First of all, Mark Davis is a buffoon. In fact, he's a cartoon of a buffoon. It's his schtick I guess. North Texas' own Bill O'Reilly. This is not news. If you don’t know this, count yourself blessed that you’ve not read his preposterous bunk on the Viewpoints page of the DMN – once or twice a week folks. (They had to have something to take the place of Murchison’s gems I guess.)
Most of the time I just ignore Davis and go about my merry way because he’s really not worth bothering with. I broke my own rule this morning and I wish I hadn’t. In this morning’s column, Davis gives the classic neocon defense of torture: “it saves American lives.” This is in reaction to new revelations from former CIA agent John Kiriakou that the CIA used waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah of 9/11 fame. And apparently this waterboarding did lead to actionable intelligence. So Davis thinks it’s great. We should do more of it apparently. He dismisses the moral argument that “we’re better than that” as perverse. Isn’t Davis' blusterment just a simple case of the end justifying the means? We should be better than that, but I don’t think we are. Not anymore. I have the feeling that much of the populace would agree with Davis.
Just yesterday I had a conversation with a colleague who stated the old saw about the Iraq war that at least we’re fighting them over there rather than over here. OK, ignore for a minute the fact that our presence in Iraq has actually increased anti-US sentiment in the world as well as the number of terrorists. But this essentially says that it is OK to attack a country that has not attacked us and poses no imminent threat, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians and sparking a civil war, so long as it makes us feel safe. End justifies means. I used to think we were better than that.
Kiriakou now says that this CIA sanctioned torture compromised American principles and saved American lives. Davis’ simplistic red white and blue worldview does not allow him to think that those two things can coexist. Well they can Mr. Davis. And they do. And as long as we as a nation are comfortable with compromising our principles in order to save lives, then we have made a choice that the end justifies the means.
God have mercy on us.