Few people in public life have so brazenly displayed their piety as Michael Gerson. One of the backers of "compassionate conservatism" and a constant believer that every public policy decision has to be seen at some point through the prism of religious faith went on the Hewitt show yesterday to protest any idea that officials who committed or authorized torture be subject to the rule of law. Money quote:
HH: Did you ever talk about waterboarding with anyone in the White House?
MG: No, those were, in fact, those techniques and approaches that were revealed in the memo were known by a very small group of people, on a kind of need to know basis. I didn’t know about them.
I'd heard of them, hadn't you? Oh, how thick the walls are in the White House!
You can go back in this blog and see rumors of this policy well back in the first term of Bush. But Gerson? Totally in the dark. No idea. Shocked that anyone would investigate. And lying:
The fact of the matter is that this represents what was happening in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
The Bradbury memos dating from 2005, long after Bush had been re-elected, setting up torture as a permanent program in the US government? Gerson is in a particularly tough spot: a public Christian who worked for, lived among and supported torture, an act of unpardonable gravity from a Christian perspective.
If one were ever to find an example of how power corrupts, a Christian who backs torture is pretty damn close. Maybe we needed a born again Christian to bring stress positions into the American government. They have a very Christian origin.