by Nick Stone of Drawnlines Politics.
Watching Dick Cheney preview his points of view on the current administration this weekend, I remember a lot of the reasons I stood strongly for John McCain in the 2008 election. That battle, of course, is long over, but the repercussions that many of us warned against are taking hold at an alarming rate with breathtaking depth and breadth.
Watching Cheney – who I once feared and loathed and never pulled the lever for – the context of the decisions the Bush White House had to make are remarkably clear. Whether or not you agreed with the policy decisions of the Bush White House, it is imperative to ask yourself one vital question:
What kept us safe for the 8 years following 9/11? Why haven’t we had another attack? Is it because the terrorists suddenly grew hearts and sang kumbaya or their hatred for America, her citizens and her values just simply dissipated?
More likely, it’s because subsequent attacks were thwarted (and there is empirical evidence that is true, i.e. the LA bombing plot and the Brooklyn Bridge plot being dismantled). It’s also true that we took the fight to their house in the dark shadows where the warriors were being trained. Under the Bush White House, enemies of the United States saw a fundamental shift in the way we fought them. No longer was terrorism a criminal justice problem as under Democratic administrations. It was now a matter of war, and it was a war we must win. Win, we did.
But now all of the gains we made over those 8 years following 9/11 are being dismantled. And worse yet, the Attorney General is politicizing the protection of our people by threatening to prosecute those who (under order from their commanders and under proper legal counsel) carried out the vital means to extract information that literally meant life or death for Americans.
When I hear the president of the United States apologize for American exceptionalism and American ideas and values abroad like he did in Cairo and in France, I cringe. The leader of the United States – her sworn defender – has no business apologizing for the decisions we have to make to promote our own interests and the welfare of our own people. One needn’t go any further than the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States to recognize that simple fact. Let alone the oath of office.
The idea that we are less safe because we asked terrorists the hard questions under our custody is appalling and intellectually dishonest. The idea that our foreign policy was worse off because we didn’t play enough grab-ass with psychopaths with nuclear ambitions is downright frightful. And when faced with the ticking time-bomb scenario, you’re damn right that I want my sworn defender to take any and all measures possible to extract the information necessary to diffuse the situation and keep my family safe.
There is no compromising on these values. It is not an abstract study in American policy to those whose families were directly affected by attacks on our soil. Rather, it is concrete. God help us if it takes another 9/11 to remind people what’s important. The idea that Al Gore, or God forbid Barack Obama would have to answer the red phone on that fateful morning makes my skin crawl. Wake up, and it will make yours crawl too.