Ramesh "Party of Death" Ponnuru says he opposes torture. He did and said virtually nothing for the four years it has been American policy, except cover his ass with a couple of statements, designed not to offend those whose patronage he seeks. His record of near-silence speaks for itself, and no amount of flim-flammery can now erase it. As for whether it is "hysterical" to relate the Bush administration's policy to allow torture and abuse of military prisoners to Abu Ghraib and the dozens of other sites in Iraq and Afghanistan where torture has occurred, Ponnuru must believe that the government reports that do indeed cite a "migration" of the Gitmo torture tactics to Abu Ghraib were also "hysterical". He must also believe that the U.S. Supreme Court is "hysterical", because they too last week ruled that the Bush administration's evasion of U.S. law and international treaties was indeed an illicit power-grab, unconstitutional and illegal, and that the endorsement of torture was thereby technically a war crime.
So on my side: the government reports and the Supreme Court. On Ponnuru's side, the usual Republican power-brokers. Also notice Ponnuru's "argument" about what conservatism is. For him, it suffices to say that other "serious" conservatives he knows do not count yours truly as a conservative. Is conservatism now a social clique? Or is it a philosophy worth debating and arguing over, as I try to do in my next book? For Ponnuru, conservatism is a club. For me, it's a set of debatable ideas. If Ponnuru wants to say I am not a serious conservative, then let him make the case. The rest is schoolgirl cliquishness.