Abolishing torture won't make us safer, but let's do it anyway

But it is important to understand that abolishing torture will not make us safer. Terrorists do not give a damn about our morality, our moral authority or what one columnist called “our moral compass.” George Bush was certainly disliked in much of the world, but the Sept. 11 attacks were planned while Bill Clinton was in office, and he offended no one with the possible exception of the Christian right. Indeed, he went around the world apologizing for America’s misdeeds — slavery, in particular. No terrorist turned back as a result…

But as I was reading the Bush administration’s torture memos, I was also finishing Richard J. Evans’s “The Third Reich at War.” It is the last of his masterful trilogy on Nazi Germany and, like his two previous works, contains the sort of detail that assaults the eyes, overwhelms reason and instructs what we — yes, ordinary people — were capable of doing.