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December 20, 2004

Comments

But, they weren't Americans, so it doesn't count.


Well it obviously wasn't some bad apples; just one really big bad apple.

Can we ask if anyone is remotely surprised at this?

No one is surprised. The only difference is that 49% care about this sort of thing, and are shamed by it, and loathe the man and Administration who approved it; while the other 51% either don't give a damn or think it's okay for Presidents to approve the use of torture.

Hilzoy, given the definition or the meaning of the word, suggests, if one suggests, is that definitive, philosophically speaking that is. Just asking.

Wow. That was incoherent even for Timmy.

Coals to Newcastle.

Strangely, I actually understood what Timmy was asking. He just forgot a few quote marks. He's getting at the idea that, since the document merely "suggest" that Bush authorized these things, it doesn't prove it. Because President Bush, being the great man that he is, would never be involved in such a thing.

Clearly not, Phil. I hear he's removing Al Gonzales from his position as White House Counsel! That shows how strongly he feels about this issue.

Actually Phil, I'm not sure if Bush was involved or not, I do find the migration of the definition of torture to be interesting. We have a legal definition of torture which was established through the legislative process, apparently the ACLU is uncomfortable with that.

As for Catsy, well what can one say.

Actually, Timmy, the word "torture" appears only twice in the excerpts which hilzoy posted, and both appear in concerns raised by the FBI, not by the ACLU. (" . . . a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as 'torture' . . . " and " . . . an incident in which Defense Department interrogators at Guantánamo Bay impersonated FBI agents while using 'torture techniques' against a detainee . . . " )

If people in a position to know or to be involved are referring to it internally as "torture," even colloquially, I'm pretty comfortable with that assessment, even if it doesn't happen to coincide with the legislative definition.

Timmy,

Would you like a lit cigarette put in your ear or the ear of one of your family members? Not suggesting, just wondering.

We have a legal definition of torture which was established through the legislative process, apparently the ACLU is uncomfortable with that.

Hmmm...this truly bothers me. The idea that a legislatively derived definition of torture can be altered after we're attacked makes the previously standing defintion next to pointless. First of all remember, torture is not used against persons we KNOW are enemies of the US, only those suspected of being enemies, or worse, those supspected of knowing something about enemies, so it's not as if this redefinition represents an appropriate prid pro quo (i.e., you terrorized our people, therefore you're not human enough to deserve our previous defintion, so we'll redefine to fit your crime). It must be assumed that our previous definition was influenced by our belief (at least I hope we still believe this) that suspects are innocent until proven guilty. And even this is problematic, the assumption that just because our enemy is vicious, we have to become more vicious to confront them, as it gives the enemy the upper hand in setting the rules. Want to change the US values, make its people into something they're not, attack them viciously and watch how quickly their values fly out the window.

Again, this is very disturbing logic.

For all that The Usual Suspects in the GOP like to crow about the Democrats being the party of moral relativism, they're sure engaging in a whole mess of it while Bush is in office. Aren't they the ones who are always saying that if something is wrong, it's just wrong? Torture, for me, falls unequivocally into that category. You can change legal definitions and move the goalposts all you want, but at the end of the day, if you torture another human being, or authorize it, you're still just a monster that ought to be in prison for crimes against humanity.

I am surprised that there's any kind of paper trail leading to the President. That's just ... sloppy.
That guy REDACTED ought to be ___________.

"The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc"

I wonder if any of this will force Christian ministers to question their support of Bush. He did nothing to reduce the number of abortions, his vice president raised a gay daughter, and he authorized the torture of people held by his army of occupation in the ancient land of Abraham.

What would Jesus think? Probably that things haven't changed much in the land of his own torture and death.

Actually, I don't think Bush ordered torture. I think he ordered abusive policies that in practice, based on every country's experience ever, would inevitably lead to torture, and dismantled any possible procedural protections that might prevent it from happening, and ignored repeated reports from credible sources, that his policies were leading to torture, and stonewalled all the investigations, and still will not address the issue in a serious way.

Willful ignorance of the bad consequences of your actions is no moral defense, and it's often not even a legal defense.

If a lit cigarette in the ear ain't torture, WTF IS?

