Re: Confronted

1

A fair reading of her expression is "Please don't touch the suit."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
2

"He loves me, not that plastic Texas whore. He loves me best! I'd do anything for him. Anything."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
3

Let me be the first to sound humorless here. She's not a performer, and she's not a politician -- she's an academic who got hired to work in goverment. The fact that her facial expressions under stress are uncharming is neither here nor there.

Now, she's also a very bad person who's done bad things. I'm happy people are shouting at her. But the fact that she's got a combative look on her face doesn't mean anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
4

This one makes me think:

Protester: Look at this shade of nail polish! I know I didn't apply it carefully, but it's very pretty.

Rice: Oooooh! That *is* nice!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
5

Let me be the first to sound humorless here.

I'm missing something here. What's the kick?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
6

Actually, looking at the pictures, I kind of like them. She looks like she's just barely not punching the protester -- if I agreed with Rice rather than the protester about anything, I'd be rooting for her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
7

"Mmm, blood, thanks very much, don't mind if I do. Wait -- this is only paint!"


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
8

Dude, that's what I do all the time. That's what you do when crazy people are yelling at you and getting in your face--be stoic and act like you don't see them.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
9

8: warmonger.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
10

5: The kick is "let's micro-analyse someone's soul and moral standing by looking at pictures of them. Good people you can just tell by the look on their faces." Applied to anyone, that's just dumb -- good, competent, reasonable people can look like they crawled out from under rocks, and there are plenty of attractive, appealing people who react charmingly under pressure who should burn eternally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
11

8: So, to be clear, ogged's post is not in fact good science? Good to know.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
12

LB, I read those pictures looking for any hint of self-awareness and contrition. Anything to let me think that a late on-set conscience will torment them for the rest of their lives. It is all the consolation I am likely to get. But I absolutely love trying to draw something out of the political pictures.

I recommend the Bag News Notes if that sort of thing appeals to you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
13

10: well I'm sure they had a perfectly good reason for crawling under the rock in the first place. Maybe there was hail!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
14

I am fond of my friend Ian Whitmore's depiction of Rice and company.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
15

Someone thrusting their paint-covered hands in your face is just likely to startle you, not make you feel contrite.

What would be a good source of contrition would be to show pictures of dead Iraqi children and film the viewers' faces.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
16

Anything to let me think that a late on-set conscience will torment them for the rest of their lives.

Really, what are the odds? And what's the payoff? If the remorse hits too late to change anything, a world with a happily selfrighteous Rice in it is a minimally happier world than one where she's tortured by guilt. I have no problem at all with all of them living their lives out on an island someplace with Swiss bank accounts, if their unhappiness doesn't make anything else better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
17

14: Who's the guy on the left? And his depiction of Rice is too kind by half.

a world with a happily selfrighteous Rice in it is a minimally happier world than one where she's tortured by guilt

Not if her tortured soul is visible to the rest of us.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
18

Well, the rest of us want some hint of goddam contrition. (A hint of humanity, really.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
19

12. Megan- I put it to you that to be Secretary of State of these United States one must be willing to have a little blood on one's hands. Figureatively, of course. Having this pointed out by a nutbag with paint dripping of her palms does not change the calculus.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
20

Their unhappiness would make me feel better. Maybe enough better to restore that lost happiness. It would be redistribute that happiness, in a good way!

I know the odds are vanishingly small.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
21

to be Secretary of State of these United States one must be willing to have a little blood on one's hands

Indeed, but there are degrees.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
22

I guess that's true -- if watching repentance makes you feel better, than that's a net profit. It just makes me angrier: the thought of someone like Rice, two years down the road, saying "Now I see the error of my ways, yes, invading Iraq was a terrible evil thing I shouldn't have been involved in, I'm so sorry and and I'll be haunted for the rest of my life" makes me want to run her over with a truck. If you're capable of moral understanding enough to have remorse, but you don't come up with it until it's too late, you're a much, much worse person than the simply amoral idiot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
23

Degrees, and approaches. You could lament for the necessity and be an honorable person. Or you could skip heedlessly into needless wars because you don't ever think about the consequences.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
24

22 gets it exactly right. Someone being contrite later makes me think that they knew what they were doing was awful all along, but just ignored those feelings because Politics! Power! The American Military is Bad Ass!

