The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mistakes were made, but fingers were crossed.

If anyone wonders about the fragility of American democracy, here's a story that should convince them (thought at this point, I can't imagine what it would take).

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

While I'm sure few need to be reminded of the administration's record of bringing terrorists to justice-- as opposed to just locking up non-terrorists and abusing them for a few years, or creating terrorists policies like this-- I'm genuinely baffled at the fact that one in three or four Americans still thinks that the GOP has been doing a splendid job over the last six years.