Legacy of the GOP, con’t

The other day I noted that the legacy of the GOP will likely be a “sputtering if not stalled economy, a federal government carrying $5 trillion more in debt, an over-committed military, and a more dangerous world.”

I forgot to mention one other legacy of Bush and the GOP, waterboarding.

In a column for Slate, Dahlia Lithwick describes the means by which Bush, Cheney, and the GOP have sought to establish an authoritarian state that sanctions the use torture:

“It’s been a banner week for water-boarding. This centuries-old practice of simulated drowning to extract false confessions and false testimony has really benefited of late from a good old legal reassessment and a smoking-hot PR campaign. In the course of a few short years, water-boarding has morphed from torture that unquestionably violates both federal and international law to an indispensable tool in the fight against terror.

Charting that progression is almost not worth doing anymore, so familiar are the various feints and steps. First, the administration breaks the law in secret. Then it denies breaking the law. Then it admits to the conduct but asserts that settled law is not in fact settled anymore because some lawyer was willing to unsettle it. Then the administration insists that the basis for unsettling the law is secret but that there are now two equally valid sides to the question. And then the administration gets Congress to rewrite the old law by insisting it prevents the president from thwarting terror attacks and warning that terrorists will strike tomorrow unless Congress ratifies the new law. Then it immunizes the law breakers from prosecution.”

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