- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In his latest column (” ‘The enemy … is us,’ ” Opinion, Tuesday), Frank J. Gaffney Jr. rhetorically twists reality to prove his “PogObama worldview” theory.

The Obama administration’s “releasing the so-called ‘torture memos’” is entirely consistent with the American values of open government and inalienable human rights. The purpose of torture is to terrorize the suspect into talking. Allowing torture is as un-American as the Salem witch trials. Reassuring the world that our nation will no longer sit back and permit torture tells our enemies as well as our friends that terror is inhumane, uncivilized and unacceptable for any reason.

Mr. Gaffney still holds to the pre-Sept. 11 mind-set that protecting our national sovereignty is the same as protecting our national security. This is simply false. It is impossible to defend Americans against terrorism, climate change, economic decline, pandemics, weapons of mass destruction or cyber criminals unless we have cooperative allies in faraway places.

We are not “cutting America’s power-projection capabilities” by canceling the F-22 and the Army’s Future Combat Systems program. Even the best military minds acknowledge that substantial nonmilitary investments - in diplomacy, development and international cooperation - are key to winning future wars. Osama bin Laden himself would be thrilled if we continued to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons systems that are irrelevant to defeating unconventional forces now threatening our security, prosperity and freedom.

Lastly, Mr. Obama is not “trying to appease America’s adversaries,” as Mr. Gaffney claims. However, the president does prefer “jaw, jaw” to “war, war.” Mr. Gaffney seems to believe that we can use our exceptional military power to terrorize other nations into doing whatever we want. He fails to realize that our real adversaries are not entire nations but rather adversarial leaders, who can be replaced by their own people. If and when those people see America standing as much for their welfare as for the welfare of the American people, they will replace the violent regimes that oppress them.

Either we stand for liberty and justice for all, or we return to the might-makes-right world where “national sovereignty” reigns supreme over human rights.

JOHN BORDEN

Germantown, Md.

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