The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

TORTURE AND AMERICANS: In the current New York Observer Richard Brookhiser has an excellent article about torture and the Abu Ghraib scandal. I liked this bit:

"The third reason not to approve torture, often cited in this case, is that it makes us look bad. But I wonder if that is a good reason? How much of the shock here and in Europe is true dismay, how much anti-war preening? Is the Arab world shocked, or resigned to business as usual? Which would be worse? Let us not probe the world of reactions, so falsely bright, so murky in fact. Do the right thing, and let the global audience draw what conclusions it will."

Which strikes me as exactly right. We do not do these sort of things because of who we are as a people. The idiots who did these things will not be punished because they made the American military and the United States look bad in the Arab street: the Arab street hates our guts enough already without any prompting from these idiots. They are going to be punished because what they did was wrong, a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. Whether or not the Arabs approve is not germane. Their governments torture them on a regular basis; Saddam held Iraq together by the threat of death and torture; but why Arabs choose to treat other Arabs like so many sheep to be beaten and butchered is not the subject. The subject is this: Americans and agents of the American government do not torture people. Brookhiser says the same thing in much better prose than I can muster so go and read the whole thing.


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