29 Nov 2005

Talking About Torture, and Talking, and Talking


“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

— actual source unknown, generally attributed to George Orwell

Charles Krauthammer has a thoughtful article in The Weekly Standard, which constitutes an unusual contribution to the debates within the American commentariat on terrorist interrogation by virtue of saying sensible things. I found the article being chewed over, like a rubber dog toy tossed to a pack of terriers, by a consistery of conservatives on NRO.

I believe myself that attempting to have a publicly-discussed, publicly-disclosed policy of what happens to terrorists is a fundamental and profound mistake.

It is also my opinion that members of the American intelligentsia, a pampered lot, whose personal experience of violence, by and large, tends to have been confined to a certain number of viewings of the films of Quentin Tarrantino, whose worst experience of physical suffering inflicted by another human being took place in a dental chair, the kinds of people who believe there need to be rules about this sort of thing and theories about that sort of thing, are just not qualified to sit in safety and comfort in offices and studies in the United States, telling rough men, charged with maintaining their safety, how to do their job.

The American intelligentsia should simply be grateful that their society includes men who can do for them what they could not possibly do for themselves, shut up, and let it go at that. There are always things which happen in the course of wars which it is better not to think about, better not to talk about. That’s what war is.


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