Intelligence is the key to stopping terrorist plots. Ask the 9-11 Commission to describe 9-11 in three words and they would no doubt be "an intelligence failure." Ask Dick Cheney, Michael Hayden, George Tenet or Mike McConnel what has kept us safe these past eight years, and their answer would no doubt be "actionable intelligence." In the shadow war we are in - one which could conceivably at some point involve nuclear or biological attacks on the U.S. - to forego opportunities to collect and act on intelligence would be a grotesque dereliction of duty.
Thus it is troubling indeed to learn today from the NYT that the CIA, limited as it is to non-coercive means of interrogation and no longer able to run holding facilities for terrorists, both thanks to the January executive order of President Obama, is now outsourcing virtually all interrogations of captured al Qaeda members to other countries. The only benefit of this that I can tell is that it allows President Obama to maintain his illusory position atop the moral highground, his conscience pristine. Meanwhile, we have lost control of intelligence sources, and the job of breaking them now falls to nations whose historical methods of interrogation have been coercive indeed. It is then up to those nations to decide what intelligence to share with us.
When it comes to waterboarding and other evils, necessary though they may be to keeping us safe, we are told by Obama that these things are immoral and must not be done - by us at least. It is a measure of the boundless hypocrisy of President Obama that he presents himself as the supreme moral being and will take no position that will sully his utopian self, but then he allows captured al Qaeda operatives to be interrogated by other countries for whom waterboarding would, historically at least, be viewed as mild.
What is the price we must pay so that Obama and the far left can sleep each eve with pristine conscience, secure in the knowledge of their own superior self-righteousness? For if the bill comes due, the price will be in the blood of innocent Americans.
For those who buy into Obama's vacuous utopian moralizing, know that the harsh realities of history paint a very different picture. One example I find incredibly grating is Obama's oft repeated claim that we won World War II because we "stayed true to our values."
In making that claim, Obama never defines the "values" to which he refers, though it is implicit that he defines them as the values du jour that he is pumping in his speech that day. Nor does he explain the nuance of our supposed fidelity to such values in the context of such things as interring all Japanese Americans for the duration of the War, the fire bombing of Dresden, the decision to drop the atomic bomb, nor the execution of German spies. And neither does he explain the seeming dichotomy in how our fidelity to his value du jour that he would have us believe caused us to win over Germany did not conversely cause the Soviet Union to lose to Germany, given that the Soviet's values in terms of civil liberties, torture, etc. were antithetical to ours.
At any rate, I will go to sleep tonight with a small worry deep in the back of my head over the safety of my family and my country. Obama will go to sleep tonight apparently untroubled, his conscience pristine. Are not those roles dangerously reversed?
Update: And do see the 'better late than never' Dafydd ab Hugh's take on this at Big Lizards. As he notes, even this turn of events is not enough to satisfy the hard left base of Obama who are "hoping to achieve their life goal of completely disarming the United States in the midst of an existential war."