On their way out of controlling the US Senate, the Democrats appear to be possessed with a desire to break all the windows. It is as though they are never coming back, and if the mentality behind this scorched earth policy prevails, they may well not return any time soon. What is to be gained by releasing, on an entirely partisan basis, their CIA interrogation report five years after enhanced interrogations were banned and eleven years after the last terror suspect was water-boarded? Why do this now when in the past, secrets from World War II as well as the Kennedy administration were kept for many, many years? What can possibly justify spending $40 million on a process that didn’t even bother to interview principle program managers, and incomprehensibly, no CIA Directors? Apart from massaging liberal consciences there is no purpose to this.
It provides rhetorical fuel to enemies of the United States, particularly those regularly abusing human rights, although it is hard to see how much waterboarding is going to motivate terrorists who are currently beheading people and already hate us. It is more troubling that, in attacking the intelligence services, and increasingly the military, which formerly had bi-partisan support, they have gone off the rails. Even Barack Obama, the most liberal president ever elected, is now being attacked by the left.
John Kennedy would have a hard time fitting in to today’s Democratic party. Kennedy was a moderate who cut taxes and was strong on national security. In the year he was elected Hubert Humphrey was the liberal candidate in the primaries, not JFK. (The myth that he was a progressive emerged later in the 60s when Bobby Kennedy became radicalized and moved the Kennedy family towards liberalism). It is toxic for a major party to be perceived as anti-national security given how little support that view has. To assuage their left the Democrats are alienating a majority of the population.
The issue here is not whether enhanced interrogation, which can still be distinguished from torture, is wrong or right. It is broadcasting what our intensions, strategy and position are, as if the the rest of the world was somehow composed of liberal humanitarians, rather than a large number of odious regimes and players. In reality we still face a serious terrorist threat. It is hard to find anything in these actions that is not detrimental to our security.
Liberals think it was “important” to issue this report at this time, not for any treasonous reasons, but rather due to righteous indignation and the warm and fuzzy feelings that comes with saying “we’re better than that.” By asserting “principle” over the lives of these people they play into the hands of those whose principles are far removed from their own, and put all of us in greater danger. But this vain exercise comes at great cost, as a result of throwing the people who risk their lives under the bus while they pontificate in safety and security. For in the real world, as George Orwell wrote, “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”