Battlepanda: Thought for the day


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Thought for the day

The question:
In times of emergency we are often told that a state must balance the need to ensure national security against the need to preserve indivdual liberty and rights. How do we reconcile these often competing interests?
The answer, in part:

We have made a trade-off that deprives us of knowledge of what we have traded off in terms of individual rights and liberties. The photographs from Abu Ghraib give us some inkling, to be sure. But the government may well succeed in blocking further photographs even while the torture gets worse. And what incentive does it have to bear the embarrassment of releasing innocent prisoners bearing the marks and traumas of years of abuse when the world does not know that it ever detained these people? It is likely that thousands of detainees will never resurface because they are innocent.

In conclusion, we have given away, or lost, so much by way of our basic democratic rights and liberties that we are in no position to assess the balancing you query.
Go read the whole thing at AskPhilosophers.