The Quackery of Torture

As you can see, I have signed up this blog to the Bloggers Against Torture campaign as part of the torture awareness month.

I will keep this short. To compare the act of torture to the banalities of quackery will do the victims a dishonour. However, I would venture that both the justification of torture and various quackeries are based on the same misguided logic:

What we wish to be true or feel ought to be true is not necessarily true.

Quackery plays on this common logical falacy by appealing to peoples’ belief that there ought to be ‘natural’, spiritual, non-invasive, non-commercial, non-complicated healing processes that draw on ‘ancient wisdom’ or ‘holistic’ knowledge. Torture relies on the acceptance that their are quick wins to be made by inflicting pain on suspects. There is no evidence that either is true.

We may hope that the quick appliance of some carefully targeted ‘discomfort’, against the captured remnants of Taliban fighters, may yield the inner thoughts of those that wish to commit future atrocities. However, this is unlikely to be true. Torture on one hand is debasement of what it means to be human. On the other hand, is just plain bad evidence gathering.

It is appalling that countries such as the US, a supposed beacon of freedom and high moral values, has recently become associated with such barbaric acts. It would appear that the current American administration continuously commits acts of quack-like thinking.

  • The desperate desire to pin the blame of 9/11 on Saddam.
  • The insistence of Iraq having WMDs.
  • The ease with which an Iraqi invasion would solve Iraqis’ problems.
  • A prisoner’s suicide is an act of ‘asymmetric warfare’.

All quack-like thinking. There we many voices saying that the evidence does not support any of this, but the desire to believe such things was and still is incredibly strong.

Close Guantanamo now. End flights of ‘rendition’. We need to win a moral victory first before we can rid the world of fascist, authoritarian religious and political beliefs.

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