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December 06, 2006

Comments

Mary Kay

Jimmy, from the little I've read on this, you sound like the voice of calm and common sense.

I haven't kept up with the past few weeks, much less aware that this conversation has a two year history.

The proposed amnesty seems to be for the heat generated. I still need to get up to speed for the arguments stated and positions taken, unlikely to happen until after Christmas.

Mark Scott Abeln

Actually, I've noticed that Catholic discussions tend to generate relatively little heat. It the secularists that tend to get into "religious wars" over debate.

Kris

Jimmy, you are the indisputable MAN.

I have so many professors who tell me everyday to keep "an open mind" and I have only found that their intolerence is just as bad, if not worse that the most radical of right-wingers.

You present a model of what true debate and dialouge should be. A couple more people like you, and the majority contributors to this blog, and real, true progress might be made in finding out the Truth--in this debate and so many others.

Admittedly, I'm rather ignorant of the ins and outs of the torture debate, so I am content to sitting back and listening, or reading in this case. Thank you for providing a forum that makes it worthwhile to do so.

I just had to say thanks. My Stetson is off to you sir.

Jeff

I think there's a lot of wisdom and charity in what you are saying and I endorse almost all of it. Thanks so much for the detailed response.

I certainly think that you can't be expected to figure out and cure all the slights of the past.

But I do think there's something to be said for defending others whose views are mischaracterized in the present. I don't think that one can get around the perception of partisanship simply by remaining "above the fray," though. It's a good rule of thumb, but like so many things it requires balance and wisdom in application.

There's a danger--if you defend a blogger even in cool and impersonal tones, for example--that you will be perceived as a partisan. But there's also a danger that if you overlook mischaracterizations of others views or writings that occur in the present "on your watch", as it were, you will also be perceived as a partisan. And even responding to personal slights to yourself--as in the Mark Shea example--can make you seem partisan.

The danger is, of course, that you will be perceived as someone who wants to preserve a sort of professional solidarity and is concerned with defending personal honor, but for whom injustices outside this circle mean little. I DON'T say that this perception is fair--in fact I don't think it is. But you were speaking about perceptions of partisanship, not realities.

Part of my response was in reaction to your statement that you regretted people's attempts to "split" you from other Catholic apologists. I think this is inevitable. People who feel they and their thinking are being treated unjustly will of course call "witnesses" and "allies" to the stand, as it were. They will say: "You think I am a bad person and call me vicious things because I am willing just to admit that waterboarding could conceivably be not always in clear opposition to Catholic teaching...even though I don't support it! But your pal Jimmy Akin says the same: what about him?" This is inevitable and even just.

Of course, the intended and hoped for effect by someone who puts things this way is not to "cause a split." The intended effect is to get their interlocutor to reconsider: "Gee, I know Jimmy Akin is a good guy and a really smart Catholic. If he thinks that, then perhaps I have been being unjust to you. Let me think again." It's not always put in the most temperate terms in the heat of the moment, but I think that's implicit in almost all of what's been going on.

Reacting to that as if it's just a matter of folks trying to cause a "split" is of course going to be perceived as taking sides, though it's probably just an attempt to avoid being "used".

Anyway, thanks so very much for the grand effort at developing a consensus or a theory on this fraught subject. How very tempting it must have been simply to decline to walk into the buzzsaw! How very responsible to march forward anyway...

I hope at some point you will tackle the related question of what fidelity to the ordinary magisterium means in reading Church documents. The difference between teaching per se and explanation; how one reads a document "in the light of" tradition (see Dulles on this), etc. My sense is is that much of the tone of this debate has arisen from people's understandable attempt to be faithful to the teaching of the Church...a noble aspiration.

Zippy

If I ask myself, "Would I want a newcomer to a discussion, who has not lived with it for almost two years and who is not familiar with all that has come before, to hop into the debate and take sides, telling one side or the other that it needs to shape up--or, worse, criticizing both sides and thus implicitly holding himself above both?" I find myself saying, "No, I would not want that. I would take offense at that."

So I don't plan to do it.

Very well said.

Nate Wildermuth

Would it be possible for us to be inspired by a passion for truth, rather than a passion for our opinions? Perhaps the problem begins when we start to mistake our opinions for truth?

There's a big difference between being a relativist and simply being humble. One says there is no truth. The other only admits that the truth often eludes them. If both sides of a debate choose the quest for truth over the justification of their lives (which really entail a justification of their professed beliefs), then we'd really start to get somewhere.

