Friday, December 30, 2005

RACE TO THE BOTTOM. Drew Thornley thinks we shouldn't make a big deal out of American torturers when people who are not American are doing even worse things:
The mainstream American media spent months covering in detail the "atrocities" at Abu Ghraib and continues to give negative press to allegations of inhumane treatment at the hands of American soldiers... Yet the events at Abu Ghraib pale in comparison to the real atrocities that receive little or no attention by the same media, such as the crisis in Darfur, Castro's jailing and/or murder of political dissidents, the May 2005 massacre of public demonstrators in Andijan, Uzbekistan, and the hundreds of "honor murders" committed each year.
Roger L. Simon double-underlines the point:
...there is a deep psychological disturbance in our mainstream media, a kind of willed need to ignore the world around them. It probably was, more or less, forever thus, but modern communications, specifically the internet, have brought this willed ignorance to the surface as never before. And yet the MSM continues in the same direction, even in the face of seeming economic failure.
Maybe it's just me, but I believe the scale and scope of international coverage by the commie-pinko New York Times compares very favorably to that of, say, the New York Post, the Washington Times, Fox News, or even Roger L. Simon.

I'll go out on a limb and suggest that Simon isn't genuinely concerned with the lack of global news in U.S. papers, or he'd be asking why Rupert Murdoch stuffs his rags with puzzles and runaway brides instead of dispatches from Uzbekistan. No, it's year-end greatest-hits time, and Simon's doing his usual Abu Ghraib schtick as a treat to his fans.

The persistence of the Abu Ghraib story isn't just a big-media plot. Even when they are in a positive (or at least forgiving) frame of mind about the Iraq War, Americans don't approve of torturing enemy prisoners. We prefer to think ourselves exceptional --- genuinely better, not just comparatively better, than the world's tyrants and their cowed subjects.

Maybe we're wrong about ourselves. Maybe we're not a shining city on a hill, but merely a better deal for the money, torture- and injustice-wise, than the other vendors on the block. Maybe no deep principle sustains us except staying a little ahead of the competition.

If so, then there's no reason not to get worse -- we have a lot of wiggle room compared with other countries. So what if we spy on our citizens? So what if we detain them without charges? Who's gonna give you a better deal than this? Go see what Fidel's peddling!

I have to applaud Simon's ingenuity in dressing this up as idealism, but I wonder how many people he's convincing besides himself.

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