Bullies, Chiselers, and Zombies
Let us finish our series, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” We’ve been looking at how, when everybody’s a lawbreaker, it’s hard to spot the real criminals. (To catch up, here’s Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.)
You’ll recall that we imagined a conversation between two German soldiers on the Eastern Front in 1943.
“Klaus, are we the bad guys here?” one might have asked the other.
Yesterday, we mentioned a few “bad guys.” It was no trouble to find them. Just check the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.
But today we move on – beyond the two-bit bullies, chiselers, and zombies – to the really ugly guys.
Who are the evil ones?
It’s easy to see evil in dead people. Stalin... Hitler... Pol Pot... people who tortured and killed just to feel good. The jaws of Hell must open especially wide to let them in.
But who should go to the devil today?
Counting the Bodies
It is not for us to say. But we can make some recommendations:
Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Lindsey Graham come to mind, along with John McCain, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and all the other clownish warmongers.
Of course, we want to be fair and respectful. Each should definitely get an impartial hearing… and then his own lamppost.
But everybody has his own idea about who should swing. So, let’s try to look at it objectively.
Things governments do are quantifiable. We can follow the money. We can count the bodies.
We’re going to make it easy to tell the good from the bad and the ugly with our new Index of Evil.
Which are good? Which countries really are evil?
Russia? Iran? North Korea? The Islamic State? How do we know?
We put our trusty researcher, Kelly Green, on the case.
“Kelly,” we asked, “can you quantify ugliness? Can you help our readers figure out who is good and who is bad? Can you identify who really should be included in the Index of Evil?”
Kelly was not put off by the magnitude and gravity of the job. She went to work on it. What are the marks of evil in a nation? Murder. Assassination. Wars. Torture. False imprisonment.
We’ll forgive theft. All governments steal. (Some more than others.) But we’re talking about “ugly” not just “bad.” So let’s stick to capital crimes and mortal sins, not just venial sins and misdemeanors.
Who kills? Who puts people behind bars? Who tortures?
Kelly added it up, creating the world’s first objective standard.
Who’s the Bad Guy Now?
Three decades after the U.N. Convention Against Torture, torture still happens in 141 countries.
Alas, torture, says Kelly, is not reliably quantifiable. The CIA, for example, calls it “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
To his credit, Senator John McCain – a prisoner of war in Vietnam – has consistently opposed torture and introduced new legislation to ban it just this month.
We also had to take out countries for which data was unavailable. North Korea, for example, is a mystery. ISIS, too, is such a special case that the numbers won’t mean much.
You’ll notice that we included many numbers that were not clearly evil. Military spending, for example, is not necessarily a bad thing. And the homicide rate is not always the fault of an evil government.
Nevertheless, the numbers are there; make of them what you will.
And we included the U.S. for comparison:
So, Klaus, who’s the bad guy?