"It ignores the hyper-partisan atmosphere within which conservative bloggers are forced into a siege mentality where any concessions are perceived as a sign of weakness by merciless leftist attack dogs." - Jason ArvakNow why is any of this inside the conservative camp information important to those of us who would like to see a criminal investigation of the Bush torture program? Why should we care about the self-imposed predicament that these right-wingers find themselves in? I think it’s important because it's just possible that we have an opportunity to allow these rank and file conservatives to save face so that they can feel comfortable enough to begin standing up for their own principles again. Do I think they should have enough guts to do this on their own? Sure, but obviously it hasn't happened yet so maybe we can help that process along be giving them the opening to save face.
Face saving (or saving face) refers to maintaining a good self image. People who are involved in a conflict and secretly know they are wrong will often not admit that they are wrong because they don’t want to admit they made a mistake. They therefore continue the conflict, just to avoid the embarrassment of looking bad.It then talks about how gloating can wreck the process.
One aspect of this principle is the rule of not gloating or bragging when one has won a victory. Gloating makes the other side look bad and feel badly, which can encourage them to withdraw their cooperation with any previous agreements.Now I know some people would prefer to see these conservatives nailed to the wall rather than helped out of their jam. I can certainly understand that feeling myself. Some of these people are real jerks (so are some people on the left and in the center) and I have no sympathy for them but some of them just got caught up in defending Bush because they initially thought it was a garden variety political attack not something of substance. By the time they realized their mistake they'd already committed themselves and didn't know how to get out of it. For these people, in their mind, our "gloating" provides them with an excuse to keep them solidly in the "defend Bush camp" when they really feel very uncomfortable defending Bush on torture.
As regular readers know, I write as a war hawk. I strongly support the mission in Iraq. I voted for President Bush. I believe the struggle against Islamist totalitarianism is the most urgent conflict of our time.
But none of that justifies the administration's apparent willingness to countenance -- under at least some circumstances -- the indecent abuse of prisoners in military custody. Something is very wrong when the Justice Department advises the president's legal adviser that a wartime president is not bound by the international Convention Against Torture or the US laws incorporating it. Or when that legal adviser tells the Senate, as Alberto Gonzales did last week, that ''there is no legal prohibition under the Convention Against Torture on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment with respect to aliens overseas."
If this were happening on a Democratic president's watch, the criticism from Republicans and conservatives would be deafening. Why the near-silence now? Who has better reason to be outraged by this scandal than those of us who support the war? More than anyone, it is the war hawks who should be infuriated by it. It shouldn't have taken me this long to say so.