The Corner

Andrew Sullivan’s Continued Evasion

Andrew elevates what I wrote earlier about water-boarding into an argument that it isn’t torture. What I said is that it’s close to the line and that reasonable people can conclude it is torture and we should never do it; he thinks its a slam-dunk. Fine. But he evades–of course, because evasion is such a big part of what the McCain exercise is about for its supporters–my point that there are practices that aren’t even a close call. Is giving a prisoner a lapel shake torture? Is it cruel? Is an attention slap torture? Is it cruel? Is a belly slap torture? Is it cruel? Is a cold cell torture? Is it cruel? In what circumstances are they torture and/or cruelty? All? Sullivan might not want to talk about these practices, but he should wake up and smell the coffee. These are actual things we have done to 12 high-level al Qaeda detainees.

It’s too bad no Republican on the Hill or anyone in the administration can push back against McCain and get him to say what he apparently believes: shaking KSM by his lapels is inconsistent with American values. If he were forced to admit it the dynamic of this debate would change quickly.

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