The Corner

Krauthammer, Ctd.

It’s one thing to say that many of the techniques commonly described as “torture” are not torture, as Krauthammer argues. What I disliked about his column today was its additional idea that there are no limits at all on what could be done to someone given sufficiently dire (or dire-seeming) circumstances. Those who believe that such limits exist may deserve some respect, on his telling, for their quasi-pacifistic views, but should never be placed in any position of responsibility. The analogy to pacifism seems to me incorrect–you can believe that wars may be justly fought while believing that there are exceptionless moral norms that govern their just conduct–and the conclusion, that you don’t want believers in hard limits in power, mistaken. I agree with Jay that Dan Froomkin’s criticism of Krauthammer has its flaws, but I thought he was right to push back against these ideas.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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