Observer Viewpoint | Monday, January 26, 2009
Here at Notre Dame, it is currently rather unfashionable to express an opinion on subjects other than football, hot girls or pop cultural phenomena such as “J*zz in my Pants.” Being at heart a timid young man, overly susceptible to peer pressure, I am naturally inclined to censor myself on a great number of just such socially unacceptable subjects. Further, my reputation as an easygoing man-about-town with a weakness for the fairer sex is at stake. Why compromise my carefully constructed persona by revealing myself to have thoughts and interests deeper than getting drunk and hooking up with girls on the weekends?Unfortunately, a letter one Nathan Furtado wrote to The Observer has so offended the part of my brain that is responsible for thinking that I cannot help revealing myself to have political opinions. I know that expressing such opinions is about as attractive to girls as a piece of spinach lodged between the front teeth. Therefore, I must respectfully request that any hot girls, or girls in which I have a prurient interest, stop reading this letter. Immediately.Mr. Furtado, the indirect denial of the existence of innocents at Guantanamo by speaking of the “unrepentant terrorists” lodged there represents more spin than the most biased liberal media outlet could possibly offer. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you cannot be unaware that: a) Guantanamo has innocents, and b) we’ve been torturing them. And unlike controversies over whether the tax rate on the top tax bracket should be 35 percent or 39.6 percent, the question of whether or not torturing a few innocent people is okay is not open to debate. By the way, the reason people call Barack Obama a socialist? He favors 39.6 percent. And what exactly are “the dangers of providing unrepentant terrorists with civilian trials”? Even the Nazis got habeas corpus. No matter which way you slice it, holding terrorists publicly accountable for their crimes is a hell of a lot better than torturing them.I find it hard to believe that we find ourselves in such a state of emergency that we can cavalierly dispense with the basic civil rights in the Constitution; I haven’t exactly seen any bombs dropping over the Sears Tower or the Dome. And before you tell me that it was the Bush administration’s hard-line stance on torture that has prevented further terrorist attacks, I fail to see why people who are not afraid of death would be deterred by the threat of a little waterboarding, a few electrified nipple clamps, or (gasp!) watching books get flushed down toilets.The real partisans here, Mr. Furtado, are not the law professors who applauded the closing of what represents at the very least the worst publicity the US has received since Vietnam. They are people like you who, through spin and distortion, handwave away or outright deny cold, sober facts like the existence of tortured innocents in Guantanamo, global warming and evolution. Married to their theories of the way the world should work, they fail to take into account the way the world does work; and the sorry state of our economy and reputation at home and abroad is what we have to show for it.That’s the end of my rant. I implore my harder-partying peers, who find themselves unencumbered with the baggage of an intellectual life when chatting up the carefully bronzed women of this campus, not to judge me too harshly; and I sincerely hope that the girls can overlook my transgression of propriety and continue to see me as an easygoing, devil-may-care sex object.
Brooks SmithsophomoreStanford HallJan. 24