Conor Friedersdorf And Andy McCarthy Have A Conversation

Prior to Obama changing his position on the torture photos,  Andy McCarthy had this article up at National Review:

American soldiers, American civilians, and other innocent people are going to die because Pres. Barack Obama wants to release photographs of prisoner abuse. Note: I said, “wants to release”not “has to release,” or “is being forced to release,” or “will comply with court orders by releasing.” The photos, quite likely thousands of them, will be released because the president wants them released. Any other description of the situation is a dodge.

Conor Fridersdorf replied to the post at The American Scene:

This sounds an awful lot like the arguments advanced by some torture opponents, who assert that evidence of brutality is always going to get out, and that the backlash undermines our safety more meaningfully than any information gained enhances it.

Later, linking to McCarthy posts here, here and here, Conor writes:

How can men who make these claims about Barack Obama simultaneously insist that a country governed by him is well served by an executive branch given expansive powers during war time? How can they insist that he’ll end freedom in America, and defend the idea of warrantless wiretapping? Is it credible to argue that he is a radical opportunist who seeks the prosecution of political opponents, and that he should have the power to order waterboarding, “walling,” and other brutal interrogation tactics? It’s as if one moment they’re comparing him to Joseph Stalin, and the next they’re demanding that he wield all the power they helped afford him by arguing for its righteousness during the Bush era.

McCarthy answers:

Mr. Friedersdorf asks: “How can men [like moi] who make these claims about Barack Obama simultaneously insist that a country governed by him is well served by an executive branch given expansive powers during war time?” The answer is straightforward — though not necessarily simple. The president is given expansive war powers during war time. Not expansive power in general — not a warrant to remake the government or our society.

More when it happens

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Filed under Executive Branch, Torture

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