Jeez, Praktike, where have you been? First of all, we'd need to know whether putting cigarettes out in people's ears causes pain that's equivalent to the loss of an organ or a limb. This isn't at all clear absent careful studies with a large enough subject population to ensure statistical significance, and since alas such studies would be unethical, we'll never really know for sure. Second, we'd have to know that the soldier(s) who put out the cigarettes actually intended to cause such sever pain. Now, if they really did intend to cause pain as severe as that which attends the loss of an organ or a limb, wouldn't you think they'd just cut off a limb or remove an organ, instead of adopting so uncertain a method as putting their cigarettes out in people's ears? All things considered, the law is by no means clear, and I think that charity requires us to assume that the soldiers were just short of ashtrays and laudably unwilling to litter in someone else's country.

Katherine: Willful ignorance of the bad consequences of your actions is no moral defense, and it's often not even a legal defense.

But, to Bush supporters, it is evidently as valid a defense as you like: either that, or the people who were tortured as a result probably deserved it.

hilzoy, couldn't it be argued that it isn't clear that the cigarette actually causes the pain, or has that philosophical debate been settled? It's been a while for me.

Accoridng to Hume's heretofore unreleased "Enquiry Concerning Human Torture," indeed. And that's not even getting into the neurological and bioethical discussions of what pain really is.

Oh wait...well there wasn't an executive order. And...well hell, this seems to date back to pre-invasion...http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/10462815.htm >Get Rumsfeld

Could this be rehash of old news...now for what purpose could that be? Could the press be masterly baiting the public. They smell blood, don't they? Now that's torture.

Blogbudsman: Could this be rehash of old news...

Yeah, Blogs. So, Iraqi prisoners were tortured? That was months and months ago! A year, even! A year's a long long time, and the torture victims and their families and their friends will have forgotten all about it by now.

Why on earth should anyone judge George W. Bush, or Donald Rumsfeld, for atrocities committed as long ago as 2003. That's old news.

Good grief, Blogs, do you really imagine that people who were tortured, or people whose relatives were tortured, just forget all about it in a year or so? Or are you arguing that Americans should forget that American soldiers tortured prisoners a year or so ago, and show no interest in how it came about - because torture that happened a year or so ago is "old news"?

Surely the fact that the memo was just released, and that a DOD spokeman just denied one of the statements in it is news now.

However, if we're going to follow an old news is not news policy, I assume that I shall never again hear from any supporters of the Admin policy in Iraq that Saddam gassed the Kurds, or ordered Shiites killed and buried in mass graves, or any of that other old news.

if you torture another human being, or authorize it, you're still just a monster that ought to be in prison for crimes against humanity

Well in that case, I missed the comments on Fidel, Dear Leader, the PRC et al. I don't believe it has ever been mentioned here and they continue.

But if Bush ordered torture by cigarettes, that is a concern. I'm looking forward to a post by Katherine, Edward or hilzoy on the violations of the UN Charter by the PRC regarding the refugees from North Korea. It should be riveting if it ever appears.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the election at the end of January.

Timmy: I missed the comments on Fidel, Dear Leader, the PRC et al.

IOW the US of A is no better than Cuba/NK/PRC except for the higher standard of living. Thanks for clarifying your position Timmy.

Could this be rehash of old news...now for what purpose could that be? Could the press be masterly baiting the public. They smell blood, don't they? Now that's torture.

Isn't baiting defined as someone with the opposite viewpoint doing something to cause the other side to over-respond and look like an idiot? If that's the case, are we to assume the BBM is positing that the media (including the ACLU) are actually not on the liberal side of things, but are just doing this stuff to get liberals to react? Interesting theory.

I'd also note that it's not a question of comparing the US to Cuba or NK, it's that the appropriate people to compare Bush to are Castro and Kim Sung-Il. That's going to be a relief for us on the left.

Hi there Timmy. I don't actually have a posting password here anymore, though I could if I requested it--I spend too much time & through the ideological balance out of wack, and Edward and Hilzoy do quite nicely. Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, and the leaders of China have much worse human rights records than George W. Bush. So do Vladimir Putin, Robert Mugabe, Pervez Musharraf, Hosni Mubarak, the Saudi Royal family, Ayatollah Khameni, the Taliban, Islam Karimov, that psycho running Turkmenistan, the government of the Sudan committing genocide in Darfur...I could go on for much, much longer if you like, but just knocking around the Amnesty International website for a few hours should do the trick.

I would happily see many of those people in prison for crimes against humanity or against their own people. Certainly Castro and Kim Jong Il deserve it. I'm not sure it's such a good idea for the leaders of China.

Fortunately, none of them are running the country I was born. Fortunately, I didn't vote for any of them in November. It's funny, I don't remember even seeing them on the ballot. I voted for a guy named John Kerry. Howard Dean in the primary.

