"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
-Matthew 7:12, aka The Golden Rule
Niall Ferguson writes in today's LA Times about the recent bill passed by Congress that might very well allow torture. He cites examples of countries like Japan, which during WWII reinterpreted the Geneva Convention to treat POW's rather inhumanely.
Ferguson does understand why Congress and the American public in general might support torture. I understand it as well: we are only five years after the nightmare of 9/11 and frankly, we are scared. But Ferguson also notes that while these law might make Americans feel safe, it might very well expose us to torture. He cites why a very famous conservative opposed torturing his enemies:
...Winston Churchill insisted throughout the war, treating POWs well is wise, if only to increase the chances that your own men will be well treated if they too are captured. Even in World War II, there was in fact a high degree of reciprocity. The British treated Germans POWs well and were well treated by the Germans in return; the Germans treated Russian POWs abysmally and got their bloody deserts when the tables were turned.
Few, if any, American soldiers currently find themselves in enemy hands. But in the long war on which Bush has embarked, that may not always be the case. The bottom line about mistreating captive foes is simple: It is that what goes around comes around. And you don't have to be a closet liberal to understand that.
In short, Churchill lived by the Golden Rule; act how you would like to be treated. What's interesting is that today's so-called "conservatives" seem to talk a lot about the Bible and yet don't live out some of the words that Jesus said.