Thursday, June 16, 2005

Apologists for torture

A couple decades hence, I am confident that there will be universal consensus in this country that the likes of James Taranto, Jonah Goldberg and the rest of the defenders of Gitmo will be remembered for exactly what they were: apologists for torture, and betrayers of America's most cherished promises. The Fox Newses, the National Reviews, and the Wall Street Journal op-eds have substituted temerity for tolerance, cockiness for courage, and hatred for humility.

These people will occupy the same infamous niche in history that defenders of Japanese-American internment during World War II; that is, the one reserved for people who respond to national tragedy by betraying the values that made this country great in the first place. Then again, to say these wingnuts have "betrayed" these values is perhaps to give them too much credit, for it suggests that these people believed in those core American values in the first place. In fact, what the wingnut defense of Gitmo shows is that the rhetoric of "democracy" and "human rights" was never more than hollow cynicism. Smart hawks (like Belgravia Dispatch or Andrew Sullivan) realize that these defense of torture vitiate the larger moral claims with which they try to defend Bush's wars, which is why they are desperate to stop the defenses of Gitmo...

Kos has more.

1 comment:

Phil said...

One thing that really bothers me personally about this is that when the Bush wars began and he called for "moral clarity" on the issue, I spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of moral clarity I could generate in a brain that mostly sees shades of gray. I couldn't take the position that "terror" is wrong while organized armed force is right. And I could hardly take the position that only the bad guys kill innocent people. The one bit of moral clarity I could dredge up is that a liberal democratic society is clearly more just than the society that any of the fundamentalists would propose to build, were they to articulate what they wanted in constructive terms.

The joke's on me, and on all of us.