Monday, December 1, 2008

Staring into the Abyss

Anyone who cares about winning the war on terror should read this article. Key passage:

I personally conducted more than 300 interrogations, and I supervised more than 1,000. The methods my team used are not classified . . . , but the way we used them was, I like to think, unique. We got to know our enemies, we learned to negotiate with them, and we adapted criminal investigative techniques to our work . . . . It worked. Our efforts started a chain of successes that ultimately led to Zarqawi . . . . We turned several hard cases, including some foreign fighters, by using our new techniques. A few of them never abandoned the jihadist cause but still gave up critical information. One actually told me, "I thought you would torture me, and when you didn't, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That's why I decided to cooperate."

The target of jihadist terrorism against the West is not our population but our values. Here's what I wrote in 2007, in response to a book that blamed liberalism for 9/11:

D'Souza is right. Islamic terrorists hate America because of what we allow: liberated women, freedom of speech, homosexuals, and freedom of religion. In other words, our freedom. And if we give up our freedom, the terrorists have won.

Ultimately, the war on terror is an ideological struggle, just like the Cold War before it. We won the cold war because we had better ideas, and we will win this war in the same way. However, there are those who sympathize with the terrorists' ideology, who would create a theocratic state of their own. They too hate liberated women, freedom of speech, homosexuals, and freedom of religion. And while they do not blow up buildings, they pose as serious threat to the American way of life as do Islamists.

So, be American. Be a working woman. Hold hands with your significant other in public. Read a banned book. Preach your religion. Get into a passionate debate. And make sure you respect everyone else's right to do the same.

The humane treatment of prisoners is one of those liberal values that makes us who we are as Americans. There is more and more evidence that liberal values are not outdated but really do work to ensure security and liberty.

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