Partisan amnesia

Nothing to do with business, but the backlash against Bush and Cheney on terrorist issues strikes me as appropriate — for people born after 2001.

Torture is horrible. We should have no laws permitting it. Probably the same is true with plans to assasinate terrorists.

I never liked McCain, but he was ridiculed for something I think he got right during the campaign. I forget the quote, but the jist was, regardless of the law a good president will authorize torture if necessary for national security. His point, as I recall, was that a strict law was fine as long as it did not overly bind the president.

We need to be very careful attacking political leaders for post 9/11 actions. Eight years later, it’s easy to second-guess them. Do you remember your emotions after the attack, though? I would have gladly volunteered to washboard someone known to be involved. While New York firemen were still finding body parts, I would have enlisted in Cheney’s proposed hit squad.

Obama’s initial instincts, to let it rest, were correct. Bush and Cheney were lousy at lots of things, but their approach to al Qaida was in synch with their constituents. We can’t have laws that sanction torture or assasination, but we would be wise to recognize that the leaders we want have as their first priority protecting us.

If Bush and Cheney violated the law in their actions, we have two choices. We can conclude the situation did not warrant the breach, or it did. They are, and should be, at our whim. 9/11 was major. Like the attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the illegal imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, however, it was entirely aimed at protecting the U.S. population.

When the executive branch crosses the line, it needs to know it does so at its peril. Investigations and prosecutions may come with a new administration. But as a people, we need to remember the circumstances. The response to 9/11 was not a partisan issue at the time. Our nation was under attack and our friends had died. We need to remember that when we evaluate how Bush and Cheney reacted. We need to let it rest.


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