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March 29, 2010


Maybe that Washington Times editorial is as cynical as Brendan claims, but I sure would like to know his reason for branding it so.

It seems unfair to call Marc Thiessen a "torture apologist". There's no apology. His POV is that waterboarding was positive good because it prevented at least one terrorist attack. Although Thiessen didn't use the term, from his POV, his critics could be called "failure-to-prevent-terrorist-attack apologists."

I recommend the David Brock's book, The Real Anita Hill, which pointed out enormous numbers of serious errors in Strange Justice, co-authored by Jane Mayer. Brock later changed his political allegiance and disavowed his book, but most of his criticisms stand. Because of this episode, I do not consider Mayer necessarily reliable, when her political views are at stake.

Note how she "proves" Thiessen is a liar. She finds one or two people who disagree with his version of how the plot came to be discovered. It's not uncommon that memories differ, especially when secret information may not have been fully shared. Are there others who would agree with Thiessen's view? Did those who disagree have all the facts? Is there some interpretation that would allow statements by both sides to have some factual basis? Did Mayer's anti-torture bias lead her to bias her research? I don't know.

One simply has to trust that Mayer has done a fair and accurate job. Because of the many serious errors in Strage Justice I don't trust her that much.

It seems unfair to call Marc Thiessen a "torture apologist." There's no apology. His POV is that waterboarding was positive good because it prevented at least one terrorist attack.

I'm unclear on the how the third sentence in the above quotation negates the characterization of Thiessen is a "torture apologist." If I believe that an act of perjury prevented something bad from happening, am I not a "perjury apologist?"

daniel, this is an unimportant semantical point. I was trying to distinguish pride in doing something good from finding an excuse for doing someing bad.

It would be silly to call Martin Luther King a "Civil Rights apologist". He was proud of the the gains in civil rights. He believed the improvement in civil rights did much good and needs no apology, a POV with which I'm sure we all agree.

Similarly, ISTM from the review, that Thiessen takes pride in the water-boarding that he believes did much good and which needs no apology. This POV is no doubt quite alien to the many people who see water-boarding as equivalent to the worst sort of torture.

Brendan rightly noted that ABC News misrepresented Sarah Palin's crosshairs graphic. That crosshairs graphic has also been mischaracterized by such left-wing luminaries as Paul Krugman and Chris Van Hollen. Blogger John Sexton reminds us of some recent analogies from the Democrats. Could Krugman and Van Hollen be bigger tools?

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