Thursday, December 13, 2007

Guzzling the Kool Aid

Speaking on NPR's Talk of the Nation today, author Ronald Kessler criticized the media for publishing the fact that U.S. intelligence services have use waterboarding techniques. That information, he says, hurt U.S. efforts because when potential enemies are being waterboarded, they will be emboldened by the knowledge that it's only "simulated" drowning.

I am sure the many despotic governments in the world who "simulate" a respect for human rights and international law understand his perspective very well.

He may be right, though. Torture is like a hiccup cure, it only really work when it comes as a surprise.

I guess no one should break it to a dogged investigator like Kessler that these "secret" techniques have a long and dirty history and have even been documented in U.S. military manuals. Or that the reason the use of torture would have been secret at all is because the rest of the world believes the U.S. wouldn't stoop to such methods (or already believes we do an thus there is no benefit either). 

We wouldn't want to put him out or force him to think of other reasons the U.S.'s efforts to stop terrorism and the world's trust besides the media's effort to undercut our homeland.

- Murphy

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Public Opposes Escalation

From, a Gallup poll find 61% of public opposes escalation.

- Murphy

Jefferson's Quran

Christopher Hitchens has taken some stretches with his arguments defending the invasion of Iraq and attempting to expose the threat of militant factions Islamic factions, mostly when he has been in the midst of public debate, which is perhaps understandable. When he sits down to tackle history, however, he is often fascinating and displays some truly original scholarship.

A recent application of his efforts appears in today's Slate magazine where he tackles the. likely, unknown history of Thomas Jefferson's approach to issues of faith and the public expression of religion.
It was quite witty of Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., to short-circuit the hostility of those who criticized him for taking his oath on the Quran and to ask the Library of Congress for the loan of Thomas Jefferson's copy of that holy book. But the irony of this, which certainly made his stupid Christian fundamentalist critics look even stupider, ought to be partly at his own expense as well.

- Murphy