Chris Hayes' commentary on conservatives and right wingers' insistence on playing the "what about" game was great, but he forgot one of his own colleagues.
December 13, 2014

This is a great rant from Chris Hayes toward those who keep trying to change the subject from torture to drones. Like Joe Scarborough, for example, who also reads off the same set of focus group-tested talking points as Fox News' Ed Henry.

Their distraction technique is the "whatabout-ism", or what I called "bothsides."

Instead of talking torture, they instead turn the subject to drones, asking how we can possibly justify condemning torture when President Obama has killed civilians with drone strikes.

Hayes has some wisdom for them:

"Now the appropriate response to this new what-aboutism is twofold. First, as a basic matter of both moral law and principle, killing enemies in combat is sometimes permissible. Torturing them, however, never is. The prohibition on torture is categorical.

In the American justice system, for example, you can sentence someone to death -- though obviously I oppose that. You cannot sentence them to be tortured because torture occupies a special category of moral taboo.

The second response to these latter-day what-aboutists is more or less the same one I would suggest we give the Soviets. It's true. Many aspects of this government's targeted killing program -- maybe the entire thing -- are morally odious and constitutionally suspect. They deserve criticism -- heck, they even deserve outrage, though I would note the people who devote outrage to them tend to be the people who devote outrage toward torture, like ACLU and Amnesty International, and not Fox News.

But that has no bearing whatsoever on whether it's okay to pour water down someone's nose until they foam at the mouth, to threaten to sexually abuse someone's mother, or to anally rape someone with a feeding tube.

And only a moral idiot would fail to see that.

Well, maybe he did include Scarborough in that rant through the back door. Because it's obvious to anyone watching that Joe is indeed a moral idiot.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.