Who did you vote for, by the way? What do you think of his record on the treatment of prisoners?

I eagerly await the day when you manage to formulate a response other than a cheap shot or an attempt to change the subject.

So Katherine, you didn't like my post on the 13th and 14th Amemdment in that both clearly state who is in charge. Funny thing about the English language, it can be clear as a bell when it wants.

The retort was about war criminals and what to do about them. And as you clearly point out they've run rampant throughout your life. What do you plan to do about them?

Now you may find that that is a cheap shot, I call it reality. On the leaders of the PRC, you really ought to check not only their prison system but how they are treating refugees from North Korea, some how the UN Charter fits into the mix.

As for the current Admin, I like what I see on the Indian pennisula and the Middle East is beginning to show promise.

I vote for Bush and Christopher Schayes for a variety of reasons including an Iraqi Republic and a speech given in 1971. It is too bad you didn't nominate the junior senator from my home state, Joe might of actually won, he might of even gotten my vote.

I like what I see on the Indian pennisula

How we are viewed on the Indian subcontinent.

What's not to like?

As if the starvation of millions of people justifies or even mitigates the (entirely unrelated) torture of hundreds of other people. As if before you can ask your own president to stop torturing people, you need to figure out how to magically remove Kim Jong Il from power without him murdering all the residents of Tokyo or Seoul--a question which no one knows the answer to, and least of all President Bush. As if Castro justifies Pinochet, or Pinochet justifies Castro, or what happened at Abu Ghraib under U.S. command justifies what happened there under Saddam Hussein's, or what happened there under Saddam Hussein's justifies what happened there under U.S. command.

Timmy--forget it. You have every right to post here, but I realized a long time ago that we have nothing useful to say to each other and that I should not reply directly to your posts. I forgot myself there for a moment. I shouldn't have, and will not do so again (feel free to get the last word).

Timmy: I vote for Bush and Christopher Schayes for a variety of reasons including an Iraqi Republic and a speech given in 1971.

So, you decided to endorse torture in Iraq. And you have the nerve to ask Katherine "What do you plan to do about [war criminals]" when your decision was to vote them into office.

Well said, Katherine.

Well in that case, I missed the comments on Fidel, Dear Leader, the PRC et al. ... I'm looking forward to a post by Katherine, Edward or hilzoy on the violations of the UN Charter by the PRC regarding the refugees from North Korea.

That's who we're comparing Bush to? China? Castro? et al.? And here I thought we should compare him to Washington or Lincoln or Kennedy when it comes to Human Rights...

First Katherine you responded to my comment. I ignored what you initially had to say on the subject simply because you say the same thing over and over again, to wit you never seem to have any solutions.

What I find paradoxical in your overall position(s) is the framework of your outrage. In many ways you remind me of Henry Wallace, who thankfully was denied his place in history by FDR in 1944 and the people of the United States in 1948.

It will interesting to see how this all plays out.

Good Day and Merry Christmas

Edward, just a reminder, Lincoln had no problem with locking people (actually American Citizens) up and throwing away the key which I believe the International Red Cross refers to as torture.

When anyone ever mentions Kennedy, I always think of the Diem brothers and wonder if you, Edward, remember the story. I don't think most remember it or what Kennedy sanctioned.

It is too bad that Lincoln and Kennedy didn't have a chance at a second term.

Timmy -- I'm just going to echo everyone else. I don't, offhand, see what I personally can do to remove Kim Jong Il (or any other foreign leader) from power. If I had it in my power to do something but just decided it wasn't important, I can see how you'd find me hypocritical, but things being as they are, I don't get it. Of course I condemn him, the leadership in the Sudan, and all the other people Katherine cited. I have for years (and, for the record, condemned Hussein as well.)

Bush is different: his human rights record is not nearly as bad, but on the other hand as a citizen of the democracy he runs, I am in a position to urge my fellow citizens not to gloss over his administration's record on human rights, and to hope that if enough of us individual citizens do this, it might have an impact. Also, I take what this administration does personally, since they are acting in all of our names, and since they are the leaders of my country, which I love.

I can't see how I remind you of Henry Wallace, exactly.

Sorry hilzoy, you don't remind me of anyone at the moment. You are consistent in your overall observations.

On Kim and the rest of the gang, can you imagine if 500,000 leftists had a mass demonstration, say in San Francisco, and called for Fidel and Kim to leave office, the tremors it would start.

All those Europeans marched, along with those great puppets, against Bush and they have no say in our government.

