Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I believe slander is still a sin ...

So when Mark dismisses the ticking time bomb scenario as absurd, his ever-reliable Democrat shill (who apparently holds reservations about the need to punish Osama bin Laden) notes that Jimmy Akin used the exact same analogy (from 24, no less). Mark's reply is:
I'm not quite sure why you seem to have such a grudge against Jimmy. Of all the participants in this discussion, Jimmy seems to me to be a rather honest one. He has not, for over a year, been arguing relentlessly both in my comboxes and elsewhere to make every conceivable excuse for torture. At most, after long hearing demands from people to answer the question "What is torture?" he ventured an opinion. That's... what he does on his blog. Then he moved on to other questions. I think he did his best to answer what is, at the end of the day, the wrong question. But since that's the question that was put to him, I can hardly blame him, new to the discussion, for having done so. To speak as though he is somehow leading some sort of charge against the Church's teaching instead of coming late to a discussion, taking a stab at the subject and then moving on seems rather unfair.

There are voices in St. Blog's that really are laboring to make excuses for torture (such as the spectacularly lame "Our forces have committed atrocities in the past, so that's a good reason to make torture legal under Bush now". This really is part of a long-standing pattern of trying by almost every means at their command to minimize, explain away, ridicule and laugh off the issue of torture as it is actually practiced and justified by this Administration.

While the individual who started the discussion no doubt regards Akin (and by extension Catholic Answers, though he continues to hope that the latter be salvaged through adoption of his preferred "social gospel" agenda) as yet another cog in the Republican propaganda machine to be refuted, I think that Mark's continued and rather condescending "oh Jimmy doesn't know what he's talking about here, pay him no mind" is running rather thin. Yes, Jimmy blogs about subjects other than torture (so do we!) but arguing that he tried to answer the wrong question is little more than BS at this point. It's another example of Mark shifting the goalposts away from his interpretation of Magisterial documents to a far less controversial position (should we treat prisoners humanely?). I actually welcoming him doing this, since the more he continues to shift the less convincing he is going to be when he issues his next round of anathema sits.

Actually, if Mark had actually read rather than "skimmed" Victor's post he would have found the following:
Shea constantly insists that the moral world didn't change on September 11 (true) and that the military already regulated interrogation techniques and "torture" was illegal then under US law (true) and so therefore the only reason to want to have new rules post-September-11 would be to gain the right to torture (false ... but that's not really my point). Shea will claim, in support of this position about the how the desire to torture is being pushed by Bush, that the US was able to win World War Two and the Cold War without "torture" ... in that specific context and as a rebuttal argument, not a prima-facie argument (that we be "we tortured during World War 2, therefore we should now"), what sort of practices the US actually did engage in during World War II become relevant (to me at least) for that purpose.

So even a cursory reading of Victor's post would have given Mark a direct refutation of the argument that he claims Victor is making. Moreover, nowhere in the post did Victor call, either explicitly or implicitly, for a revival of the interrogation techniques that were used during WW2 (he also hasn't called for a revival of ethnicity-based detention, which we also did during WW2). Unless Mark can demonstrate to the contrary, he should be prepared to retract that particular accusation or not be surprised when we continue to brand him as a liar. I think that we now have a fairly copious body of documentation just in the archives of COF for that purposes.

Also note: Mark continues to believe that the only reason that anyone could ever disagree with him on this issue is partisan desire to defend the Bush administration.


Anonymous said...

FYI: Mark's response.

Phillip said...

"Apparently, they were not trying to justify torture. Instead they were simply forming a schoolgirl pack of jeerers and sneering at me for not knowing history, even though I know it perfectly well, in this case. My apologies for mistaking an adolescent jeer for a substantive attempt to make the case for torture. It was entirely my fault. I thought they were saying something. They were, to be clear, saying nothing at all. Simply making fun of fantasy named 'Mark Shea'."

Last I checked such comments were also sinful.

roger h. said...

Shea's dismissal of ticking time bomb scenarios is bewildering. Or maybe like the torture issue, he's taking a fundamentalist approach to it and doesn't think jet passenger planes could be used like, and therefore be classified as, bombs.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Mark dismisses the ticking time bomb scenario for the same reason he swallows the argument, against all historical evidence, that torture does not occasionally produce useful intelligence: it allows him to fulminate against torure risk free. This is also why, contrary to his recent protestations, he would routinely lambaste the way the Bush administration by contrasting it unfavorably with a golden American past he conjured up, where torture was never resorted to, prisoners were never mistreated but somehow we won our wars. Thus Mark, in his own mind, can be anti-torture without his position possibly risking a loss in a war for the survival of all Americans. Of course Mark does not want to debate his position, not any more. He simply wishes it to be accepted as Gospel truth.