As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We Can't Have People With Personal Experience Giving Their Opinion!

From dumb as a stump and proud of it Brian Kilmeade on his radio show:

ANDREW NAPOLITANO (co-host): You may not know the name unless you live in California. Jay Bybee was a professional researcher for the Justice Department when he authored the principal of -- the main one -- of the torture memos.

President Bush awarded him by appointing him to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. That's the level of appellate court just below the Supreme Court. He was appointed to the 9th Circuit, which covers the western third of the United States.

There's a lot of pressure on Jay Bybee -- on Judge Bybee, now, because these memoranda, which obviously were not known about under -- during the time of his confirmation came -- came out.

Here's what John McCain had to say about it yesterday.

JOHN McCAIN [audio clip]: A resignation would be a decision he would have to make on his own, but he falls into the same category as everybody else as far as giving very bad advice and misinterpreting fundamentally what the United States is all about, much less things like the Geneva Conventions.

Plus, under President Reagan, we signed a agreement against torture. We're in violation of that.

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Oh, come on. Number one, we all know John McCain is not a lawyer; this guy is. Number two, Judge, you knew at that time, this is --

NAPOLITANO: This is your guy, John McCain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, now. Come on.

KILMEADE: No, he's not my guy. I like John McCain. I respect him. But there's a lot of issues I don't understand. Plus, he should not be allowed to talk on torture because he is clearly somebody who went through unspeakable pain and punishment --

NAPOLITANO: You mean, he shouldn't be allowed to talk -- he has an opinion like everybody else. He represents the state of Arizona.

KILMEADE: But he was tortured. He was tortured. And --

NAPOLITANO: Therefore, his views on torture are --

KILMEADE: -- are skewed.

NAPOLITANO: -- irrelevant because of what happened --

KILMEADE: -- are skewed.

NAPOLITANO: -- in 'nam? I think his views are particularly telling because he's been through this kind of thing.

KILMEADE: But what do you think he's going to be -- pro-torture --


KILMEADE: -- after he's been through it?

NAPOLITANO: Of course, he's not going to be pro-torture.

KILMEADE: And plus, I don't think this is torture. And they don't subscribe to the Geneva Conventions. We had this debate in 2002. You were on our set -- you were on constantly saying, "Look, they don't -- right -- the way the courts look at it right now, they do not fall under the Geneva Conventions." And that was what they were going under.

NAPOLITANO: I never said they didn't fall under the Geneva Conventions.

I should just submit this without comment, because it speaks for itself. But allow me a word on this. Kilmeade's belief that nobody should be allowed to have an opinion backed up with experience or knowledge tracks perfectly with the conservative movement, on a variety of subjects. We shouldn't listen to scientists on climate change, or health professionals on health care, or weapons inspectors on Iraq. The plural of data is not anecdote. Nobody with an informed opinion can possibly be dispassionate. Reality has a well-known liberal bias. This is simply a distilled form of that worldview.

The bigger problem lies in treating torture like it's a debate, complete with polls. The moment a debate over torture was engaged was the moment that America lost its moral authority. Obviously it's ridiculous to seriously state that anyone who has been tortured can't be part of a debate over torture. But it's just as ridiculous to have the debate at all, a debate over an issue that has been not only self-evident, but ingrained in the standard codes of law in civilized societies for centuries. We can open the subject again, but at that point we do lose the right to call ourselves civilized.

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