Monday, 4 May 2009

Charles Crawford on Torture

Charles Crawford, a former British Ambassador to Serbia and Poland, has posted a long essay on his blogoir giving his reasons for asserting that torture "works" (in the sense of sometimes eliciting true information), and that therefore its use should not be ruled out on moral grounds in extreme situations. (I hope that I have interpreted his position correctly; no doubt he will correct me if I am wrong.)

I have asked him to do another post on the morality of using torture in any circumstances, as this is the issue which primarily concerns me.

I hope that anyone interested in this topic will read Charles Crawford's posts and, if they feel so inclined, join in the debate.


Mrs Truelove said...

As my husband !

charles crawford said...

Dear Anticant,

Thanks for the friendly link.

Not sure that I quite share that 'therefore' as characterising my own position, although former President Clinton seems to accept your logic!

I need to respond. But the subject is big and difficult, and if one tries to simplify it overmuch for this blog-style format it just creates yet more bad-tempered polemics.

Plus we seem to end up in formulating distinctions which seem insensitively 'legalistic'. But government systems and the general public alike also need written rules which cover both easy and hard cases.


Charles Crawford

Belvoir Academic said...

Mrs Truelove was always "insensitive" to my needs.

Bodwyn Wook said...

We are off to the Twin Cities, where My Dear Partner In Crime (MDPIC) is to have a surgery to-morrow; I shall have to return to this all in a few days, which I look forward to doing. For starters, however, it should fairly be kept in mind that in our cultural set-up at least only /individuals/ can have morals as such; and, the corollary is that especially large human organisations, even those made up like the UK and US governments exclusively of persons such as ourselves, all on the qui vive and all having good characters, wide views and deep self-awareness, nonetheless can only act as large, stupid and sometimes violent animals. It is in /this/ collective human atmosphere, and none other, that our public questions all are set, for good or ill. Add to that the statistical sociopaths in every population sampling, the Gordon Browns and Lyndon Johnsons, the Dick Cheneys and Bill Clintons, and all the other miserable dionysian excitement- and power-psychology cases, and you can begin to see something of the problem. Generally, I for one objectively suspect that all involved in the torture chamber more often than not are brought together by unconscious egotisms, self-absorption in different forms including the various religious and post-religious manias, compulsive excitement- and entertainment-needs. Most deranged in this context are those who try to take Heaven by storm and state that they are being 'coldly logical' and 'practical'. Indeed.

anticant said...

Thanks for visiting me, Charles.

I agree that blogging isn't the ideal medium for discussing thorny and complicated issues in depth, but I do find it a worthwhile way to get one's views into the public domain and hopefully stimulate more balanced thought. The bad-tempered ranters and personal mud-slingers who infest the blogosphere are best ignored. It's a pity we are living in an age when too many people assume those who disagree with them must be idiots, or knaves, or both.

Re torture, I'll post some more comments on your blogoir, and may get round to writing a longer piece here. My main concern is to redeem the honour of our Western "democracies" which has been so dragged through the mud recently - especially since 9/11. Not sure that I'd take Clinton as a reliable guide to any sort of morality, and on the legal side I agree with the old maxim that "hard cases make bad law". I

zola a social thing said...

Where have all the Thatcher'es'ites gone?
Long time passing...

Anonymous said...

At least a large plank of the counter-torture argument seems to be that it doesn't work practically (the wrong info is elucidated). This would seem to dilute any moral case against.

The ticking bomb may be a hollywood scenario, but it evidently may possibly happen. Given the ticking bomb, the argument seems to be: don't bother, because Mr. Terrorist will give you the wrong location for the bomb.

But if this is merely a practical issue relating to the efficacy of torture, then torture is not absolutely wrong.

For example if a truth drug with 100% efficacy but appalling side effects was available, you had the strong suspicion re the ticking bomb, and a member of the terrorist cell in custody....?

Papilio (posting as anon, can't remember my login)

anticant said...

Torture isn't wrong because it doesn't work. Torture is wrong even if it sometimes does work.

Not only is it immoral, and illegal under numerous international conventions; it demolishes any claim to superior values which those who use it might otherwise make.

And the balance of testimony from those who have been involved in the interrogation of terrorist suspects is that they are more likely to be told the truth if their captives know that they will be treated humanely.

So on all counts, the pro-torture arguments fail.

Bodwyn Wook said...

Torture is a response of fear to fear.

There are two things people fear:

The crazy with an ax, The Shadow.

