Good Guys Don’t Torture


(click image to enlarge)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Uncanny X-Men #502

In Uncanny X-Men #502 Scott tortures a captive with needles.

In popular media, before 9-11, only the bad guys did the torture. Now it is often the good guys who are doing the torture.

The first evidence of this was the TV show 24 using the “the ticking bomb” scenario. Here is the one person who has information that will save hundreds of lives if I can get him to talk before the bomb explodes, so torture is justified. This is a great dramatic device, rich with tension. The only problem is this has never happened in the real world, yet it is used as a justification for torture. And innocent prisoners get tortured.

Torture is a Pandora’s Box which must never be opened, because the results cannot be controlled. In 1984, the Landau Commission originally permitted Israeli interrogators to use moderate force in cases of an imminent bombing. Years later, Israeli civil rights lawyers submitted evidence that virtually all Palestinian prisoners were being tortured. We have seen the same results in American controlled prisons. Abu Ghraib was not a fluke. Ultimately the Israeli courts reversed their opinion. Hopefully we will do so here in the US.

We are seeing the normalization of torture in American consciousness. Darth Vader tortures, the Nazis  torture, The Skrulls torture, The X-Men torture. What!?

I know it is just a comic book, but I love comics and grew up in the 60’s reading about heroes who fought the good fight against evil. It shaped my ideas of what a hero is. X-Men is not a horror comic like The Walking Dead, or a crime comic like Criminal. We must be aware of what seeds we are planting.


One Response to “Good Guys Don’t Torture”

  1. Gabriel Says:

    I believe this also happened in Daredevil, in one of the later issues of the Bendis Maleev run. I believe Daredevil uses pressure points on an enemy and makes him think that he is being burned with a blowtorch

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