I will make this short, with a few well-chosen links to longer material not written by me, because I fear that if I tried to start talking about this one myself, it would end up being a very long – and probably too angry – post. But I’ve been reading the op-ed columns lately, looking for how our elite pundit class views the issue of torture in light of the recent disclosures that it was much worse – and more carefully decided-upon – than we ever suspected. And I have been gobsmacked at what appears to be near-unanimity among the nation’s supposedly elite pundits that punishing those who designed and implemented the Bush administration’s torture regime would be a mistake. Moreover, it’s their reasons why so many of them think this is true which really bother me.
Here’s what people like the Washington Post’s David Broder and the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman have been saying on the subject of whether we should prosecute the architects of torture (not the grunts in the field; nobody including me is suggesting that would be a good idea). If you would like a good summation of what’s wrong with these arguments, both this post and this one are pretty devastating.
But if you genuinely want to know, in a very visceral way, why torture is not only wrong, but absolutely cannot be allowed to occur without us as a nation collectively doing something about it, then read this (h/t to my old friend Dale Scott for this link).
And then come back and tell me that prosecuting a President for lying under oath about a private sexual matter was a moral imperative, but subverting decades of American policy, law and signed international agreements by designing and authorizing a torture regime is somehow not one.