Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Gee whiz, I wasn't supposed to do it, I saw the world blow up, but I did follow the rulebook"

by digby

Poor Joan Walsh. Sometimes it just pains me to see her trying to make sense among the babblers that are featured on Chris Matthews' show every day --- including the host. Today, we saw Donnie Deutch claiming that he's a screaming liberal but he nonetheless believes that torture is acceptable if someone is trying to kill his family. Therefore, torture of "terrorists" is necessary, and he thinks a lot of Americans agree with him. (How we determine whether these are, in fact, terrorists who have such information is not discussed and neither is whether or not he would agree to torture American criminal suspects if the authorities said they were withholding valuable information. )

Joan gallantly made all the right arguments about torture being immoral, useless, illegal etc but it didn't penetrate. Instead we see Chris Matthews, who up until now has taken a fairly hard line against torture, saying some things that are totally ridiculous about the efficacy of torture based on a bunch of nonsense he made up in his head about the jihadi supermen. And then he comes up with his latest "middle ground" argument when Walsh points out that regardless, it's all illegal and until the politicians have the courage to legalize it, it can't be done:

Matthews: I'd rather it be outlawed and force the president to justify breaking the law. I'd rather have that situation because that puts higher pressure on him or her not to break the law. But if they have to do something in the national interest you don't come afterward and say, "gee whiz, I wasn't supposed to do it, I saw the world blow up, but I did follow the rulebook."

We expect president to protect us in extremis, but you've got to have judgment at the top. And I don't want to remove any tool from them in judgment at the top. Generally it may not work. but you're not going to tell me that in a ticking time situation that you might not be moved to try it.

We've got to stop lying about not calling torture torture and stop saying denial of oxygen isn't torture and stop playing with the rule book. the rule book can say no torture. But presidents have to do things like shoot down airplanes with 200 people on them. They';ve got to do things that aren't in the rule book Imagine that. cheney might have had to shoot down that plane that landed in Pennsylvania with the passengers,. he might have shot down that plane if it got through. And he might have done that and I'm sure it's against the law to shoot down airplanes, but he would have done it because that would have been the right thing to do.

Joan then pointed out that making a bunch of enemies in this "reign of torture" might just be the biggest mistake we make to which Donnie Deutch balefully shook his head and said:

Joan. (sigh) Joan you know what? Unfortunately sometimes we've got to go back and watch the Nicholson speech in A Few Good Men. Sometimes we need these guys on the wall that we don't want to talk about at parties.

Just shoot me now.

I don't know how prevalent Matthews' latest "idea" is among the villagers, but it goes back to Alan Dershowitz whose original articles after 9/11 were among those that put torture on the table. He argued, however, that we should legalize torture so the president isn't put in the position of breaking the law, which at least respects the basic notion that the president is subject to it. Matthews thinks the president needs to have the law stay in place as a sort of guideline that forces the president to think a little bit before he does whatever he needs to do to keep us all safe. He literally believes that the president has no obligation to follow the law, however, but rather use his "judgment." The founders must be rolling in their graves.

BTW: the idea that the Vice President was doing the right thing by ordering the military to shoot down an airliner is mind-boggling. The president was certainly available to make that "judgment" himself and according to the 9/11 report there were people in the room who were profoundly suspicious that ole Uncle Dick forgot to ask him before he made that decision. That alone should be cause for anyone to doubt whether or not that particular "system" of relying on judgment calls is a good idea.