From SH’s recent article OnTorture:
And so, I am now a bit wiser and can offer a piece of advice to others: not everything worth saying is worth saying oneself. I am sure that the world needs someone to think out loud about the ethics of torture, and to point out the discrepancies in how we weight various harms for which we hold one another morally culpable, but that someone did not need to be me. The subject has done nothing but distract and sicken readers who might have otherwise found my work useful.
That paragraph bothers me. If a respected person of his intellectual status should not write on this subject as he did, then who should? Yes it does need to be SH, among others, who should so write. I do not buy Sam’s implication that intelligent & thoughtful people cannot disagree with his views on this touchy subject without Sam’s informed views on other subjects being discredited in their minds as a result. I cant even understand how grown ups can rationally disagree with his position - I’ve certainly heard no cogent argument against SH’s position (just emotings). I suspect most governments are responsibly grown up about it, if only silently. In Alan Dershowitz’s essay “Tortured Reasoning” in the book Torture (edited by S. Levinson) he points out (p 257) that “All forms of torture are widespread among nations that have signed treaties prohibiting all torture.” SH just needs some thicker skin and he shouldn’t worry that he will lose any worthwhile fans.
I think the only problem is that too many people have just not grown up and allowed themselves to be realistic or even honest with themselves. When some one says or implies (often self-righteously) that he or she would rather have his family and other innocents blown to pieces rather than have a knowledgeable terrorist waterboarded to save them, I think his or her only excuse for such gross moral negligence is that he or she is still morally only a child who cannot discern a true lesser evil here.