Friday, February 19, 2010

Cheney says he was a big supporter of waterboarding

"When the President Does it, That Means That it is Not Illegal" - Richard Milhous Nixon.

4 comments:

steve said...

So what's you're point? That whatever is legal is smart and moral whereas whatever is illegal is dumb and immoral?

What side were you on during the civil rights movement or the anti-war movement in the 60s?

Were you a member of the John Birch Society?

Dustin said...

Yes, Steve, that is definitely the only way to interpret Victor's point.

Victor Reppert said...

Actually, in the 60s I was pretty much a Goldwater Republican. The sixties ended when I was a high school junior, and I didn't lose my faith in Republicans until the aftermath of Watergate.

The Bush Administration reminds me a lot of the Nixon Administration. Both administrations thought that our country was under threat, that it had to do what it had to do to protect America, even if it involved violating the law. In fact Cheney is on record as saying that Nixon should not have been removed from office, since he was only doing what he had the right to do for the sake of national security. The only difference between Nixon and Bush-Cheney is that Tricky Dick taped himself. So now, instead of an 18 1/2 minute gap, we have millions of missing e-mails.

It could, I suppose, turn out that the break-ins under Nixon, and the waterboarding under Bush-Cheney, were necessary to protect our country from some catastrophe, and therefore have a utilitarian justification despite being violations of national and international law. I think we have good grounds for skepticism in both cases. I think that both administrations answered the seductive call of the arrogance of power.

steve said...

Victor Reppert said...

“Actually, in the 60s I was pretty much a Goldwater Republican.”

So it’s been downhill from there.

“The sixties ended when I was a high school junior, and I didn't lose my faith in Republicans until the aftermath of Watergate. ”

Don’t you think that’s rather immature? You can only lose your faith in a political party if you put your faith in a political party to begin with. But why harbor such an idealistic, and easily disillusioned, view of the political process? A party is just a pragmatic alliance of the individuals who share enough in common to band together in the furtherance of their political agenda.

Both parties have their share of scandals since both parties support flawed candidates.

“The Bush Administration reminds me a lot of the Nixon Administration. Both administrations thought that our country was under threat, that it had to do what it had to do to protect America, even if it involved violating the law.”

I don’t recall that national security was Nixon’s incentive. As I recall, he was paranoid about the possibility of losing reelection to McGovern.

And keep in mind that Nixon wasn’t all that hawkish. He and Kissinger were into d├ętente, remember?

“In fact Cheney is on record as saying that Nixon should not have been removed from office, since he was only doing what he had the right to do for the sake of national security.”

Care to provide the source and the quote?

“The only difference between Nixon and Bush-Cheney is that Tricky Dick taped himself. So now, instead of an 18 1/2 minute gap, we have millions of missing e-mails.”

Well, if I thought that I’d be prosecuted by a collaborator like Eric Holder for the “crime” of trying to protect my fellow citizens from the jihadis, then I’d be motivated to cover my tracks as well.

“It could, I suppose, turn out that the break-ins under Nixon, and the waterboarding under Bush-Cheney, were necessary to protect our country from some catastrophe.”

Of course, that’s a sloppy comparison from a sloppy philosopher.

“…and therefore have a utilitarian justification despite being violations of national and international law.”

Since I’m not a lawyer, much less a lawyer in the relevant branches of law, I, unlike you, won’t presume of venture an opinion on the legality (or not) of their actions.

However, I’d note in passing that you’re a fanatic about the “rule of law.” You act as if the law is an end in itself rather than a means to an end. A serious philosopher wouldn’t begin by asking whether or not the law was broken. Rather, a serious philosopher would begin by asking whether or not the preexisting laws were adequate to the task.

Are you such a rule-bound individual that you never question the rules? Do you think manmade rules ought to be followed regardless how stupid or counterproductive they might be? Regardless of whether they may have outlived their usefulness–assuming they ever had any?

Should we be trapped by the rules we make? Do we exist for the sake of the rules, or do the rules exist for our sake?

Aren’t those the questions a real philosopher out to ask?

“I think we have good grounds for skepticism in both cases. I think that both administrations answered the seductive call of the arrogance of power.”

Not to mention my scepticism about a smug, thankless philosophy prof. who has no answers to real-world problems, but is sure we should go after those who dared to protect us from our sworn enemies–rather than going after our sworn enemies.