Adventures in Fog

If you haven't been following the inter-blog torture debate, this post may seem like inside baseball to you. Feel free to ignore it if so. We will return to more exciting topics tomorrow.

Last week I wrote a post called Defining Torture, in which I quoted extensively from a 1984 U.S. Army field manual on how to treat prisoners. Mark Shea wrote about that post. I then engaged some of Mark's other readers in a discussion of this subject, first in Mark's comment box and then on a blog maintained by an anti-Shea group, the Coalition For Fog.

The CFF is aptly named. I tried several different ways to get specific answers to specific questions and was unable to do so. Finally I posed a hypothetical question: is it OK to snip the fingers off of terrorist prisoners if they won't answer cooperate with interrogation?

To me, this is so obviously evil and unethical that I was sure I would get a chorus of indignant answers, like this: "No way! What kind of barbarians do you think we are?" It didn't happen. In fact I was pretty much ignored by the CFF members, who veered off on a variety of other subjects.

This afternoon Mark, who apparently had been monitoring my quest, finally had enough and wrote this post about my futile efforts at clarity. His combox now contains several more questions. Yet I still don't have an answer about fingersnipping. Surely the CFF can answer this simple question.

That aside, many thanks to Mark and the CFF for the interesting debate. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

UPDATE: A few members of the Coalition for Fog are, finally, agreeing that fingersnipping is off limits. They often include disclaimers, however. For example, some say that as a political matter they don't want the US to snip fingers - but they will not concede that fingersnipping is always & everywhere an intrinsically evil act. Follow the links above for more of this fascinating debate.

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