How Denial Works

I'm heartened that Jonah Goldberg is not taking the Krauthammer line on how torture is not in any way something a democracy need feel ashamed of, and I agree that its legality and morality are in no way related to its efficacy or otherwise in procuring accurate information. But then we get this:

Admittedly, this has sometimes been confused by the atrocity that was Abu Ghraib, which had nothing to do with CIA interrogations.

On what grounds does Jonah say this? All the things we saw in graphic detail at Abu Ghraib, from the forced nudity, hooding, dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation, beatings, to the sexual abuse and the stress positions and murder, were all milder versions of what Bush and Cheney had already authorized. They fit perfectly into the softening up for the SERE techniques that Bush had agreed to. And all the reports show that these techniques were clearly imported from Gitmo on orders from above. If they were an "atrocity," then the real thing - so brutal, so vile and so inhuman that the CIA took it upon itself to destroy the evidence - must have been much worse. And yet the right wants to punish the grunts at Abu Ghraib and protect the men whose policy they were implementing. Reynolds wanted jail or execution for the Abu Ghraib torturers, but it's unconscionable that the people with real power who ordered all of it be investigated and prosecuted.