National Review and McCain

National Review and McCain January 10, 2008

“I don’t see how such a man [John McCain] wins the Republican nomination. I’m second to none in praising him on his surge leadership. But on a whole host of issues — including water boarding, tax cuts, and the freedom of speech — he’s not one of us.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez, NRO Editor.

This is quite staggering. It now seems that a core value in this pseudo-conservative movement is support for an intrinsically evil act, a form of torture perfected by the Khmer Rouge.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Phillip

    Discussion over at Catholic and Enjoying it.

  • Phillip

    Discussion over at Catholic and Enjoying it.

  • They don’t even try to hide it, do they?

  • They don’t even try to hide it, do they?

  • Phillip

    Bottom line though, waterboarding is not intrinsically evil. It is okay in training.

  • Phillip

    Bottom line though, waterboarding is not intrinsically evil. It is okay in training.

  • Jonathan

    Actually, waterboarding was first used during the Italian Inquisition in the 1500s. As to “perfected by the Khmer Rouge,” I would like some authority on that (since I have seen it tossed around quite a bit recently).

    And since some on this site take any question about authority as a statement that the questioner is actually in favor of some proposition, I am not in favor of waterboarding.

  • Jonathan

    Actually, waterboarding was first used during the Italian Inquisition in the 1500s. As to “perfected by the Khmer Rouge,” I would like some authority on that (since I have seen it tossed around quite a bit recently).

    And since some on this site take any question about authority as a statement that the questioner is actually in favor of some proposition, I am not in favor of waterboarding.

  • Jay

    I think McCain would do an incredible job as President and it is stunning how many so-called conservatives view the world as simply black or white, wrong or right, Democrat or Republican. We, as a nation, need to focus on ideas and whether they are good for the country or bad. And I think McCain does a great job thinking through critical issues and taking action whether he ends up by himself or with a bi-partisan consensus.

    That’s called leadership. That’s what this country needs.

  • Jay

    I think McCain would do an incredible job as President and it is stunning how many so-called conservatives view the world as simply black or white, wrong or right, Democrat or Republican. We, as a nation, need to focus on ideas and whether they are good for the country or bad. And I think McCain does a great job thinking through critical issues and taking action whether he ends up by himself or with a bi-partisan consensus.

    That’s called leadership. That’s what this country needs.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Phillip,

    When Lopez mentioned that McCain was “wrong on waterboarding” she didn’t mean “waterboarding as training for our troops”, she meant waterboarding enemy captives for information. MM’s basic point still stands: Lopez thinks waterboarding the enemy for information is an essential part of being a NRO conservative.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Phillip,

    When Lopez mentioned that McCain was “wrong on waterboarding” she didn’t mean “waterboarding as training for our troops”, she meant waterboarding enemy captives for information. MM’s basic point still stands: Lopez thinks waterboarding the enemy for information is an essential part of being a NRO conservative.

  • I’m dumbfounded that “being one of us” means thinking torture is OK. I guess I’m not included in “one of us”, either.

    And Lopez is Catholic, correct?

  • I’m dumbfounded that “being one of us” means thinking torture is OK. I guess I’m not included in “one of us”, either.

    And Lopez is Catholic, correct?

  • Phillip

    Brother,

    Then waterboarding for information or being an NRO conservative are intrinsic evils?

  • Phillip

    Brother,

    Then waterboarding for information or being an NRO conservative are intrinsic evils?

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Waterboarding an enemy for information is a form of torture and is an intrinsically evil act. I won’t rehash my own definition of torture as we’ve discussed this before and I don’t want to take my dear Vox Novains back down that tiresome and tedious road. If you want to go down that road feel free to drop me an e-mail. God bless.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Waterboarding an enemy for information is a form of torture and is an intrinsically evil act. I won’t rehash my own definition of torture as we’ve discussed this before and I don’t want to take my dear Vox Novains back down that tiresome and tedious road. If you want to go down that road feel free to drop me an e-mail. God bless.

  • Phillip

    I guess there we disagree as I don’t remember you proving this point. Thus my point stands and my original post is correct.

  • Phillip

    I guess there we disagree as I don’t remember you proving this point. Thus my point stands and my original post is correct.

  • Phillip

    Besides, people frequently don’t read most of the posts on Vox Nova so I don’t think you will inconvenience them by this time showing your reasoning.

