No big deal now; big deal then.

THE MIKE ‘N’ FRANK SHOW: Two of the sharpest young journalists in D.C. now have a blog. What took you so long?

EMAILS OF THE DAY: Two readers comment on James Taranto’s defense of anti-Islamic interrogation techniques:

“You are right to say that Taranto’s comment on menstrual blood was pathetic, and to add the label “homophobic bigot” to the label “religious bigot” and “torture apologist” that he deserves to wear.
As a man who has been a happy heterosexual all my life, I just want to point out that I too find this interrogation tactic utterly repellent and un-American. And not because I find menstrual blood itself repellent–I actually have some very fond memories of being smeared here and there with menstrual blood over the years, and I have found it not the least bit repellent. (Sometimes as part of love-making, sometimes as part of the ordinary inevitable intimacy of living with the wife of twenty years who has given me two children).
But you know, there is this thing about the difference between what we may do consensually, and what the government may order its agents to force on people, which the Bush administration seems to have stopped paying attention to. You’d have thought this distinction was essential to the conservative outlook, but then…

But my real point is that targeting religious conscience violates something very important about America. Another reader adds:

I was disgusted by Opinion Journal’s defence of the tactic of using fake menstrual blood (and the attacks on your homosexuality). I do not think there is anything particularly immoral in using what an enemy most fears to get him to talk; I have proudly reported on WWII vets who interrogated Nazis and who brought out everything under the sun (within the confines of the Geneva Conventions) to get vital information from them.
But in this war, what we need most is to convince religious Muslims that we–and modernity–respect the basic tenets of their faith. Just like in our previous war what we needed most was to convince Commies that liberal democratic capitalism was the way. It seems to me that deliberately doing something that we know violates the Muslim faith and humiliates them, is the worst way to do that. Imagine the rumours going around Iraq: “the US military hates Muslims: see, they use menstrual blood just because they know it humilates it.” This creates more terrorists than anything else. Its a disastrous policy, and you should be commended it for opposing it.

But I’m defending the “rights of terrorists”! Actually, I’m simply defending the honor of the United States.


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