I think I've said before here that national security is such an important issue that it will be the deciding factor for me in the presidential election. It won't be my sole concern, but I'll overlook a lot of positions I disagree with if the candidate gets that one right. Hillary Clinton, as much as I can tell so far, is the only Democrat I would trust with America's interests on the world stage. This, then, is not comforting:
HANOVER, N.H. - Sen. Hillary Clinton scored with a Democratic audience last night by contradicting her husband's belief that a terrorist could be tortured to foil an imminent plot - but what observers didn't know is she was contradicting herself, too.
"It cannot be American policy, period," Clinton (D-N.Y.) told debate moderator Tim Russert, who asked if there should be a presidential exemption to allow the torture of a terror chieftain if authorities knew a bomb was about to go off, but didn't know where it was.
When Russert revealed ex-President Bill Clinton advocated such a policy on a recent NBC "Meet the Press" appearance, Hillary Clinton won huge applause from the Dartmouth College audience with a deadpan comeback:
"Well, I'll talk to him later."
She may have to give herself that talk, too.
Last October, Clinton told the Daily News: "If we're going to bepreparing for the kind of improbable but possible eventuality, then it has to be done within the rule of law."
She said then the "ticking time bomb" scenario represents a narrow exception to her opposition to torture as morally wrong, ineffective and dangerous to American soldiers.
It's not the torture issue that's important -- we can have an honest disagreement over that. I think the "ticking bomb" scenario is a valid exception to the no-torture rule, but I don't think we would always get the results we want, whatever the advocates for torture say. What matters is that Clinton is so comfortable saying different things to different people, depending on what she thinks they want to hear, that we can't really be sure what she would do if she had to make a tough call in a dangerous situation. Yes, all candidates do that kind of dissembling, and we can tolerate it on a lot of issues, but not this one.