On Fox News Sunday this past weekend conservative icon George Will said something that probably took most Fox viewers by surprise. The panel had begun discussion on the recent release of the Senate Democrats so-called “torture report” and how the release had sent shockwaves around the nation. Thus far most of the conservative response to the release of the report has been negative because the report seemed thoroughly partisan and vengeful in nature.
But the brilliant Will had a bit of a different take that made the rest of the panel take note.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: We asked you for questions for the panel and we got this on Facebook from Gregory Fournier who writes, “What is the significant accomplishment in releasing a report on a program that ended a long time ago? It’s like taking a scab off a cut to make it bleed some more.” George, how do you answer Gregory and is the release of this report good or bad for the country?
GEORGE WILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: On balance, I think good. Remember the movie “A Few Good Men” Colonel Nathan Jessup played by Jack Nicholson is being tormented by a Navy interrogator played by Tom Cruise over Code Red, a training technique, morally dubious and a kind of cousin to torture at some point, and Jessup explained, you have no idea what it takes to defend a nation. Now, that’s true, most of us don’t. And there has to be some secrecy involved, but the default position of a free society is more information is better. We’re having a very interesting argument today and it serves the country. The argument at one level is about whether these techniques work. We ought to know that because we are not – this is the last – not the last time we will be wounded as a nation.
But there’s another aspect of this, if the security services of a republic begin to lie to the executive branch of which it’s a part and the congressional branch, which provides its oversight, then you have not just a problem. You have a crisis of the regime, and we want to know if that happened. And I think these interviews this morning advance that. Because it’s to say no more, it’s certainly not clear that the senators are right that they were completely kept in the dark.
I hadn’t thought of this entire debate in these terms until Will’s comments on Sunday. But I think, in general, that he’s right. While the Democrat plan may have been to make the CIA and President Bush look bad… it has also had the affect of opening up more information for the rest of America to see. We should know what techniques our intelligence agencies use in the fight against terrorism. They are fighting in our name and if those methods are immoral – then we should make sure they are stopped.
I still think that Dianne Feinstein had ulterior motives in releasing this report now. I believe that she had a score to settle in the CIA and this was her play. However, that doesn’t mean that great good can’t come from this poorly considered attack. Let’s just make sure that it does…