And, a load of crazies with axes, The Others.

In our set up formerly these were Negroes and Jews and, now, through media alchemy, "they" have been transmogrifed into (ta, da) Mahometans and "South Asians.

Now if one can bear to be at all objective about it, the fact is that Life is a crapshoot, and to paraphrase Stanley Baldwin, "The axman sooner or later must always get through."

The logical response is to keep a gun at home and a good standing militia, and be ready to blow these people to Hell whenever they surface. This means though that you are gambling on the occasional preliminary outrage, and naturally that isn't quite good enough, certainly not from the viewpoint of Fear.

Fear is a powerful emotion and probably the one that only the individual must cope with alone in the end and all unaided, and yet if at all possible transform. On the other hand, "terrorism," and even more convincingly our Tee Vee boogie stories about it, drive us into one another's clutches in a blind social panic.

Fear in the first place is the problem here.

Fear and its delusions are what become the raison of all government, then, the desire for "uplift" and to be better than we are and above all to not have suffering. This is the yearning of all the babyishness. This is the root of all the smoking bans. In short, torture is but another activity of state liberalism, like "free" health care and public education. The whole thing is not so much a lie as just immature, and all involved from the kindly credentialed transgender therapist on the corner to the bleakly pornographic, death-terrified and bad-hearted (!) Dickless Cheneys, all these weak people who get nervous when they are alone, all of these are common garden state liberalists of the most vulgar kind.

They are pimps.

All of these somewhat lackluster characters who sweat when you look hard at them vie to finger the levers of state power and "make liberal" with the public money, not to mention the genitals of their "clients," and all government reasonably can be expected to do then with such moo cows and root hogs is to provide /serially/ for the entertainment needs of the different personality types in public "service." This is the essence of "democracy" today, turn about and bend over and I am afraid we're stuck with it for good long time to come.

I am against torture and I will egg "my" representatives on against it at every opportunity. But Mr Charles Crawford speaks for a sizeable constituency. They have their own excitement needs and urges to feel fulfilled in some cause "greater than themselves," and careers. Naturally, their fascination with their own arguments is at least as solipsistic and interested as are my own.

And so, of course, I am well willing to concede The Shadow the point in this question of torture -- be it conceded that /all/ the bureacratic operatives involved in any "episode" would afterwards agree themselves to be put to death. By the same means as they needed to apply, I mean. That alone would be mythically and, hence, morally satisfactory to our common human being, and our real condition as we are today:

Let /that/ concession then in love be the final measure of the true love and devotion to "theirs" and "their kind," of the esrtwhile idealist and dreaming, patriotic, torturer.

anticant said...

In Charles Kingsley's "The Water Babies", there are two iconic females - Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid.

These days, no-one in authority pays any attention the former, and the latter seems to have lost her clout.

Bodwyn Wook said...

The /Water Babies/ are lovely, Aunty, but that was as you say another world. The Empire Victorians certainly superintended a certain number of outrages, but they had a saving hypocrisy that well may be, in History, /the/ all important distinction: The most awful things got done to (and by, sometimes) Wogs; but, it was never, ever "justified" in this sort of basically repulsive public discussion. Even Heinrich Himmler, a child of Wilhelmine Germany and much the same bourgeois era, said it would be long time before the allegemine-SS could ever tell a victorious Germany what they had done.

Bodwyn Wook said...

But then Himmler was some shortsighted little skidmark who'd never been in the trenches, so it was easy for him to talk about the "need" for brutality. Only he puked the one time he peered through the peephole....

anticant said...

Your analogy is absolutely right, Emmett. The Victorians were self-righteous hypocrites; the Nazis knew they were doing wrong, even though shameless about it. This contemporary lot of "democrats" don't even know they are the moral pits - they have completely succumbed to "the end justifies the means" philosophy.

As I have been saying ever since your bogus cowboy president's crass over-reaction to 9/11, and Blair's poodling up to him, the West has completely lost any claim to superior moral virtue that it previously had.

I'm all for 'realpolitik' as against romanticism in foreign policy - 'liberal interventionism' is romanticism - but our current breed of 'leaders' are repulsive and sickening. As the two million who marched in London against the Iraq war, and were ignored, said: "not in my name".

Bodwyn Wook said...

