"Make no mistake, there's a jury that's out. In half the world, the verdict is not yet in. The commitment to accept the Western idea of democracy has not yet been made, and they are waiting for you to make the case ... Our best security, our only security, is in the world of ideas, and I sense a slight foreboding... Americans must understand that if the rules of law have meaning, such as hope and inspiration for the rest of the world, it must be coupled with the opportunity to improve human existence." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in my view the most truly conservative of the current Justices.
Kennedy's point reaffirms the danger of the temptation to suspend the rule of law, to grant the executive extra-legal powers, to condone torture and ignore treaties and laws, in order to fight terrorism. By abandoning these constitutional and moral standards without a fight, for whatever motives, we muddy the bright future line between civilization and barbarism. We must keep that line clear if we are to win this long war — which is why the sooner this presidency is over, the better.