What’s worse than raping and murdering an Iraqi girl and her family? Reporting that it happened, of course. If I understand the neocons’ moral reasoning correctly, the argument goes something like this:
(a) Rapine and murder get the Iraqi people all worked up against the US. (b) This feeds the insurgency and makes it harder to control Iraq. It also undermines confidence in the troops back home. (c) Therefore, reporting on rapine and murder are harmful to the war effort. (d) Rapine and murder, if nobody knows about it, are not problematic. After all, lots of Iraqi civilians get killed all the time, and nobody much gives a hoot.
What’s worse than illegal spying on Americans? Reporting on it. After all, if you did not know you were being spied on illegally, you wouldn’t be concerned, would you? Now that you know about it, you might just agitate to put a stop to it and hold the regime accountable criminally and politically. This undermines the whole program.
What’s worse than stealing an election via fraud? You guessed it- reporting on it. Revealing the fraud undermines confidence in the system and the very legitimacy of the regime.
I never before realized how much fun it can be to play the neocon moral reasoning game. It’s not whether I am doing wrong; it’s whether my actions might be perceived as wrong that counts and whether this might interfere with what I’m doing. That means all I have to do to craft a plausible argument that will get media cred is to advocate killing the messenger. Now that I understand that being a neocon means that there is no right or wrong, just the silly perceptions of the masses, I can play the game as skillfully as anyone.
US troops caught beheading Iraqi schoolchildren? It is irresponsible to report this since irrational, morally constrained people may react to this news negatively. This will serve only to undermine the Future Terrorist Decapitation Program. Besides, it was a secret program authorized by the President himself (the VP performed many of the beheadings personally), and we all know that revealing secrets is bad, bad, bad, especially since we are at “war”. We will not rest until we get to the bottom of the leak of the existence of this program. The media should focus on what should happen to the irresponsible journalists who broke this story. Bill Bennett will break away from the blackjack table or buffet long enough to rail about treason. Rush Limbaugh will put a bit in his comedy show on the radio about punishing traitorous reporters. And the beheadings will go on as before.