You know I'm born to lose, And gambling's for fools! But that's the way I like it, baby; I don't wanna live forever!
Via Ace of Spades himself comes this vision of boy doll hell; a bunch of mutant Ken dolls as Motörhead, doing Ace of Spades, one of the greatest speed metal anthems of all time. This is puppeteering I can relate to. And check out the thrashin' "audience" chicks controlled by the real audience... It's a stroke of genius.
One of the problems I've had with Andrew Sullivan of late (and certainly not the only problem...) is the shrillness of his stance on torture and it's use by the United States in the GWOT. Besides never quite getting around to defining what he believes constitutes torture, let alone coercive interrogation, Sullivan presents those he accuses of practicing or condoning torture within the Executive branch as immoral beasts, not to be excused for their actions.
I want to be very clear. I despise the use of torture, but I acknowledge that it might sometimes be necessary within the context of the greater good. Standing on moral principal is far too high a price to pay when considering the destruction of an entire population center.
The problem is in articulating a balance, which Sullivan seems incapable of doing.
Micheal Ignatieff, however, approaches the issue in a way in which I respect and agree with, up to a point. Where he stands on one side of the fence, I will be facing him on the other. But we can still see eye to eye and discuss this like civilized human beings.
My views fall into line with the following passage:
Both Elshtain and Posner have argued against the moral perfectionism
that elides the distinction between coercion and torture, and have
stressed the cruel, if regrettable, necessity of using coercive methods
on a small category of terrorists who may have information vital to
saving the lives of innocent people. Posner justifies coercive
interrogation on utilitarian grounds: saving the lives of many counts
more, in moral terms, than abusing the body and dignity of a single
individual. Elshtain justifies coercive interrogation using a complex
moral calculus of "dirty hands": good consequences cannot justify bad
acts, but bad acts are sometimes tragically necessary. The acts remain
bad, and the person must accept the moral opprobrium and not seek to
excuse the inexcusable with the justifications of necessity.
The bolded portion sort of sums it up for me.
Further on comes this bit which strikes at the heart of the matter: What if torture works? Sullivan and others argue, ad nauseum, that torture is not an effective means of obtaining information. Ignatieff asks, then why is it used so much?
Does an outright ban on torture and coercive interrogation meet the
test of realism? Would an absolute ban on torture and coercive
interrogation using stress and duress so diminish the effectiveness of
our intelligence-gathering that it would diminish public safety? It is
often said—and I argued so myself—that neither coercive interrogation
nor torture is necessary, since entirely lawful interrogation can
secure just as effective results. There must be some truth to this.
Israeli interrogators have given interviews assuring the Israeli public
that physical duress is unnecessary. But we are grasping at straws if
we think this is the entire truth. As Posner and others have tartly
pointed out, if torture and coercion are both as useless as critics
pretend, why are they used so much? While some abuse and outright
torture can be attributed to individual sadism, poor supervision and so
on, it must be the case that other acts of torture occur because
interrogators believe, in good faith, that torture is the only way to
extract information in a timely fashion. It must also be the case that
if experienced interrogators come to this conclusion, they do so on the
basis of experience. The argument that torture and coercion do not work
is contradicted by the dire frequency with which both practices occur.
I submit that we would not be "waterboarding" Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed—immersing him in water until he experiences the torment of
nearly drowning—if our intelligence operatives did not believe it was
necessary to crack open the al Qaeda network that he commanded. Indeed,
Mark Bowden points to a Time report in March 2003 that Sheikh Mohammed
had "given US interrogators the names and descriptions of about a dozen
key al Qaeda operatives believed to be plotting terrorist attacks." We
must at least entertain the possibility that the operatives working on
Sheikh Mohammed in our name are engaging not in gratuitous sadism but
in the genuine belief that this form of torture—and it does qualify as
such—makes all the difference.
If they are right, then those who support an absolute ban on torture
had better be honest enough to admit that moral prohibition comes at a
Much of Ignatief's conclusion has to do with the price to be paid, and it's where our paths diverge.
We cannot torture, in other words, because of who we are. This is the
best I can do, but those of us who believe this had better admit that
many of our fellow citizens are bound to disagree. It is in the nature
of democracy itself that fellow citizens will define their identity in
ways that privilege security over liberty and thus reluctantly endorse
torture in their name. If we are against torture, we are committed to
arguing with our fellow citizens, not treating those who defend torture
as moral monsters. Those of us who oppose torture should also be honest
enough to admit that we may have to pay a price for our own
convictions. Ex ante, of course, I cannot tell how high this price
might be. Ex post—following another terrorist attack that might have
been prevented through the exercise of coercive interrogation—the price
of my scruple might simply seem too high. This is a risk I am prepared
to take, but frankly, a majority of fellow citizens is unlikely to
(emphasis is mine)
And the fact that they are unlikely to concur does not make them moral monsters. The risk that Ignatieff is willing to take is not one that I'm willing to take on.
Pay attention, civilians. Actor Charlie Sheen has been focusing his
mind on the official explanation for 9/11. And you know what? He's not
buying it. "It just didn't look like any commercial jetliner I've flown
on any time in my life," the Hotshots Part Deux star told a US radio
station this week, "and then when the buildings came down later on that
day, I said to my brother 'call me insane', but did it sorta look like
those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?"
You're insane. Next.
It gets better from there, with bonus points for an appearance by Spike Lee!
So exactly what happens when France collapses under the weight of all it's pipe dreams of socialist utopia?
In today's WaPo, there's an article on where France is heading. The French look as if they are determined to commit national suicide. That would be fine if not for the rest of Europe. I have little sympathy for the Euro cradle-to-grave socialist model. If you give the people what the French have all their lives, then don't be suprised when they get pissed off when you have to take it away from them because it just doesn't work. When France reaches critical mass, that pressure is going to have to be directed somewhere, probably inward for a period of burning. Then it's going to be directed outward.
Another European war? Think that's farfetched? Just look at the slaughter in the Balkins back in the '90s.
that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root
cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain
and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end.
Well, I guess I expected that. It just descends from there. Given what I had read about this group, I wasn't too suprised. Then I get to the end of the statement and realise that these so-called Christians haven't evenbothered to thank the brave men and women who effected the release of their people. Not one stinking word of thanks to the men who risked their lives to rescue these hostages.
After all, in their minds it's the fault of their rescuers that they were kidnapped in the first place. It's the soldier's fault that Tom Fox was brutally tortured, beaten and shot. These petty farking assholes have the gall to call themselves Christians?
Not a single word of thanks to the ones who saved their damned lives.
UPDATE:David Gilles, at Daily Pundit, makes the very good point that Milosevic's "trial" in The Hague was a perfect example of why the United States was wise to not join the ICC. The trial was a farce of justice, making Saddam's trial in Iraq seem a model of efficiency by comparison.
UPDATE 2: It's going to be interesting to see the reaction in Serbia to Milosevic's death. It should tell us a lot about where Serbia is today. My prediction; Lots of mourning and rending of garments by Serbian nationalists. His body gets shipped to Russia to be buried in exile until "Serbia is free once more," or some such crap like that. Because the War Crimes Tribunal has no concept of fair and speedy justice, Serbia has itself an uber-martyr. If it so chooses.