Principles used to defeat “If it feels good”

More Best of the Web obtuseness from James Taranto, this time regarding a story about the torture of British soldiers in Iraq in 2003. First, from the news report:

An inquest was told that Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth, 36, and Sapper Luke Allsopp, 24, thought that they were being taken to hospital for treatment, but instead they were moved to a compound run by Saddam’s military intelligence.

The harrowing ordeal lasted for hours until Iraqi agents killed the pair. The soldiers were buried in a shallow grave.

That’s a heinous crime, which I can’t imagine any civilized person would deem as anything other than the worst sort of sub-human action. Essentially, this is proof that we’re the good guys. I didn’t need more evidence, but the world is cruel. But what’s Mr. Taranto’s take? Consider:

We keep hearing that if we don’t accord Geneva Convention protections to al Qaeda detainees, our soldiers will be at risk of mistreatment. But here is how an enemy–one that, unlike al Qaeda, actually is a signatory to Geneva–treats Western soldiers. So what exactly do we gain by even meeting our obligations under the Geneva Conventions, much less exceeding them?

We keep our dignity and the moral high ground. We retain the right to become indignant at such violations, and to act on them. We hold true to our ideals. Most importantly, we remain human. That’s worth something. Everything, in fact. It’s shameful that the Wall Street Journal’s editors can’t understand that.