Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friedman Comes Out Against Torture, Logical Consistency

Take a look at today's column. If anyone can find a coherent position on torture, or the war on terror, or Iraq, or anything at all, for that matter, please let me know, because I sure as hell can't.

Friedman's columns are often vapid, and cliched, and grating, and self-serving, but I'll at least give him this — they're usually pretty clear: We need a carbon tax. We should invest more in science. We should grant more visas to highly educated immigrants. We should invade Iraq and turn it into a beacon of progressivism and democracy. Yada yada yada.

This column, by contrast, is a logical mess. As I understand it, Friedman's position is as follows: Torture is wrong. Obama was right to ban it. Bush Administration officials crossed the line, and members of the military murdered detainees. However, al Qaeda is really, really evil, and terrorists want to kill lots of people, and don't love their children, and they were maybe planning to use weapons of mass destruction. So the rules are different, and we shouldn't prosecute Bush Administration officials. Also, it would be politically divisive, and apparently bipartisanship now ranks above the rule of law and morality on the list of things we should be concerned about upholding.

Oh, and if you thought that defeating al Qaeda in Iraq would make America safer, you were wrong. Because victory in Iraq is actually going to increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack on American soil. Why? Because it's like a Hail Mary pass. And you can't argue with a sports metaphor.

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