Belmont Club

"Ortiz is Done"

Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald thinks poetic justice has been served.

Just days ago, speculation was rampant. Gov. Carmen Ortiz? U.S. Sen. Carmen Ortiz?

Well, that’s all over now.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz is done. Finished. Forever linked to bringing the full and frightening weight of the federal government down upon a 26-year-old computer genius — and a suicide risk.

Is she? At first glance you might think so.  After all another article says “Emotional Carmen Ortiz `terribly upset’ over Swartz suicide”. But on closer reading the article the reasons for her distress are rather different from what you may think. “She is ‘terribly upset’ she is being blamed for his suicide.”

Perhaps Swartz thought that by committing suicide he would make a point.  One reference says that some people commit suicide thinking they will make others realize the extent of the injustice committed against them. They can almost imagine those who wronged them repenting for their transgressions from a viewpoint beyond the grave. It’s called “after-death fantasy”.

This type of suicidal tendency is often accompanied by “after-death” fantasies in which the now dead individual, after taking their own life, gets to view the reactions and grief of those they left behind. In these fantasies the people that have caused the psychological pain feel punished by the suicide and in their grieving they demonstrate great remorse for having driven the person to take their own life.

The problem is that people who don’t feel sympathy for the living are unlikely to feel sympathy for the dead.  Truly ruthless people in general and sociopaths in particular never feel sorry for anybody but themselves.  Blaming such people is as pointless as faulting a shark for biting you. The only person you can ever blame for being bitten by such is yourself: for venturing into waters infested by sharks without a powerhead in your possession, or into a dark alley without a clean pair of heels.

Here’s another classic headline from Boston, this time from the Boston Globe. “US inadvertently creates a terrorist haven in Mali”. Whoops.

This catastrophe did not “just happen.” It is the direct result of an episode that may at first seem unrelated: the US-led intervention in Libya last year. Rarely in recent times has there been a more vivid example of how such interventions can produce devastating unexpected results.

Actually it was not expected. The Founding Fathers foresaw the possibility that one thing might lead to another long ago. One of the reasons they vested the power to declare war in Congress was to make sure the proposal got debated and to force politicians to put their names to the act. But now we have “kinetic military action”, “leading from behind” and “responsibility to protect” in place of war. And besides, who needs the Constitution any more?

But if anyone thinks that the persons who gave you Libya are feeling chastened and guilty for their reckless actions, think again.  As Senator Ted Cruz put it,  the president is “feeling right now high on his own power”.  Libya’s history now. It’s on to something else.

The defect in proposals to appeal to the humanity of al-Qaeda, Hamas or Hezbollah to bring peace to the world is the assumption they will respond to acts of decency. That they’ll feel sorry for you.  That is unlikely but hard men might respond to their own self-interests for nothing so makes a predator more polite than the knowledge that his prey likewise has teeth.

In the Islamic world it is often said that “there are four pillars which support the world…the wisdom of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave.” There is no admiration for weakness in that maxim; nor expectation of pity, just a recognition of different kinds of strength.

The wolves tell the sheep the world is a kind and loving place. But they would say that, wouldn’t they.  To support the world of Allah four pillars are needed, but to keep the Big Tent up so the leeches can suck the victims dry case only two pillars are necessary: “the cynicism of the ruthless  and credulity of the chump”.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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