Where’s the Right’s anger over the torture memos?

I understand why the protesters were so upset about the deficits. While they maybe minded them during the Bush years, they are going to get worse now before they get better, and their aims will be much more liberal in scope. What I honestly don’t get is that people can think letting the Bush tax cuts expire is a form of fascism, but that none of the anger I’ve seen has been about the torture memos just released. What’s more indicative of government bureaucrat making up ways to subvert liberty on the fly – a three percent increase in a marginal tax rate, or The Bybee Memo?

As we explained in the Section 2340A Memorandum, “pain and suffering” as used in Section 2340 is best understood as a single concept, not distinct concepts of “pain” as distinguished from “suffering”… The waterboard, which inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever, does not, in our view inflict “severe pain or suffering”. Even if one were to parse the statute more finely to treat “suffering” as a distinct concept, the waterboard could not be said to inflict severe sufering. The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.

Check that out. Some government cubicle guy, when told to find a reason to allow waterboarding, came up with the “workaround” that pain and suffering are one concept, not two. Oh, and if they are two, we are still fine. But they are not. Banal and terrifying.

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2 Responses to Where’s the Right’s anger over the torture memos?

  1. Andrew says:

    Um, seriously? Why aren’t the Right upset about the Torture memos?

    They are upset. We’re in a state of war, 9/11, imminent destruction, bad actors, threat to civilization as we know it, the Left wanted to give them counselling sessions, we’ve just given Osama our playbook, these were good and decent people trying to do their job, you can’t handle the truth!!!, und so weither…

    They’re just upset about a different thing – that the memos were released. There may be a bit of discomfort about the actions themselves, but this was rationalized away a long time ago. Plus, it’s all old news.

    I don’t think you’ll find someone who wears a T-shirt saying “Real men waterboard” or “Guantanamo swimming academy” is going to feel suddenly abashed.

  2. b says:

    In the old days there was a fairly clear intent and spirit of laws, and for the most part people stayed within that spirit. I’ve noticed a present and growing trend to move outside of the intent and spirit and into the real of gaming the language. This is a good example.

    This is becoming pervasive in other areas too. For example, in sports, it’s becoming more widespread to compete outside the real of sportsmanship (where the intent and spirit are) and into the real of gaming the rules (e.g. steroids…).

    Obviously, another area is business, where the goal is to generate profits. It’s been a long and growing trend to move away from making profits the old fashioned way and towards gaming accounting rules (e.g. off balance sheet items, mark to market…). Just check out the growing spread between operating earnings and as-reported earnings since the mid 90’s. As recently as 2006 the difference between the two was less than 10% compared to todays > 100%.

    When you move outside the real of intent and spirit and into the real of gaming the rules, anything becomes possible because you can pretty much argue away any constraints. The era of the Gentleman is over, everything now is in free play and subject to interpretation.

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