President Obama took the occasion of his 100th day in office to publicly denounce the practice of interrogative waterboarding as torture. During his primetime press conference, the President justified his administration’s ban on “enhanced interrogation techniques” by citing Winston Churchill’s refusal to engage in torture during World War II: “Churchill understood, you start taking short-cuts, over time, that corrodes what's -- what's best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.”
The “character of a country”—specifically America—is an issue every president grapples with. On the world stage, character—the ability to trust another nation’s integrity—is critical. A country with inconsistent morals is a nation whose character cannot be trusted. Under the Obama Administration, America is perilously close to losing our moral integrity regarding basic human rights, especially the right to life.
President Obama has taken a seemingly unequivocal moral stand in favor of human rights by banning waterboarding, which he considers a form of torture. But juxtapose his moral outrage over torture with his nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to lead the Health and Human Services Department.
During her twenty-plus years as an elected official in Kansas, Sebelius has forged strong ties to infamous abortionist George Tiller. For $5,000, Tiller will perform any abortion, for any reason—including late-term abortions. The horror stories that have emerged from Tiller’s clinic describe callous acts of aborting almost-full-term children. At this point in a pregnancy, these children most certainly feel the pain and torture of chemical injections, cutting, ripping and stabbing used in the abortion process.
In May 2007, Bill O’Reilly directed the nation’s attention to Tiller’s Wichita “death mill” when he exposed Sebelius’ veto of a bill that would have required Tiller to provide a specific medial reason for the late-term abortions he performed on viable fetuses. O’Reilly also brought to light the thousands of dollars Tiller had donated to Sebelius’ various campaigns and related political action committees. “Now America is a great country, but this kind of barbaric display in Kansas diminishes our entire nation,” stated O’Reilly. Indeed, the way we treat innocent life says just as much about our moral character as how we interrogate terrorists.
Legislative attempts to end the brutality perpetrated by Tiller and his ilk have been repeatedly thwarted by Governor Sebelius. In fact, just prior to her Senate confirmation, Sebelius vetoed legislation in Kansas that would have provided greater oversight of late-term abortions such as those performed by Tiller. Refusing to hold accountable those with young life in their hands is—in the words of President Obama—“taking short-cuts” that corrode “what’s best in a people.”
It is the height of hypocrisy to ban interrogation techniques on militant enemies of innocent life while refusing to ensure innocent life isn’t carelessly discarded by ruthless abortionists.
A few moments after President Obama was asked about the torture issue at his press conference, another reporter inquired about the controversy surrounding his commencement address at the staunchly pro-life University of Notre Dame. Now in a much higher pay grade than when he was last asked about his position on abortion, the reporter asked whether the president still intended to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would effectively remove all restrictions on abortion nationwide. Once again, President Obama hemmed and hawed, rambling on about what a difficult decision abortion is for women.
As a state legislator in Illinois, Obama opposed the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act - a legislative response to botched late-term abortions where babies were left to die by starvation.
The President wants to appear unequivocal about his “moral” decision to ban torture because he considers it inhumane. But his equivocal response to the issue of abortion, and his votes against banning the barbaric partial-birth abortion—which constitutes true torture by any reasonable standard—reveal an inconsistency at best.
Congressional Democrats have been quick to call for investigations of and possible criminal prosecution for “harsh interrogations” of terrorists. But many of these same politicians have remained mute on Sebelius’ connection to a notorious abortionist engaged in abominable abortion practices.
As the President explained the torture ban during his recent press conference, he observed, “In some cases, it may be harder, but part of what makes us, I think, still a beacon to the world is that we are willing to hold true to our ideals even when it's hard, not just when it's easy.”
Perhaps we walk a thin line in determining the definition of torture and its use in national security, but when it comes to preventing the needless pain and suffering of children, America should hold true to our ideal of protecting all innocent life.