About AJ DiCintio
A.J. DiCintio is a Featured Writer for The New Media Journal. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on
the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up.
Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and
polished by experience, to social/political affairs.
"Since feeling is first,” wrote e.e. cummings, one who "pays any
attention to the syntax of things will never wholly kiss you.”
As it turns out, modern science thoroughly supports the poet’s insight;
for studies show that from making moral judgments to sizing up a
stranger, humans first utilize the part of the brain in which emotions
This primacy of feeling also explains why psychology assigns a great
deal of importance not just to the first emotion with which a person
reacts to a "stimulus” but also to its intensity.
Now, not to worry; for this piece won’t attempt to delve into a
biological and psychological explanation of feelings.
However, it will make a few observations about the liberal outrage over
the aggressive interrogation techniques the CIA used to extract
information from maniacal terrorists who would love to kill every
First, as background information, this description of behavior that many
of us have too often experienced.
In a discussion about a particularly heinous murder, a liberal curiously
remains calm and reasonable as he falls into platitudes about the fact
that crime has always been with us etc.
But upon hearing the opinion that the unspeakably vicious killer ought
to be hung by the thumbs to die swinging in the wind, the equanimity
suddenly vanishes as Mr. Reasonable explodes with booming, red-faced
denunciations of "inhuman” behavior that not only debases us but also
endangers our entire culture.
We think, as we walk away stunned, "What an insulting perversity it is
to react to a horrendous crime with apparent reason but to an expression
of outrage at it (even by one directly affected) with angry, lecturing
With that background in mind, we may now turn to some facts about the
current liberal anger and angst over "torture” and the punishment
deserved by the "torturers.”
...CIA administrators and interrogators accused of "torture” approved
and employed aggressive interrogation techniques because in a post 9/11
world, they quite reasonably feared more attacks that could kill not
just thousands but hundreds of thousands of American citizens.
...None of the techniques rise to the level of what ordinary Americans
consider torture. For example, interrogators didn’t cut off a detainee’s
fingers. Neither, to induce others to talk, did they cut off a
detainee’s head, say, before cameras that broadcast the murderous act to
...Congressional Democratic leaders that included Nancy Pelosi were
explicitly informed of the "enhanced interrogation techniques” and
didn’t object to them.
...In 2006, Ted Kennedy and other liberals proposed an amendment to the
Military Commissions Act that would have equated waterboarding with
torture (read Andrew C. McCarthy, "National Review”). The amendment
failed, but its introduction tells us all we need to know about the
falseness of the charge that "everybody knew waterboarding is illegal.”
Those are the facts. Yet there is an emotional outcry from liberals.
...An outcry so powerful that it has caused Nancy Pelosi to lose some
inconvenient truths from her admittedly very selective memory.
...An outcry so powerful that it has liberals screaming for criminal
investigations of Bush administration officials. (How appropriate for
liberals if the inquisition is carried out in their beloved Europe by a
latter day Judge Torquemada — who else? —who
holds court in Spain — where else?)
...And an outcry so powerful that it has liberals wringing their hands
over practices that are not "consistent with American security and its
"Inconsistent with the values of the majority of the American people?”
Oh, really? Then why from Obama on down hasn’t a single Democrat had the
courage to tell the public in Plain English, "I’d rather a million
Americans die from an attack in which madmen unleashed a nuclear or
biological weapon than commit the sin of waterboarding a single
(How interesting that Barack Obama doesn’t consider that controversial
judgment "above [his] pay scale.” And how revealing that he believes in
it so absolutely he would "force his religion” on the entire nation.)
Returning now to the implications of e. e. cummings’ profound
observation, we ask ourselves this question:
What perverse emotions so much consume liberals that they would condemn
American children to death rather than discomfort a fascist, misogynist,
wedding bombing, pilgrimage massacring psychopath?
Certainly the colossal, megalomanical pride that Shelley immortalized in
"Ozymandias” must be at play. (We need to think no further than the
hubris exhibited by Barack Obama, who claims he is endowed with a
magical speech that has charms to suspend the laws of economics and
soothe the savage breast of a Kim Jong-il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)
And then there is the insatiable love of power that is every
politician’s reason for being.
But those two formidable impulses alone cannot explain behavior so madly
intent on "always [blaming] America first” that it always risks the
lives of Americans first.
All of us are free to venture a thought about what other deep, dark
emotion lies beneath it.
Mine is that neurotic guilt is implicated in what flows from mouths that
obsessively flush a continuous flow of condemnations of Ugly America.
That conclusion, by the way, is based upon careful listening to those
mouths, which has taught me this:
festering in the depths of the human psyche, neurotic guilt will
metamorphose into bubbles of self-hate that inevitably find a way to
surface in the throat, roll off the tongue, and burst their stink as
they pass by the lips.