By Ben Cohen
A reader writes in about my outrage over torture:
How do I personally know the Holocaust
happened? Because my father, an Army-Air Corps P-51 pilot toured Dachau
two weeks after it was liberated. He said he would never forget the
What happened at Abu Graib was wrong
andmorally rehensible; but it bears no resemblence to what occured in the
Holocaust; to make such a comparison in my opinion trivializes the horror of the
There is an issue of perspective that I think you
are missing in your moral outrage. Stealing, as a general principle, is
wrong, a point on which we would all agree. Yet, there is a difference
between a child stealing a candybar from a store, and someone robbing a
bank. Both are wrong, but they are not morally equivalent. Most of
what happened at Abu Graib was psychological intimidation based on shaming the
individual; water boarding is not the same as breaking bones on the rack.
Wrong is just not wrong; to consture the issues this way is to fall into the
rigidness of conservative thinking. Rather, there are different levels of
Letting the light of day shine, as Obama has, is
what was needed; I do not see how prosecuting, given the level of wrongness,
would serve much useful purpose, and indeed, would produce much fodder for
Republicans to rally around.
For what it is worth, I know something about being
victimized; my wife was murdered more than four years ago; that did not change
my opposition to the death penalty.