June 18, 2002
Some flak

I've gotten some flak in the comments on this post regarding US Christian conservatives and their newfound alliances with fundamentalist Muslim nations over questions of abortion and homosexuality. That probably means I didn't do a good job of expressing why this story so disgusted me. Let's try again.

I'll stipulate that my outrage is kicked up a notch by the fact that the assorted theocrats are ganing up to oppose things that I favor, but that's only a contributing factor. What outrages me is that any US government official would look to countries like Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Iraq for just about any kind of alliance.

During the course of John Gotti's battles with federal prosecutors and again after his death, people (usually from Gotti's neighborhood) would talk about how he was a good family man who took care of the people he cared about. That may be true, but when you write up a list of John Gotti's qualities, "family man" and "good friend" should come about 500th, with "murderer" and "thug" being right up front. The most generous thing I can say about someone who would insist on talking about John Gotti's good qualities is that such a person is engaging in an extreme form of moral equivalence. At the worst, such a person is completely morally bankrupt.

I say that talking about Iran and Iraq in terms of their commitment to the traditional nuclear family is the same thing. There are only two things we should be saying to countries like that:

  1. Are you for us or against us in the war on terrorism?
  2. When will you be holding free and open elections?

Doing anything else takes our focus off of what's vitally important to us, now more than ever. Right now the government of Iraq is preparing to give thousands of dollars to the family of the man responsible for this. How can you talk to Iraqi officials, let alone make nice with them, about anything else?

That's what pisses me off about this. Since the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President Bush has equivocated in many ways about his "for us or against us" rhetoric. Some of them were understandable acquiescences to realpolitik. This is not. This is putting one's personal beliefs ahead of the interests of America and its allies, and it's disgusting.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 18, 2002 to Around the world