Watch yesterday’s Hardball segment. The filth that is spewed by Smerconish is offset by rather profound wisdom from Christopher Hitchens.
Hitchens tells of England in World War 2, when London was being bombed into rubble every night by the Germans and when British interrogators were fired and court martialed if “you so much as raised a hand.” He goes on the say that the expectation was that some of the Germans would come over to the British side.
Smerconish says no limits, “Bring out the blowtorch. They have made it plain that they are not going to play by the rules, so why should we?”
Well, because we are not animals.
Treatment of others is not about who they are, it’s about who we are. I do not threat other people kindly and well because they are good people, I do so because I am a good person. If I deviate from that treatment then I am no longer a good person. The same goes for nations. We are a nation that has laws. If we permit the violation of those laws it does not matter why we did so, we no longer are a nation that has laws.
All of the arguments about whether or not torture works, the arguments about what will happen to our soldiers if we torture captives, about whether or not we are making the enemy fight harder or fight to the death, are irrelevant. All of them are entirely valid, but we do not need them. One argument, and one argument alone is sufficient; we do not torture because we are who we are.
Michael Smerconish is an evil piece of filth. He makes himself so with this discussion. I have disagreed with Christopher Hitchens many more times than I have agreed with him, but during this segment I wanted to jump through the screen and shake his hand as he advocated that evil in defense of freedom is not acceptable.
Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote on this in 2005 in the LA Times. Read the column. He starts with our nation’s beginning, when the British were torturing and hanging captured revolutionaries, and our fighters did not respond in kind. British captives were treated in a humane manner throughout the entire Revolutionary War.
The fact that the patriots refused to abandon these principles, even in the dark times when the war seemed lost, when the enemy controlled our cities and our ragged army was barefoot and starving, credits the character of Washington and the founding fathers and puts to shame the conduct of America's present leadership.
That character of our nation was preserved through the death of millions in many wars, large and small, foreign and domestic. It survived Pearl Harbor. It survived famine, pestilence and financial ruin. It was not the events of 9/11 that brought it down, it was the heinous leadership that this nation suffered following that day that brought it down.
That we can even have this argument, let alone that the argument persists, reveals that we are not the nation we once were.