Friday, March 17, 2006

He dreamed and is dead

For a couple of years now we've been noting instances of one law of Andrew Sullivan's blogging: he ratchets up his identification as Irish when he's feuding with his fellow American conservatives. Hence we have to take note of one of his St Patrick's Day posts today, a stirring quote from Roger Casement, "Irishman, (1864-1916)." Indeed. He has a link to a nice profile of Casement -- executed in 1916 for botched dealings with the Germans to support the Easter Rising, but not before the British responded to a vigorous public campaign for clemency for him by releasing his private diaries which showed that he was gay.

Sullivan perhaps sees some analogy between Casement's epiphany as a radical nationalist after years as an establishment figure and his own journey of disillusionment on the Iraq war. But Casement's career showed a far-sighted concern with the human rights of native Africans and Americans even in his days of service to the Crown. As conservatives now search through their archives for proof that they had doubts about Bush all along, it's doubtful they can meet the Casement standard: dissent when dissent wasn't cool.

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