Without taking a position here on whether waterboarding is moral or tantamount to torture or whether torture, however it may be defined, is a useful means of intelligence-gathering, the rush to investigate and possibly indict former Bush administration officials for doing their jobs is beyond disturbing.
This vindictive, malicious push to pay back the architects of the War on Terror for making a good faith effort to defend America is being driven by pundits such as the increasingly nutty Andrew Sullivan, law professor Jonathan Turley, the George Soros-funded real-life subversives at the Center for Constitutional Rights (which is headed by Che Guevara apologist Michael Ratner), and the left-wing pressure group MoveOn.org. They all want Bush administration officials investigated in connection with the advice they offered with respect to enhanced interrogation techniques.
Not only is this wrong as David Frum points out, it’s incredibly dangerous. In America, we resolve policy differences through elections. We don’t use the legal system after officials have left office to prosecute them for doing their jobs.
The Wall Street Journal summed up the situation well:
Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.
Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama’s victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.
If this analogy seems excessive, consider how Mr. Obama has framed the issue. He has absolved CIA operatives of any legal jeopardy, no doubt because his intelligence advisers told him how damaging that would be to CIA morale when Mr. Obama needs the agency to protect the country. But he has pointedly invited investigations against Republican legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA officials. […]
Going after Bush-era lawyers is madness. If these witch trials come to America, the country will never be the same again.