Torture

…isn’t really cruel and unusual….is it?

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

~ Amendment VIII, The Bill of Rights, 15 December 1791

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It’s interesting how easily and readily most people, and to an even greater extent, groups comprised of the same wonderfully fallible people, will always find reasons and arguments to justify their actions.  No matter how explicit or clear a guideline or law is, there’s always someone willing to argue that that’s not what it really means, or that it doesn’t apply in such and such circumstance, in order to run ram-shod over any original intent the law had when it was written.  Given the self-serving nature of humanity in general, we’d sell out our best friends under the right set of circumstances and justifications.

In that vein, our founders were pretty darn clear about “cruel and unusual” punishments just being something we don’t do.  And there wasn’t really a caveat on that.  It’s not “well torture is okay if its in these set of circumstances”….it’s really just, you know, banned.  Like entirely.  You can’t be the great scion of liberty and democracy and human rights and then go around your own rules to make it easier to get what you want.  It just doesn’t work like that.  Not if you expect people to take you seriously and believe in you’re ideology.  Because when you have to justify it, it’s never really going to be “doing what’s right”.  And when you’re fighting the vaunted battle for hearts and minds, doing that means you’ve already lost.

Res Publica

Documentation without Representation:

Amendment VIII, The Bill of Rights, 15 December 1791

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html#text

Electronic Transcript Courtesy of the National Archives of the United States

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