Keeping the Moral Upper Hand?
My special Blog buddy, Ed Abbey, oft implies in his comments that my posts are overly long, and the fact that he also labels a “rant” my last entry on “detainees and interrogation of captured terrorists” only shows that he strongly disagrees with me on that subject. So be it, and so, let the “games” begin…Let’s respond to Ed, one or two points at a time…
And McCain certainly HAS lost it. He's on the "edge" all the time. I respect him, but he's been damaged, warped by his time as a POW. His heart is in the right place, but he can't do the job as CINC. He's proven it to me once again by insisting that we NOT use tough interrogation techniques against captured enemies. If I voted for someone like him, I'd feel like I was dooming my own family. It would be like voting for Lenin, John Lenin that is. (“All we are saying… is GIVE peace a chance!”)
Ed Abbey: This isn't an issue of war, this isn't an issue of security, this IS an issue of keeping the moral upper hand.
Phil: As I read further your own "John Leninesque" commentary, I hope you're not implying that I am not a moral person, or that our people who conduct coercive questioning are immoral. What they have to do is tough enough without Americans "judging" them as they try to do their job the way they KNOW that it MUST be done. There are few things more subjective than issues of morality....As I mentioned earlier, just taking the act of defending ourselves calls our morality into question by many. I know YOU believe in self defense, and there are people who would condemn YOU for that. When it comes to moral high ground, how "high" do you take it? Shall we follow the Holy Father in
If you've ever been around it, you would know that the very act of participating in a war means forcing a whole lot of people into an ethical compromise. The violence we are asked to participate in during any war pushes the Christian ethics envelope. We are taught that the taking of life is wrong, yet that is EXACTLY what we do in war, and worse. War is dehumanizing, yet most American troops manage to keep a semblance of theirs, much more so than our jihadist enemies even attempt to do.
Do you really believe as McCain does, that we should NOT try to interrogate captured jihadists and terrorists, or is it just “water boarding” you’re against? He wants to afford these non-uniformed combatants, not even covered by the Convention, with full rights under it. That means NO interrogation. You and He are asking our people to commit battlefield suicide. You are asking us to commit national hari-kari.
Phil: Your comments remind me that most citizens don't have the stomach to do what's necessary, like using tough questioning techniques on captured enemies, and that's why so few even volunteer for the job. The fact that such a miniscule percentage of citizens have served in the armed forces explains why, as you say, “The majority” of Americans seem to support the McCain position. You know as well as I do that American public opinion is fickle and knee-jerk; watch it change again once the jihadists find a way to repeat another 9/11 style attack. And consider this: By the spring of 1863, MOST citizens of the northern states were AGAINST the way
Ed Abbey: If I boil down your long post, it seems that your biggest argument is, "well they do it so we should too." I'm sure your mom taught you long ago that this is not an acceptable argument.
Ed, you silly man, you "boiled" it down all wrong. Of course I didn't say that we should do it because THEY will do it. (And leave my mother out of this! Chuckle.) I said that ALL armies interrogate captured prisoners. Our enemies always have and so have we. It is silly NOT to. It's something that MUST be done in war. Its not rocket science. If you can't fathom WHY it must be done, then it’s because it’s an experience you've never had or been close to. That's understandable. You’re a civilian, so I wouldn’t expect you to get it, but I’m very puzzled why Powell, Warner, and McCain are taking this unreasonable stance. They come off as ridiculous to many of us who have served.
Ed Abbey: When we lose our morals especially when fighting wars, I think we are no better than those that we are fighting against. We lost all our moral superiority with Abu Gahraib and we will never get it back in this war.
Your comments incorporating Abu Gahraib into your premise against interrogation are outrageous. When you lump those convicted monsters in with our professional interrogators you make me angrier than you can know. Those people were prison guards run amok. They weren't conducting interrogations; they were indulging in sexual sadomasochism. They will be in prison for a long time for it. And to say we have lost our moral compass based on that anomaly is way off base. You are much too smart to indulge in the silly moral equivalency exercise that so many American bashers love to indulge in. (You aren’t an American Basher are you Ed?) The last two American troops captured by Iraqi insurgents were found days later hacked to pieces. It had been done slowly over many hours. They suffered greatly. So, WE have lost the moral high ground? I can assure you that not one insurgent we captured after that incident was treated much differently than we've always treated them. We don't murder prisoners and we don't do permanent harm to them, or any harm to them for that matter. We PROVE our moral superiority EVERY single day over there. The problem is that few
Phil:A “jury of their peers?” Did you really say that? I don’t even have a comment for that. And