Green Room

The Ethics of Ferocity

posted at 3:56 pm on August 25, 2009 by

The Obama Administration, aware that everyone outside of union bosses, and interest groups looking for billion-dollar ribeye steaks of taxpayer money, is having trouble remembering why they voted for Obama, has decided to drag CIA interrogators and Bush Administration officials into court, where they will be persecuted for their role in defending America from terrorist attacks. Apparently Obama and his accomplices decided to distract their liberal base from the fiery Hindenburg crash of socialized medicine, by offering them a relaxing cruise on the Titanic of leftist foreign policy. As with everything else the current Administration does, it’s a remarkably foolish move: dangerous for America, and self-destructive as a strategy.

I don’t have much patience or understanding for people who play games with national security for political benefit, so let me dismiss the political strategy of this outrage by saying it once again demonstrates the danger of believing your own political spin, and taking the lovestruck panting of a sycophantic media seriously. Real Americans are not anxious to punish the people who shut down al-Qaeda’s domestic operations. While liberals wave the Justice Department’s report on CIA interrogation techniques at the rest of the world and tearfully beg them for forgiveness, the rest of us are wondering why we don’t reduce the deficit by selling the rights to these interrogations on pay-per-view. The contestants on your average Japanese game show go through more intense ordeals.

Obama should understand that he was elected in spite of his childish posturing as a messiah and redeemer, not because of them. A weary public allowed itself to be badgered into electing the first black president, after they ran out of patience waiting for John McCain to explain why they shouldn’t. Normal people don’t define their relationship with the government by taking pleasure in the humiliation of political figures they dislike. We’re six months past the point where American voters can be kept quiet by suffocating them with the pillow of Bush hatred. We’re about a month past the point where anyone capable of independent thought believes Obama is a better president than Bush was.

Political strategy aside, America needs to resolve its argument about the morality of self-defense, and quickly. It’s my contention that a peaceful democracy has a moral imperative to demonstrate ferocity in defense.

Because we are not an aggressive, conquering nation, we don’t seek to subjugate the world and eliminate opposition. This means we will always be playing defense. One of the most dangerous delusions of the Left is the idea that we might be able to create a civilization that has no enemies. Civilization always has its enemies. Liberals should understand that, since they draw their own political strength from the unhappy remnant that always feels cheated by free-market capitalism, no matter how prosperous it might become. Even the most peaceful and compassionate nation will always be at risk from savages who wish to drown it in blood.

Anyone who has studied any form of self-defense knows the danger of hesitation. Effective defense requires swift and decisive action. When a fist is flying at your face, you don’t have time to flip through your mental catalog of Jet Li movies and pick a cool counter-move. Hesitation can defeat even superior strength and technical skill. The most powerful weapon in the world is useless as long as it remains in its holster… and it provides no deterrence value if your assailant knows it will remain there.

To suggest that enduring six months of Obama has made the CIA more hesitant to conduct effective intelligence operations is an understatement. Democrat political double-dealing is a crime that strikes at the heart of our venerated belief in civilian command of the military. We respect this arrangement, in part, because we believe it is proper for the civilian government to exhaust all peaceful, diplomatic avenues before we commit to war. You don’t send Marine recon units to conduct subtle diplomacy. The Bush Administration did its duty in this regard – for all the liberal caterwauling about “Bush’s rush to war,” it took a hell of a lot longer than Barack Obama’s rush to nationalize the health insurance industry and triple the deficit.

The other side of this arrangement must also be honored: we must allow the military to act with decisive speed, working within clearly defined rules of engagement. The military requires, and deserves, the assurance that they will not be used as political pawns by the civilian authorities. This is the duty a peaceful nation owes to the men and women who risk their lives, and make countless personal sacrifices, to ensure our safety. It is also logical, because the safety of American civilians, along with the hope for minimal collateral damage to foreign populations, depends on giving our defenders the confidence to take swift and decisive action. We know from experience that modern America does not have the political and cultural endurance to fight protracted wars – and, frankly, protracted wars stink. If war is forced upon us, it’s better for everyone involved if we make quick work of the enemy.

The Left has demonstrated a willing eagerness to sap American endurance in times of war, again and again. The antiwar movement is a fusion of many agendas, including domestic political hatred of the sitting President, and outright sympathy with the enemy. There is little that can be said to these elements of the Left… but to those who sincerely oppose extended military action on humanitarian grounds, I would say it is deeply immoral to apply political sanctions and legal penalties to the very people who have the best chance of ending a war quickly, or preventing enemy attacks from claiming innocent lives. Nothing will prompt a determined enemy to attack faster than the belief his target is paralyzed with uncertainty. Nothing will break the will of a terrorist organization faster than capturing or killing its command structure, and that requires timely intelligence. There is exactly one way to obtain that intelligence, and you can read all about it, in the Justice Department report on CIA interrogations. The options to wish determined enemies away, hug them into submission, or instantly penetrate their command structure with double-oh super-spies are not on the table. The option of surrender is underneath the table, and a few hundred million patriotic Americans will stomp on your damned fingers, if you try reaching for it.

If a group of people took your family hostage, and one of their associates fell into your hands, you would do anything to extract the location of your family from him. So would Barack Obama, and Eric Holder, and every Democrat who ever sullied the halls of Congress by referring to American soldiers as Nazis. President Obama would not dither about the finer points of a criminal’s hypothetical “rights” while the man’s accomplices were taking power tools to Michelle and the kids. Anyone who would is a lunatic… and I don’t want to leave the security of our country in the hands of lunatics. The moral justification for relying on professional military and law-enforcement personnel is the understanding that their training will allow them to do all the terrible things we would do to protect our family, more dispassionately, carefully, and efficiently than we could. Double-crossing them for political gain is using the families of other people as poker chips, in the smug certainty your own loved ones are in no immediate danger. If we don’t let the professionals do their jobs against a relentless enemy now, then one day, we will all be soldiers.

A few weeks ago, Eric Holder saw nothing wrong with Black Panthers using billy clubs to intimidate voters. Today, he thinks intimidating terrorists with cigars is a crime. Holder is the one who should be answering tough questions under oath.

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