Why Debate The T-Word?

Steve Chapman asks the torture supporters a question:

...if effectiveness is the only gauge, why even debate whether these techniques fit the definition of torture? The problem with using "it worked" as an argument is that it justifies too much. By that rationale, we can justify subjecting enemy captives to every form of torture ever devised. We can even justify torturing and killing their spouses, siblings, parents, and children, right in front of them.

Cheney and others have yet to advocate going that far. But if they really believe what they say about the techniques we've used, here's a question they need to answer: Why not?

Trying to find a consistently principled position among these people is hard. Why? Because their arguments, like those of Yoo, Bradbury and Bybee, are entirely designed to legitimize decisions already made.

As time goes by and we learn more and more, the clearer it is that the decisions to deploy torture and invade Iraq were effectively made by one man very shortly after 9/11. Everything else was cover for this act of will. Reality and morality be damned: this was about creating reality and enforcing Cheney's will - against all legal and moral precedent, against the facts on the ground, against the professional opinion of government institutions and experts, against the allies, against the Congress, against the State Department, and against anyone who dissented, from CIA officers to low-ranking grunts.

It was despotism cloaked by a faux constitutionalism and legalism.

It was an attack on this country's constitution. And that matters.