I thought I’d end today with a quote from my dear, late friend, Christopher Hitchens, a dedicated opponent of Jihadist nihilism but also a civilized man who knew torture when he saw it. On the CIA:
Now we have further confirmation of the astonishing culture of lawlessness and insubordination that continues to prevail at the highest levels in Langley. At a time when Congress and the courts are conducting important hearings on the critical question of extreme interrogation, and at a time when accusations of outright torture are helping to besmirch and discredit the United States all around the world, a senior official of the CIA takes the unilateral decision to destroy the crucial evidence. This deserves to be described as what it is: mutiny and treason.
Despite a string of exposures going back all the way to the Church Commission, the CIA cannot rid itself of the impression that it has the right to subvert the democratic process both abroad and at home. Its criminality and arrogance could perhaps have been partially excused if it had ever got anything right, but, from predicting the indefinite survival of the Soviet Union to denying that Saddam Hussein was going to invade Kuwait, our spymasters have a Clouseau-like record, one that they have earned yet again with their exculpation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was after the grotesque estimate of continued Soviet health and prosperity that the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan argued that the CIA should be abolished. It is high time for his proposal to be revived. The system is worse than useless—it’s a positive menace. We need to shut the whole thing down and start again.
And that isn’t triply true today?
Some posts on torture worth revisiting today: my comparison of what Charles Krauthammer was proposing in 2005 with what the GOP is defending today; your take on the revelations; the use of anal rape as an American torture technique; Obama’s complicity in protecting the CIA; what George Will and Bill Buckley and the Weekly Standard once thought about the abuse of prisoners; and the casuistry of John Yoo.
Your well-deserved Mental Health Break is here.
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Many of this week’s posts were updated with your emails – read them all here. You can always leave your unfiltered comments at our Facebook page and @sullydish. 39 more readers became subscribers today. One writes:
After much delay, I have finally subscribed. In part, this is due to a bit more income, but it’s more directly due to the release of the torture report.
You frequently drive me crazy, Andrew, but as I find myself too often guilty of succumbing to the easy, self-filtered comfort of epistemic closure, I appreciate that you and your team cultivate this forum that challenges my preconceptions. And since I am currently writing a kids’ fantasy series that is in part about the dangers of not questioning one’s assumptions and succumbing to nationalistic fervor, I figure I would be irresponsible to not put my money where my mouth is.
Thank you for your unwavering clarity on this horrific issue of torture, and for being a model of what it means to strive for intellectual honesty and open discussion. If you aren’t occasionally driving your readers crazy and making us uncomfortable, you aren’t doing it right.
See you in the morning.