Friday, July 23, 2004

Does life begin? Yes, it begins

The Army’s inspector general releases a report slash whitewash on the prisoner abuse scandal which is also clearly the product of a committee, but falls into a different genre than the 9/11 report. Rather, it is a "the system is perfect, it’s the individuals--lots and lots and lots of individuals--who failed" report. While that genre might seem to be the exact opposite of the approach of the 9/11 report, both have the effect of absolving everyone--everyone who counts--of any responsibility.

MISTAKES WERE MADE: In the interests of full disclosure, in my first-ever post mentioning bin Laden, in August 1998, I wrote "I suspect this bin Laden character has been promoted, and probably promoted way out of his league, to Darth-Vader-of-the-year to put a human face on the Enemy."  Oops, I guess.

The 9/11 commission blamed a failure of imagination. Bill Clinton can’t be faulted for lack of imagination: think of the innovative uses he found for cigars. Actually, the Clintonites more or less understood the dangers, but weren’t clear how to respond to them and didn’t want to screw up their doomed efforts to secure Middle East peace. The Bushies were the ones who didn’t get it, and I suspect this was because they were so ideologically contemptuous of the wimpy Clintonites that they were unwilling to be briefed by them or take their concerns seriously. It’s the partisanship, stupid.

Kerry answers a question on whether early-term abortions are murder: "No, because it's not the form of life that takes personhood in the terms that we have judged it to be in the past. It's the beginning of life. Does life begin? Yes, it begins. Is it at the point where I would say that you apply those [criminal] penalties? The answer is, no, and I believe in choice. I believe in the right to choose, and the government should not involve itself in that choice, beyond where it has in the context of Roe vs. Wade." And by the time he’s finished answering the question, another trimester has passed.

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