Photo: thumbscrew, Science and Society Picture Library.
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!