Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Torture and Moral Equivalency

Perhaps the most common movie and TV clichés is the following situation: the protagonists are being set upon by the forces of evil, one of them thinks of a brilliant but slightly morally uncertain plan to defeat the villains, the leader of the good guys vetoes it while pointing out that the immorality of the plan would make them no different than those they are fighting against. Then the heroes find another plan that works just as well. This highlights the virtue of the heroes while making the villains seem all the worse.

Liberals believe that we face much the same situation today. The United States captures dozens of prisoners in the fight against Al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. Many of them are then rushed to clandestine prisons across the world (Guantanamo Bay is the most notorious), held for months, sometimes years, without trial, and occasionally tortured. (At least if you count waterboarding as torture. And the U.S. has used waterboarding only rarely, and then only on high-profile prisoners). So is the U.S. morally equivalent to its enemies—does the only difference between us and those we fight lie in degree, but not in kind?

No. Even assuming the worst about America—which you can always count on liberals to do—the United States is undoubtedly morally superior to its enemies.

The adversaries we face are evil—wholly, irrationally evil. Radical Islam has been a dangerous threat for decades. After the creation of the state of Israel, the Muslim countries surrounding it wasted little time in attempting to annihilate it, even though Israel was controlled by Great Britain (not by an Islamic country) before becoming a sovereign country and has few natural resources. Then came the overthrow of the Shah in Iran, and the horrible Iran-Iraq War, which pitted the Soviet-backed Iranians against Saddam Hussein’s vicious armies in a war that truly had no good guys.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Islamic terrorists ratcheted up their attacks against the United States. They attacked the World Trade Center with a car bomb, struck U.S. embassies in Africa, attacked American peacekeeping Marines in Somalia, and attempted to sink the U.S.S. Cole.

Finally, Islamic terrorists pulled off the disastrous 9/11 attacks, killing nearly 3,000 people and destroying two the tallest buildings in the world. The sheer damage and unrest caused by Islamic jihadists over the last twenty years is unmatched by any other group in the world during that time. (And I have only mentioned the attacks on Americans; Islamic radicals have killed many more people from other countries).

Making this situation perplexing is the fact that the Islamic world really doesn’t have a legitimate quarrel with us. Okay, they don’t like our support of Israel, but that is a wholly inadequate reason to launch a war. Apart from the U.S.-Israel alliance, the Muslim world has nothing to complain about—during the Cold War, America gave a great deal of aid to the Afghan mujahideen in their fight against their Soviet opponents. In the Gulf War, the U.S. came to the aid of tiny Islamic Kuwait against Saddam Hussein. During the Nineties, America went to war in Kosovo in part to aid Albanian Muslims. The U.S. has treated Muslims well, and they have nothing to complain about. Hitler was more justified in invading Poland than Osama bin Laden was in attacking the U.S. on 9/11.

So, to sum things up: radical Islam slaughters thousands of innocents for absolutely no reason. It kills indiscriminately and without mercy. In addition, it is to blame for a great deal of suffering around the world, and is guilty of untold numbers of human rights abuses. It opposes women’s rights, freedom of religion, and any form of dissent.

On the other hand, the United States waterboards terrorists sometimes.

The two sides are not morally equivalent. America makes mistakes and commits injustices. But its role as a force for good so much outweighs its moral weaknesses that any attempt to suggest that radical Islam and America have anything in common is simply a disgraceful slander. Instead of worrying about possible American torture, perhaps liberals should focus on the numerous crimes committed by radical Islam.


At July 30, 2008 at 6:30 AM , Blogger Beth said...

You do know that your McCain is against all sorts of torture such as waterboarding based on the crazy notion if we don't do it to them they won't so it to us.

