Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Washington Post Lets Bushie Defend Torture Because Why Not

So who is Marc A. Thiessen, anyway? George W. Bush's chief White House speechwriter! So, obviously, this guy has everything to gain by defending his boss' administration. He's also a contributor to National Review, so you get a pretty good idea of where this guy is coming from. He is hardly a disinterested party.

Thiessen has been quite the defender of torture lately, telling everybody who will listen (Fox News, National Review, Wall Street Journal) that torture is effective, has kept us safe, and that Obama has now ruined everything by releasing the torture memos. His assertations have been constantly and easily disproven. He likes to claim that we got useful info from Khalid Sheik Mohammed via "enhanced interrogation techniques," for instance, but this is false; the information was obtained from him before those techniques were applied. Now, with the release of the memos, he likes to say that we're doomed because the terrorists will be able to gird themselves against the techniques described therein. This is absurd, of course, because there are no torture methods described in the memos which haven't been known for some time. Waterboarding? Who ever heard of this before last weekend? Other than everybody?

Basically, Thiessen is a hack and an apologist for torture and Bush. And not a very good one.

So why, one wonders, did the Washington Post allow him to repeat all of his already disproven notions on their editorial page today? Was Richard Cohen feeling lonely? Do they feel that they need to maintain a torture-is-good/torture-is-bad balance?

I am completely baffled.

NOTE: It's 6AM right now, so I have no idea how or if others are going to react to this editorial. There was a huge kerfuffle recently over George Will's misinformation in the Post about global warming, and this, in my opinion, is much worse. I'll be disappointed if there isn't an absolute shitstorm over this. UPDATE: No shitstorm. I'm terrible at predicting these things.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan, in a nifty little bit of rhetorical gymnastics, demonstrates that in arguing for the efficacy of the "enhanced interrogation techniques," he's also admitting that they amount to torture. Neat!


dguzman said...

We really do have to wonder why any news outlet (which doesn't include Faux "News") would believe it's in anyone's best interests to let a war criminal/aider/abettor have a public platform. People always complain when a psycho serial killer writes a book or gets some airtime, yet many of those same sheeple are listening, all agog, to this desk murderer (to use Hannah Arendt's phrase).

It's baffling and disturbing.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I know Obama is all about the looking forward not backward thing, but when there are bodies piled up in the rearview mirror, maybe pausing to deal with them is a better idea.

Larry Yates said...

We need to stop talking about torture as a means of interrogation, even a failed one. Throughout history,this has never been its purpose.

Whether it's by the CIA in Iraq or Latin America, by freelance homophobes in Wyoming or the Klan, or by the Inquisition, the purpose of torture is intimidation of a despised and feared class of people. That's why the torturer always make sure that everyone knows he tortures. The individual who is tortured is just a model to be demonstrated on. The real targets are the people who are discouraged from taking action or from dissenting, who are kept in their place, because of fear of torture.

Madduane said...

Further expansion on KZ's point -- looking backward in this case is all about looking forward. If you can look at Bush's example and go "they'll never do anything about it, how can they after what the Bush Admin. got away with?" then there is no future for us with any kind of moral standing at all. The next extremist-in-extreme-circumstances is entitled to push the envelope that much further. when do they start disappearing dissidents? The next time there's a "national emergency" and some thug in power.

Anonymous said...

I was just screaming at my spouse last night about why in God's name anyone would think that off-the-charts-crazy Dick Cheney spouting off to right-wing nutbag Sean Hannity would carry any credibility with anyone. I guess I have to read the Post editorial and start screaming all over again. And not just at my spouse. Why do we give these people the time of day, let alone a platform from which to speak?

Thank GOD they're out of office. We need to keep them out, forever.

puravida said...

The door opens a little further:

"WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is leaving the door to open to possible prosecution of Bush administration officials who devised harsh terrorism-era interrogation tactics."