Back in 2003 Buchanan wrote a controversial article defending torture. A policy of torture not only weakens America’s image but also justifies the torture of captured American soldiers. Yet Buchanan defends it:
The morality of any act depends not only on its character, but on the circumstances and motive. Stealing is wrong and illegal, but stealing food for one’s starving family is a moral act. Even killing is not always wrong. If a U.S. soldier had shot Mohammed to save 50 hostages, he would be an American hero.
But is it wise to entrust the federal government with such power when it has proven itself irresponsible and possesses the ability to declare a political opponent, even an American citizen, to be an “unlawful combatant“? Some will respond here too that little useful information is gathered from torture, but the defense I stand on is that no government, especially our current federal government, can be entrusted with such a power.
The “public caning of young criminals” however might be a good idea provided the recipients have been found guilty in a court of law and are only punished publicly. But torture as punishment and torture for the sake of extracting information are two different issues.