[FoRK] Keeping it under wraps till November 3.

Gordon Mohr gojomofork at xavvy.com
Mon Aug 2 23:44:25 PDT 2004


Owen Byrne wrote:
> Gordon Mohr wrote:
> 
>> Bill specifically did not dispute the report of child prisoner
>> mistreatment as bullshit. He called bullshit against one highlighted
>> sentence:
>>
>> >> Thank god the US liberated those orphanages.
>> >> Owen
>>
>> The sarcastic implication of that sentence is that the children
>> in the Baath regime's insitutions were better off before the US
>> arrived. That's the cheap shot.
>>
> Sorry if I don't fall down before the almighty wonderfullness that is 
> the United States. Are you saying that children in - oh -
> - a school, hospital, or orphanage - under the Baath regime are not 
> better off than being in an American run PRISON where
> they are tortured? 

I am saying that as a class, the children who were in the Baath
orphanages are now better off.

Of course if any of that class were subsequently imprisoned, and then
became victims of specific abuses, those exact children are probably
worse off. But then again, there was testimony of child rape, torture,
and maiming/murder under the Baath regime, in orphanages and schools.
So even assuming the worst, it could be a wash. I don't know.

Do you really think the functionaries of a totalitarian regime were
*more* moral, restrained, and ultimately accountable, on average, than
wayward US soldiers?

Is it simply the fact that now there are digital pictures that makes you
feel the Baath oppressio was prefrable? Out of sight, out of mind?

Visceral revulsion isn't a policy.

> I suppose the ones killed by "surgical" airstrikes 
> are better off too.

Snark isn't a policy either.

Of course the particular people who died are worse off. But if more
lives were saved than taken, summed over say the next 10 years,
where does that leave things?

That's one fair way to judge the war. Just because every possible
outcome involved a lot of ugliness and death doesn't absolve us of
attempting to engineer the least bad outcome.

Just dwelling on the particular bad outcomes that feed your
prejudices doesn't help determine what was the proper course until
now, or what the proper course might be going forward.

- Gordon


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