Thursday, May 19, 2005

Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds have been arguing about how important the torture revelations are to the war on terror. Reynolds says Sullivan is naive; Sullivan says Reynolds is callous.

I think Sullivan is right about Reynolds. The revelations of torture (or if you prefer, coercive interrogation techniques) severely compromise the moral authority of the US in the war on terror, and make it much turn others against us. Every clinic bombing is a severe step back for the pro-life movement; every revelation is a big step back for the US.

But Reynolds is right about Sullivan as well. It is extremely naive to put hundreds of thousands of troops into a country where people are trying to kill them and expect nothing like this to happen.

The question neither will ask is whether it's worth it. I say no. Reynolds writes, "I do confess that I think that winning the war is much more important than Abu Ghraib, and that viewing the entire war -- and the entire American military -- through the prism of Abu Ghraib is as unfair as judging all Muslims by the acts of terrorists." I disagree with the first statements, and think the second statement is a non sequitur. It may not be fair to judge the entire war through Abu Ghraib, but pointing that out doesn't change the fact that some people will. And that those who want others to jusge against the war will encourage them to do so. It seems disingenuous to say that atrocities are a part of war, the cry "foul" about people are judging the war.
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