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Moral relevance: the west and the war
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ed Koch takes a run at the self-flagellation the West puts itself through each and every time something like Haditha or Abu Ghraib appears. He points out that our enemies have no such qualms whatsoever and, in fact, celebrate their inhuman excesses and cruelty.
In sharp contrast, Western countries constantly flagellate themselves when civilians are injured or killed in the course of defensive military action against al-Qaeda or its agents.
Not only that, the self-flagellation is often, or more accurately, almost always politicized. Again, Haditha immediately springs to mind. I'm sure I don't have to recount the reasons for the politicization of such incidents or the purpose of the self-flagellation. But it does make you wonder, given some of it, if it signals a more general trend toward the acceptance of political moral relevance as an acceptable argument. And, if so, isn't that a sign of increasing moral weakness in the West?

Let me be clear. I don't accept or condone murder, torture or purposeful cruelty. And I do indeed find the death of any innocent person in a war to be tragic. We should avoid them if it at all humanly possible. When there is a question, we should investigate and examine the evidence, and, if compelling, charge and punish the perpetrators.

But what I don't and can't accept is the moral relevance which equates deliberate acts of barbaric murder with tragic accidents of war. As Ed Koch says:
On the death of Zarqawi who murdered his son, Nick's father, Michael, now a Green Party candidate for congress in Delaware, said:

"Zarqawi felt my son's breath on his hand as he held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes as he did it. George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist."

These words are insane. I believe and I pray that most Americans are made of sterner stuff.
I fully agree, those words are insane. But, obviously, they aren't atypical of some. They are nonsense on a stick and should be pointed too and called that everytime their equivalent is seen. While it is appropriate to ask moral questions and require moral action of ourselves in war, moral relevance - as that displayed above - is as unacceptable as murder.
 
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I just think it is sad, that anytime anyone tries to bring this subject up they have to preface it with something like this:

Let me be clear. I don’t accept or condone murder, torture or purposeful cruelty. And I do indeed find the death of any innocent person in a war to be tragic. We should avoid them if it at all humanly possible. When there is a question, we should investigate and examine the evidence, and, if compelling, charge and punish the perpetrators.
Because we know that if we don’t, then someone will at least insinuate that we think torture is fine and dandy.
 
Written By: Dustin
URL: http://
Because we know that if we don’t, then someone will at least insinuate that we think torture is fine and dandy.
You’re precisely right, Dustin.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Are we allowed to use words like "flagellate" and "self-flagellation" on this site?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Not that there is anything wrong with it; it’s a perfectly natural act.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I prefer "auto-flagellation" myself... but as long as the flagellation is between consenting adults, I don’t think we ought to care...

Any way as a professor of mine once said, "Conservatives are right. Secular Humanism IS a religion, and Sexism and Racism are the two ’Origianl Sin’ for which we can NEVER atone." When viewed like that it becomes kind of clear why so many use moral equivalence, because the West had/has Sexism and Racism. As a side-note the Prof. was a VERY Liberal Clinton supporter, who had tenure and a cynical world view. He could call’em like he saw’em.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"I prefer "auto-flagellation" myself"

I hope you are only flagellating your own auto.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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