THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 520, May 24, 2009
"There is really only one freedom, the freedom to
be left unmolested, by the state or anybody else."
Attribute to the Libertarian Enterprise
On Thursday the 21st of May, 2009 Barack Obama and Dick Cheney conducted a long distance debate on the use of torture as a means of interrogation. Mr. Obama proved that sometimes libertarians and liberals agree by explaining why he was renouncing torture as a tool of US policy.
Cheney proved he was a tool, period. He defended torture as a standard tool for defending the US. Please note that he did not claim that the torture of suspected terrorists was a response to an emergency because the US was caught flat footed and didn't have a response that was closer in line to US Constitutional ideals. Basically he was claiming that torture should be a major component of US intelligence gathering doctrine.
Will people in conflict lower their moral standards and resort to torture to gain information to save their people's lives? Of course. Does this mean we should adopt torture as intel gathering doctrine? Definitely not. Cheney and many of his buddies who enjoyed Bush the Younger's confidence seemed to revel in asserting that making a policy of violating American ideals was necessary to the US's survival.
Perhaps Mr. Cheney should remember one thing. He meets Ms. Napolitano's definition of a right wing extremist and potential terrorist (as do most readers of this article, even if we generally disagree with he who is so well named Dick). What methods would he like the Department of Homeland Security to use if they decide he needs to be interrogated? Then he can talk about what are and aren't appropriate methods of interrogation.
Or perhaps the arrogance of power has burnt out Mr. Cheney's ability to realize that he can be "put to the questions" like the rest of us mere mortals. If so we are blessed that Mr. Bush survived his eight years in office.
By the by, there is no excuse for the US to have been caught short by the events of 9/11. Robert Heinlein warned of large scale terrorist attacks against the US as far back as the late 1940's. The failure of the US to develop the intel gathering and analyzing capacities to head off these attacks ( to include effective communications between foreign intelligence and domestic law enforcement services) without violating people's rights is among the greatest disservices every administration since the end of WWII has inflicted on this nation.