Monday, April 27, 2009

David Broder, Sage

David Broder disagrees with those of us who favor enforcement of criminal laws:

Their argument is that without identifying and punishing the perpetrators, there can be no accountability -- and therefore no deterrent lesson for future administrations. It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.
As one would expect from a widely-read, well-respected columnist of one of the USA's leading newspapers, Broder's argument peers beneath the meretricious patina of plausibility to this notion of deterrence and alerts his readers to that which only a man of his rare wisdom can divine: "an unworthy desire for vengeance."

A lesser columnist might issue this claim as only the beginning of a longer argument -- perhaps by fleshing out this claim that prosecuting war criminals won't deter any future would-be war criminals on grounds of psychology, history, philosophy, political theory, or the like. Or a lesser columnist might take time to provide some plausible evidence for the assertion that "an unworthy desire for vengeance" lies at the black-hearted center of the pro-prosecution argument.

Not David Broder!

David Broder sees this desire for vengeance; and he sees that it is unworthy. This is David Broder, not just some toadying hack who seems to have achieved his comfortable and prestigious station in life by virtue of having won some kind of perverse lottery! This is David freaking Broder!

As is curiously often the case, David Broder sees what is happening in Washington DC's corridors of power, and sees that it is good:
Obama is being blamed by some for unleashing the furies with his decision to override the objections of past and current national intelligence officials and release four highly sensitive memos detailing the methods used on some "high-value" detainees.

Again, he was right to do so, because these policies were carried out in the name of the American people, and it is only just that we the people confront what we did. Squeamishness is not justified in this case.

But having vowed to end the practices, Obama should use all the influence of his office to stop the retroactive search for scapegoats.
Let it be known to all would-be war criminals of the future: none less than David Broder might just expect you to confront what you did by reading the memos your lawyers wrote about it. Hear this and tremble!

In his willingness to take a tough-worded stand for whatever the moment's asinine, depraved beltway consensus demands, David Broder is reminiscent of Tim Russert. Would it be wrong to suggest Broder becoming even more like Russert?

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