While we lawyers get all het up about how people with a JD and a basic knowledge of the Constitution could sign a torturer's charter, and whether this is a banal evil or virulent evil, or both, Kevin Drum has his eye on the basics:
But put aside the technical analysis and ask yourself: Why has torture been such a hot topic since 9/11? The United States has fought many wars over the past half century, and in each of them our causes were just as important as today's, information from prisoners would have been just as helpful, and we were every bit as determined to win as we are now. But we still didn't authorize torture of prisoners. FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Reagan — all of them knew it wasn't right, and the rest of us knew it as well.
So what's different this time? Only one thing: the name of the man in the White House. Under this administration, we seem to have lost the simple level of moral clarity that allowed our predecessors to tell right from wrong. It's time to reclaim it.
And just imagine what those guys will do if they don't have to worry about re-election.