torture appeals to sadists, it doesn't work in real life. Hell, it doesn't really work on 24.
Steve is giving Hillary a bit more credit for being sincere in her belief that torture can work in certain exceptional cases and should be employed judiciously, with safeguards. I'm not so sure. She's a very bright woman. It seems more likely to me that she knows damn well that it doesn't work and that it is completely immoral, but feels she has to appear tough on terrorists. It's what so many of us find so frustrating about her.

Steve said someone needs to tell her that she is dead wrong. It seems I undertook the task in my sleep. It was an exercise in utter futility.
Moi:. You're an intelligent woman, Senator Clinton. Surely you know that torture doesn't work.

Hillary: Don't be naive. Would you really sit back and let that ticking bomb go off without doing anything?

Moi: But it's morally wrong. It violates everything we stand for.

Hillary: Oh, it's so easy to take a moral stand with other people's lives, isn't it? The government has the responsibility to protect all the people.

Moi: Why do you talk down to us? We're not morons, you know. The electorate is smarter than you're giving them credit for.

Hillary If you'd stop taking cheap shots at me and focus on the issue, maybe we could have an intelligent discussion.

Moi For God's sake, Hillary. Can't you stop triangulating just this one time and just do the right thing?

Hillary And exactly how many elections have you won, Mr. Madison Guy? And what's with the pen name you hide behind? At least I use my own name when I take a stand.
It was hopeless. It went on and on like this, all night long. I kept coming up with new arguments, only to have her shoot them down. I never got anywhere. No wonder I was tired this morning.

Lawyers!

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