  • Phillip

    Besides, people frequently don’t read most of the posts on Vox Nova so I don’t think you will inconvenience them by this time showing your reasoning.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Phillip. You can find my e-mail at blog.siena.org under my profile. I can give you solid reasons why waterboarding enemies for info is torture but I’m afraid charity (and lack of time) forbids me from rehashing my reasons here. E-mail would be a better format. In the meantime there are plenty of very intelligent folks around here to engage with. Gotta go.

  • Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

    Phillip. You can find my e-mail at blog.siena.org under my profile. I can give you solid reasons why waterboarding enemies for info is torture but I’m afraid charity (and lack of time) forbids me from rehashing my reasons here. E-mail would be a better format. In the meantime there are plenty of very intelligent folks around here to engage with. Gotta go.

  • Phillip

    Will email. At this time I believe we agree that the issue is yet to be settled.

  • Phillip

    Will email. At this time I believe we agree that the issue is yet to be settled.

  • Blackadder

    “I guess there we disagree as I don’t remember you proving this point. Thus my point stands and my original post is correct.”

    That’s a neat argument.

  • Blackadder

    “I guess there we disagree as I don’t remember you proving this point. Thus my point stands and my original post is correct.”

    That’s a neat argument.

  • Blackadder

    By the way, I don’t think it’s fair to ascribe K-Lo’s view on waterboarding to all of NRO. Not everyone there would agree with her.

  • Blackadder

    By the way, I don’t think it’s fair to ascribe K-Lo’s view on waterboarding to all of NRO. Not everyone there would agree with her.

  • Phillip

    It exactly is if Brother Matthew’s argument is not true. My reading of his posts on VN is that his thoughts are very well developed but still prone to error as was his orginal definition which he modified through discussion. I think there is still room for improvement which may render my post still true.

  • Phillip

    It exactly is if Brother Matthew’s argument is not true. My reading of his posts on VN is that his thoughts are very well developed but still prone to error as was his orginal definition which he modified through discussion. I think there is still room for improvement which may render my post still true.

  • By the way, I don’t think it’s fair to ascribe K-Lo’s view on waterboarding to all of NRO. Not everyone there would agree with her.

    NRO contributors Michael Ledeen and John Derbyshire have penned columns against torture in the National Review.

    So has Victor Davis Hanson

    And the virtual mouthpiece of the neoconservative movement — The Weekly Standard — has published articles criticizing the Bush administration’s practice of rendition and in support of a uniform standard prohibiting detainee abuse.

  • By the way, I don’t think it’s fair to ascribe K-Lo’s view on waterboarding to all of NRO. Not everyone there would agree with her.

    NRO contributors Michael Ledeen and John Derbyshire have penned columns against torture in the National Review.

    So has Victor Davis Hanson

    And the virtual mouthpiece of the neoconservative movement — The Weekly Standard — has published articles criticizing the Bush administration’s practice of rendition and in support of a uniform standard prohibiting detainee abuse.

  • That strikes me as a massively dumb comment on K-Lo’s part. If it represents serious thought on her part, then it’s quite disappointing from someone who is in some areas a moderately thoughtful Catholic.

  • That strikes me as a massively dumb comment on K-Lo’s part. If it represents serious thought on her part, then it’s quite disappointing from someone who is in some areas a moderately thoughtful Catholic.

  • Victor Davis Hanson, John Derbyshire, and Michael Ledeen have, whatever they say about waterboarding, insistently called for violence against Arabs and Persians.

    You may say that the violence they demand is “prudent.”

    Let me give you an example of “prudential reasoning”: Caiaphas said that it was good that one man should die so as to save many. Eminently clear–far more prudent than NRO, far more prudent, in fact, than virtually any rationale for war perpetrated by the United States in its 200+ year history. The Romans were in the habit of killing dozens if not hundreds of Jews associated with the terroristic anti-Roman zealots. Certainly it was prudent to simply surrender one rabble-rousing Jew to Pilate.

    Pilate’s reasoning was also admirably prudential: a mob of angry Jews is demanding blood, is sick of occupation and also sick of this guy Jesus who claims to be on their side but won’t actually “do” anything to get the Romans out of Palestine. The Jews want Barrabas, a proven terrorist zealot, and not Jesus, an obscurantist pacifist. Why shouldn’t Pilate, then, act prudentially and give the mob what it wants?

    Certainly Pilate was a prudent man.

