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September 18, 2006


Nyhan, to the best of your knowledge, in the history of the known universe how many times has the ticking bomb scenario played out and how many times has it been foiled by "alternative interrogation methods"?

Surely there must be dozens of examples that don't involve a script and a crew.

I don't see why Brendan is so arrogant and inflexible that he's positive that his first impression of a passage is what it says. Take a second look and see if they're necessarily saying what he says they are.

I totally oppose the message of the WSJ editorial, but Brendan is being unfair, once again. Let's try adding one comma:
If they get their way, they will make it impossible for any government agency to squeeze the next al Qaeda terrorist, who may have information about a ticking bomb in an American city.

And I think that's all they meant. If the government can torture, then they'll be able to torture the next terrorist they catch, and there's a chance that the next captured terrorist will have 'ticking time bomb' information.

I think this is what they actually meant, but I'm not so certain that I know the inner thoughts of the WSJ editorial board that I'll whine it from the rooftops like Nyhan.

If I do say so myself, this reading makes the reprehensible nature of the WSJ position. They want to make it highly probable that suspected terrorists will be tortured to deal with the very low probability of a 'ticking time bomb' situation. Better to torture 99 innocent men than to let a guilty terrorist go unharmed.

But we must all remember, Brendan's tastes and impressions are the only valid ones.

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