That makes me feel worse.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
25

If you're capable of moral understanding enough to have remorse, but you don't come up with it until it's too late, you're a much, much worse person than the simply amoral idiot.

I so don't understand that. Are you really saying that people who feel remorse are worse than people who don't?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
26

Or you could skip heedlessly into needless wars

Or needlessly into heedless ones.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
27

But those people are reach-able. Somehow, with techniques we don't have yet. But they can be touched. If they're soulless, then there's no hope for re-integrating that piece of our society.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
28

10: Good point. Someone who didn't recognize this person could be forgiven for guessing that the subject was a self-satisfied European bourgeois of the first half of the century, perhaps even a member or supporter of one of the killing-a-whole-bunch-of-people political movements of that era.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
29

25: If what you did was bad enough, and your excuse for thinking it was okay was lame enough -- I don't know if it's worse; if I were a Christian I'd say that true repentance is always possible. But I'm not, and it just makes me angry.

Someone who honestly thinks that terrible things are okay is someone different from me. I may have to stop them, but I don't really care what's going on in their heads. Someone whose capable of the same emotions and reasoning processes I am who nonetheless does bad things is despicable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
30

I do wonder at the motivation of the protester. Aside from the theater, did she really expect Rice to break down in tears at the magnitude of her misjudgement? I'm sure even Dick Cheney has some private regrets, but a public display of remorse is out of the question, and really can't be expected.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
31

OTish: Does anyone know anything about this Senate resolution declaring that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization? I guess that it was sponsored by Lieberman. (Sigh. Another reason to feel bad that Lamont lost.) Apparently the vote was 76-0. I want to look up the vote to see whether I need to write to John Kerry. I'm pretty sure that Ted would vote against this sort of thing.

Fucking Hillary Clinton voted for it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
32

"Oh, goody, finger painting. I thought we were just going to make lanyards today."


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
33

There are varying degrees of remorse, of course. I think LB is thinking of the sort of vague remorse Rice might express to make herself acceptable in polite society after leaving office. "Mistakes were made, and we regret that."


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
34

See, I want the members of the Bush administration to suffer from guilt, as compensation for making me feel so powerless while they wreak destruction.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
35

I don't agree with 22. By definition, remorse comes later (after the deed for which one feels remorseful). In some cases, it comes too late, of course. But the person who is incapable of remorse is a far worse person.

That said, I share your anger, and would also be deeply suspicious of any expressions of remorse coming from that quarter.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
36

30: There is no 'aside from the theater'. This isn't aimed at Rice, it's aimed at us. I'm not a good judge of what's effective and what's not, but the idea is to make the public think about the blood on Rice's hands.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
37

25 gets it right. The person who commits atrocities while drunk on power and later awakens with horror at his crime is far better than the person who just lives his entire life (willfully?) blind to his sins. The "amoral idiot" is a red herring: no one really think Rice is just too stupid to comprehend complex morality.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
38

I do wonder at the motivation of the protester. Aside from the theater

I think it's mostly theater. Rice is a prop here--the idea is to make a show of dissatisfaction, of "speaking truth to power." But I imagine there's also a lot of frustration that one isn't being heard by those in the inner circle and this way, hey, she definitely heard you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
39

Seriously people, what do you all know about the build-up to bombing Iran and Senatorial acquiescence?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
40

Someone who honestly thinks that terrible things are okay is someone different from me.

I think the word you're looking for is "monster."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
41

Someone who honestly thinks that terrible things are okay is someone different from me.

