Torture and the New Definition of American Virtue

The Washington Post/ABC News poll earlier this week showed that most respondents approved of CIA torture and most opposed disclosing the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA abuses.

Apparently, as long as the government denies its atrocities, Americans can still feel virtuous. And seeking the truth is giving aid & comfort the enemy…

toles great cartoon larger version tt141218

Another great cartoon from Tom Toles


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9 Responses to Torture and the New Definition of American Virtue

  1. Tom Blanton December 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    From where I sit, it appears that freedom-loving Christian conservatives and caring hipster progressives alike have become extremely authoritarian. This authoritarianism is situational and is only acceptable when the political enemies of a particular group are subject to the iron fist of the state. Maybe acceptable is the wrong word – celebrated might be better.

    When people have no problem with the police executing unarmed Americans on the street if the victim doesn’t have a squeaky clean record, then it isn’t surprising that they should have no problem with government agents torturing people suspected of being a ticking terrorist, set to go off at any moment, in order to save millions of American lives or for some other dubious reason.

    The rubes have internalized the idea the state is infallible and possesses magical powers and unlimited authority. War, indeed, is the health of the state – even when the war is against the state’s own subjects.

  2. Jim December 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    Tom, the infallibility notion has shined through much of the defense of the CIA in the past 10 days. The fact that 3 former CIA directors signed an oped is taken like a holy tablet delivered on Mt. Sinai. “Three former CIA directors said…” It is not considered relevant that one of them – Porter Goss – is not smart enough to get hired as a Village Idiot.

    I am puzzled why so many conservatives are deifying govt. power at the same time they are utterly distrusting of the IRS, HUD, and ObamaCare.

    Based on that Post/ABC poll results, the American political culture is more servile than I thought.

  3. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 22, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    “I am puzzled why so many conservatives are deifying govt. power at the same time they are utterly distrusting of the IRS, HUD, and ObamaCare.”

    OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH, I got this one!

    “Because they’re not really conservatives. They’re standard MKI Authoritarians who don’t want to see government power imposed on THEM, but are perfectly content to see it used on those they dislike.” The only question for an MKI Authoritarian is what his disfavored groups are. MKI (C) Authoritarians tend to be fearful, thus having a preference for using military or police to kick the snot out of “others” who are deemed to be a threat. MKI (L) Authoritarians are more often personally insecure and envious, thus their desire to be “taken care of” or have lifestyles “leveled.”

  4. Jim December 22, 2014 at 11:38 am #


  5. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Mark I. The first version. They’ve never evolved or upgraded to a MKII form because in 10,000 years they’ve never had to.

  6. Tom Blanton December 22, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    I have often made the observation that even though “conservatives” hate bureaucrats (and consider them to be incompetent do-gooders hellbent on destroying America) once a bureaucrat is given a uniform and a weapon, the government lackey is suddenly transformed into an infallible hero of unlimited integrity and unquestionable motives.

    To “progressives”, anyone working for the government is proof that they are an infallible hero of unlimited integrity and unquestionable motives. If they are weaponized, it’s no problem so long as the government agents beat up and/or kill Americans in compliance with the standard affirmative action guidelines. As long as the victims “look like America,” everything is cool.

    I’m pretty sure that the whole meme regarding cops killing too many black people will no longer be an issue once more white people are killed by cops. I’m pretty sure most progressives would be happy as long as half the corpses are white – even if the total number of black victims increases. This is equality in Amerika! It’s the same thing as taxing the rich and middle class into poverty to achieve economic equality.

    Those outraged by the indiscriminate torture of Muslims might be calmed by torturing more Jews, Buddhists and Christians, but only if racial and gender quotas are also met.

  7. Tom Blanton December 22, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    By the way, the torturer in the top frame above appears to be Dick Cheney, but the torturer in the bottom frame seems to be some other Dick, judging by the shape of his head. I wonder who this. Maybe Peter King?

    • Jim December 22, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

      Perhaps the cartoonist believed that the people who were polled had not “missed any pizzas.”

      • The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit December 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

        I’m a confirmed pizza non-misser and am considering being offended by the suggestion that I may be one of a group that condones torture. Except anchovies. Those people adding anchovies to pizza are mutant freaks and who knows WHAT else they might be capable of!

        Tom, I would broaden the Progressive viewpoint of weaponized agents – it’s really not very different than the Other Side’s View: So long as the victims of weaponized agents are “them,” then the senders are comfortable with the agents. Surely you don’t think that Michael Bloomberg (for instance) is going to come out and take my AR15 with HIS own hands? He delegates that sort of thing….