Liz Cheney vs. Norah O'Donnell: "The tactics are not torture"

A few days old but we’ve had a steady stream of requests for it. Hotline has the transcript; don’t quit before the end or you’ll miss her thoughts on Palin and Meghan McCain. Speaking of McCains, Maverick may differ with Cheney about whether waterboarding constitutes torture but they agree that a “truth commission” would be a very bad idea. A good question: “[Enhanded interrogation] was bad advice. But if you criminalize bad advice on the part of lawyers, how are you going to get people to serve, and what sort of precedent does that set for the future?”

Actually, here’s a better question: If we all know it’s going to happen anyway in certain circumstances, why not legalize it? Kathleen Parker, unsurprisingly, doesn’t get it:

In his book “Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age,” Dershowitz proposes that since torture is a given under those certain circumstances, then “torture warrants” should be issued by a judge.

He is right that most of us would do whatever necessary to save our child, possibly even torture a kidnapper. Likewise, if we stumbled upon someone trying to harm a loved one, we would kill the attacker if necessary to stop him.

But those are both darkly impassioned environments. It is by the cool light of day that we devise our laws. And it is by that same light that we judge our actions.

The law would protect you if you had to kill an attacker to stop him from killing, which is to say, it’s those “darkly impassioned environments” that law is most concerned with. Why leave a CIA agent in legal limbo if, however likely or unlikely it may be, he finds himself with a detainee in a ticking-bomb scenario?

Do yourself a favor after you watch the clip. Go listen to the archived audio here. Three minutes.

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