Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 21, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

BAD MOOD....Haven't posted much today. Sorry. Here's the longwinded explanation.

I slept badly last night and woke up tired this morning. In some people this induces crankiness, in me it makes me feel depressed. Reading the morning paper and scanning the blogosphere obviously didn't help my mood much, so after a couple of short posts I figured maybe I'd try to get some more sleep.

Hopeless, of course. I've never been able to sleep in the middle of the day. So I tried reading instead. Unfortunately, a couple of days ago I decided to reread 1984, and I'm just at the part where we're being lectured about how continuous war is necessary in order to keep the masses under control. That obviously hit a bit too close to the bone, and sure didn't do anything to cheer me up.

So I took a shower, then came back downstairs and ran across this entry over at &c about torture:

....it does complicate the practical and moral calculus considerably if the only way we could have caught Saddam was through these means [i.e., torture]--or at least some milder variant of them. Again, I'm not saying it would have been justified--or even forgiveable--even in that case. But the question does seem highly relevant to the analysis of the situation--if for no other reason than it forces people think through precisely what their opposition to torture is.

Now, I don't blame Noam Scheiber for a second for writing this. Public musings of this nature are exactly what blogs are for. But dammit can it really be that in the year 2004 my fellow countrymen are seriously debating whether or not torture is OK as long as it extracts useful information? Have we really sunk to that level of barbarism?

So I gave up. I'm just not meant to face the world today. But I will say that there's one ray of sunshine in the unremitting stream of bad news that's assaulting us daily in this, the fourth year of George Bush's regency: Instapundit. He's been posting like a madman, as though he's decided to take on the task of bucking up the flagging morale of his fellow war supporters singlehandedly. 35 posts yesterday and 17 so far today! And this is one happy world he lives in: things in Iraq are going splendidly, all the problems you hear about are mere inventions of the liberal media, Nick Berg is still topping Google searches, the press is paying way too much attention to all that Abu Ghraib stuff, and the insurgency in Fallujah is well under control.

It's a virtuoso display. But what I wonder is this: has he actually convinced himself that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia, or does he know better and is just pretending otherwise? And which would be the more impressive performance?

Kevin Drum 5:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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