Agnostic views & images I like

Thoughts about things on the web

The NY Times raises an interesting point, History’s Verdict …

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about torture by US of A institutions, the military, CIA et al. Here’s a quote from an opinion piece written by Charles Fried :

If you cannot see the difference between Hitler and Dick Cheney, between Stalin and Donald Rumsfeld, between Mao and Alberto Gonzales, there may be no point in our talking. It is not just a difference of scale, but our leaders were defending their country and people — albeit with an insufficient sense of moral restraint — against a terrifying threat by ruthless attackers with no sense of moral restraint at all.

He is a professor at Harvard Law School and is the author of “Modern Liberty”.

I for one lowly non-perfessor don’t believe that there is any moral difference between torturing one person or thousands, even millions. The moral point is that torture is torture, just like torturing and killing is morally repugnant whether one is done  or multitudes.

Oh you’re thinking, but Hitler was a “mad monster” who bloodlusted and so did Mao and especially Stalin. Well, they certainly didn’t consider one or many lives worth much if those lives stood in the way of their policies or exercise of state power.

For them the real issue was the ends and not the means. In fact, neither of them indulged in blood lust either openly or in private. Oh

Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States.
Image via Wikipedia

, they villified their political and ethnic opponents with violent words and ideas, but they did not practice vampire like rituals. So do you still agree with the good Prof Fried that it’s obvious that Cheney et all can’t and shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as Hitler et al.

If you do then I suggest that you might think about how you would have behaved had you been an officer or soldier in the Nazi Wehrmacht or a neighbor of any concentration camp or had a relative in the SS or a Gulag guard, or a member of the Red Guards, like Jan Wong, who is a Toronto resident. She is and was then a Canadian citizen and a rabid Red Guard in “Communist” China. Morally culpable all  or not?

So this law professor and I will not be talking ever. Because whatever the rationale, immoral and proscribable acts are anathema, however the number of times they are done and according to whichever rationale they are excused by.

String ’em up now!

I hear some of you saying to yourself that it’s easy for a nobody like this blogger to pass around charges of moral culpability since I never have, nor ever will, hold public office. But think about more about it. That’s not my point. The Professor never held public office either. But he considers it his right and priviledge to defend the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez and GWB from charges of culpability, even of accountability for inhumane and immoral acts carried out under their watch.

Shame on you all!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/01/11 at 06:30

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