Engaging The Lie Cont.

Commenting on yesterday's thread, a reader writes:


I understand and agree with your unease about engaging with (and thereby implicitly legitimizing) Thiessen's hack-work (especially when it's done by someone of Jane Mayer's stature). I think however that the key to the review is in the final paragraph:

 Thiessen's effort to rewrite the history of the C.I.A.'s interrogation program comes not long after a Presidential race in which both the Republican and the Democratic nominees agreed that state-sponsored cruelty had damaged and dishonored America. The publication of "Courting Disaster" suggests that Obama's avowed determination "to look forward, not back" has laid the recent past open to partisan reinterpretation. By holding no one accountable for past abuse, and by convening no commission on what did and didn't protect the country, President Obama has left the telling of this dark chapter in American history to those who most want to whitewash it

The review, I think, is using Thiessen's book as an opportunity to criticize those who simply want to brush under the rug our experience with torture. What Thiessen says is obviously bullshit, but the very nearly "let's agree to disagree" approach that the Administration has taken is it's own kind of bullshit and permits people like Thiessen to thrive.

I want to thank all of you who commented on this yesterday. I am somewhat swayed. I'm still not completely convinced that the takedown will do anything to Theissen's credibility, in the eyes of the MSM. But I understand the arguments, and I hope that they're borne out as true.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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