So hilzoy, why don't you generate a ground swell and make 20% of your posts (no reason to go overboard) against tyrants who are opposed to individual liberty. How about another 20% about UN Troops actions and inactions in the Congo or what is going on India. All of it is new material, did I mention the fascist in Iran.

At the very least it would be a nice change of pace and you never know what you can accomplish if you don't try.

Timmy, I take it from the tone and direction of your comments that you have no objection at all to Bush's human rights record? You see nothing wrong with torture, in fact?

Curious.

On Kim and the rest of the gang, can you imagine if 500,000 leftists had a mass demonstration, say in San Francisco, and called for Fidel and Kim to leave office, the tremors it would start.

You think so? Perhaps you should listen to yourself:

All those Europeans marched, along with those great puppets, against Bush and they have no say in our government.

Yet somehow you think that liberals, whose protests elsewhere couldn't pressure Bush out of office, could somehow put any more pressure on a murderous dictator. Sorry, Timmy--I call BS on you. And as hilzoy's post appears to have been too subtle and nuanced for you, let me repeat that: I call BS.

This is one of the great canards of the right: people like you think it's cute or meaningful to answer criticisms of America's human rights record with a challenge to direct our energies towards one of the many random despots out there in the world. It is a false dichotomy. You are attempting to deflect criticism of your party and president by, in effect, telling us to go pay attention to the record of someone far more monstrous. If this is the best defense you can muster for the things this administration has done, you've got far bigger problems than anything hilzoy or I might say.

So, why don't we go piss on the likes of Castro for a change? I have two answers for this canard of yours.

First, we do. Many of us were, in fact, protesting US support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war. You know, the one where our current Secretary of Defense was shaking hands with him and we were supplying him with weapons and material support. You may notice something important about that: we were opposing US support for Saddam. This is important because it is a facet of US policy, and therefore something in which we, as citizens, nominally have both a voice and a sense of responsibility. Many of us also oppose the longstanding US embargo against Cuba, believing that isolation only helps solidify Castro's grip on the country, not weaken it. Again--an aspect of US policy.

Second--and this follows from the last bit above--you seem to have conveniently inflated opinion of liberal influence on dictators. The main reason why we spend more time raising awareness of the Bush administration's awful human rights record (as opposed to that of despots like Castro or Kim Jong Il) is that it's something over which we actually, nominally, have some influence.

First, we do. Many of us were, in fact, protesting US support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war.

By your own admonission you don't. You protested US support, you didn't protest Saddam. And there is a difference.

As for leverage, I make no predictions. But think of the solice you might provide to the Iranian people if you took up the mantle against the Iranian fascists.

Jes, I put my answer in a historical context, when I think of FDR and human rights record I don't focus on internment, failure to bomb the Nazi concentration camps (or stopping the Nazis early on) or giving (letting Stalin take without a word) away Eastern Europe. Rather, I focus on Japan, Western Europe and his vission for the UN construct.

Thus with Bush I focus on the promise of an Iraqi Republic, India-Pakistan realtions and the leverage it brings. Armed conflict is always a messy business.

By your own admonission you don't. You protested US support, you didn't protest Saddam. And there is a difference.

Yes, there is. It's nice of you to notice, since I pointed it out in both paragraphs. It's that important difference that you keep glossing over in order to score a cheap and ultimately meaningless point.

The difference is that my protests have zero ability to affect Kim Jong Il, or Castro, or the Easter Bunny. I do not have their ear or any power to affect them directly, aside from providing them with a moment of amusement if my protest makes it on CNN. I do, however, have the ability to affect the foreign policies of the United States of America: I vote, and the President and my Congressmen work for me and a hundred million other citizens like me.

That's why, during the 1980s, many liberals stood up and said: "Hey, this Saddam guy, the one Reagan thinks is a useful surrogate against the Iranians? You know he's using chemical weapons, right? And doing horrible things to his own people? We might want to rethink actually supporting him."

Your suggestion--that we ought to spend our time protesting dictators who don't answer to us, instead of protesting the president's policies--is a transparent attempt to deflect criticism of an administration whose record you simply can't defend.

Timmy: Thus with Bush I focus on the promise of an Iraqi Republic

...while refusing to look at how the Bush administration's policy of torturing Iraqi prisoners makes it impossible for their occupation of Iraq to deliver an Iraqi Republic.

