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May 03, 2004


Hmm I'm a bit more pessimistic than you. I doubt if ppl cannot remember the nasty stuff that happens in the cause of the drug war, I doubt they'll remember anything about this war.

Good post, Katherein. Relevant to it, I emphatically recommend the full essay I here abridge.

My one quibble with you is this: " I would have thought we’d rely on Egypt and Jordan to be more persuasive than us, but draw the line at Syria."

Respectfully, I think you're being naive in believing that Egypt and Jordan are better, nicer, less brutal, than Syria; this is a by-product, I suspect, of the fact that Egypt and Jordan get nicer press in the US because they are our "Friends," -- that is, their leaders take money from us and have something of a strategic alliance with our government -- while they are domestically little less brutal and oppressive, or inclined to use torture, than Syria, with whom our governments are historically hostile and whose relations remain far more hand's off. It's true that Syria is somewhat more emphatically a police state than Jordan and Egypt, but only marginally so, and both Egypt and Jordan certainly engage in torture; I know of no study saying they do it in kinder, gentler, fashion.

Torture is torture. There's not much moral difference. But the claims that we believed Syria's assurances that people wouldn't be tortured are even more laughable than similar claims about Egypt and Jordan--when it's Syria, there's less deniability. This is a country that Bush denounces without restraint, that the state department denounces without restraint, that at one point looked like it was next on the list for regime change. It's not much worse, but it looks worse, becaause the hypocrisy is so blatant--sort of like, well, torturing people in one Saddam Hussein's most notorious prisons.

But as you say, there's not much moral difference.

(And thanks for the article! I've been very busy, I'd never have found it.)

I should have said--NO moral difference.

More here.

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