One of the most frightening things about our recent decision to torture is how flip it was

Torture's Easy Embrace
//ga3.org/ct/_d20pgF11RyZ/

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Torture's easy embrace

Tom Paine
by Geoffrey Nunberg

10/13/06

In 1978, the philosopher Henry Shue wrote an influential essay about torture that began with the sentence, 'Whatever one may have to say about torture, there appear to be moral reasons for not saying it.' Once we bring the subject up, he asked, mightn't we risk loosening the inhibitions against the whole terrible business? It was easy to have that feeling over the last month or so, as you listened to the country debate just how much cruelty and degradation we were going to allow in interrogating terror suspects. I mean, were we really having this conversation? In the end, Shue himself wound up saying that torture had to be talked about -- as he put it, 'Pandora's Box is already open.' ... On the face of things, you'd figure the prohibition of torture would be a top candidate for a categorical moral rule; as the U.N. convention on torture puts it, there are no exceptional circumstances that justify torture...

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