Like many who don’t share his big government ideals, I give President Obama high praise for having gotten Osama bin Laden.
Those who support the president’s agenda, however, have found one aspect of the kill mission troubling: There has been a renewed discussion over “enhanced interrogation techniques.” But it seems to me that, no matter which side you’re on, you should regard it as healthy that we’re talking about this. We can’t just close our eyes and hope for the best.
Michael Goodwin of the New York Post notes this morning that numerous reports, including one from former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, indicate that the controversial technique of waterboarding “started the daisy chain that led to the courier that led to Osame bin Laden’s hideout.”
It seems to me (and I think to Goodwin) that there are only two consistent responses to the enhanced technique debate: Enhanced techniques are morally right, and I am glad they were used to kill a monster. Or: Enhanced techniques are morally wrong, and I do not applaud the death of bin Laden, no matter how evil he was, because it depended on these techniques. Here is Goodwin’s summary of the moral conundrum:
Years ago, when my young son and I visited a dude ranch in Montana, a local rancher told us he butchered his cows for meat. My son, Scott, who was only 7, was horrified. “You kill your own cows and eat them?” he asked with urban disgust.
The rancher answered with country logic, saying something like, “Well, how is that different from you eating cows that other people butcher?”
The exchange came back to me after yet another attack on the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation on al Qaeda terrorists.
The raid on Osama’s compound also relied on a space age helicopter and Navy SEALS, brought to you by the “bloated” Pentagon budget. The stealth approach was made possible by the CIA’s black arts and intelligence from the Pentagon. You can morally be against all these things. But you can’t have it both ways.