Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tortured Rhetoric

The Bush administration, the evidence now seems to show, did not engage in what it knew to be torture in order to prevent an attack on the United States or to head off a war. If this argument is correct, they self-consciously and explicitly authorized torture to make a political case for going to war against Iraq -- to torture their victims into admitting a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda that the victims and the torturers knew did not exist, and thereby to justify the attack on Iraq and the engagement that continues to this day.

The torture served an array of rhetorical purposes, and, according to this line of analysis, it served only rhetorical purposes.

According to Frank Rich,
The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way. We don’t need another commission. We don’t need any Capitol Hill witch hunts. What we must have are fair trials that at long last uphold and reclaim our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.

See Frank Rich, "The Banality of Bush White House Evil," The New York Times, 26 April 2009.

Rich provides several useful links to the relevant literature.

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