The great problem of truth is that it often reveals that our lives are founded upon deceit. If we trade our personal passions for a truthful passion, we suddenly find ourselves on ground that is much less firm. We realize that we may have to *change*.

Humility then! But how? I suggest prayer... daily mass... rosaries... It's a daily struggle for me, and if anyone reads my blog, I'm sure they'd say, "What do you mean, humility? I don't see humility in any of your posts." I guess all we can do is try.

Humility and a passion for truth. And then - conversion that takes us along a path that makes us very uncomfortable... because it probably leads to Golgotha.

Tim J.

"The great problem of truth is that it often reveals that our lives are founded upon deceit."

Well, Nate, that is (unfortunately) human nature. Once a person has publicly aired a strong opinion, the urge to defend that personal turf can be very strong, strong enough to override any ability to consider other possiblities.

It is a hard thing - probably the hardest thing - to admit that one has been flat wrong. In fact, I would say that a mature faith life can't even begin until one has learned to do this.

Heck, I wouldn't have become a Catholic except that I learned (from someone else) the skill of asking "what if I am wrong on this? Is there another way to see this? Have I missed something important?". Up to that point, it had been just Me and my Bible (and a BUNCH of personal and cultural biases of which I was COMPLETELY unaware).

You are right, it's all about Truth. I know Jimmy feels the same way.

quasimodo

I guess this whole debate puts to rest the idea that Catholics just wait for the Vatican to tell them what to think.

Esau

I think it would help that folks keep in mind that in the blog here, Jimmy attempted an exploration on the subject rather than anything else.

Also, comments like:

...the comments in the combox of this blog seem to be more of a 'partisan' tail wagging agreement.....

seem to suggest political motives.

The point being is that the whole discussion shouldn't deteriorate into a political debate, with the usual parties emerging at the outset, with distinctions being made of red and blue states -- especially given the moral context of the issues being discussed and the Catholic principles involved.

In all actuality, various folks from both sides of the issue (if you can even refer to it as that) have provided very insightful answers.

You cannot deny the devotion to the Catholic Faith in these folks and the overwhelming desire to attend to correct moral principles.


This would seem to debunk the previous comboxer's comments:

"I guess this whole debate puts to rest the idea that Catholics just wait for the Vatican to tell them what to think."

since there is the act of the intellect and the will clearly being exercised in these matters and not a mind-numbing submission to a hierarchy.

Esau

I think it would help that folks keep in mind that in the blog here, Jimmy attempted an exploration on the subject rather than anything else.

Also, comments like:

...the comments in the combox of this blog seem to be more of a 'partisan' tail wagging agreement.....

seem to suggest political motives.

The point being is that the whole discussion shouldn't deteriorate into a political debate, with the usual parties emerging at the outset, with distinctions being made of red and blue states -- especially given the moral context of the issues being discussed and the Catholic principles involved.

In all actuality, various folks from both sides of the issue (if you can even refer to it as that) have provided very insightful answers.

You cannot deny the devotion to the Catholic Faith in these folks and the overwhelming desire to attend to correct moral principles.


This would seem to debunk the previous comboxer's comments:

"I guess this whole debate puts to rest the idea that Catholics just wait for the Vatican to tell them what to think."

since there is the act of the intellect and the will clearly being exercised in these matters and not a mind-numbing submission to a hierarchy.

mary martha

Thank you very much for your voice in this discussion.

I will be honest that upon occasion the mean spiritedness of Mark Shea has really upset me - and likely pushed me into the other side of the debate more than I should have let it.

I know, like and respect many people who live these questions every day and for whom the issue of where to draw the line can mean the safety and well being of others.It's hard to then see them demonized.

I will admit that in the last 9 months or so I just stopped listening to the debate all together. It wasn't until your posts that I re-engaged in the topic - so thanks! It is an important issue that should be thought about and discussed.

Jonathan Prejean

People who feel they and their thinking are being treated unjustly will of course call "witnesses" and "allies" to the stand, as it were. They will say: "You think I am a bad person and call me vicious things because I am willing just to admit that waterboarding could conceivably be not always in clear opposition to Catholic teaching...even though I don't support it! But your pal Jimmy Akin says the same: what about him?" This is inevitable and even just.

