I happened to read the ProJo today, and it did not disappoint; as is usually the case, the editorial page had an item that made me quite angry. It's also very frustrating, because I don't know what to do about it. The authors apparently believe that the torture of an unknown number of Iraqis and Afghans, including dozens of deaths by torture, as well as the untold thousands killed during the fighting, constituted "tiptoeing" in the middle east.
They contrast our recent efforts with WWII, when we levelled cities. Of course, most civilized people now think that was probably not justified, and probably didn't do any good anyway. Speer, who was in a position to know, seems to have thought that the allied bombing campaigns mostly served to ensure that he had no trouble convincing Germans to work to defend the fatherland, since it made it so clear to all that they were under attack by especially ruthless enemies.
Unfortunately, the message that being brutal to people who may not yet be your enemies is not the way to deal with your actual enemies is very hard to sell. Though I consider the U.S. treatment of prisoners (and of Iraqis in general) to be a very serious moral issue, I suspect drawing attention to it will only make leftists like myself appear soft on terror. Is there any way to frame it that won't make this ultimately a vote-winner for the right? But perhaps it doesn't matter how this influences electoral results in the short term; probably it is necessary to emphasize that some of us are not OK with policies of responding to terror with terror, in order to ensure it doesn't come to be viewed as a universally acceptable practice.