It is a truism to claim that profundities often lurk in good humor. Wanda Sykes performance last night at the White House Correspondents dinner was a prime example of the truth wrapped in a joke.
Midway through her routine. Ms Sykes started railing against the very idea that anyone could defend the use of torture. "Torture" she bellowed a few times shaking her head and laughing ironically. After a pause, she turned her shotgun wit on the quail hunter- Dick Cheney.
Cheney, rehearsed Sykes, wants the reports open that show that we were able to drown useful information out of terrorists by waterboarding them! That, quipped Sykes with a beaming smile and her arms outstretched, would be like getting caught robbing a bank and going before the judge saying "Yeah I robbed the bank but look at all the bills I paid!" Bulls eye Wanda!
On an individual level crisis is no excuse for suspending adherence to the law. People who lose their jobs are not given a pass for acts of thefts because they are looking after the interests of their family.
Suppose the economy got so bad that health clinics were closing in my community. I could not pull a heist at the local gambling casino, use the funds for the clinic, and expect the courts to wink at my burglary because it promoted the general welfare.
We cannot, as individual or nations, unilaterally decide that some special circumstance makes breaking the law acceptable. If anything, the law is there as a guidewire in difficult times. It is easy enough for people to treat one another well when they are passengers on a cruise. When times get tough, people of character do not send their laws up the chimney.
The argument that we should accept the use of torture because it enhances our security, suggests that rather than being the home of the brave, the United States is home to a people who will break international law and cash in their sacred principles whenever they feel seriously threatened. Cheney's utilitarian defense of torture is an insult to the people he once represented.