THE TWISTED LOGIC BEHIND ‘KEEP WALKING’…. It was pretty painful over the weekend to see/hear so many political pundits whitewash torture. To hear many of the leading conservative media voices, the problem wasn’t with the Bush administration’s illegal policies, which embarrassed the nation and undermined our national security, but rather with the Obama administration’s transparency.
While most of the nonsense came from the usual suspects (Rove, Armey, Kristol), perhaps the most striking argument came from Peggy Noonan, the Reagan speechwriter turned Wall Street Journal columnist.
“Sometimes in life you want to just keep walking,” Noonan said, adding, “Sometimes, I think, just keep walking…. Some of life just has to be mysterious.”
It was, to be sure, one of the more ridiculous arguments of the debate. Noonan wasn’t prepared to defend the Bush administration’s abuses, but she suggested accountability is necessarily a bad idea because … well, apparently it has something to do with walking.
Today, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), after criticizing the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute alleged Bush-era crimes, marveled at Noonan’s absurd argument.
[T]he Senator took a swipe at some of the rationalizations for avoiding prosecution that have been voiced by Washington lawmakers and pundits.
“If you want to see just how outrageous this is, I refer you to the remarks made by Peggy Noonan this Sunday,” he said, referring to the longtime conservative columnist’s appearance on ABC’s This Week. “I frankly have never heard anything quite as disturbing as her remark that was something to the affect of: ‘well sometimes you just have to move on.'”
The more one sees the clip of Noonan’s comments, the harder it is to understand what she was even trying to say. Apparently, if someone you like commits a heinous act, and thinking about your friend’s misdeeds makes you uncomfortable, the smart thing to do is pretend like you didn’t hear about the heinous act in the first place.
That’s not just wrong, it’s dangerous — it’s the kind of attitude that says anyone can do just about anything and get away with it, because “some of life just has to be mysterious” and there’s no point in holding people accountable.
If you’re ever facing felony charges, give this a shot and see how well it goes over. “Your honor, I could offer a defense, and we could explore the charges against me, but sometimes in life you want to just keep walking. Some of life just has to be mysterious.”
Jon Stewart was about as impressed with Noonan’s argument as Feingold was.