February 4, 2005

repulsively slippery

From a particularly stupid New York Times editorial...

The confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general yesterday was depressing. The president deserves a great deal of leeway in choosing his own cabinet. But beyond his other failings, [WHAT other failings? Besides being Republican?] Mr. Gonzales has come to represent the administration's role in paving the way for the abuse and torture of prisoners by American soldiers and intelligence agents.
He only "represents" it because you Dems are pushing that line this week. Thousands of people are involved in making our policies on prisoners. Any of them could be said to "represent" them.
...Giving him the nation's top legal post is a terrible signal to send the rest of the world, and to American citizens concerned with human rights.
Bullshit. The NYT's relentless attempts to prederve Saddam and then to help the terrorists trying to destroy Iraqi democracy sent a terrible message to those in the world striving for freedom. Fortunately the NYT is becoming a shrill irrelevancy.

..The 60-to-36 vote for confirmation was also preceded by a depressing debate. ... But this debate had a sinister overtone as well: in a ham-handed way, the Republicans tried to portray a vote against Mr. Gonzales as an act of bigotry...
It's rank bigotry. You Dems think blacks and Hispanics should stay on your plantation and be grateful for crumbs. You always attack minority conservatives with especial venom. Think nobody's noticed?? You know, and we know you know, and hate, that Gonzalez might well be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.
It was Mr. Gonzales who asked for the original legal advice from the Justice Department on the treatment of prisoners in the "war on terror." There was no need to go through that exercise; the rules were clear...
No, they are not clear, the WOT presents novel situations unprecedented in history.
...But Mr. Gonzales gave the president the flexibility he wanted, first in the Justice Department memo outlining ways to make torture seem legal,
Rubbish. Here's what's really behind this:

...the positions Gonzales has taken on detainees go to the heart of the crucial debate over our national sovereignty. Gonzales has based his positions regarding detainees on the treaties to which the United States has consented, and ignored Protocols adopted by much of the world but rejected by the U.S. He has relied on a definition of "torture" more restrictive than the norm propounded by international advocacy organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, which effectively considers torture to be any coercive method of interrogation designed to break down the prisoner's resistance, regardless of physical or mental impact. Gonzales has, in short, upheld this country's right, as a sovereign nation, to be bound only by international rules to which we have consented. To the left, this is unforgivable...[link]

What's repulsively slippery about the arguments we get from the NYT and the left is that they define "torture" according to the fads of the international left, but never state clearly that that's what they are doing. So the reader is left to imagine people screaming in agony, while what's actually being discussed is keeping terror suspects awake for long hours or shouting at them or threatening to send them to Gitmo.

Another loathsome trick we see often is to lead people to think that the Geneva Convention is intended to protect prisoners. Which makes America's refusal to grant POW status to WOT detainees seem perverse and wrong. But the Convention is intended to protect civilians, by keep combat separate from them. POW status is a reward, a carrot offered to those armies that fight by the rules. Since the terrorists we are fighting violate the rules of war daily, to say they should enjoy POW status is to say that the rules of war should be jettisoned.

Which is exactly what the international left does say, but of course they want those rules waved only for "insurgents" and "freedom fighters." The US should be bound not only by its own laws, but by the "consensus" among those "concerned with human rights."

Posted by John Weidner at February 4, 2005 5:16 PM
Weblog by John Weidner