    Far more prudent than an air force commander who orders that a city (like Fallujah) be strafed with several hundred tons of explosives, in order to “root out the terroristic element” taking refuge there. Certainly it is obvious that many dozens of innocents will die in such a bombing action. But of course it is prudent to drop the bombs nonetheless.

    It is good that a few die to save the lives of many.

    That is the essence of prudential reasoning.

    It is good that a few die to save the lives of many. Especially if we are among the many saved.

    Rather than submitting to this age-old logic of blood, Catholic Christians should follow their ostensible Lord and take up their crosses.

    It is good to be saved by prudential murder. It is far better to be crucified.

  • Victor Davis Hanson, John Derbyshire, and Michael Ledeen have, whatever they say about waterboarding, insistently called for violence against Arabs and Persians.

    You may say that the violence they demand is “prudent.”

    Let me give you an example of “prudential reasoning”: Caiaphas said that it was good that one man should die so as to save many. Eminently clear–far more prudent than NRO, far more prudent, in fact, than virtually any rationale for war perpetrated by the United States in its 200+ year history. The Romans were in the habit of killing dozens if not hundreds of Jews associated with the terroristic anti-Roman zealots. Certainly it was prudent to simply surrender one rabble-rousing Jew to Pilate.

    Pilate’s reasoning was also admirably prudential: a mob of angry Jews is demanding blood, is sick of occupation and also sick of this guy Jesus who claims to be on their side but won’t actually “do” anything to get the Romans out of Palestine. The Jews want Barrabas, a proven terrorist zealot, and not Jesus, an obscurantist pacifist. Why shouldn’t Pilate, then, act prudentially and give the mob what it wants?

    Certainly Pilate was a prudent man.

    Far more prudent than an air force commander who orders that a city (like Fallujah) be strafed with several hundred tons of explosives, in order to “root out the terroristic element” taking refuge there. Certainly it is obvious that many dozens of innocents will die in such a bombing action. But of course it is prudent to drop the bombs nonetheless.

    It is good that a few die to save the lives of many.

    That is the essence of prudential reasoning.

    It is good that a few die to save the lives of many. Especially if we are among the many saved.

    Rather than submitting to this age-old logic of blood, Catholic Christians should follow their ostensible Lord and take up their crosses.

    It is good to be saved by prudential murder. It is far better to be crucified.

  • jh

    I would not worry too much what Mrs Lopez says. She worls off the premises that we shall all forget what she wrote 6 months ago. A pure case of someoone who should walk arounf the block before she hits the submit button

  • jh

    I would not worry too much what Mrs Lopez says. She worls off the premises that we shall all forget what she wrote 6 months ago. A pure case of someoone who should walk arounf the block before she hits the submit button

  • TeutonicTim

    Actually eastern waterboarding is different than something we might do… Do some reading before comparing us to the khmer rouge.

  • TeutonicTim

    Actually eastern waterboarding is different than something we might do… Do some reading before comparing us to the khmer rouge.

  • Thanks for your discussions. I will enjoy and read it.

  • Thanks for your discussions. I will enjoy and read it.

  • Apart from the interesting comments on waterboarding, I think what we’re seeing with both the Republican Party and the Conservatives is an identity crisis. In many ways, it will be the same struggle the democrats had after Clinton 1 left office — they are only now starting to create an identifiable platform and, even at that, have a long way to go. Perhaps McCain and his “rise” to popularity is a sign that the ruling faction of both the Republicans and Conservatives have shifted. We shall see if the paradigm changes or stays the same . . .

  • Apart from the interesting comments on waterboarding, I think what we’re seeing with both the Republican Party and the Conservatives is an identity crisis. In many ways, it will be the same struggle the democrats had after Clinton 1 left office — they are only now starting to create an identifiable platform and, even at that, have a long way to go. Perhaps McCain and his “rise” to popularity is a sign that the ruling faction of both the Republicans and Conservatives have shifted. We shall see if the paradigm changes or stays the same . . .

  • Lopez first came to my attention after Benedict’s election when she triumphantly declared that the Holy Spirit had chosen orthodoxy. What an outrageous comment, I thought, given that evvery single cardinal that entered the conclave was of course completely “orthodox”. What presumption! Then again, if Ms. Lopez’s view of orthodoxy encompasses waterboarding, then I would respectfully submit that what she believes is not the faith of the Catholic Church.

