Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Torture recap

Last week Slate published a useful, albeit depressing, article by Dahlia Lithwick, reviewing "The baby steps that have taken the United Sates from decrying torture to celebrating it." Prompted by the publication of former president George W. Bush's partially plagiarized "memoirs", in which Bush happily admits to approving water-boarding, among other forms of "enhanced interrogation, Lithwick's "Interrogation Nation" offers a comprehensively linked account of changing American reactions to the knowledge that the government has engaged in torture.

Prior to 9/11, of course, the United States strongly opposed torture, supporting the prosecution of Americans and foreigners alike who committed or ordered torture. Since 2004, the world has known that the U.S. government authorized torture, and U.S. soldiers engaged in it, but the Bush government was sufficiently ashamed to attempt to redefine torture out of existence, and then to deny that the U.S. engaged in torture. And now, it is not only common knowledge, but Bush feels (apparently correctly) that he can boast about it in print and on television. Impunity wins the day, sadly.

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