Timmy,

All applause to your command of history (sincerely) aside, you realize, somewhere in there, surely that a democracy functions best when there's dissent and that me and my kind are serving a necessary function by challenging the war and its supporters each and every step of the way, marching in the streets, exposing the hypocrisies, ranting about the abuses...in other words, keeping the hawks honest. Because, regardless of how well-intentioned you believe BushCo to be, you know yourself that, left unchecked, the administration would grow increasingly corrupt. I look forward to the day that we celebrate the role of the dissenters in all this as much as we pat ourselves on the back for bombing other nations into submission.

All applause to your command of history (sincerely) aside

Really? I was under the impression that FDR died before the war ended and so crediting him with the reconstruction of Germany and Japan is a bit much. But Timmy is right, he did plan for it. I wish someone in the Bush camp would have taken that lesson to heart.

I'm curious. What fraction of the American people really understand that we're (apparently) making extensive use of torture in our war on terror? This has been batted around in the news a bit, but if you only get your news from TV, I think you might reasonably think these are isolated incidents and allegations of wrongdoing. (Politicians understand rational ignorance in voting, and exploit it.)

The other (ugly) side of the public reaction, though, is that if you're not Muslim and neither are any of your friends and family, the thought that some Muslims will be detained, tortured, extradited to Syria, and murdered there by the secret police, is not all that personally threatening. And if you're scared enough about terrorists killing you, you might be willing to put up with that. As I said in a previous post, this *does* give you a real insight into some unpleasant bits of history, though not a comfortable one....

--John

Timmy,

I didn't vote for Bush, but then I didn't vote for Castro, Kim Jung Il, Pinochet, the Shah, the Ayatolah and Mullahs, or Saddam, either. I just don't vote for people who use torture.

--John

I just don't vote for people who use torture.

Now THAT should be on a plaque in every courtroom in the country.

Timmy, I haven't seen a single post by you in Hebrew. Why do you hate Jews? You remind me of people who hate Jews.

You. Are. Being. Silly. Blogs are about what they are about, and they have no obligation the be "All the views fit to print." Your line of attack, in as much as it is coherent, is unfair and invalid.

John, very good of course but niether did I.

Carpe, I will have to tell my nieces and nephews how much I hate them. Maybe they will write some in Hebrew or Arabic for you.

Actually, my line is coherent, fair and valid. The line simply reflects the left tolerance for violence against their fellow man if the violator in nonaligned with this country (Walter Duranty and the Ukraine comes to mind). The left has been following this path before I was born, nothing wrong with calling them on it once in a while.

The difference is that my protests have zero ability to affect Kim Jong Il, or Castro, just one question how do you know?

Jes, on the Iraqi Republic just wait and see, mixing projecting with analysis is always flawed.

Eddie, I always take things in historical context. I know of no other metric, never have. In that context during times of Armed Conflict, presidential powers grow exponentially (as they should) todate all those powers wound down when the conflict was over, just look it up.

Finally, liberal on FDR, FDR worked very hard to get us in the war, he finally generated a scenario where the Empire of Japan had to attack us. Without FDR's manipulations in 1941 the world would look very different. So I still give credit to FDR for manipulating this country into war (and the net result), as President he had no other choice. BTW, the planning in Asia and Europe weren't perfect, see Eastern Europe and the Korean War, notwithstanding FDR did a sound job.

Jes, on the Iraqi Republic just wait and see, mixing projecting with analysis is always flawed.

"Wait and see"? Bush has had since April 2003 to prove that he's serious about establishing an Iraqi Republic. Thus far, everything the Bush administration has done in and to Iraq has moved the possibility of an Iraqi Republic established by the US occupation further away. "Wait and see" is a valid piece of advice when someone is moving towards a goal - however slowly. It's not when someone is moving away from the stated goal. Widespread torture of Iraqi prisoners, torture that was endorsed by the Bush administration, was the single action that made it impossible for the Bush administration to establish an Iraqi Republic. But there were many other actions that would have made it impossibly difficult for the Bush administration.

As you would know, if you were honest with yourself about the historical parallels.

And by the way, Timmy, I think you'll find that here using terms such as "the left" in such a sweeping fashion is strongly recommended against by the Posting Rules.

Lastly, just a reminder that Left and Right have very broad definitions and that people are going to take it personally if you inform them that of course all Xs eat babies, should they themselves be Xs (or Ys trying to keep things cool).

Jes, how long did it take for America's Republic to be formed? When you answer that question, you have my answer, along with this Iraq Republic will be established by Iraqis and not Americans, but American sweat and blood will play a material role.

