After years and years of incredible nuance on behalf of Bush Administration torture policies ("Golly, what *is* torture anyway! It's all so confusing!"), after years of warm and sympathetic hearings for any and all arguments that, however tendentious, explain away the obvious teaching of the Church in a cloud of sophistry, after playing empathetic host all the usual suspect from the Ladies' Gossip Sewing Circle--shazam! ...
Having a day job (imagine that), I was initially going to compose a point-by-point rebuttal to Shea's latest.
Re-reading his rant, however, I won't even dignify it with that.
A sober perusal of my prior posts on the subject will discern the nature of my disagreement with Shea: that any legitimate disagreements with the Bush administration that could be mounted are obfuscated by his tendency to play fast and loose with the facts; imbue dubious motives to his critics, and substitute the virtual equivalent of sheer playground bullying for civil, rational and charitable debate -- which has, over the course of the past three years, alienated a number of erstwhile friends and readers within the Catholic online community who would have otherwise supported him.
For a single-post summary of my dispute with Mark Shea, see: "Rewarding Bad Behavior" Against The Grain June 14, 2007.
Prior relevant posts on the "torture debate"
- Questions about President Obama’s executive orders on the incarceration and interrogation of detainees January 25, 2009. While some are already hailing an end to the "gestapo-inspired 'enhanced interrogration [Sic] techniques'" of the Bush administration, a review of critical responses -- from the political "right" AND "left" -- raise serious questions about what is actually accomplished by President Obama's executive orders.
- "Torture in the News" December 23, 2009. A look at the report by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the treatment of detainees in U.S. Custody; Waterboarding; alternatives to 'aggressive interrogation'.
- Mark Shea, Jimmy Akin, Fr. Brian W. Harrison and the "Torture Debate" November 14, 2006. Fr. Harrison's argument on torture is practically identical to that of Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin. Yet, the latter is treated with respect while Harrison is repeatedly subject to ridicule as a "torture apologist". Curiously, both Shea, Akin and Harrison have contributed to the Catholic Apologetics organization Catholic Answers (a condensed version of Fr. Harrison's position was published in Catholic Answers' leading apologetics periodical This Rock Volume 17, Number 10 December 2006).
- For a comprehensive list of prior discussions of this topic on Against The Grain click here.