I try to think that people who do sustained terrible things aren't thinking at all. Like, they have the capacity, but they duck the thoughts and distract themselves. I remember the times I've sustained denial for ages too long. Then I want a path to lead them out of the denial that they can process. (Except if they have been monsters, in which case I don't want them to process it, and I want them to suffer full awareness of what they did for a very long time.)

It sounds all goody-goody, but my thinking is more practical than that. These people are here and they are influential and we have to deal with them and we don't successfully shut them down every time. So there has to be another option for getting them to not act that way.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
42

I think the word you're looking for is "monster."

I think that's too simple. These things have a logic of their own from the inside. You start by thinking that it would be bad for the Chinese to have exclusive rights to Iraqi oil, and you tell yourself that Saddam is a really bad guy, and you listen to Iraqis who say that they'll welcome you, and you hear people saying it'll be easy, and you go in and for a while it looks pretty good, and slowly things go to shit, but at each step you think it wasn't your fault, or you couldn't have prevented it, and pretty soon, little by little, you're a mass murderer and realize, in retrospect, that you should have tried to stop it years ago. At least, that's how I think it went for Rice. Cheney probably is a monster.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
43

I think that's too simple.

What you're describing is different from an inability to tell right from wrong. LB sounds closer to your position, but--to me--her general position only potentially makes sense if we're talking about a disability of some sort, inasmuch as we don't hold people morally responsible for their disabilities.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
44

Also, if people understand remorse, they might change their present behavior to prevent future remorse.

It is little enough, but if they can't feel remorse, we don't even have that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
45

You're all probably right -- certainly with respect to someone who remains influential, who should certainly feel remorse insofar as it will make her fix things in the future. Really, I'm mostly being spiteful and angry -- I don't want someone who's done terrible things to get to be a good person when it's too late to make any difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
46

I don't think many people forgave McNamara, but 1) it just feels good to have one of the architects of evil admit that you were right all along and 2) it's instructive to see how they thought about things so as to go so badly astray.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
47

Who's the guy on the left? And his depiction of Rice is too kind by half.

Timbot, that's Donald Rumsfeld. And what about that urine-soaked backdrop do you find kind?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
48

I don't know, Ogged, the story about Condi traveling in New York City during Katrina: she went shopping for fancy shoes, took in a Broadway show, and had a few nice meals. All that while people were drowning in filthy water. Needless to say, there wasn't much statecraft to be done that day. But a sensible person that high up in the administration would have kept her head down. That she didn't, that she instead went out on the town in the most high-profile city in the country, suggests that she really may not be thinking very much at all. Plus, she's reputed to be a second-rate mind. At best.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
49

34: Nietzsche reading group!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
50

You're not going to have to work hard to convince me that she's worse even than I think.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
51

LB - how come you're linking remorse to being a (retroactive) good person? They will always have done horrific deeds. I believe in redemption, but not in a clean slate.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
52

39: You could start here, BG.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
53

48: Come on, all that shows is that she isn't a politician. Unless people seriously want to argue that buying shoes meant she neglected her duties, then all we've got is a wince-worthy photo op.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
54

My attempts to derail this on-topic thread (and a couple of others recently) have been totally unsuccesful. I now know that I can sympathize with mcmanus.

But:

ogged: 2) it's instructive to see how they thought about things so as to go so badly astray.

See, I'm so worried that nobody has thought through this, because a lot of people seem to be making the same mistake with regard to Iran.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
55

she's worse even than I think.

What is the story behind the Chevron oil tanker named after her, does anyone know? Gratitude for something, but for what?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
56

51: What I'm envisioning is the dinner party, where I'm seated next to Rice, and she starts talking about how tortured she is by the thought of the Iraqi children with terrible physical and emotional scars, including the scars from the family members they lost, and so on, and how she'll never be able to get over her terrible remorse at having brought that about. I don't want to forgive her; she didn't hurt me, and I'm not entitled to forgive her for hurting other people. But I don't have a response ready for sincere remorse other than forgiveness. So where I end up with is irrational hostility for the remorse, because I don't have an emotional response that makes sense: "Fuck you, asshole, for being remorseful as if that made any difference."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
57

What is the story behind the Chevron oil tanker named after her, does anyone know?

