Friday, March 18, 2005

We Treat Terrorists Better than Terri

The world is upside down.

National Review Online has been providing outstanding moral calibration pieces on Terri Schiavo.

Yesterday I mentioned Father Johansen's stunning revelations from a host of neurologists including the showstopping quote from Boston University's Dr. Peter Morin. Upon learning what has not been done for Terri, he paused and said simply, "That's criminal."

Andrew McCarthy has followed up with a piece comparing the treatment of Terri to our treatment of terrorists.

He has argued (as well as leading liberals) that there are extreme cases where torture may be justified.

However, that is not the point of his article yesterday, but rather, he simply notes that when he made such an argument, a legion of those on The Left chastised him.

Now he notes that that same legion of torture-haters are nowhere to be found:

As one might predict with such a third rail, my mail was copious and indignant. Opening the door by even a sliver for torture, I was admonished, was the most reprehensible of slippery slopes. No matter how well-intentioned was the idea, no matter the lives that might be saved, no matter how certain we might be about the guilt of the detainee, the very thought that such a thing might be legal would render us no better than the savages we were fighting.

Well, lo and behold, a court-ordered torture is set to begin in Florida on Friday at 1 P.M.

It will not produce a scintilla of socially useful information. It will not save a single innocent life. It is not narrowly targeted on a morally culpable person — the torture-victim is herself as innocent as she is defenseless. It is not, moreover, meant to be brief and non-lethal: The torture will take about two excruciating weeks, and its sole and only purpose is to kill the victim.

The torture argument to save innocent lives is the classic question asked in Philosophy classes, and there is the intellectually (and Christian?) pure argument that says No Torture Under Any Circumstances, and the exigent argument when you are looking into the face of a terrorist who has information that could save thousands or perhaps even millions if the information is extracted within an hour.

Anyone who claims the answer to that question is easy is not a serious person.

But Andrew McCarthy notes the obvious -- there is no moral argument for the torture of Terri Schiavo.

On Friday afternoon, unless humanity intervenes, the state of Florida is scheduled to begin its court-ordered torture-murder of Terri Schiavo, whose only crime is that she is an inconvenience. A nuisance to a faithless husband grown tired of the toll on his new love interest and depleting bank account — an account that was inflated only because a jury, in 1992, awarded him over a million dollars, mostly as a trust to pay for Terri’s continued care, in a medical malpractice verdict.

In this instance, though, deafening is the only word for the silence of my former interlocutors — -civil-liberties activists characteristically set on hysteria auto-pilot the moment an al Qaeda terrorist is rumored to have been sent to bed without supper by Don Rumsfeld or Al Gonzales (something that would, of course, be rank rumor since, if you kill or try to kill enough Americans, you can be certain our government will get you three halal squares a day).

Not so Terri Schiavo. She will be starved and dehydrated. Until she is dead. By court order.

Starved and dehydrated, Until she is dead, By court order.