On the contrary, this is neither inevitable nor wise. One of the surest ways to escalate a conflict that has turned personal is to resort to the argument from authority. That effectively concedes that discussing the matter on a personal level is legitimate. People calling "witnesses" and "allies," giving even more attention and encouragement to the personal remarks, rather than returning to the substance is how things get to this point. If you want to turn down the heat, ignore the personal attacks, period. Yes, they may be wrong. Yes, you may think that they need to be answered. But YOU are in control of how you response to personal attacks, and if your goal is to have a rational discussion about the matter, then it violates your own purpose to do anything other than ignore them. If you are seeking vindication in the blogosphere, then experience should tell you that you will not get it. Of the hundreds of demands for apologies issued on a daily basis, I can think of a handful that are actually answered. The remainder simply result in perpetuation of bad blood that drags the environment down for everyone. I'm not saying that you are wrong to want it, but you are living in dreamland if you think you are going to get it. So the question is whether you want vindication so badly that you think it is worth sacrificing the possibility of any kind of substantive discussion. As in this case, it is going to corrupt the discussion every time the topic comes up anywhere, as people can't seem to refrain from calling "witnesses" and "allies," despite the appeal to authority being fallacious. So I just want to remind you that you have a choice even going forward to ignore bad behavior in the interest of taking the discussion less personal, and if you choose not to show mercy when you have an opportunity to do so, there are real consequences of that choice. Again, I'm not saying you have no right to make that choice, but the choice will have consequences.

Jeff

Let me endorse wholeheartedly what Nate and Tim J. have said. This is the kind of Catholic I want to be when I grow up! :-D

My involvment with the debate began a couple of years ago...not because I was trying to "defend torture", but because I simply wanted to find out what if anything the Church taught on the subject. As I stated several times, I began with the common assumption that Mark Shea raised in his Crisis article: The Church unreservedly condemns torture in absolute terms and this is binding on all Catholics, whether the teaching is "infallible" or not. I believe this is the assumption that Zippy and others also started with.

My watershed moment was reading Fr. Brian Harrison's letter to the editor in response to Mark Shea's piece. I already knew Harrison as a brilliant, stand-up guy who was most famous for having (I think successfully) tried to reconcile older Church teaching on Religious Freedom with the teaching of Vatican Council Two. In other words, he was deeply concerned with helping traditionalists accept the teaching of the ordinary Magisterium by actually ADDRESSING their concerns about doctrinal contradiction. Good, good, guy doing yeoman's work in the fields. And a brilliant theologian, too.

I looked eagerly around for a response by Shea and found that there WAS none! I posted in his comboxes asking what Mark's response was. Other commenters chimed in saying, "Mark hasn't really given a response, just dismissed the piece. I'm disappointed, too."

So, I went back and reread Gaudium et Spes and Veritatis Splendor, so vigorously cited by Shea, with care and I was very surprised to discover that there was scarcely anything there that seemed like "teaching about torture" at all! This is what seemed to me to be the case at the time and this is what seems to me to be the case now. Not because I want to "escape" from anything, but simply on its face.

But any questions put along these lines--or pointing out serious basic problems like the lack of an authoritative definition were met by those insisting on a absolutist reading with impugning of motives and accusations that I wanted to defend torture. The description "torture apologist" was applied to me. All objections to rhetorical excess, all pleas for calm and charity were rejected. No, there was only one way to look at the thing: I was rejecting what the Church taught and that was all there was to it. It was as if folks were defending something that they felt they HAD to defend at all costs...as if they were bound not to entertain any alternatives and if all they could come up with was rhetoric or accusations of bad faith, well, that was what they would use. Imagine what you would do if you were in a debate with, say, a Muslim about the Trinity and couldn't think of any good arguments. You'd have to be a doughty defender of the Faith, stubbornly trying out this or that, but never retreating an inch. This was the feeling I got.

Suppose a fellow Catholic invited you to reconsider whether the doctrine of the Trinity were really part of Catholic teaching after all and gave a lot of complicated arguments for his point of view. Would you really consider them? Or would you parry, block, resist at every turn lest you find that the Faith simply disintegrated in your hands? Something much more was at stake here than merely the question of torture. And because of that, there seemed to be no way to break the impasse. Asking people to give genuine, open-minded consideration to the question was asking too much. They were defending the constitution of the Church.

