Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Lagniappe: The Right's Moral Equivalence Exposed - From a letter on Andrew Sullivan's Letters Page from May 05, 2004:

I fully support the effort in Iraq. I believe in a democratic experiment in the Arab world. I have family and friends serving there. That said, I am disgusted in the extreme by what a few prison guards have done and what some over here are saying in their defense.

"In war, terrible things happen." "At least they didn't actually hurt them." "The worst thing that they did was to take pictures." I am hearing such things from Americans on television, talk radio, even in my own family. It's repulsive. The only reason someone could say this is if they are afraid to confront the truth. These acts are despicable on their face. They do not need to be compared to anything Saddam did. And our morality demands that we punish those responsible not only for defiling the prisoners' persons, but for doing such profound damage to our cause's credibility.

It may be a conceit, but in order to accomplish the goal of reinventing the Middle East in a positive way demands that we hold ourselves to higher standard. You cannot act in a moral way if you break your own rules, no matter what has been done by others. All those who make excuses and diminish the crimes are cowards.
Although I don't agree with the letter writer's support of the war, I do think this person's sentiments express a moral consistency that is lacking generally in pro-war supporters' reactions to this scandal. I think this level of intellectual and moral honesty is commendable.

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