President Obama campaigned on uniting the country and creating a post-partisan environment. Watching the differences displayed this past week regarding the release of the CIA memos about interrogation techniques; it is quite evident we will never bridge the gulf that divides us.
We watched one group describe how members of the Bush Administration, including the Vice-President and possibly the President, should be hauled into court essentially for war crimes. But if you are surfing news channels, you can see people like former CIA Director Michael Hayden defending the actions of his predecessors and painting a distinctly different picture.
As a starting point, it is clear no one endorses the behavior that went on at Abu Ghraib. General agreement exists that what was done there was reprehensible. That behavior is not what we are speaking about here. We are speaking about techniques used to extract information from prisoners of war by our top professionals for the purpose of advancing our war aims and saving Americans lives.
The divide goes back to the difference in perspective of what kind of action we are involved in and how to confront the issue of terrorism. Prior to 9/11, the Clinton Administration treated this as a policing action. The Bush Administration defined this as a war, but a large portion of the left never accepted that perception. For example, Reza Aslan, while promoting his book How to Win a Cosmic War, states clearly where the left is coming from on this issue. He says that America (the Obama Administration) has finally come around to agreeing with our Europeans allies that this is a policing action. He purports we were treating this as a religious war between Muslims and Christians. The fact that our “Christian” soldiers freed millions of Muslims from totalitarian regimes appears to be lost on him.
Some of his viewpoints may be on the edge, but his positions are the mainstream of the left and they are being pursued by the Democrats in Congress. They seem to have a mindset and they are not called to task for it by the press, including the best at Fox News.
We deserve answers to four questions from the Democrats who continue pursuing this issue: