Posted by lex, on July 22, 2008
Strange who gets it, and who does not:
The Montreal Gazette calls (Omar Khadr) “a victim,” “not a villain.” Closer to home, our headlines run along the lines of “Tape shows ‘frightened boy,’” “Teen on video: ‘Help me, help me’” or “Teenage detainee pleads for help, tells of torture on video; Rights group seeks immediate release.” About the only one willing to say anything unpleasant about Mr. Khadr is the soldier who lost an eye in the same firefight in which Mr. Khadr is alleged to have thrown the grenade that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer…
(David Addington), the counsel for the vice president is demonized. Such is the temper of the times that Rep. William Delahunt (D., Mass.) felt free to joke during recent hearings that he was sure al Qaeda was watching — and was “glad they finally have the chance to see you.”
And so it goes. Reasonable people can disagree with David, and many did. But the aim here is not reasonable debate. The aim is to close debate by shouting accusations so often that they become accepted.
Thus memos that are mostly about a commander-in-chief’s legal authority are now routinely described as “torture memos.” Thus the drumbeat for hearings on “war crimes.” And thus the Washington Post column on David’s congressional testimony, where he is described “hunched” and said to have “barked,” “growled” and “snarled” — language you would use to describe an animal.
We certainly have a right to expect more of our public servants that we have come to expect from our enemies. Nevertheless, it’s useful to remember which is which.