It's hard to know what exactly to say about the IG Report (pdf). It's hard to imagine anything that so completely contradicts the ideals this country is supposed to stand for. Glenn's post pretty much covers the main points (and don't forget to check out Marcy and Spencer's posts too). But here are a few thoughts:
The IG Report is not for the faint of heart. The details of abuse are so graphic and brutal that it's hard to read in places. But Glenn is right -- everyone should read it (or at least the key parts). People should see precisely what happened.
The highlights include: (1) mock executions; (2) threatened rape of family members; (3) threatened murder of children; (4) kicking and beating a detainee with a metal flashlight to death; (5) threatening naked hooded detainees with power drills; (6) blowing cigar smoke in detainees' faces until they got sick; (7) waterboarding with massive volumes of water far beyond what OLC authorized (to make it "poignant"); (8) stress positions that nearly caused shoulder dislocations; (9) scraping detainees with stiff brushes; (10) choking a detainee with one's bare hands until they nearly pass out; (11) subjecting detainees to extremely cold temperatures and water dousing; (12) "hard takedowns" (sometimes in diapers); and (13) beating detainees with butts of rifles (followed by kicking them).
It's easy to let your mind skim over these. But if you stop and linger over a couple of them -- and really take the time to reflect on the individual pain and fear that must have been involved -- it makes you sick to your stomach. These acts must be punished.
Let's Thank All The Lawyers
Glenn mentioned this in his post and on Twitter. But it's worth remembering that we know about this information because of the ACLU and other courageous lawyers' efforts (people like Katherine). If it were up to Congress, we would know nothing.
One remarkable aspect of this entire tragic affair is just how extensively papered it is. Everyone was trying to cover themselves, and it created a lot of evidence. This paper trail is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it makes it easy for a Truth Commission (or some similar entity) to assemble all the information and then to investigate gaps, etc. Second, it shows just how directly all of these policies came from straight the top.
The Limits of the Prosecution
My hope, though, is that today isn't the final word on that. A few successful prosecutions could hopefully be leveraged to go after bigger fish -- the ones actually responsible for implementing torture as national policy.