At July 30, 2008 at 7:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a JOKE, even Mccains own party won't support him. His OWN party fears the fact that he don’t support torture and waterboarding! Surprise, Surprise. And sill me thought that the Big hearted Conservatives were against torture and waterboarding. When did they change their minds? Don’t tell me, I’ll guess. It was when John Mccain became their candidate.
I always heard that the Conservatives were for torture and waterboarding. When John McCain started talking about being against torture specifically, about waterboarding the Conservatives changed their minds, now they are for it again.
I personally don’ have any problem pouring water on the face of a man who killed 3000 Americans on 9/11,”
I have the perfect platform for the Republican party in 2008.
Condone torture;
Hate immigrants, especially brown ones;
Hate Liberals;
Hate Gays;
Against Worker’s Unions;
Against Free(Liberal) Press;
Pro War;
Pro Corporate agenda.
If all these conservative hypocrite idiots say we have to do these horrible things to people, and insist they are safe should have to go to torture camp for the summer and try it out for size. after 3 weeks of water-boarding and being put in the naked pile I think that all the Republicans would agree, that it’s not torture, it’s just a successful Saturday night!
I think there’s a big difference between being a conservative and being a democrat or even a republican or a conformist. A conservative would want to stick to what was done in their past. Seems people calling themselves conservative use it to hide their inability or desire to think. And would rather go along (with what the administration says) to get along.
Conservative are the elite, modern day hypocrites versions of biblical pharisee’s, they cry at the death of a unborn fetus, get excited at a criminals execution, or torture of a enemy, give too the richest 2% of American society who need it the least, but decry a welfare mom/dad getting a meager poverty level welfare check as scum, lazy, shiftless, dregs of society, but claim they are morally righteous in forcing them off this poverty level welfare, onto the minimum wage free market job situation, without acknowledging that the minimum wage is even less than the welfare, since it does not pay for their child care, which makes it worth even less……, but they decry anyone’s attempt too raise the minimum wage too a true living wage, since it cuts too deeply into their corporate profits or dividends investments……, hypocrisy of today’s compassionate, self professing Christians elite, conservative, would do as in Jesus’’s time, try too trick Jesus with the law of the land, gods law for eye for a eye, death penalty advocacy, war mongering patriotism god and country right or wrong……, torture is mere small matter, end justifies the means.., but like the biblical pharisees who tried too trick Jesus with the adulteress whom by gods law and the law of the time was due one penalty and one penalty alone, death by stoning……., I watched the conservative candidate Huckabee dodge the question the other day when asked what would Jesus do on the death penalty issue, he instead of answering the question, made a joke which got huge laughs from the hypocrite crowd he pandered too, Jesus was too smart too run for office, but it would have been a good response had not Huckabee as governor executed many with death penalty, which he fervently believes in, and claims too be a expert in theology, a practicing minister of god, but he knows what Jesus would do on the issue, same as with the adulteress, let he that hath no sin cast the first stone, no one has too wonder what Jesus would do, its clearly stated in bible, but the hypocrites who call themselves compassionate conservative republicans do not pay attention too what Jesus would do, since they are as best I can figure the perfect example of the blind biblical goats whom Jesus will not know on judgment day, for they ignored the poor, hungry, naked those sick and in prison, and the real awe and shock is those like Huckabee and his ilk, will not admit or acknowledge their ignoring of Jesus till it is too late, what have they gained by gaining all the material world, power and wealth, in so doing lost their immortal souls.
The meanies and hypocrites are always the republicans and especially the conservatives

At July 30, 2008 at 7:17 AM , Anonymous napquees said...

I don't understand those people who have a laundry list of "conservative beliefs." I'm sorry, I just don’t get it. . ..I can’t understand those people that have a picture of that skanky Hypocrite Anne Coulter in their bedroom or tattoo of Rush Limbaugh on thier arm or avobe the crack in their ass.. (Actually, Limbaugh's funny, unlike Coulter). Are you all sheep?
You are all welcome you to visit my blog at
and read how I “Really” feel about this subject.

At July 30, 2008 at 7:35 AM , Blogger Beth said...

If people just read what you wrote here napqueen, they have all they need to know about how you think. You hate conservatives, and you assume all conservatives are evil and that we blindly support any Republican. All of which is untrue. What we believe in is simple, the individual is capable of their own destiny, I have faith in you napqueen moreso than you have faith in yourself. If you think Obama is the amswer, then you think its the government's job to cure all the ails of the world, I think you and I can cure it, if left to our own God given talents. I don't like McCain for the same reason, he also thinks the government should be doing all sorts of things they shouldn't, which is why is not a conservative.

If nothing else, I hope I can help you see that Republican does not equal conservative, then we can really get the discussion going.

At July 30, 2008 at 7:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Why would I want to write as anonymous persons? As you have seen, I am far from shy about posting what I feel like saying as myself. I have been posting on blogs for years and I have a pretty large following. It's my blog, and I'll write what I want to. So apparently I can write about whatever I please, as I have in the past

I don’t need to do anything like that to back up my position.
2. I don’t know enough about the Jewish plight or the Mideast situation to be as expert as the other bloggers seem to be.
I don’t know if you know it or not, but when a blog is written the title usually can be found on Google, there is where others see it and contribute to it with their comments.
But in any case they were not my doing.
As for YOUR blog, it don’t recall EVER commenting on it. I’m not really interested in Cocoon’s or Butterfly’s

At July 30, 2008 at 8:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I must admit that I really don’t like the traditional conservative ideology is that a woman’s place is in the home, tending to the needs of husband and children; hence barefoot, though probably more metaphorically than literally, except in rural Arkansas circa 1963.
You might say that conservatives no longer believe that a women’s place is in the home. And that times have changes, well, I don’t agree.
Did you ever see that Robert Redford picture, “Barefoot in the park”
Act1 scene 1:
Angry conservative exists elevator and enters apartment, looks around and doesn’t see baby factory. Begins to scowl and appear visibly angry.
Redford: Honey I’’m home…….(screams next part) Where’s Dinner?
I have read the Conservatives point out all of the things that disqualify Senator Obama, including his middle name. He's a communist, or at least a socialist; he wants to murder babies; he wants to raise taxes; he hates men and women in the armed forces; he is a traitor; he hates America; his wife is evil; he's an "idiot"; we disagree on each and every one but at least you are able to articulate what is wrong with the Illinois senator. And all the rest of the BS..

