Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

Sully preaches

Cheney was too long with the ring of power. Sullivan responds with what his assistant blogger Chris Bodenner aptly labelsa barnburner.”  Sample:

King is right, of course, that the difference between what Bush authorized and the new revelations is non-existent. There is no moral or legal distinction between subjecting someone to 960 hours of sleep deprivation (as Bush did to Qahtani), or slamming people against walls, of freezing them to near-death, or murdering them by stress position … and threatening to murder someone’s kids or stage a mock execution. But King then draws the inference that all of it is fine, as long as it cannot be portrayed in the tabloids as literally drilling through a detainee’s skull. (He seems unaware that this would actually kill someone, not torture them.)

But King is not alone in believing that the US should be less restrained by moral qualms than Iranians demand of their own illegitimate regime. Indeed, much of the American people, especially evangelical Christians, expect less in terms of human rights from their own government than Iranians do of theirs’. In fact, American evangelicals are much more pro-torture in this respect than many Iranian Muslims.

This is what Bush and Cheney truly achieved in their tragic response to 9/11: two terribly failed, brutally expensive wars, the revival of sectarian warfare and genocide in the Middle East, the end of America’s global moral authority, the empowerment of Iran’s and North Korea’s dictatorships, and the nightmares of Gitmo and Bagram still haunting the new administration.

Something broke in Cheney with 9/11, for which I feel sympathy. Sadly the world was subject to his subsequent spiral of terrified flailing, culpability, guilt, and terrified and flailing ass-covering. The man needed to be in therapy. Now, IMHO, he needs to be in jail. Instead he continues to enjoy the legitimacy of the highest halls of the purportedly thinking right…

Cheney at the American Enterprise Institute's "Annual Black-Tie Gala."

Cheney at the American Enterprise Institute's "Annual Black-Tie Gala."

Photo via Tim Mak.


On another note, I stumbled onto Dramatica’s entry on Sullivan and thought it was priceless (if decidedly NSFW). Sample:

Andrew Sullivan has near superhuman empathy with the victims of torture. Whenever anyone, anywhere in the world is tortured, his butt begins to tingle and hurt. It doesn’t matter whether the victim is being water-boarded, fed feet first through a wood-chipper, or simply wrapped in the Israeli flag; St. Andrew can feel his pain. Because of this, Sully must blog at least 100 times a week about torture, or his empathic powers will overwhelm his already fragile herpes-addled brain and drive him insane.



5 Responses to “Sully preaches”

  1. “much of the American people, especially evangelical Christians, expect less in terms of human rights from their own government than Iranians do of theirs’.”

    I take issue with this statement. Some people–many people–seem to think that saying “evangelical” Christian is akin to saying “the kind of Christian that supports the political right/far right”, but those are probably more often the kind of people evangelicals would refer to as “cultural Christians”, i.e. the kind who attend church on Christmas and Easter and maybe a bit more often, just because that’s what everyone else in town does.


    As an evangelical myself, I always feel like dealing with this bad rep is such an uphill battle. This crap not only doens’t apply to me; it doesn’t apply to any of the evangelical Christians I know. Even the Republicans among them don’t support torture.

    I know, I know, I should post this on his post, not yours. But I’m tired. I’m not going to get drawn into one of those interminable “Christians are horrible!” “Enjoy Hell!” arguments so efficiently produced by the internet hate machine (nod to your thesis!).

    • Thanks for the comment Deirdre. While I totally agree that it’s not fair to all evangelical Christians to make absolute statements dismissing them all as egotists that cheer-lead for the dehumanization and torture of others—you definitely standing as an example of one to whom such a statement would not be fair—I have a lot of experience with evangelical Christianity and sadly you do stand as a rare exception in a lot of respects. And most of those whose egotism I took great issue with then, and take great issue with now, expressly write up what I see as their anti-tolerant immorality to their evangelical “principled” Christianity. As such it surely /is/ an uphill battle to fight through the prejudices that that kind of behaviour has generated in our society. And it is no less an uphill battle to fight against the prejudice, bigotry, and egotism that does exist within the larger evangelical community itself.

      I’ll say that growing up in a largely evangelical high school, it was no less of an uphill battle to establish myself as not inherently a bad person for (a) not accepting that the Bible should be read literally (or need to be accepted at all by a person to qualify them as good), (b) not thinking that there’s a particular moral problem with homosexuality, swearing, sex, or drugs, (c) supporting the liberal party of Canada, (d) etc. etc. etc.

      I’m sorry to put it in these terms, but we all have our crosses to bear, but if anything I think we should consider it an opportunity to bear them. You occupy a critical place in the discourse, and a key perspective that should be championed if we are going to live with each other with mutual respect and understanding. These are uphill battles absolutely worth waging.

  2. I should add–I’ve never told anyone to enjoy going to hell or anything like that, even online–but if the argument gets started about whether Christians are or are not the problem, some misguided and incensed individual probably will.

  3. And to defend Sullivan for a second. He is particularly offended because he is a devout Christian (a Catholic) who is also a gay man, and has thus had to deal with a tremendous amount of bigotry. And note that he very conspicuously didn’t say “all.” Here’s a perspective piece he did on his relationship with Christianity back in 2006.

  4. I think the responsibility lies at the top of the administration that asked for torture to begin by renaming it as “enhanced interrogation techniques”, (even Ronald Regan, called the practice of torture “abhorrent”), is anyone surprised that Cheney is now crying about the investigations.

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