Monday, December 15, 2008

Torture and optimism

Many on the web have noted the remarkable contrast between the attention paid to the Illinois governor's legal problems and the Senate committee report implicating top Bush administration officials in war crimes. The first is almost comically inept; the second is profoundly disturbing. Guess which one makes the news?

So when Cal Thomas worries about American loss of optimism, I have two reactions:

1. I'm not so sure that optimism has waned, at least not in Montana. For now, at least, it seems to me that worry about the plunging economy is almost entirely offset by relief over declining gasoline prices. That won't last, probably, but I have noticed much despair yet, have you?

2. To the extent that Americans are becoming less optimistic, Bush's dismal record on torture may be at least in part to blame. Not that people are going around in sackcloth and ashes over it, but down inside we know that we did something terribly, terribly wrong. If it leads to our comeuppance in the world, we will, regrettably, have earned it.

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