To the Editor:
I would like to comment on Rev. King's letter set out in your Feb. 22, 2012 edition of the Citizen. I agree with her, "Torture is illegal, immoral, and ...evil..." The sanctioned use of torture by authorities in, for instance, Afghanistan, in my view is one of several reasons why we should not shed Canadian blood to bolster that corrupt regime. I also agree that we should say "'no' to torture and its uses."
The above said, I have heard or seen nothing from the federal Conservatives that would suggest to me that our government sanctions the use of torture. The minister said nothing that would suggest that it does.
Our world changed on 9/11. With great loss of life, we became aware of an evil, immoral force in the world – one made all the more insidious by a perversion of religious dogma. The U.S.A., the U.K., Spain, India, Indonesia and many others have been victimized by successful bloody terror plots. Thousands of innocents, some of them Canadian, have died. Thankfully, many other plots have been foiled by law enforcement agencies around the world and, as a result, many lives have been saved. Our own police forces stand among those agencies.
As I understand our government's policy, it is to the effect that if, as a result of a third party's torturous act, information surfaces, and if that information is vital to our national safety and security, no matter what the source, our government will use it and act on it if necessary. If it is unreliable then that is that. If it is reliable then lives may be saved. This strikes me as a prudent approach. To do otherwise would be to leave one's citizens in a dangerous lurch.
Is Rev. King suggesting that if our government had information obtained by a third party via torture which disclosed an imminent attack on, say, the Toronto subway system, it should not be used? Is she suggesting that the thousands of people who use the Toronto system be ignored and be left vulnerable in the face of a terror attack? I trust not. However, that is the logical extension of her position.
No matter how unsavoury the source, it would be akin to criminal negligence were a government to ignore information vital to the protection of its citizens because it took issue with the means by which the information was obtained. I cannot imagine a government, whether Conservative, Liberal or NDP, doing it. It is easy for a citizen to sit on a moral pincushion and surmise the moral landscape of the world. It is quite another thing for a government to do all it can to protect its people. It is no easy task and it is fraught with moral conflict.
We trust our government, no matter its political stripe, to watch out for our safety.