Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scarborough: Torture Opponents Are Inviting Terror Attack.

I am astonished that Joe Scarborough has now joined with the real lunatics like O'Reilly in actually arguing that the US should engage in torture.

This is now becoming quite a mainstream right wing talking point. What has happened to these people? There is simply not an ounce of shame as they openly call - on national television - for war crimes to be committed.

The American right wing has simply lost it's collective mind.

I've written before about how the American right differs from the right here in Britain, where no political party would survive calling for the kind of extremist positions routinely pushed by the Republicans.

In the US the opposite appears to be true. Bush, when asked about the criticism of waterboarding - which he refuses to see as torture, despite the fact that the US itself has prosecuted people for doing that very thing - asked, "Which attack would they rather not have stopped?" He actually acted as if this could be sold as a "red pen or blue pen" scenario where one has to choose between torture and attacks.

No British politician could dare sit on national TV and make that argument. But in the US, Bill O'Reilly can sit on national television and actually argue that people
who oppose torture are "despicable".

This is an example of just how radical and extreme the current American right wingers are. There simply is no British equivalent to the Republican party, unless one reaches towards the BNP and other extremists. The Tories might sound like them on matters like tax cuts and deregulation, but when it comes to social policy they simply wouldn't dare make the arguments that are regularly made by the American right wing.

Any British politician who proposed
teaching creationism in schools would instantly be regarded as on the outer fringes of intelligent debate, but Bush argued for that very thing and was seen as playing to the base, rather than as someone who had blatantly lost his mind.

The notion that David Cameron could hope to get elected by opposing abortion is silly on it's face, and yet the Republicans put forward Sarah Palin as a candidate for Vice President precisely because
she held such views.
The fact that no Conservative candidate would dare argue for things which the Republicans routinely campaign on is some indication of just how extremist the Republican party actually are.

For example, when it was suggested that the British government had assisted in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, the people who were leading the demands for a police inquiry into Mohamed's allegations were the British Conservative party.

Republicans not only refuse to call for investigation into allegations that the US has engaged in torture, they are now - through people like O'Reilly and Scarborough - actively arguing that torture is a useful tool which should not be abandoned.

As I say, here in the UK right wingers making such a charge would be regarded as members of some lunatic fringe, but this argument now appears to be part of the mainstream US right wing talking points.

When a political class can talk so freely and unashamedly about committing war crimes, it really has lost it's collective mind.


daveawayfromhome said...

"For example, when it was suggested that the British government had assisted in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, the people who were leading the demands for a police inquiry into Mohamed's allegations were the British Conservative party."To be fair, had your conservative party been in charge there at the time of the torture, they probably wouldnt have been so eager to pursue an investigation. I think this is more about corruption, power-madness and pure evil than it is about right or left wings. In America, the Republicans (who, given only two choices here, have taken on the "right-wing" mantle) happen to be the evildoers. Forty or fifty years ago, though, it was the Democrats who seemed to put politics ahead of humananity.

Which doesnt excuse anybody, or eliminate the need for making those accountable face justice. It just means that actions should speak louder than ideologies when determining guilt.

Kel said...

Dave, I know what you are saying. It's easier for the Conservatives to call for prosecution and investigation as they are in opposition. And that's true.

However, I do stand by my other points on the difference between American Republicans and British Conservatives. Your lot are way more extremist than any British Conservative would ever dare to be.

No Conservative would argue for creationism to be taught in schools and no British political figure affiliated with either party would be able to put forward the point being argued by O'Reilly and Scarborough; which is basically that torture works.

That's a position of astonishing immorality and yet that's where several Republican leaning commentators now find themselves.

I am simply pointing out that no person in Britain could make that argument without instantly identifying themselves as an off-their-rocker extremist.

And yet both O'Reilly and Scarborough are considered to be espousing a reasonable argument.

They are publicly calling for war crimes. I honestly think if a right wing TV show host in Britain made that argument that they would be fired.

Robert Kilroy-Silk was an incredibly popular TV journalist over here who wrote an article in which he described Arabs as "suicide bombers" and "limb amputators".

It caused such an outrage that he was forced to resign.

Coulter, O'Reilly, Scarborough and others regularly say far worse - the latest being their insane defence of torture - and nothing happens. In your country the right wing are allowed to be much more extremist than would ever be accepted here in the UK. That is my point.They are publicly calling for war crimes to be committed for God's sake. Where, in your country, is the outrage? To me, there appears to be none. It's as if what they are calling for is somehow acceptable. In my country, the outrageous things they are defending would result in their instant dismissal. In your country, that's simply the right wing view.

Your right wing are dangerous and, I think, violent extremists. They are calling for actions which are way outside of international law and, most worryingly, it doesn't result in their instant alienation from the political process.

Does international law mean anything in your society? And, if it doesn't, shouldn't you correct that - and quickly?

Your country used to be the moral leader of the free world, and now the Republicans are openly calling for war crimes to be committed and no-one seems to find that repugnant.

This is why it is so important that Obama prosecutes the Bush administration. If America is to rejoin the rest of the planet, and to accept the laws which ALL OF US (including the US) have agreed to, then the US needs to challenge the current views of the US right wing. The views which they are espousing are calling for criminality. They are explicitly claiming that the US exists outside of international law.

Your moral position in the world cannot be re-established until that view is forcibly challenged.