REYNOLDS AND ME

Instapundit finds me “consistently, pompously, and annoyingly moralistic and irritatingly unspecific” on the question of torture. I’m sorry about that. But I can promise him my position had nothing to do with “brand differentiation,” as he calls it. Believe it or not, opposing torture was and is a deep principle of mine, sincerely held, and I think the record shows I blog according to what I think, even if it loses me readers and alienates people who would otherwise be allies. I’m sorry that Glenn, over the last year and half, said he opposed torture but did nothing to help stop it. In fact, he did much to excuse and ignore it or look the other way, as well as denigrating or condescending to those of us who fought against it. He even argued that vocally opposing torture would only help legalize it, because most Americans were in favor. Mercifully, the American people, as represented in the Congress, have proven him wrong. He lacked faith in American decency. Some of us didn’t.

FOR THE RECORD: And just for the record, let me correct one statment that Glenn has posted about my work on this issue. He has written that I “count” wrapping a Muslim in the Israeli flag or smearing fake menstrual blood on them “as torture,” and recently went further and cited my alleged “repeated treatment of those subjects as ‘torture.'” (My italics.) His evidence is the following sentence:

A simple question: after U.S. interrogators have tortured over two dozen detainees to death, after they have wrapped one in an Israeli flag, after they have smeared naked detainees with fake menstrual blood, after they have told one detainee to “Fuck Allah,” after they have ordered detainees to pray to Allah in order to kick them from behind in the head, is it completely beyond credibility that they would also have desecrated the Koran?

It seems clear to me that in that sentence, I distinguish between torture (which I use to describe actual murder) and other interrogation methods which are indeed “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” but not torture. All are banned under U.S. law and military code and the Geneva Conventions. But obviously, someone uttering “Fuck Allah!” – however depraved – is not torture, and I didn’t suggest it was. Ditto with the “fake menstrual blood” issue. Reynolds links to James Taranto’s ugly rants to back him up. Well go read the full evidence. Find one instance where I count fake menstrual blood as “torture,” let alone any “repeated treatment of those subjects as ‘torture.'” Even Taranto concedes I didn’t call it “torture.” He says I called it an “abuse” and described such tactics as “inhumane,” “immoral” and “disgusting”. I challenge Reynolds to cite one single instance where I “counted” such techniques as “torture.” It’s one more piece of flim-flam from the good professor to disguise his own sad failure to have the courage of his own alleged convictions. Sorry, Glenn. But the record speaks for itself.

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