dispassionate: not influenced by strong feeling
The author was, apparently, taken aback by Geraldo Rivera’s reaction to the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff:
I guess I should say that I stand second to nobody in my distaste for Mr. Rivera, a regular on Fox “News.” And I suppose I should say that it is obviously not acceptable that any U.S. policy involve beheading even “the ISIS butchers.” Of course that is ridiculous. But the HuffPo piece ended with this advice:
Anyone looking for dispassionate analysis would be wise to look elsewhere.
I thought about that for a minute. Two American journalists have had their heads crudely and savagely sawed off by a psychopathic Islamist terrorist, who then posted the acts on the Internet with mocking commentary and threats of killing more Americans, and the suggestion is that there is something wrong with an analysis that includes a little passion, a little emotion? Huh?
And just what would “dispassionate analysis” look like in this context? How is it possible to analyze this situation without accounting for the brutality of the acts? Without having strong feelings about them?
Here in America, our barbarians use drones and planes.
Talk about a dispassionate analysis. Is that what some on the left think of their own country? That our leaders are on the same moral plane with people who do such things as were done to James Foley and Steven Sotloff and thousands of others in both Syria and Iraq? Surely it matters what motivation was-is behind the use of those American drones and planes, doesn’t it? And surely it matters that those ISIL killers couldn’t care less about the civilian population of any country, much less make huge efforts to avoid civilian casualties, as the U.S. does in its fight against terrorist groups like ISIL? And surely it matters that there is a glaring qualitative difference between psychopaths and those trying to bring the psychopaths to justice, right? Should I even have to write that sentence?
Obviously we want those who are planning the attacks on ISIL in Syria (we are already attacking ISIL in Iraq) to analyze the situation carefully, thoughtfully, deliberately. Nobody is saying that the U.S. military should just start carpet bombing the entire region out of some kind of collective anger or national pride or simply frustration. But I, for one, hope like hell the civilian and military planners are also doing their planning with strong feelings that what they are doing is the right thing, is part of what it means to bring justice to psychopathic killers. Passion and planning don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Finally, I hope President Obama has strong feelings about what he is certainly thinking about doing, and, more than that, I hope he expresses those subjective feelings to the American people, as well as the objective purpose of any actions. It is proper, even necessary in times like these, to do both. This isn’t a time for the President to play it cool in public or worry about whether it looks like the terrorists got under his skin. Goddammit, if this doesn’t get under his skin then it is hard to see what would. All of us, especially our leaders, ought to be passionate, damn passionate, about justice, especially when we have it in our power—deliberatively applied power—to provide it in this case.