Thursday, 6 January 2005

Tortured Reading

Both James Joyner and Glenn Reynolds recommend this post at Belgravia Dispatch regarding the whole Gonzales-Gitmo-Abu Gharib flap. My general point of view (similar to that expressed here a couple of weeks ago by Robert) is when you’ve resorted to semantics—“stress positions” versus “torture” and the like—you’ve already lost the battle in the court of public opinion, even if legally you might be in the right.*

On Gonzales in general, I have to say that I never thought I’d favorably compare John Ashcroft to anyone else (although it could be argued he was at least an upgrade from Janet Reno), but at this point I’d rather have the Prude over the Enabler any day.

* I’d term this the Clinton Rule, after our former president’s efforts to marshall semantics to his defense when accused of lying under oath, regarding such terms as “alone,” “is,” and “sexual relations.”

1 comment:

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Chris, I’m curious:

Given that the average American is ignorant both of the law and the distinction between torture and stress positions, as well as what really happened in Abu Ghuraib (not bothering to have read the official reports, which are available on the Internet), why is it that anyone really cares about winning the “battle in the court of public opinion”?

Call me jaded, but I get so tired of the silliness.

The public is apathetic and only wants to be titillated with lurid imagery.

They don’t really want to know or find out the truth.

Yet people pander to their rather debased sensibilities as though their opinons mattered – as though we were dealing with informed opinions. I hate to sound elitist, but the average person can’t even tell you who their Congressman or woman is, much less what the 1994 Torture Convention has to say about what is, or is not, permissable.

So just why is it that I should care what Joe Six Pack thinks?

Joe Six Pack was screaming after 9.11 to be protected, and screaming again after the Patriot Act passed about Nazi stormtroopers knocking down his door. Joe Six Pack has no idea what is in the Patriot Act, hasn’t read it, and opposed it vehemently on instinct.

Which is different than principled, informed opposition, which at least I could respect.

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