For more than two years now, Andrew Sullivan has been launching a war against a civil discussion of gay marriage and the Administration’s policies on the treatment of terrorists captured on the battlefield. And just as importantly, he launched a war to besmirch the president’s policies to win the War on Terror. Rather than promote debate of these difficult and oftentimes contentious issues, rather than respect the opinions of his intellectual adversaries, rather than evaluate each issue on its merits, Andrew wants to drag the brave servicemen fighting for our country into his campaign to smear the President of the United States, his aides and supporters.*
That’s exactly what he did in his post yesterday when he attempted to link the brutal torture and murder of two U.S. servicemen to what he calls “the logic of torture-reciprocity endorsed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Gonzales.” On this blog, Bruce found Andrew’s post “outrageous” while the Conjecturer’s Joshua Foust called it “revolting.” In a comment to Joshua’s post, the Malcontent said that Andrew “has gone from respectable to reprehensible.” Dan Riehl responded with a stronger one-word rejoinder.
It is striking that Andrew’s response to the barbaric murder of two servicemen is neither to offer sympathy for their families or to condemn the sadists who took their lives, but to make a mean-spirited snarky comment about the President and his top advisors.
That’s because since February 24, 2004, Andrew Sullivan has been more interested in attacking President Bush than dispassionately commenting on Administration policy. He has, as in the linked post, accused the Administration of sanctioning torture, focusing on uncorroborated reports and leaving out key details. As Heather MacDonald has shown, Andrew’s “torture narrative’ ignores some inconvenient facts.”
A serious person can hardly compare what Al Qaeda did to those two soldiers to the policies the Administration has considered (and adopted). Al Qaeda wasn’t trying to get information from these soldiers, but was inflicting pain merely for the sake of inflicting pain. When the Administration sanctions the use of interrogation techniques (that Andrew considers torture), they’re interested not in inflicting pain but in getting information from terrorists in order to stop their cohorts from committing atrocities like the one committed this week and others that are far worse, far, far, far, far worse.