by Patrick Appel
Spencer Ackerman fisks Cheney:
[There] is a straight line between the the CIA interrogation program at Abu Ghraib, moving like a game of telephone. At each stage, an important safeguard or restriction assumed at an earlier stage the techniques apply only to the CIA; the techniques are to be used only on Geneva-exempted enemy combatants; the techniques are to be applied only by interrogators breaks down. Not once do you have to assume that the Bush administration’s principals wanted abuse to happen to reach this conclusion. This is why the law exists, after all: to prevent unintended consequences by well-meaning individuals that veer off into horror. Redefining the law on torture leads to what a 2004 Pentagon investigation called the “migration” of so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques even if that investigation didn’t have any mandate for discovering that the origins of those techniques came from CIA programs approved at the highest levels of the Bush administration.