The outrage of John Yoo is not simply that he's a scumbag. It's that I paid his salary. He spoke in my name. He worked for my government. If I go to Sweden and the locals scream "John Yoo" in my face, I cannot pretend I am not related. I am. Although I never voted for Bush and I never missed a chance to trash his name, I have to answer for Bush's and John Yoo's actions in the same way all Germans had to answer for Hitler's. Self-respect is one side of the coin. The other side is shame.
Some will say, shouldn't we be more ambitious and consider being citizens of the world as the only patriotism worth examining? We could, but this wouldn't be ambitious: it would be a cop-out.
I feel little responsibility for a mad dictator in a country I've never heard of. I might feel bad as a fellow human being for the depravity of my kind. But if I hear the CIA propped him up, then I become responsible. People who refused to connect the CIA's actions to their patriotism are simply deluding themselves about the meaning of words.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Bernard Chazelle at A Tiny Revolution,