"Defending torture insistently means one’s moral compass is pointing straight down to hell." — Bacaccio
These words from Digby sent chills straight down my spine, because she’s right:
The argument against torture is slipping away from us. In fact, I’m getting the sinking feeling that it’s over. What was once taboo is now publicly acknowledged as completely acceptable by many people. Indeed, disapproval of torture is now being characterized as a strictly partisan issue, like welfare reform or taxes.
If you oppose torture and share that despair, watch Kagro X (David Waldman of CongressMatters) on CNN.com and he’ll be your hero, too.
The successful hijacking of the torture debate by its proponents obscures the underlying facts, as Kagro makes abundantly clear:
- Private contractors were conducting torture
- It was torture for political gain
- Pollsters should be asking if Americans support using torture to extract false confessions for political purposes, because that’s what happened
There were no "ticking time bombs" — as former State Department official Lawrence Wilkerson and McClatchey have confirmed, torture was conducted to extract false evidence linking Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. It was ordered by Dick Cheney and George Bush just as it was during the Spanish Inquisition, to force political compliance.
The Washington Examiner’s Chris Stirewalt objects when Kagro invokes the obvious parallel, shamelessly hiding behind the military when he says "On behalf of American soldiers, on behalf of American soldiers, that’s not cool." In classic Yellow Elephant fashion, Stirewalt apparently never served in the military.
Kagro also counters the argument from a Center for American Progress staffer who said "The American people are not interested in this discussion, [they] are interested in looking forward — no one is concerned any more with what the Bush administration did." As Kagro says, to the extent that there has been polling on the subject, it’s been conducted within the false "ticking time bomb" frame. Despite this, 75% of the country want torture investigations.
Kagro’s absolute moral clarity on the subject is unique in a media landscape largely devoted to normalizing torture as an American value.
I started a Facebook group called I Oppose Torture, and Kagro X Is My Hero. It’s for people who don’t see much "reality based" discussion of the subject of torture on cable news, and want to see David Waldman on TV every day.
People started joining before I was even done creating the page. I guess that says something.
Update: The CAP staffer (who I sort of know and actually like a lot) writes a mea culpa. Unlike MoDo, I totally believe her — I do think it was just one of those moments that we *all* have.
I agree with Glenn G who writes (via email): "I have huge respect for that sort of candid and obviously authentic acknowledgment of error. I think her credibility ends up increasing from this whole episode because of how she handled her mistake."