Ah posting rules, the last retort when you have no other. But the "left" has place in history, some good some bad, but on this particular subject it would be bad IMO. Given the general response on this post and others, I believe I was spot on. But if some posters here have protested against Castro, the Iranian fascists and their ilk, my apologies.

Jes, I'm of the opinion you sleep in the bed you make. As I previously pointed out, your (plural) outrage is always one sided but maybe I've missed a comment or post here or there, maybe you could point it out. I wait with expectation of your expressed outrage say at the public executions occurring in Iran, that wouldn't be a bad place to start or the PRC's failure to meet their obligations under the UN Charter to North Korean refugees. The list is endless and the silence has been...

Timmy, as you have repeatedly and willfully ignored it when we've pointed out that 1) we protest US policies because they're something over which we have influence, influence we lack where dictators are concerned, and 2) that telling us not to criticize the US if we're not going to criticise dictators is not only a false dichotomy but a deflection, I don't see that there's any value left in engaging you on this issue. Seems to me that you're not reading our responses for anything other than keywords that you can pick out and respond to to make it look like you're actually contributing to a dialogue, when all you're really doing is trolling.

Eddie, I always take things in historical context. I know of no other metric, never have. In that context during times of Armed Conflict, presidential powers grow exponentially (as they should) todate all those powers wound down when the conflict was over, just look it up.

Timmy To date, we've never fought a "war" as ill-defined or open ended as this one, so history's no comfort here. When the courts in the US and UK are telling the leaders their exponentially grown powers are unconstitutional, it's a bit hard to argue that the grew "as they should," no?

Happy Holidays, by the way Timmy.

e

And by the way, Timmy, I think you'll find that here using terms such as "the left" in such a sweeping fashion is strongly recommended against by the Posting Rules.

Using this gauge, I can find more than a few posting rules violations by you, in this very thread. I suggest you either rethink this, or work on removing some of your own sweeping generalizations from discussion, or both.

Timmy: Jes, how long did it take for America's Republic to be formed?

That's a ridiculous analogy. How long do you suppose it would have taken America's Republic to be formed if Washington's army had lost the War of the Revolution?

However, running with your analogy, and counting from the first permanent British colony in North America, it took approximately 170-180 years of colonial rule, ended by an insurgency. So your argument is that Iraq becomes a Republic in the 22nd century following a successful revolution against US colonial government - just "wait and see"? That's your measure of Bush's success, that a couple of hundred years down the line Iraq will have a successful War of the Revolution?

Timmy: As I previously pointed out, your (plural) outrage is always one sideAs I previously pointed out, your (plural) outrage is always one sided

Dealing with your point about "one-sided outrage" - when I'm writing on an American blog, to (mostly) Americans, where exactly should I direct my outrage? Sure, we could all sit here and have a massive hatefest about how awful it is that in some countries a woman can be executed for being raped. What exactly would that accomplish, in your view? We'd all be in agreement.

No: I talk about American atrocities on an American blog precisely because I know that not everyone here agrees with me. I don't see any use in bringing up atrocities that the right (since Slarti has okay'd that usage) will agree are dreadful because they were carried out by non-Americans, and the left will agree are dreadful because they are dreadful.

A blog is for discussion. At least, so I think. If we were only to say things that we all agree on, it would be a very, very dull blog.

But that's not really what you're after, is it? It's a standard rhetorical trick among the right (again, I wouldn't use this term if Slarti hadn't previously okay'd it) when someone on the left brings up a horrendous atrocity committed by Americans, or by Brits: instead of dealing with the atrocity committed by your own people, you veer the subject off, bring up an atrocity that we can all agree is dreadful, and say "If you think that's so dreadful, why don't you want to talk about it?" and attempt to change the thread from a discussion on Bush and the Bush administration endorsing torture, to a discussion on the violent enforcement of sexual morality in some Islamic countries. If people resist this threadjack and try to keep talking about the Bush administration's endorsement of torture, you attempt to claim that this is in effect proof that "the left" doesn't care about atrocities, they only care about making the Bush administration look bad.

I don't suppose that outlining how your favorite rhetorical trick works will stop you from trying it again: but public analysis of how rhetoric works is always worthwhile.

It's obvious now what your trick is, Jes.

"No: I talk about American atrocities on an American blog precisely because I know that not everyone here agrees with me."

Now we better understand what your real intentions are by posting here. I guess it's only natural for those less fortunate to try and bring down the more fortunate. However, in this instance jealousy is not a productive emotion.

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