A poorly cooked omlette is unacceptable. Budweiser is unacceptable. Robbie Williams in his capacity as celebrity is uncceptable.
When British and American soldiers are found (thought let's wait and see how deep the rot is) to be torturing, urinating on and generally abusing imprisoned Iraqis, I don't want want the word "unacceptable" to be heard, thought or said. How utterly short does that word fall of the evil of that?
I wasn't expecting the BBC to say that abusing prisoners was sinful, or disordered (which sounds practically benign to me, but Fr. Paul says is theologically severe) - how could they? It's unacceptable is what it is, "that's not how we do thing in America" says Bush, temperately, moderately, sickeningly. Actually, what you don't do in America is refrain from using nouns as verbs - we're dealing with a slightly more serious issue here. Can no-one say "this is inhuman" or even bring themselves to say "this is flat out wrong"?
It's pathetic. We (the West I suppose I mean) feel as though a bad thing has happened, but we can't commit ourselves to the idea that what has happened is an atrocity, a locus point of evil in our world.
All that "unacceptable" commits us to is reprisal,
not fit to wear the queen's uniformand my but doesn't the punishment fit the crime. We punish the offenders (f*cking sartorially at that) because there actions didn't meet our relativistic, non-commital, post-Christian, Nike (just do it) bloody cultural standards. My moral sense compels me to vomit, but my body hasn't caught on.