Partial Birth Waterboarding

Liberals wouldn't lift a finger to stop the torturing to death of an unborn child. But put a terrorist [or a baby seal, for that matter] in the block and watch them spring into sensitive-soul mode.

Rosa Brooks epitomizes the mindset in her current LA Times column, "Torture: the new abortion." Her notion is that among Republicans, the new litmus test for presidential candidates is not opposition to abortion but support for U.S. officials who order the "torture of prisoners."

Brooks finesses the fact that we're not talking about garden-variety "prisoners" here, but a select handful of terrorists.

She points to Rudy Giuliani's popularity as evidence that "the GOP's interest in abortion appears greatly diminished." But Brooks ignores the fact that by far the most important role a president can play on the issue of abortion is the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. Giuliani has made formally explicit his intention to "only nominate judges who respect the U.S. Constitution and do not legislate from the bench. The Mayor, who served in President Ronald Reagan's Justice Department, pledges to use U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and current Supreme Court Associate Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito as model appointments."

Brooks concludes with a prim call for us "to be the nation imagined by the signers of the Declaration of Independence, a nation with 'a decent respect to the opinions of mankind,' committed to a vision of human dignity and unalienable rights, limited government and the rule of law."

But she cites the Declaration only for purposes of opposing torture, blithely ignoring the implications for abortion in that same Declaration's acknowledgement of an unalienable right to life.

Let's review the liberal moral compass:

  • Waterboarding a terrorist: an affront to our fundamental values.
  • Subjecting an unborn child to partial-birth abortion: we celebrate a woman's right to choose!

To put things in perspective, and at the risk of being reductive, let me offer this challenge to Rosa Brooks. I'll call water boarding "torture" if she'll say the same about partial birth abortion.

Note: Patterico poses an interesting question to liberals about waterboarding.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.