Our atrocities are less worse than their atrocities, Part II:
OK, one last post on this entire issue and, hopefully, I'm through. A few readers have emailed me and now there's a post
linked to my modified rant from yesterday. So I'll explain what fascinates me about this whole Newsweek/torture debate. Here goes.
First let's establish that, yes, there had been a relative silence/dowplaying of the torture issue by some 'war hawks,' as self-described war hawk Jeff Jacoby noted in January.
Second, the recent Newsweek fiasco understandably unleashed another bout of media bashing. Newsweek got the story wrong -- or at least had to admit it didn't get it right. Whatever. But, third, the fiasco also had an unintended consequence: It ironically shed light back on those who have engaged in the relative silence/downplaying of the torture scandal. Only now do we see an emerging pack consensus argument – and that's what it's gelled into -- among war hawks who, unlike Jeff Jacoby and others, previously had been relatively silent on the issue. I won't get into their new arguments because, frankly, they don't make much sense and are all over the map, from whether the issue is about inaccurate or accurate media reporting, whether or not any reporting of torture should be mentioned at all if it hurts the war effort, whether our atrocities are worse than theirs (and, yes, that argument has been raised as a defense), whether whatever blah, blah, blah.
This might all sound like intellectual navel gazing. And I'll plead guilty: It is intellectual navel gazing. But it ties back to my own personal fascination with how arguments are formed, denied, pushed, held, discarded. The past week has been a gold mine for those interested in such matters. I'm not the only one who's fascinated with this issue. David Brooks has often brooded over how people are so tribal in their beliefs and partisanship.
But enough. Where do we stand? Or where do I
stand? 1.) The tortures and murders that handed our enemies such a great propaganda bonanza have been stopped or dramatically curtailed. One can largely credit the 'hand wringing' for this. 2.) Time to move on. Even good causes can be marred by moral lapses, such as Dresden or the internment of Japanese Americans, as I've noted before. 3.) Some members of the media had better get it through their thick skulls that there's a war going on and that their reporting has dire consequences. 4.) This has not been a good week for the pro-war blogosphere, which started out on the anti-media warpath and ended up on the defensive. 5.) Please don't accuse me of being a leftie who's trying to undermine the war. I really have no time for the Michael Morons of the world. Just trying to help, while engaging in some eccentric intellectual navel gazing.Update
- 5.22 -- The war-hawk blogosphere sure seems to be approaching grassy knoll territory.