What If Newsweek Editors Were Waterboarded?
Monday, January 12, 2009 at 9:37 am
I really hate writing posts about the media. It seems to me that complaining about the press is a distraction from engaging with the actual issues at hand. Yes, more often than not the press sucks, everyone knows it, the point is made, we factor it into our reasoning and now we can move on, etc.
But sometimes there are exceptions. Like this Newsweek piece on President George W. Bush, President-elect Barack Obama and torture. Consider:
In times of war and crisis, as presidents such as Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt discovered, the nation needs a strong chief executive. The flaw of the Bush-Cheney administration may have been less in what it did than in the way it did it—flaunting executive power, ignoring Congress, showing scorn for anyone who waved the banner of civil liberties.
Chances are, if the NSA picked up, without a warrant, a passel of communications between Newsweek’s Stuart Taylor Jr. and Evan Thomas with their sources in the Middle East and South Asia; and then passed that information on to CIA, which had operatives abduct them and transfer them to undisclosed prison facilities in eastern Europe or southeast Asia where they were subjected to extreme cold or had water poured into their mouths and nostrils … well, I guess that they’d object to more than just the demeanor of the officials who ordered that to happen.
But because Washington journalists can employ anodyne euphemisms for what the legacy of the Bush administration actually is, and thereby avoid actual engagement with the issues it raises, it makes more sense to say that Obama should just be a less-obnoxious war criminal.
Then there’s this:
The issue of torture is more complicated than it seems. America brought untold shame on itself with the abuses at Abu Ghraib. It’s likely that the take-the-gloves-off attitude of Cheney and his allies filtered down through the ranks, until untrained prison guards with sadistic tendencies were making sport with electric shock. But no direct link has been reported.
Hey guys: you should give the Senate Armed Services Committee a call, because they reported precisely that.
Oh, wait, they don’t get into “electric shocks,” so I suppose your straw man survives, even though your laziness is still on display.
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