There's got to be some middle ground between James (if it's not as bad as what the terrorists do, then it's OK) Lileks, and Sylvester (if liberal groups are complaining, then it must be a dark time in history) Brown, Jr.
As for Lileks, here's a typical barb...
This is how articles are written, conventional wisdom chopped pressed and formed: the techniques Rumsfeld Â?balked atÂ? Â? meaning, I assume, did not permit Â? did not include actual suffocation, but the use of a wet towel that would induce the misperception of an emanation of a penumbra of suffocation. NEVERTHELESS. Key word, that. Lines crossed not in fact but in spirit. He balked at fake suffocation, aye; NEVERTHELESS the climate of pain and retribution did not forbid men from freely dumping bottles of Dasani on the heads of the detainees. Why, it was a game to the interrogators. Â?Drink Water or Wear it.Â? Spiritually, itÂ?s a first cousin to SaddamÂ?s game, Â?Use Tongue Then Lose It.Â?
Is that the standard now? If Saddam did something demonstrably worse, then it must be OK for us to do it?
Sorry, if you're looking to defend the policies and actions of the US, you're going to need a better measuring stick than Saddam Hussein.
Lileks wants to have his cake and eat it to. He wants to paint Saddam and others as depraved and unquely evil, justifying merciless tactics, and at the same time use them as a standard by which to measure our own action. No sale.
And then, just when I'm ready to cast my lot with the anti-war croidiocy see idocy like this...
Under former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, the FBI was given sweeping new "domestic spying" powers that allow agents to monitor political gatherings, Internet sites, chat rooms, libraries and churches without evidence of criminal wrongdoing. The ACLU has documented and challenged thousands of cases, including those in Missouri, where it says the new rules infringe on civil liberties and attempt to silence dissent.
The FBI's covert actions against American citizens in the past were fueled by paranoia. We've been here before. Hopefully, when talking with my grandchild, it'll be a discussion about another long-gone era when America went nuts.
Now, it's the ACLU's job to challenge very case, push every boundary, and complain about everything. That doesn't make them bad, but it also means that it would be incorrect to use complaints by the ACLU as a basis for concluding that we're living in dark, "nuts" time in history. Was there a time when the ACLU wasn't complaining about something?
This passage is telling...
Jones' office e-mailed me information about some of the local people involved in the lawsuit. The stories are disconcerting. Familiar names from local faith-based and political organizations and environmental groups fill the pages. There are tales of mysterious white vans following activists, police and FBI infiltration, strip searches and illegal confiscation of personal property
This looks like just plain lazy reporting to me. Basing a column of an e-mail form a source with an axe to grind, taking all allegations at face values, not investigating the other side of the story. And it makes him an easy target for someone like Lileks, who can demonstrate that Brown's rhetoric is out of perspective, thus we don't need to be concerned about torture.
Is there a middle ground. Aren't there people who are a bit troubled by the actions of the government, but don't think that means that we're no better then Nazi Germany?