The Bush Doctrine Of Torture

by digby

Reader Sleon makes an obvious observation that I haven't seen anyone else make:

The idea [of the Bush Doctrine] was that the US had the right to attack and invade other countries and change their governments because we thought they, or their proxies, or just a splinter-group of their citizens, might possibly be a threat to our citizens in the future. And if you explore that idea to it's logical conclusion you would have to agree that accepting the Bush Doctrine means you agree that the US can kill large numbers of innocent civilians in these countries, and wound and dislocate many many more. We can do this to people who never did us any harm, because our current leaders want to protect us from what their future leaders might do at some unspecified future date. Just collateral damage, don't you know.

Well, since we've built our logical case to this point, let's follow it to it's ineluctable conclusion: If that's all OK on a government to government level, it must be OK on a personal level too. And there it is: Cheney's torture policy is just the Bush Doctrine for individuals. The (evil) genius of it is that he's found a way to indefinitely extend the ticking time-bomb scenario. If we can invade other countries and kill and maim their citizens because of something their leaders might do, then surely we can do the same to individuals who may not know of any time-bombs currently ticking, but who might know of someone else who might start a bomb ticking at some future date.

They said that Saddam was likely to be a threat some time in the future and we couldn't wait for the (ticking) smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud. The torture regime is based on the same logic: we don't know for sure that there might be a ticking time bomb, but in case there is we need to torture prisoners just in case they have some information about one in the future.

The Bush Doctrine is the source of all this horror. The idea that you can invade another country simply because they might pose a threat someday is nothing more that than the illegal concept of preventive war (which the Bushies simply rebranded as "preemptive" war.) And it's what leads to the idea that you can torture and imprison indefinitely in the name of that war. You don't need a real ticking time bomb, just the belief that there might be one someday.

Torture, therefore, is an intrinsic feature of the Bush Doctrine. It all flows from there.

* I should add that using torture to coerce false confessions about lies previously told about an Iraq-al Qaeda link would be called "The Cheney Doctrine."