But then Cardinal Dulles wrote his book review and after more time had passed, Christopher Blosser, Dave Armstrong and other notable and unimpeachably orthodox Catholics began to look at the question and to themselves regard the Abolutist Camp as at least questionable. It became much harder to insist that those who read VS differently or saw problems in the Hard Line position were simply being unfaithful. Harder, too, to claim that they were all just "apologists" who wanted to torture people and so were making up excuses to justify their political stance.

Jimmy Akin, too, is now ENTERTAINING non-absolutist solutions to the problem. For those who respect him, this is yet another call to regard and treat others who are non-absolutists as fellow Catholics struggling to understand the teaching of the Church, rather than as faithless dissenters with an agenda to be opposed at every turn. Gut-level certainty that this or that hideous-seeming act is an unarguable vindication of the absolutists' position and reason for dismissing the "torture-apologists'" questions and points is hard to maintain--however compelling it may seem, however compelling it may even BE, it can't be any more than a call to the conscience, rather than a definitive condemnation. Very like the ones that Shea himself compellingly makes about the war in Iraq, without having recourse to doctrinal absolutism. Very like the ones that Pope John Paul compellingly made about capital punishment or the whole phenomenon of modern war.

Many of the extremists on the non-absolutist side of the debate are making mistakes of judgment, too, I think. Some of them may be motivated by political considerations. Some of them may even be--in practical terms--defending the indefensible.

But not all of us are doing that. And I wonder whether some of the extremists might not have been driven to those positions by the misplaced dogmatism and refusal to engage in substantive dialogue of the Absolutists.

This whole debate was sparked, I think, by Mark Shea's heartfelt Essay on Catholics and Torture in Crisis Magazine. There he didn't just make the case that torture was a "bleedin' obvious" monstrosity that we ought to oppose because we knew in our hearts it was wrong by its very hideousness. Nor did he just make the case that we ought not to worry about torture itself, but simply focus on how to treat prisoners with dignity. He made the claim that Church teaching on torture was in exact parallel to that on abortion AS A DOCTRINAL MATTER and just as firmly taught.

THAT is the case that Fr. Harrison questioned in his letter to the editor. To claim now that the problem is that people are taking the DOCTRINAL question too seriously and ought to abandon it in favor of other approaches seems disingenuous.

I think Shea and others have the right to PROPOSE the doctrinal argument and to ARGUE for it. But I don't think they have the right to INSIST on it as a litmus test of faithful Catholicism. There are simply too many problems with it that have been raised by obviously faithful and intelligent Catholics to do so.

I don't know why anybody needs to make an apology to anybody in this matter. But my PLEA would be for us all to simply draw back from the rhetoric of condemnation AND THAT OF RESENTMENT and begin afresh. Let's TALK about these matters as Catholics who give the benefit of the doubt to our brothers on questions of motivation and the spirit of faithfulness. We are all in the same boat--in the same Barque, if you will--and we need to help make sure it doesn't list or lose the trim of its sails.

I wonder if we can't at least find some core of agreement. And I think Chris Blosser put his finger on it, though he did not develop it. Virtually none of us in this discussion are simply IN FAVOR of torture. There are practices which we all find problematic and shrink from in horror. A society which regarded all kinds of torture as simply normal is one we would all deplore.

This reprobation may not include practices like waterboarding. But iron maidens, pulling out of fingernails, etc., etc., have something about them that makes the Catholic conscience shrink. I don't see anyone proposing them. This is where the approach of treating people with dignity may be helpful. But it needs to be decoupled from the doctrinal question of torture and approached on a parallel track. If we do this with charity and patience, I think we may find that we have FAR less to disagree about than we might have thought.

Esau

Whoa! I thought I was bad at long post-ing!

Anyone give me a Reader's Digest of that? ;^)

M.Z. Forrest

Can we put an end to this cannard that no one supports torture? It is no different than a pro-choicer saying that they don't support abortion. Choices have logical implications. No one has accused anyone of supporting torture in each and every instance. Some have claimed support of torture in a limited set of circumstances. Those people are rightly called proponents of torture. This support can be explicit or done in absentia, i.e. failing to condemn.

Mr. Akin's position as best I can discern is that torture is wrong except in the most dire circumstances. When torture is discussed in the context of most dire circumstance, it is accurate to say that Mr. Akin is proponent.

Jimmy Akin

Can we put an end to this cannard that no one supports torture?

I don't know that this is a canard that is out there. Some people do support torture.