She was on their board. They name tankers after board members.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
58


52: Thank you, apo. I am feeling less unloved. I think that there might even be a link to the votes by other Senators in there.

Now, I have to go network. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at Cambridge Common.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
59

54: Sorry about not picking it up. Yeah, the vote happened a week or two ago; Clinton voted for it, and she shouldn't have (OTOH, Obama didn't even show up, although he says he would have voted against.) Clinton's story is that she voted for a softened version, and did not vote for the version that looked as if it might actually authorize war with Iraq. Nonetheless, everyone who voted for it can bite me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
60

For being on their Board of Directors for 10 years.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
61

Cala, it's not just bad politics to show off one's super-consumer street cred when people are dying in a preventable tragedy; it's a kind of deep heartlessness that demonstrates one's lack of basic humanity.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
62

But I don't have a response ready for sincere remorse other than forgiveness.

What about unremitting hatred? Lots of people seem to manage it with regards to McNamara (and transfer it to me when I suggest there's something worthwhile there). Or even just contempt.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
63

Does anybody else think the Code Pink people look pretty silly? I wish they would just ditch the ridiculous pink costumes and going topless and stuff and and wear a sombre black like the protestor with the painted hands did. They're the latest manifestation of the guerilla theatre / giant puppet syndrome on the left. A leftover from 60s Yippie stuff I guess.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
64

62: Well, I go for the unremitting hatred, but the remorse makes me feel guilty about the hatred, and that makes me angrier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
65

damn, my embedded link vanished. Here's what I tried to link to "Code Pink"

http://news.yahoo.com/photo/071024/photos_pl/2007_10_24t122729_355x450_us_usa_rice_protester


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
66

62: We wouldn't be blog commenters if we had an extraordinary talent for, or inclination to, forgiveness. The medium lends itself to grudges and the people who keep them: every man a Walter Winchell or something like that.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
67

Does anybody else think the Code Pink people look pretty silly?

Yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
68

I totally agree with you about 56, LB. For her to publicly express remorse in a way that made her seem victimized by it, or in a way that seem to ask for forgiveness, would be gross. But I'm still curious about whether any spark of humanity still flickers in these peoples' souls.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
69

63: To paraphrase Thomas Mann, protestors ought to look like bankers.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
70

What I'm envisioning is the dinner party

I think the best you would get would be remorse at not taking the warnings about 9/11 seriously or some such rot. Iraq was a necessary evil, and any loss of life is regretted blah blah...


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
71

(She did hurt you; she helped a huge bad thing happen that made you sad and angry. But we know that is the least of it.)

What about non-judgmental acknowledgment? Sincere, not snarky. "Yep. You did that. It must be awful." You don't have to pile on or diminish the sincere remorse.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
72

it's a kind of deep heartlessness that demonstrates one's lack of basic humanity.

Nonsense. Rice has a very good, very civilized heart. She'd never be so impolite as to jump up in somebody's face and wave her hands like that protester did.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
73

56, I think the reason that's infuriating is because in that scenario, she's merely expressing the idea of remorse to make herself look better; true remorse (you seem to think) would require that she not show her face at dinner parties, talking about how darned remorseful she is.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
74

71: Probably healthy, but I don't have the coolth for it. Oh, I could say it, but I couldn't mean it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
75

If I understand LB right, she isn't worried about faux-remorse. Faux-remorse is easily handled by doubling down on hating her. I could get behind that. Real remorse, where you are facing a terrible person really feeling awful is where the contradictions get hard.

She's a terrible person who did horrible things!
But a person in my presence is suffering deeply, from well-deserved remorse! But suffering!

