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Version: 1.0
(July 25, 2005)

Lines of Argument

Dec 02, 2011 by Ugh
Andrew Sullivan has a short item quoting Glenn Greenwald and Conor Fridersdorf here, noting that, essentially, "we're killing a bunch of children" is rarely cited as a reason to end/forego wars waged by the United States. This got me thinking, what weight do "we" (being people in the US) really put on the deaths of innocent civilians in this regard?

Not much, it seems to me. I think we usually assuage any such concerns by (a) saying we didn't really mean to kill them, and (b) laying blame on the people we actually were trying to kill. This is rather simplistic, and glosses over various laws of war on things like proportionality (IIRC), and nevertheless the innocent are just as dead. But it allows us not to think about it as we pursue our various wars/bombing strikes in, what, at least 6 Muslim countries as of late?

In that regard, would a fair question to someone who supports these various campaigns be "we can kill Osama bin Laden but we're going to have to shoot three 8 year olds in the head to do it, okay by you?" Is that too fantastical? Too personal? Are we excused by (a) and (b) above?

Partially relevant here, ISTM, is the way the American press shields the public from the horrors of war, and so questions like the above are rarely confronted.


Dec 02, 2011, 05:48:41 Ugh wrote:

Can I do an off-topic to my own post?

Just a reminder that I need to post something on this:

Dec 02, 2011, 06:49:11 libjpn wrote:

sure, go for it!

Dec 05, 2011, 21:34:06 russell wrote:

re: the off-topic, about Amnesty International calling for Bush's arrest.

I appreciate, quite a bit, what AI is trying to do here, but nobody is going to arrest Bush. Nobody is going to arrest him, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld, or anybody else. Nobody is going to arrest any of them, because if they did the US government would find a way to crush them -- the arresting party -- like a bug.

Never mind not arrest them, nobody is even going to disinvite them from a dinner party.

The only guy who appears to have made himself radioactive in any way through his or her involvement in the torture regime is Gonzales. It's beyond me to know why that is - why he's the only guy whose calls nobody seems to want to answer. And he's not going to jail, he's just not getting good job offers, so he's teaching poli-sci at Texas Tech.

Yoo's at Berkeley. Addington is at AEI. Feith, the stupidest fucking guy in the world, is at Hudson. Bybee is a judge, Haynes is chief corporate counsel of Chevron.

Nobody is gonna lay a finger on any of those guys. With the exception of Gonzales, they're going to work their cushy high-profile high-paying gigs, get rich, and write the occasional op-ed for one of the papers of record.

Dec 05, 2011, 22:43:08 Turbulence wrote:

Regarding Gonzales, I can't help wonder how much of his disparate treatment stems from the fact that he was never one of the cool kids, just some idiot lawyer that Bush took a shining to. Looking at his personal story on wikipedia, it is more impressive that I expected (enlisted in the USAF and got an appointment from there to the Air Force Academy and then hopped over to Rice and then Harvard Law). I wonder how much this boils down to him not being of the right class, going to the right parties, etc.

By the way Ugh, did you see the bit on the internet about the artist who wanted to dramatize Yoo's effect on our society? He made special toilet paper that had the US Constitution printed on it and then he installed it in place of regular toilet paper at all the men's rooms in Berkley's Law School buildings. In other words, he made it so that John Yoo literally wipes his ass with the constitution.

Dec 06, 2011, 09:23:52 russell wrote:

"I can't help wonder how much of his disparate treatment stems from the fact that he was never one of the cool kids"

The guy coulda had a very nice life as a private practice law firm partner.

Now he's always gonna be W's punk.

Bright lights, big city. Gone to Alberto's head.

"In other words, he made it so that John Yoo literally wipes his ass with the constitution."

Except if any of the rest of us want to use the same loo, we have to wipe our butts with the Constitution, also.

And so, art imitates life.

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