It is no different than a pro-choicer saying that they don't support abortion. Choices have logical implications. No one has accused anyone of supporting torture in each and every instance. Some have claimed support of torture in a limited set of circumstances. Those people are rightly called proponents of torture. This support can be explicit or done in absentia, i.e. failing to condemn.

Mr. Akin's position as best I can discern is that torture is wrong except in the most dire circumstances. When torture is discussed in the context of most dire circumstance, it is accurate to say that Mr. Akin is proponent.

Three things:

1) I do not have a position on torture. As has been repeatedly noted, I am exploring the issue, not taking a position.

2) I do not advocate torture under any circumstances. I have raised the question of whether all acts that look like torture are in fact torture given the moral dynamics of the situation. This is *exactly* analogous to the Catechism's treatment of theft as the taking of another's property against the *unreasonable* will of the owner. Unless you are prepared to say "The Catechism's position is that theft is wrong except in dire circumstances, so when theft is discussed in the context of dire circumstances, it is accurate to say that the Catechism is a proponent of theft" then you are going to have to allow the same latitude to those raising a parallel question about torture.

3) One of the quickest ways to personalize the discussion and raise the temperature level is to start talking about who is or is not a torture proponent or a torture apologist or what have you. Consequently, I will not have this kind of language used on my blog.

Conan

What defines torture?

If I use a joint lock to defend myself and immobilize an attacker by applying persistent pain, am I torturing him?

Esau

What defines torture?

If I use a joint lock to defend myself and immobilize an attacker by applying persistent pain, am I torturing him?

Conan,
I think you should visit the past threads regarding torture.

The nature of that question has been re-visited ad nauseam.

Thanks.

Esau

Okay, all these torture threads, along with their 'accidents', have really become TORTURE!

Let's move on, shall we?

Next topic...

David B.

The next topic is... what is the proper way to insert bamboo sticks under the nails.

eww...

Annalucia

``Conan,
I think you should visit the past threads regarding torture.''

Since ``the past threads'' go on...and on...and on...and quickly get overheated with pretty much the same half-dozen people doing all the shouting...Conan might want to sit this one out. I'm certainly going to.

::Quietly slips out of the room::

Esau

The next topic is... what is the proper way to insert bamboo sticks under the nails.

You Moral Retard! ;^)

Esau

``Conan,
I think you should visit the past threads regarding torture.''

Since ``the past threads'' go on...and on...and on...and quickly get overheated with pretty much the same half-dozen people doing all the shouting...Conan might want to sit this one out. I'm certainly going to.

::Quietly slips out of the room::


I merely suggested he visit them and not to actually cast himself in all that quicksand! That would be suicide! Immoral, a disordered act of the will, etc.! ;^)

Now, back to my other post:

Okay, all these torture threads, along with their 'accidents', have really become TORTURE!

Let's move on, shall we?

Next topic...

[And, no David B., no exploration of topics that touches the very periphery of torture or concepts that even remotely resemble it!] ;^)

Conan

Sorry for the lame question...

I was just curious if a consensus regarding joint locks had been reached, since I use them so frequently.


Esau

Sorry for the lame question...

No problem!

There are many times I have asked a lame question in order to make a point! ;^)

Jeff

3) One of the quickest ways to personalize the discussion and raise the temperature level is to start talking about who is or is not a torture proponent or a torture apologist or what have you. Consequently, I will not have this kind of language used on my blog.

Thank you, thank you, Mr. Akin. This is really the sort of that I was asking for...

Jeff

Jonathan:

I don't think I have to disagree with you in order to maintain the essence of what I was saying.

If someone asks me, How should I act in response to this attack, I would counsel them as you do.

If someone unjustly attacks a blogger or commenter, especially as a regular thing, I will come to the defense of the one attacked.

I'm not counselling the people responding to attacks in my comment. I'm defending them from overly harsh criticism, in this case understandable criticism from Jimmy Akin that I think missed an important aspect.

Turning the other cheek is sort of a counsel of perfection. People who get whacked unjustly and whack back should be encouraged to set a higher standard for themselves. But they shouldn't be condemned out of hand.

I CAN urge people who have been hurt not to harbor resentment and to see things in perspective. And I can do the same myself.

One thing I do is continually note and write about praiseworthy things in the people I criticize. And I try to stand in their shoes and see if I can't find noble or at least understandable motives even for the things I condemn.

No doubt I do all these things imperfectly. But that's the way it seems--roughly speaking--I ought to operate.

