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27 January 2009

Incapable Of Shame

The WaPo's self-described liberal columnist Richard Cohen looks at the the torturers and...sees us:

...In the country called the Present, certain people are demanding that the torturers and their enablers be dragged across the time border and brought to justice. There are many practical difficulties involved, but the impetus is understandable: A nation that once posed to the world as lawful and civil turned out to be brutish and indifferent to international law. We tortured. So says the incoming attorney general, Eric Holder. We tortured. So says the person in charge of deciding such matters at Guantanamo. That question has been answered. Now comes another: What are we going to do about it?

Cohen relates how his "liberal" friends would whisper their support for torture to him and concludes that since we're all responsible their can be no punishment:

...We were the ones, remember, who just wanted to be kept safe. So, it is important, as well as fair, not to punish those who did what we wanted done -- back when we lived, scared to death, in a place called the Past.

I neither live in a country called the Past nor a country called the present but in a (supposedly) Nation of Laws. Nor was I, unlike Cohen, scared to death, a wet stain spreading in my pants.

Of course, this is nothing but an exercise by Cohen to justify himself to his own rapidly shrinking conscience. Let's remember this gem from 2006:

On the contrary, I thought. We are a good country, attempting to do a good thing. In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic.

Therapeutic, indeed.

Attaturk suggests that Cohen would have made a great Nazi but, all things considered, I think a great Kapo is more like it.


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Comments

gyma

I don't know how you can force yourself to read Cohen. I suppose I should, but after 8 years of Bush I can no longer do it. My outrage meter is broken!

spork_incident

I don't know how you can force yourself to read Cohen.

The suffering I endure for my beloved readers!

All seven of you.


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