Friday, April 24, 2009

How can it be torture if we do it to our own servicemen at SERE?

The above is the outline of an argument making the rounds on the Right. For those not in the know, SERE, is the acronym for "Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape" and it's a school where U.S. service peeps who are considered at high risk for capture (air crews and special forces) learn how to survive in enemy territory. Part of that is learning to resist torture, and thus students in the school get waterboarded and the like. So this line of thinking goes on to wonder how it can be torture to use these same techniques (from the torture resistance manual!) on detainees?

It only takes two seconds of thought to dismiss this argument as nonsense, but I'm going to outsource the rhetorical beatdown to Anonymous Liberal:
Can we please dispense with this ridiculous argument? First, SERE was created to help U.S. servicemen withstand torture by our enemies. That's the whole point. Second, and more importantly, there is all the difference in the world between consensual training and forced interrogation. It's the difference between sex and rape, suicide and murder. Thousands of people consent to having others whip them. Does that mean that we can whip detainees? Does it mean that whipping people isn't torture? Please stop with this nonsense.