Sins of Omission

Everyone is aware of the Senate report on CIA torture during the ‘war on terror’ at this point. Working in an international workplace, I don’t see where revealing it could do any actual harm. Anecdotal evidence was already abundant, and when things are covered up, it only encourage people to believe the worst. There seems to be less emphasis on the willful neglect of oversight on the part of the Senate committee. Which leads me to the subject of this post and two items that it made me think of.

The first of these is the movie The Insider. If you haven’t seen it, I would suggest it. It stars Al Pacino and Russell Crowe and dramatizes the incident where big tobacco pressured 60 Minutes into retracting a story exposing them. There’s a point where Al Pacino makes a judgment, without saying it, stronger than I’ve ever seen it made anywhere else.

Integrity is something you have all the time, or you don’t have it any of the time.

Trust Al to know how to make a point. I would suggest it to the CIA director.

The committee on the other hand reminded me of a quote.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

I knew I had heard it, and it is attributed to Edmund Burke. Although several things he said can be paraphrased that way, there is no evidence that he ever actually said those words. Yet it’s a regular quote. And the equivalent has shown up in quotes from other prominent figures. Being a scientist, I admit to liking Einstein’s version.

The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.


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