The idea that Americans have been safer since we invaded Iraq with "No American deaths since Sept 11" entirely forgets that over 4,000 Americans have died as a direct result of the Iraq invasion not to mention the over 200,000 Iraqis who have died. Since Iraq was as opposed to Al-Qaeda as we were (Saddam Hussein fearing ANY force that could destabilize his regime particularly one that was blatantly against secularist Arab leaders) there would have no American deaths there had we not invaded. When you consider that the Iraq invasion gave the enemies of America more fodder to fuel their recruitment of anti American activists the full long term affects are yet to be discovered and they could be entirely bad. One look at Pakistan gives an indication of what negative splash affects can happen.
Meanwhile the right wing mantra espoused by such personalities as Hannity, O'Reilly, Beck and others that repeats the notion that our Iraq invasion prevented attacks on US soil BECAUSE there have been none conveniently forgets that if you look at a graph of a ten year period with September 11 in the middle it is obvious that September 11 sticks out like a serious blip, an anomaly so that what proceeds September 11 is basically the same as after. Conclusion, it was a one off. Now we hear Hannity supporting torture saying that the knowledge gained from torturing captives prevented an attack on Los Angeles and other domestic attacks which means invading Iraq DID NOT stop terrorist attacks in the US or at least their attempt. Which is it Sean? You can't have it both ways.
The current debate about torture seems to have left out a basic truth about the advantages and disadvantages of a tough or brutal policy with prisoners. If a fighter knows that if captured he will be treated with some humanity he is far more likely to surrender than if he knows he is in for harsh interrogation (which his leaders will encourage to mean his death). It is to the US advantage to avoid combatants fighting to the death because they are afraid of what will happen to them if captured. Fewer American soldiers will die if the opposition knows they will be treated properly once they surrender. More American soldiers will die the harsher our policies towards prisoners are. That is a basic law of the battle field. It has been so for 1,000s of years.
The debate also forgets that once you sanction torture of the really bad guys this can soon degenerate into broader and broader interpretation and application so misuse is inevitable. There is simply no way to accurately define for EVERY CASE the proper application, it ends up at lower staff levels where lack of training, and bad attitudes all to often lurk. Who is to determine who is a bad guy and who is not? Innocents will suffer along with the real bad guys. That is the principle behind our American legal standard "innocent until proven guilty". We would rather see one bad guy go free than see one innocent go to the gas chamber. It is a policy that understands that humans make mistakes so better err on the side of caution. It is a basic conservative & liberal American moral value. It is the foundation of our legal system.
Finally the debate forgets that the information we are fed daily is now so tainted that it is hard to believe anything. Sean Hannity WANTS to believe that torture worked so only talks about reports that indicate that view. Same on the other side. He sites the head of the CIA saying torture worked but forgets that that same head also said it was a slam dunk that there were WMD in Iraq. Why should we believe ANYTHING these people say? We know Chaney lied over and over as did many others who told Bush what he wanted and asked them to say. There is simply no credibility any more in the right wing clique and they are sounding more and more desperate to the point they now discredit conservatism generally, They are so doctrinaire now that they essentially refuse to consider other possibilities. This can be summed up in Rush Limbaugh saying he "wants the President to fail". They would rather see the country suffer than be proved wrong.
Hannity never served in the military, he has never been water boarded, he is not educated about the peoples or mentalities of other cultures, he obviously has not read any military teachings, not much history either. If anyone knows why ANYONE should consider Hannity as someone we should listen to, why we should think he knows what he is talking about, that he has some sort of wisdom that we should pay attention to I sure would like to know. Same goes for Rush Limbaugh.