Jonah Goldberg wonders whether the fallout from the torture memos “merely proves such methods should be kept secret, not that they shouldn’t be used.”
This presumes that it is possible for a modern democracy to keep extremely controversial policies secret for many years, across multiple administrations. Not likely! In fact, even the unusually secretive Bush Administration failed to keep most of its interrogation practices secret — damaging information outed prior to the end of its tenure. So for the sake of argument, say the policies they pursued were advantageous only if never revealed, and disadvantageous otherwise. It remains the fact that pursuing them was wrongheaded, because a halfway competent strategist would have anticipated that of course they couldn’t be kept secret indefinitely.