You can't win a chess game when only one side plays by the rules. You can't win at the terror game when one side is preoccupied with civil liberties and charges of torture instead of victory and the other is concerned only with how many of us they can kill.
The second step back from victory came in a bill by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, to ban "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment of prisoners in American custody. One wishes our enemies would adopt such a standard, but they won't because they are more interested in winning than behaving nicely. The major flaw in McCain's thinking is similar to what one sees in our dealings with Israel and her enemies. It is that what we do affects what the other side does and if we will be "humane" to them, they won't blow us to smithereens. That is dangerous wishful thinking and there is no evidence to support it.
Surely the word has gone out to the terrorists that if they are captured they have little to fear because Americans won't torture them. When information we might otherwise have obtained is not extracted from them and thousands, or millions, more of us die; will those who favor restraining interrogators be held accountable?
Jimmy Carter said he was "surprised" when Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev lied to him and invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Carter apparently forgot that communists lie.
It is that same naivete and failure to understand the threat confronting us now that produces the thinking which opposes monitoring evildoers among us? We lower our guard at a time when it needs to be raised to new levels.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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