One of the lessons of this episode is that the dishonest use of language pays off. McCain supporters labeled any interrogation practice that they didn’t like “torture,” and anyone who had qualms about the legislation “pro-torture,” and they repeated all of this over, and over, and over again. Republicans lawmakers–and Bush administration officials–who might have voiced doubts about the legislation were scared off, and what should have been the other side of this debate was never truly aired. Of course, they themelves are responsible for their cowardice, and much else was going on here as well. But it’s worth remembering that the preening moralists who are congratulating themselves now were perfectly happy to make dishonesty work for them.