Some readers strongly believe that someone—either Congress or a special prosecutor—should investigate whether the people responsible for torturing detainees should themselves be held to account.
The argument goes that the American people deserve the truth. And ethically that would be a good thing, but, alas, this is one of those times when ethics demands a difficult choice, not between good and bad, but between good and good.
It was good to punish the soldiers who tortured and killed prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Baghram Air Base, and Guantanamo. It would be good to punish the higher-ups who set them on that path or at least tolerated their evil. But there’s another good at issue here: the social harmony of the American people.
Our American community has deteriorated to the point that large numbers of Democrats believe that George W. Bush was complicit in the attack of 9/11, and large numbers of Republicans believe that Barack Hussein Obama is a Kenya-born fascist who is plotting to murder grandma. And worse, far worse, “adults” in both parties are standing by in silent acquiescence.
The greater good is the restoration of American comity. My political mentor, former congressman James Leach (R-IA), explained,
“I’ve always believed in the philosophy of [Christian theologian] Reinhold Niebuhr, ‘The temper of and integrity with which the political fight is waged is more important for the health of our society than the outcome of any issue or campaign.’”It’s time to restore the temper and integrity of the political fight. The best way to start is to follow the direction that President Obama has pointed: forward.