A guest post from Jeff Mosenkis, on how empathy affects how we feel about torture. Mosenkis holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago. His research has focused on the intersections of social, cultural and organizational psychologies.
I Feel Your Pain: The Empathy of Torture
By Jeff Mosenkis
Senator John McCain re-entered the waterboarding/torture debate this month, first with an op-ed in The Washington Post, then on the Senate floor, taking issue with both the efficacy and morals of enhanced interrogation techniques, asserting that several of them are indeed torture. From McCain’s op-ed:
Much of this debate is a definitional one: whether any or all of these methods constitute torture. I believe some of them do, especially waterboarding, which is a mock execution and thus an exquisite form of torture. As such, they are prohibited by American laws and values, and I oppose them.
McCain’s anti-torture stance is well-documented and been consistent throughout his political career. But a new study adds some scientific insight into why he feels the way he does.