Obama senses this, and is not about to let them conscript his presidency into an ideological crusade, all of which invariably end, like the Children's Crusade of Peter the Hermit, with everybody dead or in captivity.
Which brings us to The Crocodile.
Whatever one may think of Dick Cheney, about him it must be said: He is not ashamed of his record. He does not apologize for it. He is willing to go out and defend it in the arena.
He believes, that, after 9-11, he, as a custodian of the national security, had a duty to go the limit to get information from terrorists to prevent another or worse atrocity.He admits to having approved the authorization of "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding. He believes they yielded indispensable information about our enemies that helped to prevent another attack for seven and a half years. He does not believe that they were illegal, or constituted torture.
He is a true believer, full of conviction and certitude, whose unstated retort to those demanding he be prosecuted for war crimes is the one he gave the distinguished senator from Vermont, Mr. Leahy.
And Cheney is winning.
Why? Because other than the hard left, which demands commissions, prosecutions, indictments, convictions and imprisonments, on the other side it is all loud noise and moral mush.
He is winning because he has the courage of his convictions, while his enemies come up short in both departments.
There is another reason Obama does not want this fight.
There is a high probability, if not a near certainty, that, one day, al-Qaida is going to conduct some spectacular attack on this country or its allies, and Americans will say, "This didn't happen when people like Cheney were running the show."
Obama has been dealt a tough hand, and he knows it.
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could all go horribly wrong. And, should that happen, the boy from Hyde Park and Harvard Law wants to be standing beside the CIA, not the ACLU.
That, too, is why Obama wants no part of this fight with Cheney.