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MikeR
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I'm glad that at least one commentator here reads right-wing blogs regularly. More power to him. He has the right to say that he finds their arguments unconvincing. Most people here, though, have responded in the last few comments as in the earlier ones: We are right, it's objective fact, there's nothing to think about. I shan't respond by presenting arguments on the subject, as the first commentator suggested. Waterboarding is not the subject. The subject is, Is this a political policy disagreement? To that question, it's not enough to say that you find powerline et al's arguments unconvincing. They may find them convincing, and indeed of course do. And my criterion is not subjective, it's an objective moral imperative. Consider this: A good fraction of Americans think that a certain approach is moral and proper. Part of them, namely, the ones in the administration, implement that approach, believing as part of their group's point of view that it is moral and proper. Other Americans feel strongly that it isn't, but this group disagrees. And after all they are then running the government, and responsible to do what they consider their best job according to their best judgment. Later they lose their jobs and a new group comes to power, representing the other Americans who felt that this was illegal and immoral. They then begin persecuting the first group in Congress. They also get themselves a Supreme Court which agrees with them, and all nine justices find it totally unconstitutional and unjustifiable. With all that, it is still immoral to persecute the first group, which represented a certain point of view on what was right. You may not understand it, but they were doing what they could with their point of view. I don't have to prove that they are right. The situation speaks for itself; they were working within their group's picture of what should be done. How is that you don't see this as evil? It is the moral equivalent of a law ex post facto.
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"What on earth does this mean? Are you suggesting that we don't prosecute criminals because the justice system is onerous and tilted against the defendant? Wouldn't that lead to anarchy?" No, I'm suggesting that political witch hunts by partisans aren't the same thing as the criminal justice system. For the eleventieth time, decisions made by government officials in good faith should not be considered crimes, even if you disagree with them. Good faith is to be judged not by partisans, even if every single blog they read agrees with them, but by reasonable objective standards like: Does a decent fraction of Americans feel this way too? If so, presumably the officials should be assumed to have done this because they thought it was the right thing to do, whatever you think of them. Are you actually suggesting that you think that being tried in the justice system is not a hardship, and therefore we shouldn't mind if our opponents are put through it because we're sure they deserve it? After all, we wouldn't mind. Or we would, but there's no way that any reasonable person like us could think we deserve it.
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"If you disagree with the claims presented at that link, please explain why. Otherwise you're just muddying the waters." "Andrew Sullivan is a right winger!" You persist in missing the point. I am not discussing the issue of waterboarding. I am discussing: You are only looking at people who agree with you. That's why I suggested powerline, because they don't. You can't really have a clue on a subject where you only read one side of an issue. Plus, of course, to broaden your horizons, you read your side's description of the other side's misrepresentations! Look, I'll make a deal with you. You read powerline every day, the whole thing, checking out the links to verify. I'll read a blog of your choice (maybe this one counts?) Otherwise, I think I can rest my case here. All your answers are: Yes, but we're right. You remain blissfully unaware that the other side feels exactly the same way. They can't really, of course - 'cause we're right.
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First, I apologize if I said something condescending. I was trying to make a point, but I guess I didn't make it nicely. "Because the facts aren't really in doubt." Not to you, obviously. That's why you linked to Andrew Sullivan. Presumably you don't read Powerline or such, or you would have linked to it. Next time you want to claim that something isn't in doubt, bring a few right-wingers who agree with you. This is just the kind of thing I'm talking about. You are only seeing your point of view, and everyone who seems to be disagreeing must therefore be lying. "The burden is on prosecutors to prove that, and nobody should be punished for anything unless that happens." Gosh, what a relief. If I'm innocent, I have nothing to worry about! I can be tried by a committee of political opponents eager to smear my name, then by a jury and prosecutor who hate me, and the legal system will surely exonerate me if I'm innocent, at least about half the time. And I can pay the legal bills and try to fix the wikipedia entry written by all the people who knew I was guilty anyhow. Why was I thinking that this is a bad thing? "that this would piss off right-wing extremists" - not saying that. I'm saying that there would be a very understandable fear by anyone in office, left or right, that losing the election could cost them their liberty, because there are people out there like you-all who think it's okay to prosecute you because they are sure that you're wrong, and everyone they talk to thinks so too. And a lot of people would feel that the "rule of law" would require them to oppose the legal authorities. For instance, I imagine that a very large fraction of Americans think that waterboarding KSM was an okay thing to do or at least not criminal. http://www.audacityofhypocrisy.com/2009/04/28/poll-55-of-americans-support-waterboarding-al-qaeda-suspectsgallup/ Not saying they're right or wrong, but it's important to take that into account. And even it were a fairly small fraction of Americans, but still roughly mainstream, it would be really dangerous to start prosecuting government officials just cause you're quite sure it's wrong and illegal. Even if you're right.
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"It's a shame there's no way to pass a constitutional amendment to change the law. There's just no way." Which is exactly what tomtom said. Read his words again; he made sense.
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