But, and here's the big difference between us, you are incapable of stating anything that you like about the GOP candidate. And yes the conservative candidate. It's all about Senator Obama's negatives. What has Senator McCain done that qualifies him to be president? The last GOP candidate for whom Republicans could say something positive was President Bust, the elder.
You say that McCain is not a conservative and that republicans don’t = conservative. Well I tend to agree more with the republicans than i do with the conservatives I believe that the conservatives are very hard headed and VERY OLD fashioned in their beliefs and ideas. As I said, in my site -- But one or two of your followers may be willing to at least listen to my point of view.

At July 30, 2008 at 9:28 AM , Anonymous suzanne pomeranz said...

Daniel, you said that "Hitler was more justified in invading Poland than Osama bin Laden was in attacking the U.S. on 9/11"

Not hardly Daniel, let us say that neither was justified.
But please do not by any means justify Hittler.
How did Hitler justify killing the Jews! They were never a problem to Germany!

At July 30, 2008 at 11:39 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Napqueen, if you are basing your whole notion of what it means to be a conservative on a Robert Redford movie, then I must say you are really not paying attention to reality. Conservatism isn't about a woman being barefoot and pregnant. It's about individualism, personal responsibility, and thinking we should simply follow the United States Constitution. We like freedom and liberty, and we think its worth fighting for.

I will repeat, Napqueen, if I mistakenly accused you of posting anonymously, I apologize.

At July 30, 2008 at 12:10 PM , Blogger Beth said...

I have read the Conservatives point out all of the things that disqualify Senator Obama

Again I implore of you not to say that Republican = conservative. Maybe Republicans say those things you list as being reasons not to vote for Obama. A conservative's reasons are that he says things and votes for things that do not go along with the Constitution, such as expanding government and interfering in federalism. The same reasons conservatives don't like Bush and don't like McCain. Many Republicans think its okay if the government grows as long as they are in charge, I say it doesn't matter, we need to stop the madness.

And while we're being non-partisan, it's things like the Republican senator from Alaska who used his position to get free stuff, that sickens conservatives! We know its not about having power in the hands of few, but rather in the hands of we the people, as was designed by our founding fathers. So let's limit government, stop letting them take more power, and as I said stop the madness!

At July 30, 2008 at 1:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, Beth, Beth, you said; Napqueen, if you are basing your whole notion of what it means to be a conservative on a Robert Redford movie, then I must say you are really not paying attention to reality.

Don’t you think that I know that? I put that in as a joke, come on now give me a little more credit than that.

On a side note: To the cowardly Anonymous Conservative that left that anonymous comment on my blog, I have answered you in kind.

At July 30, 2008 at 1:13 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Well that comment would not have been made by me since I have no desire to visit your blog anymore. When you started your blog, I was looking forward to going there and trying to have some debate with you, but I quickly learned that you are unable to debate so I stopped going.

At July 30, 2008 at 1:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth said...
Well that comment would not have been made by me since I have no desire to visit your blog anymore. When you started your blog, I was looking forward to going there and trying to have some debate with you, but I quickly learned that you are unable to debate so I stopped going.

Who cares what people write on my blog, I don't. But have the guts to sign your name. I have nothing but contempt for these gutless cowardly people.

At July 30, 2008 at 1:54 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Who cares what people write on my blog, I don't. But have the guts to sign your name. I have nothing but contempt for these gutless cowardly people.

Well then, see, we can agree on something, napqueen.

At July 30, 2008 at 2:06 PM , Blogger Beth said...

Furthermore, I bet if we actually had dialogue, we'd find out we agree on other things. And the link you gave the other day about how conservative and liberal people think in different ways was great, because I think therein lies a lot of our disagreements. We all want the same thing, we just have different ways to get there.

Of course, the conservative way is just the right way.


At July 30, 2008 at 2:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel Ruwe, I'm sorry if I messed up your blog with all this bickering, I can assure you that I never intended this to go as far as it has.
Please forgive me and thank you for your courtesy in letting me express my side. I think I have said all that I need to and I won’t be bothering you and your blog any further.

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