Frist told reporters Thursday that while he believed illegal activity should not take place at detention centers, he believes the leak itself poses a greater threat to national security and is "not concerned about what goes on" behind the prison walls.
Well I am a bit concerned. Because I think that abandoning core American values is not something we should turn away from. As Sullivan puts it elsewhere:
We can win this war without destroying the very civilization we are fighting for. We can win without losing our soul. Any other kind of victory is a euphemism for defeat.
That's why I care. Because we aren't winning the war on terror, a war against global extremism, if we ourselves are terrorizing, if we become the extremists. Torture is an extreme position. It should and must be beyond the pale.
I think that Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone nails it:
Perhaps it's just me... but do you get the sense that the United States is in the process of destroying all the good will and moral leadership its has earned in the international community over the past sixty-five years? At the outset of the war crimes trials at Nuremberg, Justice Robert Jackson, the chief U.S. prosecutor, made an eloquent and remarkable statement: "That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hands of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason." Think how far we have shrunk from that aspiration. With secret detention camps, blatant violations of international human rights, administration demands for the authority to use torture, efforts to deny detainees even the most elementary rights of due process and fair proceedings, our government has sunk to a level of immorality we never even contemplated in the Civil War, World War I, or World War II. Don't we, as lawyers, have a professional and ethical obligation to say something? Don't we have a responsibility to demand that our government respect our most fundamental values of procedural fairness, rule of law, and human decency. Is it acceptable for us to live silently through a period in which our government disregards Reason in order to pay tribute to Power? Perhaps it's just me....
We should be clear--even Republicans are starting to come around on this issue. Opposing torture is not something partisan. It is not a political question, but an American value that must be upheld at all costs.