Power Line – Blame America first

June 5, 2005

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: Blame America first
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2005 19:54:20 -0700
From: David Barrett <dbarrett@quinthar.com>
To: Power Line <powerlinefeedback@gmail.com>

<http://powerlineblog.com/archives/010630.php&gt;

Hi, I enjoyed your article today. I agree, the whole Koran issue has
been shocking, not in its content, but in the hoopla of its telling.

However, I disagree with your “generous” assumption that the only reason
one could accept allegations of abuse is a hatred of President Bush.
In my case it’s more a matter of erring on the side of safety.

When criticized, I’ll generally accept it at face value until I can
prove (to myself) otherwise. I believe this is healthier than the
alternative, which is to ignore criticism until it is unavoidable.

In our case, I love America, warts and all. If the allegations are true
(and would you at least grant they possibly are?), we need to deal with
them. (Even if they’re not shocking to you or I, they are shocking to
others, and thus deserve treatment.) Thus if someone — even the enemy
— accuses us of something, I’d rather err on the side of safety and
take it seriously, than simply hope they’re lying.

Because frankly, our enemies have the upper hand here. We’re the good
guys, and thus we are vulnerable to these allegations — true or not.
And given the recent (and acknowledged) reports of abuse elsewhere, it’s
even harder to ignore these.

Ignoring the allegations only hurts us more, and that is true *whether
or not* the allegations are fiction. Furthermore, there is *no way* to
prove to our enemies that it is a fiction. We have *no defense* against
this sort of attack, and wishing we did doesn’t help. The best we can
do is controlling the damage by ask that they trust us, and the only way
we can do that is to take the allegations seriously, even if we think
they’re bogus.

Thus I believe a more sensible reaction to these (and other allegations,
such as the shameful Amnesty International report) would be to say “I am
terribly sorry if these alegations are true, but I don’t know that they
are, and please hold off judgement until our open inquiry into the
subject — involving <trusted third party> — is complete.”

Not everything is about hatred of Bush. But because Bush is so wildly
hated, we need to be even more careful of giving the enemy mud to sling
at us while our reputation is so weak.

-david

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