In connection with the torture arglebargle as Mr Emmett Smith over here in Squawbunion County says, "If a grandkid was in danger and somebody knew and wasn't spilling, of course I'd hurt the bastard(s) and MAKE 'em talk!" In that sort of immediate situation something very like the "natural law" of self-defense is in play. Likewise, torture may well be one of our oldest human diversions.

A cannibal king somewhere in Africa had some crucifixions conducted, as I recall for the edification of Sir Richard Burton (not the ---, the explorer), and of course the entertainments of the American Indians are well known although, to-day, well swept under divers rotting carpets by PC neurotics and other NuLabour, SameAuldShit types. So much for anthropology and the dim longing of hypercivilized and doubtlessly oh-so-languid types such as your Mr Crawford, perhaps, all living at third and seventh levels of credentialled abstraction from animal facts. The Viagra no longer works and, by now, only the stench of vomit, shit and blood will do.

This unantean craving for some actual dirt is wellnigh unendurable, hence among this orchid population of hothouse plants the aetiolated splitting of rootless vague legalisms, and all the rest of the ill subdued panting. It is this animal craving for something simple and, I daresay, edenic that undergirds our hyperaestheticised pornography in /all/ of its post-modern dimensions. One need only read Camille Paglia to realise what a sewer of murder and phantasy and longing underlies Mr Crawford's oh-so-conscious "intellectual" speculations. He thereby gets to carry the can for us all.

Naturally, the foregoing /is/ ad hominem argument -- the /only/ legitimate form of course, and especially so in any moral discussion.

Likewise, our endlessly crafted and loving discussions of the pros and cons show that we, too, are caught up in the foul and filthy fascination perhaps as much as any of the direct operators. In sum, just as the Viagra has now played out for so many, then in time to come not just a few obviously guilty South Asians will do to quell the ill assorted pangs and craving. The need will be for yet more and more, and to-morrow, and to-morrow. But, alas, all our best vile efforts to the contrary nothing and no one, but no one, can return us self adoring children of a professionalistic age for long, back to the blissful innocent aeon of experimentation in the sandbox, on some ants with a magnifying glass.

anticant said...

While I get your drift, I do deplore ad hominem attacks in the arena - especially as I'm pursuing some interesting discussions on this and other topics with Mr Crawford here and on his own blogoir, and I wouldn't want him to feel that by doing so he is laying himself open to have personal abuse heaped on him.

The crux of the matter, to me, is how far empathy extends to those who perceive themselves as your enemy, and whether you can have good government and legitimate self-defence without such empathy.

We must always seek to enlarge our own and others' moral sensibility. The ubiquitous screen violence on television desensitises viewers to the reality of suffering until they lack the imagination that any such thing could ever happen to THEM.

You will recall an earlier post of mine criticising the egregious Israeli statesperson Tzipi Livni for her pronouncemnt that "there is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce."

Such people are beneath contempt.

Bodwyn Wook said...

I agree with you on the point of principle of good manners here and will most certainly try to restrain myself. However, I do feel also that an analysis of one another's actual moral condition in this sort of thing is the quintessence. The key is first of all self-knowledge. Again, it is the problem of the shadow, collective and personal. Of course we can only get at this personally, first of all by work on our ourselves, self-knowledge again. It is a source of hard-won, sometimes shaming but always indispensable information:

I know what /I/ am like and therefore distrust too glib rationales for torture.

Also, the police in Edinburgh just had thrown into prison a load of paedophiles who had pictures showing 'the sexual abuse /and torture/ [emphasis added] of small children' (Radio 4, to-day). Indeed, reportedly some were but babies. Now I am sure that Mr Crawford personally is on the side of the gods, so to speak, and is not advocating anything like this.

Not he, himself.

Certainly not.

But a desperate operator in some sort of panickey scenario of the sort so often protrayed on Tee Vee conceivably could, and thererfore one day will, go so far as hurting a child or baby on front of some exceptionally obdurate 'client'. This objectively alas is what the gentleman /is/ giving implicit power and sanction. To point this out is, I hope, not to traduce anyone's consciously held dearest beliefs and opinions and theories, but rather to point again to the doubtlessly humiliating fact that mainly we are all in the dark as to /outcomes/. The important story of Haroun ar-Rashid and the assassination plot comes to mind in this connection, and it may be found in Idries Shah, pbuh.

[Speaking for myself, Aunty, if you tell me I am an ass, I can only say in all honesty, 'thenk you, rilly, I had NO idea! And, of course, how else should I ever learn?]

anticant said...

