My thoughts which follow have been deeply and uncomfortably compelled by the movie ‘Unthinkable’. This movie comes with a health warning – as it shows graphic scenes of torture. If you are likely to suffer stress or ill-health do not watch this movie.
I’m not here to change anyone’s mind on anything. I have not changed my mind on anything. I am here to explore an issue – not to prove that torture should be made legal.
This film has brought me to consider that, if one believes that a minority of persons should be allowed to use the rights afforded by humanity to effect total destruction of the human race, then there is never room for torture as a consideration. In such a doomsday scenario – even if it could never happen in your estimation – we’re doomed.
Absolute rights afforded to individuals in the present therefore stand to be used to effect absolute annihilation of the human race at some point in the future. It may be not tomorrow, maybe in 20 years (no one could predict exactly when), but at some point when the power to destroy the world’s population falls into the hands of a core minority so inclined, we will stare self-destruction in the face. The statues of the morally invincible will stand tall and glorious even if a bit beaten, for no one of our degree of sentience to admire (or condemn) – if we don’t cross this bridge before we reach it.
You and your politicians need to consider whether absolute rights can or ought to be protected in the face of a real threat of absolute destruction of the human race. [As a minor distraction asteroid impact was never seen as a serious threat until a few years ago. In comparison the world stands at greater risk of self-destruction by terrorist minds over the next 50 – 100 years.] And perhaps some politicians have already thought about the subject (of torture) behind closed doors. However, it is not possible for obvious political reasons for politicians to declare that serious consideration should be given legalising torture in certain extreme circumstances.
What has happened in Guantanamo (and other places) – and is quite probably happening now as you read this – in floating facilities out at sea, is that they are outfoxing the law and various Constitutions. The human race has always found ways of breaking all known laws. Governments around the world have consistently demonstrated (in my observations) that they are willing to tear up Constitutions and Treaties when the going ‘gets rough’. They go ‘underground’ and out of the sight or reach of the law – and illegal activity happens there – that cannot be proved. The law can only bite where it’s teeth can reach! No – I don’t have hard evidence of that. I’m not a crime buster of governments.
My purpose is to deal with a matter of ‘efficacy’ – and in one specific scenario – of potential total annihilation, I’m unable to see how the balance should be allowed to swing to annihilation. Should rights afforded to protect individuals be used to infringe upon the rights of the human race to survival? This is what compelled me to think about the unthinkable… at great discomfort to myself, even if I attract it. ;) Efficacy becomes important when the world is faced (eventually) with a total loss scenario. Efficacy of any method of allowing sufficient numbers to carry on the race will be important.
For the avoidance of all doubt – I am well aware of expert opinion about why torture fails, why it is illegal and immoral – and I accept and defend all such opinions. However, my above (and more) concerns are what has compelled me to thing about the unthinkable… that possibly there could be a case for ‘torture’. ‘A case’ means a single case. The above is not intended to be an argument to prove that torture should be legalised – and it should not be so used.