Thursday, April 16, 2009


Obama released the memos.

I have quickly skimmed the first one, available here. It is notable for the casual, detached manner with which it treats unequivocal torture techniques. (It is also notable for the obscene way in which Bybee blindered himself in order to reach the desired outcome. (You handed me carefully selected and misleading "facts;" I will accept each of them as gospel and make no effort to put them in the context the rest of the world takes for granted in order to bless what you do).

My first, naive thought was that now, at long last, the dead-enders will finally have to admit how wrong they have been. That lasted about ten seconds. I quickly remembered that the Bush crowd remains as immune to facts as they were before; these memos will change nothing. Bush was part of their "us;" he shared with the wingnuts their hatred of the same "them;" and no revelation, no matter how horrible, will change that.

My next, less naive thought was about the recent brouhaha about the Homeland Security report warning us against right-wing extremists, and how the Malkins and Boehners are asking, in their best faux outrage voices, if we mean them.

Well, Michelle, if you read these memos and continue to stand with the thuggery of the Bush Administration... then yes, we mean you. If you can look upon such unequivocoal, grotesque criminality and still defend those who enabled and perpetrated it... then yes, we mean you. If, now that the power to eavesdrop without warrant, detain without evidence, and imprison without trial is held by those with whom you disagree, you would still justify the widespread abuse of those very powers... then you should not be heard to complain if the bell tolls for thee.

Update: Sully nails it:

This is what Hannah Arendt wrote of when she talked of the banality of evil.


No mention of the torture memos appears right now on the Drudge Report (which provides news of a prank at Dominos pizza), Instapundit (which mentions the new DVD for the Lord of The Rings trilogy), Pajamas Media, or Michelle Malkin. They are reacting to the evidence of war crimes committed by the president of the United States the way they did at the time the crimes were committed.
No surprise.

Update #2: I don't always agree with Sully, but the man can write. This is just dead on, at least until he gets to this part:

But my view is also that the president has acted wisely in ... (declining prosecution). As president in wartime, he knows how wounding it would be to engage in this kind of activity right now.

The "wartime" dodge is a familiar one, especially to Sully. But even if you buy into that paradigm, ours is not a war for territory or resources. You may believe, as Victor Davis Hanson nonsensically argued, that they hate us for who we are, or you may be capable of grasping that they hate us for what we do. Here the distinction is without a difference. Both paradigms are reinforced by letting the perps walk. Both are undercut if they are punished. Indeed, our enemies bomb us in order to punish them, because they know we won't. The way to stop fueling the fires is to stop acting like beasts, and to punish our own monsters.


Blogger malcontent said...

I too had hope that this event would pierce the bubble of inanity that obscures critical thought from America's defensive actions. I endured a full hour of the Today Show only to be snapped back to ongoing dismay. Not a single breath wasted on this topic.

Mr. Hayden and the other torture defenders seem to have triggered a subliminal, self-censoring spell over the authoritarian followers by vehemently opposing this information dump. Anti-tax party will fix our problems instead, dude.

Zombie hordes seem to be gathering momentum. Love and logic be damned.

7:56 AM  
Blogger bluememe said...

What the willful blindness we see now tells me is that the Nuremberg trials were not what really seared "never again" into the German psyche, at least not alone. The pump was primed by the utter defeat that preceded them.

There will be no national (or individual) expiation absent national defeat. With Obama at the helm, few of our enemies even wish that upon us, so mark your calendars: 20 years hence, today's junior Cheneys and Yoos and Bybees and Addingtons will rise to the level at which they can repeat their teachers' crimes.

9:59 AM  

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