No time to go wobbly

· American Glasnost

Last November I voted against torture. I voted against the party that was making excuses for, defending, and facilitating torture. I’m not particularly proud of myself for this, but I did wonder how others could convince themselves that supporting the party of torture was OK or justified or necessary. Now (Setting the bar, absolutely) I’m starting to understand:

Gregory Djerejian gets comments I can only dream about:

let me put this delicately. some in my circles view your blog as giving aid and comfort to terrorists, which, if treasonous, is not protected under the first amendment… at the very least, you could be shut down, and, in the US at least, I trust you know the consequences of treason if determined by a court of law (other countries have no such compunction… in your travels, I suggest you watch your back). you call yourself a patriot. don’t you know we are at war? just a friendly reminder to someone I believe has good intentions, but whose actions are misguided. don’t let them lead you down the path of dishonor. prisoner abuse, if you look hard enough (and sometimes not so hard) can be found in any country and should be criticized, much less condoned… but in dwelling on such issues, I think you have your priorities way off. when prosecuting a war against terrorism, caring about our enemies (in the sense of placing mint-chocolate on their pillows every evening for their efforts before they go bed, i.e. their state of mind, welfare and general wellbeing) should be the least of our worries… in basketball, if you commit an offensive foul, you take note of it and move on. if you get enough of them you sit out, but that doesn’t mean you stop the game. you see it to its conclusion doing everything you can to help the team win. like the president (coach) sez, you’re either with us or against us. which side are you on?

This apparently comes in response to this….

I realize that this throws a really icky asymmetry into the Aristotelian universe of polite American centrism, but I’ve crunched the numbers. As I said in January:

You don’t want a partisan battle. I don’t want one either – that’s exactly the opposite of what I want. I want you to actively oppose the Gonzales nomination and the legitimization of extra-legal torture. I want Republicans to fight against this damned thing so it stops and never happens again. There will be no ratification of torture if both sides oppose it. But if we don’t come together on this, and if it turns into partisan fight, and if it ends up validating the President’s supra-legal authority to torture who he pleases, the fault will not lie with those who tried to stop it. The blame will be on those who excused it, and on those who, while claiming opposition, stood around and did nothing….

I propose this: a scale, inspired by the invaluable Crackpot Index, by which to measure anyone’s level of seriousness in dealing with the full panoply of issues presented by the torture/abuse scandals. Everyone starts at a base of zero; positive scores represent positive stands against torture, negative scores represent disingenuous pro-torture stands. This Sabermetric Torture Apologist/Adversary Rating, or STAR, can then be used to determine not just the pro or con position of a given argument, but even the absolute magnitude of such a position. It can be divided into STAR Per Word or STAR Per Minute Average (SPWA or SPMA), and plotted over time, or used to give a normalized measure of how intensely one supports or opposes torture. This ruleset could perhaps be written into some kind of internet robot, which could spider through the world wide web, and, through the magic of computers, automate the process completely, leaving everyone free to pursue other interests, like embroidery or necrophilia.

Be sure to read the Editors’ full post because, in penance for highjacking so much of his buttery rich copy, I’ve left out some good bits from the above and I’ve cut his full delineation of the STAR calculation systems at the end of his last entry before rehab / detox / hiatus / ‘n’ shit.