Friday, May 01, 2009

A twisted Beltway Village notion of collective guilt

Michael Kinsley makes a "liberal" case for not prosecuting torture perpetrators in Where This Buck Stops Washington Post 05/01/09. His argument is - what's the closest to a polite word? - pernicious in several ways.

For one thing, it ignore the very serious legal issues at stake, including a very basic issue of the rule of law. His bottom line is that none of the people who actually broke the law in the torture program should be prosecuted for their crimes. In that, he's firmly in the near-unanimous consensus among the Beltway Villagers that under no circumstances should the torturers of the Cheney-Bush administration should be prosecuted. At this particular moment, I'm not sure that the rhetorical flourishes anyone uses to get to the let-the-torturers-go-scott-free position really matter.

Having said that, I am disturbed by the collective-guilt argument he makes. Despite the poor job he and his Village colleagues generally did on reporting the torture story during the Cheney-Bush years, and also ignoring the steadfast denials from the Cheney-Bush officials that the US government was torturing people, he assumes that American voters were essentially fully informed about the torture program from 2004 on. And because Bush was re-elected in 2004, all Americans are guilty of torture. It's an old rhetorical trick that shouldn't actually fool anyone over the age of 12: Everyone is guilty, so no one is guilty.


But he even gets very specific that he himself never really gave a s**t about the torture program. Writing about the 2004 Bush re-election, he says:

There is no way of knowing how many of those who voted against [John Kerry] were affected by the torture question. A good guess would be "not many." (Not me, for one, I'm sorry to say.) [my emphasis]
If you were from some other country and weren't familiar with the bizarre nature of our press corps, you might think that a celebrity pundit would be embarrassed to open display the fact that when it comes to public affairs, he has the moral compass of a pile of beached bones. But you would be wrong.

In any case, whatever ideological label one chooses to put on his collective guilt argument, the concept is as empty as Dick Cheney's conscience. People who commit crimes are guilty for those acts and should be held legally responsible. That's not a "liberal" or "conservative" concept. It's the basic idea of the rule of law.

Tags: , , ,

| +Save/Share | |

Links to this post:

Create a Link




FEATURED QUOTE

"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."


-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


ABOUT US

  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse

  • RECENT POSTS

  • Thinking about war crimes
  • Obama on prosecuting torturers
  • Thank you, Comrade Stalin?
  • The first 100 days
  • Specter the Democrat
  • Rotten to the Core
  • Obama and the Establishment press, Week 14
  • Is Pakistan on the brink?
  • Going after all the torturers?
  • The Altstötter war crimes case

  • ARCHIVES




    RECENT COMMENTS

    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    SEARCH THIS SITE
    Google
    www TBV

    BLUE'S NEWS





    ACT BLUE











    BLUE LINKS

    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links

    BLUE ROLL


    MISCELLANEOUS

    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory

    Blogstreet
    Haloscan


    Blogger

    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse
    image: fpsoftlab.com