Posts Tagged ‘barack obama’

“..on this issue I think that Obama has shown tremendous moral intelligence and the kind of custodianship that is reserved for great men. Extraordinary stuff, akin to our Nelson Mandela. He has done the difficult thing. He has faced the demons, without fear, and this dear reader will go further to enhancing the American image in the world than any other single thing he could ever do.”

american flag usa flagIn an unprecedented and extraordinary move, President Obama has made public, memos that give astonishing insight into torture in the United States. It must have been a difficult decision, particularly at the end of his so called  “100 days of grace.” Not just from a moral perspective, with the very real issues of the war on terror, and the consequences of intelligence failure that led to 9/11, still firmly etched on his country’s collective memory, but from a political perspective too.

Nobody likes to have his or her dirty laundry aired. Lest of all a country still reeling from the worst terrorist attack in human history. Regardless of your politics, you must concur; it was a brave political move.

Brave indeed, but was it the right thing to do?

It is the premise of this piece that it was unequivocally the right thing to do, and a seriously smart political move, dangerous though it may have been.

The conservative response has been curious, with full defence of torture appearing in the Washington Post:

“In releasing highly classified documents on the CIA interrogation program last week, President Obama declared that the techniques used to question captured terrorists “did not make us safer.” This is patently false. The proof is in the memos Obama made public — in sections that have gone virtually unreported in the media.”


“Specifically, interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.” KSM later acknowledged before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay that the target was the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast.”

– The CIA’s Questioning Worked, By Marc A. Thiessen, Tuesday, April 21, 2009



American Flag Barak ObamaThis may indeed be true. But it begs the question, three in fact, the first being, why call it “enhanced techniques” instead of torture? After all euphemisms are for children.

The second being, do the ends justify the means?

And the third, how do you fight this war?

The answer to the first is pretty simple, you use a euphemism to deflect the horror of the situation. Its deceptive and it does not belong in this discourse. It does not lie, it simply embellishes the truth. Torture is barbaric, and it’s terrible. IT flies against the founding principles of the United States.

Calling torture, enhanced interrogation is like calling pedophilia an alternative lifestyle.

But this is even worse.


Well, its because the United States of America is, in this humble and recently much maligned hack’s opinion, is more than just a country. More than the defender of the high seas. More than the global superpower and intellectual leader that it is. It is an idea. And, dear reader, torture by its forces, removes its moral high ground, and without that, dear reader, that idea will die.

And that will be the beginning of the end for them and us.

I disagree, deeply with the Obama decision to offer an olive branch of sorts to the enemies of the US. I will consider that tomorrow in an article on  appeasement. I disgree with the offensive on Afghanistan, for pragmatic and historical reasons, and I will publish an article on that too, tomorrow.

However on this issue I think that Obama has shown tremendous moral intelligence and the kind of custodianship that is reserved for great men. Extraordinary stuff, akin to our Nelson Mandela.

He has done the difficult thing. He has faced the demons, without fear, and this dear reader will go further to enhancing the American image in the world than any other single thing he could ever do.

Such honesty in politics is unheard of, punctuated as it is, by realpolitik and euphemism and lack of accountability.

Our writer at the Washington Post underestimates the intelligence of Mr. Obama, when he claims that the president’s comment  that the techniques used to question captured terrorists “did not make us safer”, is patently false.

It may be, on the micro level, but on the level that Mr. Obama is talking, it is very true

Consider the second  question of our premise, “ Do the ends justify the means ?”

Without any philosophical investigation into moral perspectives, I would like to consider this question outside of its usual moral debate, and look solely to the practical consequences thereof.islamicjihadbomberdemo424_01

So, if the end is, getting information that may save lives in that society, and the means is abandoning the principles of that society, the end is a change in the fabric of that society, is it not ?

Just the kind of change that Islamists want. Just the moral turpitude they are looking for.

And too, if the justification for defending that society is a moral one, have you not lost before you begin ?

If, alternatively, the goal is simply, as many commentators will likely respond, survival, then one must ask the obvious.

Survival of what ?

If America survives, without the ideas that made it so, then what has survived ?

And then why should they survive over their enemy?

This is a war of ideas, if one side survives by shredding its ideas, then it follows that the other side has won, for what are they fighting but the idea.

And what would an America without its human rights look like ?


The reason America must survive therefore, is because of the idea that it represents, which idea extends far beyond its shores.

The idea must win.

At any cost, but never the idea.

The idea is the identity.

When America surrenders its intellectual capacity, it loses the war.

They went to war before, for that idea, they won. They are at war again for that idea.

Consider for a moment the Bush administration’s attempt to circumnavigate that idea.

They renamed prisoners of war, “enemy combatants” to avoid the Geneva Convention.

They sent them to Guantanamo Bay to avoid the jurisdiction of the American Courts.

They changed the name of torture to “enhanced technique”

They set up separate kangaroo courts to avoid the American Supreme Court.

They invoked the Patriot act, to avoid legal representation

American FlagThey ran two Americas.

One was America, the other resembled Saudi Arabia.

The founding fathers, turned in their graves. And the very fabric of the American Century looked set to tear irreparably.

The simple response, that demands an answer, is if  your system works, why have you excluded it ?

The next question is, what next ?

Do you take away your rights for your survival?

If you do, then the next question is:

So who won the war ?

Mr. Obama understands that. This is a war.  A war for a way of life. You cannot change that. You have to find a way. Or you lose.

That, dear America, is what Osama has thrown down in the ring.

Which brings us to the final question, how do you fight this war ?

And the answer is, terrible, but true.

You, hold up your ideas until the end. You go to war for them. You elevate them to divinity. You make them unchangeable. You secure your moral high ground and then you throw the book at your enemy.

Like you did in the 2nd World War.

You accept that your enemy, and the countries aligned thereto, must be crushed.

You understand that, like the Nazi’s, these Islamists are your enemy, and wherever they hide, and whoever gives them succor, must be eliminated.

Can you imagine what our world would look like if the USA had, instead of eliminating the Nazi’s had spent their time torturing Germans and eroding the rights of American citizens instead of going to war?

Where the Nazi’s that much worse?

I doubt it.


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