Friday, September 29, 2006

The eternal, unvarying triumph of Good over Evil

White always mates, he thought with a sort of cloudy mysticism. Always, without exception, it is so arranged. In no chess problem since the beginning of the world has black ever won. Did it not symbolize the eternal, unvarying triumph of Good over Evil? The huge face gazed back at him, full of calm power. White always mates.

Norman Geras is curiously reticent for a moral philosopher on that subject, but at least he wrote a lengthy post and the words which are his and not cut-and-pastes are "This, from Jared Goldstein, says the necessary". The quotation from this being:

Congress is now poised to do something it has never done before: Take away the right of prisoners to seek habeas corpus. Since long before the United States became a nation, the right to seek habeas corpus has guaranteed that anyone imprisoned by the government may ask a judge to determine whether he or she is properly imprisoned. The right to seek habeas corpus has applied to prisoners regardless of whether they are citizens or foreigners, and no matter how dangerous they are accused of being, or how horrible their alleged crimes.
The right to habeas corpus has been a basic part of English common law, and, later, American law, since the adoption of the Magna Carta, in 1215, which established that no one could be imprisoned on the mere say-so of the king.
The founders of the United States considered habeas corpus to be such a fundamental protection against tyranny that they enshrined it in the Constitution. Congress has expanded the right to seek habeas corpus several times, and it has never tried to take the right away. To do so now would turn our backs on our fundamental principles of justice.

The Bush administration has proposed revoking this fundamental right for the 450 or so foreigners held at Guantanamo. If Congress goes along, no limits will remain on the government's power to imprison people without evidence and without trial. Doubtlessly, the United States can and should lock up terrorists posing a threat to the nation - but it must do so within the bounds of law.
Our strength as a nation is demonstrated when we treat even our worst enemies within the rule of law.

OK, what is this doing on Aaro Watch you ask? Hey, we ask the questions.
Here's a story in the Washington Post by Ariel Dorfman. Here's another, also in the WaPo by Vladimir Bukovsky. Funny thing that, why are two guys from close to opposite sides of the planet recounting their experiences in an American newspaper?
Well, I don't know, I'm sure. Nick's pressing concerns have been The Decline of the English Boozer and Anti-Americanism. Dave thinks his Arabs-are-bad-and-Leftists-are-hypocrites tv show the big news of the moment. Someone carried a placard which read, We Are All Hezbollah Now. Just one person, yet they somehow spoke for the entire left. Both our boys claim to be anti-anti-Americans, which I think makes them philo-Americans, and, given their day jobs, you'd think they followed the news.
If Nick is so interested in George Orwell's writings about watering holes, he may care to reread (I hope) this.
But worse things happen at sea. Our boys are not relativists, exactly, but they'd like you to know that bad things happen elsewhere. So the pressing question of the day continues to be Where did the Left go wrong?
Perhaps they will ask this in the US too, as they will also ask Have you seen my pipe? or Do you know the way to San Jose? The answers will always be the same. But this no longer matters.
Did you know they're still interrogating people in Guantanamo? Four, five years are inmates were captured, can they be expected to reveal anything worthwhile now? But we all know the kids in the military wanted to be film stars and now's their chance:

Mr. Blonde: Listen kid, I'm not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don't give a good fuck what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It's amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want cause I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get.

Placards and pubs. Good work guys.
UPDATE: this is the other post I wrote a few days ago and then sat on. I searched Nick's site for 'torture' and he does mention it a few times. He's against, of course. (But so is everyone, apologists apologise for and justify 'harsh treatment' and so on.) I did find this:

To her credit, she [Cherie Booth-Blair] talks a great deal of sense when she isn’t giving turgid lectures on the history of PMs’ wives. Her speech on torture for Human Rights Watch earlier this month deplored the barbarism seeping into the Western anti-terror strategy while dismissing the wilder demands of civil liberties lawyers. It was the best attempt to get a difficult subject right I've heard.
For that, I can forgive the fact that she is a sucker for every snake-oil selling quack, New Age gobble-de-gook peddler and iffy estate agent with overvalued property to off load.

Likewise, I'd forgive the newly-minted fogey moans about wine bars for one decent post on John McCain.


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