Saturday, March 6, 2010

Taking sides

Ed Hornick of CNN repeatedly casts Republicans in the best possible light, but he covers his complicity in their lies with a pretense of getting the other side. Here's a clear example:

[Karl] Rove discusses the Bush administration's support for the controversial interrogation technique known as waterboarding, which Democrats and others have described as torture.
This is just normal amoral media bullshit about whether waterboarding is torture. John Yoo and Jay Bybee covered this question with a thin tissue of bullshit, and they have now escaped sanction for it, but that doesn't alter at all the plain fact that we have sent our enemies to prison and death for using torture, including waterboarding. Bushist apologists, for whom military opinion is fetish, should consider:
Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has its roots in some of history's worst totalitarian nations, from Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition to North Korea and Iraq. In the United States, the technique was first used five decades ago as a training tool to give U.S. troops a realistic sense of what they could expect if captured by the Soviet Union or the armies of Southeast Asia. The U.S. military has officially regarded the tactic as torture since the Spanish-American War.
Hornick thinks he's being objective. He's really siding with the side of bullshit.

[Rove] defends the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), arguing they were authorized by the Department of Justice in August 2002 and signed off by then-CIA director George Tenet. He also disputes claims that the administration failed to brief members of Congress on the use of these techniques.

"When these techniques were first authorized, Democratic leaders had been briefed about them. Their silence made them complicit in their use," he wrote. ...

He singled out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, who charged in July 2009 that the CIA misled Congress in a secret briefing she received in 2002. Pelosi said the CIA failed to inform her and others at the briefing about harsh interrogation techniques being used on terrorism suspects.

The CIA responded by saying Pelosi was told about the harsh techniques, including waterboarding, at the classified 2002 briefing.

But the story didn't end there, despite Hornick's willingness to court Rove by implying that it did. Pelosi acknowledged being briefed on the existence of the torture memos but not on the actual use of torture the Bushists intended.
As for whether the techniques were actually torture, Rove says the president "never authorized torture," but rather "did just the opposite" by making sure the techniques "did not cross the legal line into torture."

In sum, Hornick and the big media remain willing to abet the Bushists' claim that a century of settled understanding that waterboarding is torture can still be legitimately disputed. The Bushists dispute it; it must be legitimate. Never mind their self-interested redefinition of the word. Yet Hornick and most of the media accept the word of the CIA, also oft-fetishized by Republicans, based on so-called proof that the CIA itself wrote, that Pelosi is not telling the truth.

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