[Marxism] Torture ambivalence masquerading as moral and intellectual superiority

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Thu Dec 25 08:05:08 MST 2008


 
 
 
_Glenn  Greenwald_ (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/) 

 
Wednesday Dec. 24, 2008 12:44 EST
 
clip -- 
Behold the now-solidified Smart, Reasonable American Consensus on  torture:  
the agreed-upon method for dismissing away -- mitigating and even  justifying 
-- the fact that our leaders, more or less out in the open,  instituted a 
systematic torture regime with the consent of our key elite  institutions and a 
huge bulk of the American citizenry, engaging in behaviors  which, for decades, 
we insisted were inexcusable war crimes when engaged in by  others:  
Sure, it was wrong.  OK, we "crossed some lines."  Yeah, we  probably 
shouldn't have done it, etc. etc. etc. (yawn).   But  . . . .  when American leaders 
did it, it was  different -- fundamentally different -- than when those  
evil/foreign/dictator actual-war-criminals did it.  Our  leaders had good reasons 
for doing it.  They were kind and  magnanimous torturers.  They committed war 
crimes with a pure heart.   They tortured because they were scared, because 
they felt  guilty that they failed to protect their citizens on 9/11, because 
they  were eager -- granted:  perhaps too eager -- to keep us, their loyal  
subjects, safe from The Murderous Terrorists. 
Here are Tufts University Political Science Professor Dan Drezner  and 
Stanford Philosophy Professor Joshua Cohen demonstrating how  good-hearted, 
profoundly reasonable, oh-so-intellectually sophisticated  Americans diligently 
struggle with -- torture themselves over -- what they have  convinced themselves is 
the vexing question of whether our leaders should be  considered "war 
criminals" by virtue of . . . . having committed unambiguous war  crimes: 

This is now the conventional wisdom, the settled consensus, of our political  
and media elites with regard to America's torture program.  It's  perfectly 
appropriate that Drezner cites and heaps praise on the  self-consciously 
open-minded meditation on the torture question from The  Atlantic's Ross Douthat 
because -- as I _wrote in  response to Douthat_ 
(http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/17/douthat/)  -- our political elites have now, virtually in 
unison,  convinced themselves that ambiguity and understanding with regard to 
American  war crimes are the hallmarks of both intellectual and moral 
superiority.    
This is the justifying argument the political class has latched onto -- one  
that was spawned, revealingly enough, by Bush DOJ official  Jack Goldsmith:  
sure, some of this might have been excessive  and arguably wrong, but it was 
all done for the right reasons, by people who are  good at heart.  So common is 
this self-justifying American  rationalization that it has now even infected 
the mentality of long-time Bush  critics, such as The Los Angeles Times 
Editorial Page, _which today argued_ 
(http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-rumsfeld24-2008dec24,0,4191006.story)  that prosecutions for Bush 
officials are  inappropriate, even though they clearly broke multiple laws, because 
"they did  so as part of a post- 9/11 response to terrorism."  As _this 
excellent reply_ (http://cabdrollery.blogspot.com/2008/12/bankrupt-ideas.html)  from 
Diane at Cab Drollery puts  it:  "civility and understanding is far more 
important to them than  simple justice." 
* * * * * 
full  --   
_http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/24/torture/index.html_ (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/24/torture/index.html)  




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