January 7, 2005

Crime and demeanor

Sam Smith, The Progressive Review:

'ALBERTO GONZALEZ will undoubted be approved by the Senate since he meets the current Washington standard for confirmation: he has not been found guilty of any indictable offense and doesn't have an illegal nannie.

'In fact, he and his buddies should probably be prosecuted under the RICO statute for sitting around the White House plotting ways to ignore various national and international laws as they tortured people. And his evasive answers clearly put him the category of other great congressional witnesses such as the mobsters who appeared before the Kefauver committee.

'Finally, it was clear that Gonzalez, like much of official Washington, considers moral values to be defined not by the Father Almighty but by the criminal code. The idea that one might want to stand further than just the other side of criminality is an alien one to your capital city.

'Not even the press bothers about such concerns anymore. They are considered quaint and obsolete. One Washington correspondent patiently explained to Diane Rehm why stress positions shouldn't be considered torture and on CSPAN, an editor of City Journal, Heather MacDonald, announced that "we need these tools" and that we are "too good for our own good."

'It is with the aid of such sophistry that evil flourishes, whether episodic or organized as fascism. Great wrong doesn't just come out of the barrel of the gun; it also comes from the cynical rationalizations of those who are meant to know better.'