Much has been written and said lately about the upcoming release of the report from the Democrat-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. One key emphasis of the report is its conclusion that nearly all the intelligence gleaned from water-boarding and other harsh techniques could have been obtained from more traditional intelligence-gathering systems. Despite claims to the contrary, it says the efficacy of the program was overblown, and the interrogations were not necessary to locate Osama bin Laden or thwart any terrorist plots. According to the SSCI report, the detainees cited did not give up “unique” and “valuable” intelligence, meaning information that the CIA would not have been able to obtain through other means, after they were subjected to a dozen enhanced interrogation techniques approved by the Justice Department.
As explained by Zeke Johnson, a spokesman for Amnesty International: “It’s irrelevant whether torture ‘worked’. We don’t ask about the efficacy, for example, of genocide or rape. Torture is immoral and always illegal.”
Well, since we’re going THERE…let’s explore that a bit more as it applies to the federal government overall, shall we?
How many things that the government does could be accomplished via other means? How many things that the government does could be done better via the private sector? Obamacare is a recent fantastic example of that truth. And how many decades of utter failure of government programs need to occur before we start honestly examining their efficacy? “War on Poverty”, anyone?
And as far as any action of government being “immoral and always illegal”, or the relevance of whether it “worked” or not…dare I mention the Constitution? The enumerated powers therein spell out the specific required duties of the federal government, which are also the only things the government is allowed to do. And yet how much of what the federal government does is outside the scope of those specific limits? Glad you asked: in 2013, two-thirds of all federal spending went toward entitlements/welfare…none of which can be found anywhere in the Constitution as required/allowed duties of the federal government.
So, if the Senate Democrats want to have this argument about the efficacy, necessity, morality, or legality of government actions, I say let’s dive in with both feet. But this debate cannot be limited solely to a discussion of how best to go about defending the nation (which actually IS one of the few duties of government required by the enumerated powers); it must be expanded to include a proper and honest examination of the Constitution’s purposeful strict limits on government, and how those limits are routinely violated every day of our lives.
–Embrace The Debate