I hate reading this stuff, but it’s there. And it’s real. And I can’t duck posting it and somehow pretend the last eight years didn’t happen.
This is from Andrew Sullivan’s site.
I haven’t been able to read Jane Mayer’s new book yet. But the reports, news stories and reviews confirm much of what this blog has followed obsessively for the past seven years – and adds new, dreadful detail.
Needed post-9/11 adjustments to our surveillance and intelligence policies could always have been made with the cooperation of the Congress and the courts, in line with existing or revised law and treaty obligations. Democracies can adjust to new threats and retain their balance – if their leaders want to do so.
But a new war and security regime was instead enforced by executive diktat, as a deliberate, conscious attempt to use 9/11 to establish Schmittian precedents for an extra-legal executive branch. It was so far out there even executive enthusiasts like Jack Goldsmith drew a line. Warrantless wire-tapping was part of it – only recently brought under the law – and Greenwald rightly vents about the precedents again here. (Larison is worth reading on this as well.) But at least the intelligence procured by this illegality might have been useful and reliable. What was procured through torture is definitionally unreliable, and capable of creating an Imaginationland feedback loop in which tortured false confessions raise threat levels which justify more torture – all with no capacity for self-correction. As Frank Rich reminds us today, the al Qaeda-Saddam connection and WMD threat was itself a false casus belli procured through torture.
Another one I’d like to point you towards is this Sunday’s Frank Rick OpEd. It was mentioned in the snipped I quoted above, but it’s good enough to mention twice.by