I have posted with some frequency over the last few years on the issue of torture by the previous administration. I am sorry I was not active when Obama signed the executive order correcting at least some of these abuses, though I did blog on it elsewhere. As the battle heats up, however, I must say it is becoming increasingly difficult to listen to the specious arguments put forward in attempt to justify doing nothing about it. Andrew had several important and helpful posts today. Let me draw attention to a some of them.
First, this one makes an important point about the potential uses of torture. As I have reported earlier, torture is notoriously unreliable if what you want is accurate information, but if what you want is to get folks to say particular things, then it is highly dependable. If you want to provide testimonial support for something you already take to be true, then you could torture folks until they confessed to whatever you needed to "prove" your beliefs. Andrew suggests this as Cheney's motivation.
Second, notice how these quotes from Peggy Noonan stand in such stark contrast. Is there any better definition of an idealogue than that an idealogue is one who can shape arguments for "your position of the day," even if your "position of the day" yesterday was quite the opposite. It does pain me deeply to see a Christian playing this game.
Finally, another profoundly distrubing contradiction. If you are a political official, one is being "shrill" if one insists that we actually hold persons accountable. If, however, you are a "common folk," the only way to be "serious" on crime is to insist on the harshest penalties. I'd love to hear your thoughts on these.