Right Outcome, Wrong Reason

Over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton lays out the reasons why it is likely that Attorney General of the United States Alberto Gonzales is on his way out of office.

I still don’t know why we in this country tolerated the appointment of someone who in any way condoned, much less worked hard to justify, torture. That he would be forced from office for practicing politics instead underscores the fact that in the war on terror, we lost: we took up the means of terror and joined the moral cesspool of those we originally spoke of opposing. Whether Iraq emerges as a stable secular state or not is not part of the victory conditions for that war; when we took up a moral imperative as our justification we entered what should be seen as a court of equity, and it is how we conducted ourselves that makes the difference on whether we can claim victory or not. Even if the terrorists were somehow able to eradicate the entire USA, had we but maintained our commitment to our principles of justice, that would have been victory on the moral battlefield we selected. Instead, we have cheapened ourselves by choosing morally repugnant means of acting in this “war”, at every turn we chose cheapness and expediency as our guiding principles, discounting human dignity and justice. I include myself in this; I spoke up here about torture before, but did little else. I contributed to our failure by not doing more to impress upon my elected representatives just how strongly I felt about this topic. Complacency is complicity here, folks. Gitmo is my fault, and Abu Ghraib, and all the lives disrupted because we don’t bother to presume innocence anymore, because I knew that our leadership was going down the wrong path and I didn’t do more to stop it.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

3 thoughts on “Right Outcome, Wrong Reason

  • 2007/04/13 at 6:30 pm

    Have you considered joining Amnesty International or some other human rights group?

  • 2007/04/14 at 2:58 am

    Good suggestion. I did a bit of volunteer work for an AI regional representative in Washington state when I lived there, but haven’t had interactions with AI since. I will look into that.

  • 2007/04/14 at 7:03 pm

    Also, you could look into the anti-slavery movement called Amazing Change: http://www.amazingchange.com/

    Even today, slavery is a serious human rights problem.

    Anyway, Amazing Change is a tie-in with the recent film “Amazing Grace” — about the great abolitionist William Wilberforce. (And it was a very good film, I might add.)

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