<-------Alan David Stein.
Ellery in the AM and Stein in the PM are more liberal than most radio talk show hosts, although they could provide more depth on the issues. Now that ABC’s Curtis & Kuby has been replaced with Don Imus, there are few hosts on the air who give me a good liberal/progressive hit.
Maybe a good description for both of them could be “populist liberals”. Or maybe “liberal populists”.
I generally agree with them both on most issues in Central Jersey. Except for yesterday when Stein declared his absolute support for water boarding torture. “By any means necessary,” he said. I would have thought Stein was smarter than that.
Stein stated he was at Ground Zero in the days after 9/11. He said that if water boarding torture of an informant would have produced the information to help prevent another 9/11, then he would support it. If only life were that black & white and that simple.
Of course, when someone is tortured, you never know what you’re going to get. There is no guarantee that the information will be valid or even useful.
“Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing a person on their back with the head inclined downward—…and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. Through forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences the process of drowning and is made to believe that death is imminent.” The benefits of water boarding are highly questionable.I called the station, and spoke with Mr. Stein on the air. He posed a question to me about 9/11 ----would I support water boarding torture if it would have prevented a 9/11?
I replied---what if it was someone you knew being tortured? Your neighbor? A relative? Yourself? These are questions of civil liberties.
I told him that I think it is sad that he would advocate such an unconstitutional method of interrogation to sustain the fight to protect our constitutional democracy.
The ends do not justify the means. How are we any better than Iraq, North Korea, Nazi Germany, etc---if we are willing to use their same methods to protect our values? And how can we expect our enemies to do any less than what we are doing ourselves?
The Framers had it right: they included constitutional protections against such things as 'cruel and unusual punishment'. Following WWII, as a forward thinking and peace loving nation the United States signed to the Geneva Conventions regarding treatment of POWs. Those standards do not include torture. And the standards do not change from incident to incident. It’s a slippery slope.
If Stein supports the use of torture to prevent another 9/11, would he support it to have prevented a Pearl Harbor? Maybe so. What about the assassination of President Kennedy? Perhaps. But, what if it was his best friend to be killed? Or what if the person to be tortured was not some alleged Al Queda terrorist, but his next door neighbor? Or maybe someone in his family? What about other more severe torture methods? Then the matter may get a little muddier.
The problem with the current administration’s standards regarding these issues, is that there are no standards at all. They hold people in prison in Gitmo in violation of the Geneva Convention and in violation of the Constitution---of course they’d have no problem using torture. Stein is just wrongheaded on this issue. The ends do not justify the means.
Of course, talk radio does not provide callers with any lengthy time to discuss the issues, and they move from topic to topic likes bees from flower to flower. So, we did not get to speak at any great length on this issue.
I would welcome a longer in studio debate on this issue at WCTC.