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Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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Wed, 25 May 2005

More on the torture question

Last week, I posted my initial reaction to news about support for torture in extreme circumstances, as espoused by a couple of Deakin academics. The story has been the subject of considerable controversy in the blogosphere and I don’t wish to extend the debate much more here. However, I think it would be good to respond to David’s post in reply.

David says:

I interpret Greg’s post as an attempt to goad me into a response.

Not at all. I wasn’t thinking about David at all—nor was I thinking of any of the other lawyers I know or do business with. My previous post was simply my immediate personal reaction to the original news story. And it suffered a bit from being such an immediate reaction, which is one of the reasons for today’s extra comment.

David chides me for not providing links to the original news stories, even pointing me to some online guidance about the process of providing links. I had good reasons for leaving out the links. For one, the Fairfax media have had a habit of making stories disappear or of only being available to subscribers. I can’t be bothered linking to them. For another, anybody interested in the story could find as much as they wanted with a few seconds of Google time.

Regarding my case, David says:

I’m deeply uncomfortable with the proposition that merely writing about it makes them “ethically bankrupt morons”.

I expressed myself badly there, but my point was that the authors followed their ethically bankrupt ideology and wrote what they wrote—not that writing something I didn’t like made them ethically bankrupt.

As for my call that Deakin “needs to purge itself of this cancer immediately”, I can see that this could have appeared to be a call for the dismissal of the authors in question. That was not really my intent. What I’d like to see from Deakin is the same kind of response they would make in the case of staff who published opinions that slavery was fine because blacks are not human. Support for torture is in the same category as that. It needs to be treated similarly.

And, for the record, I don’t think

all lawyers are infected with their malaise.

And, for those who want more links, David’s post has heaps.