Thursday, November 24, 2005

the right still doesn't get it

Even after all this time they still don't get it. http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=6141#comments. War has evolved to be more and more humane, unless there is a good reason why being humane is dangerous. In fact the same applies to police work.

White Phosphorous is just another weapon like poison gas, bombs with shrapnel, nuclear bombs, anthrax, smallpox, mines, etc that people all over the world are generally repulsed by. So people generally want to ban weapons that would horrify them is they were standing there. It's one thing to be burning the flesh off people and quite another to shoot them. People naturally tend to imagine this as a horrible death because they imagine the flesh melting off their bones or surviving injured in such a thing. In the same way people are horrified by the idea of them having their lungs destroyed by poison gas or anthrax.

So in war people are against weapons that look bad, and White Phosphorous looks bad. There is also no proven case that it saves huge numbers of soldier's lives so people see nothing to counterbalance the horror.

But the right doesn't get this. In the same way POW camps and jails generally are run in a non horrifying way so people aren't repulsed by what goes one there. So few people sympathise with Cheney's death camps or whatever because they find the idea sickening whether it is done by Saddam, Hitler, or anyone else. The idea is simply horrific.

So unless a clear case can be made for why it is necessary people don't want it. So it's pointless trying to say it's not as bad as Auschwitz, or White Phosphorous is not as awful a death as Anthrax because, irrationally or not, people are disgusted by all of these.

So you don't build a political philosphy on horrifying people.