Ignatieff and torture: the Liberals respond

From the Inkless emailbox: the DonOLO responds.

Michael Ignatieff argues against torture from 1987 – 2009

Lesser Evil Lecture at the Miller Center of Public Affairs – April 23, 2005

“If you ask me what I would do and what I endorse, I would have an absolute prohibition on torture”… (58)

“Let me be clear on what water boarding is. You put somebody in a tank of water upside down until they have the experience of downing and you pull them out just before they drown. And that’s torture. Because it is the most awful experience a human being could have short of dying violently. So we don’t want to do that.” (54:12)

Ignatieff, Michael. “Lesser Evil.” Penguin Group, Toronto: 2004.

“I argue that actions which violate foundational commitments to justice and dignity – torture, illegal detention, unlawful assassination – should be beyond the pale.” (x)

“States should absolutely ban extreme interrogations, targeted assassinations, and other use of violence, “ (118)

“For torture, when committed by a state, expresses the state’s ultimate view that human beings are expendable. This view is antithetical to the spirit of any constitutional society whose reason d’etre is the control of violence.” (143)

It (torture) violates basic commitments to human dignity, and this is the core value that a war on terror, waged by democratic state, should not sacrifice, even under threat of imminent attack.”(140)

“The rights to due process of law, to basic dignity in treatment, are independent of conduct and irrevocable under any circumstance. We believe that our enemies deserve to be treated as human beings.” (167)

LEADER, THE ECONOMY, TORTURE, AND MACHIAVELLI. Maclean’s , Mon Feb 16 2009  Page: 13 , Byline: Michael Ignatieff interviewed by KENNETH WHYTE

“So getting to the issue of interrogation, interrogation has to be consistent with Canadian law, consistent with international conventions — like the Convention on Torture — consistent with our international obligations. It has to be rigorous and thorough, because we’re up against some threats to our security, but it must be within the traditions of the Canadian Charter and the applicable laws, and it must be subject to democratic scrutiny. ”

“When I talked about coercive interrogation, people then made the allusion right away to torture. That was never, ever, ever intended/desired/stated. There is a clear line between tough interrogations that stay on the right side of the law and stuff that gets into the area of moral disgrace, and I’ve always been clear what that line is.”

Ignatieff sets the record straight; [National Edition]

Michael Ignatieff. National Post. Don Mills, Ont.: Oct 29, 2005. pg. A.23

“Diane Francis says I support torture because I believe authorities interrogating terrorist suspects should be allowed to engage in disinformation or disorientation techniques.

To call these practices torture is to distort the plain meaning of words. I am on record as being opposed, both on moral and on strategic grounds, to any infliction of physical or psychological pain on interrogation subjects; I am on the record as believing all interrogation subjects held by the United States anywhere in the world, whether U.S. citizens or not, should be regularly inspected by the International Committee of the Red Cross; and in order to prevent abusive treatment, I am on record as supporting the right of all detainees, citizens or not, to habeas corpus review of their detention by U.S. federal court. I am also opposed to any practice regarded as cruel or degrading under international law. My views on this matter are fully set out in my book The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror.”

Balancing foreign and domestic;

Michael Ignatieff. Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.: Jun 2, 2005. pg. A.19

“When a Canadian citizen, born in an Arab country, finds himself arrested in the U.S., deported to a foreign country, where he is tortured, what are the rest of our new Canadians to think about the capacity of our government to protect them? The Canadian passport must confer indivisible rights and protection to all its bearers, regardless of their origin and place of birth.”

The myth of citizenship. The Kingston Whig-Standard, Tue Oct 20 1987

Section: Magazine , Byline: Michael Ignatieff

“When a man is being tortured in another jurisdiction, I can no longer regard our difference of citizenship as grounds to leave it to someone else to protest.”

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