Compassion is hard.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
76

I'm still curious about whether any spark of humanity still flickers in these peoples' souls.

unlike all of you little people, these people understand that you can't make an omelot without breaking eggs. They have the strength to be historical actors, and the occasional (sincere!) regrets they feel about their participation in the grim necessities of history just add a little frisson to their memories of their years in power. In truth, all of us are only free because rough men stand ready to use violence to protect our freedoms. Of course we are too squeamish to face up to that, that's why we don't get to be high-level officials and go to lots of meetings where we talk about starting wars.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
77

in retrospect, that post would have been better with some brevity-related editing.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
78

You know, this question comes up with Heidegger and the Nazis. He supported them (not in a "Yay! Final solution!" way, but in a "Let's shake things up and get in touch with Being" way; although he did plenty of terrible things while he was supporting them) and afterwards never said a single word about it publicly. Apparently, when he was told privately that he really needed to say something, his response was "Aber waß?" I've always thought that he had this dilemma in mind: you should be remorseful, but some things are bad enough that being openly remorseful about them is in some ways to compound your perfidy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
79

Does anybody else think the Code Pink people look pretty silly? I wish they would just ditch the ridiculous pink costumes and going topless and stuff and and wear a sombre black like the protestor with the painted hands did. They're the latest manifestation of the guerilla theatre / giant puppet syndrome on the left. A leftover from 60s Yippie stuff I guess.

THANK YOU MARCUS

I DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT REFLEXIVELY MAKING FUN OF THEM AND, BY EXTENSION, THE LEFT ANYMORE


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
80

76: We can't handle the truth!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
81

Yeah, that's exactly right. "I have righteous anger! And you, with your sincere remorse, have removed yourself as an appropriate target for my righteous anger! You killed babies, and now I'm the asshole for being mad at you?!?" Which, under those circumstances, I would, in fact, be. Meaning that I'd be happier in the absence of sincere remorse.

Compassion is hard.

Yup. I approve of it, but I don't always do it well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
82

78: ogged, please translate his response for the plebes among us.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
83

But what you all are missing is that these people have no remorse because they do not see what they have done as wrong. And they can't think that way or they would be paralyzed by doubt. I am beginning to wonder if the "power" of the United States has outgrown our system of government, by which I mean that only people with a lust for power seek out the positions of power with the resulting foreign policy.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
84

Yeah, my guess on the German was 'About what?' but I could be way off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
85

ogged, please translate his response for the plebes among us.

Sorry, that was obnoxious, and I am remorseful: "But what?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
86

78: That seems like a generous interpretation of the H-Bomb's post-rectorship position, considering that he was pretty sure of the answer to "Aber waß?" when he was seeking reinstatement: "it wasn't me; it was the one-armed man; I was just a politically-naive enthusiast who enjoyed the power to be had but got out before things got too awful around here."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
87

Now show us your double-s that looks like a B again. That was hott.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
88

on review, what marcus said. I mean sometimes it must be easier to be a tall, stoned, baseball playing Dutchman with my face painted orange than a red blooded American savage.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
89

ogged, please translate his response for the plebes among us.

Fine, I suppose making it "mais pourquoi?" would be somewhat accurate, my good fellow.


Posted by: Cogg-Willoughby | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
90

Which, under those circumstances, I would, in fact, be.

OK, good. Now I see where we are separating. I truly do not think you would be an asshole in that situation. A just anger is something they have earned and should bear in public. It is one side result of doing terrible things. I think you get to simultaneously feel that anger without being an asshole and be aware of their sincere remorse. (If you want to, I mean.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
91

61: I have no problem with criticizing Rice on the things she's actually done. But a lot of the criticism of her seems to boil down to a) nasty woman bought some shoes b) black lady in love with her white master and c) she must be a second-rate mind because obviously smart people are always virtuous.

And the shoe-shopping thing does not bother me. I am sure I ate during Katrina. I may have made a purchase. I don't think that demonstrates a basic lack of humanity True, I am not Secretary of State, but then the Secretary of State isn't in charge of disaster relief.

