Dippiness in High Places

I keep trying to like the Washington Post. After all, that’s where Woodward and Bernstein started, and it was a WaPo crew that uncovered much of the VA medical scandal, and that’s where Eugene Robinson hangs his typewriter.

Yet the editorial page — Robinson and Dionne excepted — is a conglomeration of everything that’s depressing about Big Time Journalism. Perhaps it was inevitable during a GOP protectorate, but hasn’t the editorial board noticed that Obama is now President, that there are Democrat majorities in both houses, that the Repubs are badly in disarray?

Perhaps — a long shot, but it would explain a few things — perhaps WaPo is actually a subversive organization, seeming to support the insupportable by giving high-rent acreage to Cheney apologists, Obama slammers, and assorted big-name dimbulbs. The twist: let them display their dippiness long enough, and everyone will recognize it.

I mean, how else to explain two of the essays in this Sunday’s edition — a column by David Broder, and an op-ed piece by Porter Goss. Porter Goss first, as he’s the easier target. Goss was head of the CIA for a year and a half in the middle of the Bush train wreck.

His complaint is largely summed up in a few lines near the top of his essay.

I feel our government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage. We can’t have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets.

What has him all snitted up, of course, is release of the torture memos. His argument is that we have weakened ourselves because

We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate.

Yet he offers no proof of his assertions, nothing to substantiate claims that we are weaker now, or implications that “enhanced interrogation” produced valuable intelligence.

Goss may have been effective as a Congressman, may have been effective as head of the CIA — though one can’t help puzzling over his oddly-timed term of office — but he ought not to be writing op-ed pieces to cover the corporate Bush ass. And I say this on behalf of the CBA. In one of the many neo-con enclaves there must be an editor (or a ghost writer) who could intercept Goss’ prose before he committed to paper a line like this justification for our interrogation methods.

There is simply no comparison between our professionalism and their brutality.

Hard to know whether that belongs in a book by George Orwell, or a skit by Monty Python.


On to David Broder. And because I rambled at such length over Goss, I’ll try be brief with this one. Broder argues against investigating or bringing charges against those officials who requested, facilitated, or carried out the torture which now we all must admit was administered. He proposes a general amnesty: forgive and forget. He complains about people — politicians and voters, he calls them — who

want something more — the humiliation and/or punishment of those responsible for the policies of the past. They are looking for individual scalps — or, at least, careers and reputations.

Their argument is that without identifying and punishing the perpetrators, there can be no accountability — and therefore no deterrent lesson for future administrations. It is a plausible-sounding rationale, but it cloaks an unworthy desire for vengeance.

I’ll be indebted to any of you who can effectively distinguish between what Broder calls “an unworthy desire for vengeance” and what the Beatitudes call “a thirst for justice.”

And yes, he really did specify politicians and voters as the culprits. We bad, man.

Consider. Did Broder, or any other neo-con apologist, propose the same thing for Adolph Eichmann? For the Enron gang? For Son of Sam?

I think not.

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