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August 25, 2009


The Obama administration is afraid to probe too deeply into the latter cases because it's clear that responsibility goes all the way up to the former occupant of the White House.

Which is the weirdest kind of unity to have with that former occupant, or his co-occupant: In this cluster of matters, both Administrations find the relevant law to be a terrible nuisance, to be treated as such and ignored if at all possible.


I agree: the "confirmation is old news" thing is maddening.

That these cases were closed is a sub-scandal unto itself.

Is there any chance that something could be done to the people who decided to close those cases? I know that they'll make claims of prosecutorial discretion or some such, but isn't there some way of ensuring that the executive can't arbitrarily ignore laws it doesn't like by ordering prosecutors not to follow up on open and shut cases?

Hoping for snappy new atrocities is typical reporter-bias. The confirmation of how bad things really were is important (no one can say that no 'real' torture happened, nor can anyone deny that innocent people were tortured). Also, despite the lack of new atrocities, we see that the ones that were revealed earlier were widespread--not rare instances of individuals going too far.

Why would the Obama administration be so eager to let Bush & Co. off so lightly? It's not as if the current administration would get implicated in anything for what the Bushies were busy covering their tracks for, so I can only conclude it's a political hedge - it's still too afraid of the prospect of the right unleashing themselves over this and still somehow not having enough to defend itself with. (I can already see the latest round of conspiracy-mongering readying itself in the wings - the documents are fabrications, etc., designed to stain the prestige of fine honorable men and women...)

*another sigh*

Is "non-plussed" some sort of pun, or do you just not know the meaning nor the spelling of "nonplussed"?

I guess he was hoping for some snappy new atrocities.

Now this, this is prime snark; and is one of the reasons I'm so pleased you've joined the ObWi Hivemind.

I don't think the fact of having criminality confirmed will make much difference among EIT/Bush-Cheney apologists. I'm not sure they'll go so far as to say "Everyone does it; Bush-Cheney just got caught" like they did with Watergate, or stick with the "But they were protecting America" which, after all, has worked out really well for them so far.

One thing I am completely sure of is that, since the GOP was utterly unfazed by confirmation that torture happened in the first place, it is likely to be even more indifferent to confirmation that the torture was a criminal offense.

Thanks, CaseyL. The EIT apologists have already moved on to saying everything the torturers did was A-OK.

I was on CNN's blogger bunch yesterday with two right wing crazies. (I gave ObWi as my blog affiliation.) They promised to send me a clip but they haven't yet.

I was gobsmacked when the host asked me how I felt about mock executions, like it was up for discussion or something. The other two guests were insisting that mock execution in defense of liberty was no vice.

My first comment, so I add my greetings, and wish you well.

It is so helpful to have "forest recognition" items.

Re:"The other two guests were insisting that mock execution in defense of liberty was no vice." Someone the other day was trying to date when the GOP went crazy. Perhaps it dates back to Goldwater's 1964 convention speech.

I posted the following earlier this morning on Publius' related item. Unnecessary censorshp is a particular hangup of mine (a fixation since 1968)

Why is so much of the document still censored? (he asks rhetorically)

What needs to be fought for is the end of censorship -except by a judge. Or make those who censor the document have to be named in an accompanying affidavit and each swear that each and every "redaction" was necessary for national security on penalty of significant jail time.

When I was at university i reviewed the 2nd Senate hearings re the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and compared what had been censored in the transcript of the first hearings that was not censored when quoted in the second hearings. My conclusion was that the original censorship had not been necessary to protect national security.

Except for the national secret -the government really doesn't know what is actually happening in the world- I am skeptical that, post cold war there really is very much "intelligence" that needs to be kept secret for more than a year or two.

It's hard to compete with Inglorious Basterds, especially when CIA censors redact all the "good" bits.

Nice. To me, the Koppelman reaction probably echoes that of most of America. It's about being desensitized to violence, not to sound like the old Catholic curmudgeon that I fear becoming. All of this seems mild in comparison to comic book-movie violence. - TL

Inglourious Basterds, you mean.


I agree with the general sentiments of the post, but I don't think "nonplussed" is the word you want here.

(Sorry to play language police.)

Any clue what the dozen or so categories of torture that are completely redacted from the report are?

I tuned in to watch CNN(international, I'm not a US Citizen and have no acess to other US programms) yesterday, and was sort of amazed. They were discussing Eric Holder's decision with Gloria Borger, David Frum and Dana Bash. David Frum called it an "outrage", and spoke of "chilling effects" on the CIA. Dana Bash talked about how "liberal democrats" were pushing this. Gloria Borger made a very cautious statement, she didn't say that people were definitely tortured, there was the possibility that something took place that maybe constitutes torture or something like that.

I have been reading about the media's behaviour in this regard at blogs (for example, Glenn Glennwald's), but it still stunned me to hear this in 2009.

To be fair to CNN, other parts of their programme which I saw clips of apparentely were better, for example the interviews with Robert Baer.

"chilling effects" - like that would be a bad thing...

To the language pedants -- New Oxford American (2nd Ed) has:

nonplussed |nänˈpləst| |nɑnˈpləst| (also nonplused)
1 (of a person) surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react : he would be completely nonplussed and embarrassed at the idea.
2 informal (of a person) not disconcerted; unperturbed.

Canadian Oxford Dictionary (1998) has meanings:
2. N Amer. unfazed

N. Amer = use is found chiefly in Canada and the US but not in British English

I am nonplussed.

I feel betrayed. By validating incorrect usage these dictionaries are helping to make a previously useful word ambiguous and therefore useless.

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