Jonathan Prejean

Turning the other cheek is sort of a counsel of perfection. People who get whacked unjustly and whack back should be encouraged to set a higher standard for themselves. But they shouldn't be condemned out of hand.

I agree with that, but I didn't intend that as any sort of moral comparison. It's more a question of decorum. Pretend there's a comedian on stage at a party, and he makes some jokes at your expense. You can get into a loud, public shouting match that is going to make every person not only in the group but in the entire room uncomfortable (during which the comedian will probably abuse you even more for trying to heckle him). Or you can take a real account of the situation, realize that you might never have any significant relationship with any of these people in which their opinion of you is going to matter in the slightest, laugh like it was funny, and conclude that the comedian is a jackass. But as long as there are other people out there having fun, it doesn't make any sense for you to ruin it for everybody because you were personally hurt. If you don't like him, don't go to the show.

The Internet is an impersonal medium. It's a lot like a big party. Lots of interaction with people who don't know you personally and who probably don't care to know you personally when it comes down to it. People getting personally upset just makes the whole thing uncomfortable. It's awkward. People end up milling around, looking at the ground, trying to laugh it off, whatever. We go to see the act, not the hecklers. Wrong, right, I don't care. The whole spectacle just interferes with other people's enjoyment of the medium.

I attach the ubiquitous Internet disclaimer: JMHO, FWIW.

Driscoll

WWJD
Abu Gharaib
Gitmo
Chicago Police Jon Burge

Not justice, definitely torture

Jeff

Jonathan:

I see what you mean, but I don't think very many people have "fun" in these torture discussions! :-D

Yes, I suppose if we all took ourselves less seriously there would be less upset. Still: tell a lady she's fat and ugly and she's likely to cry. Tell a serious Catholic that he's trying to flip the Magisterium the bird so he can dishonestly advance his political agenda and you are likely to wound and anger. Especially if you are an admired figure looked to for guidance.

The internet impersonal? Golly, I don't think so. Many--certainly not all--of the people who hang out in comment boxes are a bit eccentric and sometimes even lonely or troubled. One ought to be extra courteous and charitable, it seems to me, rather than regard commenters on blogs as simply comic butts for a comedian's joke. Again, more power to you if you can take that attitude for yourself. It's one of those things you run into so often: good advice when directed at one's self; not so good when directed to others as criticism.

Jonathan Prejean

Many--certainly not all--of the people who hang out in comment boxes are a bit eccentric and sometimes even lonely or troubled. One ought to be extra courteous and charitable, it seems to me, rather than regard commenters on blogs as simply comic butts for a comedian's joke.

You know, you're right. It certainly isn't much fun when you don't even know it's supposed to be fun, particularly when you're looking for something deeper. In a way, I'm really just being like the guy who snickers at someone in an unfamiliar social setting, instead of trying to make them feel welcome.

That really opened my eyes, Jeff. It seems like it should have been obvious, but I've got a temperament prone to impatience, and I think I've just gotten in the habit of dismissing things (and even people) too quickly. Seriously, thank you for pointing out something on which I need to reflect (and pray for improvement!). I'll try to do better.

Zippy

This is *exactly* analogous to the Catechism's treatment of theft as the taking of another's property against the *unreasonable* will of the owner.

It may be analogous in some way, but it isn't exactly analogous. Torture is something done directly to a person. Theft is something done to a thing, and at best only indirectly to a person.

David

Isn't it true that if someone affirms that

I do not advocate torture under any circumstances.

one thereby commits oneself to having a "position" on torture?

That is, "torture shouldn't be done under any circumstances."

Is saying "I do not advocate torture under any circumstances" merely an expression of a preference?

Zippy

David: it seems to me that saying "I am not presently an advocate of X under any circumstances" isn't precisely the same thing as saying "I oppose X under all circumstances".

David

Yes, but "I am not presently an advocate of X under any circumstances" isn't what Jimmy wrote. He wrote

"I do not advocate torture under any circumstances."

I took it that this expressed a settled conviction of his.

At least part of what I took to be a position.

Hence my questions.

Jimmy, Catholics would have a pope if the pope would command that it is immoral to fight in the war on terror given that the war on terror is immoral. But catholics do not have a pope, they have a right-wing politician who is more concerned with having a christo-centric europe and catering to a rightwing Christo-fascist faction of his base than to a consistant truth. Being a soldier involves killing people in the name of a state power, which is murder. He needs to crap or get off the pot!

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