Professor Bainbridge reads a WSJ editorial about Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and rhetorically asks, “Why not just torture the SOB?“ States Bainbridge, “I’m more than a little appalled about how readily some on the right are to toss out the window centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence to win temporary advantage.”
We must remember, contra the WSJ editorial board, that terrorists aren’t the only dangerous things in this world. If the only danger that we ever faced came from terrorists, then it would make sense that our government should be able to capture, interrogate, torture, and kill suspected terrorists without any restraint whatsoever. After all, the government couldn’t be, itself, dangerous. They wouldn’t ever suspect someone of terrorism who wasn’t in fact a terrorist.
But that’s not how the world is. Government police power is dangerous, too. If we let our fear of terrorists blind us to the danger of a government that captures, interrogates, tortures, and kills suspected terrorists without restraint, then we will have more to fear from the government than from the terrorists.
One would think the WSJ editorial board would recognize this.