Monday, February 28, 2005

Jonah Goldberg on Torture

Jonah Goldberg of the National Review Online thinks it would be good if nobody knew that the U.S. adminstration uses torture. In fact, that people know about the torture is worse than the torture itself:

For him, that concept extends to the clandestine activities of the U.S. government. "If, because of a legal regime in the U.S. which guarantees the civil liberties of Americans -- and I'm all in favor of that -- we have to go to other countries in order to successfully interrogate terrorists, then I'm not horrified by that proposition," Goldberg says. And while he concedes that it fundamentally contradicts what the United States stands for, "what undermines what we stand for," he says, "is the publication of all this information."

"We did all sorts of terrible things in World War II, and there was a reason why we had military censors," he says. "I do think there's a reason why the CIA does this stuff in secret, and why I think it should do a lot of things in secret. These things have a lot of propaganda value, both negative and positive, so I think we need to separate out what we think are 'good policies' from what the consequences are if those policies are publicized."

"There are lots of things that are ugly and terrible about war," Goldberg adds. "I think that people on the right are more comfortable allowing for that."

Especially those like Jonah who are fighting safely from behind a desk and who don't have to worry about what would happen to them if they were caught by the enemy. But still, how odd for Goldberg to own up to all this, to say that he is comfortable allowing for the ugly and the terrible about war. Has he ever experienced any of it, except vicariously? Or is that what he means, that he's comfortable with someone else's experiences of ugliness and terror?

I find this very creepy.