Torture and the pro-war blogosphere
In my first post on the Bagaric-Clarke paper advocating torture, I said “I havenâ€™t seen any comment yet from pro-war bloggers, but I hope at least some of them will repudiate this terrible proposal”.
Andrew Norton stepped up, pointing out that Bagaric has previously been identified with leftish positions, and criticising his current views. And regular commenter “Razor” on this blog says “As a confirmed RWDB and ex-soldier I canâ€™t support the use of torture”.
Apart from that, I’ve come up blank. It’s easy to find pro-war bloggers and commenters supporting torture with more or less tortured arguments, defending Bagaric and Clarke’s right to speak and staying mum on the substantive issues, or just blogging on about Newsweek. I won’t bother linking to them – visit the obvious sites and you’ll find them. No doubt there are exceptions I’ve missed, but they aren’t very prominent.
This is a bit disappointing, but it provides a useful lesson. Next time you read one of these guys talking about Saddam and his crimes, remember it’s just a factional brawl within the pro-torture party. If Saddam had stuck to fighting wars against Iran, and torturing Iraqis, instead of invading Kuwait, he’d still be “an SOB, but our SOB”, just like Karimov in Uzbekistan.
Further update In comments, Andrew Norton advises that he was pro-war but didn’t blog on it directly, and Andrew Leigh is in a similar category. I can’t read Currency Lad’s blog (for heaven’s sake ditch the wallpaper!) but I’m not too surprised to learn from the comments that he is opposed to torture. And that’s it so far. Of the legion of noisily pro-war RWDB bloggers (a group from which I exclude CL), not one has so far taken a position any different from that of Saddam Hussein, and most of the noisiest have eagerly lined up with Saddam.
fn1. I should say that I haven’t actually seen anything Andrew’s written on the war, so I’m only guessing that he fits into the pro-war anti-torture category. I’ll be happy to correct this if it’s wrong.