Daniel Henninger shares the good news in the Wall Street Journal today: The war on terror is over!
Unfortunately, he appears to bemoan that development. The excesses of the “war on terror” will—regrettably, to him—be reined in by lawyers.
His basic thesis is, very roughly: Lawyers interfere with good things. Lawyers are going to interfere with torture. So torture is a good thing.
This litigation nightmare, together with the chilling effect of the special prosecutor’s potential indictments, has as its goal making the price of aggressive interrogation too high under any circumstance, including a one‐hour‐bomb scenario.
Bring back the Dalkon Shield, asbestos, and torture!
Except that the ticking time-bomb/“one-hour bomb” scenario is never going to happen. It’s an interesting ethical thought experiment—and riveting fodder for TV—but not a serious dilemma for our security policy.
I take delight when commentators misuse history or culture to jazz up their writing, and Henninger throws a slow, fat pitch right over the plate: He quotes the famous anti‐laywer line from Shakespeare, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
The line was spoken by a criminal to other criminals as they dreamed up a criminals’ “chicken in every pot” scenario. This undercuts the idea that we’d be better off without lawyers and the rule of law.
Terrorists are too weak to advance their own unpopular ideologies, so they seek to tear down their opponents’. Henninger’s attack on the rule of law in the United States invites exactly what terrorists want us to do.