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August 01, 2014

Obama: "We tortured some folks"

"Some folks."

This has long been Obama's position, and a position of the left generally -- that the three terrorist commanders (aka "some folks") we waterboarded were unjustly and cruelly "tortured."

It's not entirely surprising, then, that he should say this, but the offhanded flippancy of it does surprise.

Also surprising, though it should not be: The left likes to claim that they see the "nuances" and "context" of actions, whereas the right "simplifies" the facts into an easily-understood "morality play."

Nitwit British alleged comedian Russell Brand just criticized Sean Hannity for calling Hamas "terrorists." Brand argued that this is "simplistic" as it fails to take into account "the context."

The context he offers is this: Hamas is weaker, militarily, and is thus forced to do things which "we might perceive" as terrorist actions.

In other words, any group in a fight with a stronger group has the right to kidnap and murder hitchhiking teenagers, because, you know. You can do anything if you're judged to be the "weaker" party.

I wonder if, when those teenagers were being murdered by Hamas thugs, they felt as if they were the "dominant, hegemonic" power-players in that situation.

But to return to Obama: While the left claims it speaks in "nuances" and with all relevant "context" added -- that they are fact and science based (I love science) -- note how simplistically Obama puts this.

"We tortured some folks."

I don't see a lot of context there. I don't see the context that one of these three men was Khalid Sheik Mohammad, Osama bin Ladin's then number two, the man who quarterbacked the 9/11 terrorist operation that slaughtered nearly 3000 people, and the man with the contact information for terrorists who would revisit that same tragedy upon us again, if permitted to.

No mention that this process, waterboarding, has no permanent or even short-lasting effects at all, or that it is used on our own troops in order to prepare them for the treatment they will receive at the hands of enemy captors.

But no -- in Obama's formulation, "We tortured some folks."

"Context." "Nuance."

Listening to Brand and Obama, I had a realization.

People on the right often claim that people on the left are guilty of something called "moral relativism." Which, I believe, is defined as excusing/minimizing acts of cruelty, murder, and violence by looking at the "context" of those acts, and the "desperation" of the monsters perpetrating those acts, and judging that, in the scheme of things, they are either justified, or at least their culpability is mitigated -- "They had little choice." "These were the only weapons available to them."

But that's not quite right, I realized.

The left does indeed engage in moral relativism-- selectively.

For the enemies of America or Israel, or for the enemy of civilized, orderly society (say, the common street-murderer), the left does indeed engage in this analysis of moral relativism.

But what about for America itself, or Israel, or the family murdered by a "desperate" and poor lifelong criminal?

Does the left ever engage in the same moral relativistic thinking and say, of America, Israel, or a community outraged by murder, "Well, these people were scared. They felt as if they had no choice. Their anger can be excused and understood, and justified to some extent, because of the grievances they felt they had against their enemies."

No-- they do not. This moral relativism, the excusing and justifying of evil acts, is a one-way street only, only serving to apologize for people who kill Americans (or Westerners; the Israelis in this case are taken to be White Westerners).

This same "let's look at their grievances and how they felt justified" excuse is never, ever applied to America, Israel, or law-abiding folks outraged that a serious crime has occurred in their community.

In those cases, an absolutely sacrosanct and invariable ethic is applied -- and America, Israel, and law-abiding folks are found guilty of having violated it.

Obama, if he wishes to think himself "complex" and "cosmopolitan," may offer apologias for wicked acts committed by the enemies of America (or her allies) all he likes.

There is nothing, I don't think, inherently wrong about such thinking. (I believe here that many will sharply disagree with me.)

But how about extending the same "let's look at their grievances and feelings of outrage and powerlessness" excuses to our own country and own allies and own citizens once in a while too, huh?

They're not engaging in moral relativistic thinking, not really.

All they're doing is establishing a very friendly, very loose code of behavior for America's enemies, and a vindictively inviolable one to America itself.

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posted by Ace at 03:46 PM

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