We have not had a terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. This is because terrorists have decided, what the heck, we like Americans. On the other hand, it could be because the Bush administration is doing something right. Protecting U.S. citizens may require doing things we’d all prefer not to do. The series in the Washington Post (here and here are the first two installments) on Vice President Cheney shows ways that, with lawyers, the vice president’s office has pushed for “robust” questioning of terrorist suspects. No, I don’t like it. The only thing I dislike more is allowing terrorists, men totally outside the moral rules of civilization, to exploit our legal system to destroy us. I do take issue with a subhead that describes Cheney-pioneered forms questioning as “roots of Abu Ghraib,” which has its roots in pornographic behavior, not legal memos. It was not among the CIA secret prisons which, much existed to our disgust but also because of our need to preserve our society.

On the Corner, Mona Charen suggests that using the world “cruelty” in the headline on the Cheney series might have been questionable:

“The Post’s headline on its Cheney series this morning (in the print, not online edition) is stunning: ‘The Unseen Path to Cruelty.’ I admit that I haven’t read the entire article (life is too busy and too short to spend valuable time reading 200,000 word Post articles) but I’ve read enough to understand that today’s installment concerns the treatment of detainees. ‘Cruelty?’ That is much too freighted a word to appear in a news headline. Surely the editors of the Post realize that the question of how to treat enemy combatants is a complex policy question. If Cheney took the position that the executive has broad constitutional authority in this area, as the article suggests, it was not because he is a cruel man, but out of genuine conviction that this was the best way to protect the American people.”

Spare yourself the comments section from Post readers-you know, the usual juvenilia, such as wondering if Cheney has horns.