The need to think beyond rhetoric 1

Thomas Sowell writes today in Townhall on  ‘the fatuous, and even childish, controversy about “torturing” captured terrorists’:

People’s actions often make far more sense than their words. Most of the people who are talking lofty talk about how we mustn’t descend to the level of our enemies would themselves behave very differently if presented with a comparable situation, instead of being presented with an opportunity to be morally one up with rhetoric.

What if it was your mother or your child who was tied up somewhere beside a ticking time bomb and you had captured a terrorist who knew where that was? Face it: What you would do to that terrorist to make him talk would make water-boarding look like a picnic.

You wouldn’t care what the New York Times would say or what “world opinion” in the U.N. would say. You would save your loved one’s life and tell those other people what they could do.

But if the United States behaves that way it is called “arrogance”– even by American citizens. Indeed, even by the American president…

For a man whose whole life has been based on style rather than substance, on rhetoric rather than reality, perhaps nothing better could have been expected. But that the media and the public would have become so mesmerized by the Obama cult that they could not see through this to think of their own survival, or that of this nation, is truly a chilling thought…

When historians of the future look back on our era, what will they think of our time? Our media too squeamish to call murderous and sadistic terrorists anything worse than “militants” or “insurgents”? Our president going abroad to denigrate the country that elected him, pandering to feckless allies and outright enemies, and literally bowing to a foreign tyrant ruling a country from which most of the 9/11 terrorists came?…

The left has long confused physical parallels with moral parallels. But when a criminal shoots at a policeman and the policeman shoots back, physical equivalence is not moral equivalence. And what American intelligence agents have done to captured terrorists is not even physical equivalence.

If we have reached the point where we cannot be bothered to think beyond rhetoric or to make moral distinctions, then we have reached the point where our own survival in an increasingly dangerous world of nuclear proliferation can no longer be taken for granted.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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  • roger in florida

    The arguments about “torture” recently made by the administration and their supporters are examples of shallow thinking. Clearly the welfare of the one, or the few does not override the welfare of the many. When you are confonted by an enemy determined to destroy and subjugate your society, if you have any belief in that society it is encumbent upon you to defend that society to the fullest extent of your capabilities, and that includes giving up your life. Defending your society also means having the moral courage to do “evil” in the service of good. General Curtis LeMay ordered the firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities in the full knowledge that his orders would result in the deaths and horrible maimings of hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of otherwise innocent Japanese civilians. But he had the courage to realise that the smell of burning women and children that wafted over Japanese cities for days after these raids, was, in fact, just the smell of victory. To take such a stand requires courage, to deny your responsibility, as a member of our society, to defend that society is just plain cowardice. To spout the nonsense that “torture” does not work is to ignore the facts, but then socialists and the soft fascists will always bend, ignore, or twist the facts to support their own approved position.

    In our context now, facing these islamist madmen, to deny causing them minor physical and mental discomfort in order to save the lives of thousands of innocents, because we lack the common sense and courage is just juvenile, shallow idiocy.