This newspaper is a wholehearted supporter of the United States and its commitment to individual freedom. At the same time we acknowledge that any government’s first responsibility is to protect its own citizens. It made sense to adjust the balance between liberty and security after September 11th. But America’s values ought not to have become casualties of Mr Bush’s war on terror.
The indefinite incarceration of prisoners in GuantÃ¡namo Bay without trial was a denial of due process. It was legal casuistry to redefine the torture of prisoners with waterboarding and stress positions as “enhanced interrogation”. The degradation of Iraqi criminals in Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, extraordinary rendition and the rest of it were the result of a culture, led by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, that was both unAmerican and a recruiting sergeant for its enemies. Mr Obama has stopped the torture, but GuantÃ¡namo remains open and the old system of retribution has often been reinforced.
Neither Mr Snowden nor Mr Manning is a perfect ambassador for a more liberal approach.