You know I don't think you are an ass, and I agree with the main thrust of your argument. It all boils down to the "Golden Rule": are we prepared to do to others what we would not wish to be done to ourselves? In the case of suicide bombers and torturers, the answer is obviously "yes". The bombers do it for the greater glory of Allah or whatever; the torturers do it in the name of the lesser evil, because they believe that the outcome will be a greater good - namely, the saving of many innocent lives.

Whether this is in fact true is always hypothetical. The difference between Charles Crawford and myself [see further discussions on his blogoir] is that he does not believe that the use of such methods in exceptional and allegedly justified circumstances necessarily leads all the way down an unstoppable slippery slope to the gas chambers and mass extermination of one's "enemies", whereas I believe that such measures (a) reveal an inexcusable lack of empathy (b) are the first steps down a slippery slope that really does have no stopping point, and (c) abandon the moral high ground which should be civilisation's strongest weapon against barbarism.

Charles Crawford said...


I tried to leave a comment about Slippery Slopes - not sure if it registered with your site!

But I have published the comment on my own site as I think it is pertinent to the points you raise (even if I find some of the ensuing comments above a bit hard to follow...):



Charles Crawford said...

PS Where does Bodwyn Wook's repeated reference to Viagra come into all this?

Strive as I do to follow his argument, I am baffled.

Yours, baffled,


Bodwyn Wook said...

Charles Crawford, howdy!

On my part it is all hortatory invective and vilification, and I do apologise indeed, for all of the opaque rhomontade.

The Viagra reference is literature merely, and intended to type my useless Baby Boom generation as a fraudulant load of misbegotten ex-Hippies, failed NeoCons and, now, jaded bdsm afficiandos on the the threshold of Hell and the care home. Very many, alas, still drool and foam at the mouth over "national power," and the secret payoff of course is the cheneyesque filthy sadism of the ageing enraged.

Not to mention that of all too many of our children such as Private England, whose fate it was to be raised by such cruds.

This /is/ the common denominator, I am sorry to say, and it is because of people like this -- the general human condition -- that any who claim to have longterm goals must be truly careful about the torture business. Cruelty is as I pointed out above perhaps our oldest social recreation, and of course the key to the future is not in these endless regressions.

[The reason I've not joined in the row at your place :) is of course that I am already blogging around "all over Hell," as they say here in southern Minnesota in my American mother's dialect -- and, Christ knows, I do have a farm to run some of the time anyway. All my very best you, Sir, and may my mahometan genies and angels tie knots in all of your torture plans at every point of the compass, /amin/.]

Bodwyn Wook said...

The topic of torture is as nuanced a topic for discussion as its variations are endless, at least in the hands of the creative operator.

Earlier I alluded the American Indian predilection for this sort of thing and connected it, falsely perhaps, with the amusement needs of a simple or "primitive" population without Tesco's, footer and Viagra (!), but there are important distinctions to be made. Mr Crawford adduces the utilitarian purposes of what some have called the "Nanny" state and the "universal" goal of keeping the myriads of halfwits "safe" at all costs. Needless to say some theorists in these terms have since arrived at the need to eliminate /constitutions/, if only to make affairs likewise safer, or more untrammeled at least, for the great semi-public quasi-global corporations in cooperation with the managerial state. The talk of "reform" reassuringly remains that of "enhanced service delivery."

Now all of this is perfectly unexceptionable late-modern thought and all well and good, excepting perhaps the trifling problem of /anachronism/. We are all now dwelling like so many hijacked air passengers in the crumbling Third World air terminal of the post-modern. However if I read Mr Crawford and others aright, then it is simply a matter of torturing, oh, just a few of the Wogs, just enough I mean to find out when the last plane is due out. After all back in Blighty the late-modern is forever, just ask Ms Smith, and later on of course we shall have to invade these sand coons and sort them out from their religious and other delusions. All of these are so many tried and true utilitarian conceptions, all firmly grounded in the heyday of the Old Atlantic West in the century before last.

However, in the case of the Ohio Indians in the century before last, and for many centuries before that, roasting and skinning those people alive who were so unfortunate as to fail the gauntlet run was not so much a matter of extracting information. These Indians were all savages, and they already "knew" this about one another after all. It was rather a case of testing courage, spiritual power and the final dignity of a man. The goal of the indignity was hellish, and it was to defeat the one tortured and make them cry out for mercy. That last battle put at stake (sic) an eternity of wandering and never reaching the other world. That kind of battle, apocalyptic torture highly ritualised, was and is not something we can easily understand, and to assess it as I did earlier as being about public amusement is only the most superficial of appraisals. To speak of it next as "cultural pathology" as do some neo-conservatives in turn transcends the merely superficial and takes right off into the mad germanic blue distance. That by the way is certainly a curious fate for a school of thought which has attracted so many Jews. Only when we do it to get information, this is naturally not pathological. It is, well, medical and I daresay remedial, or something.

