I don't think the CIA interrogation memos should have been released by the Administration, but former Vice President Dick Cheney is right when he says that they only tell part of the story.

"One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort," Cheney said.

Cheney said he's asked that the documents be declassified because he has remained silent on the confidential information, but he knows how successful the interrogation process was and wants the rest of the country to understand.

"I haven't talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country," Cheney said. "I've now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was."

Obama is in perpetual campaign mode and doesn't seem to know what it means to actually be President. When you're a candidate you can play up information that supports you and leave it to your detractors mention anything contrary. You're not (realistically) expected to be a responsible, neutral dispenser of information because you're speaking for yourself and you're trying to win political office. However, once you've won, when you're actually President, you don't just speak for yourself anymore. You can't wield the levers of government power to manipulate information in your favor.

Most Americans understand that there's a trade-off between liberty and safety. It's a clever turn of phrase that "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." but as with most absolutes it cannot be quite right. There are trade-offs in everything, and though it is noble for one man to die for a cause it is absurd for an entire civilization to do the same. People desire both liberty and safety, but when they are obtained they are both temporary and must be constantly defended. Despite Franklin's implication, however, you can never escape the slippery slope between them.

This is the discussion that Candidate Obama doesn't want to have, but President Obama is responsible for leading. Candidate Obama doesn't want to tell people "this much 'torture' bought you this much safety" because he's afraid that the verdict of the American people at large will be different from the verdict of the groups that put him in power. To avoid the discussion, he "leaked" memos that help his cause as if he were a whistleblower rather than The Man. As President he has a responsibility to all Americans and not only his supporters. When he begins to realize that he will perhaps begin to grow into the Office he already occupies.

(Cross-posted at 24th State.)

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