Adam Serwer smacks around the WaPo columnist and torture apologist:
Last week, I wrote that many of those writing in support of the military commissions in the aftermath of the Ahmed Ghailani verdict, like Marc Thiessen, were actually just writing in support of torture. Then Thiessen obliged me by proving my point, spending a few sentences defending the military commissions and a few hundred words defending the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation program."
This is because a defense of the military commissions is very hard to make. In their entire history, only five convictions have been secured through military commissions, most through plea agreement, while civilian courts convicted hundreds throughout the same period. They've yielded light sentences, except in one case where the accused simply boycotted the trial. Even with the rules tilted towards the government, they have proven to be ineffective. They're expensive and more vulnerable to overturn on appeal than convictions in civilian court. Conservatives support them not because of their efficacy, but because they sound tough. Thiessen of course, is a perfect example of this. The Obama administration's hybrid approach to trying terrorists is, sadly, almost indistinguishable from that of Obama's predecessor and Thiessen's former boss...
In all honesty, the fact that we are even arguing whether or not evidence gleaned from the use of torture techniques originally meant to elicit false confessions should be admissible in court seems utterly surreal. Thiessen's ongoing, peculiar fascination with torture has led him to believe having a court system that would allow such statements would be a virtue rather than an utter disgrace to everything the United States is meant to stand for.
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