Fashionably Fastidious

Noemie Emery has an excellent piece in The Weekly Standard on the Democrats’ demand for a “truth commission” to investigate the Bush Administration’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques that kept the U.S. safe since 9/11:

Some Democrats, from the White House on down, are pushing the idea of a “truth commission,” à la South Africa, to deal with the “harsh measures” used by the Bush administration in interrogating al Qaeda detainees. Good. Let’s have lots of truthtelling. Please bring it on.

Let’s tell the truth about Bush’s conduct of the war on terror, which is that it’s been a success. His ultimate legacy hasn’t been written — Iraq is improved, but not out of danger — but the one thing that can be said without reservation is that the country was kept safe. He delivered on the main charge of his office in time of emergency, in a crisis without guidelines or precedent. Attacks took place in Spain, and in London, in Indonesia and India, but not on American soil, which was the obvious target of choice. Bush couldn’t say this before he left office, for obvious reasons, and after he left, attention switched to the new president. This little fact dropped down the memory hole, but with all this discussion, it will rise to the surface. Let the hearings begin!

Also dropped down the memory hole — along with the names of all the Democrats who thought Saddam was a menace who cried out for removal — is what the ambience was like in late 2001 and 2002, when fears of anthrax and suitcase bombs ran rampant, and people on all sides tried to seem tough. Let’s tell the truth about all the liberals who went on record supporting real torture, not to mention the Democrats in Congress, when it was cool to want to seem tough on our enemies, who couldn’t be too warlike. Then war and tough measures stopped being cool, and “world opinion” became more important. Nothing like statements under oath to revive ancient memories! And rewind the tapes.

Let’s get at the truth too about the word “torture,” which to different people, means different things. Some think “torture” means standing on the 98th floor of a burning skyscraper and realizing you have a choice between jumping and being incinerated. Some think torture is being crushed when a building implodes around you. Some think torture is not thinking you might drown for several minutes, but looking at burning buildings on television and knowing that people you love are inside them. They remember that being crushed, incinerated, or killed in a jump from the 98th story happened to almost 3,000 blameless Americans (as well as a number of foreigners), and that 125 Pentagon employees were killed at their desks, while many survivors suffered terrible burns. They think the choice between stopping this from happening again by slapping around or scaring the hell out of a cluster of brigands, or leaving the brigands alone and letting it happen again, is a no-brainer.

Not much polling has been done to date about attitudes on waterboarding and torture held by the general public (as opposed to MoveOn.org and the Washington press corps), but it would surely be done in the event of hearings and trials. Not many people think being slapped hard is the same thing as having to jump from a building. Democrats might find the truth about this to be inconvenient indeed.

Full article here.

Yes, by all means bring on the hearings. I look forward to House Speaker Pelosi and other Congressional Democrats who were fully briefed on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation tactics after 9/11. Was Madam Speaker shocked, SHOCKED to discover there was “torture” going on? Did she threaten to cut off the CIA’s funding for their involvement in what everyone on the Left now insists were “war crimes”?

Selective moral fastidiousness and political grandstanding come at a price. Unfortunately, the price will not be paid by preening poseurs in Congress, but by the brave and vigilant public servants who kept us safe for the last 8 years, and who now face a witchhunt that can only benefit the terrorists, excuse me, the “man-made disaster producers” they kept us safe from.

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