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Is it Fair for Me to Call Republican Torture Supporters Cowards?

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:45 PM
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Is it Fair for Me to Call Republican Torture Supporters Cowards?
I know that Republicans hate to be called cowards. Perhaps thats why they always seem to be so much in favor of our country going to war, even though in the great majority of cases they wont be the ones who fight in it. For some reason that I cant figure out, they think that supporting decisions to send other people to fight in a war makes them seem brave.

In a previous post I defined a coward as someone who combines fearfulness and uncaring to such a large degree that he or she would actively hurt people to ameliorate his or her fears. And in a recent post, consistent with that definition, I implied that Republicans who support the Bush administration torture policies are cowards because they are so fearful and uncaring about other people that, in order to make themselves feel safer they would have hundreds of other people go through the hell of being repeatedly tortured.

Let me explain why I did that. There is a great deal of evidence that the good majority of people whom the Bush administration is having tortured are innocent of any significant wrong-doing. And even if we didnt have independent evidence of that, it ought to be obvious from the fact that the Bush administration holds hundreds of men (and boys) in confinement indefinitely without bringing charges against them, without allowing them to face their accusers, without allowing them to defend themselves, and without notifying their families. To me, that sounds like the very height of evil and cowardice, which of course are two very highly related traits. And anyone who knowingly supports those kinds of activities is also a coward, by any reasonable definition of the term.

I find the fact that my government does these kinds of things horrifying. We are ruled by a bunch of cowardly monsters who have a tremendous amount of power, and I am very much afraid of my own government. In fact, the only thing that stops me from being terrified of them is that they dont know who I am.

My feelings about this mimic those expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: I believe that the Bush administrations disregard and contempt for human rights has resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscious of mankind. And they have outraged my conscience too, which is why Ive posted several articles on the DU about the Bush administrations torture policies, as discussed by Seymour Hersh, Jimmy Carter, Richard Durbin, Wes Clark, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and James Yee (the U.S. Army Chaplain who was responsible for the spiritual/religious needs of Guantanamo Bay prisoners for several months).

Ok, I guess this doesnt sound much like I really question whether its fair to call them cowards so far, but Im getting to that. Its not that I have changed my mind that support for the Bush administration policies is cowardly. It is, and Im sticking to that.

But what Ive failed to do before being so vocal in my vehement criticism of these Republican cowards is put myself in their shoes. Its easy for me to say that I oppose the torture policies of the Bush administration, because I recognize that those policies make me (and all of us) far more vulnerable to terrorists than I would otherwise be, rather than less vulnerable, as I meticulously discussed in this post. But what if I had the logical thinking skills of a Republican? What if I honestly believed, like Republicans apparently do, that these policies were protecting me and that if not for the torture policies of the Bush administration our country would be invaded by evil Muslims who would capture me and take me to a dungeon and torture me for several months or years?

If I believed that, as Republicans do, then I would be grateful to the Bush administration for capturing these people and taking them to dungeons and torturing them for several years in order to prevent them from doing that to me. Or rather, I would be grateful to the Bush administration for doing that if I was a coward, like those Republicans who are grateful to the Bush administration for doing those things.

But how do I know that I wouldnt feel the same way as the Republicans do about this issue if I saw the world as they do? In other words, if I believed that the Bush administration was doing these terrible things in order to keep me safe? Or, to put it more bluntly, would I be willing to have other people tortured if I believed that doing so was keeping me safe and preventing a similar fate from befalling on me?

I doubt that I will ever know the answer to that question because it is highly doubtful that I will ever believe that such terrible things are keeping me safe. And until I can say that I know how I would react if I had the deluded mind set of a typical Republican, is it not somewhat unfair or even hypocritical of me to call those Republicans cowards? even though they obviously are?
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Bluzmann57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sure it's ok to call them cowards
It's only the truth.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. Call them anything except Patriots. Call them child-rapists. n/t

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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. I prefer "evildoers"
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Karmageddon Donating Member (596 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:55 PM
Response to Original message
4. your question "if I saw the world as they do?" answers itself
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 03:55 PM by Karmageddon
If you saw the world as they do, then you would be a coward.

Yes, it is okay, in fact it is right and just to call them cowards. The truth will set you (or keep you) free.
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kansasblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. U.S. General said 70 - 90% of people held in Iraq are Innocent..

But the people I talk to say... 'but we got to keep us safe'. Yup... they well do anything to be 'safe'. Torture and daughter in front of her father? Ask them.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. And how do they justify that?
Are those their Republican values?

Or do they just say that they're so scared that they're willing to do anything to relieve the fear?

And btw I believe that that 70-90% figure is a great underestimate of the percent innocent, if by innocent we mean innocent of terrorism or a connection to it.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
7. Stupidity is not a *defense* against the charge of cowardliness...
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 07:34 PM by BlooInBloo
... although it might in some cases be a *cause* of said cowardliness.

In order to escape the charge of cowardliness, one basically has to free republicans from being *moral agents* - in roughly the same manner that courts admit a status of "not competent to stand trial", or "innocent by reason of insanity".

But to go this far in one's stupidly-uber-fair attempt to countenance the notion that they aren't cowards, but merely radically stupid, is to go to far. For to deny someone's status as a *moral agent* is in essence, to deny them personhood to a significant degree.

I'm not saying it isn't *correct* to hoe that row, rather than the cowardice row, I'm just pointing out that you aren't doing them any favors by choosing the not-an-agent row. It ends up being somewhat similar to the are-you-lying-or-just-really-really-stupid question. Initially the thought might be to spare your interlocutor from the ascription of malevolence implied by "lie", but the amount of stupidity that must be attributed to make up for it turns out to be so high, that you haven't really done your interlocutor a favor. You could think of it as a Kirkoff's law of morality, as it were - a conservation law.


EDIT: For myself, I think it's far more derogatory to withhold the ascription of agency to someone, than it is to ascribe malevolent intent. More importantly, perhaps, I think the course of optimism (hope for an improved future) almost requires the assumption of agency - you can't get a rock to choose anything, since it's not in the choice-game - but you can (theoretically) get a bad-chooser to make better choices in the future. Moreover, as an empirical matter, one effective way of getting people to improve their choices is to *shame* them into better choices (there are various ways to do that, some subtle, some gross). Note that the concept of *shame* applies only to those whom one thinks of as moral agents - rather than the abyssmally stupid.
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