  • Lopez first came to my attention after Benedict’s election when she triumphantly declared that the Holy Spirit had chosen orthodoxy. What an outrageous comment, I thought, given that evvery single cardinal that entered the conclave was of course completely “orthodox”. What presumption! Then again, if Ms. Lopez’s view of orthodoxy encompasses waterboarding, then I would respectfully submit that what she believes is not the faith of the Catholic Church.

  • Kathryn Jean Lopez responds:

    I mentioned waterboarding way too casually in a short election piece earlier this week. I used it as shorthand for the whole interrogation debate and both the issue and Senator McCain deserve more.

    That Americans worry that we are human-rights champions and don’t abuse even some of the worst men alive is a testament to us and our morality.

    On torture, John McCain knows more, God bless him, than I will ever know. He has my deepest respect and gratitude for his service. But his leadership on the issue of torture and whether or not waterboarding is or isn’t torture has done more harm than good. As others have explained in great detail, he’s added confusion, Congress has punted, and the hands of men on the frontlines of wartime interrogation have been tied as a result.

    John McCain has been stalwart on the surge in Iraq. We owe him for that — he was the D.C. leader articulating what the White House often didn’t. But as important as it was and is, the surge isn’t the sum-total of U.S. defense policy— a point that’s been made in these parts. Neither is the surge policy the sum-total of John McCain. That was my point — when considering settling on a Republican nominee, conservatives need to consider the sum-total of a candidate. And when you look through John McCain’s record — and policies he advocates/leads on to this day — there’s plenty to disagree with, as Mark Levin and Andy McCarthy highlighted yesterday.

    Folks will dissent with the mainstream of conservative thought — heaven knows we do it right here on a wide array of issues — among ourselves and in interacting with readers, other blogs, and columnists. I certainly wasn’t writing folks who disagree on one rare form of interrogation out of the conservative movement (as if I have that power!). I was using shorthand — probably ill-advisedly — to refer to McCain’s role in the legislative debate on interrogation.

  • Kathryn Jean Lopez responds:

    I mentioned waterboarding way too casually in a short election piece earlier this week. I used it as shorthand for the whole interrogation debate and both the issue and Senator McCain deserve more.

    That Americans worry that we are human-rights champions and don’t abuse even some of the worst men alive is a testament to us and our morality.

    On torture, John McCain knows more, God bless him, than I will ever know. He has my deepest respect and gratitude for his service. But his leadership on the issue of torture and whether or not waterboarding is or isn’t torture has done more harm than good. As others have explained in great detail, he’s added confusion, Congress has punted, and the hands of men on the frontlines of wartime interrogation have been tied as a result.

    John McCain has been stalwart on the surge in Iraq. We owe him for that — he was the D.C. leader articulating what the White House often didn’t. But as important as it was and is, the surge isn’t the sum-total of U.S. defense policy— a point that’s been made in these parts. Neither is the surge policy the sum-total of John McCain. That was my point — when considering settling on a Republican nominee, conservatives need to consider the sum-total of a candidate. And when you look through John McCain’s record — and policies he advocates/leads on to this day — there’s plenty to disagree with, as Mark Levin and Andy McCarthy highlighted yesterday.

    Folks will dissent with the mainstream of conservative thought — heaven knows we do it right here on a wide array of issues — among ourselves and in interacting with readers, other blogs, and columnists. I certainly wasn’t writing folks who disagree on one rare form of interrogation out of the conservative movement (as if I have that power!). I was using shorthand — probably ill-advisedly — to refer to McCain’s role in the legislative debate on interrogation.

  • re: regrets and waterboarding” @ The Corner (Andy McCarthy):

    “… McCain acknowledges that illegal coercion would still occur, but he assumes it would not be prosecuted if it actually resulted in preventing an attack. I think McCain’s way will inevitably result in more torture because it is a nod-and-a-wink approach that will (however inadvertently) promote disrespect for the law, the atmosphere in which lower-ranking officials are apt to engage in more torture.”

  • re: regrets and waterboarding” @ The Corner (Andy McCarthy):

    “… McCain acknowledges that illegal coercion would still occur, but he assumes it would not be prosecuted if it actually resulted in preventing an attack. I think McCain’s way will inevitably result in more torture because it is a nod-and-a-wink approach that will (however inadvertently) promote disrespect for the law, the atmosphere in which lower-ranking officials are apt to engage in more torture.”

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