Thursday, September 1, 2011

There Is No Bridging The Gap

There is one subject a good friend of mine from the UK and I avoid talking about: the Iraq War. We tried bridging our differences to no avail. Forever, I will view getting rid of Saddam Hussein as an asset to the world and a victory for human rights. Meanwhile, he will continue to lose sleep (like most Europeans) over what he deems to be an illegal war.

I don't want readers to get the wrong idea. My friend is no fan of Saddam. He will readily admit that Saddam was a brutal dictator with the blood of innocents on his hands. He is glad that Saddam is gone. He just opposes his removal. To me, the position of "I am glad he is gone but we should not have removed him" is completely incoherent. To him, it is a perfectly defensible position. There is no bridging the gap.

With each memoir by members of the Bush administration hitting the bookstores,  new discussions about enhanced interrogation methods or torture - depending on your point of view - spring up in the press. It happened when Bush released his book "Decision Points" and it is happening again now that Dick Cheney's book is out. The progressives continue to insist that it was "torture" and it did not make us safer. And the Bush officials continue to insist that no laws were violated and they have no regrets.

Poll after poll has shown that most Americans approve making terrorists uncomfortable in exchange of preventing another attack. Americans have also resisted any attempt to try terrorists in federal courts. Pointing to the Constitution hasn't helped. There is no evidence to suggest that the founding fathers intended to provide constitutional protection to foreign nationals dedicated to killing as many Americans as possible. 

Maybe the time has come for people on opposite ends of this debate to adopt the same approach as me and my UK friend. Let's just avoid the subject. There is no bridging the gap. We have heard all arguments before and we are not going to change each other's mind.