Uncivil Discourse

Because civility is overrated.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Deep Throating

In an ideal world, it shouldn't matter what the motivations of a whistleblower are once what they've had to say is confirmed. If they're telling the truth, I couldn't give a flying fuck if it's because they've been promised money, an endless stream of blowjobs from herpes-ridden hookers, or so on. Because ultimately, the most important thing is that the truth gets spread into the public. We should punish those who abuse their power and our trust, and not give a fuck all about the actual person who blows the whistle.

Over the past few weeks, we've seen Pat "And Here I Thought Deep Throat Would Be A Brown Immigrant" Buchanan, Chuck Colson (who's still trying to cast his sodomization for Nixon's sins as martyrdom) and G. Gordon Liddy, among others, go on the record as saying W. Mark Felt is no hero, that he behaved unethically, etc.

Buchanan:

I think what he did is deeply dishonorable and shameful. Here is an individual who has taken an oath and part of a major investigation, running around, sneaking around at night leaking things to damage the President of the United States in the middle of a campaign and I don't see what is heroic about someone who did that.
Liddy:
He's certainly no hero.
Colson is, of course, talking about how Felt could have stopped Watergate -- as if that's something that should have been done.

But, see, it doesn't matter. Nixon had to be stopped, and not just because of Vietnam. And if W. Mark Felt played any part in that, well, good for him. But the line is starting to be flipped, with voices on the left denouncing Felt, though mostly glossing over Watergate. Eileen McNamara has this to say:
Those looking for a hero will not find one in W. Mark Felt.

The former FBI official who is Deep Throat has a legacy that includes his felonious abuse of the Fourth Amendment as much as it does his anonymous championship of the First.

The man who says he leaked details to The Washington Post of the Nixon administration's coverup of the break-in at the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic Party is the same man who authorized illegal break-ins targeting antiwar activists.

Felt's commitment to the Bill of Rights in 1973 was as selective as his family's motives in 2005 are self-serving. In an article to be published in the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine, the Felts' lawyer says the family thought there might be some money in revealing the identity of American journalism's most famous anonymous source before the death of the 91-year-old FBI retiree.
And that's all true. But it shouldn't matter in this case. It is possible to praise a man for taking down a shithead like Nixon while still decrying his own abuses of power. I'll pat Felt on the back for helping to send Nixon to Hell before he died and ensuring that the pigfucker will always be remembered as a crook (of course, the Bush administration is Nixon redux, so clearly we've learned almost nothing) before shoving some of those wiretaps he authorized down his throat. If it turned out Douglas Feith leaked something out about Bush that took him down, I'd feel the same way. Sure, he'd be a scumbag that got us into a war we shouldn't have been in, but he'd be a scumbag that helped take down Bush, and I can commend him for that.

This impulse to cast people as all good or all bad is, well, it fucking sucks. A lot of the time, the accusation comes that we on the left are simply incapable of commending, for example, George W. Bush when he does something good. Now, I can't recall him doing anything that might possibly be considered to be "good," but I think there's a bit of truth to the criticism. And it undermines our position.

Oh, and on the subject of the left mimicking the right: I posted a little bit about this yesterday, but deleted it. I've seen commentary on the left that makes the Qur'an abuse out to be a cause in of itself. And the reason this is a cause celebre, while, say, if it had been the Bible the American left wouldn't be up in arms? It's on the grounds that there's something particular about Islam and the psychology of Muslims that makes this especially intolerable. But that's a load of crap. The Qur'an itself is not the issue. To make it so is not just offensively insufferably racist Orientalism, but it's playing right into the hands of fundamentalists here and there who want religion to dictate all. We shouldn't suffer fundamentalists, be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or whatever else. They're the problem. Anyone who has that kind of attachment to a religious or nationalist code can shove it, because if you exalt that over everything else, real people don't matter, and you'll oppress them (for example, taking desecration of a book to be worse than actual torture at Abu Ghraib).

The issue of what happened at Gitmo has to do with how we torture people, how we have a lack of transparency, and how we view our place in this damned world. The way we behave is reminiscient of the way the imperialists behaved, but, once again proving that French sodomite Foucault right, the display of power's become a bit more subtle. And that's the issue. There are questions here and real issues, but let's not make the Qur'an the issue. It's not why those riots happened, and it's not the real story. The right wants it to be, because then they can try to cast Islam as something alien, something malicious, so they can differentiate their brand of fundamentalism from it. Why are we working with them to do so when we know fully well they're all peas in a pod?