It is refreshing to see that so many liberals have discovered their moral compass. In their lust to claim the moral high ground over conservatives, along with their lust to discredit the previous administration and all of its conservative policies (and to prosecute as many of them as possible), liberals have decided that the "torture" of three al-Qaida figures in 2002 and 2003 is the issue with which to pursue their desired ends.
Liberals are throwing the word "torture" around much like they do the words "homophobe" and "racist." Those are popular "snarl" words that, when used, are intended to induce a negative response, appealing to a person's emotions rather than their reasoning. "Torture" is well on its way to becoming liberals' newest and most favorite "snarl" word.
In other words, say the word "torture" enough when discussing the "evil" Bush administration, and perhaps Americans will be more supportive of liberal efforts to jail as many Bush officials as possible.
Near the heart-of-the-matter in this debate is the interrogation procedure with which we have all become too familiar: waterboarding. According to many different sources, waterboarding was used on only three al-Qaida figures: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Abu Zubayda and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
Also, as many have recently pointed out, these "enhanced interrogations," as they were officially known, produced "high value information," as Obama's director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, acknowledges. Former CIA Director George Tenet in 2007 said, "I know that this program (of "enhanced interrogations") has saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than (what) the FBI, the CIA, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us."
Michael Hayden, another former director of the CIA, said recently that, "the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer. It really did work."
Furthermore, it seems that Congress was kept well abreast of the program. In the words of Rep. Peter Hoekstra, "We believed it was something that had to be done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep our nation safe. After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses."
Of course, the mere fact that something worked and was approved by Congress doesn't make it right and just. There are significant legal and moral issues in play when it comes to such interrogation.
Given the ticking bomb scenario, even the very liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer admits, "I think there are probably very few people ... in America who would say that torture should never, ever be used, particularly if thousands of lives are at stake."
Now I can respect an honest and consistent ethic (though I believe it is quite wrong) that lovingly honors human dignity (at every phase of life), and concludes that torture (whatever that is) is "intrinsically evil." The Catholic Church takes such a position.
However, what I can't respect, in fact what I loathe, is the reeking hypocrisy of those who condemn the "torture" of three known terrorists while supporting a procedure which has resulted in the slaughter of millions of human beings still in their mothers' wombs.
For example, consider the recent "moral" clamoring on the issue of torture from widely read liberal columnists. Paul Krugman wrote, "the only way we can regain our moral compass ... for the sake of our own national conscience, is to investigate how (the "torture') happened, and, if necessary, to prosecute those responsible ... because it's about reclaiming America's soul." Eugene Robinson concluded that, "One of President Obama's first acts was to declare that the United States will no longer practice waterboarding or other abusive interrogation methods, saying that such depredations are inimical to our nation's values and traditions."
Now these columnists paint a clear picture of the bizarre liberal morality that condemns "torture" but is deeply supportive of abortion "rights." What kind of "morality" must one possess that allows for such duplicity?
Whatever absurd set of principles tolerates such foolishness, I want no part of it. Paraphrasing the words of Christ: Why do they look at the speck of sawdust in their brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in their own eye? You hypocrites first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Trevor Thomas is a Gainesville resident and frequent columnist; Web site.