Terrorists are scum. No doubt about it.
I break from some of my fellow liberals in saying that even if terrorists have legitimate grievances that need to be redressed (land disputes, etc.), their tactics are unacceptable under any circumstances, and de-legitimize their causes completely.
Even considering the character - and I use the term loosely - of terrorists and many terror suspects, I don’t think torture is appropriate in the name of a civilized society. Especially not in the name of an idealistic one like America, that hasn’t practiced what it’s been preaching for a long time.
The technicalities of “Guantanamo inmates have no legal rights, therefore, anything goes” and “Terrorists aren’t legitimate military of any country and therefore aren’t protected by the Geneva Conventions” seem self-serving and contradictory to our stated ideals.
The very fact that the Bush administration is actively seeking loopholes that will allow for the torture of terror prisoners (see previous link) is shameful. We should treat them humanely just on principle alone. Or have we lost those?
No, terrorists would never grant us the same courtesy in a million years; they’d probably cut off our heads, the bastards. But don’t we want to distinguish ourselves from their brutality? Don’t we want to show that we are in fact civilized, even in the face of such savagery?
And, as many have pointed out, information obtained through torture is highly dubious, as the subject will often talk just to stop the pain.
It’s frustrating having to remind the most rabid nationalists among us that people such as myself have no love or sympathy for terrorists, we just perhaps better understand the meaning of the words hypocrisy and humanity.
I hope we’re clear on this.