Thursday, December 04, 2008

WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE? As they're big on displacement, whenever some atrocity occurs wingers accuse liberals of showing insufficient outrage. It's not so much a policy prescription as an accusation of psychological unfitness because, though we agree that we would rather kill terrorists than let them kill us, we don't express it in blood-curdling howls. In the case of Mumbai, we've gotten things like "India Burns, Liberals Plan Tea Parties" from the wonderfully named Tygrrrr Express, which heeds us get into the proper spirit by watching a Batman movie ("I never thought that a movie about a comic book character would sum up something as complicated as terrorism so perfectly"). As to what government action we should take while thus emotionally stimulated, Tygrrrr asserts we should "kill terrorists, and turn over the ones we capture to India provided they promise to use brutality against them," which course of action he does not think to suggest to the present Administration, which is in a position to effect it and has in fact done it before, sometimes on carelessly chosen subjects. But I doubt he's really looking for Bush to do anything. He just wants us to know he's better than liberals because he can show anger more easily and voluptuously.

A kind of nadir is reached at Ace of Spades, where the proprietor tells us that, while it's admirable that Jon Stewart called terrorists "douchebags," he is unwilling to give the last full measure:
Would Stewart actually celebrate the death of a terrorist killed by US forces or a Predator drone, as we do here? Of course not-- that would be unenlightened, taking pleasure in the well-earned deaths of monsters.
Thinking back even to the golden days of Sid Caesar, I can't recall many TV comedy shows where the killing of even lawful combatants was inserted for laughs. Hell, I don't think anyone even got killed on "Hogan's Heroes" -- mainly they got humiliated, snarled, "Ooooooh, Colonel Hoooogaaaan!" and shook their jowls.

This sort of thing makes me think of John and John Quincy Adams (Gore Vidal has a beautiful essay about them and all the early Adamses), who presided over some of America's greatest foreign policy triumphs without pretending to be baboons. The elder Adams wished it put on his tombstone, "Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of the peace with France in the year 1800." John Quincy once responded to a toast of "My country, right or wrong," with "I disclaim all patriotism incompatible with the principles of eternal justice." No doubt Ace would think them, and Vidal (who served with the U.S. Army in the Second World War), sissies. We've come a long way since the Adamses, alas.

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