Brussels Attacks and Torture

Some bombs have exploded at the Brussels international airport. Another bomb detonated in one of the city’s metro stations. There’s been considerable loss of life and many injuries. According to the BBC, “The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attacks in a statement issued on the IS-linked Amaq agency.”

The attacks are not a surprise. This is from a Reuters article published yesterday:

The only suspected participant in Nov. 13 Paris attacks to be captured alive has been cooperating with police investigators and is “worth his weight in gold”, his lawyer said on Monday.

Belgium’s Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, said the country was on high alert for a possible revenge attack following the capture of 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam in a flat in Brussels on Friday.

“We know that stopping one cell can … push others into action. We are aware of it in this case,” he told public radio.

Unfortunately, they were not able to disrupt this plot in time to prevent it despite having a cooperating witness.

You should expect to hear all the common defenses of torture now. If only Salah Abdeslam had been hooked up to electrodes and waterboarded a few dozen times, he would have given the investigators the timely accurate information they needed. Because right-wingers are always living in an episode of 24.

I’m sorry about the senseless loss of life in Brussels, but it doesn’t justify torture. And torture generally doesn’t work in any case. But, mainly, it’s immoral and should be impermissible.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.