The best article I read yesterday was an article published on the website of the Wall Street Journal titled, “A Self-Inflicted Defeat Why we might not break the next Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.” It argues that if congress does not go along with the Bush administration and “reinterpret” Common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it will make it impossible or very difficult to break the next terrorist who has information, which can stop terrorist attacks and thus ensure the security of the United States, Here is the money quote:
There's a legitimate debate to be had over waterboarding and other tactics. But part of our problem with the McCain Amendment was that Congressmen refused to engage in an honest debate lest they be accused of approving "torture," which no one sanctions but is a word used to slur anyone who wants aggressive interrogation.
The result was legislation that may have made everyone feel better after Abu Ghraib, but that also probably undermines our ability to get vital information from the next KSM we capture. That ability will be further damaged if the Administration's interrogation flexibility is again limited during current negotiations on Capitol Hill over the treatment of detainees. We hope the next "9/11" commission doesn't have to explain why the U.S. stopped employing interrogation methods that were both lawful and successful.
What makes the arguments of this article unconvincing is that they don't even acknowledge that torture is immoral, but suggest that torture is in the eye of the beholder and that what matters more than anything is to break hardened and dangerous terrorists such Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. I strongly disagree. The United States and its allies have rightly chosen to fight terrorism by arguing that it is wrong because there are such things are universal principles and values, which apply to all of humanity. The fight against terrorism is not just about winning a war or breaking or killing terrorists. If it was so, then it would not the struggle of our time. Fighting terrorism is also about convincing parts of the world which exports terrorism that this fight concerns them too and that terrorists are just threatening America, but are threatening the world by attacking values, which we all have in common no matter where we come from and no matter our race or religion. To narrow the focus of the fight against terrorism as the Wall Street Journal does Americanize it and more importantly threaten the moral authority of the United States by undermining its claim that it is fighting against people who struggle universal values such liberty. The most important reason why international law exist is to reinforce the common interest, which all countries have to live in not only a safe, but in a just and orderly world. The Wall Street Journal seems to suggest that justice and morality no longer matter now that the United States is threatened and that it should change what has make it great in order to survive. But we all know what happens when a great country compromises its own values; it becomes ordinary and thus, condemns its citizens watch helplessly as the symbols of its greatness become dead representations of the past. To paraphrase Tocqueville, I will say that if America stops being good and its values become unreachable ideals instead of remaining daily principles, then it will have accept the fact that it will no longer lead the world and to see the empire crumble.