You have to respect a man of principle. A man whose structural vision of ideals loudly echoes the s e n t i m e n t s of the model citizen of an ideal world. A man whose conviction makes him believe he must clamor to the highest degree of human offering in the darkest of hours and days. “We must adhere to our values as diligently as we protect our safety with no exceptions,” he deliberately said on the day he introduced his CIA and National Intelligence chiefs.
He once again reiterated this in his inaugural speech, in a language emblematic of his campaign, one that continued his assault on tactics used by the erstwhile Bush administration in protecting American lives. “As for our defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” he said. “…We will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”
President Obama up to this point has spoken like a newly minted chief executive and deservingly so has demanded a pass from citizens everywhere. He has echoed the words of a statesman. But as he so eloquently quoted the Scriptures in his inaugural, “it is now time to put away childish things.”
The president’s anti-torture position is deeply rooted in the U.S. constitution, in international treaties and charters like the Geneva Conventions which he so often refers. It is without doubt that these laid laws and agreements make dictators and tyrants across diverse regions of humanity accountable for arbitrary and callous mutilations of subjects, such as the recently concluded torture trial of Charles “Chuckie” Taylor, Jr.
A city built on a hill cannot be hid. The perils that face the greatest nation on earth in the 21st century is wholesomely imaginable, but none the more surreal than the “scarcely” imaginable perils the President says the Founding Fathers faced. Unlike then, technology brings those who seek to cause immeasurable harm to us and sabotage these very ideals we hold sacred, to our doorsteps.
The use of harsh tactics such as waterboarding, threats, and sleep deprivation in interrogation of terror suspects in a post-9/11 world is not a matter of expediency but a matter of necessity.
9/11/2001 has come to dwarf the infamy of Pearl Harbor and define today’s century and world. This is not an excuse for whatever, but one which the president must soon espouse whether it’s an easily acceptable fact of life or not.
I stand unequivocally against the senseless torture of any citizen. What cannot be realistic today is the Geneva Conventions’ mandate of no exposure to “unpleasant treatment” of known terror suspects which make harsh interrogation methods like the ones mentioned above criminal.
If men were angels, according to the words of the fourth president and “The Father of the U.S. Constitution” James Madison, no government would be necessary. It is in such ominous stark reality that this president begs for sanity from demons—a prayer I’m afraid will no doubt go unanswered.
Mr. Obama for the first time in his life would account for 300 million residents. Is the president ready to strap up explosives to the bodies of his two beautiful daughters, Malia and Sasha, kiss them goodbye and send them into a crowded mall? Is he ready to have his wife Michelle Obama and a group of friends hijack and crash a Boeing 747 into the United States Capitol on account of beliefs?
While the president would not do these, he must always remember enemies of the United States freely and delightfully would. This is NO gentlemen’s club. Fundamental Islam is the greatest threat we face in this generation. Mr. Obama must know that to allow a known terrorist to go ahead and fall asleep in his cell and offer him the leisure of silence while an American city is under imminent danger is not only a betrayal of trust, but a murder of conscience.
No matter how inept the Bush administration had been in the past 7½ years, a binding truth is that it kept American lives safe from terror on American soil when it mattered. He did not bring the proverbial knife to a gun fight. Come 2012, President Obama must pray this election year doesn’t become a referendum on national security if he continues to shelter in this “no torture” world of ideals. Democrats blinded by these don’t win such elections; but Republicans enlightened by realities do. It is a fact of American life.
I do sincerely hope President Obama has been recording episodes of FOX network’s “24” … life imitates art more than you would ever think Mr. President—a show that even forecast your first black presidency before you dreamed it. You can close Guantanamo Bay as early as you want and all other CIA prisons across the globe; but the choice between safety and ideals would soon not be a choice of expediency, but a choice agonized in the painfully deep waters of necessity.