Sully revisits one of the most shameful chapters in the Bush-Cheney torture saga:
The critical thing to remember is that the first person to be subjected to the torture program was not the person Bush and Cheney thought he was, gave up lots of useful (and accurate) information under traditional interrogation techniques, had no information that came close to the “ticking time bomb” criterion used to justify the torture program … and was brutally tortured anyway. More to the point, the idea that CIA officers were begging to use these torture methods is nonsense. They were forced to do so by higher ups.
Part of the problem is that the president had already bragged in public that Zubaydah was a central figure, and Ron Suskind has argued that the torture was ordered in part to save Bush’s face. Tenet denies that strongly. If it’s true, then president Bush, if he still has a conscience, must have a hard time sleeping at night.
Of course, it was reported again and again that Bush claimed to have no trouble sleeping during the war, that he did not give the appearance of having aged as LBJ did, and so on. It’s very unlikely that Bush has any trouble sleeping over torture.
And I don’t think the media infrastructure that remained silent about torture, when it wasn’t actively promoting it, has much trouble sleeping either.
You see, torture is a “tough decision.” The fact that it offends some moral sensibilities only makes the decision to torture that much “tougher” and more “courageous”. Choosing not to torture is just too easy. Privatizing Social Security is also a tough decision, whereas modifying it so that middle class Americans can continue to have a little dignity in old age, well, that’s just too easy. Similarly, raising taxes on those who can afford it while keeping them the same on the middle-class is an easy decision, while raising them a bit on the middle-class as well is a smart, tough one, even though it makes very little economic sense. Asking middle-class Americans to sacrifice more is always tough and courageous. Asking the wealthy to pay a little more is not.
“Tough decisions” have to come at least a little bit from the gut. They can’t be reasoned out with facts and figures. And they certainly can’t be the product of the “Hamlet-like” indecision that often plagued Bill Clinton. Most importantly, making tough decisions can’t bother the decision-maker too much, else they are more Carter-like than tough.
Bush’s decision to torture is regarded as tough, both by himself and by most of the Village. So there’s no need for anyone to lose any sleep over it.