Friday, December 09, 2005

Some might say that the Bush Administration is showing a lot of principle with its continued opposition to using torture despite evidence that most Americans support torture in some circumstances...

Actually, this shows (1) the Administration's lack of principle, (2) the emptiness of Bush's promises to keep America safe, and (3) the extent to which his being stubborn keeps him from admitting mistakes.

As for my first allegation, that Bush lacks principle, let me start by reviewing times in the past when Bush, getting caught off guard when criticized by his opposition, responded in a way designed to appease his critics, and not in a way consistent with his supposedly conservative principles.

He did so in the aftermath of Katrina, when stung by allegations that he was unprepared and insensitive to the ‘needs of the community’, responded by pledging tens and tens of billions of dollars to rebuild the area… something no conservative, compassionate or not, would ever do.

He did so in the aftermath of 9/11, when, facing criticism from the other side, he agreed to create a huge new bureaucracy in the form of the Department of Homeland Security… again, something no conservative would ever think of doing. He did so again when, once again facing criticism from the other side, he agreed not only to back a Commission to look into what happened that day, he agreed to their idiotic recommendations by agreeing to create a new ‘Intelligence Czar’ (a euphemism for ‘another level of people to get in the way of things actually getting done’).

He did so when he agreed to sign campaign finance reform, legislation that he had earlier referred to as unconstitutional, not because he thought doing so would be good for the country but because he thought doing so would get the MSM and McCain off his back.

And he did so again when reports of torture first started surfacing. Rather than defend a policy that would help keep us safe, he was spooked by the criticism coming from the MSM, John McCain, the Democrats and the Europeans (collectively referred to as “the other side”) into opposing the use of torture, no ifs, ands, or buts (interestingly, even McCain seems to realize that there is a time and place for torture).

And Bush’s refusal to support using torture reveals the emptiness of his pledge to protect America. Torture is a weapon that, if used properly, can produce information that would help prevent attacks on America and American citizens. Taking this weapon out of the hands of those trying to protect us is as silly and as stupid as it would be for a President to disavow the use of nuclear weapons. Those fighting to protect us – both overseas and here at home - need to have as many weapons as possible to fight against our enemies…. And taking torture off the table is no different than taking away a soldier’s M16.

And it’s Bush’s sticking with his ‘Torture? We don’t torture.” policy that shows, once again, how stubborn he is and how this jeopardizes the security of our country. Here we have a tool that even McCain acknowledges could save millions of American lives…. and Bush refuses to admit he was a bit rash in his earlier holier-than-thou statements and that there is a time and a place where using torture is not only the right thing to do, it would be the only thing to do.

So America is left less safe than we would be if we had a President who was less concerned about what the other side thought of him… if we had a President who was better able to admit his mistakes…. if we had a President who was truly concerned about pulling out all the stops to keep us safe.