Over at Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan poses another silly question: Why Not Torture The Crack Dealer?
He links to a post from Matthew Yglesias who cites the polls showing 58 percent of Americans supporting waterboarding Abdulmutallab and asks:
I would be interested to know how far the public — or how torture-loving conservative elites — would be willing to go on this. In a lot of ways terrorism cases strike me as unusually unpromising venues for torture. Something more banal like trying to get a low-level drug dealer to spill the beans on his supplier could really work.
Yoo and Thiessen already endorsed the brutal, barbaric torture of an American citizen, Jose Padilla. So what’s stopping them with other American citizens breaking the law?
Of course, we have not endorsed the brutal, barbaric torture of any American citizens. But as to this question — why not use enhanced interrogation techniques on crack dealers if we are willing to use them on terrorists? — the answer is simple: The same reason we don’t send Special Operations Forces to bust in into crack dens or target crack dealers with Predator drones. Selling crack is a crime, trying to blow up an airplane is an act of war.
Crime vs. war. It’s a distinction that Andrew (and President Obama) seem to have trouble grasping.