Monday, March 26, 2007

Andrew Sullivan is a twit. He's been on a anti-Bush jag for a while now (that coincides with Bush coming out against same-sex marriage), and, in particular, he's been railing against the 'intensive interrogations' our side is alleged to have used against terrorists in order to gain information that can be used to save American and Allied lives.

And now, in what he no doubts views as a brilliant piece of pointing out the irony of the situation, he asks how we (the United States and England) can take issue with the Iranians 'interrogating' the British soldiers the Iranians seized a couple of days ago. After all, he argues, chortle, chortle, the Iranians are only doing to the British what Bush has claimed we're allowed to do. Isn't that rich?

Well... to what should be apparent to all but the most deranged of the anti-Bushies, Sullivan misses both the forest and the trees.

First, England isn't at war with Iran as we are with the terrorists. The English soldiers aren't combatants and, as such, they can't be treated as such. The 'W' in POW refers to 'War'; one can't treat someone as a POW if you're not at war with their country (or, in the case of Al Qaeda, with the 'state-less state'). Even if Iran and England were at war, the soldiers are not 'illegal combatants' as are the terrorists we have supposedly tortured. They were wearing their uniforms, they weren't hiding among the civilian population. So, unless Sullivan can show (or at least argue) that we've tortured 'legal' combatants, his equating of the two falls apart.

Sullivan also seems to think it's okay for the Iranians to torture their British captives because the United States has allegedly tortured some of our detainees. Excuse me, but haven't the British sort of been a giant pain in our rear end about how we've been treating the detainees? They've complained about Guanatanamo, they've complained about our supposed torture of detainees. It's ridiculous for Sullivan to say the British can't complain.

But where Sullivan really comes up short is with his 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander'. It's not. We do lots of things to others that we wouldn't stand for them doing back to us. And that is fine. We reserve the right to do things that we think are in our national interest... no matter who might get their noses out of joint. And we reserve the right to object to those doing things that are not in our national interest... no matter if what they're doing is something we've done ourselves.

See Andrew, it's not the specifics of what is done that determines whether it is right or wrong, it's whether there is a benefit to us of taking that acton and whether there is harm to us of actions others take against us. Actions that provide a benefit to the United States and its allie... good. Actions that cause harm to us and our allies.... bad. Even when the actions are theoretically the same.

What are the odds that had Bush not come out against gay marriage that Sullivan would not have written today's post?

Note: no surprise, Sullivan isn't posting my trackback... UPDATE: the trackback is now there.