Yesterday the New York Times ran an editorial that perfectly sums up a kind of dementia, born of obsession and hatred, that has become common on the Left. Titled “Looking At America,” the editorial focuses on the Bush administration’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks over the last six years. Some would look at that record and see success: no significant attacks on American soil after September 11, most of al Qaeda’s leadership killed or captured, no more safe havens for terrorists, tens of millions of people liberated in Afghanistan and Iraq. But not the editors of the Times: they see only the negative, and react with “horror.” It’s worth taking a moment to dissect the editors’ highly selective version of events since 2001.
There are too many moments these days when we cannot recognize our country. Sunday was one of them, as we read the account in The Times of how men in some of the most trusted posts in the nation plotted to cover up the torture of prisoners by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators by destroying videotapes of their sickening behavior. It was impossible to see the founding principles of the greatest democracy in the contempt these men and their bosses showed for the Constitution, the rule of law and human decency.
One wonders whether the Times’ editorialists actually read the article to which they refer, which told quite a different story. CIA officials say that they destroyed the interrogation tapes in part to protect the persons involved, some of whom “traveled regularly in and out of areas where Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremists are active.” They also sought to prevent the officers involved from becoming “political scapegoats,” which was, as the Times’ own hysteria confirms, a valid concern.
The Times’ references to “the Constitution, the rule of law and human decency” are unclear, beyond the paper’s reflexive belief that whatever its opinions might be, the Constitution requires that they be followed. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits either the creation or the destruction of video tapes of interrogations of terrorists captured and held overseas, nor is there any evidence–the editors certainly offer none–that the tapes’ destruction violated any law.
The editorial continues with boilerplate along the lines of, “Out of panic and ideology, President Bush squandered America