The great distinction here may well centre on the historical problem of /dignity/.

Again in our long historical beat, the last time this was the question came at the end of late antiquity. I am perfectly aware that here I am returning in historianship to a tacitian conception. It is one drawn right from out of the primary written sources. However, there are no absolute fallacies in History and so why ever not the question of...dignitas? Historical fallacy is a function of the misapplication of interpretative tropes, nothing more than that. Timing is the thing, and Time the mystery. I want to suggest here that the great fallacious assumption is that we are still late-modern, we are still powerful in that old meaningful sense that Churchill understood, and that therefore these gimmicks like machineguns at Omdurman must still 'work'. What gives the lie to it all --and indeed spelt the downfall of the merely functional itself -- was the astounding collapse of any public concern whatsoever in the West with dignity in just the century after Omdurman. The abandonment of dignity and its restraints and necessary hypocrisies led to Suez in 1956 and, in a host of private shattered lives, to HIV in 1981. Many other penalties and costs of manky kinds were levied on us all, both in between and afterward. This sort of avalanche is rare in our western history and it is not surprising that most historians do not, actually cannot, make note of it.

Be that as it may, there is nothing more demeaning to the full range of human possibility and purpose than the episodically useful, because what is useful is only so to the here and now. It offers nothing more and it cannot offer more. Still less is the merely useful any sort of gateway to the future. It offers rather only in disguise the allegedly 'asian' myth or phantasy of eternal cycles, of nobility and knavery all never going anywhere outside of themselves. Speaking frankly as a man without credentials and as one who instead was blessed to have had a very dignified grandfather, I find the mis-timed professionalist vision finally not so much repulsive as it is boring, simply pessimistic, stupid and hopeless.

So do the people find it whom we propose to torture with it.

What no one seemingly can get through their heads is that our dead factuality finds us adrift in the middle of the muslim fifteenth century. Whereas History as Chesterton said /does/ pun, and all of these abu Ghraibs and Guantanamo Bays in fact are the forcing ground of the islamic fifteenth century Renascence. The individual act of torture now is additive and it all goes with increasing velocity very far, only for our immediate purposes as Churchill said to the drunken young subaltern, 'in the wrong direction'. The act of torture by a doubtlessly certified 'professional' challenges dignity at the hands of the indignant, resistance confirms manhood, and this manhood affirms faith in something greater than the dead end of mere therapeutic human being, and 'endless' supplies of Viagra. Therefore, when Science finally does bring us into post-human being, it will be under the overarching dome of islamic civilisation in full flower. It is then that men and their heirs shall leave Earth for the heavens. Inasmuch monotheistic men all are western men, this will be /our/ second renascence in the Old Atlantic West also. In that context, then, perhaps the thing to do is to speed up the torturing and to rope in more prisoners. Almost certainly in terms of a so-called 'sufi' presence behind all of this, Mr Crawford is doubtlessly being prompted to say and write what he does in aid of certain operations unbeknownst to himself. Mind control like this of course is no doubt loathsome to him as it is to us all, but this is an effect now which may well be accomplished by invisible rays, or something.

Jose said...

I keep watching in American films and serials how torture is used in a subliminal way with apparently the acceptance by all concerned. True that those films try to persuade beforehand that those subjected to torture are worth the experience, but it nevertheless settles a wrong principle that torture is justified in some cases.

Disgusting, indeed.

Charles Crawford said...

Howdy, Bodwin!

How would you summarise your argument in a few words? Is it that Modernism/Progress turbo-boosts Primitivism/Superstition to new heights and new victories?

A sort of slippery slope idea, that the more advance (or think we advance) the more we enrage those unable to cope with it all and drive them to destroy us?

Viagra Falls?


Bodwyn Wook said...

[Jose, man, good morning, long time, no hear!]

Briefly, if I am too high up for some things, my inferiority, my unsinned sins as it were, all fly out into the environment and land on some poor slob in the vicinity who cannot stand up to it, and then we have another shootout at the Post Office. [In parallel, cultures both on their way up and down amplify all of this egotism and use other setups as dumps likewise....]


