5.20.2009

Waterboarding And Abortion

Ken Blackwell has written an interesting article pointing out the irony that the same Obama administration that claims to be morally horrified at the idea of waterboarding mass murderers also approves of Partial Birth Abortion.

A couple of interesting tidbits:
“The purpose of the Geneva Convention was to give warring nations a strong, positive incentive to behave according to international norms and not to engage in conduct that “shocks the conscience.” When we give Al Qaeda or Taliban terrorists prisoner of war status and Geneva Convention coverage—without demanding anything of them in return—we abandon one of the great achievements of the Geneva Convention.”

“Our new president abhors torture, unless it is the torture of the unborn. In that case, it is not torture at all, but simply inducing fetal demise. This great international uproar over what is and is not torture has been generated because of the treatment of three known mass murderers. The slaughter of innocents in their thousands elicits no international outrage. This is part of what Justice Breyer sees as evolving international standards of decency.”
I’m not dismissing the torture of captured terrorists as a non-issue (although I think the discussion of whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture is a valid one).

I’m just saying that the torture issue, in scale and severity, doesn’t compare to abortion.

6 comments:

Will 5/21/09, 12:23 AM  

1. Torture=sin and Abortion=sin.
2. Torture=ok/bad and Abortion=ok/bad
3. Torture=bad and Abortion=ok

Number one is moral, number two is ethical, and number three is current law. Morals* stay the same over time, ethics* depend on the person (and change) and laws depend on where you are (and change based on the majority of the inhabitants view on ethics).

These differences are the point in which people are arguing at cross purposes. That is what is so silly about this whole thing, everyone is using different parts of right/wrong to argue for their own innocence.

*Theoretical ethicists would switch around ethics and morals but I find it very strange when they say ethics are objective and morals are subjective. I see that commonly, people confuse the two for reasons I won't get into here.

Luke 5/21/09, 10:04 AM  

Will,

(1) I'm not exactly sure what you're saying in number 2, specifically with the slashes.

Are you saying that if Torture is okay then Abortion must be okay as well, and if Torture's bad then Abortion must be as well and vice versa? (i.e., whether or not they're okay or bad stand and falls together)

That might not be what you're saying, but if it is, then I think it's an oversimplification. From an ethical standpoint, you could argue that Torture would be okay if it saved lives, while you couldn't make that argument about abortion.

(2) The whole debate is made more complicated by what you bring up, which is part of what is so frustrating to me about the position of the Obama administration.

They try to take the moral highground by saying how appalled they are at the idea of torturing mass murderers in an effort to save American lives, but they leave their consciences at the door when it comes to the planned termination of the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent unborn infants each year.

It's ludicrous, and intellectually dishonest as well.

Will 5/21/09, 11:20 AM  

There are four different combinations for number two, and it depends on the person. For example, Obama is a bad/ok and Cheney is an ok/bad.

Luke 5/22/09, 3:59 PM  

Will,

That's what I thought you were probably saying. That isn’t an oversimplification—I thought you might be saying, “If one is okay, the other must be, etc.”

David M Manes 5/25/09, 11:10 PM  

"the torture issue, in scale and severity, doesn’t compare to abortion."

I would probably agree with you if your statement were more finely tuned: "torture doesn't compare to late term abortion."

Of course, you know that it isn't so simple as that. Neither issue exists in a vacuum and both involve the interests of outside parties as well as individual situations. I know that dampens your scale viewpoint since such a tiny fraction of pregnancies are terminated late term.

Luke 5/27/09, 11:00 AM  

David,

Possibly, the statement should've been more finely tuned.

Still:

(1) You could argue that in terms of severity, any abortion is worse than torture since it results in death.

(2) And the scale issue still applies, because although a small percentage of abortions are of the partial birth variety, that still results in 4000-5000 partial birth abortions a year, which is still a big number compared to the number of terror suspects who are being waterboarded (from what I could find).

(3) “Neither issue exists in a vacuum and both involve the interests of outside parties as well as individual situations.”

Sure, but even here, waterboarding/torture (I know this is debatable, but for the sake of argument, let’s just equate the two) comes off better than abortion.

Theoretically, terror suspects are waterboarded in order to obtain intelligence information to potentially save the lives of thousands of people.

Theoretically, fetuses are aborted in order to improve the quality of life of the mother or to prevent the fetus from having a poor quality of life.

So in the first situation, you’re causing severe discomfort to save lives, while in the second, you’re destroying lives to provide comfort.

The motivation of the first situation seems a little more noble.

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