Cheney and Torture

We live in a dangerous world. Our enemies, and even some of our so-called friends, will stop at nothing to inflict even minor damage to our people, property and sense of security. When it comes to the psychological warfare we wage every day with terrorists, they continue to post gains.

Now more than ever, the American intelligence community needs every tool at its disposal. That’s why former Vice President Dick Cheney is right to come out and vigorously defend the techniques used to prevent another 9/11 attack.

Please don’t fall into the facile and even juvenile trap whereby the media portray what has taken place as “torture.” We’re talking about enhanced interrogation. Sure, it’s coerced questioning. But it’s been proven to work. Even Obama’s own security experts find value in the process.

It should be rare, because that’s how it remains effective. But don’t for a second trot out the argument that we as a nation are viewed as evil because we “torture.” We don’t. Bumper sticker lines don’t begin to encompass the efforts our intelligence agents employ to extract information. And what is the first priority of our government — to protect its citizenry from all enemies, foreign and domestic, or to ensure the world likes us? As former Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas) used to say, “If you love peace more than freedom, you lose.”

Is what Dick Cheney authorized unpleasant? You bet. Would the detainees rather be sitting in silence, praying to their god for another chance to scavenge American lives? You bet. And if you think we get more intel because we let them read the Koran, you’re dead wrong. We can give these terrorists no quarter! If they’re not threatening the United States, then they have nothing to worry about. But if they are, God help them. That’s what everyday Americans deserve — an intelligence system that utilizes every tool.

The former vice president’s argument is sound. He’s vocal today because this country and the world should welcome a debate on what techniques should be allowed and which should not. The Obama administration and Democrats would prefer to stand at the podium and say, “Torture is wrong.” That’s great, but how do you formulate a policy that extracts information from uncooperative, mind-bent savages and murderers? Meanwhile, they cry like babies when the CIA reveals logs stating how many Dems were in the room when they acquiesced to such tactics. Where was the outrage then?

To avoid a sensitive topic because you’re afraid of the political fallout is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst. Obama didn’t feel constrained to avoid wading into the ethical brew surrounding stem cell research. So he should boldly stand at the threshold of this debate, take what Dick Cheney and others have revealed to heart, and have a serious discussion on what elements have and will continue to keep this country safe from the scourge of terrorism.


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