And there's just so many things to actually criticize her for that aren't about fashion or whether she's secretly in luv with Bush that I'd rather stick to that, personally.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
92

68:

But I'm still curious about whether any spark of humanity still flickers in these peoples' souls.

Which strikes me as a question with a distinctly different emphasis from whether they ever have, do now, or ever will harbor remorse. Related, obviously.

Once they (some of them, let's say Cheney, Feith, et al.) took the decision to pursue an invasion of Iraq, with everything that would constitute setting the stage for that, one assumes they'd have squared away the pesky question of lives lost: ends justify means, blah blah.

To experience -- and express? -- genuine remorse after the fact would require being born again, as it were. Asking "whether any spark of humanity still flickers in these peoples' souls" assumes a form of humanity continuous with our own: theirs is not. Which is one reason we can barely begin a conversation with them.

This *might* be overly dramatic as an assessment of Rice (my sense is that she's along for the ride to an extent), but not of Cheney.

On preview, pwned.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
93

76 relates to a very common fallacy. Obviously, people in positions of power sometimes have to make grim/distasteful/nasty but necessary things, presumeably as a least-bad of a bad bunch of choices.

However, the mere fact that powerful people have done nasty things does not in any way prove that they were necessary.

TLL/marcus are right that the type of person that tends to get into this sort of position are almost constitutionally unable to view what they are doing as wrong. This is why you need more counterbalances as the stakes go up, not fewer. Otherwise you'll end up with a pack of assholes like the current US admin running amok.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
94

She looks like she's thinking, "Just fuck off, really."

Though punching the protester would have been entertaining.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
95

I think McNamara's apology works out, net, as a good thing. Because McNamara did this thing, he gets credit for a mitzvah.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
96

Apparently, when he was told privately that he really needed to say something, his response was "Aber waß?"

"Was", surely, and it's not just what Flippanter said—he defended himself post-rectorship on occasion. (I read a letter of his once that was just amazing.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
97

(in which he was attempting to tu quoque someone who had actually opposed the nazis, or at least left, or something.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
98

that was obnoxious, and I am remorseful

That must be a heavy burden to bear, but I'm still very angry!

I like Megan's approach.

Also, right on Cala!


Posted by: chas | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
99

Found it:

Two years earlier, on January 20, 1948, Heidegger answered the letter of his former student, Herbert Marcuse, who had inquired why he had not yet spoken out about the Nazi terror and the murder of six million Jews. Heidegger responded by comparing the Holocaust to the Soviet Union's treatment of Germans in Eastern Europe:

I can only add that instead of the word "Jews" [in your letter] there should be the word "East Germans," and then exactly the same [terror] holds true of one of the Allies, with the difference that everything that has happened since 1945 is public knowledge world-wide, whereas the bloody terror of the Nazis was in fact kept a secret from the German people.[21]


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
100

Kobe would know what to say.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
101

Cala's 91 is totally correct (though I disagree about the shoe-shopping, if only because it showed such appalling judgment about appearances).

Also the linked photos just make me sympathize with her. Someone jumps in your face and starts yelling at you, your reaction is not to consider whether or not they have a point. It's "what the hell is your problem? Go away."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
102

And I'm surprised that Ogged doesn't approve of Rice's reaction--which is the same as the general consensus here about puppet-waving hippies, is it not?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
103

Fine, I suppose making it "mais pourquoi?" would be somewhat accurate, my good fellow.

No it wouldn't be.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
104

91: I don't want to pick a fight, Cala, because I agree with much of what you say, particularly about the gendered dimension of outrage at Condi. But, as you note, you're not the Secretary of State (give it time). She is. And was then. She went shopping, got heckled for it, and then (wish I could figure out how to do italics) went out for a show that night. Where she got booed. Like I said, not a lot of clueful humanity on display there. And I don't think the critique has to do with gender or race.

