Is Bush as Threatening As Al Qaeda?:
Perhaps I am misreading this post at Crooked Timber, but, if I'm not, it equates 1) terrorist plots to murder innocent people with 2) efforts to save the lives of those innocent people by seizing and interrogating suspected terrorists. The post isn't clear on the standard it is using to measure harm, but it appears make the claim that the two are "equally awful" and that equivalence may make the U.S. "a threat comparable to that of Al Qaeda."

  Hard to know where to begin if that's the claim. Am I misreading the post? I have enabled comments.

  UPDATE: I plan to blog more on this later today, but have two classes to teach shortly and may not get to it for a bit. In the meantime, check out this response at Moonage Political Webdream.

  ANOTHER UPDATE: A number of commenters have interpreted my post as saying that I think the so-called "extraordinary renditions" policy is A-OK. I have re-read my post a few times, and I can't figure out why some are reading it that way. My point was obviously relative, not absolute: I think it is quite odd to equate the intentional killing of innocent civilians with targeting terrorist suspects for interrogation in order to stop the intentional killing of innocent civilians.

  This doesn't mean that I approve of a particular set of efforts to stop the intentional killing of innocent civilians. I find the extraordinary renditions policy difficult to assess: it's easy to be an outsider to the policymaking process and denounce the U.S. government for being uncivilized, but I wonder how the choices must look to those with the incredibly burdensome task of deciding on whether to have or how to execute this policy. The risks of abuse are very real, and terribly worrisome. Absolutely. At the same time, so are the risks of taking no action at all. I'm not sure what the right answer is, and I'm certainly open to argument on this point. It seems to me, though, that too many people are taking the easy out of simply ignoring one half of the equation and jumping to condemn those who don't as "uncivilized" or the moral equivalent of terrorists. That seems plainly myopic to me.