President Obama is embarrassed at having to call out his own employees. Eric Holder is embarrassed at having to embarrass his boss. The CIA is embarrassed that a few of its agents and contractors mindlessly followed Dick Cheney over to the dark side. And most Americans are embarrassed to read that in the darkest days after 9/11, the government threatened prisoners with power drills and the rape of their families in order to elicit bad information. It's all shameful. But somehow, America is going to have to make its peace with its flirtation with prisoner abuse. That may mean doing what we're doing: airing our dirty laundry one sweat sock at a time or appointing a commission or special prosecutor to do the job right. Or perhaps it just means joining Dick Cheney in his conviction that the laws against torture are now obsolete. Pretending we are investigating and curtailing a torture program isn't all that different from pretending we didn't torture in the first place.

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