Monday, May 18, 2009

Andrew Sullivan: "That is unbelievable abuse of government power."

Thank God for Andrew Sullivan. Were it not for him, and the outrage he expresses here, one would be forgiven - listening to this exchange - for thinking that torture was an acceptable practice.


He authorised, and we now know this, the torture of human beings. We know this from the Red Cross. We know this from the Office of Legal Counsel Memos. We know this from the Senate Armed Services Committee report.

We know the policies that he enforced, pioneered and insisted upon led to the torture of hundreds, thousands, of human beings.

Now those are war crimes.

If the government, if the government has the power to torture evidence, where are conservatives on this? Where are conservatives who believe in restraining executive power and the dangers of torturing people? This is a very profound issue, it's the biggest issue of the last eight years. This man is very afraid and he has every reason to be afraid.
He raises a great point. I thought conservatives were all for restraining executive power, or are these simply phrases they throw out without ever actually believing in them?

For anyone who held such beliefs would have to be horrified at the notion that the executive could torture people in order to justify their own policies. And yet, recent evidence points to Cheney doing just that, and we have yet to hear any conservative outrage - with the exception of Sullivan here - about what Cheney has done.

The entire Bush presidency was an assault on what conservatives are supposed to believe in, as Bush claimed more power for the executive than any other president I can remember since Nixon.

And yet where was the outrage? Even now, as we hear more and more horror stories about what Cheney ordered, right wing bloggers remain obsessed with Obama and "socialism" and seem determined to view any attempt to hold Cheney to account as "partisan politics".

It is they who are being partisan, because what Cheney did is supposed to be an outrage to all of their principles, and yet they are not outraged. Why? Because it was a Republican who was carrying out those abuses of power. And that appears to be just fine by them.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

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