Russell Brunelle (russellb) wrote,
Russell Brunelle

Something worth thinking about...

If, based on the ever-popular "ticking time bomb" theory, we have a duty to torture the detainees at Guantanamo, then we also have a duty to torture Scott Roeder, the man who killed Dr. George Tiller earlier this week. After all:

  1. There is an excellent probability that Mr. Roeder knows others who have seriously discussed, or are currently planning, terrorist attacks within the United States, as a result of his being at the center of both violent anti-American activity as well as violent anti-abortion activity. The Montana Freemen group of which he was a part engaged in an armed confrontation with the FBI, and issued a "writ of execution" against a federal judge (which is consistent with the fact that the movement of which it is a part is disproportionately responsible for the current increase in attacks and threats against federal judges). This is all on top of his being caught with a bomb around the same time. Meanwhile, on the anti-abortion side, he wrote articles for a newsletter that exhorted its readers to kill abortion providers, the publisher of which (a man whom Mr. Roeder had met) went on to publish a manual for anti-abortion activists that includes bomb-making instructions. The "Army of God" group with which Mr. Roeder considered himself to be aligned includes amongst its supporters Clayton Waagner, the bank robber who perpetrated the 2001 anthrax hoax, Shelly Shannon, who started by setting fires at abortion clinics and finally (non-fatally) shot Dr. Tiller in 1993, and Eric Rudolph, who carried out a series of terrorist bombings including the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atlanta. This same "Army of God" group, on its public web site, is now calling Mr. Roeder a hero. And finally, when arrested, Mr. Roeder had in his car the name and phone number of someone who had been convicted of conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in 1988. Frankly, I have no doubt that some of the people we tortured at Guantanamo, and probably all of the people we tortured at Abu Ghraib, had weaker connections to terrorism than this, and an even lower likelihood of knowing details about other planned attacks against the United States.
  2. If the difference to you is that the people we waterboarded at Guantanamo weren't U.S. citizens, then keep in mind that Mr. Roeder, through his participation in the "sovereign citizen movement," considered himself to have renounced his U.S. citizenship.

Former Vice President Cheney has been in the news quite a bit lately, arguing in favor of waterboarding. I honestly wonder how he would respond to this argument, and what policy distinction he could possibly draw which would result in torturing the Guantanamo detainees but not torturing Mr. Roeder.
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