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Argument: Torture erodes character of a nation and its success in war of ideas

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Supporting evidence

  • Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Geneva Convention, Article III would add to those doubts."[1]
  • TortureIsNotUs.org. Retrieved 11.17.07 - "Prisoner abuses exact a terrible toll on America in the war of ideas. A final victory in the current conflict can only be achieved if we prevail on the battlefield and in the war of ideas. Our ideas and our values are defined through our actions. The torture and abuse of prisoners in US custody will inevitably become public. When it does, the cruel actions of a few darken the reputation of our country in the eyes of millions."
Sen. John McCain, who has led the Republican charge against torture, recently said, "This isn't about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies."
In a November Newsweek article, he put it this way: 'What I … mourn is what we lose when … we allow, confuse, or encourage our soldiers to forget that best sense of ourselves, that which is our greatest strength—that we are different and better than our enemies, that we fight for an idea, not a tribe, not a land, not a king … but for an idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.'"
  • Stephanie H. Dray. "Torture is wrong." Associated Content. September 14, 2006 - "And I say this not because it will win elections. Indeed, there is someone somewhere who will read this and think this is about 'crying for terrorists'. They will ignore that what we weep for is America. It is never popular to argue for what is right, to argue for the soul of your nation. Especially when it is easier to denounce every foreign looking person on the street. When it is convenient to assume that the Government never makes mistakes, and that if they accidentally torture an innocent person, too bad - he was just a brown Arab anyway. This is war, don't you know, and war justifies anything. Anything. Anything. Anything.
Torture is wrong.
And I don't care if we lose elections for saying so. I would rather lose elections for the next fifty years than know that my tax dollars are supporting torture - than knowing that war crimes are being committed in my name, and that Congress is trying to redefine the unforgivable, that my Government is telling the whole world, with a wink and a nod, that Americans are ok with torture. That American has abandoned its moral compass. That America has lost her soul."

Counter-argument

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