So much then for "briefly," the Sufi idea as I first encountered it is that:

There is an amount of energy, it seeks "expression," and as Saul Bellow said, if something can be imagined, it will happen.

There is a continuum between the electronic scale with its relatively good signal-to-noise ratio and the molecular, more messy level.

In our persons even with our brains wadded awkwardly in all of this mush we begin to perceive these fantasies embedded in the material.

Nature is becoming self-aware ["...sort of!" -- "Ferret" Ball, Augsburg College, 2008] in our persons, and it is of interest to me to note that this formulation of the so-called "perennial philosophy" /is/ pretty much the whole hog materialism of the century before last.

The physical struggles between people, our mammalian homeostases and the resulting "politics," is molecular biology at work in all of its adorable sloppiness.

This generates much additional "noise" that the imaginal workers have to janitor away every day.

We mistake the noise, including the effusions of language, for actual knowledge and wisdom even.

Torture on the face of it, like the struggle everywhere to impose but one description (or the other!) of "reality," just slows things down and is a waste of time.

However, the hidden part is that these policy didoes by the late-historical bewildered of all eras also do reach a terminal state and then are useful albeit mainly as an accelerant, to clear away the debris of previous setups.

Naive people with an excessive and essentially greedy interest in "spirituality" think they really will benefit to know more about "Sufism" and the I Ching and things like that, and that it is way cool being the Pillar of the Age and so forth, however I am reliably assured it is not, it is a big pain in the ass like all Ouija boards, and as Jesus said in a suppressed story in the fable, "The problem is NOT 'sin,' it's stupidity!"

The point is that really, you have no choice at this point if you've been selected to "think" that torture is a tool that can restore the initiative in certain situations, this is your assignment to advocate, and of course you may indeed be eligible for other increments once you've done this job to its admittedly footling conclusion.

In just the same way I am stuck with trying to set forth a certain dim ensemble of notions of "mine," and naturally as the Berbers in Morocco say, everyone thinks their own lice are fine horses.

Finally, you mean Viaga Run, Charles, it's a new building site outside of Frostbite Falls, MN, three hundred miles North from here on the North Coast Of Ioway where I have to go shovel some horseshit. Anyway, the asparagus is now growing to beat Hell and the bees are just starting in on the first dandelions, here. Yours till Hell is a cinder,

Bodwyn "Emmett" Wook 'abd al-'Abru

Jose said...

Hi, Bodwyn, pleased you have missed me, not so much as I have you and this blog. But circumstances in life prevent us from doing what we like, sometimes.

Never have I considered torture as a solution, mainly because we never know if the tortured person is guilty, because if we did we wouldn't torture them, or would we?

In my opinion an intelligent, God-fearing, or not, person must never resort to torture. A person who has been reared within the current ethical standards oughtn't to knowingly hurt anybody for the mere suspicion that they may be "blameable". Not on moral principles, not at all. If they do they are incurring in baser deeds than the person they presume guilty.

Bodwyn Wook said...

I am with you, Jose, and only hope I am never put in a position where I would 'feel the need to' (/have to/ I mean) knock somebody's block off who was threatening my grandchildren. Or any child and I knew of it, I reckon. That's what adults do, they protect children.

Even saying 'protects all of them' comes under the heading of 'natural right', I feel, but what is perhaps not so forgiveable is planning it all out beforehand. I think, though, that Charles Crawford quite clearly has limits in mind and actually is trying to be realistic about what we /are/. That is the purpose of hashing it out in advance and trying to establish permissible cases.

However, a Polish lady, a sociologist whose name escapes me, has written that the people who had a best chance of surviving the Nazi camps were those who were as clear as could be to themselves that the whole Nazi enterprise was /criminal/, that the botched and the objectively God-damned had taken over the European state system, and that their entire purpose was theft, bullying and murder. These people, like the morally poor especially, and NuLabour and the NeoCons and all the other children of the lesser gods, we will have with us for good long time, of course we will.

But woe betide /us/ if we give them a leg up, it is as bad a slope as Edward Wood tried to draw Churchill onto in May of 1940, during Dunkirk, when the Eyeties offered to broker 'just another' meeting with Hitler...right before doing France in the back.

That kind of bargaining is irremediably criminal, and it is /the/ lesson of the short 20th century of 1914-1989.