Easy Choice

It appears there is a direct line that can be drawn between the enhanced interrogation tactics used on captured terrorists and the trail to Osama bin Laden. Some continue to believe these tactics are too strong, but we should keep at least two things in mind: first, no one dies from waterboarding; second, it was very effective and has helped save lives. Isn’t that much better than the way some countries deal with those who attack them?

What would critics have us do?

Choice #1: Use a coercive technique that could save hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives, yet does no lasting damage to the individual being interrogated.

Choice #2: Refuse to use such techniques and take the chance that those hundreds or thousands of lives will be lost.

I know which one I would choose.

Osama bin Laden led a terrorist organization dedicated to murdering all non-Muslims. On 9/11, he succeeded in killing nearly 3000 in one coordinated attack. He was a monster. Yet what are we seeing now? Demonstrations against America in the Muslim world; a high U.N. official complaining that bin Laden’s rights were violated. This is how topsy-turvy the world has become.

Was anyone exercised during WWII about Hitler’s rights being violated when we invaded Germany?

President Obama, meanwhile, made a triumphant visit to Ground Zero yesterday. I’m more ambivalent about this trip than some critics. Maybe it was okay. But if it was primarily a photo op and a chance to bolster his political fortunes—which is hardly beyond the realm of possibility with this man—it would be the height of opportunism.

Something did occur there that the president didn’t expect. The wife of the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11 pleaded with Obama not to allow Attorney General Holder to prosecute individuals who used the enhanced interrogation techniques since they were effective. She asked him to encourage Holder to drop any such planned prosecutions. Obama briefly said he would not speak to Holder about it, and then turned away from her.

What is there to say about gracelessness of that nature?

There are reports surfacing that his role in this endeavor might not have been all that active, that he had to be pushed into giving the go-ahead. I’ll be alert to any developments along that line.

He’s going to have to get back to work pretty soon, though.

That is, if he can take time out from running for reelection.