Monday, April 20, 2009

There is nobody here who doesn't have some blood on their hands

Pat from the site And So It Goes In Shreveport recently did a post about the Obama administration’s release of the once classified documents about interrogation methods. There was a lively debate in the comments section that I participated in. I took some of my comments, mashed them together and revised them so I could present them here.

I’m not convinced that water boarding is torture. Even though it sounds rather unpleasant I doubt that it falls within the legal definition of torture. Most people in the world would love to exist in a situation where water boarding was the worst they had to fear. I think America can hold its head up proudly in this area. Many of the European and English speaking countries that are so quick to cast blame are not so guiltless. They are saved from some external threats because Americans make hard choices. And Americans undertake actions that render them safe and free of those choices. It is easy enough for them to claim they wouldn't engage in these acts while someone else is freeing them from the attacks and threats that very well might make them more than willing to water board or do even more. Talk is cheap.
And when asked to accept Gitmo detainees all of these high and mighty bastions of morality have something better to do.
They want to act like they are pure and innocent. But you never hear them tell the US to quit protecting their countries. None of them feel any shame at giving little to joint efforts to deal with the menace they are protected from. Since they do not have their forces involved in the struggle they are spared many tough choices. But many of their citizens are not at all shy about condemning the choices made by those who bear the brunt of deaths, casualties and responsibility. They want to talk like grown up but are unwilling to act like grown ups.
There is nobody here who doesn't have some blood on their hands. Many citizens of these countries are quick to cast blame. Sometimes it seems that is all they do: find fault in anyone but themselves. They will not accept any responsibility for actions that help defend them. They will not even admit to benefiting from these actions. They are always training their moral lens on others. But it is a shallow moral lens that only finds fault in others and never in its owner. It would be more justly called an over developed ability to attack others for the cheap thrill of imagined moral superiority.

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