Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Alternative View 

The Wall Street Journal is making a strong attempt to defend Alberto Gonzales. In the interest of fairness please take a look at their view and tell me where they discuss putting American citizens on ships as prisoners never to be heard of again. From the column:

As for al Qaeda, let us describe the most coercive interrogation technique that was ever actually authorized. It's called "water-boarding," and it involves strapping a detainee down, wrapping his face in a wet towel and dripping water on it to produce the sensation of drowning.

Is that "torture"? It is pushing the boundary of tolerable behavior, but we are told it is also used to train U.S. pilots in case they are shot down and captured. More to the critics' apparent point, is it immoral, or unjustified, in the cause of preventing another mass casualty attack on U.S. soil? By all means let's have a debate; Mr. Gonzales should challenge a few Democrats to categorically renounce it and tell us what techniques they would tolerate instead.

If the Gonzales critics are really worried about civil liberties, they might ponder the domestic political response to another 9/11. Do they really think Roosevelt's internment camps and Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus were merely products of a less enlightened age, and that Americans wouldn't respond to a dirty bomb explosion in a major city with mass detentions of men with Islamic surnames, closed borders, or worse? This civil-liberties catastrophe is precisely what "water-boarding" is trying to prevent.

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