In sum, I agree: everyone's gotta eat; and most of us want to shop, sometimes even when disaster strikes. But I'm not sure, if I were Secretary of State, that I'd buy shoes today with much of SoCal burning. And if did made that choice, and had it pointed out to me that my decision had a "let them eat cake" quality to it, I might skip the fancy dinner and show that I had planned for after. But that's just me. Maybe I'm too much of a politcal animal.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
105

I've always thought that he had this dilemma in mind: you should be remorseful, but some things are bad enough that being openly remorseful about them is in some ways to compound your perfidy.

This is why true remorse is best accompanied by some sort of penance. Anyone can say, "Wow, I feel shitty about that." Not everyone can follow it with sincere efforts to repair the damage. And in situation slike this, it's really rather difficult to imagine what could possibly be done to repair the damage.

LB, if Condi didn't express remorse at a dinner party but by giving up her life her to go to Iraq ans care for the wounded, the orphaned, the impoverished, etc., would that kind of remorse still infuriate you?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
106

Funny thing about MacNamera. A couple of years ago I saw The Fog of War and wanted to talk to my dad about MacNamera's regrets. My dad was (still) so inarticulate with anger at MacNamera's behavior while in office that he was entirely uninterested in the rueful moral narrative.

Made me think: if, in twenty years, George W. Bush gets all wistful and reflective and vulnerable, it really is likely that I'll want to kick him while he's down.

Powell and Rice are probably already suffering the torments of the damned. They know they were bought.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
107

Powell and Rice are probably already suffering the torments of the damned. They know they were bought.

That's actually not nearly enough.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
108

105: Okay, that actually might work -- I can see it never being too late to do something good for someone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
109

99: Wow. That is some serious chickenshit.

On the other hand, he does show an impressive grasp, intuitive or otherwise, of Schopenhauer's lessons on how to win arguments.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
110

108: I guess the point is that it has to be convincing, and the further along that path someone goes, the harder it is for them to be convincing. Superficial remorse, or even the appearance of it, will just make things worse. At some point, you lose all claim to benefit of the doubt.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
111

107.---Oh, don't get me wrong: that doesn't mean I don't want them to go up before The Hague!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
112

I love Code Pink because they are so fucking unapologetic. Would you rather have a protester in a suit who will tearfully apologize later in the week? I know it's theater, but what else do we have? Should everybody wait for the Dems to rise up? And how do those women keep getting into those hearing rooms?

I don't know what's in Rice's heart, but I save my blind hatred for those whose blood lust got us into the war. For Rice, I merely have deep, burning contempt. Later remorse from someone that privileged, intelligent cannot be genuine. It is inconceivable that she doesn't understand her role in this complete disaster RIGHT NOW.

McNamara's remorse didn't do anything for me. Too convenient. When the damage is so horrific, a soul is beyond redemption.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
113

And how do those women keep getting into those hearing rooms?

They wait on line in their pink outfits. The president's fucked up little 'free speech' zones, where you can be kept away from him if there's some suspicion that you'll say something that would pollute his fragile, precious ears, don't apply to Congress.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
114

48: Actually, there was plenty of statecraft to be done that day -- it's pretty standard as I understand it for the Secretary of State to be liaising with and helping to coordinate foreign offers of aid, for example, of which there were plenty. But that assumes you belong to a government that gives a shit, and that you personally give a shit. At minimum, making a show of doing something while one of your major cities is underwater would -- at least in a functioning democracy -- be standard politics.

