Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on December 13, 2014



Above: A Palestinian Cabinet member was killed by an Israeli soldier for the crime of planting a olive tree in a restricted area. Clearly an exercise of moral authority.

After the Senate Report on our torture practices, the President’s press secretary pointed out that our President ordered that we not torture people because our greatest weapon in our strategic arsenal is our “Moral Authority”. He could not even say anything about the subject without using military metaphor.

The statements of presidential press agents are valuable because they reflect what that President thinks the public will or might believe is true. One of the most memorable statements came during the Watergate incidents during the Nixon administration. After spending several conferences stating boldly that the President knew absolutely nothing about the break-in and had nothing to do with covering it up, the facts caught up with him. In order to maintain credibility he could not say “I’ve been lying to you,” so he came up with the following masterpiece: “All previous comments and remarks concerning this situation are now inoperable.” (You should laugh now.)

The now retired Head of the CIA has defended the torture. However, it is now called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, a euphemism for Torture. Well, people now understand that the term means torture, so now it is referred to as “EITs”. There is no rational person who will expect that changing the term we use for such things as forced rectal feeding and extended sleep deprivation, as well as the other forms of torture mentioned, will in any way change its moral quality.

In addition, the argument is rather foolishly put forth that it does not work. In other words, while it is true that people will say anything they think will cause you to stop inflicting a given amount of pain on them, there is little assurance that what they say will be of any value. Even so, whether or not some method obtains the desired results is not a measure or moral authority to employ that method. If it is, then there is little reason to consider the term “moral” as anything other than “expedient”.

Alberto Gonzales was the Attorney General during the bush administration (among other individuals). He has stated that he did not know much about the details concerning forced rectal feeding, yet he considered it, along with everything else Bush II did, perfectly legal. Those who believe that forced rectal feeding is covered in Law School are in error. Even so, there would seem to be a significant difference between moral and legal.

Our moral authority is best seen abroad by how we treat our own citizens. Unfortunately, our system is thoroughly infected by capitalism to the extent that whether or not a practice is profitable what determines the proper behavior. Morality and profitability have quite often been at odds with one another.

The current behavior of certain police departments, especially towards black Americans, has led to angry demonstrations recently. One should, however, remember that the police enforce official laws and attitudes and impoverishment and ignorance often conflict with those laws, and certainly with what most people consider “morality”.

The rest of the world should remember, however, that the United States has many weapons, both financial and military, and if it says it is morally superior you have better behave as if it does. Perhaps that is wherein American “Moral Authority” lies.


2 Responses

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  1. Barry Wright said, on December 13, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Tragic – good commentary, thanks. ‘The police are not here to create disorder, they are here to preserve disorder’.



    • Anonymous said, on December 14, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Excellent point! For those of you not that familiar with Chicago, that was a quote from Mayor Dick Daley made during the 1068 convention during what was called by a Kerner Report as a Police Riot. Daley never was the most literate of speakers.


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