I know this piece is almost a month old, but it’s been sticking with me. Anybody notice anything interesting about this snippet?
I had come to view harsh interrogations as a clear mistake. The war on terror is as much an ideological conflict as a military one, and the combination of Abu Ghraib and revelations about waterboarding had the practical effect of a battle lost. I worried also that these techniques might lead to a dehumanized view of the enemy — always a risk in a time of war — thus greasing a slippery slope toward abuse. [italics mine]
Doesn’t the fact that you refer to the enemy as “the enemy” indicate that your purported worry about dehumanization is a bit disengenuous? Seems to me that he shoots down his own point with one sentence.
The T-P had a headline to this that sais something like “Torture memos reflect Cheney soul searching,” and I immediately thought, “Too bad they didn’t find it.”
Now Gerson comes back at us to say that Obama is undermining the morale of the CIA.
In a little over 100 days, the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have delivered a series of blows to the pride and morale of the Central Intelligence Agency.
First off, I don’t really care too much about morale at the CIA, but second, he’s wrong. All we’ve been hearing about (note all the applause and “extended applause” that looks sincere in video) is that the CIA and other departments of the administration are thrilled to have him in there because he lets them do their jobs and doesn’t force them to violate the constitution at every turn.
I’ll admit that I’m as frustrated with most progressives on the watering down of principles that Obama has engaged in, but so far I’m still confident that it’s pragmatic. Most of the time. But if we ever get too pissed off, let’s remember how bad it used to be.