The so called torture of "water boarding" is nothing like that or other countries water boarding. We use massive restrictions which harms no one. Fear is created and it has proven effective.
I note in your whining about this that you do not take up the drone issue or the massive intrusion on the constitution and freedom by the NSA. Of course Americans have a lot more to fear in terror from our own IRS and other agencies than the terrorist do of waterboarding. So while you are in your safe nest and out of harms way, how about getting yourself sent over to a terrorist state for a tour of duty as chaplin [sic] and hear what the troops have to say about the issue of waterboarding.
The comments come from a spouse of a "25-year veteran." While anyone with any sense is grateful for the service of anyone in our military, and their families, I'm not aware that only when you have served in combat do you earn the right to speak about the morality of tactics in war.
Or to put it another way: do we really honor our men and women in uniform by saying that Catholic morality doesn't apply to them?
Meanwhile, let's take a closer look at the facts here. Is waterboarding torture. The U.S. government -- when it was using waterboarding -- said no. Do I really need to spell out why that doesn't settle the matter?
What is torture?
Here's how the United Nations Convention against Torture defines torture:
Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. (Emphasis added.)
Now, you might say, who cares what the UN says? They're a bunch of communists and ruthless dictators! And while that's a generally accurate description of that bunch, the reason to care is that in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed for the U.S., and in 1990, under President George H.W. Bush, the United States Senate ratified this treaty.
I guess that makes Presidents Reagan and Bush (a combat veteran of World War II) "wusses" in the eyes of what Mark Shea aptly calls the "rubber hose" true believers.
So what does the Catholic Church say?
Paragraph 2297 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church includes this (I quote the entire paragraph for context):
Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law. (Emphasis added.)
Waterboarding, as practiced by agents of the United States government, and defended by Gov. Palin and commenters on this blog, indisputably includes:
> physical restraint (i.e., "coercion");
> Pouring of water in such a way as to simulate drowning (i.e., "violence," "pain," "suffering");
> Fear ("frighten opponents");
> Danger of physical harm (defenders of waterboarding repeatedly point out that medical personnel are nearby. Why do that if there's no danger of physical harm?)
Not torture? How is waterboarding not torture?
Don't like my "whining"? It's not mine. I'm offering the teaching of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.
So who am I to say such things?
On the day of my ordination as a priest, I stood before Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, and a packed cathedral, and answered this question from the Archbishop:
"Are you resolved to exercise the ministry of the word worthily and wisely, preaching the gospel and explaining the Catholic Faith?"
I promised him, and all present, I would do so.
A priest, when assuming an office such as pastor, also swears an oath. Among other things, it says this:
In fulfilling the charge entrusted to me in the name of the Church, I shall hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety; I shall faithfully hand it on and explain it, and I shall avoid any teachings contrary to it. . . .
So help me God, and God's Holy Gospels on which I place my hand.
Now, if you don't give a damn what the Catholic Church teaches, well, I'll pray for your soul, but you have the right to reject the teaching of Christ's Mystical Body on earth if you wish. But if that's your position, have the courage and clarity to say so.
And if you sincerely think the Church's teaching doesn't apply to waterboarding, fine. I'm not convinced. You are welcome to try to convince me.
However -- and this is a big "however" -- I ask that you make clear that you're committed to the Church's teaching. Because what I've noticed in this discussion is some shiftiness: the "it's not torture" argument followed by, "but it's necessary" or "but they're really bad people" defenses of waterboarding -- in short, a justification for doing evil.
If you accept the Church's teaching, then you accept the core moral principle that it is never (as in N-E-V-E-R!) permissible to do evil, that good may result.
Which means that any use of the "necessity" or "they're bad people" arguments disqualify your defense of waterboarding. Get that? You can't have it both ways. A Catholic can't justify evil because of necessity or the evil of the other side. Evil is never justified. So leave those arguments out.
But, if you don't like a Catholic priest talking about this, that's just too bad. On that score, I don't answer to you. I answer to the Lord.
If you think what I'm presenting here isn't consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Faith, make your case.