State Senator Ball Advocates Torturing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Ladies and gents, we have a new winner for douchiest politician: NY State Senator Greg Ball.

If you enjoy politicians who are full of crap and don't care about the American legal system, you will love this interview with Greg Ball and Piers Morgan.

State Senator Greg Ball of New York is not backing down since he tweeted his support for torturing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:

Rather, Senator Ball is doubling down. Here's how he explained himself to the offensively reasonable Piers Morgan:

“All I can tell you is what I would do as an American. If we saw what just happened where we had men, women and children–a child–killed,” said Ball, before switching to the third person. “I can tell you that as Greg Ball, if I felt that torture–whether it be making them listen to music at night, or using a baseball bat–would save one innocent life, including that of a child, I would use it. But I’m just speaking for Greg Ball.”

One more quote from Ball, on why he's not full of crap, before I explain why he's full of crap. Liz Benjamin, Capital Tonight‘s host, pressed Mr. Ball on the subject:

“Let’s just step back a second. I mean, you making a living out of interviewing politicians and others and I understand that most politicians are completely full of crap,” he explained. “And you have to deal with that every day. I don’t know how you do it. I happen to say exactly how I feel … It’s easy to have an academic debate and there’s certainly room for that in editorial board meetings and the ivory towers of universities … I’ll leave that up to academia.”

Okay, here's why Ball is both wrong on the torture issue and is full of crap: he's setting up a false hypothetical that has nothing to do with real life. Ball is saying that if there were terrorist plots that the Tsarnaev brothers knew about, it  would be worth torturing Dzhokhar to find that out. Let's assume that there are such plots (ignoring reports to the contrary for now): torture wouldn't help. Torture is notoriously unreliable: people tend to say whatever they think the torturer wants to hear, including confessing to crimes they did not commit. What incentive would Jahar have to tell the truth? A lie would be just as effective in getting the torture to stop. In the scenario in which the Tsarnaev brothers acted alone, we would have tortured someone for no reason. I'm going to trust the humanity of my readers and not explain why that's a bad idea.

Actually, that whole analysis gives Ball too much credit. All he really says in the interview is, "if I was in a room with Jahar or Osama Bin Laden with a baseball bat, I would beat them with the bat." How that would save anyone's life, I have no idea.

One more thing: Senator Ball declares he's not engaging in an academic argument, but that's exactly what he's doing. He's dealing in hypotheticals, and he's failing at it.

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