But Condi, of course, isn't part of the standard politics of a functioning democracy. And pace 112: it is inconceivable that she doesn't understand her role in this complete disaster RIGHT NOW, I think it's perfectly conceivable that she is, in fact, just that clueless. Elites have been known to maintain bubbles of delusion and self-aggrandizement in the face of all scales and types of self-imposed disaster.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
115

Ben, Heidegger was a bad dude in a lot of ways, but that wasn't a public statement, which is what I thought we were talking about.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
116

112--

i guess i love them. sort of. i'm more half-hearted about it because, to be honest, nothing about their actions makes me feel that protest of this sort is a viable option for actually changing the course of the republic.

when we talk about the universal apathy of the opposition--and courtney martin is right, except it ain't just her generation--part of the problem is that there just seems to be no action that we could take that would be meaningful. i hate to say it, but nothing about the code pink protests changes my mind on that score.

thoreau over on henley's blog said something a few months ago that may get closer to the heart of it. words to the effect of, "when the government demands nothing of us, there is nothing we can refuse it." e.g. no draft means no draft dodgers, or draft protests.

it's almost like they planned the war this way, so that we would be so isolated from it, that 90% of us wouldn't mind, and the other 10% wouldn't be able to push back.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
117

it's almost like they planned the war this way, so that we would be so isolated from it, that 90% of us wouldn't mind, and the other 10% wouldn't be able to push back.

"almost like"? It's part of the genius of the large-scale use of mercenary forces like Blackwater, for one thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
118

Maybe it's because I wasn't alive when McNamara was in office, but his sins seem of a different order than Rice's. Watching Fog of War I got the feeling that he was bascially a product of an inhuman system rather than an evil person himself, who convinced himself that the US needed to bomb Vietnam, that it was a necessary evil, while with Rice, (though less with her than with people like Cheney or Bolton), I get the impression she actually genuinely doesn't care about what happens to the people at the receiving end of her policies, as long as she can remain shopping for $1,000 dollar shoes.

Regarding the protestor's actions, it's interesting how responses like 101/102 show how ingrained our reflex of disapproval towards the impolite is, that it wins out over our disgust for the evil. Who cares how awkward it makes Rice feel or not? She deserves to be hounded in public for the rest of her days, because she actively helped to implement a policy of genocide in Iraq, but one protestor with bloody hands and it's all about how incivil that is?

Also, I don't care whether Rice feels remorse later or not, as long as she pays for her crimes.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
119

We don't matter in most ways people can matter to the people running our government.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
120

I've tried long enough to lick my own fingers clean bitch, no way I'm helping you.


Posted by: bryan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
121

When the damage is so horrific, a soul is beyond redemption.

And here's what's so fucked up about Christianity-as-practiced. The amazing part of Christ's message was that he came out foursquare against the above proposition. But what is Christianity-as-practiced all about? "Oh, forgive me, Jesus, I jerked off while thinking about the youthful appearance of a now-dead woman."

I suppose an infinite god has time for lots of forgiving, but, seriously: he's just not that into you. He's busy figuring out what to do with Kissinger.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
122

Watching Fog of War I got the feeling that he was bascially a product of an inhuman system rather than an evil person himself

That was the impression I got, but when I talked to my dad about it, he was all: "no, that arrogant son-of-a-bitch thought he knew better than everyone, you should've seen his press briefings, you think Rumfeld is bad, whoo-boy."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
123

121: Do you really think Kissinger is a difficult case? Seems like a slam dunk to me.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
124

52:
From there, try
here for the other side of that coin.


Posted by: shpx.ohfu | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
125

#99: Did Heidegger then suggest that the best way of dealing with the whole mess was to attack Iraq?

I feel I am starting to understand you humans.


Posted by: bryan | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 4:01 AM
horizontal rule
126

Does nobody have any inclination to defend Condi?
Doesn't it seem possible that she is the person most responsible for the fact that we have not yet attacked Iran? And that if we get through the Bush Administration without starting another war in the Middle East she will have been the person most important for preventing it? And if this is the case...whatever her responsibility for all the bad things done by the Bush Administration...the fact that she has been so loyal to W. is what has allowed her to maintain some influence on policy...and it is a good thing that there is someone relatively sane around to do that......

I don't know if the factual premises for this argument are correct, but they are consistent with most of the stories leaked in the press about the policy disagreements in the White House. And even given the premises, I'm not sure I buy the argument, but it doesn't seem crazy to me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 8:04 AM
horizontal rule